German Chancellor Merkel and Auschwitz survivor Fahidi attend the opening event for the international remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz in Berlin..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN – More than one-third of Germans equate Israeli policies toward the Palestinians with Nazi policies towards the Jews, a study found.
“Germany and Israel Today: Linked by the Past, Divided by the Present?” a study of 1,000 Germans age 18 and over was released on Monday, one day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The survey, which was conducted in October by the German Bertelsmann Foundation, found that while many Germans would prefer not to discuss the Holocaust, they are willing to compare Israeli policies toward Palestinians today with those of the Nazi regime.
Among the respondents, 35 percent held the view on Israeli and Nazi policies, rising from 30% in 2007. The view was more likely among the less educated, according to a statement accompanying the study.
In addition, 48% held a negative view of Israel, including a majority of those 18 to 29. Overall, 36% of Germans viewed Israel favorably.
Regarding the Holocaust, 58% of Germans said it was time to put the past behind them, while 38% disagreed.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, asked in an email to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, “Does any German really believe that remembering the Nazi Holocaust keeps their leaders from dealing with ‘contemporary issues?”’ He continued, “Perhaps if the younger generations were properly taught the lessons of the Shoah, there would be less anti-Semitism in society; less young people flirting with neo-Nazi music and dogma; less businessmen and politicians running to do business with the ayatollahs; less politicians and members of the media so comfortable in ascribing Nazi imagery and savagery to Israeli actions taken to protect the world’s largest community and home to the greatest number of Holocaust survivors, their children and their grandchildren.
Muslims in Germany should take little solace from the a study that asserts eight out 10 Germans have no interest to be reminded about past persecutions.
And what of today’s growing intolerance of Germany’s largest minority?” “Jews cannot, should not and will not forget the Nazi crimes or the Nazi criminals who mass murdered our loved ones,” he wrote. “Of the younger German generations, who were never held responsible for the crimes of their fathers we should say: Germans will always have the historic responsibility to give meaning to the words Never Again and above all, they should do no harm to the Jewish people.”
Stephan Vopel, the Bertelsmann Foundation’s expert on Israel, said the study showed an increased need for “direct encounters between young people from both countries.”
The survey was conducted by the polling firm TNS Emnid through telephone interviews.
The margin of error was ±3%.JTA contributed to this report.