Sunday, 18 August 2019

The Prince of Prussia

Three recent unconnected stories in the German press, have caught my eye:

A certain 90-year-old Ferdinand Neess, a former art-dealer and collector, has bequeathed his collection of over 500 Jugendstil objects, which he collected over the years, to the Museum of Wiesbaden. The value of the donation is estimated to be higher than €40 million.

A certain James Simon (1851-1932) is being remembered and celebrated by Berlin, by naming the newly created visitors’ centre and central entrance building to the city’s museum cluster at the Museums Insel after him. James Simon, a German Jew – who was fortunate enough to die before the Nazis came to power – stems from a family of wealthy cotton merchants. For years, he donated a third of his income for social and cultural projects. Over the years, Simon – who is considered to be the most prominent patron of the arts at his time, donated most of his important art collection to Berlin’s museums (including the well-known bust of Nefertiti).

A certain Georg Friedrich, Prinz von Preussen, the great grandson of Germany’s last Kaiser, claims the “return” of several castles, which were nationalised, as well as thousands of art objects from the German state. A return of the objects the family now demands would empty some of Berlin’s museums. This is quite amazing, considering that everything monarchs own, is accumulated through taxation of the general population. Instead of asking the question, how the monarchs were able to amass such fortunes, the state is negotiating with the family.

It appears that the only (yet unlikely) hope under German legislation is proving that the family supported Hitler. A historically sounder case would be to show the Kaiser’s responsibility for the catastrophe that befell Germany and Europe, in World War I. Why should his heirs retain their assets, whilst millions have lost all they had during and because of that war?  

Don’t let us forget who fills our museums and who is trying to empty them.

BDS and two (Muslim) US Congresswomen

Two Congresswomen, who are accused by Israel as supporters of BDS, have been barred from entering Israel. An Israeli law enables it to bar supporters of the boycott movement from entering the country. It is stupid but I see no real issue with a country deciding who it will not allow to enter. Israel, however, also controls the borders of both Gaza strip and the West Bank. Thus, it decides who Palestinians are allowed to meet. That, of course, is scandalous: Millions of Palestinians in a sort of open-air prison.

Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were not joining one of the hundreds of trips, which US politicians have been taken on for years, organised by AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, and the Israeli government. They were planning to visit the West Bank. They wanted to visit this open-air prison. Had they been allowed to enter, they would have learned about the reality of life in the territories under Israeli control. They would have seen how deceitful the propaganda network is (they always are).

For Netanyahu, this whole affair was bad news. And yet barring US Congresswomen was problematic. He therefore decided to permit entry to the two Congresswomen. And then Trump called, and… Netanyahu dutifully changed his mind.

The question Americans must ask themselves and their representatives is, why do no other US Representatives and Senators make the effort to truly inform themselves. Are the American legislators neglecting their duty? After all, $3.8 BILLION of American taxpayers’ money is given unconditionally to Israel per annum. Is seeing only one side of the picture, their notion of democracy?

And talking of democracy: Israel’s Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri, was approached by Representative Rashida Tlaib, for permission to visit her 90-something year-old grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank. Deri approved the request, on condition of good behaviour, and then Tlaib decided not to travel. Deri’s reaction to Tlaib’s decision not to accept his offer, was: "Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother."

Tlaib explained “Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in—”

To understand where Minister Deri comes from, one needs to know that he is a convicted criminal. An Israeli court had found him guilty of corruption and bribery and had sentenced him for three years in prison. He must be dumbfounded by politicians, who put their political work and values before their own and their family’s business interests. Not something that he would do.

So why is corrupt Deri a senior member of Netanyahu’s cabinet? Simple: He came out of jail and the electorate of the Sephardi religious party, a senior partner in Netanyahu’s cabinet, promptly re-elected him. Corruption wins.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Der Spiegel – Antisemitic?

The German news magazine Der Spiegel publishes a history series (Der Spiegel Geschichte), with each number dedicated to a single topic. The subject of its latest issue was “Jewish life in Germany: The unknown world next door”. They produced a well-researched magazine, covering a variety of angles and view-points.

Der Spiegel has recently angered the Jewish community with an investigation into activities and attempts of two Jewish lobby organisations to influence German politicians. It is considered by some German Jews to be not only anti-Israel but also antisemitic. A view that I do not share. 
Now Spiegel is being attacked for its choice of cover for the special issue journal. The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany: “By choosing the cover for the current issue of Spiegel History, those who made the decision have decided to spread an anti-Semitic stereotype.  Neither my ancestors nor my family and I look that way”,  was one of the complaints, I saw on Facebook. 
I have no issue with this photo. On the contrary, I find it quite heart-warming. No, my ancestors, at least those, I have photos of, did not look like that. But, let’s face it, this Jewish world of the shtetl, is part of the history of European Jewish history, including Jews who at some point modernised their external appearance or even started leading a secular life.
So, here’s the corpus delicti: 

Klezmer music was not part of my grandparents’ world, they listened to Mozart, Bach and Wagner. And yet, virtually every Jewish culture festival, that Jewish communities in Germany organise, includes Klezmer music. Some Jews, who can afford it, buy “Judaica” art and artefacts at special Sotheby’s or Christies auctions and hang painting by Chagall, depicting Jewish life – art they, evidently feel is part of them, a world they identify with.

Yet, curiously, Jewish communities that are willing to embrace the klezmer stereotype as a poster for their Jewish culture-festivals, take issue with Spiegel’s cover photo. The music, which enjoys general acceptance is fine, but the shtetl image…

I wonder whether any Spiegel photo would have gotten the thumbs up? Perhaps a photo of Jewish intellectuals, or strong and healthy Israeli soldiers?   

Mounting the Temple

In 1947, the United Nations voted for the partition of British Mandate Palestine into three separate entities: a Jewish state, an Arab state and Jerusalem as a separate legal entity, a corpus separatum. That was the plan.

Tish’a Beav, is a day of mourning, on which religious Jews fast and remember the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Eid El-Ad’ha is the Feast of Sacrifice, the Muslim feast ending the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.  Such days are always an opportunity for extremists on both sides to stir trouble. This year is no exception. Moreover, this year, both holidays fall during the same period. And so the Muslim religious authority has closed all other mosques in Jerusalem to force those Muslims who wish to pray to come in droves to the El-Aksah mosque, and right-wing Israeli politicians and activists are pushing and cajoling the government and the police to open the area for Jews to celebrate. The Chief Rabbi meanwhile opined that according to Jewish law it is forbidden for Jews to enter the area.

What a miserable lot they are – whatever god they maintain they believe in. And all those that follow, hollow and shallow, “believers” that care more for real estate than for human values of peace, love and mercy. Worst of all, are those cold-blooded politicians, secular and religious, who manipulate those primitive feelings of “their people”.

And how right the UN was in 1947, to suggest a corpus separatum. Instead – borrowing from Shakespeare – we have

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Britain’s so-called democracy

So, 92,000 out 140,000 members of the British Conservative   Party (Tories) had an internal election and chose Boris Johnson as their party’s leader. It is bad enough that these absurd creatures populating the Tory party have chosen a liar and philanderer as their leader. But in what Britain considers to be a democracy, the choice of the 92,000 becomes the prime minister of us all.

A curious notion of democracy. Had the Queen been asked to make the nomination, it would have been just as democratic, but probably much better thought-through.

Very democratically, Johnson will force Brexit on a country, which is totally divided on this issue. And very democratically, the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has neglected his main duty and has prevented his party from fulfilling its role and acting as an opposition. He himself is a Brexit supporter and because of that, half of the country’s population had no voice in parliament, in this critical time in the country’s history. Had that man had any decency and honesty, he would have explained that as a Brexit supporter, he is unable to do his job and resigned from his leadership of the Labour Party. That would have enabled a Brexit opponent to lead the opposition. Shame on him. This off-putting man is one of the Conservative Party’s main assets.


The German term Schadenfreude is also in use in English. I confess to succumbing to this base instinct with regard to the price, which many Brits will pay for their stupid, arrogant, anti-foreign, decision to leave the EU. Because of the falling Pound, all those Brits who, each year, go for their two-week beach holiday in Spain, Portugal or Greece – will pay more for this summer’s holiday. Serves them right. The rate was €1.40 per Pound in 2015, €1.28 on Referendum Day in 2016 and is now €1.12. Moreover, once the UK is out of the EU, British mobile phones will no longer benefit from roaming charge free use of their phones.  

Many will not be able to afford holidays at all, as already many jobs have been lost, due to companies and European organisations leaving Britain. Instead, the lower classes can watch the mega rich, who funded the deceitful Brexit campaign, get richer. Farage and Johnson, the leaders of the Brexit push, actually personally benefit. Last year alone, Farage earned £400,000 from media appearances. And Boris Johnson, is being paid £275,000 per annum for writing a weekly column in the British Daily Telegraph. The billionaire offshore Barclay brothers, who own the Telegraph, will have their reasons for paying this rather high rate for Johnson’s musings. The question must be asked, what is Johnson really being paid for?

Don't Touch Me

The German news magazine Der Spiegel published a well-researched and carefully written article, that looked into the activities of the Jewish and pro-Israel lobby in Germany’s parliament. Surprise, surprise, a chorus of Jewish and non-Jewish German philosemitic voices were immediately active crying Anti-Semitism.

These accusations are absurd, as is the whole discourse on matters Jewish in Germany.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Opportunism: Short term vs. Very Short term

It was reported today that British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has criticised China in fairly strong language about the situation in Hong-Kong. The Chinese are really angry, and their ambassador told Hunt to keep out of Chinese domestic affairs: “Hands off Hong Kong and show respect. This colonial mindset is still haunting the minds of some officials or politicians”.

Now, I am all for strong protests about Chinese conduct. But why has Hunt chosen to come out so forcefully, when British track-record with regard to Chinese human-rights violations is normally most pragmatic? Britain (like most other countries) put their trade relations with China before the human rights of the Chinese oppressed.

Hunt is one of the two contenders (the other being Boris Johnson) to become Theresa May’s successor, as Tory prime-minister. Voting takes place in two days. My guess would be that Hunt’s opportunism puts his immediate interest before the country’s interest – which is also opportunistic – to let China do what it likes, as long as it signs a trade agreement with post-Brexit Britain.

Frau Merkel – your secret police needs sorting

A few days ago, Hans-Georg Maaßen, who until November of last year headed Germany’s domestic security service, spoke at a political meeting and said “I did not join the CDU (Adenauer, Kohl and Merkel’s party) thirty years ago, so that we should now have 1.8 million Arabs coming to Germany”.

The Nazis had the Gestapo, which stood for Geheime Staatspolizei. When the Federal Republic of Germany was established, it also – as all political systems do – was in need of a secret police. Calling it secret police was no longer a good idea, so they called it ‘Office for the Protection of the Constitution’, or Verfassungsschutz  in German. As Germany is a bottom-up federal state, it not only has a federal domestic security agency, but also one for each of its 16 constituent states. All seventeen of them run covert operations, and they all operate informers.

You are, of course, unlikely to find liberals and human-rights activists staffing a domestic security service. Who does? In the first few years after the War, both the Verfassungsschutz and the BND, the external intelligence service (equivalent to the CIA or Britain’s MI6), greedily and shamelessly recruited the now-out-of-work but oh-so-experienced Nazis. (As did the security apparatuses of quite a few other countries). But even with the supply of old Nazis drying up, it is logical to assume that many of those who enjoy working in a nondemocratic environment, clandestinely snooping on others, gathering material for blackmail, blackmailing, being allowed to do what normally is illegal, forbidden and punishable, will tend to also support tough policing and law-and-order, i.e., right-wing and illiberal ideologies.

And still, it came as a shock, when it turned out, that members of the Verfassungsschutz were deeply involved in covering up murders of immigrants, bank robberies and other crimes carried out by a neo-Nazi gang in the years 2000-2006. The internal report into the affair will remain under lock and key for an unprecedented 120 years. It must be quite explosive, if they are that frightened to own up to it.

Last year, Hans-Gerog Maaßen, who had been in office at the Verfassungsschutz’s Director for six  years, was forced to leave his job. It came out that he secretly met the extremist right-wing AfD party, before the elections and advised them how to stay under the security service’s radar. Maaßen wanted to help this foreigner-hating, anti-Muslim, nationalistic, as close to Nazi as legally possible, AfD party. His boss, Bavarian CSU party leader and Minister of the Interior Seehofer, tried hard to support him, but at the end there was no alternative and the man had to go.

The attempt – in theory, at least – to create a clean, and transparent secret police in post-Nazi Germany, seems to have failed. A domestic security service that defends the state from its internal enemies is necessary for democracy. When it becomes too powerful it can be dangerous for democracy. Some of us still remember FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover, who blackmailed his way across the US political system, including some presidents, to stay in power. He died in office, at the age of 77, having been FBI director for 37 years. It is not as bad in Germany, but Maaßen should not have been allowed to happen. Mrs Merkel probably no longer has the political clout to do what must be done. However, before it is too late, she should restructure this German absurdity of 17 secret police forces.   

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Who are Friedman & Greenblatt Working for?

Last week, David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel and Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, attended a tunnel-opening ceremony in Arab Jerusalem. The tunnel has been dug over the last six years under Palestinian houses and against their wishes. The instigator of this atrocity is a right-wing Israeli group that is taking over Arab East Jerusalem, stone-by-stone, house-after-house. They are backed by the Israeli government and funded by rich American Jewish donors. US casino-mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam were also among those present at the event. The mascot in the picture is Mrs. Netanyahu.

The US civil servants did more than just attend the ceremony, they actively participated by wielding sledgehammers to break through a wall and open up a tunnel.

Friedman, Greenblatt and Trump’s son-in-law, Kushner, head Trump’s team dealing with the Israel-Palestine issue. Greenblatt recently said in an interview "there is no such thing as an honest mediator." No more veneer of impartiality. The US Ambassador and the Special Envoy, long-time supporters of the settlers, are now evidently working for this most right-wing part of Israeli society, one which many Israelis disassociate from.

So, are Jews likely to be more loyal to Israel than to their countries? Do Jews have too much control over global affairs? Do they have too much control over the United States government?

CAREFUL!!!! Think before you answer these questions. These are three out of eleven statements, that pollsters regularly use as indicators of Antisemitism. Hence, if you answer these truthfully, these will be considered indications that you are an anti-Semite. Take your pick: lie, or be falsely labelled an Antisemite. What a choice.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Die BDS-Entscheidung ist das Resultat einer Gruppe halbgebildeter deutscher Politiker, deren eigene Schuldbearbeitung sie dazu bringt, solche Entscheidungen durchs Parlament zu schieben.

Ob Al-Quds-Tag in Berlin, BDS-Beschluss im Bundestag oder die Israelsolidarität der AfD: Der Israel-Palästinakonflikt ist fester Bestandteil deutscher Politik. Daniel Marwecki spricht für dis:orient mit David Ranan, um die jüngsten Debatten etwas zu sortieren.
David Ranan ist ein israelischer Politik- und Kulturwissenschaftler und freier Autor mit deutsch-jüdischen Wurzeln. 2018 veröffentlichte er sein Buch „Muslimischer Antisemitismus: eine Gefahr für den gesellschaftlichen Frieden in Deutschland?“.
dis:orient: Gerade befinden wir uns in London, wo Sie leben. Seit einigen Jahren haben wir hier, neben der Brexit-Frage, eine riesige Debatte über Antisemitismus in der Labour Partei unter Parteichef Jeremy Corbyn. Was ist ihre Einschätzung zu dieser Debatte — vielleicht auch im Vergleich zu ähnlichen Debatten in Deutschland?
David Ranan: Man muss sich einer Sache bewusst sein. Corbyn ist ein extrem linker Parteichef. Er repräsentiert sicher nicht die Labour Party, wie sie viele Jahre zuvor beschaffen war. In England vermischt sich, wahrscheinlich wie in Deutschland, bei einigen extrem Linken der Anti-Imperialismus, der Anti-Kolonialismus und das menschenrechtliche Gefühl für die Palästinenser, die sie zum Anti-Zionismus bringen, mit alten antisemitischen Vorurteilen. Diese Vorurteile sind ein Geschenk von hunderten Jahren Kirche…It’s in the back of everyone’s mind.
So wie ich das sehe hat Corbyn den großen Fehler gemacht, dass er nicht sofort verstanden hat, dass antisemitische Äußerungen inakzeptabel sind. Die hätte er sofort, um ein schönes deutsches Wort zu verwenden, ausmerzen sollen. Und das hat er nicht getan, und je länger er es nicht getan hatte, desto schwerer wurde es für ihn, von diesem Baum herunterzuklettern. Es ist nicht gut, was sich da tut. Ich glaube aber auch, dass der Antisemitismus in der Partei zu einem Kampfthema wurde, hochgeschraubt von den Gegnern Corbyns, um ihn zu bekämpfen.
Wenden wir uns nun Deutschland zu. Dort haben Sie letztes Jahr ein Buch zum Thema „Muslimischer Antisemitismus“ verfasst. Der Untertitel: „eine Gefahr für den gesellschaftlichen Frieden in Deutschland?“. Meine erste Frage zu dem Buch und seinem Titel ist: Sie suggerieren, dass es eine spezifisch „muslimische“ Variante des Antisemitismus gibt. Was darf ich mir denn darunter vorstellen?
Ich hatte zu diesem Thema zuvor ein Seminar an der Universität angeboten. Mein Seminar nannte ich “Muslimischer? Antisemitismus?”. Was ich mit dieser Wortwahl zum Ausdruck bringen wollte ist: Sind die Phänomene, die wir beobachten, überhaupt “muslimisch”? Und handelt es sich dabei stets um Antisemitismus? Nun wollte mein Verlag keine zwei Fragezeichen im Titel. Ich wollte diese Frage des sogenannten “Muslimischen Antisemitismus” untersuchen, nicht schon im vornherein behaupten.
Es gibt seit vielen Jahren schon diese Behauptung, dass es unter Muslimen mehr Antisemitismus gäbe als unter nicht-Muslimen. Es ist also kein neues Thema. Ich wollte hören, was Muslime sagen, wenn sie über Juden reden. Ich wollte Narrative kennenlernen. Was wir über die Medien hören, ist ja meistens das, was die Extremisten von sich geben. Wir sehen Videos von Hasspredigern, die die allerschlimmsten Sachen über Juden sagen, wir sehen hormongeladene 14-Jährige auf Demonstrationen, die rufen “Kindermörder Israel” oder “Juden ins Gas”. Dann gibt es eine große Empörung und die ganze Nation regt sich unisono auf, vom Kleinstadt-Partei-Bezirksvorsteher bis zur Bundeskanzlerin. Ich wollte aber nicht hören, was die Extremisten sagen, sondern ich wollte wissen: was wird abseits des Lärms gesagt? Ich wollte das Thema besser verstehen.
Ich habe eine qualitative Studie durchgeführt, für die ich über 70 Interviews geführt habe, mit Studierenden und Graduierten. Ich habe festgestellt: In der Tat gibt es auch unter gebildeten Muslimen [in Deutschland] die ganze Bandbreite von Vorurteilen über Juden und Verschwörungstheorien über Juden.
Aber klar waren auch zwei Dinge — und das gilt natürlich nur für die Interviews die ich geführt habe, das ist keine allgemeine Aussage. Erstens: keiner meiner Interviewpartner, auch wenn sie sehr gläubig waren, wusste überhaupt, was im Koran über Juden steht. Das Ganze hat mit Religion überhaupt nichts zu tun! Es wird ja gern aus dem Koran zitiert, um den Antisemitismus unter Muslimen zu beweisen. Das machen Extremisten auf beiden Seiten. Extremisten sind zwar laut, aber in der Minderheit.
Zweitens, und auch das wer sehr klar, bei all meinen Interviewpartnern, und ich habe Interviews gemacht mit Muslimen aus arabischen wie auch nichtarabischen Ländern, bei allen waren die Einstellungen zu Juden eng mit dem Nahostkonflikt verbunden. Vorurteile über Juden wurden mit Beispielen aus dem Nahen Osten unterfüttert, nach dem Motto: “Nur weil die Juden so viel Macht haben, kann sich Israel alles erlauben.”
Auch in Berlin hat sich vor Kurzem der Nahostkonflikt mit der Antisemitismusdebatte in Deutschland auf einige Weisen verknüpft. Zum Anlass des „Al-Quds Tag” rief der bundesdeutsche Antisemitismusbeauftragte Felix Klein nichtjüdische Deutsche dazu auf, als Zeichen der Solidarität mit Juden eine Kippa zu tragen. Halten Sie derartige Aktionen für ein sinnvolles Zeichen der Solidarität?
Zuerst zu Herrn Klein: der Bundesbeauftragte hat in einer Woche drei verschiedene Sachen gesagt. Zuerst meinte er, dass Juden überlegen sollten, ob sie mit einer Kippa auf die Straße gehen wollen. Dafür wurde er dann von Einigen aus der jüdischen Gemeinde kritisiert. Danach hat er Deutsche dazu aufgerufen, am Tag der Al-Quds Demonstration zur pro-israelischen Gegendemonstration zu gehen. Und er hat Deutsche dazu aufgerufen, auf dieser Demonstration die Kippa zu tragen.
Die Frage ist: brauchen wir deutsche Beamten, die einem sagen, ob man eine Kippa tragen soll oder nicht? Es ist unmöglich, zumindest nach meinem Verständnis davon, was ein Regierungsbeamter darf, dass er aufruft, zu irgendeiner Demonstration zu gehen. Das geht überhaupt nicht. Aber auf die Frage, ob man jetzt als Nichtjude eine Kippa tragen soll oder nicht, natürlich, wenn jemand das Bedürfnis hat das zu machen soll er’s machen, ich weiß nicht ob es etwas bringt.
Damit komme ich zu meinem Hauptpunkt: Das ganze Kippa-Thema wird aufgebauscht. Wie viele Juden gehen in Deutschland mit einer Kippa auf die Straße und werden deswegen beleidigt? Und wie viele muslimische Frauen gehen auf die Straße mit einem Kopftuch und werden beleidigt? Ist die Lösung dafür jetzt, dass alle nichtmuslimischen Frauen aus Solidarität ein Kopftuch tragen?
Bleiben wir bei der Frage deutscher Solidarität für seine ehemaligen Opfer: Für Deutschland ist die außenpolitische Solidarität mit Israel mehr als nur reines „Interesse“: sie gehört zum Selbstverständnis der Republik nach dem Holocaust. In den letzten Jahren können wir aber beobachten, dass ausgerechnet die AfD, die Alternative für Deutschland, sich am stärksten pro-israelisch positioniert. Gleichzeitig ist die Partei in Richtung Faschismus und Antisemitismus offen. Was hat es ihrer Meinung nach mit diesem Doppelspiel auf sich?
Erstens: Sie wissen ja selber, dass es mit der Frage des deutschen ‘Selbstverständnis’ nicht so einfach ist. Wenn man genau hinschaut, dann hat sich dieses solidarische Selbstverständnis vor allem nach 1967 gebildet, als Israel zeigte, wie gut es kämpfen kann. Die große Attraktion war Moshe Dayan [Anm: berühmter israelischer General, der damals von der Springerpresse mit dem „Wüstenfuchs“ Erwin Rommel verglichen wurde]. Das war das attraktive Israel. Nun ist es schon so, dass heute die Solidarität mit Israel zum politischen Selbstverständnis gehört. Dabei gibt es aber meiner Meinung nach keinen Zweifel über die immer größere Kluft zwischen der Einstellung der offiziellen Politik und den Hauptmedien im Land und der Bevölkerung vis à vis Israel. Diese solidarische Einstellung gegenüber Israel wird ‘vom Mann auf der Straße’ nicht geteilt.
Um zweitens auf die AfD zu kommen: Was Sie beschrieben haben ist genau richtig. Ob die AfD sich mit ihrer pro-Israel Attitüde von der Vergangenheit distanzieren will, weiß ich aber nicht. Sie wandelt auf einem sehr schmalen Grat. Sie kann ja nicht all ihre antisemitischen Wähler brüskieren. Da müssen die vorsichtig sein. Sie macht eine Akrobatik, die ganz gezielt ihrem Zweck dient, anti-muslimisch zu sein. Die AfD will keine muslimische Einwanderung haben und dazu werden Juden und Israel instrumentalisiert. Das ist der einzige Grund, weswegen sie pro-Israel und pro-jüdisch ist. Juden werden als anti-muslimische Waffen benutzt.
Der Bundestag hat jüngst die BDS-Bewegung gegen Israel deutlich verurteilt, sie quasi mit Antisemitismus gleichgesetzt. Nun gibt es vermutlich wenige Palästinenser, die den gewaltfreien Boykott von Israel vollkommen ablehnen. Gleichzeitig arbeiten deutsche politische Stiftungen und Entwicklungshilfeorganisationen in den besetzten palästinensischen Gebieten eng mit Palästinensern zusammen. Wie passt das ihrer Meinung nach zusammen? Oder ist die deutsche Politik gegenüber Israel und den Palästinensern widersprüchlich?
Die BDS-Entscheidung ist das Resultat einer Gruppe halbgebildeter deutscher Politiker, deren eigene Schuldbearbeitung sie dazu bringt, solche Entscheidungen durchs Parlament zu schieben. Das geht natürlich nicht zusammen mit dem Wunsch, mit der palästinensischen Zivilgesellschaft zusammen zu arbeiten.
Sie sagen mit Recht, dass es sicher sehr wenige Palästinenser gibt, die nicht pro-BDS sind. Dabei muss es einem klar sein, und man muss davor auch nicht solche Angst haben, ich gehe davon aus dass jeder Palästinenser, wenn er die Wahl hätte, lieber eine Welt hätte, ohne dass es einen jüdischen Staat im Nahen Osten gäbe. Genauso wie die meisten Israelis es sich wünschen würden, dass es keine Palästinenser da gäbe. Das macht beide Gruppen doch noch nicht zu potentiellen Vernichtern. 
Schauen Sie, nicht nur bin ich Israeli, ich bin dankbar dafür, dass es Israel gibt. Das Existenzrecht Israels ist für mich keine Frage. Aber ein Palästinenser hat da eine andere Meinung. Und ich kann mit ihm befreundet sein, auch wenn er eine andere Meinung hat. Das muss man verstehen. Und man kann nicht durch die Lupe der eigenen Vergangenheit und durch die Lupe der eigenen anti-jüdischen Vorurteile und Ressentiments eine andere Gruppe beurteilen. Den Anderen [Anm.: den Palästinenser*innen] hat man ihr Land weggenommen. Die Anderen sind Flüchtlinge geworden, wegen der Existenz des jüdischen Staates. Ich sage damit nicht, dass es keinen jüdischen Staat geben soll, ich sage damit nicht einmal, dass es moralisch falsch war, den jüdischen Staat zu gründen. Ich finde der Entschluss damals für den jüdischen Staat ist der moralisch richtige Entschluss. Aber jetzt sollen die Palästinenser das Ganze auch noch gutheißen?
Als der Bundestag seine Resolution zur BDS-Bewegung beschloss, habe ich in meinem Blog an Angela Merkel eine Frage gerichtet: Wenn Frau Merkel im Supermarkt steht und eine Flasche Wein vom Regal nimmt und sieht, dass die Flasche in einer israelischen Siedlung produziert wurde — tut Sie die Flasche zurück und nimmt einen anderen Wein, oder nimmt Sie den Wein?  
Ich würde glauben, dass Sie den Wein zurücktut, aber ich würde auch glauben, dass Sie das nie zugeben würde, wenn ein Journalist ihr eine solche Frage stellen würde. Ich glaube, ihre Wertvorstellungen lassen nicht zu, dass man die Siedlungen unterstützt. Mein Punkt ist: der ganze Diskurs zum Thema Israel in Deutschland ist ritualisiert. Er ist unecht. Und unechte Kommunikation stagniert. Sie schadet. So kann man keine Beziehung haben. Man kann auch in keiner privaten Beziehung nur mit Phrasen leben.

Friday, 21 June 2019

BDS / Schuster / Schäfer / Grütters

The biggest support which the Palestinian civil society non-violent BDS movement is getting, does not come from some haters of Israel, or hard-line anti-Zionists, nor even from Antisemites, but from… the Israeli government and its allies.

BDS has been around for some 15 years and has, sadly for the Palestinians, not achieved much. Israel – that for its internal purposes, constantly needs to define enemies of the State, be they Iran or BDS – is investing millions in fighting this movement. This way, BDS gets much more attention than it otherwise would.

The most recent explosion is now taking place in Germany. A group of semi-educated German parliamentarians together with some hyperactive Philosemites, manipulated by the Israeli embassy in Berlin, have managed to pass a motion in the Bundestag, defining this non-violent Palestinian movement as antisemitic. Let me be totally clear about this: whether one supports BDS or not, BDS is not antisemitic. Those claiming that it is, are either ignorant or liars. Take your pick.

A group of 240 Israeli and Jewish academics worldwide (me included) have a signed a letter calling on the German government to reject the Bundestag ’s motion. The Jewish Museum in Berlin tweeted a recommendation to read this petition. As a result, its director, Peter Schäfer, a renowned scholar of Judaism and Talmud, was bullied by the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Joseph Schuster, into resignation.

Mrs. Grütters, the Federal Secretary of State for the Arts has, instead of rejecting the resignation and standing by the freedom of speech principle, accepted it. Monika Grütters evidently also does not want to get in trouble with the Central Council. Dark times for Germany.

Brexit and Mass Suicide

Some will disagree, but it seems that what the population of the United Kingdom is doing is a sort of mass suicide. These are rare and when they take place, it is normally a small community – and not a whole country – that undertakes such a drastic measure. It takes a very charismatic leader to convince his followers to choose death over what they decide is a life not worth living. The defenders of Massada are said to have done so to avoid falling in the hands of the Romans, as did many members of other religious sects in more recent history. At the end of the Second World War, a wave of suicides took place in Germany: for some, life without Hitler was not worth living, for others it was the successful Nazi propaganda that instilled such fear of the Russians, which brought about suicides.

The story behind Brexit is well-known by now and does not need repeating. What cannot be said often enough – as it is in the heart of our democracy – is the scandalous dishonesty, with which British politicians (mainly right-wing politicians) push the country into Brexit. At some point, we should seriously ask ourselves where the dividing line is between such lies, to further one’s cause, and treason?

The prominent Yougov polling organisation has, a few days ago, published the following amazing results of their latest poll, in which they polled members of the Conservative (Tory) party:

63% would accept Scottish independence, as a price for Brexit.
59% would accept losing Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.
61% are willing to accept “significant damage” to the British economy, as a price worth paying for Brexit.

What would be a bridge too far for these morons (Sorry, I meant Tories), is Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister. 51% will give up Brexit, if that would prevent Corbyn from moving into Downing Street.

Some people you cannot help. If they want to die, they should be allowed to die. But, like with every suicide, there is collateral damage: the people left behind, who are left without a loved one, who feel inadequate for not being able to help in time. In the case of the Brexit mass-suicide, the suicide is forced on us all. And don’t let’s forget it: half of the voters, voted to REMAIN in the EU. Tough luck. They will die too.

PS: I am quite certain that were the same Tories asked whether they agree to Scotland or Northern Ireland going independent, the overwhelming majority would give a very clear NO, under no circumstance, response.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

UK Labour Party Antisemitism

It has been reported that the British Labour Party has suspended Pete Willsman, a member of its ruling National Executive Committee (NEC), after he was recorded saying, that he believed, that the Israeli embassy, had been behind the claims about Corbyn’s Antisemitism.  

Willsman is a devoted Corbyn ally and supporter and as such hated by New-Labour (Blair & co.). He may – I have no idea – also be an Antisemite and the Party should ask itself whether someone holding antisemitic views should be a member of its executive board.

Let us, however, now look at the facts of this latest claim:

1.   Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is – and has been for many years – extremely critical of Israel and very supportive of the Palestinian cause.

2.   Jeremy Corbyn as British Prime Minister would therefore be an unwelcome change for Israel.

3.   It is the role of embassies to work politically to promote the perceived interests of their countries. They should work within the laws of the land and if they don’t, they should not be caught doing it.

So, why is it not reasonable to believe that the Israeli embassy in London is furthering negative propaganda about Corbyn? And why should this claim be defined as Antisemitic? Does the fact that some Antisemites believe in a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, mean that one may not make a political assessment about perfectly normal goings-on, just because the subject has an Israel angle? Israel and some of its supporters would like this “license to kill” anything which is deemed by them to be uncomfortable. Going down this road is, however, totally dishonest.


Warning! This is a generalisation: 

How does one explain the phenomenon of diaspora Jews, who often feel that Israel is so important to them, that they need to act as ambassadors for the country, and yet, do not feel that their attachment to Israel should motivate them to criticise that country’s failings. Their love for Israel seems to stop at the point where the country should perhaps be prevented from descending further down the moral spiral. Let me be clear, I am talking about Jews, who in private conversations may be very critical of Israel, its positions and its politics. Publicly they keep stumm.

This is evident in an abundance of social media postings with positive stories depicting Israeli successes or negative ones putting the blame for the situation in the Middle East on Palestinians.

A couple of years ago, an Israeli army spokesman explained that they maintain mailing-lists of supportive diaspora Jews, whom they carpet-mail with messages they want spread. This has proven to be a successful ploy.


Once a year, around my birthday, I am reminded that the world is divided between people who work with well-organised diaries and those who don’t.

Verjaardagskalender was the perennial, which we had in Holland in my childhood. Nowadays, it’s all in the computer. Or not.

Misleading Duchy ?

The beneficial owner of the Duchy of Cornwall is The Prince of Wales. It is a substantial landowner. It also produces and markets a variety of food products under the Duchy brand. The goods are all stated to be “organic”.

I was somewhat surprised to find out that Prince Charles allows his brand to be used for produce imported from other countries. He has, on various occasions, spoken out on environmental issues and buying local should be part of that story. Shipping (perhaps even air-freighting) blueberries from Spain is not what I expect under the Duchy brand.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

The Mossad and Austria’s VICE…chancellor

As soon as the story emerged about the entrapment of Austria’s Herr Strache, rumours started circulating that the Mossad is behind it.

In the past, rumours about the Mossad being behind a variety of clandestine operations, the outcome of which was deemed to be in Israel’s interest, pleased some, amused others, made some Israelis and diaspora Jews proud and probably strengthened the preconception about Israel’s all-powerful secret service. Antisemites who believed in a Jewish world domination conspiracy will also have had this pet theory of theirs reinforced.

These days, it has become fashionable to see Antisemitism everywhere and one finds various commentators speaking of this Mossad rumour as antisemitic. Relax, it ain’t necessarily so.  

Whoever did it, Israelis generally are pleased by the notion of a successful Mossad that gets whatever it wants. Moreover, the Mossad itself has been said to occasionally take credit for operations that were not theirs. Planting false stories in international media is all in a day’s work for secret services.