Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his scheduled meetings with Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, when the latter insisted on paying visits to representatives of Breaking the Silence during his time in Israel. Benjamin Weinthal argues that Gabriel deliberately created a conflict with the Israeli prime minister to garner votes for his party in an upcoming election:
A new . . . survey shows Gabriel may very well be amplifying his hostility toward Israel’s government for his personal electoral gain. There is a huge pool of Germans who can be whipped up to vote for his Social Democratic party because of hatred of Israel. Just last week, a new independent German government-commissioned report said roughly 40 percent of Germans loathe the Jewish state. Prior to Gabriel’s visit to Israel, [a prominent polling organization] revealed Gabriel’s party running behind the two conservative parties. . . .
Gabriel stumbled, wittingly or unwittingly, into a second fiasco in the German media. He wrote in an opinion article on Tuesday . . . that “Social Democrats were, like the Jews, the first victims of the Holocaust.” . . . The [since-corrected online version] now reads: “Social Democrats were, like the Jews, the first victims of the Nazis.” It is unclear whether the print editions of the article that appeared in Cologne, Berlin, and Frankfurt issued corrections. . . .
The [German] journalist Wolfgang Pohrt captured the hubris of German elites when he described them as acting as Israel’s probation officers to prevent “their victims from relapsing.”