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Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism

Two months ago, the burning of an American flag along with a copy Anne Frank's diary (Amazon.com, Amazon.de) has sent shockwaves across Germany. From the European Jewish Press:
More than 100 villagers had gathered on June 24 to celebrate the summer solstice in Pretzien, a village south of Magdeburg in the east German state of Saxony-Anhalt, with a dance and a bonfire. (...) According to the 'Tagesspiegel' newspaper, three local far-right extremists present in the crowd, aged 24, 27 and 28, threw both a US flag and 'Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl' onto the pyre with one man saying: "I commit Anne Frank to the fire." The scene was evocative of the infamous bonfires organised by the Nazis in 1933 in Berlin and across Germany to rid the Third Reich of "degenerate books".
This book burning was a singular incident in modern Germany and should not be used for exaggerations. Though in general there are strong links between Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism, argues U.S. Fulbright Alumnus Andrei S. Markovits, a political science professor at Ann Arbor and expert on German politics and European culture and soccer, in his book Amerika, dich haßt sich's besser. Antiamerikanismus und Antisemitismus in Europa (Amazon.de). The book cover shows a graffiti claiming that Presidential Candidate "Kerry is a Jew too." The book was published in October 2004 and is only available in German, but Dialog International has written a review in English.

                
 
Besides, two English working papers by Prof. Markovits can be downloaded as PDF files: "Twin brothers": European Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism and European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism): Ever Present Though Always Denied. I have read one of the working papers about a year ago and found his historical analysis and many arguments convincing, but some arguments about the strong ties between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism not so much. Now, after the burning of the Anne Frank Diary along with the American flag, I will need to re-read the working paper or wait for Prof. Markovits' upcoming book Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America (Amazon.com, Amazon.de), which will be available in the U.S. on December 15, 2006 and in Germany in February 2006. Prof. Markovits described his earlier book Amerika, dich haßt sich's besser as the basis for the upcoming book.
Following is a snyopsis of Uncouth Nation:
Continue reading "Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism"

Different Perceptions Over Time and Across the Atlantic

The conservative U.S. journalist and blogger John Rosenthal criticizes the American media and defends Chancellor Merkel and German public opinion. In TCS Daily he focuses on a comparision of President Bush's reception in Germany on his first and his latest visit, but also finds fault with the NY Times's coverage of Chancellor Merkel's statements on the Middle East.
And in his
blog he writes:
George Bush's brief "massage" of Angela Merkel's shoulders at the G-8 summit in Saint Petersburg last week has provoked a sort of fit of mass hysteria in those parts of the American media, both old and new, whose authors and editors were already the most severely afflicted by Bush-Derangement-Syndrome.
Many Americans seem to consider the German press very anti-American, in particular anti-Bush and anti-Republican. (For one of many recent examples see this comment by Eric R. Staal, chairman of Republicans Abroad Germany.)  However, the "massage" was not used for Bush-bashing and did not make big news in the German media. Some papers wrote about the international coverage and the popularity of various videos of the undiplomatic incident on Youtube. John Rosenthal writes: "The episode might have passed largely unperceived in Germany were it not for a brief front page article with large accompanying photo in the tabloid BILD" and then he translates the extremely positive article ("This political love is literally palpable!") in Germany's most popular tabloid.
President Bush probably thought Chancellor Merkel would appreciate the massage, which she clearly did not. Likewise, Bush probably thought that his comment on German TV about
seeing Merkel's soul would be considered a compliment and win some support in Germany. Hopefully, he won't be so nice and present Merkel with a pair of cowboy boots, when she gets to visit him on his ranch. ;-) That would not exactly help Merkel in Germany...

One Year after G8 Summit on Extreme Poverty


Foreign Policy Magazine writes:
Each year the Center for Global Development and FOREIGN POLICY look past the rhetoric to measure how rich-country governments are helping or hurting poor countries. How much aid are they giving? How high are their trade barriers against imports such as cotton from Mali or sugar from Brazil? Are they working to slow global warming? Are they making the world’s sea lanes safe for global trade?
The Netherlands wins this year's competition, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Germany ranks at the 9th place and the United States at the 13th. Japan lost again.
The
British Times two months ago, that little has improved since last year's G8 summit on Africa and the Make Poverty History campaign due to leadership failures and aid cuts:
Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, is to chair an international group set up by Tony Blair to monitor pledges made to help Africa at last year’s G8 summit, the Prime Minister will announce today. Bob Geldof, the Live8 organiser, and President Obasanjo of Nigeria will also be on the Africa Progress Panel, which will be funded by Bill Gates.
The Atlantic Review wrote about the magnitude of poverty and a popular myth:
Around 29,000 under-fives die every day from causes that are easily prevented, such as diarrhoeal dehydration, acute respiratory infections, measles and malaria. According to a poll, most Americans believe that the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent.
Related post: Fair trade and more aid.

"The Evolution of Resurging German Power"

According to The New Republic Online, the EU's Congo mission is "the latest stage in the evolution of resurging German power":
Even without the Congo, Germany's plate is already full. At present, the army is involved in no less than eight peacekeeping operations--several in active war zones. In Afghanistan, they have recently taken over command of the nearly 10,000-strong multinational force that controls the northern part of the country (the ISAF) -- to which they currently contribute by far the largest non-U.S. contingent, with about 2,700 troops. In the Balkans, they are spearheading NATO and EU operations with significant ground forces, and they are expected to take command of the EU Bosnian mission by year's end. Alongside these growing responsibilities, Berlin has taken the lead role in NATO's rapid-response force, scheduled to go operational this autumn. Just last month, the force underwent its last test run in a joint exercise in the Atlantic (codenamed "Steadfast Jaguar"). Besides commanding the entire exercise, German General Gerhard Back  -- who serves as nato's joint forces commander in Brunssum (the organization's number-two job) -- is also the overall commander of the ISAF operation in Afghanistan and is presently designated to lead the organization's response force if called upon. And there's more. The latest outbreak of violence in the Middle East has created yet another peacekeeping destination to which the German army may be headed.
Indeed, Germany will probably contribute a small naval unit to patrol along Lebanon's coast. Continue reading ""The Evolution of Resurging German Power""

The Greatest Asset of the American

"The greatest asset of the American, so often ridiculed by Europeans, is his belief in progress," wrote a Swede, Victor Vinde, in 1945. Today, two-thirds of Americans think they will achieve the American Dream of self-improvement at some point in their lifetime, wrote The Economist. This year, Americans will spend almost 700 Million Dollars on self-help books. "The Purpose-Driven Life", a 40-day religious course of self-improvement, has sold 25 Million copies, more than any other non-fiction book except the Bible.
Dazzled – and slightly amused – by the same can-do-mentality is Gerhard Waldherr, a former US-reporter for Stern, GEO, Sueddeutsche Zeitung and now freelancing in Munich. His slim paperback "Amerika, du hast es besser"
(Amazon.de, Amazon.com) is only available in German. The title translates to "America, you got it better." He describes his smile-inducing adventures when subscribing to various community college courses in downtown Manhattan, including: "How to change your identity", "How to write a book on anything in three weeks", "How to mary rich", "How to speak French in three hours", "How to loose weight with hypnosis" and many more. Enjoy!
                      

First Anniversary: Praise for Ambassador Timken's Work

The New Philadelphia Times Reporter from Ohio has long piece by Paul M. Krawzak about William R. Timken Jr., who is from Ohio and was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Germany on August 15, 2005:
Asked if he can point to any major benefits from the improved relationship, Timken is quick to respond. “Boom, look at – Iran,” he replies. Noting a united European front against the development of nuclear weapons by Iran, Timken said the United States and Germany are “working hand in glove trying to develop the strategies to convince the Iranians that this is a bad way to go.” “And I would say two years ago that would probably have been impossible,” he said.
Any Anti-Americanism?
His biggest surprise in his German travels has been the hospitable welcome he’s received, leading him to doubt a recent survey showing just 37 percent of Germans with a favorable view of the United States. Despite such polls and the continuing criticism of Bush in the German press, Timken has heard no criticism, he said. I can’t find one person – and I have to admit I haven’t been talking to the communists or the far left – but I can't find one person that says that there is an anti-American feeling in this country,” he said.
While there are disagreements, Timken said the “actual feeling about America and the American people is very strong.” He said the two nations’ common strategic and economic interests, as well as the U.S. role in defeating the communism that for so long divided this country, and the friendships established by millions of American military families who have lived in Germany since the end of World War II, have created a “unique commonness– that leads us to be very close.”
The poll is from the PEW survey America's Image Slips, But Allies Share U.S. Concerns Over Iran, Hamas.
In an article for The Repository in Canton, Ohio, Paul M. Krawzak writes about the praise for Ambassador Timken:
Gary Smith, executive director of the prestigious American Academy in Berlin, calls Timken “the right person in Germany at the right time.” Smith, who is a Democrat, credits Timken with projecting a positive image of the United States and reaching out to nongovernmental organizations that seek to improve German-American relations. He said Timken and his wife, Sue, who is actively involved at the embassy, are thoughtful and highly motivated.
“I think he is doing an excellent job,” said Karsten Voigt, coordinator for German American Cooperation in the German Foreign Office. “He is emphasizing more the economic side.” Voigt has been impressed with Timken’s ability to keep his cool even when challenged by hostile audiences at universities. “There is an element of calmness,” he said. “Don’t mix up calm with boring.”
HE’S NO DAN COATS: Timken is inevitably compared with his predecessor, former Ambassador Dan Coats, the onetime Indiana senator who served in Germany when relations had plummeted after the U.S. overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The outspoken Coats angered Germans when he criticized the nation’s foreign policy under then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. “Timken is much more Mr. Nice Guy,” said Volker Perthes, director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, a federally funded research organization that advises the German government.
Not everybody appreciates Ambassador Timken's work: Ray D. at Medienkritik was (is?) angry about "the deafening silence" regarding some Anti-Americanism in Germany during last year's election campaign. He thinks that "Americans need to be deeply concerned about their (lack of) representation in Germany." Ray would like to see a U.S. ambassador capable of German and to be more outspoken like Dr. Jeff Gedmin, the director of the Aspen Institute Berlin. What do you think about this?
Germany's last ambassador to the U.S. wrote a relatively outspoken farewell article in the Washington Post .
The U.S. Embassy covers Ambassador Timken's travels around Germany, provides his numerous speeches and his bio and provides a great multimedia archive.

ENDNOTE: If you can read German, check out the Tagesspiegel article
(HT: Marian) that describes how Ambassador Timken and Mrs. Timken meet with Berlin youth of Turkish and Arab background. The Timkens meet the youth despite the heat, talk about their problems and provide encouragement and support them. Ambassador Timken's business background impresses the Arabs and Turks. Mrs. Timken encourages some to use their graffity spraying talent to make money by designing and selling T-Shirts and promises to call the American-German Business Club and invites others to their residence. She also organizes volunteers to help girls with a Turkish background to learn better English and much more. Besides, the German-American Fulbright Commission started a Diversity Initiative to send students with a migrant background to US Summer Schools.
The embassy and the State Department in general seem to focus their public diplomacy more and more towards Muslims in Germany and around the world. According to a Foreign Affairs article "Europe's angry Muslims" are considered a risk to U.S. security.
In January, Secretary Rice announced a global repositioning of diplomatic forces away from Europe to the new critical posts of the 21st century. Is the transatlantic partnership going to suffer from this shift or is it the right and overdue shift in response to a new international environment?
Related post in the Atlantic Review: Call for revivial of cultural diplomacy to counter Anti-Americanism.

UPDATE AUGUST 18, 2006: Ray D. with Medienkritik has emailed this CLARIFICATION:
I wouldn't say I was "angry". Disappointed is a better word and mainly with regard to relations with the German media. I think that if Timken really took a look at German media it would not be very difficult for him to find the anti-Americanism he claims never to have encountered. Just look at some recent pieces by Florian Guessgen (who is currently in the USA attempting to prove the US media is gleichgeschaltet and in league with the Bush administration and unable to fulfil its democratic function). What bothers me is the "never rock the boat" approach that the Ambassador and his public diplomacy team seem to be taking. On the other hand, I cannot know all that has happened behind the scenes with the media and so do not want to pass a damning judgement. Additionally, I don't think Gedmin would make the best Ambassador and frankly I am sure Timken and his staff have started many useful outreach programs. It would obviously be helpful if the Ambassador could speak the local language and represent his nation to millions on television to counter the ugly stereotypes and make US policy more clear to the German people. The US sorely needs this sort of representation and maybe the Ambassador could appoint such a person. Maybe the US embassy ought to consider starting a blog as well?

Fulbright Blogs

Updated: September 27th, 2006

This is a list of blogs written by Fulbright Alumni and current Fulbright grantees and sorted by the geographic location of the authors.

If you are a Fulbrighter and would like to see your blog in this list or if you know a great blog run by a Fulbrighter, please leave a comment at the end of this post or send an email to editors@atlanticreview.org A link to the Atlantic Review in return would be appreciated.

United States

Jane Norton is a Fulbright Alumna from New Zealand. She was an Associate-in-Law teaching legal writing and research at Columbia Law School while completing her LLM and is now completing her academic training at a law firm in Manhattan.

Informed Comment - Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion is one of the most read and respected blogs about Iraq and authored by Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan and Fulbright Alumnus.

Zaineb Alani accepted a Fulbright scholarship in 1996 to study Education at Ohio State University.  She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. She has forty extended family members who still reside in Iraq.  She writes about her "personal life observations" in The Revelations of an Immigrant.

US Fulbrighter Rosanna Brillantes-Meyer conducted research on the normally secretive shamanistic healers and sorcerers of Siquijor island, Philippines. In Shamans of Siquijor, she writes about her challenging journey to meet the "metaphysical hitmen," and the making of the documentary films on the two groups.

Eric Howard was a U.S. Fulbright Grantee to Germany in environmental management in 1989. He blogs for the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology, which he has founded and runs as executive director.

Jiří Harajda is Czech Fulbrighter, who teaches ESL and American Literature at a high school in Los Angeles, California.

Rob Scaife is a graduate student in Orlando, Florida, and is soon starting his Fulbright in Vienna, Austria. He calls his blog Radio Free Europe.

Mongkol is a Cambodian Fulbrighter at Boston University. 

The Atlantic Review is a press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni in Seattle, Hamburg and Berlin.


North and South America
Carolyn Tory Harper is a US Fulbright Scholar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and blogs about her Fulbright Adventures.

Michelle in Mexico is a "A personal diary of my Fulbright experience"
studying music and fine arts.

Can you recommend another blog by a Fulbrighter living in the Americas (excluding the US in this case)?

 
Europe

Ethan Lindsey is a radio journalist from Los Angeles and currently a Fulbrighter in Berlin for 2006/2007.

• Michael Scott Moore is Fulbright journalist starting September 2006. He has been blogging at Radio Free Mike from Berlin for a long time.

The Atlantic Review is a press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni

Andrew Curry is "a 2005-2006 Fulbright Journalism Fellow in Germany and a freelance writer covering culture, history and international issues a variety of publications."

  Ada Abroad chronicles the life of an American Fulbright Alumna in Muenster, Germany.

Rocko is an American Fulbrighter, who teaches English in Germany in 2005/2006 and blogs at Schicksal Gemeinschaft.

Dr. Thomas Navin Lal studied Mathematics, Computer Science, and Music as a Fulbrighter at Brown University in 2001/2002. In 2003 Dr. Shiva Kambari and Dr. Lal founded the initiative ThinkPeace.

Alaina in Göttingen, Germany blogs about Life, the Universe, and Everything.


Middle East
  Israeli Politics is the work of Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Israeli Fulbright Alumnus and Professor at The University of Haifa. He writes about "events in the Middle East in general and in Israel in particular."

Syria Comment is authored by Prof. Joshua Landis, a Fulbright Scholar in Damaskus. His frequently updated blog is one of the most read English news sources about Syrian politics and related US policy and his often quoted in the US mass media. 

  Curiousity in a Kingdom is a group blog by three American Fulbrighters "sharing their experiences, ideas and tips on Jordanian life." The three also run their individual websites: Jim KorpiElisabeth Page and Will Raynolds

Tales from Qatar is run by US Fulbrighter Brendan Geary.

  body on the line is authored by Prof. Marcy Newman, a US Fulbright Scholar in Amman, Jordan.

  Mary C. Joyce, Fulbright U.S. Student Fellow 2004-2005, is still based in Rabat, Morocco, and tracks digital democracy around the world in DemoBlog.


Asia
Kristin is a Fulbright Felllow in Osaka, Japan.

Kenny 'n Kobe, Japan.

Annie Johnson in Seoul, South Korea, blogs about Heart & Seoul.

•  Katie is in Bangladesh and blogs in Jiggety Jig "proving that even small town life can be interesting."


 
Africa
Can you recommend a blog by a Fulbrighter living in Africa?

 
Australia & Oceania
Can you recommend a blog by a Fulbrighter living in Australia and or somewhere in the South Pacific?

 

This blog, the Atlantic Review, has a special category for Fulbright Related News and maintaines a directory of special Fulbright Projects.

Attacking President Bush with Nazi Symbol

Two weeks ago, the award-winning German-Turkish director Fatih Akin was seen in Hamburg wearing a T-shirt inscribed with the name "Bush" in which a swastika replaced the letter "S." Since the display of Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany, the police began an investigation. 
Bede Moore wrote an article for ABC News: He looked into different sources and carried out interviews to get an opinion on Germans' view of Nazi symbolism and their stance on German-American relations. Werner Schmidt, spokesman at the German Consulate General in New York, pointed out that "using the swastika [or the Hitler salute] is a punishable crime in Germany."  Joerg Geier, one of three editors of this publication, told Bede Moore that the symbolism on Akin's T-shirt should not be confused with Germans' attitude on German-American relations.
But not only in Germany is Nazi symbolism used out of context. Bede Moore also describes the use of Nazi symbolism on US television and concludes with a quote from Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League:
"The trivialization of the Holocaust has been going on for quite a while," Foxman said. "If that period of time is to have any impact … [we must] keep accurate that which is horrific and that which is a poor joke or ignorance."

Many Americans still remember media reports about certain Anti-American comparisons by Social Democrats in 2002 and still mention them in the comments section of this and other blogs. Alvin H. Rosenfeld wrote a summary for the American Jewish Committee:
In one especially notorious incident, Schröder's justice minister, Herta Däubler-Gmelin, reportedly compared President Bush's tactics toward Iraq to those of Hitler: "Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler also used." In another instance, Ludwig Stiegler, a member of Parliament from Mr. Schröder's party, likened Mr. Bush to an imperialist Roman emperor bent on subjugating Germany. (Embarrassed by these incidents, Schröder relieved both of his colleagues of their jobs in the postelection period, but by then the damage had already been done.) If further proof were needed that the climate had turned nasty, it was provided by Rudolf Scharping, Schröder's former defense minister, who reportedly stated, at a meeting in Berlin on August 27, 2002, that President Bush was being encouraged to go to war against Iraq by a "powerful-perhaps overly powerful-Jewish lobby" in the United States. In Scharping's formulation, reminiscent of older, far-right claims about excessive Jewish power, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism come together as common bedfellows.
GM Roper, co-founder of the Carnival of German-American Relations, is:
sick and tired of Americans, Europeans and others comparing their political opponents to Nazi's. It is rampant in the blogosphere, it is rampant in political advertising, it is rampant in the MSM and it is absolutely disgusting.
Related post in the Atlantic Review: The National Review labels Joschka Fischer as Nazi Propaganda Minister.
German Joys comments on Nazi comparisons, Fatih Akin and even goes so far to "imagine what our world would look like if George W. Bush really were a Nazi" for a thought experiment to debunk Akin.


More Nazi News from Dialog International:
In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to promote his upcoming autobiography - Beim Häuten der Zwiebel (Peeling the Onion)- Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass made the shocking admission that as a youth he had joined the Waffen SS. (...) One reason why there has been such a public outcry over this is that Grass has always presented himself as some sort of moral authority: he is always the first to castigate the United States for its moral lapses.
Grass' autobiography is not yet published in the US, but his novel The Tin Drum about "the eternal three-year-old drummer" is a funny and serious must read. It is set in Danzig in the 30s and 40s, where Guenter Grass grew up as well: