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This article was written the day before Yom Kippur, the day before two people were shot to death by an anti-Semite in Germany because they happened to be in close proximity to a synagogue. 

A year and a half ago, I wrote about Germany’s chronic failure to support Israel and to protect its own Jewish citizens. I would love to say that in the 18 months since, Germany has demonstrated in some constructive manner that they’ve ‘turned the page’, that they are a true ally of Israel, but I’m afraid the recent record is every bit as dismal as the preceding 75 years.

In fact, I think I was too gentle in my characterization of Germany’s chronic and damaging behaviour towards Jews and Israel in light of recent and ongoing events, namely: Germany continues to contribute enormous amounts of money to Palestinians, both in direct government aid as well as through NGO’s, all without any pre-conditions (such as disallowing payments to dead terrorists’ families); Germany continues to vote against Israel (with the occasional abstention) in the United Nations; Jews in Germany are subject to increasing (and more violent) acts of anti-Semitism with very little response from the German authorities; and most importantly, Germany continues to be Iran’s principle protector and supporter in the West.

Let’s look first at Germany’s continuing and unconditional financial support of the Palestinians. Year after year, Germany sends more money to Palestinians than any other Western nation, some of it funneled through government agencies and some through NGOs directly controlled by various German political parties. In January of this year, an Israeli government agency reported that three major German NGOs (Bread for the World, government-funded World Peace Services and the Green Party’s Heinrich Boll Foundation) were sending hundreds of millions to Palestinian entities with absolutely no restrictions on how that money was spent.

These NGOs were also facilitating, and even sponsoring, events that glorified Palestinian terrorists. Additionally, when the United States understandably decided to cut funding to the Palestinians in early 2018, Germany stepped in to make up most of the shortfall.

Then there is the question of the German voting record at the United Nations. In 2018, there were 21 significant anti-Israel resolutions put forward by Israel’s enemies and Germany voted in favor of those resolutions 16 times and abstained on 4 motions, meaning they only voted to support Israel on a single occasion. Germany even went along with a resolution to support the Palestinian Right of Return, which would bring about the effective end of the Jewish state.

75 Years After the Holocaust

There has been a slight improvement in Germany’s voting record in 2019, but early in the year, the Bundestag rejected a motion to direct the government to support Israel in United Nations proceedings. A mere 75 years after the Holocaust, less than 25% of German parliamentarians voted to support Israel.

Now, what about the quality of life for Jews in Germany? In 2018, there were nearly 2000 incidents of anti-Semitism in Germany, an increase of 20% over the record in 2017. Jews are reluctant to wear any identifying symbols of their faith and Jewish schools and synagogues require significant levels of protection.

As a recent article explained, the situation for Berlin’s Jews is even more dire than in the rest of the county. Not surprising given that a recent poll indicated that more than a third of Berliners believe that Israelis’ treatment of the Palestinians can rightfully be compared to the Nazis behavior towards Jews.

And in what may be the most disheartening, and revealing, reflection of Germany’s ongoing Jewish problem, only 40% of German high schoolers polled earlier this year had any knowledge of the Holocaust.  Only a couple of generations removed from one of the greatest atrocities in human history, its perpetrator could not even be bothered to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust were taught in its schools.

Finally, we come to what may be the most important (and damning) evidence of Germany’s never-ending crusade against Jewish/Israeli interests, and that is their significant and inexplicable alliance with Iran.

Germany synagogue shooting

Candles and flowers placed in front of a synagogue in Halle, Germany, Oct. 10, 2019. A heavily armed assailant ranting about Jews tried forcing his way inside on Yom Kippur before shooting two people to death nearby. (AP/Jens Meyer)

Germany’s support of Iran and its Ayatollahs goes back to the Second World War when Iran was an enthusiastic ally of Nazi Germany. In fact, Iran’s president at the time said that “… our relations have always been good because both of us are of the Aryan race.” In more recent days (2004 to be exact), Germany’s Foreign Minister stated that “we … have constantly advised our Iranian partners to view us as their protective shield”.

Germany has been one of Iran’s largest trading partners (including supplying Iran with components vital to Iran’s nuclearization), even in the face of the United States-led imposition of economic sanctions against Iran  In fact, Germany worked to undermine those sanctions by setting up a payment-facilitating ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ to circumvent American measures to deprive Iran of access to the international banking system. And when western nations convened a security meeting this year to discuss how best to constrain Iran’s terrorism-sponsoring and genocide-promising regime, Germany refused to even participate in the meeting.

When Iran seized ships in international waters, when they bombed Saudi oil facilities, when they threatened another Holocaust, Germany was silent.  When the Germans finally found their voice on October 1st, the government declared that there was nothing anti-Semitic about Iran’s promise to obliterate the Jewish state.  Anti-Israel, maybe, but anti-Semitic, no, as if that distinction meant anything to Iran.

Germany has never pursued policies that were favorable towards Israel or its own Jewish residents, and it’s time for Jews everywhere to understand just how much Germany’s actions have been, and continue to be, harmful towards Israel.

There will never be a BMW in my driveway or a Braun shaver in my bathroom.  My personal refusal to buy German products may not make a dent in those companies’ profit statements, but at least I’ll be demonstrating my disapproval of Germany’s animus towards Jews and Israel in a tangible manner. I urge my fellow Jews to do the same.

Germany doesn’t just fail to learn from history, it seems perversely and incessantly determined to repeat its mistakes.

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Article by Henry Roth

Henry Roth was born in Haifa and immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s. The son of Romanian Holocaust survivors, he has been married to Brenda for 43 years, is the father of two sons, Marc and David, the happy grandfather of Nicolas and a proud and loud Zionist.