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"Germany's Iran Lobby"

Benjamin Weinthal writes about the German reception of the book "The Israel Lobby" by professors Walt and Mearsheimer. He compares the big interest in the power of the Israel lobby in the US with the lack of interest in the power of the Iran lobby in Germany.

Writing in the Jewish Press (via Achse des Guten) he asks a good question, but I disagree with his answer. Weinthal praises a journalist famous for his polemicism, who accuses his fellow Germans of wanting Israel to "disappear" so that they (we) are not reminded of Auschwitz anymore:

How does one explain this disconnect between the pathological obsession with dead Jews and the painful indifference toward the survivors of the Holocaust, their children and grandchildren, and Israel as an oasis of security for Jews? The German Jewish Journalist Henryk M. Broder remarked recently, during a panel discussion in the Jewish Community Center in Berlin, that the inaction of a large segment of German society is due to covert admiration for Iran, a kind of Schadenfreude (malicious joy). For the Iranians vow to carry out the Nazi plan of extermination. and Israel, as the permanent reminder of Auschwitz, with the concomitant emotions of guilt and shame for Germans, will disappear. A better social-psychological explanation has yet to surface to explain German indifference to the Iran Lobby.

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Reid of America on :

Benjamin Weinthal says "How does one explain this disconnect between the pathological obsession with dead Jews and the painful indifference toward the survivors of the Holocaust, their children and grandchildren, and Israel as an oasis of security for Jews? This is a dated question. The elephant in the room is unstated. The elephant is most of the international left detests Israel. Just how Jews were reviled by Nazis in the past Israel is reviled by the international left today. So it is very easy for a nation like Germany to disconnect between dead Jews and Jews in the middle east today.

Anonymous on :

Why should the US continue to support Israel so strongly? What has Israel ever done for the US?

Kevin Sampson on :

Think of it this way; what hasn't Israel done to the US? They haven't blown up any of our airliners, held any of our diplomats hostage, or assassinated even one presidential candidate. And they've only killed a handfull of our citizens (yeah, I know about the Liberty).

Maureen on :

You know, historical guilt is a very funny thing and easily propagandized without a very broad perspective. For example, the British in their Victorian colonies especially India, killed millions, many more millions of people than the Nazis did in the 1930's and 40's-- and it was deliberate, not unintentional. Read an account of what the British did after the Indian "swarthies" *dared* to demand their freedom from their British looters and overlords in the British Raj, in a rebellion in 1857: http://tinyurl.com/2hlo8t The British deliberately wiped out entire towns and villages of Indian citizens, mass murder and genocide on a Subcontinent-wide scale. And after the UK took direct control of India after 1857, the mass murder was on a horrid scale-- the British appropriated the little available farmland already struggling Indians had, converted it for opium production, *and* exported Indian-produced food back to the UK. So tens of millions of people in India starved to death due to a famine intentionally created by the British, and those Indians who did survive were forced into work camps worse than Auschwitz, where millions more perished on the scant rations. Note that this was also occurring at a time when the British were running concentration camps in S. Africa, perpetrating the Opium Wars and shipping food out of Ireland while the Irish were starving by the millions. IOW, I frankly don't think the Germans of today are remotely obligated to make decisions in any way, out of historical guilt. The Germans have honestly and forthrightly acknowledged the Nazi period, a period that itself arose in the wake of a colonial war (World War I) which the British among others fought to maintain control of their colonies. And the Germans otherwise have given us Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Einstein, Goethe, Schiller, Daimler-Benz and other great inventors, Heisenberg, Planck, the heart of modern medicine and quite a few other things-- IOW, a pretty damn good and productive historical record in which the Nazis were an anomaly. Whereas Britain has yet to even slightly acknowledge its own atrocious and murderous record during the Victorian period, which was a lot worse than what the Nazis had perpetrated. Until we see some better acknowledgment of this history by European colonial nations of their own atrocities, especially Britain, then the historical guilt trip toward Germany is hypocritical and laughable.

Ember on :

No doubt British people like any other colonial power of those times exploited their colonies and committed atrocities. France's record is by far much worse than any other in this exploitation. But that's not the point. The point is British colonial war or military crimes cannot be blamed on British public who was mostly oblivious to everyday actions of British soldiers etc. in colonies situated thousands of miles from Britain. Indeed, when means of communications and transport were better and Britons got to know about some of these crimes, they protested and wanted their government to end the exploitation in colonies. Now, compare this to Holocaust. It was a deliberate ethnic cleansing carried out on German mainland. The more disturbing is the fact that it was carried out with overt and covert approval of the majority of German nation who democratically elected Nazis to power. What is even worse still is the fact when German nation realized the truth of concentration camps most of the people chose to be indifferent to it. People in the German countryside used to see impoverished Jews transported in trains like cattle, but not many Germans seemed particularly worried or concerned. Hence, my friend, the guilt.

jabgoe on :

I disagree, that the question here is a good one. The reason: it's not a question, it's a claim, that takes the thesis as proven fact that Germany were completely indifferent towards the survivors of the holocaust and "Israel as an oasis of security for Jews". This is definitely not true! And if it's not true all the rest of the arguement evaporates into hot air. Such accusations as reported here are often made by Hr. Broder, whose only argument in discussions is that his opponents are antisemitic nazi supporters. Isn't Hr. Broder even the inventor of the jewish antisemitism in Germany? How twisted a mind does one need to have to really think that the repeated german refusal to bomb a country on an us-american whim is rooted in the silent admiration for the antisemitic propaganda that Ahmadinedings spreads? Hr. Broder tends to exaggerate firecly. When his readers/audience disagree he always hides behind the claims the they were either too stupid to see the exaggeration or to much nazi to matter. I guess Mr. Weinthal belongs to the group too stupid to see the exaggeration.

Zyme on :

The reality probably lies in economic matters. Just compare the size of the populations between Iran and Israel.. Then think about the fact that Israel´s economy traditionally is a stronghold of american companies. And then take into consideration that the arabian world traditionally is an economical stronghold of german companies. While the jews are unlikely to trust our products very much, the arabians are. And what is more important in trade than trust? As regards the indifference to a possible war between Israel and Iran - peace in such a region can be like a Gordian knot.

David on :

I found Weinthal's piece inflammatory. Mearsheimer & Waltz's book is a serious examination of influence in America and is in no way anti-Semitic. One can disagree with its arguments, but it deserves to be read and discussed seriously in the US and in Europe. There is no "Iran Lobby" in Germany comparable to AIPAC in the US. Weinthal's entire argument is absurd and wrong. My sense is, most of M&W's critics have never bothered to read the book.

David on :

One more question: As a fan of the Berliner Ensemble, could someone please explain to me what Weinthal meant with this statement: "Peymann apparently is not losing sleep over Iran’s goal of bringing about a second Holocaust because he annually commemorates, in his Berliner Ensemble Theater, the deportation of Berlin’s Jews during the Shoah."

pen Name on :

All: Please take the trouble of taking a trip to Iran so that you may be disabused of your fantasies. This post and all of its discussions are about a fictional world and not the reality of Iran, Israel, or the Middle East. Kazimir the Great invited the Jews to Poland and 500 years later their descendants were destroyed during Shoah by Germans and Catholic Poles. Thus I urge you, who seem to care so much about State of Israel in an emotional manner, to advise them to seek a settlement with the world of Islam. It is not a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket. Because it might yet come to pass that Jews have to seek refuge somewhere outside of US & EU.

Pat Patterson on :

Since Kazimir the Great lived in the early 14th Century and Jews had been in Poland since the 11th Century then he couldn't have possibly invited them. Kazimir made the Jewish populace essentially his or rather the central states responsibility, disallowing many of the anti-Jewish laws passed locally. Sigismund II made a few areas within Polish towns off-limits to Christians and allowed walls to be built which are no seen as the beginnings of the Jewish ghettos in Poland. Many Poles did indeed participate in the destruction of their fellow Jewish Poles but much less than the supposedly more enlightened French or Dutch did. Poland has been recognized as having more "righteous" among them then any other country in the world according to the commission in charge of identifying people who rescued Jews from the Holocaust. Maybe Islam should seek a settlement with the only functioning democracy and the most succesful economy in the Middle East. Because it seems that the world of Islam has utterly failed at bringing peace, prosperity and happiness to its inhabitants.

pen Name on :

Thank you for correcting my historical knowledge of the Polish history. The point I was hoping to make was that the world will change and today's haven could be tomorrow's hell. Since you are not a Jew, I can see that you are more interested in indulging your shallow vindictiveness rather than looking at the hsitory of the world and the world Jewery in a dispassionate manner and consider what could be in their (not yours) best interests over the coming centuries. As for your diatibe against Islam I submit to you this is a case of the kettle calling the pot black. Indeed when one considers the history of the last 100 years and the role of the European states in murdering 80 million people on the European continent alone one is left with a sense that the Western civilization has indeed brought industrial mass murder into this world, that she has no redeeming features, and best it is left to rot in the far West corner of Eurasia. But I am not like you; I stand on the Rock of the Ages and see the horrors of history with humility and a sense of deja vu repeated over and over again. Right now, as I write these sentences, the highest exponent of your civilization, the United States, is in Iraq killing, killing, killing having started under a war under a lie - but: - "God, pen Name, do you not see? US is a democracy! And torturing people in secret prisons: - "Your are an Islamofascist, US is a successful economy!" And helping Israel humiliate and murder Muslims in Palestine. - "Shut up you stupid fellow from a third world country. In America citizens are happy!" And threatening Iran - "No hard feelings old chap; you are basically savages that we cannot let you control our oil."

Pat Patterson on :

You got all that from my post? That sounds more like the "emanations and penumbra" majority opinion in Griswold v. Connecticutt. Where would a Shia rather find himself, in Saudi Arabia or the US? A Sunni in Iran or the US? A religion at war with itself easily blames others for its own faults. As to the declining oil production and importation of cooking oil and gasoline in Iran then maybe turning the fields back over to those evil Europeans might help the Iranian citizens rather than the grandiose visions of a desperate minority.

pen Name on :

As I stated before - you are not interested in dialogue but diatribe.

Reid of America on :

pen Name, Does Iran have a nuclear weapons program?

pen Name on :

To my knwoledge the answer is no.

Merkel-2 on :

It seems all the western powers intentionally want to get rid of history burden .The great Briton ,France, US(colonize Philippines)German share the same colonizing history and thereafter prosper. Great Briton's dirty opiumm trade in far east and their disgraceful history of enslaving African people and traffic them to North and South America is the most bloody and filthy behaviour in history. I guess only German 's holocaust towards Jewish people are comparable . All these atrocity are cover up intentionally and became the politic taboo. When Afican people or other oppressed people want justice ,want their looted treasure back home, they are defiled as narrow or radical nationalist attempting to gain political earning. That's the reallity . I don't think westerners nowdays need to be responsible for their parents' blunder. But sincere apology and some kind of compensation is absolutely needed . That represent your government and people take the history seriously. To my disappointed , They behave so badly . How can they convince those under-development coutry and their poeple that justice do exists?

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