Germany Commemorates the Holocaust by Ignoring Anti-Semitism

Jan. 29 2015

Last Tuesday, German politicians issued noble-sounding statements to commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. But there has been a spate of recent meetings between prominent German politicians and high-ranking Iranian officials, some well-known for their denials of the Holocaust. Benjamin Weinthal writes:

“The Jews, if they’re not dead, should please suffer, admonish, and warn, but not fight back,” Eike Geisel (1945-1997), a critic of [Germany’s] post-Shoah remembrance culture, wrote.

His insight was reflected in a study the Bertelsmann Foundation released on Monday, showing that 68 percent of Germans want their members of parliament to pull the plug on weapons deliveries to Israel. Eighty-one percent of Germans want to close the chapter of the Holocaust so their lawmakers can focus on “contemporary problems,” the survey revealed. . . .

Days before Tuesday’s Holocaust remembrance, Green Party deputy Claudia Roth and Christian Social Union politician Dagmar Wöhrl, a former Miss Germany, met with Ali Larijani, the president of Iran’s parliament, in Tehran. Larijani infamously defended the regime of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying Iran had “different perspectives on the Holocaust.” . . .

In December, Niels Annen, a Social Democratic deputy and foreign-policy spokesman in the Bundestag, met with former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati to discuss the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and the situation in the Middle East. Velayati was implicated in the assassination of Kurdish dissidents at the Mykonos restaurant in West Berlin in 1992 and the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in which 85 were killed and hundreds wounded in 1994. Interpol seeks the arrest of Velayati for his involvement in the terrorist attack at the Jewish center. . . .

In the cases of Roth, Annen, and Wöhrl, Germany’s remembrance culture represents, to quote Geisel, “the highest form of forgetting.” In short, efforts to combat modern anti-Semitism are divorced from the crimes of the Holocaust.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust, Iran, Israeli-German relations, Politics & Current Affairs

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship