Du bow Digest American Edition feb. 28, 2012


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An American Jewish - German Information & Opinion Newsletter

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Du bow Digest American Edition feb. 28, 2012

  1. 1. AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION & OPINION NEWSLETTER dubowdigest@optonline.netAMERICAN EDITIONFebruary 28, 2012Dear Friends:No doubt about it. The Greek bailout is still the Item #1 in Europe. That especiallygoes for Germany who, in the long run, will have to carry much of the financial load.However, Chancellor Merkel’s suggested severe austerity program is being imposedand, as you might imagine, is not going down well in Greece. There are manyquestions being raised about the political as well as economic impact of such aprogram on Greece and the rest of the debtor nations. In the meantime Germany isbeing seen as the unpopular rich uncle a la the U.S. Click here to read about it.http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,817887,00.htmlThe deep recession throughout much of Europe (maybe even a depression inGreece) has stoked questions about the permanence of not only the Euro but of theEuropean Union itself. The EU is a very complicated structure with many political,economic and social interconnections among the member states. Whatever answersthere are for its problems, they are far from simple. Its health, however, has greatimplications for the U.S. and so I think it behooves us to learn more about it.While all this is going on around it, Germany has had to take time out to both selecta new president and to officially mourn the murdered victims of a neo-Nazi hategang. Both are covered below so let’s get on with the news…IN THIS EDITIONA NEW PRESIDENT: JOACHIM GAUCK – You may not know him but everybody inGermany does – especially those in East Germany who were in the Stasi.GERMANY & ISRAEL: CLOSER OR FURTHER APART? – It depends on who youask and whether there are issues other than the future of the Palestinians.NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NPD): A GENUINE THREAT? – Why is it even 1
  2. 2. a question?A TRIBUTE TO NEO-NAZI VICTIMS – Nazi victimization hasn’t gone away.DRESDEN: NAZIS & ANTI-NAZIS – 13,000 Dresdeners answer the Nazis.HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: MORE BAD THAN GOOD? - Is too much of a goodthing bad?CORRECTIONS – Even your esteemed editor drops the ball occasionally.A NEW PRESIDENT: JOACHIM GAUCKThose of you who read my Special Edition know that German President ChristianWulff resigned on Feb. 16th after all the scandals he had been accused of caught upwith him. Though the name of Joachim Gauck, who had been the losing candidate inthe last election, emerged immediately as a possible successor, it took ChancellorMerkel a couple of days to read the political tea leaves before she backed hiscandidacy. He will be elected by the special Federal Assembly on March 15thBecause Gauck had been the candidate of the Social Democrats two years ago (theChancellor’s opposition) it is now clear that she was forced to support him.As I pointed out in my Special Edition, Wulff was the second president that theChancellor and her party (CDU) had pushed through and then had him turn aroundand resign before his term was up. Both were embarrassing for Frau Merkel. Thistime without any warning the Chancellor’s coalition partner, the Free Democrats(FDP), announced their support for Gauck so she couldn’t turn her back on him. TheFDP move angered many in the CDU but there was little they could do withoutbringing down the government, something Chancellor Merkel certainly did not wantto have happen. Acceptance of Gauck became the better part of valor.On the other hand, some say that since both Merkel and Gauck were East Germansclosely connected to the Protestant Church (He is a Minister and Merkel’s father wasalso a pastor) and some of the positions he has taken in recent years are quiteconservative, she will, in the final analysis, be quite happy with him.No matter what, Germany has a new President, one very different from the last two.Spiegel-On Line notes, “Joachim Gauck could help repair the damage that ChristianWulff did to the German presidency. The countrys next head of state is a modestman, but also a fearless democrat, and is unlikely to shy away from controversy.The former East German civil rights activist is known to speak his mind. And hefights for what he believes in. 2
  3. 3. Gauck believes that democracy is a gift to humanity. Its a recognition that heattributes to his past living under a dictatorship. Its a secular message that thepastor has been repeating for years as a sort of traveling preacher of democraticvalues.Gauck is no stranger to party politics. He got a crash course in that world whileworking as the first federal commissioner for the Stasi Archives after Germanreunification. The task of investigating Stasi crimes was a personal one for Gauck,whose own father was arrested by the East German secret police when he was achild. The post, which he held for ten years, earned him the nickname "Stasi Hunter"and sealed his reputation as a tireless pro-democracy advocate.Gaucks aloofness from politics is one of the biggest reasons why he is so popular inGermany. When Gauck talks about democracy, he sounds almost noble, exudingnone of the political pragmatism of leaders like Merkel of the conservative ChristianDemocrats, Sigmar Gabriel of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) or other partybosses.From Gaucks new perch at Bellevue Palace, the presidents office, he is likely totake the entire political class to task: The CDU, when they ignore citizens in theirimplementation of policies. The FDP, when they put market interests before peopleyet again. The SPD, when they exaggerate their bank bashing. The Greens, whenthey get a little too self-righteous.There is no doubt that the President-to-be is a man of integrity and strength. He hasmet with AJC groups over the years and according to AJC’s Berlin director DeidreBerger he has visited the AJC Office. However, as far as I can tell, he has not beenvocal on the issues closest to the hearts and minds of the Jewish community. Hismain concern, perhaps to be understood because of his long battle against the EastGerman government, is anti- communism.One troubling connection (to some) that Gauck had was with “The PragueDeclaration on European Conscience and Communism” (also known as the PragueDeclaration), of which he was a co-founder and was signed on 3 June 2008. It is adeclaration initiated by the Czech government and signed by prominent Europeanpoliticians, former political prisoners and historians, including past signatories ofCharter 77 such as Václav Havel. According to Wikipedia, “Central to thedeclaration is the call for an "all-European understanding that both the Nazi andCommunist totalitarian regimes [...] should be considered to be the main disasters,which blighted the 20th century.Some of the international Jewish leadership felt that the Declaration equated Nazismand Communism and thereby lessened the importance of the Holocaust. Needlessto say, both Communism and Nazism caused great suffering for the Jewish peoplebut anything that diminishes the unique quality of the horror of the Holocaust is adiminishment of it. The relativization of the Holocaust is something that alwaysraises Jewish concerns. 3
  4. 4. Perhaps the new president already has the proper appreciation of the intricacies ofanti-Semitism and Israel-criticism. Maybe it is there and we just have not heard it asyet. Time will tell. However, I have been told by one of my informants that Gauck hasalready talked to both the Chairman and Secy. General of the Central Council ofJews in Germany (Zentralrat) and that is very encouraging news.In the meantime, Germany has a president of outstanding personal qualities and thevast backing of Germany’s citizens. He has the makings of a great president. Wecertainly wish him well.If you want to read a detailed history of the man, click here.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joachim_GauckGERMANY & ISRAEL: CLOSER OR FURTHER APART?Recently the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the political foundation closely connected toGermany’s Green Party held a conference on what Germans have in common withIsrael and what sets them apart.DW reporting on the conference in an article by Bettina Marx quoted NitzanHorowitz, a Meretz Party member of the Knesset as saying, "I think today, Germanyis an anchor of democracy," Not just in Europe, but in the whole world." Germany,he says, is a strong, democratic and stable state that sets a good example for othercountries. Horowitz points out that younger people in both countries look ahead tothe future, rather than back at the past.The new generation has cultivated a lively exchange on the political, economic,scientific and cultural level, he says, in addition to countless private friendshipsbetween Israelis and Germans that have led to a stronger understanding betweenthe two nations.But Michael Wolffsohn, a German-Israeli historian, doesnt share Horowitzs point ofview."There is no friendship between Germany and Israel," he said in a recent interview.Wolffsohn says opinion polls show the gap between the countries has increasedsince 1981, when a fierce controversy between then-leaders Menachem Begin andHelmut Schmidt concerning planned German arms sales to Saudi Arabia led to aprofound break in relations. He says Israel had an exceptionally good reputation inGermany following the 1967 Six-Day War, only tarnished slightly by the Yom KippurWar in 1973.Today, Wolffsohn says Israel ranks as one of the most unpopular states in the worldin the eyes of the German public. 4
  5. 5. Wolffsohn and Horowitz presented their differing views at a recent conference atBerlins Heinrich-Böll Foundation, where Germans and Israelis discussed what thecountries have in common and what sets them apart."What ties us together is the Shoah," said Shimon Stein, the former Israeliambassador to Germany. He says the Shoah, the extermination of Europes Jewsby Nazi Germany, will overshadow relations between the two countries for a longtime.Thanks in part to this historic connection, German leaders have time and againreaffirmed their commitment to Israels security and right to exist.But what does this mean, exactly? Would Germany, for example, back Israel if theIsraeli army attacked Iran in an attempt to stop the country from developing itsnuclear program? The former ambassador was never able to get a clear answer tothis question.Gadi Algazi, a historian who lives in Tel Aviv, would rather not see Germany on theside of Israel in any potential attack on Iran. A military strike against Irans nuclearprogram would be devastating, he says, adding that Germany should never supportsuch a political solution.In his opinion, Israels best friends are those young activists who demonstratealongside Palestinians and Israelis against the occupation in the West Bank."One could sum up what we ask of Israel: an end to its colonization politics," he said."As long as Israels settlement policy continues, we will not have peace in the MiddleEast. This is the heart of our tragedy. For that reason, I would call for economic andpolitical pressure on Israel until it agrees to completely stop its colonization."Naomi Chazan, a political scientist and a former member of the Knesset, shares hisopinion. "What ties us together is not the past, but the future," she said, adding thatthe Germans have become accustomed to letting history define their relationshipwith Israel.But Chazan thinks the common values shared by the two countries are moreimportant than the historical burden, and she thinks friends of Israel should supportIsraeli society in its struggle for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and socialjustice.Chazan says without democracy, Israel has no livelihood and no future. Aspresident of the NGO New Israel Fund, she is committed to a pluralistic andegalitarian society in her country, and as a result has been the target of furiousattacks from the political right. 5
  6. 6. Even Carlo Strenger, a Swiss psychoanalyst and author, has come under fire for hiscriticism of Israeli politics. But, he said in an interview with DW, this has notprevented him from continuing to publish his views.Strenger expects the same from German supporters of Israel. Criticism of Israelipolitics is allowed, he says, and tolerated because of the close relationship betweenthe two countries.He understands that, due to the shared history, it may be difficult for Germanpoliticians to criticize Israel. In this respect, he admires German Chancellor AngelaMerkel: while she does not attempt to hide Germanys past, neither does she shrinkfrom legitimate criticism.I credit the Böll Foundation with having speakers from all sides of the issue. I wasparticularly interested in the fact that the people most critical of Israeli governmentpolicy were Gadi Algazi and Naomi Chazan, Israelis themselves. In German leftwing circles that view of matters is quite common as it is universally on the leftthroughout the world.Of course, everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. However, I am usually struckby the fact that people who come down hard on Israeli policy usually say little aboutthe responsibilities those on the other side have but, in my opinion, shoulder themvery poorly.In any case, I found the discussion above interesting but, unhappily, very little in theway of common ground was reached. Perhaps the most interesting factor was thatmuch of the conversation revolved around the Middle East and not the Israel -Germany situation itself. I don’t discount the importance of the Middle East butsurely Germany and Israel share more than just that one question.NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NPD): A GENUINE THREAT?THE NPD, Germany’s neo-Nazi Party adheres very closely to all the legal rules inorder to keep it from being banned and closed down. It is relatively small without anyrepresentatives in the Bundestag. So is it a real threat?Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s leading magazines, thinks so. They have devotedthree long pieces on succeeding issues to the question of the NPD and its possiblebanning. It is not possible for me to mention more than the questions the articlesraise. In order to get the whole story and its importance you will find links to the threefull articles below. I hope you will read them.In their first story Der Spiegel opened by noting, “The leaders of Germanys far-rightNPD seek to project the party as mainstream and reasonable. In truth, however, theparty is a melting pot for racists, Hitler worshippers and enemies of democracy. 6
  7. 7. There are plenty of reasons to ban the party. But would it make the NPD moredangerous than ever?(In) the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Ed: Note – in theformer East Germany), (the) … NPDs office there is on an arterial road in the townof Grevesmühlen. The local branch of the party has its headquarters on acommercial strip occupied by the likes of the local construction yard, a carpet storeand a Mercedes dealership. The black, white and red flag of the German Reichflying above the property identifies the NPD office, which is surrounded by a 2-meter(6.5-foot) fence topped with barbed wire. Behind the fence is a watchtower,complete with floodlights, next to a building with bars on the windows.The Germanic Elhaz rune, the symbol of the Third Reichs "Lebensborn" program,which supported the production of racially pure Aryan children, hangs above theentrance.The interior ministers of Germanys federal and state governments are in theprocess of re-examining whether they can -- and should -- ban the NPD. Sinceauthorities uncovered the Zwickau terrorist cell and its supporters, who wereapparently organized in a group calling itself the "National Socialist Underground"(NSU), the ministers have been asking themselves the kinds of questions that arecritical to a possible attempt to ban the party. How much potential for violence doesthe NPD hold? Does it intend to violently abolish the democratic system? Can it beproved to be similar in nature to National Socialism? And, perhaps most importantly,would the party be more dangerous if it were banned?The answers to these questions depends on the statements made by the NPD andhow they are interpreted, as well as the actions of the NPD and how much weightthey are given. In other words, the answers ultimately depend on the details.First, however, a fundamental principle needs to be considered, namely, that a partyshould not be banned merely because it is deeply critical of the prevailing form ofgovernment. This is the historic lesson Germany learned from the years of the Nazireign of terror, when Hitler united society under the swastika and had parties like theCommunist Party and the Social Democratic Party banned.The German constitutions response to this despotism is a guaranteed tolerance,which also applies in the political combat zone. Bans should be democracys lastline of defense, nothing less and nothing more. In the case of a political party,another determining factor in considering a ban is whether the party can be accusedof having an "actively combative, aggressive posture against the prevailing system."Paradoxically, the NPDs neo-Nazis are now the main beneficiaries of this anti-Naziclause in the German constitution. Thats why the process of examining a possibleban raises questions that extend beyond the current discussion, such as: How muchfreedom against the enemies of freedom can a democracy afford, and how much 7
  8. 8. does it want to afford?I think you get the drift of the questions. To truly understand them and the problemsthey pose, please read articles with links below. They will give you chills.Article 1 http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,815242,00.htmlArticle 2 http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,815787-2,00.htmlArticle 3 http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,815787-3,00.htmlA TRIBUTE TO NEO-NAZI VICTIMSDW reported, “Three months after investigators uncovered a neo-Nazi cell thatmurdered 10 people, Germany is commemorating the victims of far-right extremistswith a memorial service in Berlin and a nationwide moment of silence.Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Berlin memorial service attended byaround 1,200 people, including relatives of the 10 thought to have been killed by aneo-Nazi cell that targeted immigrants.Merkel said the murders were a scandal for Germany. "We will do everything tosolve the murders and to bring the perpetrators to justice," she promised. She alsoasked for forgiveness from the families of the victims."No one can erase the mourning and the loneliness," she said, referring to the yearsit took for police to make any headway in solving the murders as well as the cases inwhich relatives were themselves suspects. "We can all show you today, that you areno longer alone with your sadness. We feel with you, we mourn with you."The ceremony was intended to be a show of resolve in the fight against far-rightextremism.Trade unions and employers called for a moment of silence to be observed at noonaround the country to commemorate victims of neo-Nazi attacks.Religious leaders demanded action ahead of the memorial service.It "must be more than a sign of solidarity and sympathy," the president of the CentralCouncil of Jews, Dieter Graumann, told the daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, addingthat concrete steps must follow.It is important that one condemns racism, but that is not enough," the head of theTurkish Community in Germany, Kenan Kolat, said, criticizing what he said was theabsence of a clear government strategy against racism within society. 8
  9. 9. The focus of the Berlin memorial service was meant to be the presumed victims ofthe far-right National Socialist Underground (NSU).The neo-Nazi cell was discovered in November, when two of the members werefound dead in an apparent suicide pact. A third member turned herself in, but isrefusing to cooperate with police.The NSU is believed to have carried out a series of murders across the country thatleft eight Turkish-German businesspeople, a Greek man and a police officer dead.How the German police and internal intelligence authorities allowed this gang ofneo-Nazi murderers to operate untouched for 7 years is unbelievable. Theuncovering of the murders has led Germany to do a lot of soul searching. The factthat the Chancellor and a number of Ministers participated in the memorial eventpoints up the seriousness of the matter and indicates the deep wound it has left.Will the Chancellor and the government do more to see that there will be no morecrimes like the ones already committed? Will the neo-Nazis be more forcefully dealtwith? Well, as the time honored saying goes, “The proof of the pudding is in theeating thereof”. Time will tell.Read a further story by clicking here.http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,817388,00.htmlDRESDEN: NAZIS & ANTI-NAZISSince I’m on the subject of neo-Nazis…The citizens of Dresden do not look forward to February 13th. First of all, on that datein 1945 two waves of Allied bombers leveled three quarters of the city and created afirestorm which killed 20,000 people.According to DW-World, “Since 1946, Dresdens churches have rung their bellsevery February 13 in remembrance of the many who died during the firebombing. In1998, far-right and neo-Nazi groups staged demonstrations on the anniversary ofthe citys destruction to deny German war guilt and the Holocaust. What started withless than 100 participants grew into mass demonstrations with some 6,500 neo-Nazis taking part in the 2011 protest that was billed as a "funeral march." This year,some 1,600 neo-Nazis showed up, less than the number organizers had expected.Police cordoned off the extremists from a counter-demonstration, whose participantswere close enough to be heard and seen chanting "Out with Nazis."That’s the bad news. 9
  10. 10. Now the good news. Earlier in the day, though, 13,000 people answered the call ofan alliance of politicians, unions and religious groups to join in a human chain tocelebrate "courage, respect and tolerance" in the city.Now the not so good news. Police forcibly removed the protesters to allow the far-right groups, including skinheads and neo-Nazis, access to the city. From the statespoint of view, the sit-ins represented criminal obstruction of an officially authorizeddemonstration.Now the expected reaction . The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany,Stephan Kramer, expressed his approval of the sit-ins and called the authoritiesactions last year in Dresden a "reversal of justice." The head of the Central Councilof Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, also lent support to the "Nazi-free Dresden"movement. Germanys Christian churches issued a joint statement appealing to people toprotest the far-right marches. Church leaders said the discovery of the NationalSocialist Underground terrorist cell and the murders it was allegedly involved inmade it "especially important this year for many people from outside the city to takea clear position against right-wing terrorism and misanthropic attitudes."Police called on all groups from across the political spectrum to respect the publicsright to free assembly. Nearly 6,000 police were on hand to maintain order.No matter whom you are in Dresden, Feb. 13th is not a happy day. However, twopositive statistics in the story jump out. First, of course, 13,000 people showed up todemonstrate against to Nazis. That’s a lot of people – especially on a Monday in thefreezing cold weather! That’s more of a turnout that my NY Mets will get at most oftheir games this year.The second statistic has to do with the number of police – 6,000! The Dresdenauthorities are very smart. The thing that Nazis hope for is for some of the counterdemonstrators to attack them. The publicity energizes their base appreciably. 6,000cops stopped them from getting what they wanted most. Sometimes I love cops!HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: MORE BAD THAN GOOD?During my 2 ½ years living in Germany I frequently came across young people whohad experienced Holocaust education but did not seem to be affected by it. I found a“What has that got to do with me” attitude. In fact, the feeling expressed in manyways was something like, “I didn’t do anything, my parents didn’t do anything, maybemy grandfather who I didn’t know did something – but what has it all got to do withme?” I found it upsetting and frustrating but really didn’t know what to do, if anything,about it. 10
  11. 11. Recently an important article appeared in The Forward by Dan Fleshler, a strategiccommunications and public affairs consultant based in New York City who hasrepresented clients dealing with Holocaust education and remembrance. The pieceis entitled, “Does Education Fuel Anti-Semitism?” which explains the problem betterthan I ever could and spells out some remedies that might help.A new study on anti-Semitism, commissioned by the German Parliament, came tothe distressing, widely publicized conclusion that 20% of Germans are “latent” anti-Semites. But buried deep in the report is an assertion that might be even moretroubling: Holocaust education is inadvertently fueling German anti-Semitism,making it worse.The study concluded that “anti-Semitic stereotypes might be conveyed by the one-sided presentations of Jews as victims in [curriculum] plans and… books.’’ It notedthat education about the Nazis often imposes “exaggerated moral expectations” onstudents, who respond with an anti-Semitism that is typified by “guilt denial.” In otherwords, explained Wolfgang Battermann, an educator from the town of Petershagen,“they feel accused of acts they had nothing to do with. Some hate the Jews forputting them in this situation.” And accounts of Nazi propaganda, if not presentedcarefully, can end up perpetuating vile stereotypes, especially in an era where half-truths and lies about Jews are readily available online.Those trying to educate Germans about the Nazis must also contend with the well-documented and long- standing problem of “Holocaust fatigue”: Sixty-seven percentof Germans surveyed by researchers from Bielefeld University in 2008 found it“annoying that Germans are still held responsible for crimes against the Jews.”No people has done more than the Germans to squelch far-right extremism andbattle racism. Their government deserves praise for studying and publiclyacknowledging a problem that is hardly limited to Germany. But surely Germanshave a special obligation to teach their children about the Nazis and learn lessonsfrom the Shoah without creating more hatred of Jews. Spend time with Germaneducators dealing with the Holocaust, as I have, and you’ll realize how fiendishlycomplex this challenge is.Focusing on the Nazi era in Germany can make different ingredients in a pre-existing stew of anti-Semitism even more toxic. Exaggerated notions of Jewishpower can prompt Germans to blame Jews for unwelcome messages about theShoahOne key problem is that too often in German schools and media, Jews become stickfigures, caricatures of either passive victims or — because of absurdly one-sideddepictions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — vicious victimizers. As Deidre Berger,director of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin office puts it, “Most youngGermans are able to understand what the Holocaust was, but not who it happenedto.” In most German schools, “there is very little talk about Judaism, Jewish culture 11
  12. 12. and history. Jews only appear in textbooks dealing with the Crusades and with theHolocaust.”Battermann provides one solution to this problem. He led efforts to restore thedeserted, damaged local synagogue and Jewish school and transform them into an“Information and Documentation Center” on the town’s vanished Jewish community.Battermann works to ensure that the Jews are given back their rightful place in localhistory.“Of course they need to know about Dachau and the Kristallnacht,” Battermann said.The problem is that, especially for “young people, teenagers, the atrocities are hardto imagine, they seem unreal.Along the same lines, the AJC created a high school curriculum that teaches Jewishculture and rituals and also deals with the Nazis’ crimes. Even the thorny problem ofanti-Semitism in Germany’s mostly Muslim immigrant communities can be reducedat least a bit with this approach.Obviously, the problem of educating young Germans and reducing anti-Semitism inthe Federal Republic is not an easy one to deal with. However, if nothing else,Fleshler has raised an important question about how effective what is being donepresently. Obviously, just pouring on more of an educational brew that doesn’t workis not the answer. AJC and others are trying new approaches which are at leastthoughtful. If there are, indeed, answers the responsibility for seeking them resideswith the German education establishment which is large and very slow moving. Alittle “utzing” from the Jewish community won’t hurt.There is more to the article which can be read in its entirety by clicking here.http://forward.com/articles/151531/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Weekly%2520%252B%2520Daily&utm_campaign=Weekly_Newsletter_Friday%25202012-02-18CORRECTIONSIn the last edition I wrote briefly about Evan Kaufmann, “a nice Jewish boy fromMichigan whose great grand parents perished in the Holocaust has become amember of the German National Hockey Team.” An old pal and noted Minneapolispublisher, Harry Lerner, wrote to me pointing out that Kaufmann was not fromMichigan but from Minnesota. Not only that, but Kaufmann’s parents live next door tohim. Oy! What a mistake. Sorry Harry! My apologies!In my Special Edition on President Wulff’s resignation I noted that Chancellor Merkel“does not have the votes in the Federal Convention to get her own candidateelected”. Technically that is incorrect. DW reported, “The coalition parties - the CDU,its Bavarian sister party CSU and the Free Democrats (FDP) - have a majority of 12
  13. 13. around four seats in the Federal Convention. However, in real world terms myinformant was absolutely right. Four seats out of 1244 could certainly not insure theelection of the Chancellor’s candidate without votes from the opposition parties.************************************************************************************************See you again in MarchDuBow 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 13