Angela Merkel is the stand-up lady of Europe. The German chancellor is forthright in calling anti-Semites to account. She spoke this week to a rally of 6,000 Germans at the Brandenburg Gate, denouncing the documented increase of anti-Semitism in their country. The evils of the Nazi regime, which killed an estimated 6 million Jews in Europe 70 years ago, are marked everywhere, with bronze plaques on sidewalks where Jews were taken from their homes and dispatched to death camps, to the five acres dedicated to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in the very center of Berlin.
Yet, as the chancellor observes, there’s currently a sharp increase in anti-Semitic attacks and incidents in Europe, so that “not a single Jewish institution in the country can go without police protection today.” She says it’s every German’s duty to make his and her voice heard.… Seguir leyendo »
When the White House scribblers were putting the finishing touches on the State of the Union message, President Obama took a moment to commemorate memory. Monday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most notorious of Adolf Hitler’s death camps.
“Each year on this day,” he said, “the world comes together to commemorate a barbaric crime unique in human history.”
But not quite the whole world. Anti-Semitism thrives in the Middle East, where certain politicians vie to see who can say the ugliest things about Jews, and such sentiment is surging in Europe. Bloody pig’s heads were sent to the Israeli Embassy, the Jewish Museum and a synagogue in Rome on the Saturday before the commemoration.… Seguir leyendo »
‘Tis the season of the long holiday for toilers in the Groves of Academe. Learned professors of the American Studies Association (ASA), who recently adopted a call for a boycott of contact with Israel’s academic institutions, presumably to protest Israel’s “treatment” of Palestinians but perhaps because they just don’t like Jews very much, should take a break from grading papers, or partying with academics who think exactly as they do, and use the time to reflect on something important. One such topic should be why they single out the one democracy in the Middle East for criticism of its imperfection.
It’s not an academic question.… Seguir leyendo »
A new Stasi exhibits reveals just how evil ‘security’ can be.
When the Germans found out from Edward Snowden that America’s National Security Agency had spied on Germany, an outraged German artist projected onto a wall at the U.S. Embassy the words “United Stasi of America.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not so outraged. She said that American and German intelligence services had been working together in the service of the security of both countries.
The comparison to the Stasi was absurd, and particularly to Frau Merkel, who grew up in the East and who knew well the efficiency and extent of Stasi surveillance.… Seguir leyendo »
Barack Obama was in Berlin this week, and he was a different Barack Obama than the one who visited the German capital as a candidate in 2008. He was in a different Berlin, too. The welcome was warm, but the crowds were smaller and the adoration — and that’s exactly what it was — has dissolved. The thrill was definitely gone.
Germany has clearly transformed itself. American Jews in particular appreciate the transformation of the dregs of the Third Reich into the redeemed engine of Europe. More than any other country that once constituted the Axis, Germany has tried to make amends for the Holocaust.… Seguir leyendo »
The Germans play “gotcha” with decidedly Teutonic skill and attitude. The latest victim is Annete Schavan, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s education minister, who resigned her position in a gathering storm of accusations that she plagiarized the doctoral dissertation she wrote 32 years ago. The title sounds particularly apt: “Person and Conscience.”
She held on and fought back for a week. She insists she will sue to regain her title of “doctor,” revoked by Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf. In the age of the Internet, obscure dissertations once relegated to the memory hole, out of mind, unread or assigned to a remote dusty shelf in a library illuminated in the dull glow of computer screens, live again to trap the unwary.… Seguir leyendo »
Three Jewish women, each the wife of a German Christian, celebrated Passover together this year and invited me to the feast. One of the wives is a classical pianist from England who brought dark brown eggs boiled with onion skins, prepared from a recipe her Sephardic mother had taught her. An American woman, a translator, brought eggs with glistening white shells. She joked that they could have been colored for an Easter egg hunt for her little girls. The third wife, a German who grew up in Dresden in the communist East and now organizes cultural events for the Jewish community of Berlin, conducted the Seder.… Seguir leyendo »