Essay: Time for Honesty in German Israeli Relations - SPIEGEL ONLINE
President Obama found one of his closest allies in Germany's Angela Merkel but . President Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in. Obama in Israel: Fixing American—Israeli Relations .. Germany and France ( EU3) conducted intensive negotiations with Iran aimed at. In a picture that has become a symbol of the “special relationship” between Israel and Germany, Dr. Rolf Pauls – the first West German.
That way of life was once much admired in Germany, particularly during Cold War, for its avowed dedication to freedom, anti-authoritarianism, and democratic values. But in the intervening years, many Germans had come to see American culture as ruthlessly capitalist and consumerist and U. These were tensions not just about policy, but about fundamental values. Criticism of America in Germany at the time ran broad and deep, and a general sense emerged that a strong and stable transatlantic relationship could no longer be taken for granted.
This has not changed since. While Obama initially stirred hopes for far-reaching change in U. The federal parliament established a committee to investigate the spying revelations, and the work is still ongoing.
The fallout from these revelations was painful.
Why Obama Couldn’t Rescue U.S.-German Relations
Though trust levels are slowly recovering: In April58 percent of Germans said the United States is a trustworthy partner. Germans, and Europeans more generally, see big U.
Internet and social networking companies like Google and Facebook coming onto the continent and imposing their standards on European markets and fear the loss of control. Values and political norms, moreover, diverge on issues like state intervention in the economy, the use of force, embeddedness in international organizations, religiosity, and acceptance of homosexuality. The divide may well grow bigger with time: There seems to be a generation gap when it comes to how America is perceived in Germany.
Last October, an estimatedpeople protested in Berlin against TTIP, speaking out against markets prevailing over democracy and European standards being lowered due to pressure from U.
Why Obama hates Netanyahu, and vice versa
This year, Germany and Israel celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations. Young Israelis are fond of traveling to Berlin or living in the German capital. Germans, though, have a much tougher time defining their friendship with Israel. Two factors play a decisive role in this: It creates a tense relationship that no small number of Germans would rather not have to put up with. Instead they seek simplistic answers.
A large share of Germans -- perhaps even the majority -- offer their one-sided support to the Palestinians, not seldom as a way of trying to relativize Germany's responsibility for the Holocaust.
Others, with clear anti-Semitic undertones, say: The notion of identification plays a major role in psychoanalysis.
When it comes to the overly devoted friends of Israel, one could speak of a process of over-identification. Others might call it "philo-Semitism. I've known the country for 27 years. As an exchange student to Israel at the age of 16, I went to a high school in Tel Aviv and learned Hebrew.
Why Obama Couldn’t Rescue U.S.-German Relations – Foreign Policy
Confronting German guilt partly motivated me at the time. Being the only German and the sole non-Jew in a cinema with Israeli students watching the horrific images of emaciated corpses being pushed around by bulldozers in the liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp will inoculate you from any form of anti-Semitism for the rest of your life.
Existential Moments In the years since, I have visited the country so often that it has become a second home to me. I have organized student exchanges for young Germans and I lived in the country together with my family in Jerusalem from to as a foreign correspondent.
I experienced several wars and two intifadas. My host brother was killed in a suicide attack in I know what Israeli suffering feels like.
The true value of friendships proves itself especially in existential moments. With regard to Israel, this means that we, as Germans, must defend Israel both politically and materially when its existence is threatened.
The establishment of Israel as a Jewish state was a direct consequence of the National Socialist era with the goal of providing a safe homeland to the Jews after centuries of discrimination and persecution. That is also why Israel's security, as Angela Merkel stated in her now famous speech before the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, inis also cemented as a fundamental principal of the German state.
I can understand why Israelis, almost universally, are extremely skeptical of the nuclear deal with Iran. I can't understand how German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier could have celebrated the deal as "historic" without knowing whether Iran would ever actually comply with it.
Still, empathy for a country also doesn't mean one has to shy away from criticism. The Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank do not contribute in any way to Israeli security.
In the long run, they jeopardize Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state. The greater the number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, the more unlikely it becomes that a two-state solution can be achieved. And the problem with a one-state solution is that, eventually, the Palestinians will represent the majority of the population and the Jewish minority would only be able to maintain control of the country with an apartheid-like regime.
That is why it is correct to periodically criticize Israel's settlement policies. There's one thing, however, that we can never allow: