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How East Germany and the West German Left Waged War on Israel

July 11 2017

The historian Jeffrey Herf, in Undeclared Wars with Israel, tells of East Germany’s vicious anti-Zionism, which went well beyond condemning Israel and expressing solidarity with those seeking its destruction: indeed, the German Democratic Republic provided funds and weapons to both Arab regimes and the PLO. For its part, Herf relates, the West German far left equated opposition to the government in Bonn with opposition to Israel, often crossing the line into anti-Semitism and, for the most committed, active participation in terrorist attacks against Jews. Allan Arkush writes in his review:

Unlike other Soviet-bloc nations, East Germany didn’t break relations with Israel after the Six-Day War—because it never had them in the first place. This was mostly due to its refusal to pay reparations for the crimes of the Nazis. But it did denounce Israel as the aggressor and likened it to the Nazi regime. . . . In the ensuing years, East Germany’s sales of armaments to the Arab world . . . ran in to the hundreds of millions of dollars. . . .

The West German far left, [meanwhile], emerged in a society that believed its own legitimacy to be bound up with a Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coming to terms with the past) that entailed not only repudiation of the Nazis but reparations to their Jewish victims. While East Germany was denying any responsibility for the Nazi regime and excoriating Israel, West Germany was transferring massive amount of money to it and offering the country its broad support. . . .

As the New Left turned against Israel after 1967, West German leftists followed suit and, in Herf’s words, “redefined the meaning of Vergangenheitsbewältigung” to justify the equation of the Jewish state’s alleged crimes with those of the Nazis. Leftists in the Federal Republic began speaking of the malign effects of Germany’s “Jewish complex” and condemning philo-Semitism. Arkush concludes:

Herf has produced not only a prodigiously researched indictment but also a timely reminder. . . . Undeclared Wars with Israel is . . . a post-mortem with a polemical edge, a book that very carefully digs up half-forgotten enemies of Israel from the recent past, in part to remind us that they have heirs who still repeat the same arguments, slogans, and calumnies. It is, unfortunately, doubtful that Herf’s tale of two hatreds would shame them, even if they were to read it.

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Anti-Semitism, East Germany, Germany, History & Ideas, Israel & Zionism, New German Left, Palestinian terror

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

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Read more at New York Post

More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations