Poll: Majority of Germans see Israel as 'aggressive'

Head of Germany’s Jews alarmed about negative view of Israel, rejection of responsibility toward Jewish state by Germans.

May 26, 2012 01:31
1 minute read.
Ehud Barak, Guido Westerwelle

Ehud Barak, Guido Westerwelle 390. (photo credit: Ariel Harmony / Defense Ministry)


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Berlin. Dr. Dieter Graumann, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the mass circulation Bild newspaper on Thursday that he is “worried and sad” about a new poll that revealed a solid majority (59 percent) of Germans view Israel as an “aggressive” country and reject a special responsibility toward the Jewish state because of the Holocaust.

The Stern magazine poll was published on Wednesday and the anti-Israel sentiments expressed among a broad swath of Germans troubled Graumann.

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He said he “wishes more understanding and less coldness” for the Jewish state “in view of the permanent existential threat that Israel faces.” Forsa, a polling agency, conducted the survey for Stern in advance of the visit of Germany’s new president Joachim Gauck to Israel and the Palestinian territories between May 28 and 31.

According to the Stern poll, 60% of Germans believe that the Federal Republic has no responsibility toward Israel because of the crimes of the Holocaust. A mere 33% of those questioned agree that Germany has a responsibility because of the Holocaust.

Graumann said,“Of course, the results make me worried and sad.” He added, however, that resignation is not an option and “We must make it clearer that Germany and Israel share a real community of values, which is based on democracy, freedom and tolerance.”

The Stern poll showed that 70% of Germans believe Israel pursues its interests without consideration for other peoples. In contrast to a 2009 poll, the recent Stern survey showed an 11% increase in German attitudes toward Israel pursing its own interests at the expense of other groups.  A strong majority—65%--said Germany should recognize an independent Palestinian state.

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