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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
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Why Is Germany Telling Jews Where to Live?

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

With an impeccable sense of timing, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Israel earlier this week, attended the funeral of Ariel Sharon, and then proceeded to browbeat Israel in public.

Speaking with reporters, Steinmeier accused the Jewish state of “damaging” the peace process by building homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria.

And in a discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of Sharon’s interment, he pressed the premier to refrain from additional construction as this “could still disturb the process”.

While I am not familiar with bereavement rituals in Germany, I assume they do not include insulting one’s hosts right after the burial service.

And yet, while in Israel, Steinmeier apparently saw nothing wrong in doing just that: exploiting the opportunity to highlight a political issue regardless of how tasteless and unseemly it was to do so.

This is not the kind of behavior one expects from a “friend,” is it?

But what is even more offensive about Steinmeier’s exploits is the German government’s historical amnesia, which has left officials bereft of any sense of irony regarding their position on the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria.

After all, it was not even eight decades ago that Germany singled out Jews in the September 1935 Nuremberg laws, seeking to cast them out of civil society as a step towards “cleansing” German soil of their presence. Subsequently, in areas under German control, the right of Jews to live where they saw fit was severely restricted.

One would think that in light of this dark chapter in their history, Germans would be extra careful about wading into such an issue and proclaiming where Jews can live, build or raise their families.

But that has not been the case.

Indeed, last summer it was widely reported that Berlin had decided to back a European Union initiative that singles out Jewish-owned businesses in Judea and Samaria.

The move is aimed at targeting them for special treatment, which could include the application of unique labels of origin on products produced by Jews in the areas. Needless to say, goods made by Palestinian-run plants in the territories would not similarly be branded.

In an interview with Reuters last month, EU envoy to the Middle East Andreas Reinicke warned that if the latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians fails, the EU would speed up its plans to slap labels on Jewish-made goods from Judea and Samaria.

The hypocrisy behind the labeling crusade is all the more apparent when one considers that no such campaigns are being contemplated for other “disputed territories”. Hence, there is no European demand to label Chinese products made in Tibet, Russian items manufactured in Chechnya or Spanish goods from Catalonia. It seems that only when matters involve the Jewish state do European liberals insist on such measures.

This is not merely duplicity, it is discrimination pure and simple.

And in the case of Germany, such a stance is especially outrageous, and the government of Angela Merkel should be ashamed of itself for going along with it. Whatever one may think of the peace process and the two-state solution, it should be obvious that treating merchandise and construction differently simply because the person who owns the factory or built the house is a follower of Moses rather than Muhammad is an act of bigotry.

And in light of its own ignoble record during the 20th century, Germany and its leaders have a special responsibility to be exceptionally sensitive to such issues, particularly when they relate to Jews.

No one is suggesting Germany is planning a second Holocaust, but the country must show greater awareness regarding the painful irony at work here.

In 1936 a board game called “Juden Raus” (“Jews Out”) became popular throughout the Reich. Players would move figures representing Jews toward “collection points” from which they would be deported to the Land of Israel. “If you manage to see off six Jews,” the game instructed, “you’ve won a clear victory”.

Sadly, Germany is once again playing a similar game, albeit with one difference. Whereas previously the aim was to send Jews away to Israel, now their goal is to compel us to leave parts of it.

But I have a bit of news for Ms. Merkel and her colleagues: no one, especially not Germany, has the right to tell Jews where they can or cannot live.

In 1945, the Jewish people crawled out of the ovens of Europe and succeeded in reclaiming our ancestral homeland.

Regardless of what Berlin might think or say, we are not about to give any part of it away.

About the Author: Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English-language daily, and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

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110 Responses to “Why Is Germany Telling Jews Where to Live?”

  1. The moment of truth. Be prepared Jewish Brothers and Sisters

  2. Dan Silagi says:

    There are foreign ministers of many countries, including mine, which have criticized Israel for the continued building of settlement. But very few people have had the effontry of Mr. Freund in somehow linking the criticism of settlement building by Germans with the Third Reich.

    Personally, I believe it's time for the government of Israel to give the construction of settlements a rest. And if some German foreign minister says the same thing, he should not be condemned because 70 years ago an entirely different German regime, one which is deplored by 99.9% of Germans today, killed 6 million Jews.

    This of course doesn't mean I would agree in the least with the idiotic legislation proposed by some dunderheads in the Knesset which would put Freund in prison for linking condemnation of settlements with Auschwitz and Buchenwald. He's got a right to make his stupid statements, his Ivy League education nonewithstanding. And I have an equal right to call him out for it.

  3. Laila Cohen says:

    because they are German….you think they change?

  4. Laila Cohen says:

    oh, how surprising. A GERMAN telling Jews what to do…if this guy rots into the earth, SCHAUDENFREUDE.

  5. Laila Cohen says:

    you have no right to tell Jews anything and your whole comment makes no sense. DUH.

  6. Why is anybody Else telling Israel What to do!!! INCLUDING THE US???

  7. Robert Bateman says:

    Dosen't matter what any fool or country leader may say, it's what God laid out in His word that can be counted on!

  8. Eva Stein says:


  9. thats germany for you

  10. Dan Silagi says:

    Laila Cohen Just as the ****** who wrote this article has the right to say what he wants, I have the right to call you out. World War II ended 69 years ago. Stop looking under your bed for Nazis; look for Muslims instead.

  11. Dan Silagi You can't erase history, much as you'd like to. Also, the Nazi spirit lives on, and we Jews must always be aware of and never forget what happened.

  12. Dan Silagi works at the University of Chicago along with such luminaries as Bill Ayers and Jennifer Dorne. He is just expressing the views of those great thinkers who better then us, the uneducated masses. We may be masses but they are Asses!

  13. Give them a flag and some music and they march again…

  14. Jane Smith says:

    The German Government needs to keep its mouth shut. After what their government did to the Jewish people during WW2, to dare to tell the Israelis where they can build settlements shows appalling hypocrisy! How disgusting.

  15. I'am Jewish and German myself. And oh what am I ashamed of my county of birth. This is a great article. The Tanach says that G-d planted us in the land of Israel to never be uprooted again!

  16. Jane Smith says:

    Dan Silagi Get real! WW2 may have ended 69 years ago, but the German Government will never live down the Holocaust, nor should it. Germany of all countries, should never deign to tell Israelis where they should live. How thoroughly disgusting and in bad taste.

  17. Alan Kardon says:

    Dan Silagi Does that mean you are also a schmuck for calling him out? If you haven't noticed Pro Nazism is on the rise.

  18. Lloyd Bergner says:

    Mr Steinmeyer, the Nazi Foreign Minister, is attempting to politically destroy the Jews in a "socially acceptable way" that is politically correct.

  19. people are jealous over the Chosen people and they weren't. The Arabs try to say that it wasn't Issac to be sacrificed that day and that to is out of pure jealousy. But G-d will soon send Jesus and all will find out, but in the mean time jews do everything they can to get along!!! How about any of the un chosen? Can you give witness you do your best to live in harmony to your fellow man or love one another? YES I'm speaking to YOU?

  20. By depriving Israel of defensible borders and a self-sustainable economy, they wish to set up a situation that makes it easier for others to destroy Israel. The shadow NAZI movement is trying to set up a destabilized Israel while outsourcing the destruction of the Jewish people to anti-Semitic forces in the middle east…this way, they think they avoid the blowback. I could be wrong, but I can't see any other logic behind their actions.

  21. Eva Feld says:

    Crude behavior by anyone regardless who is crude and unacceptable. Who is anyone to tell Israel where to build, what to do. Israel is a sovereign state while "Palestine" and the west bank still don't know what they are.

  22. Dan Silagi says:

    Alan Kardon You're Jewish, and you want to marry some who isn't, or who doesn't have a Judischebluteserklarung (Certificate of Jewish blood) from some Hasidic rabbi who's in charge of such things in Israel.

    Well, you can marry in Berlin. You can marry in Stuttgart. You can marry in Munich. But you can't get married in Tel Aviv. If you tried, and used a rabbi who's not on the certified list, you marriage is null and void and you could be facing two years in an Israeli prison, according to an amendment "reforming" Israeli marriage laws which was serrupititously tacked onto the bill by Haredim.

    Now who's the Nazi, Alan?

  23. What do you expect from the Krauts ? I am a Jew, and was stationed with the US Army in Germany, and took my discharge there (1959-1965). Sure its illegal to display the Swastika, but very little else has changed, since WWII. Attended beer festival in Fuerth (near Nurenberg) 1965, held in tent, 1000 people capacity. "Oom-pa-pa" band, and all! Band leader did some impersonations of World leaders from WWII era, while band played National Anthems, of designated countries, ie. Stalin (Russia). Churchill (England) and so on. But then he donned a Red Jacket, Swastika Armband, Nazi Medals, combed his hair in the Hitler doo, band played "Deutschland Uber Alles", 1000 people stood up and "Sieg Heiled" with Nazi Salute! 20 YEARS AFTER END OF WWII ! Need I say more ! ! !

  24. John Harrold says:

    Israel, all of it, is the God given land which belongs to the Jewish people and no-one else. Foreign governments should stop poking their noses into other peoples business's

  25. Dan Silagi says:

    Laila Cohen I have exactly the same right to tell Jews something that you do. Capice?

  26. still filth after all these years.

  27. David Bishop says:

    Only a few key Nazi leaders were executed for their crimes against humanity. Many others who participated in the neighborhood killings were never brought to justice, It seems their jars of venom have been saved up for indoctrination of their children to perpetuate the cycle of anti-Semitic acts Some of Hitlers youth are still living, I used to have a neighbor next door who was 18 when the war ended. So some of those who believe the Nazi propaganda are still living with their bloated sense of hatred for Jewish, Gypsy, and others deemed less than they…. When will the hatred and discrimination ever end? When Messiah returns.

  28. What else is now. What do you expect from those who only know to bully and hate.

  29. Barry Jones says:

    Dan Silagi, The muslims are Nazis, and whether you like it or not you will one day see that we all live in a moral universe. Be wise, It is the creator of even you, that you are offending.

  30. Pierre J. De Meulemeester says:

    They'll never learn as said before and never will. Now they are on the way of winning WW III with the E.U. and do not care about the others.

  31. Steinmeier is stating EU policy which is little different from that of the White House. As for the timing, such meetings are always held on the sidelines of international gatherings whatever the nature. Let us be careful not to knee-jerk condemnation of every statement we disagree with. Discuss, argue and defend our interests but do not condemn criticism. Regarding Germany do not incessantly play the Holocaust charge, this cheapens that tragedy. Learn to take the rough with smooth. Counter what we disagree with with well studied responses, if we have none then maybe right is not always on our side.

  32. Bobby Harris says:

    frank stienmeirer needs to be fired if he cannot respect jews who are (Israel) I think angela merkel needs to step up and do her job and she did a memorial honor to holocaust victims from WWII so why cant she see the truth in this and avoid that man and say no we cannot tell anyone or jews where they can or cannot live? eh I don't see a good cause for that to do so. god gave the land to jews and Judea and samaria is an ancient land from the bible and it was all jewish then and still is jews has reclaimed it and its thiers. now they are trying to evacuate all jews out of Judea and samaria because Palestinians asked to have them removed or something saying they are illegally on Palestinian land. OH COME ON its not palestinaian land NOWAY its jewish it belongs to jews and german foreign minister needs to back off and shut up, they cannot tell nobody where to live or cannot live it has nothing to do with peace process its false peace anyway, its a trap they need to alert the jews that peace process is a trap and not to fall for it. don't accept it, cause it seems that this is to clean all jews out of every town and Jerusalem too I am watching closely whats gonna happen. lets all keep Israel in our hearts and minds and remember the jews I am jewish and I love people but I don't like the situation there with peace this peace that it does not do nothing. Palestinians want to get their hands on everything they are pure evil, very very very few of them are friends with jews rest are evil

  33. So tell me what happens when all sides to a dispute believe G-d is on their side? Do we Jews have a monopoly on G-d's support?

  34. Barry Jones says:

    The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and uncle to Yasser Arafat,, Haj Amin al-Husseini, used to advise Adolf Hitler and met him frequently to assist on middle east matters in Berlin. It was his will to eradicate 'Jacob' He outlived Adolf by several years and proved his credentials with great zeal.. (Probably jerked his knee occasionally as well.

  35. And where did you get the idea it is "God given"? Perhaps there is a different way of looking at the argument that was being made–that, having done immense injustice in the past, the individual is actually trying to say something crucial and constructive, in the hope of avoiding another conflagration. You have to admit that a huge number of people worldwide see it the way he does–people who love Israel and Jews, but who are concerned about the track Israel is on and what it could lead to.

  36. It's this fiction of "chosen" people that's so damning. It's arrogant and simply not true. People are all God's people, none chosen. that's a fiction that grew out of the past.

  37. The Germans, least of all in this universe, have the right to tell us anything…they should never forget what they did to us…the SHOAH is still, I believe, a historical fact-undisputedly unforgettable…Judea and Samaria are an integral part of the Promised Land…it is ours because the L-rd so wished it…AMEN

  38. Barry Jones says:

    Geoffrey Rogg Romans 9:6

  39. We should be addressing our comments to the German who insulted Jews in their own country. I shall do just that!

  40. Ronald Eugene Shultz says:

    David Robert Ord OK, if some do not accept God-given it was world given after the Holocaust. Thus they have a right to exist and expand like any other country. I would not have ceded any land gained in '67 because they were attacked and the other guy lost. That is normally how war works. If you do not like the possibility of losing and the ramifications of that then do not wage war. Many countries have pieces of land that were not theirs originally so the world should give back any land gained by treaty, conquest or whatever to the original owners and if we go back far enough Israel will be bigger than it is so maybe we all just need to let them alone.

  41. David Robert Ord Sorry, but just because a 'huge number of people worldwide see it the way he does'…that does not make them right. After all, practically the entire German people saw the way Hitler did about exterminating the Jews. Do you think that made them right? You might want to check out the land that was originally given in the Balfour Declaration, and under the British Mandate. It was a whole lot larger than what Israel has today.

  42. David Robert Ord It was the early church that gave the Jewish people that identity! We are taught that we were 'chosen' to give the world the 10 commandments, in other words, civilization. At the time of Abraham, other tribes were still sacrificing and eating their children. So, we did give the 10 commandments and the laws of God, but look what the world has done with it. Maybe its called shooting the messenger!

  43. Ronald Eugene Shultz says:

    Daniel Paul Gold Indeed, the truth is that we defeated Germany, not the plague of Nazism or Anti-Semitism. I am a Christian, who may have some Jewish blood based upon my last name, but I do love the Jewish people and pray for the Messiah to come for when Shiloh comes there will be peace. We wish the same thing, we only differ on Who it will be. Shalom!

  44. Carlos Font says:

    It is inconceivable to that some Germans can think that way. Do they teach about the Holocaust in school? This is not PC but I believe it may be in the blood of some of them.

  45. Ralph Moran says:

    Germany, we will NEVER FORGET

  46. Noting new from a German.

  47. Show Steinmeier the middle finger

  48. Yes and that would be the God of Israel….

  49. Barry Jones says:

    It's in the spirit, That's why it's all around, and it keeps coming back, and it can't be educated!

  50. Hey World…consider the source. His parents/grandparents were probably members of the NAZI Party or inthe SS.

  51. Paul Hatgil says:

    The Israelis object to being told where they can live, but can tell the Palestinians what roads they can use; where they can fish; where they can work and where they can live. Because of the great wall they can tell where they can worship and where their children can attend schools.

  52. Uzi Kattan says:

    The German Amaleks only like dead Jews. They are still Nazis and we need to eradicate the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. Resheet lagoyim Amalek; Amalek will be the first of the goyim to be destroyed.

  53. Uzi Kattan says:

    Dorkland unter alles! Filthy Nazi swines.

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