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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 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

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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.

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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:

    Bravo!

  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 ! ! !

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