“I think that a new, repugnant form of fascism is emerging with notable strength…The Nazi genocide of Jews outraged all the earth’s peoples. Why does this (Israeli) government believe that the world will be insensitive to the macabre genocide which today is being perpetuated against the Palestinian people?” (Fidel Castro, August, 5, 2014)
“Who cares, what that senile ZOMBIE Castro says!” strikes me as a reasonable retort from many readers.
“Unfortunately,” I’m forced to answer. “Many otherwise reasonable care very much what Fidel Castro says.” Take Israeli Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu:
“The remarks attributed to Castro demonstrate his deep understanding of the history of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.” (Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu, Sept. 24, 2010.)
Take former Israeli President Shimon Peres: “I thank you (Fidel Castro) from the bottom of my heart. I must confess that your remarks were, in my opinion, unexpected and rife with unique intellectual depth. Your words presented a surprising bridge between a harsh reality and a new horizon. You tried to sail to bigger seas, to show that a small geographical size doesn’t have to reflect human smallness.” (Israeli President Shimon Peres, Sept. 24, 2010.)
At the time Fidel Castro had granted The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg an exclusive interview and the smitten Israeli leaders were reacting to the following remarks by the Stalinist dictator:
"I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews….I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything….The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust….Yes, without a doubt (Israel has a right to exist as modern state.)"
Cuba-watchers rolled their eyes and groaned at that latest of Castro’s frequent scams, but the media (naturally) ate it up, savoring every syllable. Astoundingly so did normally shrewd Israeli leaders. Wishful thinking often fogs the brain. And who can blame friendless Israel for wishing she had a new friend –and one carrying enormous cachet among her traditional enemies?
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.