Pankaj Mishra – Germany: Memory Failure

This is not the first time invocations of Staatsräson have been used to conceal democratic deformations. In 2021, for example, while pursuing defence deals with Israel, Germany challenged the right of the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in the Occupied Territories. In mid-December, with twenty thousand Palestinians massacred and epidemics threatening the millions displaced, Die Welt was still claiming that ‘Free Palestine is the new Heil Hitler.’ German leaders continue to block joint European calls for a ceasefire. Weizman may seem to exaggerate when he says that ‘German nationalism has begun to be rehabilitated and revivified under the auspices of German support for Israeli nationalism.’ But the only European society that tried to learn from its vicious past is clearly struggling to remember its main lesson. German politicians and opinion-makers are not only failing to meet their national responsibility to Israel by extending unconditional solidarity to Netanyahu, Smotrich, Gallant and Ben Gvir. As völkisch-authoritarian racism surges at home, the German authorities risk failing in their responsibility to the rest of the world: never again to become complicit in murderous ethnonationalism.



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