50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel

About 75 years ago, the Kristallnacht pogrom against the Jews took place throughout Germany and Austria. The event got its name because of the many glass shards that accumulated on the ground as a result of shattering glass in the houses and businesses of Jewish families… I regret to say, that today, 2015, anti-Semitism has once again raised its ugly head in Europe – and sometimes even in New Germany – but this time, under the guise of anti-Zionism and anti-Israel. Here is only one example:

About 2 years ago, a festive event was held in Frankfurt. A prestigious award was given by the local authority of the financial capital of Germany, in memory of the well-known philosopher, Theodor Adorno, who was expelled from Germany by the Nazis because he was son of a Jewish father. The award was given to the American Jewish philosopher, Judith Butler. Its prize, worth 50,000 Euros, is designed to support people with outstanding contribution in the fields of philosophy, music, theater and cinema. But in recent years, Judith Butler has made a name for herself actually in an entirely different field. She is a leading activist of the movement to boycott Israel and Israeli institutions in the USA and Europe; and even signed a petition calling the EU to stop funding programmes for cooperation with Israel. Butler opposes Israel as the national state of the Jewish people; while simultaneously considers Hamas and Hezbollah as social movements, belonging to the global political left.

It is important to note that this award was not given on behalf of the German government. However, it should be noted that Butler is just one of a growing list of professionals, which is gaining prominence and is known as ISRAEL-KRITIKER. These guild members are mostly figures from the European political Left, who hold anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist positions of what is already known as the “New anti-Semitism”.

Institutions closely associated with European governments and financed by the European tax payers – following their definition as public organisations – including television and radio stations which broadcast globally – are working systematically to promote the status of ISRAEL-KRITIKER. On the other hand, the pro-Israeli voice is hardly being played in the mainstream media.

The biggest part of this trend is taken by academics – alumni of Middle East and Islamic Studies. These groups have become mostly a part of the most active pro-fundamentalists, who claim to advise decision-makers on matters of policy in the Middle East. Supposedly independent research institutions, such as the German Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP), which is one of the largest think tanks in Europe, are promoting anti-Israeli agenda, which is widely reflected in the media. In recent years, a kind of hotbed for anti-Israeli ideology has been created. These very same academics call the governments, without any shame, to stay away from Israel and to approach the radical political Islam. For example only, just recently this lobby has promoted the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is moderate and reformist. I wonder what have these academics to say to those Christians Copts – the original Egyptians! – who have become a persecuted minority in their own country, during the term of President Mursi. If this is the attitude toward Christians, just imagine what those extremists’ intentions against the moderate Palestinians and the Jewish state would be. Just consider a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (AKA “the West Bank”), only 12 km from the Mediterranean. Guess what are the plans of ISIS for the Jordanian kingdom and the Palestinian Authority…

4 Generations are watching us today: The 1st generation was exterminated 75 years ago; the 2ndgeneration survived and rebuilt its life – as well as its homeland – from the ashes of the Holocaust; the 3rdgeneration grew up in the renewed country; and even the 4th generation is still forced to fight for its very existence, as we just saw last Summer during the war against Hamas in Gaza. The big question is: what should the main mission of the Israeli 5th generation be. It is clear, that first it should remember. If they will forget – they will become partners of those crimes against the humanity. But the even bigger question is: how the 5th generation in Germany should express its historic responsibility.

During my last visit to Germany, a few months ago, as guest of the Berliner branch of the American Jewish Council, I suggested my point of view regarding this topic, and I wish to share it with you as well:

It is clear to all that in our time there is no question of guilt, since the young generation in Germany is not guilty of the evils of its ancestors, as major as they are. Therefore, in my view, the collective historical responsibility of the German people toward the Jews should be not just for all that has past, but especially to the future, in view of the past.

Remember: the Holocaust did not begin in Auschwitz. At first there was demonization; then came the delegitimisation; and only then the organised extermination started. Therefore, we expect that today’s Germany would be the first to initiate a response against all anti-Semitism, as well as against all manifestations of anti-Israel.

It is legitimate to criticise the Israeli policy. We, as the only democracy in the Middle East, do so much more and much better than anyone else. However, keep in mind: Israel, as the nation state of the Jewish people, representing the Jewish collective. Therefore, fundamental anti-Israeli positions, which arise from prejudice or adoption of a double standard, are anti-Semitic in every aspect.

The shocking act of awarding Judith Butler is just one example in relation to the dimensions of the Anti-Israeli trend. Already 3 years ago, Mr. Sigmar Gabriel from the SPD did not hesitate before he cynically used Israel for his own political public relations, and during his visit to Hebron, he compared Israel to an apartheid state…

My message to you therefore, especially to my counterparts who will form the next generation of German, European and Israeli policymakers, is that as Chancellor Angela Merkel and PM Binyamin Nethanyahu –we all need to cooperate and to integrate so that together we can preserve the values that form the basis of our democratic societies: truth and justice.

A few months ago I traveled with my family in the Ukrainian steppes – a valley of death of the Jewish People – and inter alia, together with my Grandfather, a holocaust survivor, we visited the grave of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidic Judaism, who used to say that a little light rejects much of the dark. I am proud to say, that my most distinguished friend, the member of the German Bundestag and my good friend, Mr. Philipp Missfelder, is a light unto the nations in the darkness of these days. Last summer, the award Magen Israel, “the Shield of Israel”, was given to Mr. Missfelder, thanks to his courageous, ongoing, clear and fearless stand alongside the State of Israel; as well as for his persistent struggle, without compromise and without any condition against all manifestations of anti-Semitism. We gave the Award to him because he acts not only out of a sense of responsibility towards history, as a son of the German nation, but first and foremost out of loyalty to the values ​​of truth and justice… How many of you, dear readers, would act the same?