Was Envy the Motive Force behind the Holocaust?

Götz Aly, a prominent (and often controversial) historian of Nazi Germany, has written a new book attempting to understand the underlying motivations for German anti-Semitism. In Why the Germans? Why the Jews?: Envy, Race, Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust, Aly addresses the basic question that has so often been obscured by recent Holocaust scholarship: why did Jews become the target of such intense and murderous hatred in Germany? His book contains many insights on German anti-Semitism, and he draws on his own family archive in a way that few Germans today would be comfortable doing. (His grandparents were rabid Jew-haters.) But, writes Daniel Johnson, Aly’s simplistic conclusion that envy was the source of all this animus is woefully unsatisfying, and undermines his purported goals:

Aly himself quite rightly criticizes the German tendency to identify with the Jewish victims—“We tend to cast the perpetrators as bizarre, almost alien figures”—and to hide behind abstractions that keep Germans at a safe distance from radical evil. By exposing his own Nazi family to scrutiny, Aly may hope to encourage others to rattle the skeletons in their own closets. But he is blind to the fact that his explanatory framework is bound to have the opposite effect. By making Nazis seem just like everybody else, motivated by the everyday emotion of envy, Aly risks making the extraordinary seem ordinary. It is no accident that his book’s underlying message is a more scholarly version of Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil” thesis.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Hannah Arendt, Holocaust, Nazism

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation