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Friday, January 06, 2006

Do We Now Return to the Garden of the Finzi-Continis?

Israel Matzav

Do We Now Return to the Garden of the Finzi-Continis?

While I think his praise for Sharon is overdone, his analysis of the Iranian situation and its impact on Israel and on the world is spot-on:

In 1971, the great Italian film maker, Vittorio De Sica directed The Garden of the Finzi-Continis which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, and won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival that same year. The movie was a character study of a wealthy Italian Jewish family in the town Ferrara in 1938. The Finzi-Contini family is already destroyed but do not realize it yet. The fascist government of Mussolini was not particularly energetic in their persecution of Jews but their much more powerful ally demanded that Italy at least make some attempts to aid in the "final solution." The scourge of anti-Semitism which had been in abeyance for many years in Italy was slowly gaining force and depth in 1938. The movie is a fascinating, elegiac look at wealthy, narcissistic young people who, like insects with one wing trapped in amber, do not perceive that their world is about to end.


The Finzi-Continis were insulated by their wealth from the realities of the world that was crashing down around them; it seems today that our liberal elites, equally insulated from the world by their wealth and success, believe if they continue to behave as if time has stopped, then they need do nothing to prevent the coming disaster. However, we are clearly approaching a pivotal moment.

Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred (in a post that should be read more widely) asks some questions that need to be addressed:

The civilized world is on trial today.

It is a simple matter, really. How we respond to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks denying the Holocaust and excoriating Jews will say a lot more about us that it will about him.

What lessons have we learned from the past? What morality have we integrated into our very being as the result of the Holocaust, directed against the Jews, by design? What morality have we integrated into ourselves as a result of that wider holocaust, the one that left 50 million dead in the span of six years?

The Palestinians have only slowed their genocidal attacks in order to turn their rage on themselves, for now, yet once the Iranians have their bomb, Israel's existence will be at risk both from the air (Iranian missiles) and from the land (Palestinian suicide bombers). Al Qaeda has taken up residence in Gaza to facilitate the mass death and destruction they hope to rain upon the hated Jews.

How will the world respond? One answer is here:

Norway's Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen is backing a planned consumer boycott of Israeli goods, contradicting the coalition government's policy.

Ms Halvorsen voiced support for a campaign of solidarity with the Palestinians, due to be launched by her Socialist Left party this month.

... Update: Kobayashi Maru is on the same wavelength with me on this; the crisis with Iran has just worsened. In Fasten Your Seatbelts: Sharon, Israel, Iran, and... he notes:

....It seems unlikely that scheduled March elections will put an end to the uncertainty that's been created literally overnight and the danger that goes with it. That scheduled Israeli elections happen to roughly coincide with the expected fulfillment of Iran's nuclear ambitions (March) should get the entire planet's attention. Whatever the rhetoric of Iran et al, and whatever the reality in actual Israeli policy changes (or lack thereof), Sharon's decline invites the wolves to circle closer. Wolves don't sit in salons and write essays and sip lattes and debate. They act. It doesn't matter whether or not we think that's civilized. It's just the way it is.

(Sorry, I don't know how to code HTML and my formatting is a bit off). Read it all!


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