DuBow Digest Germany Edition January 27,  2014
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DuBow Digest Germany Edition January 27, 2014

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An American Jewish - German Information & Opinion Newsletter

An American Jewish - German Information & Opinion Newsletter

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DuBow Digest Germany Edition January 27,  2014 DuBow Digest Germany Edition January 27, 2014 Document Transcript

  • AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION & OPINION NEWSLETTER dubowdigest@optonline.net GERMANY EDITION January 27, 2014 IN THIS EDITION IRAN: THE WASHINGTON BATTLEGROUND – A battle over a diplomatic battle. CHABAD: GERMANY & THE AMERICAN CAMPUS – An amazing organization. IMPEDIMENTS TO PEACE? – Depending how you look at it. ABBAS & THE PEACE PROCESS – An impediment leader? WHAT IF THE PEACE PROCESS FAILS? – Is there a Plan B? JEWISH & GERMAN: INTERNAL CONFLICT? – An identity problem. THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY, ETC., ETC. – Israel & Egypt see eye to eye As I write this we are on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day. As more people directly impacted by the Holocaust die off I wonder how long the commemorations will last. The special day commemorating the American Civil War (originally called Decoration Day) has morphed into something much more general now called Memorial Day. My guess is that very few Americans know that it began after the Civil War and, I venture to say, even fewer care. It's now generally thought of as the beginning of the summer season. Perhaps Holocaust Memorial Day won’t last all that long but new historical revelations keep popping up such as the collection of Heinrich Himmler's letters to his wife and the trove of artwork found in a Munich apartment. The revelations in the Himmler letters will probably will evoke long lasting media attention and the Munich art will bring about a series of extended legal challenges. 1
  • So, "forgetting" does not seem to be in the cards - at least not any time soon. A most interesting fact, as far as I can see, is that Germans themselves keep the pot boiling. It is not the Israelis, Americans or the Jewish community generally demanding remembrance. It is the Germans. I can only think that the facing of its ugly past history is a mark of genuine mental health and responsibility. Enough of my musings, let's get on with the news... IRAN: THE WASHINGTON BATTLEGROUND When it comes to the Iran nuclear situation it looks to me as if Pres. Obama is fighting a two front battle. On the one hand the President and Secy. of State John Kerry are deeply committed to reaching some sort of agreement with Iran over the Iranian nuclear capacity. Considering Iran's failure to adhere to previous agreements the final outcome is far from certain. The U.S. and its allies in this matter have a tough job on their hands in making sure that Iran is not producing the kind of material that can be used in a bomb. On the second front the President is engaged in a domestic battle with the Congressional Republicans and members of his own Democratic Party who want to pass a bill to strengthen the sanctions against Iran. The President has stated that he would veto any such bill if passed. However, timing is the big question here. The agreement with Iran calls for them to undertake certain steps within the next six months. If they don't fulfill their part of the bargain the sanctions bill would probably pass and the President would be hard pressed not to sign it into law. Heavily involved in all this are American Jews and their organizations. While they try not to be at loggerheads with any American President, in this case the strong anti-Iran position of Israel is, of course, a factor. Ron Kampeas writing in JTA explains it better than I can. He notes, "The White House is mounting a full-court press in the Senate against a new Iran sanctions bill, but the fight is focused less on the proposed sanctions themselves than on their timing and the conditions attached to them. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), is backed by much of the pro-Israel community, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The U.S. House of Representatives last summer overwhelmingly approved a similar sanctions package. The Senate bill’s backers say it gives the United States greater leverage in its efforts to negotiate a resolution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. But President Obama says new sanctions could scuttle the talks. Two of the bill’s most controversial provisions are a requirement that Iran not be allowed to maintain any uranium enrichment capacity and non-binding language calling on the United States to support Israel if it strikes Iran’s nuclear program in self-defense. 2
  • The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 was introduced in the Senate on Dec. 20 and so far has garnered 59 co-sponsors, eight short of the two-thirds necessary to override a promised presidential veto. The bill enjoys the overwhelming support of Republicans, with only two GOP senators not among the co-sponsors. In addition to Menendez, 15 other Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors — although one of these, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), now says there ―may not need to be a vote‖ as long as progress is being made in talks. At least 20 members of the Senate’s Democratic caucus have come out in recent days supporting the White House in its bid to keep the sanctions bill from advancing. White House officials have said in off-the-record conversations with Jewish leaders that the sanctions themselves are not controversial. Should the talks with Iran fail, officials have said that they would press to have Congress pass the new sanctions ―in a day.‖ What are the new sanctions? –Existing sanctions on Iranian crude oil would be expanded to include its refined version, petroleum, and its products. –Existing sanctions on Iran’s shipping sector would also be expanded to include engineering, mining and construction sectors, as well as Iranian free economic zones. –Existing sanctions on Iran’s financial sector would be broadened beyond current bans on its nuclear and energy sectors to virtually any dealings, save for humanitarian transactions. –The bill also expands individuals targeted by sanctions to include employees of a broad selection of official and semi-official Iranian bodies. Disagreement over timing The White House’s principal objection to the bill is its timing. The Joint Plan of Action, the November interim agreement between Iran and six major powers, is intended to create a six-month window for reaching a final settlement. The interim agreement, which exchanged a partial rollback of existing sanctions for a partial rollback of Iran’s nuclear activity, requires the United States to ―refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.‖ It’s unclear whether the legislation as currently devised violates those terms. Backers of the bill say that by allowing the president to suspend implementation for six months, the legislation does not violate the interim deal. ―It provides the president the time he has requested to see if negotiations can succeed without additional sanctions being imposed during the talks if Iran keeps to its end of the interim framework agreement,‖ Brad Gordon, the director of policy and government affairs for AIPAC, says in a video message posted on the group’s website. But others argue that mere enactment of the bill, even if implementation is delayed, constitutes a violation. ―This bill would impose new sanctions and, while the measures 3
  • may not be enforced, they will become law,‖ says an analysis by the Arms Control Association. The White House has also warned that while the passage of new sanctions legislation might not spur Iran to quit the talks, as it has threatened to do, they might lead to the collapse of the international coalition that brought Iran to the table. Disagreement over outcome Another White House objection has to do with outcomes required by the bill. The Obama administration complains that the bill would constrain its ability to negotiate an agreement with the Iranians. Backers of the bill admit as much. ―The Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2013 clearly defines parameters for a final agreement,‖ Gordon says in the AIPAC video. The most contentious of the requirements has to do with uranium enrichment. For the president to suspend the legislation’s sanctions provisions, the bill requires he must certify that a final agreement will ―dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure, including enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and facilities.‖ Such a requirement comports with the demand of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that any final agreement permanently end Iran’s enrichment capability. Iranian nuclear knowledge and capability is advanced enough, according to supporters of this condition, that even enriching uranium to five percent — a level generally used for peaceful purposes — would allow Iran to quickly advance to weapons-grade enrichment if it so decided. White House officials have said that Iran would never accept a total enrichment ban and that the best possible outcome would be a five percent enrichment capability. The bill would also allow Congress, by a vote of both chambers, to reimpose any sanctions that were suspended as a result of an agreement. Disagreement over Israel The bill recommends U.S. backing for Israel should it determine that it must strike Iran. In its ―sense of Congress‖ section, it says: ―If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.‖ That language, according to critics, amounts to allowing a foreign nation — albeit one that is a close ally — a determinative role in deciding when the United States joins a military action. ―Let me acknowledge Israel’s real, well-founded concerns that a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its very existence,‖ Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of 4
  • the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a Jan. 14 floor speech opposing the bill. ―While I recognize and share Israel’s concern, we cannot let Israel determine when and where the U.S. goes to war. By stating that the U.S. should provide military support to Israel should it attack Iran, I fear that is exactly what this bill will do.‖ The bill’s backers note that by definition, ―sense of Congress‖ language is not binding and that the bill concludes that nothing in it ―shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran.‖ Moreover, they note, the language is identical to a non-binding resolution that the Senate passed in May by a vote 99 to 0. Feinstein was among its co-sponsors. The situation regarding Iran has certainly pushed the Israel - Palestinian conflict, if not off the front pages of the Anglo-Jewish press, to a less important position on that page. The Palestinian problem has been around seemingly forever and is not seen as an immediate threat to the security of the world's only Jewish state. That cannot be said about Iran which has, indeed, threatened to wipe Israel off the map. That's serious and will continue to be a main focus for American Jews in theforeseeable future. CHABAD: GERMANY & THE AMERICAN CAMPUS Those of you who follow Jewish matters to any extent either in Germany or the U.S. have probably come across an organization called Chabad. At times, especially in the early winter when the Hanukkahholiday comes around, the German press (especially in Berlin) has pictures and articles of the public observance of the holiday when a large Hanukkah menorah (candelabra) is lit. Almost always, the lighting is sponsored by Chabad. So, what is Chabad? According to Wikipedia, ―Chabad, also known as Habad, Lubavitch, and Chabad-Lubavitch, is a Hasidic movement. Chabad adheres to the Orthodox practice of Judaism. Founded in Russia in 1775, Chabad is today one of the world's largest and best-known Hasidic movements. Its official headquarters are currently located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Organizationally, it is the largest Jewish religious organization in the world today. The name "Chabad" is a Hebrew acronym for Chochmah, Binah, Da'at. "Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge". The name "Lubavitch" (meaning the "Town of Love") is the popular name for the Russian village Lyubavichi where the movement's leaders lived for over 100 years.The Chabad movement represents a school of thought established and led by a dynasty of Hasidic rebbes [rabbis]. Chabad maintains a network of over 3,600 institutions in over 1,000 cities, spanning 70 countries. Chabad institutions provide outreach to unaffiliated Jews, as well as religious, cultural and educational activities at Chabad run community centers, synagogues, schools and camps. Being international, Chabad is active in Germany. They now have 16 institutions in the 5
  • Federal Republic including 3 in Berlin where my good friend Rabbi Yehuda Tiechtel and his wife Leah are the co-directors. By the way, it should be clear that Chabad is not interested in converting non-Jews to Judaism. Their focus is on getting Jews to be more observant and to develop their own Jewish identity. Now to skip westward over the Atlantic, we see Chabad becoming much more of a force on American university campuses. They obviously offer something that touches many Jewish students. Recently, Y-Net News reported on its development at Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey. It noted, ―.There are 40,000 students at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and in the heart of the campus one stands out what is probably the biggest Chabad House in the world, which offers its services to more than 4,000 Jewish students and guests arriving at the university. The hub of Jewish campus life, the Chabad center caters to students' religious needs and offers them meals and accommodation. Rutgers student Talia Friedman says she was ashamed of her Jewishness until she arrived at the Chabad House. "Here I became proud of being Jewish. The Chabad emissaries walk around with beards and an authentic Jewish appearance, so I have nothing to be ashamed of either," she says. Apart from the feeling of pride, Talia adds, there is also the assimilation issue: "The Chabad House is an excellent place for meeting other Jews for friendly relations." "The Jews here did not go to a yeshiva and are not thinking of ever visiting a yeshiva," Rabbi Carlebach observes the Chabad House goers. "They come from a non-religious home and have negative opinions about Judaism. They may have had a bar mitzvah, and it was hard work for them. "The job of the emissaries here is to show them that Judaism is alive, and that Hasidism is alive. It gives them a sense of life which they cannot get anywhere else." Chabad is a relatively new and small Jewish addition to most campuses where there are Jewish students. In years gone by Jewish activity was handled by local affiliates of the Hillel Society (www.hillel.org) which operates on 550 campuses in the U.S. However, Chabad has begun to make it presence known and is an important addition to Jewish life at many American universities. Orthodoxy is not for everyone but you probably cannot convince the Chabad people of that. With the increasing impact of Chabad in both the FRG and the U.S. it is something I thought you, my readers, would be interested in. IMPEDIMENTS TO PEACE? Though no (or at least, not much) progress is being made in the U.S. led Israeli – 6
  • Palestinian peace process; one must credit U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry for giving it “the old college try” (American slang – great effort). He has made at least 9 visits to Israel and the West Bank with no agreement yet in sight. To some people it seems that if only Israel would stop building settlements (most are small towns or cities) the Palestinians would quickly agree to something and the whole thing could be settled (not meant as a pun). Rarely do I read or hear about the complexities faced by the Israelis. Even more rarely do I hear or read a well put together list of problems they themselves face. Finally, such a listing has appeared. It’s not perfect but I believe that when one reads it with an open mind one will see that even the stronger of the two sides in this long ongoing problem has a great problem in bringing itself to signing some sort of an agreement. Peter Berkowitz writing in Real Clear Politics presents us with his list of obstacles to peace. He writes: First, and most important, the PA refuses to renounce a supposed ―right of return,‖ which it asserts would give some 5 million pre-1967 Palestinian Arabs access to property and citizenship in Israel. The vast majority of these Palestinians are descendants of the approximately 650,000 Arabs who fled Israel in 1947 and 1948 (most by their own choice) before and during a war in which five Arab armies invaded and sought to destroy the just-declared Jewish state. There is no precedent in international law for such a right, and its exercise would destroy Israel as a Jewish state. Second, while Abbas and lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat claim to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, they refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Netanyahu government maintains that formal public acceptance of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people is vital because it signals that the PA does not seek to use the establishment of a state of its own as a steppingstone toward the creation of a single majority Palestinian state enveloping Israel. Third, Abbas categorically rejected Kerry’s recent proposal that the Israel Defense Forces remain in the Jordan River Valley for 10 years after a peace agreement goes into effect. Speaking after an emergency meeting in Cairo on Dec. 21, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby emphatically backed Abbas, declaring that under any acceptable peace agreement, not one Israeli soldier would be permitted to remain in the valley. The Netanyahu government, however, is convinced that no matter how sincere Kerry’s assurances are, only Israel is capable of ensuring that dangerous weapons and murderous jihadists do not infiltrate from Jordan. Fourth, the PA shows no signs of desisting its incitement of hatred for Jews and Israel. Its schools and government-run media continue to celebrate terrorists who kill Israeli civilians and to nurture the hope that one day Palestinians will return to homes inside pre-1967 Israel that their grandparents abandoned 65 years ago. This systematic 7
  • incitement only intensifies Israeli demands for security concessions unacceptable to the PA, including free movement of the IDF within Palestinian cities. Fifth, the six-year civil war between the PA, which rules in the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip, means Abbas can make no plausible claim to speak for almost half of all Palestinians in the territories beyond the Green Line. Sixth, even within the West Bank, the PA is dysfunctional. It lacks support among the public. It suffers from widespread and endemic corruption. Were the IDF to withdraw, the PA could fall to Hamas. Seventh, the uprisings that erupted in the Arab world in the winter of 2011 have destabilized Israel’s neighbors. The military government in Egypt that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood government that replaced ousted President Hosni Mubarak is wrestling with a tottering economy and terrorists in the Sinai. Lebanon, with a population of 4 million, is struggling with approximately 850,000 refugees from Syria’s civil war. Jordan, with a population of 6.5 million, is straining to deal with approximately 570,000 Syrian refugees. As Israel’s dangerous neighborhood has become more dangerous, the Netanyahu government has redoubled its determination to secure terms, likely to be rejected by the PA, that guarantee Israel’s ability to defend itself. Eighth, not withstanding Kerry’s engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israelis see a vacillating and timid America seeking to disengage from the region. The Obama administration has projected an opaque approach to Egypt, led from behind in Libya, acquiesced to a Russian-brokered deal in Syria that confirms Bashar al-Assad as president, and negotiated an interim agreement with Tehran that threatens to recognize Iran as a nuclear threshold state. These developments harden Israel’s negotiating stance and confirm its longstanding policy that Israel and Israel alone must take ultimate responsibility for its security. Ninth, Israeli building in the West Bank complicates negotiations not least because Palestinians, the Obama administration, and much of the world adamantly oppose it. Whether Netanyahu desires settlement expansion, pressures from within his coalition impel him to support some, which is the kind of domestic political constraint that Kerry appears not to have adequately considered. Tenth, while the Israeli public overwhelmingly supports peace, considerable segments of it, when they pay attention to current negotiations at all, regard them with apathy. The apathy stems from Palestinian and Arab rejection of past peace plans, from former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s far-reaching 2008 offer to the 1937 Peel Commission partition plan. And apathy is reinforced by decades of vicious Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel’s civilian population, which have scarred citizens’ political imagination. Granted, Mr. Berkowitz is writing from the Israeli side though I think he is quite balanced. My purpose in re-printing his 10 points is not to convince you one way or the other about responsibility or fault, but merely to point out that the situation is enormously complicated from the Israeli side. That has to be taken into consideration when thinking about the possibilities for peace. 8
  • You can read the entire article by clicking here. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/12/31/10_roadblocks_to_mideast_peace_ 121089.html ABBAS & THE PEACE PROCESS If you read Mr. Berkowitz’s piece above outlining the Israeli prerequisites for a peace agreement with the Palestinians and concluded that it would be very difficult for Israel to find a way to a final peace agreement, then you should keep reading and you will be convinced, as many are, that this whole exercise is absolutely useless. Perhaps we should not take seriously what politicians and national leaders say in public speeches. However, when Palestinian President Abbas clearly states his nonnegotiable basics for agreement, we should at least take note. Israel Hayom recently reported, “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinians will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, will not agree to any deal that does not make east Jerusalem the future Palestinian capital and will not give up the right of return. The Palestinians will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech at the Muqataa government compound in Ramallah on Saturday. Abbas made the speech ahead of his planned trip to Paris for the Arab League conference, where he will ask for support for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's emerging framework peace proposal. The Palestinian leader added another two stipulations regarding a future peace agreement in his speech: There will be no deal unless east Jerusalem becomes the capital of a future Palestinian state and the right of return for Palestinian refugees is left in their own hands. In a speech reminiscent of the 1967 Khartoum Resolution, in which the Arab League stated what is now known as the "three noes" -- no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it -- Abbas further stated that the Jordan Valley was an integral part of a Palestinian state. Abbas made these statements despite the fact that the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations are at a sensitive stage. I am not a Middle East expert and I have no real knowledge of Pres. Abbas’ intentions. However, it seems to me that he is making a case in anticipation of the peace process’ failureafter which he intends to go to the UN for some sort of statehood recognition. Some feel that that was his intention all along and that he went along with Secy. Kerry’s peace discussions to ward off the possibility of the U.S. withholding the funds that the 9
  • Palestinians receive annually. Many months ago I opined that I didn’t think much would come from the Kerry-led negotiations. I haven’t changed my mind. I thought then that some sort of “no-war” agreement could be agreed upon. That still might happen. I doubt whether the exercise will be a complete bust. It’s too important for the U.S. to come away with something. What the something will be remains to be seen. There are some problems that are not solvable – at a given time. This is one of them. There may come a time in the future when there is a greater possibility for agreement but 2014 isn’t one of them. If the killing can stop or at least be held to a bare minimum, that would be progress. Let’s hope that happens. WHAT IF THE PEACE PROCESS FAILS? What if the U.S. led peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians fails? Is that the eternal end of attempts to bring the two sides to some sort of agreement? Will Israel tighten its security in the West Bank in order to head off a third Intifada? Will Pres. Abbas head to the UN to see if he can get some sort of recognition for a country that’s economically not ready to stand as an independent nation? We all read a lot about the peace process but, as far as I can tell, there is very little being said about what would happen if it fails. Will the U.S. have some “Plan B” ready as a backup? Elliot Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly, he was senior director for democracy and human rights, senior director for the Near East, and deputy national security adviser handling Middle East affairs in the George W. Bush administration produced a “memo” for the Council on Foreign Relations here in the U.S. which I think makes a lot of sense. He writes, ―The Obama administration is fostering Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a full and final peace agreement. While the talks last they help calm the regional political situation, but they do nothing to improve Palestinian daily life or help build the institutions of a future Palestinian state. If they fail, as all past efforts have, they may leave behind frustration and bitterness. Even so, negotiations should not be abandoned, but should be buttressed by a simultaneous effort to undertake pragmatic steps that support Palestinian institutions, improve life in the West Bank, and strengthen the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Hamas. While today's political-level peace negotiations can provide an essential umbrella for such steps, focusing solely on achieving a full "final status agreement" is too risky. Practical "on-the-ground" improvements are beneficial in themselves and can improve chances for an eventual negotiated settlement. Moreover, because such steps do not violate the interests of the Israeli or Palestinian sides, they can be pursued without continuing the top-level U.S. intervention that other and often higher U.S. policy priorities may require. 10
  • Mr. Abrams lays out a plan which includes: The United States should help the PA emerge from a state of financial crisis The United States should encourage Israel to take further steps to improve the Palestinian economy. Israel should limit construction in settlements to the major blocs that, in all previous negotiations, have been understood that Israel will keep. Israel should minimize its incursions in Palestinian territory and undertake only those with significant security payoffs. The United States should encourage Israeli security forces and courts to prevent and penalize settler violence against Palestinians, which has increased in recent years. The United States should be willing to criticize and sometimes penalize the PA whenever it glorifies violence or those who have committed acts of terror. Mr. Abrams concludes by saying, “While today's political-level peace negotiations can provide an essential umbrella for pragmatic steps, focusing solely on achieving a full final status agreement is too risky. Practical on-the-ground improvements are beneficial in themselves and can improve chances for an eventual negotiated settlement. They will also strengthen the PA and its ability to engage in the compromises any full peace agreement will require. Supporting the construction of a Palestinian state from the ground up, strengthening Palestinian institutions, and seeking pragmatic IsraeliPalestinian cooperation should be the center of U.S. policy now, not the handmaiden to a policy aimed at a comprehensive but currently unattainable final peace agreement. In this very thorny and difficult problem a Plan B or some sort of backup could prove to be invaluable. Would the elements in Mr. Abrams plan be agreeable to either side or to Secy. Kerry and the U.S. Administration? Who knows? But at least the above provides some sort of framework. Frankly, I’m not very hopeful about anything really tangible coming out of the current negotiations. Mr. Abrams thinks the U.S. is aiming to high and that a more “doable” policy might have some possibilities. Perhaps he’s right. To read the entire memo click here. http://www.cfr.org/israel/israeli-palestinian-negotiations/p32136 JEWISH & GERMAN: INTERNAL CONFLICT? The question of personal identity is a complex and highly individual one. I'm not sure I'm qualified to even approach how German Jews feel about themselves and with what they identify. I'm not German and the American Jewish community of the 1930's in which I 11
  • grew up was certainly different than that of post-war Germany. In addition, each and every German Jew must wrestle with his or her own self-identification. Those even coming out of the same life situation may very well wind up feeling looking at themselves differently. There is no doubt that the German and Jewish elements combined, I believe, must have at least some impact on a person with both in the formation of their identity. Such a person is Yascha Mounk who authored an article in The New York Times entitled, German, Jewish and Neither. It is the forerunner of a book that will be published shortly, “Stranger in My Own Country: A Jewish Family in Modern Germany.‖ There are two major elements in Mr. Mounk’s story. The first has to do with his own struggle as to how he should identify and second, how Germans have related to him. Needless to say, a Jew, any Jew, meeting a German, unless they are completely oblivious to history, factors that history somewhat into their thoughts about the other person. The same goes for the Germans as well when they meet someone who is Jewish. My guess is that any two people who come from groups that have had a disputatious relationship take the group history into account. That’s normal. I have not met many Arabs in my life but when I do somewhere in the back of my mind lurks the fact our two ethnic groups have had a bad history. The problem Mr. Mounk has is that he feels neither German nor Jewish and only feels at ease in New York which he finds neutral. Frankly, I feel sorry for him. Whether you like it or not you are what you are and the world sees you that way. Maybe his American friends appear to treat him “as just a person” but I have news for Mr. M. – the problem is largely internal not external. In any case you should read the article which you can do by clicking here. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/04/opinion/sunday/german-jewish-andneither.html?emc=eta1 THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY, ETC., ETC. At the moment Israel has no greater enemy than Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza and frequently shoots rockets and other missiles into southern Israel. Hamas, an Iranian sponsored group doesn’t seem to have any friends. Israel leads the list of enemies but Fatah; the Palestinian group that rules in the West Bank is not far behind. During the reign of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt it appeared that Hamas was being supplied through tunnels (many) that had been dug from Gaza under the border to Sinai which is part of Egypt. Israel and Fatah were very unhappy with this turn of events. Now that the Brotherhood has been dispatched with its leadership either in jail or dispersed, the situation has changed. 12
  • Israel Hayom recently reported, ―After crushing the Muslim Brotherhood at home, Egypt's military rulers plan to undermine Hamas, the terror group that runs the neighboring Gaza Strip, senior Egyptian security officials told Reuters. The aim, which the officials say could take years to pull off, includes working with Hamas' political rival Fatah and supporting popular anti-Hamas activities in Gaza, four security and diplomatic officials said. Since it seized power in Egypt last summer, Egypt's military has squeezed Gaza's economy by destroying most of the 1,200 tunnels used to smuggle food, cars and weapons to the coastal enclave. Now Cairo is becoming even more ambitious in its drive to eradicate what it says are terrorist organizations that threaten its national security. Intelligence operatives, with the help of Hamas' political rivals and activists, plan to undermine the credibility of Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007 after a brief civil war with the Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Egypt accuses Hamas of backing al-Qaida-linked terror groups which have stepped up attacks against security forces in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula over the past few months. The attacks have spread to Cairo and other cities. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas deny accusations of terrorism, and the Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful activism. The group was ousted from power in Egypt after the military threw its weight behind street protests last summer. In early January, Cairo publicly hosted the first conference of a new anti-Hamas youth group called Tamarud, or rebel, the same name used by the Egyptian youth movement that led last year's protests against [Egypt’s former President] Morsi. Members of the Palestinian Tamarud stood with the Palestinian flag wrapped around their necks to highlight what they called Hamas' crimes against activists in Gaza Terrorist groups are a threat to everybody including the new military government in Egypt which is trying to establish itself. Yes! It’s not very democratic but the Brotherhood government was even less so and the Egyptian people are entitled to have the kind of government they want. One thing is for sure. With Egypt pressuring Hamas and looking to force them out of ruling Gaza, the Gaza-Israel border should be less of a problem in the future. And while the Israelis benefit from that the real winners in the long run will be the poor people of Gaza who have suffered greatly because of the radical leadership of Hamas. You can read the entire article by clicking here. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=14729 ************************************************************************************************* 13
  • See you again in February DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be reached at dubowdigest@optonline.net Both the American and Germany editions are posted at www.dubowdigest.typepad.com 14