Clemens Heni

German FM Steinmeier teaches Israel how to react

Germans love to tell Jews what to do. Immediately after the news that Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel had been killed by Arabs in the West Bank, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democrats) said in his short, three paragraph message:

“Despite infinite pain about the loss of these three young people, we hope that striving for peace will determine the actions of the days ahead.”

Not a word about who killed Israelis. Not a word about what it means for every single Jewish Israeli three civilian teenagers were kidnapped and killed by alleged Arab terrorists from Hamas.

Steinmeier is a proud German. He is not at all sad or shocked about the death of the three Israelis. He does not want Israel to react at all after that crime. A crime that was inspired by nothing but Arab and Islamist antisemitism. He could have said something against antisemitism, but he did not. Instead he was very happy to join the Algerian ambassador to Germany to watch a match of the football World Cup in Brazil later that night, just a few hours after the death of the three boys was confirmed by Israeli authorities.

This is how he looked at 11 pm (UTC+1), 30 June, 2014, according to a tweet at twitter by the German Foreign Ministry:

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier portrays himself happy, pic taken 30 June, 2014, 11 pm local time (Berlin)


The head of the American Jewish Committee Berlin, Deidre Berger, today published an article about European mainstream antisemitism. She argues that German and European politicians should focus on security for Jews in Europe first, instead of teaching Israel how to react after an act of terror. This may well apply to Steinmeier. Like almost all his fellow ordinary Germans, Steinmeier embraced German nationalism and cheered for the German team during the World Cup. He is silent about current trends in antisemitism among the elites in Germany. Worse, in May the German Government under Angela Merkel supported the Hamas-Fatah agreement about a united Palestinian government.

Back in January 2006, Steinmeier, at the time also minister of Foreign Affairs, said that Hamas is “able to be part of a government.” So much for his inability to analyze this hardcore Islamist antisemitic party. Taken the failure of mainstream German Islamic Studies when it comes to antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and Islamism, this is no surprise, though. (In 2011, I published a 400 page study about that failure.)

Now, after the killing of the three Israelis not a word about the antisemitism of Hamas from Steinmeier or Merkel, who is also known these days as a nationalist German football fan and not as critic of Jew-hatred. Instead, Steinmeier attacks the Israeli government, and urges Netanyahu not to overreact – something a German would never ever do. Neither Steinmeier nor Merkel have the slightest idea what this killing of three teenagers means and could mean for all Jewish Israelis The murdered boys are seen as typical young Israelis, so now everybody can again be seen as a target. Hamas terrorists are of course emboldened after having joined the government with Fatah. The EU and Germany supported that horrible move by Fatah.

Historical comparisons are always not true, but sometimes they can help us to understand something nonetheless. Therefore, just as a reminder for those who still believe that the Soviet Union was co-responsible for the outbreak of World War II by cooperating partly with Hitler and the Germans in 1939: the Western powers also emboldened Hitler, the Nazis and the Germans in 1938! Just look at the antisemitic climate at Ivy League universities after the Nazis took power in 1933. Today, just look at anti-Israel hatred at every single European and North American university. The western world’s antisemitism is part of the problem. Without the western support and silence Islamist antisemitism and Arab antisemitism would be much, much weaker.

Merkel went to Brazil to embrace the German soccer team and to portray herself as the “mother of the entire German nation.” Although she was in Brussels right after the murderous Islamist antisemitic attack in May, she had no time to show her support of Jews in Belgium or even to mention that antisemitic attack. Merkel is a champion in power politics and in soft talk, but she fails to attack Islamism and European Muslim antisemites, who are increasingly threatening the lives of Jews in Europe. Politics is about symbols.

It is a symbol to cheer for football while being silent on antisemitism, besides the typical flowery phrases. Deidre Berger takes Brussels as an example to emphasize that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited the Brussels Jewish Museum instead of joining the first session of a meeting of the Socialist Fraction in the EU Parliament.

German politicians prefer football and nationalism to support for Israel and the Jews. Worse, Frank-Walter Steinmeier has the chutzpa to tell Jews what to do after three Israelis have been murdered by Arab terrorists. Obviously he fears that Hamas may be hurt by an Israeli response. Of course, Steinmeier also often uses the trope “circle of violence,” as if one could compare a democracy to cold blooded killers of the Hamas. According to reports, one mother of the suspected terrorists is proud of her son. Palestinian youngsters went so far and attacked an Israeli ambulance that carried the dead bodies of the killed Israeli teenagers. What Steinmeier still fears, is a response that will hurt Hamas.

And a response is exactly what Hamas and her fans deserve.

About the Author
Dr Clemens Heni is director of The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA)
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