An open letter to the President of the European Parliament, His Excellency Mr. Martin Schultz

Mr. President,

In the twentieth-century struggle between the German nation and the Jewish people, the Jewish people overcame Germany. Despite the terrible Holocaust, despite the unforgivable atrocities, despite the murder, bereavement, and debasement – we succeeded in raising a nation that does not hate second and third generation Germans. Despite the unspeakable pain, we were able to free ourselves of the hatred; and unlike the European tradition that preserved the animosity and hatred between various nations on your continent for tens and hundreds of years – we overcame the hatred, and despite the anger and the memory, hatred is no longer in our hearts.

Therefore, we welcomed you, dear friend, with open arms, knowing that you are among our few friends. However, Mr. President, we owe you an explanation as to why we were so horrified by your speech. Why, notwithstanding your warm words, our entire nation objected to the denigrating things you said, including your own question marks, about our treatment of our neighbors.

Mr. President, we do not hate you, but we are afraid of you. We believe that you and many of our friends are not aware of the crimes of the Holocaust. It is not that you do not know that six million people – men, women, and children – were murdered, or that so many of us grew up without parents or grandparents as is common throughout the world, but because the Holocaust you speak about is the result and not the crime itself. The crime that brought on the Holocaust is rooted in the spread of lies. How is it possible that the German army committed these crimes and perpetuated them, and did not try to conceal its actions? It could do so because it believed that no crimes were being committed.

The German propaganda machine, led by Goebbels, gave the world the most horrific weapon of all, ten times more dangerous than nuclear weapons, because it enables the murder of thousands every day throughout the world. This tool, developed by Goebbels, Julius Streicher, Der Stürmer, and others, enabled the Holocaust, allowed people to slaughter others without fear or remorse, turned the faces of the victims into faces that invited disaster and hate, thus facilitating the greatest crime of all humanity.

The new Germany does not feel that it is once again being dragged into a world of falsehoods and lies, of blood libels, which again make possible hostilities against the State of Israel. I tell you sincerely, there is no apartheid in Israel. The concept of racism could not be more foreign than it is here in Israel. There is no brutality or Nazi behavior towards the people who were your allies during WW2, who together with you committed unforgettable – and perhaps unforgivable – crimes towards us.

The war today for the Jews and for the State of Israel is once more one of falsehoods and lies. Ever since the dawn of our existence, the Jewish people have suffered from blood libels instigated by those who hate us: false accusations that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to bake Passover matzos, or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that became routine material for the enemies of Israel in the Middle East and elsewhere. This world of lies is thrown at us every hour of every day.

There is an attempt to discredit Jewish history, Jewish heritage. The Temple Mount and the Holy Temple are suddenly removed from Jewish history and deleted from history books, hoping they disappear. Even the matriarch Rachel’s Tomb, or Kubaat Rachel in Arabic, was renamed recently after a Muslim saint, who probably never set foot in the Holy Land; and moreover, was declared a Palestinian national heritage site by UNESCO. Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Jesus or Mary have become Palestinian cultural heroes, while we – who live with security guards in front of our kindergartens, schools, theaters and supermarkets for fear of terrorist attacks – are accused about road blockades that should prevent the terrorists from reaching our homes. The world calls this lie racism, apartheid, or even compares it to the enslavement of Africans by white men – all in an attempt to discredit us as a nation, so that in days to come our quality of life and very future can be debilitated.

Mr. President, we do not hate you. We are afraid of you. Germany has proven that the most cultured nation in the world can become the most evil, and allow the heinous crimes. You have cooperated with a system of falsehoods to attack a nation that had survived for millennia – a stigma that almost allowed its destruction. You condemn the Holocaust, but continue to cooperate with lies that are woven against each and every one of us. We protested against you as a friend, not as an enemy, so that you and your colleagues can recoup and realize the low that the world has reached in its unfounded accusations against a peace-loving nation. Even with neighbors who have wanted to destroy us from the start, who teach their children hatred, alienation and non-recognition – we are willing to reach out, because our weltanschauung teaches us to love the resident and the other as much as our own brethren.

Therefore, one cannot reject the criticism that was voiced against your words as the ranting of political extremists. It was a cry of pain from the heart of a society that appeals to you and your colleagues to come and see things as they really are.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center