The formation of a new Israeli administration has provided German leaders with another occasion to reaffirm their staunch support for Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians.
Bennett’s first moments in office as the new Israeli prime minister were marked by racist rampages against Palestinians in Jerusalem and recent airstrikes on Palestinians in Gaza.
Masses of Israeli protesters gathered once again in occupied East Jerusalem to celebrate the anniversary of Israel’s illegal annexation of the city.
“Death to Arabs” and “may your village burn” were among the now familiar chants used to incite genocidal violence, along with announcements of a “second Nakba” that would be “coming soon.”
European backing for Bennett’s crimes
At the same time, European politicians and unelected bureaucrats extended celebratory congratulations to Bennett’s new cabinet, replete with empty tropes of peace.
Charles Michel, president of the EU council, is looking forward to strengthening the partnership with Israel “for common prosperity and towards lasting regional peace [and] stability.”
At the same time, Sven Koopmans, the EU representative for the so-called “Middle East Peace Process”, thinks that he could work with the new government “towards lasting peace and security.”
Such proclamations are nothing else than outright lies that sugarcoat and normalise the Israeli regime’s violence against Palestinians.
There is no “peace process” - particularly not with Bennett in power.
The term is void of meaning and primarily exists within the EU’s repetitive diplomatic rhetoric on Palestine. Israel may have a new government, but the same regime is in power.
Regardless of who is in charge, the forceful removal and oppression of Palestinians is an ongoing practice of the settler-colonial project.
In line with EU policies, but even more radical, is the approach followed by Germany.
German chancellor Angela Merkel is committed to working with all her strength for “Israel’s security,” looks forward to a “close cooperation,” and even wants to “deepen” the “unique friendship.”
Germany’s attachment to Israel is not a political question but part of Germany’s identity.
Israel’s so-called security is, in fact, Germany’s raison d’etre.
A fanatical support for the Zionist colonial project is inscribed into contemporary German national consciousness and is adhered to by virtually all elected officials and throughout the country’s media landscape.
As Israel’s existence in its current, racist form necessitates the continuous perpetuation of apartheid and indigenous erasure, the oppression of Palestinians serves Germany’s political interests. Indeed, a uniquely anti-Palestinian sentiment is an integral part of current German nationalism.
While the European Union and Germany seem to romanticise the new Israeli prime minister, Bennett is transparent about his racist views. “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that,” Bennett once said.
A staunch settlement advocate, Bennett has built a political career on racist incitement and military violence. He had a leading role in the 1996 Qana massacre in Lebanon, where he also served the Israeli military during its illegal occupation of the country and returned during the 2006 war. He later threatened Lebanon with genocide.
But this is not enough to receive condemnation from Brussels or Berlin. On the contrary, it seems to be an occasion for enthusiasm. In many ways, Bennett symbolises the violent core of racist Zionism, which in itself emerged as a European settler-colonial movement.
Germany’s continuous support for racist ideologies
It is a common view that Germany’s extremist stance results from its guilt over the Holocaust. However, this assumption should be scrutinised carefully.
While many in Germany like to stress how they have overcome Nazism and have coped with the genocidal past, Germany’s crimes did not end with the Holocaust.
Today, Berlin continues to support supremacist ideologies and racial hierarchies. The focus, however, shifted towards presenting Germany as not racist.
Germany’s support for Israel’s violations of human rights and international law is rather a way for Berlin to uphold its positive image and strong political and economic role in the world.
Slightly a decade after the Holocaust, Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of West Germany, had guaranteed that there was no anti-Semitism in Germany but that it had only been a “temporary development restricted to National Socialism.”
Antisemitism still constitutes a problem in Germany today, as do various other forms of racism.
That Germany’s history and culture has been shaped by antisemitism for centuries is rarely acknowledged today.
During Adenauer’s time, Nazism was still thriving, as officials from the Nazi regime continued to hold crucial positions in the Federal Republic for decades.
Adenauer himself used an antisemitic trope to convince the West German parliament into relations with Israel. Germany “had to be expiated or repaired, if we were at all to regain our international standing,” Adenauer advocated, alleging that “the power of the Jews even today, especially in America, should not be underestimated.”
Rather than comprehensively dealing with its genocidal past, Germany has focused on polishing its image. Indeed, the process of de-Nazification that was initiated after Germany’s defeat in World War II was not carried out diligently.
Today, Palestinian refugees have to pay for Germany’s genocide of the Jewish people.
In order for that equation to make sense, Palestinians have gradually been dehumanised into a threat undeserving of any rights. And while the German government stresses its alleged concern for Jewish life, its policies require the equation of Jewish people with Zionist colonialism.
As a consequence, Germany continues to promote misconceptions of antisemitism.
As Israeli apartheid structures are ideologically reproduced in Germany, even Jewish activists critical of Zionism have become victims of state violence, censorship and political smear campaigns initiated mostly by white non-Jewish Germans.
It is not surprising then that, for Germany, no Israeli atrocity is too brutal.
During the Israeli regime’s latest military assault in May 2021, when more than 250 Palestinians were killed, and over 70,000 turned once again into homeless refugees, Germany issued messages of solidarity for Israeli warplanes bombarding Gaza.
Heiko Maas condemned Palestinians resistance as an unacceptable attack. He visited the Israeli regime to personally proclaim his support. Maas reiterated Germany’s backing for Israel’s so-called right to “defend itself.”
Following Bennet’s election, Maas expressed his excitement and reaffirmed that “Germany will always be by Israel’s side.”
Indeed, Germany today is actively involved in the atrocities committed against Palestinians and guarantees the continuity of Israel’s racial hierarchies.
It seems as if Palestinians have to suffer so that German nationalists can feel more comfortable about their past.
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