Wednesday 3 September 2008

Alter Jews: What is a Jew in Germany Permitted to Say Against a Jew in Germany?

Alter(native) Jews, from the French "Alterjuifs", i.e. self-hating, self-important, media hungry, hyper-critical of Israel etc. Jews.

Article by John Rosenthal @ World Politics Review

"Now, as so happens, "anti-Zionist anti-Semitism" is a commonly used term in German debates: including in academic debates. In the academic discussions, "Anti-Zionist anti-Semitism" is treated as a variant of so-called "new" German anti-Semitism. The basic idea is that since the direct expression of anti-Semitism is for obvious reasons highly taboo in Germany, abiding anti-Semitic resentments largely get expressed indirectly: the safest and most socially-acceptable form of expression being the in any case ubiquitous "criticism of Israel." "Anti-Zionist anti-Semitism" often goes hand-in-hand with so-called "secondary" anti-Semitism: i.e. a form of resentment of Jews precisely because of the Holocaust and the stigma that it represents for Germans and Germany. (For more on the subject, see here on World Politics Review.)
The clearest symptom that one is dealing not with ordinary "criticism of Israel" but rather with a resentment-laden obsession is the drawing of flagrantly overblown and spurious comparisons between Israel and precisely Nazi Germany. Thus, a 2004 survey conducted by a research group at the University of Bielefeld famously found that some 51% of German respondents agreed that Israeli policy toward the Palestinians is "no different than what the Nazis did to the Jews in the Third Reich." Fully 68% agreed that Israel is conducting a "war of extermination" [Vernichtungskrieg] against the Palestinians. Given its close association with the campaigns of the Wehrmacht on the eastern front in the Second World War, the expression "war of extermination" again clearly invites comparison to Nazi Germany.
Now, also as so happens, Hecht-Galinski has not only defended the legitimacy of such comparisons, but indeed made them herself. Thus in March 2007, Hecht-Galinski gave an interview to the German public radio Deutschlandfunk. Shortly before, two German bishops on a trip to the Middle East had compared the situation of Palestinians in the West Bank to that of Jews in the infamous Warsaw Ghetto. Hecht-Galinski not only defended the bishops, but she added:
"What's happening there [in the Middle East] can only end in an absolute catastrophe [ein absolutes Unglück], because you cannot oppress a people eternally and really -- I have to venture these comparisons -- we have ourselves experienced what happened in the Second World War and what is happening today. That can't simply be talked away. And one has to draw certain comparisons. Unfortunately, one has to say so, even if this is not politically correct in Germany."
Despite the tumultuous syntax of Hecht-Galinski's remarks, German listeners will not have failed to hear in her reference to an impending "absolute catastrophe" for Israel yet another Nazi analogy: namely to the "catastrophe" that is supposed to have befallen Germany at the end of WWII. Hecht-Galinski's allusion to the Israeli "propaganda ministry" on "Hallo Ü-Wagen" is, incidentally, yet another remark of the same sort."
continue reading here

Cover of "Les Alterjuifs", Controverses magazine, February 2004

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