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February 11, 2018 3:44 pm

Jews, Israel and the Glib German Coalition Agreement

avatar by Manfred Gerstenfeld

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Oskar Groening, defendant and former Nazi SS officer dubbed the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” is pictured near the courthouse during his trial in Lueneburg, Germany, July 15, 2015. Photo: Reuters / Axel Heimken / Pool / File.

As far as Jews and Israel are concerned, the proposed German coalition agreement is a glib document. This is partly because of its content — but mainly because of what it glosses over.

The three coalition parties — the Christian Democrats, (CDU), its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD) — will each vote before the end of February on whether to enter the new government on the basis of this text.

Antisemitism is mentioned several times in the document. In one place, the text speaks about the future expansion “of our successful programs against rightwing extremism, against leftwing extremism, against antisemitism, against Islamism, and against Salafism.”

What it could have said is: “In recent years, despite our programs, antisemitism has increased. Studies have definitively proven that alongside rightwing antisemitism, Muslim antisemitism plays a huge role. Other studies show that many recent Muslim immigrants from Iraq and Syria are extreme antisemites. Additional refugees who apply to immigrate to Germany in this and the coming years will be screened for antisemitic attitudes — and those with antisemitic and anti-Israeli prejudices will be barred.”

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The document mentions gratitude for renewed Jewish life in Germany after the Holocaust, and also the appointment of a National Commissioner for Jewish Life and Antisemitism. It does not, however, make any reference to how shocking it is that there is now a need for an office dealing specifically with antisemitism after more than 70 years of re-education of German citizens since the collapse of the Nazi regime.

Even more problematic is how the document deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Collaboration with Israel is mentioned on various secondary issues. There are also the mainly abstract standard remarks concerning Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, its security, its right to exist, and so on. The document expresses support for a two-state solution, and then condemns Israel’s settlement policy as being against international law.

The latter item does not appear in the agreement of the outgoing coalition, which consists of the same parties. Instead, the text should have said: “The demonization of Israel in Germany remains a huge problem and is widely spread among large parts of our population. More than 40 percent of Germans hold the extremely false — and antisemitic — view that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis did toward the Jews. Having failed so enormously on both this issue and the suppression of antisemitism — while letting in many additional antisemites during the past few years — we should first work on putting our country, with its extreme troublesome past, in order. We intend to focus on this rather than expressing critical opinions on Israel’s behavior. This only adds fuel to the horrible demonization of Israel in our country.”

About the Palestinians, the document is very vague on a variety of the most crucial issues. It condemns all violence and incitement, without specifically mentioning the Palestinians. It adds: “In the Palestinian territories on all planes, democratic advance is necessary.” It should have said: “There is no democracy in the Palestinian territories. The last parliamentary elections were held in 2006, and gave a majority to Hamas, a party that wants to commit genocide against the Jews. The second largest party, Fatah, controls the Palestinian Authority, which glorifies and gives financial awards to both the murderers of Jews and their families.”

Regarding UNRWA, the new German coalition agreement misrepresents the reality. It states that the German government will, within the EU, take the initiative for “sufficient and sustainable financing as well as the reform of UNRWA, the UN’s aid organization for Palestinian refugees in the Near East.” It should have said: “According to the criteria of the UN for any other nation in the world, more than 99% of all people supported by UNRWA are not refugees. Germany will work to expose this distortion. We will actively promote the liquidation of this organization — of which numerous employees are Hamas adherents. This is even more important because UNRWA educates and incites against Israel, and Hamas weapons have been discovered in UNRWA’s schools.”

The mention of Jews, antisemitism, Israel and the Palestinians in the 177 pages of this coalition agreement could very well serve as a test for German political science students. They should be asked how many manipulations they can identify.

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