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Germany’s ‘Holocaust Guilt’ Is Shaken by Hamas Pogrom

A Jewish-owned business in Vienna in the wake of the Kristallnacht pogrom of Nov. 9 and 10, 1938. Image: Screenshot.

JNS.orgIn the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel, Germany is finding it harder and harder to mask the extremist underbelly of its politics.

A neo-Nazi group plastered a Holocaust memorial last week with stickers urging Germans to “get rid” of their “Holocaust guilt,” as well as declaring—in a sly nod to the argument often articulated about the feeble international response to the Holocaust—that “Israel murders while the world watches.” In the city of Essen, an Islamist group staged a pro-Hamas march that required the segregation of male and female participants, but representatives of both genders brandished signs accusing Israel of perpetrating a “Holocaust” in Gaza. In Berlin, a synagogue has been the target of an arson attack, and Jewish-owned homes have been daubed with Stars of David in another ominous echo of the Nazi period.

Of course, it’s not just Germany. Neighboring France has registered more than 1,000 antisemitic outrages in the five weeks since the pogrom—a national record (and not the kind one boasts about). All over Europe and North America, Jewish communities increasingly feel like they are under siege. When it comes to antisemitism, this is truly a global moment, if only because no foreign-policy issue resonates as discordantly in domestic politics as does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But Germany—the land of the Holocaust—is different, or at least, it’s supposed to be. And there are visible differences between Germany and other democratic nations. On the German left, for example, anti-Zionism is comparatively muted, while large swathes are actually pro-Israel. For example, last week Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck released a video in which he slammed German Muslim organizations for their silence in the face of the Hamas atrocities on Oct. 7 and warned non-resident antisemitic offenders that they faced deportation. Habeck is not a conservative but a representative of the left-wing Green Party—and if you can’t imagine a Green Party politician in another country saying something similar, you are not alone.

Yet it’s painfully clear that Germany’s well-meaning politicians are dealing with a genuine resurgence of antisemitism that they cannot control. On Nov. 9-10, Germans marked the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the infamous Nazi pogrom of 1938 that saw hundreds of Jews murdered, thousands more deported to concentration camps, and the burning and looting of synagogues and Jewish-owned stores over a period of less than 48 hours. For Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the occasion was an opportunity to issue a reminder that antisemitism has no place in post-Holocaust Germany. But for others, like the thousands of mainly Muslim demonstrators who have taken to the streets in support of the Hamas rapists and murderers, it was an opportunity of a different sort—namely, to challenge the Germans to dispense with their guilt about the Holocaust in the name of a “free Palestine.”

As is normally the case with antisemitism, there’s a historical precedent for this. On the morning of Nov. 10, 1969—a year that marked the 31st anniversary of Kristallnacht—a cleaner was doing her chores at a Jewish community center in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg, one day after services commemorating Kristallnacht had been held there. While sweeping and polishing, she stumbled upon a package wrapped in a trench coat. Discovering an alarm clock inside, she called the police who, on arrival, determined that the package was a bomb. The explosion had been timed for 11:30 a.m. the previous day, during the commemoration service, but the bomb failed to go off because of a corroded wire.

Those responsible for planting it were not neo-Nazis but leftists. Attention quickly fell on a small group in Berlin that named itself after the Tupamaros, a left-wing guerilla army in Uruguay. The group’s leader, Dieter Kunzelmann, denied that they were responsible, and the culprits were never caught. Yet despite the lack of evidence tying him to the attempted bombing, those who knew Kunzelmann, including many of his comrades, deemed him perfectly capable of carrying out such an outrage. The question was why.

As Kunzelmann conceived it, Holocaust guilt was the main impediment to the German left embracing the anti-colonial struggle of the Palestinians. “Palestine is to the Federal Republic [of Germany] and Europe what Vietnam is to the Americans,” he wrote in an article for a Socialist journal in Berlin. “The left hasn’t understood that yet. Why? The Jew’s boy.”

This descent into crude antisemitism, using insulting language to depict the European left as a tool of Zionist interests, was particularly shocking in Germany. But Kunzelmann was not alone. Later that same year, he and a group of comrades traveled to the Middle East for military training with Palestinian terrorist organizations, a path that many German leftists would beat in subsequent years. When, in the summer of 1976, terrorists hijacked an Air France jet in Athens that had originated in Tel Aviv, the group was composed of members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the German Red Army Fraction (RAF), better known as the Baader-Meinhof gang. After diverting the plane to Entebbe Airport in Uganda, the terrorists turned into uncomplicated Nazis, separating Jewish passengers from non-Jewish ones. Only a spectacular rescue operation mounted by the Israelis prevented a massacre of the Jewish hostages.

“Kunzelmann went as far as to suggest that his group could best combat Israeli ‘imperialism’ by attacking Jews in Germany, which, of course, is the culmination of antisemitic thought,” the historian Philipp Lenhard explained in an interview last week with the German publication Geo. As outlandish as it might seem to a sensible mind, five years after Kunzelmann’s death, his belief that German Jews are a legitimate target in the Palestinian war against Israel’s existence is more widespread than at any previous time—and its main adherents are not the long-haired New Leftists of yesteryear, but German Muslims, both those born there and recent immigrants as well.

German politicians are anxious about instituting measures to protect Jews that would erode their country’s much-vaunted status as a post-World War II beacon of ethnic and religious tolerance. But that won’t do. Postwar Germany has, of its own volition, made the protection of Jewish life a raison d’état of the democratic republic, and it is that stance that is caricatured as “Holocaust guilt.”

Right now, it is failing in that task. And if Germany can’t muster the determination to defeat antisemitism in the streets that spawned the Holocaust during the last century, then what chance is there that the rest of Europe will, or can, do so?

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US ‘Strongly Opposes’ China-Brokered Deal to Form Palestinian Unity Government With Terrorist Groups

Mahmoud al-Aloul, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of Palestinian organization and political party Fatah, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Mussa Abu Marzuk, senior member of the Palestinian terror movement Hamas, attend an event at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on July 23, 2024. Photo: Pedro Pardo/Pool via REUTERS

The US on Tuesday said it “strongly opposes” a Beijing-brokered declaration signed earlier in the day by the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah movement and the Hamas terror group, aimed at reconciling their longstanding divisions and establishing a unity government to manage Gaza after the war.

The declaration, which was also signed by more than a dozen other Palestinian factions, is seen as a symbolic win for China’s role as a global mediator, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi describing it as a “historic moment for the cause of Palestine’s liberation.” However, doubts linger about its effectiveness in addressing the years-long rift between the groups.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller responded to the announcement, saying Hamas had “blood on its hands, of Israelis and of Palestinians,” and could not be in any leadership role.

“When it comes to governance of Gaza at the end of the conflict, there can’t be a role for a terrorist organization,” Miller said.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) — which currently exercises limited self-governance in the West and has long been riddled with allegations of corruption and authoritarianism — should be in control of both the West Bank and Gaza, Miller said, adding that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), unlike Hamas, had renounced terrorism.

The PLO is a coalition of Palestinian factions, including Fatah.

“If you look at the death and destruction that Hamas’ decision to launch the attacks of Oct. 7 has brought on Gaza, they have — there’s no one that has brought more pain and suffering to the people in Gaza than Hamas through their decisions — first to launch the attacks of Oct. 7, and then their ongoing decision, which continues today, to hide among civilian communities and use civilians as human shields.”

Miller also addressed China’s role in the mediation, saying that the US has generally encouraged China to leverage its influence with regional countries, especially those where the US has less sway, to prevent conflict escalation. One example was the Chinese-mediated deal last year restoring ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The US also urged China to discourage both Iran from financing proxies attacking Israel and the Houthis from targeting commercial shipping. “We have asked China to use its influence to try to bring those attacks to an end, and we’ll continue to do that,” Miller said.

Tuvia Gering, a China and Middle East analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, said the move is part of China’s effort to rival the US by building alliances with developing nations as well as the Arab and Muslim world to prioritize its interests and stifle Western dominance.

China is “challenging America in every space possible as a new type of major power that takes in the considerations of the Global South and the coalitions of those oppressed by imperialism and Western hegemony” to create “a new global order,” he told The Algemeiner.

Gering condemned Beijing’s move, saying it “normalized terrorism” and will embolden the Palestinians into further intransigence in talks for any future peace accord.

“Until today, China failed to criticize [the Palestinians] and put all the onus onto Israel. This means effectively that the Palestinians will only adhere to the most maximalist positions in negotiations for the two state solution [which] will become even more of a distant reality,” Gering told The Algemeiner.

Gering also predicted that the “golden age” of China-Israel relations, which burgeoned over the last decade with the inking of major bilateral deals, was over because of China’s decision to “legitimize terror” since Oct. 7. Gering warned that moving forward, Israeli strategy in the region must also take China into account.

Gering expressed doubts that the declaration signed on Tuesday would lead to any major developments, noting “a large amount of skepticism” in the Arab world.

Indeed, the declaration gave no outline for how or when a new unity Palestinian government would be formed.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, which was also a signatory on the declaration, issued a statement later in the day outlining its demand for all factions in any future unity government to reject recognition of Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz blasted the agreement, saying it underscored Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ embrace of “the murderers and rapists” of Hamas, which rules Gaza.

“In reality, this won’t happen because Hamas’ rule will be crushed, and Abbas will be watching Gaza from afar. Israel’s security will remain solely in Israel’s hands,” Katz said.

In his statement, Wang reiterated China’s commitment to a “comprehensive, lasting, and sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza and advocated for an “international peace conference” aimed at pursuing a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dina Lisnyansky, an expert in Middle East affairs and Islam, warned that while the deal may not come to fruition, China’s role is of growing concern for Israel. Egypt and Algeria — both mediators in failed past attempts at rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas — were far weaker than China as regional actors. “When China sets its sights on something it usually achieves its goals, so it should worry us greatly,” Lisnyansky told The Algemeiner.

Lisnyansky also said that Israel should sanction the PA for signing the declaration. “Israel should negate any entity that has any ties at all to Hamas, which needs to lose both its authority and legitimacy.”

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Here’s every Jewish athlete competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics

And who has the best chance of medalling in Paris.

The post Here’s every Jewish athlete competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Kamala Harris’s Record on Israel Raises Questions About Support for Jewish State if Elected US President

US Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo: Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS

Following US President Joe Biden’s stunning exit from the 2024 presidential race, allies of Israel are looking for clues as to how Vice President Kamala Harris, the new presumptive Democratic nominee, could approach issues affecting the Jewish state if she were to win the White House in November.

Harris’s previous statements reveal a mixed record on Israel, offering signs of both optimism and pessimism to pro-Israel advocates.

Though Harris has voiced support for the Jewish state’s right to existence and self defense, she has also expressed sympathy for far-left narratives that brand Israel as “genocidal.” The vice president has additionally often criticized Israel’s war effort against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

In 2017, while giving a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), then-Senator Harris delivered a 19-minute speech in which she showered praise on Israel, stating that she supports “the United States’ commitment to provide Israel with $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade.” Harris stated that America has “shared values” with Israel and that the bond between the two nations is “unbreakable.”

In 2020, while giving another speech to AIPAC, Harris emphasized that US support for Israel must remain “rock solid” and noted that Hamas “maintains its control of Gaza and fires rockets.”

Despite such statements of support, however, Harris has previously exhibited a degree of patience for those who make baseless smears against Israel. 

In October 2021, when confronted by a George Mason University student who angrily accused Israel of committing “ethnic genocide” against Palestinians, Harris quietly nodded along and then praised the student. 

“And again, this is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard,” Harris told the student. 

Following Hamas’ slaughter of 1,200 people and kidnapping of 250 others across southern Israel on Oct. 7, Harris has shown inconsistent support for the Jewish state. Although she initially backed Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas’ terrorism, she has also levied sharp criticism against the Jewish state’s ensuing war effort in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

During a call with then-Israeli war cabinet leader Benny Gantz earlier this year, Harris suggested that the Jewish state has recklessly imperiled the lives of Palestinian civilians while targeting Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

“Far too many Palestinian civilians, innocent civilians have been killed,” Harris said. 

The same month, while delivering a speech commemorating the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, Harris called the conditions in Gaza “devastating.”

“And given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks,” Harris said.

While speaking with Israeli President Isaac Herzog to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover in April, Harris shared “deep concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and discussed steps to increase the flow of life-saving humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians and ensure its safe distribution.”

Harris also pushed the unsubstantiated narrative that Israel has intentionally withheld aid from the people of Gaza, triggering a famine. 

“People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane. And our common humanity compels us to act,” Harris said. “The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid.”

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, released a report in June arguing that there is not enough “supporting evidence” to suggest that a famine has occurred in Gaza.

Harris has also expressed sympathy for anti-Israel protesters on US university campuses. In an interview published earlier this month, Harris said that college students protesting Israel’s defensive military efforts against Hamas are “showing exactly what the human emotion should be.”

“There are things some of the protesters are saying that I absolutely reject, so I don’t mean to wholesale endorse their points,” she added. “But we have to navigate it. I understand the emotion behind it.”

Some indicators suggest that Harris could adopt a more antagonistic approach to the Jewish state than Biden. For example, Harris urged the White House to be more “sympathetic” toward Palestinians and take a “tougher” stance against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Politico report in December. In March, White House aides forced Harris to tone down a speech that was too tough on Israel, according to NBC News.

Later, she did not rule out “consequences” for Israel if it launched a large-scale military offensive to root out Hamas battalions in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, citing humanitarian concerns for the civilian population.

Harris initially called for an “immediate ceasefire” before Biden and has often used more pointed language when discussing the war, Israel, and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. However, her advisers have sought to downplay the notion that she may be tougher on the Jewish state.

“The difference is not in substance but probably in tone,” one of Harris’s advisers told The Nation.

Meanwhile, Halie Soifer, who served as national security adviser to Harris during the then-senator’s first two years in Congress, said the current vice president’s support for Israel has been just as strong as Biden’s. “There really has been no daylight to be found” between the two, she told Reuters.

Still, Biden, 81, has a decades-long history of maintaining relationships with Israeli leaders and recently called himself a “Zionist.” Harris, 59, does not have such a connection to the Jewish state and maintains closer ties to Democratic progressives, many of whom have increasingly called for the US to turn away — or at least adopt a tougher approach toward — Israel

Former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman suggested that Harris would be a far less reliable ally than Biden, pointing to her ideological alignment with the most progressive lawmakers in Congress. 

“Biden made many mistakes regarding Israel, but he is miles ahead of Harris in terms of support for Israel,” Friedman told The Jerusalem Post. “She is on the fringe of the progressive wing of the party, which sympathizes more with the Palestinian cause.”

“This will move Jewish voters to the Republican side,” the former ambassador argued. “Harris lacks any affinity for Israel, and the Democratic Convention will highlight this contrast. This could lead to a historic shift of Jewish voters to the Republican side.”

Meanwhile, J Street, a progressive Zionist organization, eagerly endorsed Harris the day after Biden dropped out of the presidential race, citing her “nuanced, balanced approach” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflictt.

“Kamala Harris has been a powerful advocate for J Street’s values in the White House, from the fight against antisemitism to the need for a nuanced, balanced approach on Israel-Palestine,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement. “She’s been a steadfast supporter of hostage families and Israel’s security, while also being a leading voice for the protection of Palestinian civilians and the need to secure an urgent ceasefire.”

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