German Anti-Americanism, the Holocaust, and the Jews

Feb. 15 2019

Toward the end of last year, a star reporter at the prestigious German magazine Der Spiegel was revealed to be a serial fabricator. Over a dozen of his articles turned out to have two things in common: numerous, often obvious, and easily disprovable fictions and an unflattering depiction of the U.S. To Bruce Bawer, the popularity of these articles, and the credulousness of readers and editors, are further evidence of the prevalence in Germany of a species of anti-Americanism—also borne out by polling data—that cannot be entirely separated from attitudes toward Jews:

For Germans, demonizing America is a handy way of dealing with—or, rather, not dealing with—their own history. In 2014, Eric T. Hansen, an American freelance writer based in Berlin, . . . observed that anti-Americanism is not only “socially acceptable in Germany,” but it’s “downright politically incorrect to miss an opportunity” to put America down. He offered a theory: while the loss of World War II had rendered anti-Semitism verboten, “the resulting vacuum was soon filled by anti-Americanism.” I’m not going to argue with that.

Alexander Grau, a German philosopher, [maintained] in a cogent 2014 article [that] while Germans may attribute their anti-American sentiments to their distaste for a given American leader or American policy, “German reservations about the U.S. are older and deeper. The new anti-Americanism is an old anti-Americanism,” founded in 19th-century hostility to mass society, mechanization, and a “ruthless capitalism” associated in the German mind with both America and—ahem—“international financial Jewry.”

How, in Grau’s view, does World War II play into this? West Germans knew America had saved them from Soviet conquest, and were (at first) thankful. But that gratitude eventually curdled into an “anti-American neurosis” that led them, in later years, to express “solidarity with the most obnoxious autocrats in the world,” from Saddam Hussein to Bashar al-Assad, simply because they were America’s enemies.

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More about: anti-Americanism, Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust, World War II


What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy