While Germany is supporting genocide in Gaza, we are witnessing a return of facist ideology in Germany driven by its affluent, well educated, metropolitan elite
Mathew D. Rose is an Investigative Journalist specialised in Organised Political Crime in Germany and an editor of BRAVE NEW EUROPE
Police in Berlin stamping on candles at a vigil for Gaza civilians killed by Israel
On Friday, 13 October, the president of the European Commission, the German Ursula von der Leyen, travelled to Israel and declared “Europe stands with Israel.” She went on to insist that Israel has the right to defend itself, which translates as commit any war crimes it wishes including genocide.
Ireland’s President, Michael D. Higgins, called out von der Leyen: “I don’t know where the source of those decisions was. I don’t know where the legitimation for it was, and I don’t know where the authority for it is and I don’t think it was helpful.” The Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, contradicted von der Leyen by condemning Israel’s actions of cutting off power, fuel supplies, and water to Gaza, calling it a violation of international humanitarian law and collective punishment. Their Irish compatriot, the EU parliamentarian Clare Daly, was more blunt: “When the EU should have been arguing for a ceasefire, for the upholding of international law, for the protection of civilians, Ursula von der Leyen touches down in Tel Aviv to photo op the preparation of a genocide and says Europe stands with Israel now and in the days to come. How dare she! She has no authority in foreign affair matters. She does not speak for me. She does not speak for Ireland. And she does not speak for the citizens of Europe.”
A week after von der Leyen’s visit to Tel Aviv 842 EU employees in a letter accused her of giving ‘a free hand to the acceleration and the legitimacy of a war crime’ in Gaza, “losing all credibility and the position as a fair, equitable and humanist broker” and damaging EU international relations They went on to write “We are saddened by the patent show of double-standards which considers the blockade (water and fuel) operated by Russia on the Ukrainian people as an act of terror whilst the identical act by Israel against the Gazan people is completely ignored”.
So why did von der Leyen rush to Israel to make her pro genocide remarks and who was she speaking for? The answer to both questions is Germany.
Translation: “Because it is our Europe”
To begin with one has to understand Germany’s relation to the EU. For Germany the EU is a vehicle so that all Europeans will become sensible and hard-working like the Germans. For most Germans there is no doubt that they are intellectually and morally superior to other European citizens. This can take on very ugly racist forms, as was the case in German mainstream media and public opinion during Greece’s financial crisis, where Germany – Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schäuble – called the shots.
As Germany bankrolls the EU – it pays almost as much as all the other EU net contributors together – is the European economic superpower, and has the largest population, it is also the hegemon. Not long ago Angela Merkel was hailed as the de facto EU head of state. It was she by the way who appointed von der Leyen, who was then rubber stamped by the deferential EU parliament.
Since Germany is the incarnation of the “good EU” as well as its hegemon, von der Leyen could confidently speak for Europe in Tel Aviv. She was obviously unaware of the potential blowback, but how could she when her position is consensus in Germany. For her, and for Germany, the reaction simply confirms their opinion that certain EU nations have a long way to go to becoming responsible members of the EU like Germany. Spain for example where the Social Minister, Ione Belarra, called on Spain’s government to bring Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the International Criminal Court for war crimes as well as economic sanctions and arms embargo against Israel.
Even now Germany appears to be standing alone within the EU in keeping the door open so that Israel can continue unrestrictedly committing war crimes. But that interests the EU hegemon little. As Germany’s warmongering Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock explained at the meeting of European Union’s foreign ministers on 26 October, “We can’t stem the humanitarian disaster if terrorism from Gaza continues. Therefore, fighting terrorism is essential”. The other EU nations once again capitulated to Germany – did anyone expect anything else? – joining it on its path to ignominy and moral bankruptcy. According to the newest statement by the EU foreign ministers Israel’s onslaught against Gaza is not a war – even though Israel declared one – but a humanitarian crisis. There was no call for a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities. Germany will now expect the heads of EU nations to follow in the footsteps of von der Leyen and to hold a photo session with Netanyahu. And do you know what? Most will.
But this is nothing new. Of far more concern is what is happening in Germany itself. A year and a half ago I wrote an article citing the atavistic regression to German fascist vitriolic and naked hate that has reappeared in Germany towards Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. The showing of Russian films were cancelled in Germany, Russian artists were disinvited, and music by Russian composers was removed from the programme. Russians were the epitome of non-Aryan “inferior people” in Nazi Germany, now they are regarded as bloodthirsty barbarians. As eighty years ago, anyone who offers a differentiated view concerning the Ukraine war is denounced as a traitor by Germany’s political class and its state and mainstream media.
Interestingly the fascist fervour for the war in Ukraine has nothing to do with the far-right political party AfD, which is against the war and for negotiations. This is instead “good Germans”, an affluent, well educated metropolitan elite, especially of the Green party, whose policy is led by the war hawk Baerbock, who lectured representatives of the European Council that “We are at war with Russia.” They aren’t, but they got the message.
My concern was increased after the US blew up the Nordstream pipelines. Following the initial reports that Putin – not Russia – was behind this aggression was discredited and Seymour Hersh’s report appeared, the topic disappeared from German media and discussion. Just like that. A major national infrastructure project costing billions is blown up and no one talks about it. This might explain why after the war Germans could claim they knew nothing about the genocide against Jews as well as Roma and Sinti. In Germany their appears to be an accepted right not to know.
Germans claim that they have a responsibility to support Israel due to the genocide they committed against the Jews. This is something for which they deserve our greatest respect. One can ask however if “Israel right or wrong” is an ethical policy. Up to now, anyone in Germany (and outside of it) who criticises Israel is labelled “antisemitic” and their civil rights are being systematically infringed upon.
This often ends up in some remarkable situations. 17 October was the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair. This is an event where the “good” Germans put their cosmopolitan liberalism on show. This year things did not begin well. A literature prize was to be awarded to the Israeli-Arab writer Adania Shibli. for her novel “A Minor Matter”. Shibli’s novel deals with the real-life case of the rape and murder of a Palestinian woman by Israeli soldiers in 1949. Some Germans were already calling for Shibli to be stripped of the award as in their eyes her book was “anti-Semitic”. After the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, it was decided not to present her with the prize during the book fair, which is the usual practice. The book is now being scrutinised for anti-Semitic resentment, which apparently the jury of “good Germans” had not noticed. More than 600 writers, authors and literary workers criticised the Frankfurt Book Fair in an open letter for the postponement of presenting the prize. On the other hand presence of far right publishers at the fair is explained as protecting freedom of speech. Apparently Israel critical speech is not worthy of protection among “good” Germans.
Every Frankfurt book fair includes a partner nation that confirms how virtuous, liberal, and cosmopolitan Germans are. This year it was Croatia’s turn. Among the speakers was Slavoj Žižek, who although he condemned Hamas’ terrorist attacks on the Israeli population, had the temerity to stress that one must also listen to the Palestinians and consider their background if one wants to understand the conflict. Žižek criticised that all the speakers before him had spoken about Israel, but no one had mentioned the Palestinians. It was well and truly a harmless speech, somewhat embarrassing due to Žižek’s deference to his German audience. Still German politicians left the auditorium in protest, others in the audience booed and heckled.
This intolerance extends throughout Germany as this video shows. Reminiscent of protests in Russia against the Ukrainian invasion, a Jewish Israeli woman is immediately arrested by German police in Berlin for holding up a sign reading “As Jewish and Israeli: Stop the Genocide in Gaza”.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1713560670677905816 Twitter in the meantime has removed this film, but here is a different version on youtube
While throughout Western Europe massive demonstrations are being held calling for an end to Israel’s criminal acts against Gaza, the brutality of German police towards demonstrators showing their solidarity with the civilian population in Gaza is reminiscent of the actions of Israeli police towards Palestinians.
In an open letter from a group of Jewish artists, writers, and scholars in Germany from 23 October they write:
“In recent weeks, regional and city governments across Germany have banned public gatherings with presumed Palestinian sympathies. Cancelled demonstrations include those named “No conflagration in the Middle East,” “Youth against Racism,” and “Solidarity with the civilian population of Gaza.” The ban extends to gatherings planned by Jews and Israelis, including one called “Jewish Berliners against Violence in the Middle East.”
“These infringements of civil rights are taking place almost entirely without comment from Germany’s cultural elites. Major cultural institutions have silenced themselves in lockstep, cancelling productions that deal with the conflict and de-platforming figures who might be critical of Israel’s actions—or who are simply Palestinian themselves.”
German public prosecutors are trying to criminalise using the phrase “From the river to the sea – Palestine will be free”. German mainstream media is equating the use of “Free Palestine” with “Heil Hitler”.
That the Germans are shocked by the acts of terrorism against Israel is understandable. But as so often with the Germans, they have lost all sense of proportion. Israel can do no wrong has become an ideology in a nation where ideologies become very dangerous. At the moment I know nowhere demanding the extermination of Hamas, cost as many Gazan civilian deaths it may. As horrible as Hamas’ crime may be, it is no justification for genocide against millions of civilians.
What Israel and Germany have in common beside the holocaust is profound racism and a heightened sense of victimhood. When Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant referred to Palestinians as “human animals”, or President Isaac Herzog accused the entire people of Gaza of being responsible for the Hamas attack, effectively denying every man, woman and child their civilian status and designating them all as terrorists, adding “We will break their backbone”, it could have been straight out of the German Nazi play book. It resonated well in Germany.
This is not only true for Germany’s bellicose projects. The EU just brought out a report claiming that in 13 EU nations studied, racism against Blacks is highest in Germany. According to a recent analysis it was discovered that out of over 400 headlines in English-, German- and French-language media framing climate activists as a “security threat”, around 80 per cent were published by German-language outlets. Not surprising when you follow German state and mainstream media. Wherever you look at or listen to German media one is overwhelmed by the magnitude of systemic authoritarian propaganda. This runs through all aspects of life.
You might be of the opinion that I am being too hard on the Germans. Other governments such as the USA and Britain also support Israel’s genocide in Gaza and war in Ukraine not only politically, but also with weapons and ammunition. The difference is that in those nations there is open and massive protest (three out of four Britons want an immediate ceasefire in Gaza , 66% of likely voters agree that the U.S. should call for a ceasefire and de-escalation of violence in Gaza to prevent civilian deaths) against Israeli war crimes. There is none of that in Germany. Instead we are seeing an authoritarian, anti-democratic transition taking place supported by civil society to achieve enforced conformity. The leader of Germany’s largest political party, the Christian Democrats – yes, Merkel’s party – Friedrich Merz recently demanded that anyone seeking German citizenship should have to recognise the security of the state of Israel. “Anyone who doesn’t sign this has no place in Germany,” he commented. He is of the opinion that the security of Israel was ultimately the founding principle of the German state. Don’t bother looking for it in the constitution. It’s not there.
What we are seeing is a second form of fascism in Germany. Not from the far-right, but from authoritarian liberals, the “good Germans”. This was the driving force behind von der Leyen’s hurried journey to Tel Aviv and her public support of genocide, even if it contradicted her speeches concerning Russian war crimes in the Ukraine war, which she had previously so vehemently denounced. Not only is she exercising German hegemony in the EU and dictating the values that Germany wishes to impose on the union. This is also important for her domestic populace. The German political class has not yet informed them that Ukraine has lost the war and the US is preparing its exit from the conflict. The boundless hate unleashed against Russia is being transferred from one conflict to the other in the hope that no one notices. This is how totalitarian politics works, as Orwell so well described. The past never happened: recent events like Germany’s defeats in Afghanistan and Africa have been airbrushed from public consciousness.
When Germany’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, declared on 13 October “We are all Israelis these days”, maybe what she really meant was “We are all genocides these days”. And when the greatest victims of genocide commit that very same crime, then Genocide has become an accepted and legitimate political policy. Germany has finally been redeemed.