by Ralph T. Niemeyer
Let’s face it: Hamas is not clean of terroristic tactics that most Palestinians under normal circumstances would disapprove. Likewise does the right-wing Zionism not represent the people of Israel especially not by mocking the victims of the Holocoust in employing the Shoah as justification for killing civilians among them many children. Israel has the right to self-defense like any other nation.
But it ought to be understood that Hamas was born by surpression. Arafat and Rabin were asassinated before the two-state-solution that the Gromyko-plan in 1947 called for could be filled with life. Since that time one mistake was added to another, mostly by the Israeli government by settlement policy, oppression and apartheid. If there were two states, Hamas did not exist or have only very little influence as no population rises up unless being surpressed.
Nelson Mandela, once a “terrorist” by definition said in an interview with me in 1994 when I confronted him with his rebel past, that “the choice of the means of a fight is with the oppressor and not with the oppressed.” Nobody will say, I am sure, that Nelson Mandela was an Anti-Semite, and so am I not.
But, the Israeli government when being criticised for their crimes against humanity always leash out using the term Anti-Semitism. This comes across like trampling over the graves in Auschwitz. To say that it is not true that we are not free to say what we want because we don’t is the threat with fascism.
My solidarity is with the peace movement of Israel and all peace-seeking Palestinians.
The war between Israel and Gaza is, like all wars, also about resources. Religion and Racism are only being used for justification and cover-up of the true reasons. This has been like that since the very first wars human beings fought.
In case of Israel and Palestine, it is quite obvious: the Tamar gas field 90 km off the coast of Haifa contains 240 billion cubic metres of natural gas, the Leviathan gas field 130 km off the coast of Palestine would bring it up to 450 billion cubic metres of gas. Israel and Palestine had agreed in Oslo in 1993 to cooperate in the field of energy but due to the ongoing war it becomes impossible.
Even the much closer and easier to explore offshore gas field near Gaza that is only 30km away from Gaza’s coast, presently can’t be accessed bcause of the ongoing fighting.
Israel does not want to deal with Hamas, understandable, but nobody wants to see the point that Hamas would not exist or only have marginal influence, if Israel allowed for a Palestinian state to be established.
Since WWII we Germans are struggling with coming clear with our
nation’s dark past. Even for us who have been born after the Holocaust the long shadows are thrown in front of us, foremost but not exclusively when we are to deal with issues of peace and war, the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis or when debating how to build a peaceful European Union.
After WWII it has become raison d’état for us in the Federal Republic
of Germany to support Israel although we knew that the conquering of
Palestine through the United Nations in 1947 bore the same unhealthy
side effects which occurred in the case of Ireland after it had been
conquered by King Henry II in 1171.
Not seldom is it overseen how nasty an occupied people may behave.
Nevertheless, we Germans, united again under one nationhood since 3rd October 1990, and by incorporating the former Eastern Germans who were taught throughout Soviet rule an adverse stance in the question over Palestine and Israel, are still confronted with the ‘collective guilt’ – syndrome our nation has accumulated. I for my part think that there is no such thing as ‘collective guilt’ but that there should be a collective responsibility never to let it happen again. Not in Germany and not elsewhere.
Post – WWII and post-unification raison d’état has been and still is to
stand by our foes and defend Israel. But, also when Israel oppresses and commits war crimes? What about our morale, our democratic values and humanistic principles?
What does raison d’état really mean? It is usually attributed to conservative political doctrine. Quite cynically comes along a remark by Prussian king Friedrich II:
“You may reason as much as you like, as long as you are obedient.”
This is certainly a misinterpretation of what raison d’état should constitute.
Machiavelli wrote in 1525 that raison d’état authorised the ruler to make
or not make use of morale whatever suited the purpose.
Modern society in a democracy should carefully weigh its options when it comes to defining a raison d’état.
We are able to observe the self-determination of statehood applying all,
even immoral tools over and over again from neo-colonial wars and
destruction of social structures to profligacy and wanton destruction of natural habitats.
Our democracies should not only resonate and be locked in a subaltern
relationship with state-power that until recently has benefited
multinational corporations and banks by rolling out the red carpet for tax
evasion, downsizing and deregulation. To allow a raison d’état been drawn up by state power which so clearly has failed in our own crisis and to let it determine our attitude towards the Palestine – Israel conflict pre-destines it to fail as well.
In Germany, for the past 25 years, the raison d’état implied that Anti-
Imperialism was literally dead after the Eastern European Socialism had imploded and the Berlin Wall be brought down.
Ever since are we told that Globalisation was not imperialistic but brought freedom and democracy and will eventually bring peace to all nations. And celestial choirs will be singing…
The reality is rather different.
EU institutions did better to adopt an Anti-Imperialistic position if
Humanism mattered. Why should we denounce the necessity for an anti-imperialistic fight right now only because previous sympathy for national liberation movements had been disappointed or because the imperialistic appearing approach of the US – led Israeli government is directly connected with the traumata of the Jewish being under threat and persecution over hundreds of years?
Moshe Zuckermann said on 14th April 2008 that “whatever ideologies may determine the Israeli Shoah-commemoration, it can not be denied that the Shoah remains the basic Matrix for the foundation of the state of Israel.”
I fully agree, but wish to add that in lieu of that the events immediately
after the founding of the Israeli state tragic mistakes have been made as the progressive movements in the Arabian population of Palestine had supported the UN resolution on the British troop withdrawal and the
founding of two independent states despite the insurgence of Arab league nations after 15th May 1948 and despite of horrifying terror.
The Arab population of Palestine fought the withdrawal of the Arab
interventionist forces and in favour of founding of a Palestinian state
as it had been advocated by the United Nations, and for a democratic and independent government in such which in a perfect scenario would
cooperate and negotiate with the Jewish state on equal level.
It came the other way.
But this does not justify the injustices carried out against the Palestinian
people over six decades. It rather is an argument dictated by history to grant Palestinians as well as Israelis, the Arabic as well as the Jewish, lasting peace and a humane society along a prosperous economy.
This will be impossible without the Israeli withdrawal from occupied
territories while fi nding a humane solution for all Palestinian refugees.
Back to lost illusions:
Anti-Imperialism doesn’t result from illusions and disappointments won’t let it become out-fashioned. And, also where a black-white scheme is especially useless, one has to ask where the various interests lay.
The wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and the repression against Iran
clearly aim at imperialistic goals it is not about creating colonies. Also,
one can clearly say that the term Imperialism doesn’t describe Israel’s
policy correctly although Israel indeed does play a significant role in the
imperialistic aims of USA and some NATO states.
The question should be asked why would Anti-Imperialism require
the component of a contrary power in order to exist? The imperialistic
colonialism of previous centuries ultimately has been replaced by
imperialistic hegenomism which is fashionably coming along under the
cover of pseudo-humanitarian Western-Free-World lead internationalism which nevertheless still uses the same barbaric tools as in all the centuriesbefore.
Legendary remains the speech by chief delegate Andrey Gromyko on 14th
May 1948 at the UN:
“One should not oversee the fact that Palestine is inhabited by two peoples, an Arabic one and a Jewish one. Both peoples have their roots in the very territory. The historic past and especially not the reality created during our times do not justify any one-sided solution of the Palestine-question, neither by erecting independent Arabic state which doesn’t suit the legitimate rights of the Jewish nor by erecting an independent Jewish state which defies the legitimate rights of the Arabs. (…) A just solution would best be expressed in the founding of an Arabic-Jewish independent and democratic state, (…) however, should it transpire that because of the shattered relationship between Jewish and Arabic Palestinians has become impossible then one has to consider another solution, namely the secession and division of the country into two independent and self-determined states, a Jewish one and an Arabic one.”
This is the solution my fatherland should pursue in an honest approach
to guarantee that the existence of the Israeli state which shall not be
questioned can not be at the expense of the Palestinian Arabs. Such can only be achieved by a complete troop withdrawal from the occupied
territory, an end of the settlement policy and a humanitarian solution for
That’s the essence derived from the history of the Middle East conflict.
The terrible role the British colonial power played enhanced the conflict
between Jews and Palestinians but also the protagonist’s of Zionism and the Arabian reaction let things get out of hand.
There are no easy solutions to the most complicated and longest conflict in human history but it is clear that as long as the rights of the Palestinians are kicked around like a football there will neither be peace for Israel nor for the entire region. The Israeli peace movement ‘Gush Shalom’ in 2009 advertised in the daily Haaretz:
“Only when the first independence day of a sovereign Palestine will be celebrated, will the future of the sovereign Israel be secured.”
There is nothing to be added.
The Mid-East conflict can neither be solved by phrases like “Death to
Israel” nor by employing anti-German rhetoric. Those who deny the
oppressed solidarity can not claim to have learnt any lesson from fascism and the Holocaust. To justify settlement policy and occupation on the grounds that the rulers of Israel pretend to fight for the legitimate rights of an over centuries persecuted minority can not be the policy of a European Union based on human rights, freedom and democracy.
Likewise can the EU not sympathise with religious fanatics who employ suffering of the people in the West-Bank and in Gaza for their own interests. Our solidarity as Europeans shall be with the peace movement in Israel as well as the oppressed in Palestine.
If that was the official stance of the German government one should
use German infl uence to promote such position among the EU member states and institutions. Unfortunately, the official stance of the German government is the unequivocal support of the Israeli policy citing a moral obligation resulting from our nation’s dark past.
But, history obliges us to fully commit to fight Fascism, Imperialism, Racism, including the disgust about Anti-Semitism and Islam-phobia, and it obliges us to commit to a humane policy towards refugees and asylum seekers and an at least principal criticism of capitalism.
All the above does not characterize German and EU policy. It is rather so that government and predominantly private mainstream media focus on reducing the crimes committed by the fascists to their sick race-ideology which indeed has been unprecedented and horrific. But, the crimes of the NAZI regime don’t allow to be reduced to that. The industrially organised most brutal mass-murder of Jews, Roma, Sinti, Communists, Homosexuals and many other people who stood in the way of the fascists would have been impossible without WW II that has been initiated by Germany.
For quite some time now the German mainstream media report about this war that has been directed against many peoples in the world, but foremost against the Soviet Union and the direct neighbours of Germany, Poland and France, especially, by focussing on the suffering German civilians had to endure when the war returned to from where it started.
Not much is told the new generation of Germans these days about the unimaginable suffering of the peoples in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Romania, Greece, France and many others who were occupied by German forces and fascists.
The question arises whether the offi cial stance of all West-German- as well as the post-unifi cation governments had been that of a split tongue when dealing with Germany’s past: on one side the historic obligation resulting from the Holocaust and on the other side the permanent relativity of the fascist perversion foremost through the so called Totalitarism Doctrine.
It is also hard to explain the legality and existence of neo-fascist parties
like NPD, DVU and REP if the German government really wanted to deal
with the NAZI heritage. This deliberate un-clarity German raison
d’état sparks new Anti-Semitism and ‘theories’ about a “Jewish world
Nothing justifies such positions. Nobody should serve the
evil tradition of suggesting Jewish provoked Anti-Semitism. It is obviously quite difficult to determine where a line is crossed and where criticising Israel may feed Anti-Semitic resentment. Those who either don’t have their guts tell them where the line that shall never be crossed is or those who do not have a comprehensive knowledge about the facts better remain silent.
This is especially so as Israeli hawks invite Anti-Semitic reactions.
But, that is no reason for Anti-Semitism.
Vice-versa, it is rather that the existence of Anti-Semitism can not pose as a reason for accepting Israeli politics without criticising it and to acknowledge the hypocritical official stance of the German government and mainstream media as raison d’état. Knowing about the latent existing Anti-Semitism and the possibility for Anti-Semites to live such in supposedly criticising Israel doesn’t oblige anybody to remain silent but rather to measured responses which shall not cast any doubt that Anti-Semitism is not acceptable in a democracy based on civil liberties, human rights and freedom of speech.
Especially in Germany any comparison between Israel’s policy and the
NAZI regime must not be allowed.
Not one single supposed ‘argument’ or cliché by which the NAZIS had ideologically tried to legitimise murdering more than 6 million Jews can be a valid comparison.
And, because the preparations for the war against Iran were under way, there shall be no doubt that a conference in Tehran supposedly ‘re-examining’ the Holocaust is counterproductive for world peace.
It is not the right time to accept Germany’s raison d’état. For such, our state is too much that of banks and major corporations; it is also not the time to make wars subject to careful consideration as for such wars have become far too common; and it is definitely inappropriate at the height of times to allow the security of the people in Israel and the entire resource-rich region become a football on the field of Imperialism. It is high time, instead, to say ‘No’ to war as a profitable continuation of policy goals of states dominated by banks and major corporations.