Using Holocaust Memorials to Bash Israel in Germany

In Munich, a controversy has broken out over installing cobblestone-sized brass plaques on the streets, each commemorating a victim of the Nazis who lived nearby. These memorials, known as Stolpersteine (“stumbling stones”), have become a feature of many German cities. Inevitably, writes Benjamin Weinthal, the controversy also involves feelings about Israel:

In late July, the Munich city council voted to ban the “stumbling-stone” memorials. Charlotte Knobloch, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and current head of the Munich Jewish community, has long opposed the Stolpersteine and has called them an insult to the victims. Knobloch, herself a Holocaust survivor, said it is “intolerable” for passersby to step on the names of Jews that were murdered in the tragedy. . . .

[Meanwhile], a co-founder of the “stumbling-stones” memorial in the city of Kassel . . . declared at an anti-Semitic demonstration in 2014 that “death is a master today from Israel” and that he wished that there would be “stumbling stones” for the murdered Palestinians, . . . an allusion to the famous Holocaust poem by the Jewish poet Paul Celan . . . who wrote about Nazism: “death is a master from Germany.” [Similar] anti-Zionist sentiments [have been expressed by] the co-founders of the Munich Stolpersteine initiative.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, German Jewry, Holocaust, Holocaust remembrance, Israel & Zionism

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy