Germany, Jews and Israel

Yom Ha’shoah or Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated on Sunday, April 7, 2013, and was an annual reminder of the genocide Nazi Germany perpetrated against Europe’s Jews. In Germany, 70 years after the Holocaust, the Jewish Museum in Berlin has put on display what they have dubbed ‘A Jew in the Box,’ an exhibition featuring a Jewish man or woman sitting inside a glass box for two hours a day through August, and responding to questions from visitors about Jews and Jewish life. The exhibition is attracting a great deal of attention.

The thinking behind this rather strangely named exhibit is that the post-war generations know next to nothing about Jews and Judaism.  Given the relatively small number of Jews in Germany (about 150,000-200,000 out of a population of 82 million Germans), it is likely that many Germans have never encountered a Jew.  What Germans do know about Jews however, seems to be increasingly negative, as native and Islamic anti-Semitism is on the rise, and anti-Israel feelings among the young have become commonplace.

The Times of Israel reported on December 14, 2012 that “Reading the comments under Israel-related articles in the mainstream media is quite shocking.  There, ignorance meets prejudice meets starry-eyed idealism.”  Much like elsewhere in Europe, the young, particularly on campuses, are becoming increasingly anti-Israel, if not anti-Jewish.  They question the special relations between Germany and Israel, and are essentially ignorant about Middle East realities.  The German media and academia’s yardstick in judging conflict in the Middle East is human rights.  Their skewed reporting fails, however, to recognize that in Israel, human rights are truly applied, and that human rights, religious freedom, and democracy are non-existent in the Arab-Muslim world, including within the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

It is rather ironic that the Holocaust is the bond that ties the German government to the Jewish State. That said one must consider the current German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the exception. She has displayed a genuine friendship for Jews and Israel. The general population is no longer bound by the sense of responsibility and guilt over Germany’s horrific past, especially as it relates to Jews.  Germans today, under the European Union umbrella, feel free to be critical of Jews and Israel much like many people in Britain and France.

The existence of a large Muslim population in Germany, about 4.3 million, according to the study conducted by the Pew Research Center in December 2010 and released in January 2011 (Muslims constitute about 5% of the German population) has been a contributing factor in the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany.  The Jerusalem Post reported (9/2/2012) that according to the Berlin police “four young Arabs punched Rabbi Daniel Alter several times in the face because he was Jewish and wearing a yarmulka, and threatened to kill his six-year-old daughter. Doctors performed surgery on Alter’s fractured cheekbone.”

The same Rabbi Alter observed that “insults and name-calling, even physical violence –that is completely normal in Germany.” According to Alter, recent research found that almost one in three Germans is anti-Semitic, and you can find it at all levels of society.

A report on Deutsche Welle (DW) titled, Anti-Semitism: An Everyday Phenomenon (January 30, 2013) reveals that armed security guards and security checkpoints watch over Jewish life in Berlin; they stand guard outside the synagogues and the Jewish schools. The report quotes an 18-year old Jewish school girl named Ilana who says: “Even in grade school, other (German) students would yell ‘Jewish pig,’ or ‘Hey Jew, bombed a few Palestinians yet?”  She told of being beaten and attacked with bricks.  Ilana pointed out that anti-Semitism is alive and well among young Germans but teachers, according to Ilana and Rabbi Alter, “dare not discuss the topic of anti-Semitism.”  Ironically, the study of the Holocaust has been a mandatory component of the German state educational curriculum.

The German media and government officials, however, tend to blame “right-wing extremists” and ignore Arabs and Muslims for anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence. European multi-culturalism and political-correctness gone awry have emboldened Muslims in Europe to attack Jews throughout the Continent as well as in Germany.

The U.S. based Simon Wiesenthal Center identified Jakob Augstein, publisher of the German magazine Der Freitag, and son of the founder of Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading weekly news magazine, as one of the tenth worst anti-Semites in 2012. Among Augstein’s notorious bellowing are statements such as “Jerusalem calls, and Berlin bows to its will,” or that “U.S. Republicans and the Israeli government profit from violence in Libya, Sudan, and Yemen.”  Another one is “the Netanyahu government keeps the world with an ever swelling war chant.” Augstein also accused Israel of “initiating the production of the Mohammad video that provoked Middle East riots by Muslims.” He also asserted that ultra-Orthodox Israelis “follow the law of revenge.”

Germans, it seems, wish to erase the past, and resent the Holocaust memory with its emphasis on German guilt. German laws however, forbid overt anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Hence, German anti-Semitism is expressed not always in direct attacks against Jews but rather by demonizing the Jewish nation.  The political-Left in Germany has accused Israel of war crimes, occupation, and apartheid.  The German-Left has used inverse Holocaust imagery to characterize Israel as allegedly treating the Palestinians the way the Nazis treated Jews.

A survey conducted by the GFE Europe Project 2011, that appeared in Der Spiegel on January 14, 2013, posed the following statements…“Jews try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era,”…48.9% of the 1000 Germans 16 years and older who were surveyed, answered in the affirmative.  “Considering Israel’s policy, I can understand why people do not like Jews,”…35.6% agreed. “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians,”…47.7% responded in the affirmative.

It is rather clear that Germans and other Europeans hate Jewish particularism that is manifested by the existence of the Jewish State.  As long as Jews are Universalists in their outlook, they are acceptable to Europeans, albeit as “useful idiots.”  What is clearly indicative of the European and German double-standard, and thus their transparent anti-Semitism is the fact that Islamic particularism evidenced in the existence of 57 Muslim states has not been a cause for denunciation or hatred by Europeans in general and Germans in particular.

It is doubtful that the Berlin Jewish Museum exhibit will change what have become a common European and (increasingly) a German mindset regarding Jewish particularism and Israel.  For Jews however and the State of Israel, the memory of the Nazi Holocaust (Yom Ha’shoah) is a moral obligation and a promise to prevent yet another.

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  • stern

    It's simple. By insisting that Israel is "no better than – or even worse than – the Nazis", Germans not only assuage their own guilt, they believe they're telling the world "See, we were right". And they prove that given less than half the chance they, like the rest of Europe, would do it all again.

    And yet we keep reading reports about a resurgence of Jewish life in Germany. Will we never learn?

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Germany's bloody history is so filled with Jewish blood they are forever bathing in it, even though some have attempted to cleanse their history. However, there are too many others – hiding in plain sight – who want nothing more than to finish the job, and this is not exclusive to Germans.
    Regardless, this is precisely why Jewish victory is the only answer, even when least obvious – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/03/03/an-authentic-

    Regardless where it rears its head, even in the US, there are prescriptive remedies…Jews – at least those who have self respect and moral courage – must break outside the box; their ghetto (mental) prison/prism.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Loyal Achates

    Y'know, if you continue to insult everyone on the face of the earth you really shouldn't be surprised if you find yourself without any friends…today I see that Germans and Evangelical Christians, two of Israel's biggest supporters, are on your list.

    • stern

      Oh brilliant, it's all our fault. No wonder you have "hates" in your name.

      • Loyal Achates

        That is literally the dumbest comment you have ever made, and you have made some doozies.

        • stern

          No dumber than the one you made, blaming the Jews for being the victim.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        stern AKBAR!

  • Deutschland

    Thats quite an anti-German article. Extremely propagandistic. But thats the Jews for you.

    • stern

      Guess you don't like the truth, uber alles, jah?

    • Lan Astaslem

      still hurting because your side lost, huh hans?

    • Omar

      And you're a jingoist who is an extreme apologist for the worst totalitarian regime to rule Germany in the 20th century and one of the worst totalitarian regimes in human history.

    • 1/2 Breed

      I would think part of the anti-Israel attitude is from Germans born after the war having their faces pushed into feces regularly by Jews to remind them of their "original sin." Maybe people who where 18 years old or older in 1939 or 1945 were culpable to varying degrees. But the moral guilt trip that some in the Jewish community and some gentiles in the West also have put Germans born after WW2 is intolerable. It has bred resentment.

      I know it has in me & I am only 50% German.

      • Lan Astaslem

        I guess it's easier to scapegoat Jews than to find the balls to deal with the muslim infestation of germany.

      • stern

        That's the guilt talking.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        The other 1/2 Moose limb.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Deutschvine,

      Winston Churchill: German surrender announcement May 7, 1945
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sizo0APsLkY

    • Mary Sue

      If you think that's "anti-German" IN GENERAL, you don't have very good reading comprehension.

  • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

    Here is my contribution to Holocaust Remembrance Day: http://clarespark.com/2010/08/15/nazis-exhibit-de…. The Wandering Jew myth remains potent to this day. "Nazis Exhibit der ewige Jude, 1937." Or this related one: http://clarespark.com/2010/11/16/good-jews-bad-je…. "Good Jews, Bad Jews, and Wandering Jews." Although multiculturalism reigns in American school curricula, we learn nothing about antisemitism and its changing emphases. Rather, Jews are often seen as the chief oppressor of victimized minorities. The Holocaust did not come out of nowhere.

  • watsa46

    It is all about massive disinformation against Jews. The world massive stupidity needs a permanent scapegoat. "Brain cells" does not equal intelligence. Quite the opposite.
    As some one said: Forgive them since they do not know and will never know.

  • Omar

    Why aren't the countries of the world denouncing the Assad family dictatorship in Syria for denying its people democracy? Assad is a Russian/Iranian puppet who has ruled Syria with an iron fist for a long time. Why aren't the countries of the world denouncing the Islamist dictatorship in Sudan for behaving worse than South Africa's former apartheid regime? Why aren't the countries of the world denouncing Castro's Cuba for having the only dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere? Why aren't the countries of the world denouncing the true intentions of Islamist extremist groups and entities like Hamas and the mullah's in Iran? The world has a huge double standard.

    • Grocer

      Assad might be a Russian puppet now, but the rise of his father was all internal as far is known. The Baathists party took over Syria & the Alawites took over the Baathist Party. So it was indigenuous group of people that came to real.

      The Assad family nor the Baathists certainly are not representative of the Syrian people. The Muslims Bortherhood represent is more people seemingly, but the violence they would do to minorities is unacceptable.

      Certainly, people accept the Castro dictatorship. He belongs to the same culture as many of the journalists, academics and others.

      • Grocer

        correction came to real "-ize power."

      • Omar

        Assad's father took power in Syria with the help of the Soviet dictatorship and the KGB. As for Cuba, while the MSM and the international community "accept" the Castro dictatorship, the Cuban people do not. The differences in how the UN treats Israel vs. how they treat Cuba is very hypocritical. Democratic Israel gets condemned when it tries to defend itself, but totalitarian Cuba can get away with almost anything.

  • Luis C.

    Hi Omar, by your name may I ask if you are ex-muslim?

    • Omar

      No, I am not a Muslim. I was never a Muslim. I oppose radical Islamist groups and regimes like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian mullahs.

  • JacksonPearson

    The word antisemitism means prejudice against or hatred of Jews. The Holocaust, the state-sponsored persecution and murder of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945, is history’s most extreme example of antisemitism.

    The specific hatred of Jews, however, preceded the modern era and the coining of the term antisemitism. Among the most common manifestations of antisemitism throughout history were pogroms, violent riots launched against Jews and frequently encouraged by government authorities. Pogroms were often incited by blood libels—false rumors that Jews used the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes.

    In the modern era, antisemites added a political dimension to their ideology of hatred. In the last third of the nineteenth century, antisemitic political parties were formed in Germany, France, and Austria. Publications such as the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' generated or provided support for fraudulent theories of an international Jewish conspiracy. A potent component of political antisemitism was nationalism, whose adherents often falsely denounced Jews as disloyal citizens.

  • NEWK36

    I am a Jew. I live my life with the mindset that 98% of the world's people have negative feelings towards my people. That simplifies my life. Thus, nothing surprises me when I hear about incidents of anti-semitism.I am thankful to God that I was born in the U.S.A.

  • Jim

    “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians,”

    The Islamic radicals preach a War of extermination against Israel and Jews.