The country in which active antisemitism was rekindled in the last century is Germany. Successive governments have publicly accepted guilt for the horrific actions of the Nazi regime.
It is the only county that almost immediately after the war began to pay restitution to Jews who suffered humiliation, pain and confiscation of possessions and property.
Unfortunately, today its government is not doing enough to eradicate the re-emergence of Jew hatred manifested by demonstrations and attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions. Most are cloaked in terms of anti-Zionism.
It has gone so far, that respected German NGOs with representation in foreign countries are staging events with antisemitic themes. The latest was to be held this past week, November 9, in Israel on the day when Jews commemorated the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the pogrom that started the Holocaust.
The Israel chapter of the German Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, named after the revolutionary socialist and Marxist philosopher, advertised an event titled “Understanding the other side’s pain,” to compare what Arabs call the Nakba – the “catastrophe” of the creation of the State of Israel – with the Holocaust, to take place in Jerusalem at the premises of the German literary NGO, the Goethe Institute.
There was outrage expressed from many quarters. I immediately wrote the following letter to the German Embassy in Tel Aviv: “I read with horror the announcement; it is imperative that the ambassador intervenes to stop this event.“If that is not possible, then I hope he will issue an official statement that the German government condemns such a comparison and disassociates itself and the German people from it.”
“I read with horror the announcement; it is imperative that the ambassador intervenes to stop this event. “If that is not possible, then I hope he will issue an official statement that the German government condemns such a comparison and disassociates itself and the German people from it.”Walter Bingham
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean and director of Global Social Action Agenda for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, issued a statement condemning the planned event.
“It is despicable that any German would utter Shoah and Nakba in the same breath. There is nothing wrong with exploring the feelings of Palestinians, but to link the Palestinian-Israel conflict in any way to Nazi Germany’s ‘Final Solution’ that murdered six million innocent Jews, among them 1.5 million Jewish children, is a monstrous insult to the victims of the Shoah, to the Jewish State of Israel, to survivors of the Shoah and to historic truth.
“Convening such a discussion in Israel – on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, by the foundation of a left-wing German political party, at the respected Goethe Institute, is an odious provocation. The SWC calls on the Goethe Institute to cancel its hosting of the event and urges Israel Prime Minister Lapid to demand that this event be canceled.”
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation buckles under pressure
Under pressure, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation agreed to postpone their event until after Kristallnacht. That does, of course, neither alter the title nor the purpose of it, nor does it absolve the Goethe Institute of supporting anti-Israel propaganda.
But then it seems that they also sell their principles for money. This antisemitic outrage must be canceled.
On the other hand, there are voices in Germany, particularly among school teachers who believe that Kristallnacht is no longer an adequate enough term to describe that event. They prefer to teach their children about “the night of horror.” I subscribe to that.
The writer is a survivor of the Nazi era and a World War II frontline veteran.