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An American Jewish - German Information & Opinion Newsletter

An American Jewish - German Information & Opinion Newsletter

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    Du bow digest american edition may 8, 2012 a Du bow digest american edition may 8, 2012 a Document Transcript

    • AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION & OPINION NEWSLETTER 10 Voorhis Point, South Nyack, NY (845)353-1945 dubowdigest@optonline.netAMERICAN EDITIONMay 8, 2012Dear Friends:I waited to put this edition “to bed” until the AJC annual meeting (now called theGlobal Forum) finished. It was quite an event with 1300 people signed up to attendand quite a few more on hand as visitors.Germany got star billing. Two of its leading government officials, Interior MinisterHans Peter Friedrich and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle gave importantaddresses.The Westerwelle speech was particularly noteworthy because he clearly laid outGermany’s position on the Middle East. He said, “It is on the firm foundation ofremembrance and shared ideals that Germany maintains its unique relationship withthe State of Israel.The roots of our relationship lie in the past: Together with Israel we are committed topreserving the memory of the Holocaust for future generations and to counteringanti-Semitism across the globe.Our relationship is forward looking. Germany and Israel are partners and friends.We are partners and friends because Israel is a vibrant democracy. To this day,Israel is the only full-fledged democracy in the region. I am proud that todayGerman-Israeli ties are closer and stronger than ever.We want to see Israel as a respected neighbor in a Middle East that is finally atpeace.And yet the Iranian regime continues to threaten Israel with annihilation. I want youto know that we will continue to stand by Israels side. We will not remain silent whenIsrael is threatened or its legitimacy called into question. We will stand up whenever 1
    • Israel is unfairly singled out in multilateral fora. And we will denounce any incitementagainst the State of Israel and its right to exist.The current Iranian nuclear program represents an enormous danger. We do notdeny or question Irans right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Every claim tothe contrary by the Iranian regime is nothing but propaganda. But we cannot and willnot accept an Iranian nuclear weapon. It would represent not only a threat to Israelbut to the region as a whole. And it would undermine the global non- proliferationregime, a cornerstone of global security. That is why we are investing tremendousefforts into resolving this challenge. Our aim is simple: We need substantive andverifiable guarantees that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.That is about as clear as it gets. I don’t think anyone could ask for more.Let’s get on with the news…IN THIS EDITIONTHE ELECTIONS – France and Schleswig-Holstein went to the polls. Neither onecame out very well for Chancellor Merkel. Thus far, no one can figure out whathappened in Greece.THE GREAT KORAN GIVEAWAY – Giving away religious literature is one thing. If itcomes with a political message it’s something else.GERMAN CITIZENSHIP – FOR HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR DESCENDANTS – It’s ahot ticket. 67 years ago no one would have believed it.A PIRATE UPDATE: CAUSE FOR CONCERN? – Even if a few Pirates give up theircutlasses for neo-Nazi politics that’s a problem.GRASS FIRE: STILL BURNING – How could a Nobel Prize winner be so stupid? Ittook 84 years and more than 60 of them as a hidden Waffen SS member to getwhere he got.MEIN KAMPF: IT’S BACK! – To book stores and schools across Germany.NEO-NAZIS MOVE WEST – Western Germany catches Nazi bug which was onlyknown in the East.ISRAELIS & GERMANS: A NEW RELATIONSHIP? – They love Berlin.THE ELECTIONSThis past Sunday two elections, one in France, the other in the small German state 2
    • of Schleswig-Holstein, had a direct effect on the national German political scene.By this time you have already read or heard that France will have a new Socialistpresident, Francois Hollande. President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel donot come out of the same orientation. Merkel is a genuine conservative who hasstressed austerity in order for nations in Europe to save themselves from crushingdebt and the financial disasters that the worldwide recession has brought about.On the other hand, according to AP, "Hollande inherits an economy thats a driver ofthe European Union but is deep in debt. He wants more government stimulus, andmore government spending in general, despite concerns in the markets that Franceneeds to urgently trim its huge debt.The two leaders will have to learn to get along with each other in order to prevent aneven worse financial disaster. Well have to wait and see how it goes.The Schleswig-Holstein election is more complicated. From what I can see each ofthe two largest political parties won a little and lost a little. It appears that the CDU,the Chancellors party came out with the largest vote and, indeed, their naturalpartner the business oriented FDP got enough of a vote to stay in the stateparliament. However, they did not get enough to continue the coalition they formedto rule since the last election so that coalition has ended. Kaput!The SPD, the other large party (socialist) came in second to the CDU but the finalresult was very close. They have more of a possibility of forming a coalition with theGreens who did well but not well enough to nail down enough parliament seats tomake a two party coalition. They might be able to entice a small local party, theSouth Schleswig Party to join them and that would be enough for a majority. If thatdoesnt work there is the possibility of a "Grand Coalition" between the CDU and theSPD. However, at the moment there needs to be a lot of horse trading on jobs andpolicy so well have to wait to see how it all shakes out.Interestingly, the Pirate Party, about whom I have written much, got enough votes tobe in the parliament. However, I have not read that any of the large parties wantthem in a coalition. Maybe they are where I am in trying to understand the Pirates --a state of confusion -- and do not want to chance getting too close to them.However, this is the third state parliament in which they have won seats and, as theysay on Broadway, "That aint chopped liver!".After all is said and done, the result was not a good one for the CDU and theChancellor. She loses more power in the upper house of the parliament, theBundesrat which is made up of representatives from the states. However, were still16 or 17 months away from the national election so much can happen before then.As far as Greece is concerned, the situation is so muddled and confused it’s hard tofigure out the implications for Germany, Israel or the Jews other than the fact that anationalist party seems to have gained strength. More on it in the next edition. 3
    • THE GREAT KORAN GIVEAWAYSpiegel On-Line reported, “Salafist Muslims have been handing out free Koransacross Germany in recent weeks. But the groups radicalism has many politiciansconcerned -- as does a recent video posted on You Tube that allegedly threatenedjournalists who wrote critical reports on the religious offensive.At first glance, the project appears relatively harmless. A Muslim group in Germanyhas set as its goal the distribution of millions of free Korans, so that the holy book ofIslam finds its place in "every household in Germany, Austria and Switzerland," asthe project website (German language only) states.For months -- though most noticeably during the recent Easter holidays -- followersof the Salafist imam Ibrahim Abou Nagie have been handing out copies atinformation stands in city centers across Germany. The group, which calls itself "TheTrue Religion," claims that 300,000 copies have already been distributed.Increasingly, though, skepticism of the project is mounting among leading politiciansin Germany, not least because of Nagies own radical interpretation of Islam. Indeed,last autumn Nagie was indicted for public incitement to commit criminal offenses andfor disturbing the religious peace.…the Ulm-based publishing house Ebner & Spiegel (which is not connected toSPIEGEL magazine), which is printing the Korans being handed out across thecountry, has suspended deliveries and is now examining possibilities for backing outof the contract.The move was a reaction to the growing political debate in Germany focused on theKoran distributions. Although the Salafist info-stands have been makingappearances in pedestrian zones of German towns for months, it is only now thatpoliticians of all stripes have begun addressing Nagies mission.In particular, as many make clear, it is the Salafist movement itself that most findobjectionable. Germanys Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV),the countrys domestic intelligence agency, estimates that there are between 3,000and 5,000 Salafists in Germany. The Berlin office of the BfV warns that the Salafistideology is almost identical to that of the al-Qaida terrorist network. Moreconcerning, the group has a growing number of followers in Germany. Furthermore,Arid U., the man who was sentenced to life in prison in February for shooting todeath two American servicemen at Frankfurt Airport in 2011, reportedly had ties toSalafism.I’m a little bit on the horns of a dilemma about this matter. Of course, my liberalAmerican point of view is telling me that the distribution of religious books such asthe Koran should be allowable in any democracy. If Orthodox Jews handed out 4
    • Jewish bibles would that be treated in the same way?Of course, if the distribution is accompanied by a message about terrorism or is insome way connected to al-Qaida that is a very different matter. The article doesmake clear what sort of proof the BfV has about such a connection. Being a Salafistmay be one thing, giving out Korans with a political message accompanying them is,in my opinion, something different.I am not a Salafi nor when I started writing this, did I really know what one was. Ifound out and you can too by clicking here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SalafiIn addition (You learn stuff when you read DD), if Jews handed out a Torah in bookform rather than a scroll, it is called a “Chumash”. My research turned up the factthat in California there is a Native American tribe called the Chumash People. Idon’t think that they played a role in the writing of the Pentateuch but, if they did,they did a pretty good job a few thousand years ago.The New York Times also published a piece on the Koran subject. Click here to readit.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/world/europe/germany-koran-giveaway-worries-officials.html?_r=2&hpGERMAN CITIZENSHIP – FOR HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR DESCENDANTSIn an article I wrote last year I mentioned the fact that more American Jews, if theywere related to a Holocaust survivor, could apply for German citizenship. It appearsthat American Jews are not the only ones.Don Snyder writing in World News on MSNBC reported, “Tens of thousands of Jewsare choosing to become German citizens. Unreal? It’s happening. A study at TelAviv’s Bar Ilan University study found 100,000 Israelis have German passports.During the Nazi era, the 1935 Nuremberg racial laws stripped Jews of Germancitizenship. But since May 1949, German law gives Jews who fled Nazi Germanythe right to German citizenship, including all their descendants. “This is the largestgroup of German passport holders in the world outside Germany,” said EmmanuelNachshon, Deputy Ambassador at the Israeli embassy in Berlin.There are an estimated 15,000 Israelis in Berlin, drawn there to work, study andenjoy Berlin’s intellectual life and cheap rents. “It’s the single most interesting anddynamic city certainly in Europe and perhaps in the world,” said Nachshon.Maya Nathan agrees. The 33-year-old Israeli student with a German passport said “Ifell in love with Berlin, its freedom, its great space.” 5
    • Nathan is not uncomfortable about living in the country responsible for theHolocaust. “Our family was never anti-German,” she said, adding that she knowsIsraelis who won’t come to Germany.Nathan, who has been in Germany for two and a half years, is getting aneuropsychology degree at the University of Magdeburg. She plans to remain inGermany.Nadav Gablinger, 39, is a tour guide who has lived in Berlin for 11 years. An Israeliwith German citizenship, he and his Israeli wife have two children in Germanschools.Noting that Holocaust history is everywhere in Berlin, Gablinger says that present-day Germany is a very safe place for Jews.“Today I can say as a Jew, Germany is the safest place in the world,” he says,“Safer than in Israel.”Nachshon speculated that many Israelis hold second passports in case things gowrong in Israel.Increasing numbers of American Jews are also seeking German citizenship.According to German government figures, 3,663 Americans, mostly Jews, acquiredGerman citizenship between 2003 and 2010.German citizenship allows American Jews not only to live and work in Europe, butalso access to a free university education. So it could be that some seek Germancitizenship so they can live and work elsewhere in Europe.“Berlin is becoming one of the most exciting capital cities in Europe, and it exerts apull,” said Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin.“Many of the new Jewish citizens say they have some history in Germany and theywant to discover it.”What more is there to say? Nothing! The facts are the facts. Germany is open toJews as is no other country in Europe. Some Jews are put off by the immigrationand citizenship. Their minds probably cannot (or will not) change. On the other hand,there is a genuine opportunity for the growth of a strong Jewish community in centralEurope and it should not be forgotten that Germany is Israel’s best friend on thecontinent.Let’s see how it develops.A PIRATE UPDATE: CAUSE FOR CONCERN? 6
    • I must admit that I still cannot figure out what the newly minted Pirate Party standsfor and I’m not the only one. Even those involved in the party are not clear. Onething is for sure and that is, for reasons hard to understand, its popularity is growingby leaps and bounds. However, a party with growing popularity but without a realplatform seems to me to be right for the picking if infiltrated by a few hardenedpolitical operatives with a definite point of view. My internal telegraph machine istapping out a message telling me, “Start worrying! Further information to follow”.The Local.de reported, “Germany’s nascent Pirate Party has overtaken the Greensto become the nations third strongest political force, according to a survey publishedon Tuesday. (Apr. 3)The new figures put the Pirates at 13 percent of the vote, pulling ahead of theGreens’ 11 percent.The survey, conducted by polling firm Forsa for the RTL broadcaster and Sternmagazine suggested the struggling Free Democratic Party (FDP) could pull itselfover the five percent hurdle needed to enter Parliament.The Pirates unexpectedly got 7.4 percent of the vote in the Saarland state electionon March 25, and are expecting to clear the five percent parliamentary entry hurdlein the important North Rhine-Westphalia election in May.“I’m hoping for 6.5 percent,” the vice chairman of the party, Bernd Schlömer, told theWAZ media group, referring to the May 13 vote.But he appeared nonchalant about potential failure, adding “it’s not tragic” if thepirates do not make it into the state parliament in that region – or in SchleswigHolstein, where voters go to the polls on May 6.Meanwhile the party is showing signs that it is affected by internal strife just like anyother political group.A number of party members complained that the party was sexist and racist in anopen letter published on Sunday evening in Die Welt Online.The letter said a woman was described as being “too pretty” to be taken seriously.Another noted that in a Twitter discussion participants were told that it is okay to be“critical of foreigners.”Aleks Lessmann, a spokesperson, said Monday that every party had a certainpercentage of idiots, but it was important that such opinions were not shared by themajority.“In contrast to the established parties we offer every basic member an equal forum.”Due to this openness, such discriminatory opinions “are more recognizable,” he 7
    • said.Lessmann said the people who run the national Pirate Party did not want to controlwhat individual party members said. But he added, “The Pirate Party of Germany isclearly and unequivocally for equal rights, integration and a cultural getting along.”O.K. that sounds pretty good. However, there were a couple ugly incidents recently.Y-Net News reported, “A senior member of Germanys Pirates party caused uproarwhen he compared its meteoric rise to that of Adolf Hitler before 1933.The party ranks third in opinion polls and expected to enter parliament next year."The ascent of the Pirate Party is proceeding as swiftly as the NSDAP (NationalSocialist German Workers Party, or Nazis) between 1928 and 1933," Martin Deliustold the weekly news magazine Spiegel. Delius, 29, a former software designer, later apologized for his remark and withdrewfrom an election for the Pirates executive board, but resisted calls to quit his post inthe Berlin city assembly. The Pirates, whose platform is based on internet freedomand more direct participation in politics, won seats in the city government of thecapital last September.The party is suspected by police of having links to a small far-right cell that carriedout a decade-long murder campaign against immigrants. The cell was exposed latelast year.Moreover, the Pirates party suffered the embarrassment of having two membersexposed as former members of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). Thetwo members resigned late last year, but the Pirates federal chairman SebastianNerz said there were "almost certainly a few more Pirates who used to be NPD."A Pirates party activist recently posted a video on YouTube in which he criticizedPoland because the Poles had ordered a general mobilization.Apart from its far-right tendencies, the party has also been accused by other partiesof misogyny due to the lack of women members, as well as being devoid of politicalcontent. In response to Delius remarks, Nertz told the Bild, "Everyone should thinkproperly about what he says, about the historical analogies he draws and whateffect they may have."But a commentary published by the Bild said parties without an understanding ofhistory had no place in parliament. Other German parties, which viewed the Pirates ascent with great concern, jumpedat the opportunity to discredit it. Claudia Roth, leader of the Greens, who havesuffered particularly from the Pirates success, called the remarks an "outrageous 8
    • transgression" that could not be excused by the partys lack of experience.So there you have it. The Pirates, with the kind of funny name, might turn out to benot so funny after all. At best, they are some sort of a fringe grouping but animportant one. As to whether they are right or left – or nothing - remains up in the air.However, there is no question that they are a force and are picking up steam – andfollowers as they go along.If you are interested, Spiegel On-Line published a five part article on the Pirates.You can link to it by clicking here.http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,829451,00.htmlNo matter what, they bear watching and we will do just that.GRASS FIRE: STILL BURNINGThe flap over Günter Grass’ poem which was so critical of Israel, calling it a threat toworld peace and Iran, has died down somewhat but it certainly has not ended.According to Haaretz, “Grass, 84, most famous for his 1959 novel "The Tin Drum,"denies he is anti-Semitic. He has urged his countrymen for decades to come toterms with their Nazi past, but his moral authority has never fully recovered from hisadmission in 2006 that he once served in Adolf Hitlers Waffen SS.After the outcry over his poem, entitled "What must be said," Grass said that inretrospect he would have phrased his criticism of Israel differently to make clear hewas "primarily talking about the [Netanyahu] government".Grass has said the Nazi past is not an excuse for Germans to refrain from criticizingpresent Israeli policies - a view endorsed by three quarters of Germans in Sundayspoll who said Israel should be subject to criticism just as any other nation.Nearly one in two Germans believe Iran poses a bigger threat to world peace thanIsrael, according to a poll on Sunday, disagreeing with renowned German authorGunter Grass whose criticism of the Jewish state triggered an international outcry.Grasss words were also denounced by mainstream political parties in Germany,where any strong condemnation of Israel is taboo because of the Nazi-perpetratedHolocaust.The poll, published in Die Welt am Sonntag newspaper along with a lengthyinterview with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, showed 48 percent of Germansthought Iran posed the biggest threat to peace while 18 percent said Israel was.A further 22 percent said Iran and Israel were an equal threat to world peace. Therest of those taking part in the Infratest/DIMAP survey expressed no opinion. 9
    • More than half of all those surveyed said they believed Irans nuclear program poseda threat to Israel.There are many more columns and opinions on the subject but I think you get thedrift. Grass certainly has some (I’ll be kind) un-dealt with problems about Israel andprobably Jews as well. The German people, to a large degree, do not agree withhim.While people’s opinions do change over the years, Grass’ volunteering for theWaffen SS and then hiding the fact for more than 60 years indicate some unresolvedquestions in his own mind. It is somehow tragic that this cultural icon (and he is agreat writer) winds up his life (He is 84) which such devastating black marks on hisrecord. Grass like football coach Joe Paterno at Penn State, will always have aparagraph added to his biography that diminishes and tarnishes all the positivethings that he did in his career. Sad!MEIN KAMPF: IT’S BACK!Some months ago a British publisher wanted to bring out a new version of MeinKampf (I don’t think I have to tell you what that is.). It ran into legal problemsbecause the publishing rights belong to the State of Bavaria. Spiegel On-Line nowreports, “The copyright on Adolf Hitlers "Mein Kampf" expires in 2015, after whichanyone will be free to republish the infamous tome. Amid fears that neo-Nazis couldexploit the texts new availability, the Bavarian government, which holds thecopyright, is planning to bring out its own annotated version. An English version andan audio book are also planned.Bavaria has announced it will take its own steps to limit the damage the book mightcause. Bavarian science minister Wolfgang Heubisch announced on Monday thatthe state would publish an annotated version of the book. By includingcommentaries on the text debunking Hitlers arguments, the state government hopesthat readers will not be seduced by the Nazi leaders propaganda.|The state is also planning a version for schools, with notes that are easy for youngpeople to understand. "The expiration of the copyright in three years time could leadto more young people reading Mein Kampf," Bavarian Finance Minister MarkusSöder said on Tuesday, announcing the decision to publish a school version. Hitlersbook still had something "mystical" attached to it, he said, explaining its attraction toyoung people. The notes on the text would outline "the global catastrophe that thisdangerous way of thinking led to," Söder said.In 1945, the copyright fell into the hands of the Bavaria government when the statetook over the rights of the main Nazi party publishing house Eher-Verlag as part ofthe Allies de-Nazification program. Out of fears that the book could promote neo- 10
    • Nazis, the Bavarian Finance Ministry, which controls the copyright, has not allowed"Mein Kampf" to be published in Germany since then, although the book is notofficially banned. Several foreign language editions have appeared in the meantime.There is considerable interest in what will happen when the copyright expires in2015, some 70 years after Hitlers death. In 2010, historians from the MunichInstitute of Contemporary History announced they were already working on anannotated version which they hoped to publish when the copyright expired, or evenbefore.You might say, “What’s the big fuss? Mein Kampf is available all over the world.”That’s true. However, when a German edition aimed at students is available, eventhough it is annotated, there should be, at least, a little concern. It seems to me thatthe Bavarian authorities are doing the right thing by being pro-active. It’s better tohave an annotated edition than one that is not. Of course, as in all school taughtsubject matter it is the quality of the teaching that is of the greatest importance. Iimagine that school administrators all over Germany will have to do a lot of teachertraining to make sure that what goes on in the classroom has the proper affect. Iassume we’ll be hearing a lot more on this matter as the Bavarians start theirproject. I’ll keep you informed.NEO-NAZIS MOVE WESTThe neo-Nazis in Germany have mostly been a problem for the German easternstates which formally made up East Germany (DDR). A disturbing article inDeutsche Welle indicates that problem has begun to move west into Bavaria andother states that formally made up West Germany. It is a troubling development.While the neo-Nazi movement and its outward political face, the NPD Party, stillremain small - well, you know about little acorns. Excerpts from the DW story follow.Since reunification, the prevailing view has been that right-wing extremism is mainlyrestricted to eastern Germany. But now the number of neo-Nazi offenses is soaringin the west. A new trend? DW takes a look.Herbert Fuehr, an editor with the "Nürnberger Nachrichten" newspaper, says therewere over 50 attacks on people and property from November 2011 until April 2012.Fuehr reports critically on right-wing extremist terror which has led to his picturebeing published on neo-Nazi websites and him being denounced as a troublemaker.Its dangerous to be singled out by the neo-Nazi scene, Fuehr says, adding that hehopes the perpetrators will refrain from publishing his personal address on theInternet.These incidents are not just restricted to Bavaria. "Its getting worse, more brutal andincreasingly public," says Michael Helmstedt of the alliance against right-wing 11
    • extremism, adding that similar attacks have taken place in other parts of westernGermany.Germanys Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution puts the number ofright-wing extremist offenses at several hundred in the area of Nuremberg alone.Many of the perpetrators arent even trying to keep a low profile. Michael Helmbrechtand his family were harassed for three days by 250 neo-Nazis who had taken upposition on a lawn they had deliberately rented close to his house. The familyreceived comprehensive police protection, and friends moved in with them in a showof solidarity.Experts say right-wing extremism in western Germany is taking on increasinglyeastern German patterns: Migrants and people actively fighting right-wing extremismare spied on and targeted. Some families have seen their cars torched severaltimes, says Günter Pierzig, spokesperson of the north Bavarian federation againstright wing extremism.The fear of attacks is mounting, for instance in Weißenburg in Bavaria, where agrowing number of neo-Nazis are moving to from larger cities.The perpetrators are seldom found. Many citizens turn a blind eye to the neo-Naziattacks because they are afraid to end up on the target list themselves. Although thepolice are trying hard to pinpoint the perpetrators, many victims feel left in the lurchby the state.I am sure that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (sort of like ourFBI) is following this development closely. However, with economic problems andfewer jobs (even in Germany) the situation might get worse. Not a happy thought.We’ll follow it and keep you advised.ISRAELIS & GERMANS: A NEW RELATIONSHIP?We have heard and read a lot over the years about the “formal’ relationship(s)between Israel and Germany. Reparations, the purchase of submarines, jointcabinet meetings, etc. The list goes on and on. However, we rarely hear about thepersonal kinds of relationships. How do these people with very different historiesdeal with each other on a person to person basis? Whatever it has been it seems tobe changing.De Spiegel recently published an article entitled, “Young Israel’s New Love Affairwith Israel”. It notes, “Something has changed about the way Israelis and Germansinteract, far removed from the endless German debates in which old men wrestlewith their ghosts and politicians struggle to perform the mandatory rituals: theobligatory visit to Yad Vashem here, the obligatory visit to Dachau there. For quite 12
    • some time now, theres been a new Israeli-German reality beyond the routine ofshock and dismay -- primarily in Israel.Nearly 70 years after the Holocaust, the last survivors are passing away, and this ischanging how younger Israelis view Germany. Relatively free of historical taboos,they are redefining what this country means to them. This new generation no longerfinds it odd that a company like Birkenstock promotes its products in Israel with"Made in Germany," and a short trip to Berlin is the most normal thing in the world.For them, Germany is not just a country like any other -- it also happens to be one oftheir favorites.It mainly has to do with a feeling, a new Israeli self-assurance vis-à-vis Germany,one characterized by curiosity and a yearning for discovery. Young Israelis nolonger insist on constant remembrance but, rather, on the right to be allowed toforget sometimes.The sheer scale of this transition is perhaps best expressed in figures: Two yearsago, one-quarter of all Israelis were rooting for Germany to win the soccer WorldCup. In a survey conducted in 2009, 80 percent of all respondents qualified Israeli-German relations as normal, and 55 percent said that anti-Semitism was no worsein Germany than elsewhere in Europe.Some 100,000 Israelis now hold German passports, and 15,000 are thought to beliving in Berlin. The number of direct flights between the countries increases everyyear, yet the aircraft are nearly always fully booked. In the large cities, its almostimpossible to find a young Israeli who hasnt been to Germany or doesnt want to gothere. They are especially drawn to Berlin. The city from which the Final Solutionwas once managed now lures Israelis with its cheap rents and the promise of life inan exciting city that never sleeps.But Berlin is more than just the latest New York. Its a stage on which they can roleplay and explore their senses of belonging and identity -- a kind of what-if game:What if I had been born in Germany? Who would I be? What would my life be liketoday?It goes without saying that this new relationship is not without its problems. Noteverything is rosy, of course, and not all is forgiven and forgotten. There are still 17-year-olds with German roots who shudder with shame when the Holocaust iscovered in school. There are others who swear theyll never set foot in Germany.Remembering the Holocaust is the guiding principle of their lives, said 98 percent ofJewish Israelis in a recent survey. And when the Israel Chamber Orchestra played apiece by Richard Wagner last year at the festival in Bayreuth devoted to the Germancomposer, it sparked an uproar back in Israel. But it can actually be seen as a signof change -- and not so much a sign of persistence: A symbolic act of resistancefrom the older generation, which is ill at ease with the relaxed attitude of todaysyouth. 13
    • There is much more to the article which can be accessed by clicking here.http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,828302-2,00.html There is little doubtthat as the Holocaust passes into the background and Holocaust survivors pass on,the feelings and thoughts of younger people are just not charged with the sameanger, hostility, and feelings of horror that older people have internalized. In addition,Israel, unlike the U.S. is almost a European country. Israeli youngsters do not feel asremoved as do young American Jews arriving in Germany.Time marches on and so do the feelings of the new generations.***********************************************************************************************See you again in about a month. I’ll be in Germany from May 16th to the 27th.DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contacted byclicking hereBoth the American and Germany editions are posted atwww.dubowdigest.typepad.comClick here to connect 14