October 17, 2018

The Political Paradox of Israel-Germany Ties

““Even in the name of my parents and my grandparents, I refuse to accept eternal responsibility of Germany towards Israel.” This is one of many reader comments posted below German media reports about Angela Merkel’s visit in Israel. One of many, reflecting the same self-confident tone of emancipation from that historical burden.

The sentiment is worlds apart from the historical responsibility expressed in words and deed by Angela Merkel during her visit. It exemplifies a pattern of paradoxes that characterize German-Israeli relations today, starting with the discrepancy between Germany’s political establishment and the German street, when it comes to Israel – and to Jews.

While Merkel’s government took the trend towards normalization and warm ties with Israel to the next level, studies show growing resentment against Israel and its people among Germans. The animosity is fed by a polished propaganda machine of Palestinian and leftist organizations active for decades and fueled by often distorted media coverage depicting Israel as aggressor, mixing up cause and effect. When Hamas rockets rain on Israel’s south, Israel’s reaction will make the headlines, the rockets will make the footnotes.”

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