The German Left’s Undeclared War on Israel

In Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left 1967-1989, Jeffrey Herf examines the active support for warfare and terrorism against the Jewish state in both Germanies during the cold war. Benjamin Weinthal writes in his review:

[East Germany’s] leaders, many of whom had opposed Hitler, [nonetheless] internalized the lethal anti-Semitism of the Nazis, which led inexorably to their desire to dismantle Israel. . . . Herf supplies exhaustive evidence of the German Democratic Republic’s secret military deliveries to Israel’s enemies in the Middle East—including the bellicose Hafez al-Assad regime in Syria, which was a strategic partner for East Germany. . . .

[Furthermore], the GDR supplied weapons and sophisticated training to the Palestinians in exchange for their refraining from carrying out terrorist attacks in Western Europe. In other words, East Germany largely subcontracted its war against the Jews to the Arabs in the Middle East. . . .

Herf [also] does not let the West German government off the hook. A scarcely covered topic in modern German history is Chancellor Willy Brandt’s abandonment of Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. After a surprise attack by multiple Arab armies, Israel was on the ropes, desperate for arms and ammunition. To the frustration of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, Brandt stuck to an ironclad “neutral position toward the conflict in the Middle East,” [refusing to allow the U.S.] to use the port of Bremerhaven to deliver weapons to the Israelis. . . .

While the extreme left in West Germany was not part of the GDR, it benefited from East Germany’s sponsorship of Palestinian terrorists. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the hijacking of an Air France plane to Entebbe by a team of German and Palestinian terrorists in 1976. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the West German Revolutionary Cell’s members Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann carried out the hijacking.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Anti-Semitism, East Germany, Germany, History & Ideas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian terror, Yom Kippur War

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion