Pondering the ‘German Problem’ after Holocaust Remembrance Day

An examination of Germany’s relationship with the Palestinians, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and its own sizable Muslim population raises more questions than it answers, after Israel observes Holocaust Remembrance Day.

By: Henry Roth, Exclusive to World Israel News

On the annual Day of Atonement for Jews, the rabbis remind us that it is not enough to ask G-d for forgiveness for the sins we have committed; we must also make amends to those against whom we have sinned. In the context of this concept of atonement, when we examine Germany’s post-war relationship with Israel and world Jewry, we must conclude, somewhat sadly, that there appears to have been minimal effort by Germany to atone for their transgressions against the Jewish people (if that were even possible given the scale of the atrocities).

In fact, at the most important junctures in Israel’s history, when German support would have been invaluable and when the Germans had an opportunity to demonstrate their genuine commitment to help repair the damage they inflicted on the Jewish community – and by extension, support Israel – they have utterly and indisputably failed.

That inability (or unwillingness) to repair that which they had broken began almost immediately after the War when Germany dragged its heels on reparation payments to the family members of their victims and made very little effort to help Jews recover property and assets stolen during the War. There has been no appreciable improvement in those efforts in more recent times.

Just 15 year after the end of World War II, German scientists were recruited by Egypt to develop long-range missiles capable of striking Israel. That program only ended when Israel’s security forces kidnapped and killed the lead scientist on the project and made it clear to the other German scientists participating in the program that they would also be targeted for liquidation if they persisted in their efforts to facilitate another mass murder of Jews.

Fast-forward to 1972 when the Germans couldn’t be bothered to provide additional security to the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics even though the Palestinians had offered ample examples of how far they were willing to go to attack Israelis and Jewish targets.

Next, we come to the Yom Kippur War in 1973. After the first few days of the war, Israel was on the precipice of annihilation. Thankfully, the Americans agreed to re-supply Israel but the Americans needed to refuel the C5A jumbo jets critical to the mission somewhere in Europe. The Americans had bases in Germany but the Germans refused them permission to use them for re-fuelling. They even refused to allow the Americans to fly in German airspace on their way to Israel. If Portugal had not allowed the Americans to refuel in the Azores, it is conceivable that Israel would not have survived.

Germany’s relationship with the Palestinians

Now let’s consider the Germans’ relationship with the Palestinians. As far back as 1982, Chancellor Helmut Kohl (the same gentleman who when visiting Auschwitz made mention of all the victims of the Nazis except the Jews) expressed sympathy for the Palestinians’ situation and that sentiment was reflected in Germany’s very generous contributions to the Palestinians over the past 40 years. Besides direct government grants, there are also significant contributions to the Palestinians via the United Nations as well as a number of foundations linked to Germany’s most prominent political parties (e.g., the Green Party’s Heinrich Boll Foundation and the Christian Democratic Union’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation) who provide significant funding to Palestinians and overtly anti-Israel organizations.

In fact, NGO Monitor recently identified a number of rabidly anti-Semitic statements made by officials of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), a German government-owned agency that oversees the country’s international humanitarian aid. These statements include comparing Israel to the Nazis and blaming the downfall of Arab leaders in the Middle East on Israel. GIZ members have also posted messages on Facebook endorsing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. GIZ has also demonstrated no hesitancy in providing funding to Palestinian groups that have glorified anti-Israel terrorism against Israelis.

To add insult to injury, the German government continues to resist calls to label Iranian-funded Hezbollah as a terrorist organization even though virtually every other Western country understands the dangers posed by Hezbollah.
Germany’s lack of concern for world Jewry is further manifested in their actions in the United Nations where they almost always vote against Israel, or at best, abstain.

Just recently, they voted against the American decision to move their Embassy to Jerusalem, a slap in the face to both Israel and the U.S. Even more ominously, Germany has now decided to throw a roadblock into Israel’s path to a seat on the U.N. Security Council. With two seats available on the Council, Israel and Belgium were the only applicants until Germany stepped in and decided they wanted one of those seats, even though they occupied one as recently as 2010-2011. That seat on the Security Council would have given Israel a strong and unprecedented voice in the normally-hostile U.N. but that didn’t matter to Germany.

Germany’s sizeable Muslim population

There is also the matter of mass Muslim immigration to Germany which has brought with it a significant uptick in anti-Semitic acts and pronouncements in Germany. Given Islam’s anti-Semitic history and culture, it must have occurred to Germany that such a huge influx of people drenched in Jew-hatred might pose some problem for the local Jewish community but that likely was never part of the calculus. Cheap labour and cheap oil were far greater priorities than protecting their Jewish citizens.

Now we come to perhaps the most unsettling of German actions in relation to Israel and world Jewry, and that is the very real prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. The Germans share responsibility for the ‘treaty’ engineered by the Obama/Kerry tandem which provides Iran a relatively unfettered pathway to nuclear capability, but more importantly, German industry has been a major provider of nuclear-related material and technology to Iran.

In 2009, the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce (whose very existence is chilling) listed over 100 German companies with significant activities in Iran including BASF, Bayer, Daimler Benz, Henkel, Wirth, Thyssen and Siemens, a who’s-who of German industrial giants. Moreover, when Shimon Peres asked Angela Merkel in 2010 to take action against German companies dealing with Iran in contravention of U.N. directives, she declined. German direct exports to Iran did fall after 2009, but exports to Dubai increased sharply, and it is widely accepted that much of those goods were trans-shipped to Iran to evade the embargo imposed on Iran. We should also note that Germany’s foreign minister led trade delegations to Iran in 2015 and 2016, and trade between Germany and Iran totalled more than 2.6 billion Euros in 2016 and nearly 4 billion Euros in 2017.

‘A particularly close relationship with the Islamic Republic’

According to Dr. Matthias Kuntzel, a Hamburg-based political scientist, “[S]ince 1984, the German government has forged a particularly close relationship with the Islamic Republic,” and just a few weeks ago, Germany’s Ambassador to Iran engaged in a dialogue with a couple of the Iranian government’s most notorious Holocaust-deniers, then told the press what fine fellows they were. Germany is also trying to convince the Trump administration to honor the Treaty with Iran that facilitates Iran’s path to nuclear weaponry and has chided the Americans for being too pro-Israel.

If Iran were to succeed in their goal of using nuclear weapons against Israel, Germany would have more Jewish blood on their hands.

Finally, to those who believe Germany should not be judged purely on the basis of its treatment of Jews and Israel, it should be noted that German companies (notably Karl Kolb and Preussag) are being sued by Iraqi Kurds who were the victims of Saddam Hussein’s attempts to exterminate the Kurdish town of Halaba in 1988. The chemical weapons used in the attack (which may have killed thousands) as well as the expertise on their deployment were provided to Saddam by German companies.

What the Germans perpetrated on the Jewish community in World War Two can never be forgotten, but it might have been forgiven if Germany had shown over subsequent years that they would do everything in their power to defend and protect the world’s Jewish population and Israel. Instead, they have acted, and continue to act, against the interests of Israel and worldwide Jewry. This cannot ever be forgotten or forgiven.