Wednesday, 27 March 2019


For anyone who has missed the Doppelkopf interview (in German) with me on hr radio: Here’s a link to the podcast.


BREXIT – Are the British F*****g Mad?

Unless Britain gets its act together, it will be out of the EU in two days without deal or contract. Instead of committing suicide, British politicians move-on after they screw up, or better said, they have a Destroy and Leave tradition. They leave it to others to collect the remains of what they have destroyed.

David Cameron called a referendum, which was badly prepared, and which enabled a small group of anti-Europeans to deceive the voters into the disastrous Brexit. Once done, he resigned. He had no wish to deal with the ramifications of the disaster he had fathered. His successor, Theresa May – originally a Brexit opponent – who saw an opportunity of becoming prime minister, changed her views and became a Brexit supporter, is about to push the country over a cliff. Now, she is trying to offer her own resignation to opponents in her own party, in return for their votes. So, she too, will go, as soon as she has completed her act of destruction.

Trump Makes Annexation Kosher

I still remember our feeling of relief in Israel after the Golan Heights were conquered in the 1967 Six-Day-War. With the Golan in Israeli hands, the Syrian army would no longer overlook Israel’s Upper Galilee from its military posts strategically situated high above. The Golan was green, dotted with apple and cherry orchards, it had water (which we were short of) and even a skiable mountain (which we did not have). The general view in Israel was that it was not to be returned to Syria. Moreover, unlike the West Bank and Gaza, the Golan was only sparsely populated, which meant that it could be controlled without difficulties.

Fourteen years later, in 1981, contrary to international law, Israel annexed the Golan. The annexation of the Golan – which the international community considers to be occupied Syrian territory ­ – was never recognised by other countries. Until last week: A few days ago, in an attempt to bolster Netanyahu’s chances in the coming elections in Israel, President Trump announced that the USA would recognise Israel’s act of territorial appropriation.  

The breakup and chaos in Syria make the return of the Golan Heights to Syria more unlikely than ever. And yet, its annexation remains illegal. That Trump’s America should endorse brute force and illegal acts by Israel is not surprising. Kindred spirits, Netanyahu and Trump, have developed a close relationship and the Jewish lobby in the US is alive and kicking. 

Saturday, 23 March 2019

For German speakers: I will be on hr radio station's Doppelopkopf programme on Monday, 25 March at 12:05 (and at 23:04): 



Friday, 8 March 2019

Gatekeepers in Israel

In his panic, as investigations around his corruption were closing in, Israel’s Premier Netanyahu decided to call an early election. It is thought that his plan is to win the election (not at all unlikely, despite all), and immediately pass a law which prevents prosecuting prime ministers, whilst they are in office.

The roulette table – as Netanyahu sees it – has only two pockets: prime minister’s office and jail.

To avoid going to jail, he will do almost anything. The big question is how narrow he and his family (who are active players in Netanyahu’s shenanigans) will define “almost”.

Hate speech and racist incitement have always come naturally to Israel’s prime minister. His latest ploy is an agreement to collaborate with ultra-extremist Jewish orthodox supremacists, Jewish Power (Otzmah Jehudit). These promoters of ethnic cleansing and right-wing terrorism are Netanyahu’s chosen bedfellows. This outrageous move has for the first time in Israel’s history brought about condemnation from almost the whole bandwidth of Jewish institutions in the USA.

Netanyahu’s predecessor, Olmert, was hoping to avoid jail (yes, he too was indicted, found guilty and jailed for corruption) by promoting a peace deal. Will Netanyahu try to win the coming (April 9th) elections through war? 

Netanyahu’s track record shows that he is not trigger-happy when it comes to military actions. Will that still guide him when he sees a jail cell looming? War as a get-out-of-jail-card?

And critically, how strong are Israel’s democratic institutions (which Netanyahu’s government has systematically been eroding)? Will the gatekeepers prevent any panic-driven moves on Netanyahu’s part?

Israel's Unattractive Majority

To understand Israel, one need but consider the names, which some of the country’s political parties have chosen, in their quest to be attractive to the voters:

The New Right  /  Resurrection  /  Jewish Power  /  Israel Resilience   /  There is a Future  / All of Us  /  Israel Our Home  /  National Statesman-like Movement  / The Jewish Home  /  Banner of the Torah  /  United Torah Judaism  /  Torah-Observant Sephardim  /  Together -The People are with Us.

All the above as well as Netanyahu’s Likkud party are ideologically identified with holding on to as much Palestinian land as possible. Even Israel’s shrinking, and some think even disappearing, Labour party (once the party of Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Rabin, Peres et al.) does not really oppose Netanyahu in his land-grab strategy. 

Britain – A Failed Democracy ?

Misleading information, outright lies, and a badly constructed referendum have resulted in half of the participants voting for Brexit. (51.5% vs. 48.5%)

Prime Minister Cameron, who opposed Brexit, yet called the referendum, resigned immediately after the result came out.  Ambitious Theresa May, who also opposed Brexit, saw an opportunity to become prime-minister and joined the remain side. The opposition Labour party is led by Trotskyite Jeremy Corbyn, who is himself a Brexiter. So, both main parties in the UK are led by Brexit supporters.

Hence, on the most contentious issue in British politics for many years, the government has no opposition. That half (or by now perhaps more) of Britain’s population, who prefer remaining in the EU, have no one speaking for them in Parliament.

The whole process of Brexit – despite the seemingingly democratic instrument of a referendum – has turned out to be a grand failure of democracy.

Macron the Feeble

On more than one occasion has French President Macron proven not to be very good under pressure. Last week, he panicked again, as in reaction to recent Antisemitic incidents, he announced that France would now consider anti-Zionism as a form of Antisemitism.

This, of course, is somewhere between ignorance and dishonesty.

I believe that it was morally right to establish the Jewish state and thus define myself as a Zionist. I, however, accept that some people – for whatever reason – do not share that view and therefore define themselves as anti-Zionists. There will be antisemites, whose hatred of Jews, will also make them anti-Zionists. This, however, does not mean that their anti-Zionism = antisemitism. 

Israel and its supporting Jewish lobbies have been very successful in their push to delegitimise critics of Israel by defining them as antisemites. With Macron they can add another notch to their belts.