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On March 14, 2019 the Bundestag voted on a bill of the liberal party, the FDP (Free Democratic Party). The objective of the bill was to refocus the voting behavior of the Federal Republic of Germany in the United Nations concerning Israel.[1]

For decades, the state of Israel has been pilloried in the UN like no other country. It is “the Jew among the nations,” as Israelis observe somewhat bitterly. Germany from the outside barely distinguishable happily tunes in to the chorus of Israel condemnations.

With only two exceptions, the Christian conservative Union parties (CDU and CSU), the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Left (successor of the communists in the former GDR) opposed the motion to change this. The Greens abstained. The FDP and most of the AfD[2] were in favor. Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the president of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble, SPD leader Andrea Nahles and ex-Foreign Minister Siegmar Gabriel had not even shown up for the vote. Actually, as many review in retrospect, there would have been nothing wrong with the content of the FDP’s bill.

On a personal level

Spontaneously, on March 21 I communicated two things to our personal mailing list. Firstly, my concern, that there was no outcry in the German public about this vote. And secondly, my shock about the fact that Germany’s friends of Israel are now left with the choice between FDP and AfD only. As background information, I had attached two articles that did not originate from my pen.[3]

Never before have I received so many and above all so emotional feedback on a mail, never before so many cancellations from our mailing list. It was interesting how many of our friends had learned about the whole matter only by my mail. The most common reaction, sometimes as a desperate cry for help: What can we do? This shows that there is still much to do to empower friends of Israel as grassroots activists.

Personally, I have always held back from propagating certain political parties. For me, factual issues and personal competence of politicians are important. I have no problem identifying Joschka Fischer (Green Party) as one of the most capable politicians in Middle East issues, Gregor Gysi (the Left) as well as Angela Merkel (CDU) as highly intelligent and competent interlocutors, or to admit that Volker Beck (the Greens) as well as Frauke Petry (formerly AfD) not only do have real knowledge about Israel, but also are not afraid to show an edge. Also in the case of my spontaneous interjection in the middle of March, I had no intention whatsoever to disqualify any parties in general, or to declare parties that disqualify themselves through various utterances and conducts eligible for election. Providing election advice is not part of my job.

Jew hatred as marginal phenomenon?

However, it must be said that the voting behavior of the Bundestag parties on March 14 from an Israeli perspective did not really come as a surprise. Perhaps the self-centered perspective of Germans already so much distorts their perception of reality that they do not even notice what is actually being said when virtually every statement about Israel emphasizes simultaneously that “Israel criticism” must be allowed even to a “friend of Israel”. The fact says a lot that the term “israelkritisch” (critical of Israel) is part of Germany’s official language dictionary “Der Duden”, while you are looking in vain for terms like “deutschlandkritisch” (critical of Germany), “russlandkritisch” (critical of Russia) or “ägyptenkritisch” (critical of Egypt).

It is simply embarrassing when the later SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz advised the assembled Members of Knesset with obviously false facts about the water problem of the Palestinians, or twittered after the speech of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas before the European Parliament “an inspiring speech”. Claiming that Israeli settlers poisoned the waters of the Palestinians is in fact on the same level as the claim in the Middle Ages that Jews poisoned the wells of the Christians and, thus, caused the plague. No, anti-Jewish patterns of thought, speech and behavior are not only detectable in the fringes of German society. They are part of its very center.

The issue of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank must be controversial and must be discussed. A Dutch-Australian team of experts on international law recently showed that other views are possible, than that of the German mainstream.[4] The attitude of Germany’s government is rationally hardly comprehensible. Comparable international legal scenarios are being ignored by it in Cyprus and promoted with development funds in Western Sahara.

The two-state solution is being qualified by German politicians as “without alternative”. This is not only politically unwise, but also heartless towards the people here in the Middle East. Would it not be possible to encourage them to manage the century-long dispute over Israel creatively and as humanely as possible? Perhaps this might promote approaches towards a solution that nobody currently has in mind? How does Germany intend to enforce a two-state solution, if its supporters on the Palestinian side, as well as on the Israeli side, are virtually non-existent at the present time?

Chancellor Merkel’s forceful demand of political loyalty to the German line on the issue of Jerusalem in recent weeks, not only among EU partners, but even in Brazil, can hardly be described as “Israel-friendly”. Why is the German government stiffening concerning Jerusalem on a resolution of the UN General Assembly that has never been binding under international law? To put it bluntly: Germany denies the claim of the Jewish people to even the Western part of Jerusalem. The objective of a unified EU line cannot and should not serve as a cover to ensure that uncomfortable and as yet unsolvable issues are dictatorially swept aside.

A provocation of the FDP

Bundestag members of the Grand Coalition defend their anti-Israeli voting behavior on March 14 with the fact that the FDP had ignored established procedures in the application process. Thus, the other parties were taken by surprise.

Is not it shabby if political parties in the Bundestag carry out their quarrels on the back of German-Israeli relations? Thereby, it does not make any difference whether the procedure of the FDP was calculated against its antagonists, or whether the Grand Coalition did not even consider, for the sake of the matter to jump once over its own shadow. The reference to procedures, parliamentary agreements, or even guidelines justifying a manifestly anti-Israeli voting behavior is too reminiscent of a time when apparently anti-Semitic laws and orders had to serve as an excuse for people not swimming against the tide of evil.

„Undercover“ friends of Israel

German diplomats and politicians justify their voting behavior in the bodies of the United Nations by the fact that they may contribute to the resolution texts to the very last and thus supposedly influence the process in favor of Israel.

Frankly, this justification is reminiscent of a scenario in which a group of cooks are brewing a poison soup. Then join some sardonic grinning brand, peeing in the brew. Now the question arises for German diplomats how much oxtail soup, which of course was produced in accordance to valid EU guidelines, you have to pour into this actually quite unappetizing sauce until it may be assumed edible.

It is my suspicion that hatred of the Jews has fatal effects even in homeopathic dilution. Thereby it is completely unimportant, how the Judeo-phobia is being justified: religiously as in the time of Martin Luther; based on race, descent, blood or genes as in the case of anti-Semitism; or as a rejection of the political expression of the Jewish people in the form of anti-Zionism that seems to be generally considered acceptable in our times.

At this point it should be remembered that the term “anti-Zionism” was intentionally introduced via the French left into Western Europe after 1967 by the Soviet Ministry of Information as a substitute for the term “anti-Semitism”. This has been proven by the French linguist Georges-Élia Sarfati.[5]

Why Israelis do not tell the truth to Germans

Those friends of Israel among German politicians who wish to continue to pour EU-standard oxtail soup into the poisonous voting brew of the United Nations, tirelessly emphasize that even their Israeli friends appreciate the German attitude in the United Nations. However, they overlook the reason why Israelis do not feel free to tell the truth to their German interlocutors.

First of all, this would require an atmosphere of openness that tolerates an opposite, perhaps even unpleasant, opinion. Such an atmosphere, however, is not given in Germany. Too quick one is suspected to lash about with the so-called “anti-Semitism club”. Too fast one is pushed into the corner of the populists. Too quick called intolerant. Factual issues simply do not count.

And then, talking to Israelis, it’s important to be aware of the fact, that relations between Germany and Israel are indeed excellent in the economic, tourism, cultural, intelligence and security sectors. Israelis rave about Berlin and the Black Forest, enjoy German food and drink. German-Israeli research and economic cooperation are great. The German submarines are the pride of the navy of the Jewish state. Why should Israelis risk all this by little promising political discussions? The Jewish people have resigned themselves to being hated by the world. Why should the mood of decent “antipathizers” (or, what is the opposite of “sympathizers”?) be spoiled by denying them the right to call themselves “friends of Israel?”

UN resolutions shape international law

European politicians and diplomats who are serious about their friendship with Israel seem to overlook that UN resolutions ultimately turn out to be international law. Even those German legislators, who voted overwhelmingly against the FDP motion, do not seem to have realized until now that “law” is not an absolute, unchangeable quantity to be subordinated to under all circumstances. What is considered “lawful” in a particular democratic frame of reference is determined by the voting behavior of representatives of the people. The history of the United Nations is proof of the fact that the majority of votes by no means prove what is morally right. The history of Germany shows that hatred of Jews can be institutionalized in a legal system.

Maybe we should remind our members of Parliament from time to time that they are indeed legislators. It is not the task of parliamentarians to subjugate themselves unthinkingly to party agreements, parliamentary procedural regulations or even laws. They should constantly review, discuss and, if necessary, correct legislation at national and international level. That’s their raison d’être.

The “fruits” are crucial

And then, all of us, especially in view of our relationship with Israel, should always be reminded that before God, not righteous intentions or ingenious political strategies, and certainly not submission under any law count, but the “fruits” are decisive (compare Matthew 7:15-23). The political “fruits” of decades of German Middle East policy – mind you not the economic, cultural, military or tourism cooperation! – are simply inedible from the point of view of the Jewish people and their state of Israel.

As a result Germany appears as a “payer” on the political stage of the Middle East, but in no way can be considered a “player”. Germany and Europe are politically irrelevant in the Middle East. And that simply hurts, especially in a world where godforsaken libertinism and radical Islam increasingly shape social values.

And then the German state’s raison d’être…

And finally there is Germany’s special commitment to Israel as a result of German-Jewish history. This commitment makes the security of the state of Israel, according Chancellor Merkel, raison d’être to the Federal Republic of Germany. The friends of Israel among the German politicians never tire of emphasizing this at every possible opportunity. But what do they actually say by that?

Every simple minded Arab understands: Germany only supports Israel because of the Holocaust. Had the German people during the twelve years under Hitler not derailed so thoroughly from its otherwise glorious history, it would not have to support Israel today. The Holocaust excuses German sympathies (and their factual consequences) for the state of Israel.

If Germans were not bound by their past towards the Jewish people, they would clearly position themselves based on the “facts” in the Middle East. The voting behavior of Germany in the United Nations testifies from this perspective, to the schizophrenia, under which the Germans suffer, and that they actually know exactly what is right and what is wrong. So, obviously, there is not just an anti-Semitism club. There is also a guilt complex boomerang.

It is time for German society and its government to clearly position themselves alongside the Jewish people and their state of Israel. Not because of a guilt complex, not because of the German-Jewish past, not because it would “make something good again” – where nothing can be “made good again”![6]

Germany should stand with Israel without any ifs and buts, because Israel and Germany share the same values; because Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East; because even non-Jews nowhere in the Middle East enjoy so much freedom and security as in Israel; because Israel wants peace with its neighbors and in many ways is simply right.


[1] The bill of February 6, 2019 may be viewed in the original German at (07.04.2019).

[2] The “Alternative for Germany”, a newly risen, populist right wing nationalistic party, widely suspected of being too antagonistic to foreigners to be accepted into the mainstream.

[3] An article of Dr. Malte Dahlgrün, „Niederlage für Pro-Israel Abstimmung im Bundesstag: Wie es in ihnen denkt“ of March 16, 2019: (08.04.2019), as well as a summary report in idea (Information Service of the German Evangelical Alliance) weekly dated March 17, 2019, about an opinion piece of the Munich professor Michael Wolffsohn: (08.04.2019). Wolffsohn’s commentary may be read at the following link: (08.04.2019).

[4] Compare the book of Matthijs de Blois and Andrew Tucker, Israel on Trial. How International Law is Being Misused to Delegitimize the State of Israel. The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (thinc.): Soest, 2018: (08.04.2019).

[5] See „Language as a Tool against Jews and Israel. An Interview with Georges-Elia Sarfati“ in the series „Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism“ No. 17 of Februar 1, 2004/Schevat 9, 5764 of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: (07.04.2019).

[6] This alludes to the German word “Wiedergutmachung”, literally “making something good again” in the meaning atoning for a guilt.

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By Published On: April 10, 201912.2 min read

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