All Too Slowly, Germany Is Waking Up to Contemporary Anti-Semitism

Jan. 19 2018

The German parliament is currently considering a bill that will punish anti-Semitic activity and that acknowledges the specific problem of anti-Semitism among migrants from Muslim countries—even allowing authorities to revoke their residency rights. Toward the end of 2017, the Bundestag also gave legal status to a definition of anti-Semitism that includes “placing collective responsibility on the Jewish people for Israel’s actions.” But, writes Eldad Beck, Germany still has a long way to go:

The German legal establishment’s problematic approach toward the issue of anti-Semitism was demonstrated this week in the city of Wuppertal, when the high court upheld a lower court’s ruling defining the firebombing of a synagogue as a criminal rather than as an anti-Semitic act. The firebombing in question was perpetrated by a group of three young Palestinians living in Germany in the summer of 2014, as Operation Protective Edge was raging in Gaza. Anti-Semitic riots were raging across Germany, drawing mainly Arab and Muslim crowds. The law-enforcement authorities failed to respond in any way.

When the perpetrators who hurled Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Wuppertal were apprehended, they claimed it was an act of “protest against Israeli policy” and not, heaven forbid, an act of anti-Semitism, which would result in harsher punishment. The German judges sided with the perpetrators’ arguments time and time again, despite vocal protests from the German Jewish community. . . .

There is no doubt, [however], that Germany has become more cognizant in recent years, albeit in a limited fashion, of the fact that anti-Semitism is still alive and well in the country. Similarly, there is more acceptance of the fact that hatred of Israel is tantamount to hatred of Jews. . . . It is important and right to confront the anti-Semitism that exists in the Muslim Arab immigrant community, but it is a mistake to ignore the fact that anti-Semitism is still quite prevalent among large portions of mainstream German society—portions whose residency cannot be revoked.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Immigration, Politics & Current Affairs

The Impossibility of Unilateral Withdrawal from the West Bank

Feb. 19 2019

Since throwing his hat into the ring for the Israeli premiership, the former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz has been reticent about his policy plans. Nonetheless, he has made clear his openness to unilateral disengagement from the West Bank along the lines of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, stating the necessity of finding “a way in which we’re not controlling other people.” Gershon Hacohen argues that any such plan would be ill-advised:

The political and strategic precepts underlying the Oslo “peace” process, which Gantz echoes, vanished long ago. The PLO has unequivocally revealed its true colors: its total lack of interest in peace, unyielding rejection of the idea of Jewish statehood, and incessant propensity for violence and terrorism. . . . Tehran is rapidly emerging as regional hegemon, with its tentacles spreading from Yemen and Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea and its dogged quest for nuclear weapons continuing apace under the international radar. Even the terror groups Hizballah and Hamas pose a far greater threat to Israel’s national security than they did a decade ago. Under these circumstances, Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank’s Area C, [the only part still under direct Israeli control], would constitute nothing short of an existential threat.

Nor does Israel need to find a way to stop “controlling other people,” as Gantz put it, for the simple reason that its control of the Palestinians ended some two decades ago. In May 1994 the IDF withdrew from all Palestinian population centers in the Gaza Strip. In January 1996 it vacated the West Bank’s populated areas (the Oslo Accords’ Areas A and B), comprising over 90 percent of the West Bank’s Palestinian residents, and handed control of that population to the Palestinian Authority (PA). . . .

This in turn means that the real dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as within Israel itself, no longer revolves around the end of “occupation” but around the future of eastern Jerusalem and Area C. And since Area C (which is home to only 100,000 Palestinians) includes all the Jewish West Bank localities, IDF bases, transportation arteries, vital topographic sites, and habitable empty spaces between the Jordan Valley and the Jerusalem metropolis, its continued retention by Israel is a vital national interest. Why? Because its surrender to a potentially hostile Palestinian state would make the defense of the Israeli hinterland virtually impossible—and because these highly strategic and sparsely populated lands are of immense economic, infrastructural, communal, ecological, and cultural importance, not to mention their historical significance as the bedrock of the Jewish ancestral homeland

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Benny Gantz, Israel & Zionism, Two-State Solution, West Bank