Op-Ed: I am Repelled by German Hypocrisy
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
Is Germany re-infected with anti-Semitism?
Ulf Dunkel, a frontrunner of the Green Party, just published poems against the Jews. In one blood libel he refers to those who circumcise their sons as "a**holes" and "blind fanatics" who refuse to hear "what the babies are telling you ... screaming their guts out."
In another, Dunkel refers to the circumciser as "mutilating, circumcising both legal rights and foreskin," and suggested that "if you're for an intact member, you're immediately declared an anti-Semite."
It's a return to “Das Kapital”Kapital”, Karl Marx's opus magnum which attacks “inwardly circumcised Jews”.
A few months ago, German Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature, Günter Grass, published a poem called “Was gesagt werdenmuss”, or “What needs to be said”, in which he bashes the “nuclear power Israel” for “endangering world peace”. According to Grass' blood libel, Israel is planning to wipe out the Iranian people (“we could be suppliers to a crime that can be foreseen”). German public opinion loved the poem, because Grass fanned the flames of the German Jew-hatred in a very comfortable way. Who’s better than the most famous anti-fascist to indict the post-Holocaust Jews?
According to the same "logic", Norbert Blum, a former German Christian Democrat minister of labor, referred to Israel’s “Vernichtungskrieg” against the Palestinians, a Nazi expression for “war of extermination”.
In the 2012 list of top anti-Semites just published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center Number, there is Jakob Augstein, the editor of the weekly paper Der Freitag and a respected columnist for Spiegel magazine. Henryk Broder, a well-known Jewish essayist in Germany who I proudly list among my friends, has called Augstein a "little Streicher" who "only missed the opportunity to make his career with the Gestapo because he was born after the war. He certainly would have had what it takes."
Why does German public opinion, epitomised by the three personalities mentioned above, once again include elements that envision a world cleansed of the Jewish state? It's the new German Jewish obsession.
In a country with a small Jewish community out of a total population of 82 million, not a day goes by without some newspaper or TV program that deals with Israeli or Jewish affairs. Books on Jewish subjects sell out at local stores, Jewish studies are popping up at universities, klezmer concerts are all the rage.
The Holocaust is studied more in German schools than in any other country except Israel. In 1966, the first research institute on Jewish history was created at Hamburg University. Today, it is impossible to find an institution of higher learning that does not offer Jewish studies.
Germany couldn't get enough Jews: each Jew settling in Germany served as proof that the country had changed, that it had broken with its past forever. If Jews trusted Germany again, what reason could other nations have to distrust the heirs of Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels?
And here is one of the results of this obsession: in Germany it's mainstream to think that the victims of the Final Solution were not the Jews, but the German people, which deprived itself of so many geniuses, Nobel prize-winners and interpreters of Wagner.
The German greedy-business with Teheran, the anti-Zionist ideology of its élite, and the abuse of the Holocaust are part of this new anti-Semitic obsession that is on the rise in Germany.
All the governments gave anti-Israel personalities prizes and speaking engagements to spread criticism of the Jews. In 2008 the German government was deeply involved in funding a conference where then Iranian deputy foreign minister, Muhammad Larijani, called for the destruction of the Jews.
In 2009, former German chancellor Gerhard Schroder met with President Ahmadinejad in Teheran. Schroder had meetings also with Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki, who opened the “World Without Zionism” conference in Teheran and cast doubt on the “official version of the Holocaust”.
Two years ago, then-German president Horst Kohler issued the Federal Merit Cross, one of the country’s most important awards, to the lawyer Felicia Langer, who equates Israel with Nazi Germany.
Last year the city of Frankfurt invited Alfred Grosser to deliver a speech at commemoration of Kristallnacht. Grosser has compared his treatment by the Nazis in the early 1930s with Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
That's why I find that there is something obscene about the widespread concern with "Teaching the Holocaust." There is no need to teach the gassing of six million Jews: humanity already knows only too well how to do it.
The Germans have saturated our eyes and ears with the plastic Holocaust. It would be much better to stop these Holocaust memorials. There is much more Shoah in an old family album or prayer books which survived the ghettos than in all the German memorial rites.
The Germans love the dead Jews. They are fascinated with Jewish death. What idyllic times those were, when Germans arranged memorials for dead Jews, from Buber to Mendelssohn and Korczak to Heine, without having to grapple with live Israeli Jews and their "occupation".
Take Daniel Libeskind's Jewish museum. It has been created exactly to make the Germans feel good. And now they have the chance to feel good, because the Holocaust is placed in the cellar.
With the help of Jewish everyday objects and holographic displays, visitors are offered a glimpse of Jewish life. The tour begins on a depressing note in the basement, with paths diverging towards exile and gas chamber, but cheers up as it proceeds to the higher levels. It's like a redemption. You have joyful scenes from the Jewish quarter of medieval Worms, and the sound of a boisterous Jewish classroom in today's Berlin provides the antidote to the sense of despair (except for the Jews brutalised today for wearing a kippa). This is the false myth that, except for periods of persecution, Jews were an "integral part of German society".
The dream is still possible!
But Jews, they imply, please tell your brethen in Israel to put down the rifles, to dismantle the checkpoints, to remove the menorah in front of the Knesset and evacuate all the "settlements".
Instead of deportation it's now called "Tokhnit HaHitnatkut". Disengagement. The Germans in fact convinced the Israelis to evacuate other Jews. Günter Grass is ready to pen a poem to the new "Judische Ghetto-Polizei".