New poll: 51 per cent of Germans equate Israel with Nazis

December 09, 2004

THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM

[Note by Tom Gross]

Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, a new poll of 3000 "non-migrant" (i.e. mainly non-Moslem) Germans conducted by the University of Bielefeld, reveals that more than half of Germans think there is no difference between Israel's current treatment of the Palestinians and what the Nazis did to the Jews.

Part of the reason for this completely inaccurate and highly offensive view, which amounts to Holocaust denial, is the deliberately misleading coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by journalists throughout Europe over recent years, in particular but not limited to publications of the left.

This new poll reveals not only ignorance of the reality of the situation in Israel, but total ignorance of what the Holocaust was. (See also, the item titled "New Poll: Almost half of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz" contained in my dispatch last week titled Julie Burchill follow-up; and "Great Britain Stands Indicted", December 2, 2004.)

Moreover, due in part to extensive re-education efforts in the postwar period and a media that is less anti-Semitic than elsewhere in Europe, Germany is generally considered to be one of the countries in Europe least in denial about the Holocaust and the truth of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

-- Tom Gross


"A GROTESQUE COMPARISON AND HERE'S WHY"

Journalist and commentator Melanie Phillips, a long-time subscriber to this email list, adds from London:

"This comparison is, of course, grotesque. For those who do not understand why and I'm afraid there are more than a few, which is why the German poll is so disturbing let me briefly spell it out. Whatever the occasional excesses committed by Israel towards the Palestinians and it would be idle to pretend they don't occur, and wrong to do anything other than condemn them unreservedly Israel is fighting a defensive war of survival against a Palestinian and Arab enemy that has been trying to ethnically cleanse Jews from their historic homeland for a century. To compare this with the Nazis' attempt to remove the Jewish people from the face of the earth is as obscene as it is irrational.

"The false narrative of Palestinian oppression by Israel has provided Europe with a perfect alibi for the Holocaust. If the Jews of Israel can be presented as today's Nazis, the real Nazis can be let off the hook since the Jews they murdered can retrospectively be held responsible for their own destruction, just as they are being accused today.

"Because the left has so totally bought into the narrative of Palestinian oppression and Israeli brutality, the heirs of those who fought fascism in Europe are now marching shoulder to shoulder on pro-Palestinian demonstrations with people chanting 'Jews to the gas'. Holocaust denial, for so long the preserve of the neo-Nazi right, has been turned into a respectable orthodoxy through the efforts of the left."

 

MEDIA PARTLY TO BLAME

Avner Shalev, the Chairman of Yad Vashem, adds from Jerusalem:

"There is little doubt that the media miscoverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict has led to these poll results. There is also a long-suppressed felling of anti-Semitism among the mainstream 'so-called liberal' population which now, under the coating of anti-Israeli criticism, are becoming legitimate again. The energies which bring about such answers come to protect feelings of guilt."

 

"A VERY STRONG WARNING SIGNAL"

Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, the director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and another long-time subscriber to this email list, adds from Jerusalem:

"This is a very sad commentary about what is happening in Europe today. It sends a very strong warning signal about how much work needs to be done to deal with these attitudes."

I attach below an article from the Jerusalem Post

-- Tom Gross


POLL: OVER 50% OF GERMANS EQUATE IDF WITH NAZI ARMY

Poll: Over 50% of Germans equate IDF with Nazi army
By Etgar Leftkovits
The Jerusalem Post
December 7, 2004

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1102432932687

Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, more than 50 percent of Germans believe that Israel's present-day treatment of the Palestinians is similar to what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II, a German survey released this weekend shows.

51 percent of respondents said that there is not much of a difference between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, compared to 49% who disagreed with such a comparison, according to the poll carried out by Germany's University of Bielefeld.

The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinians, while some 32% disagreed with such a statement.

In a first reaction, the chairman of Yad Vashem's directorate Avner Shalev said Tuesday that the poll's results, which he termed "very worrisome," were indicative of a long-suppressed felling of anti-Semitism among the mainstream "so-called liberals" population which now, under the coating of anti-Israeli criticism, are becoming legitimate again. He added that the poll's results, which he said any objective person would repudiate, are also the result of the release of pent-up feelings of guilt built up from the Holocaust.

"The energies which bring about such answers come to protect feelings of guilt," Shalev said. 62 percent of respondents in the poll said that they were sick of "all this harping" of German crimes against Jews, while 68% said that they found it "annoying" that Germans today are still held to blame for Nazi crimes against Jews.

The survey, which aimed to determine what is "the cut off point" between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, finds that while "classical" anti-Semitism in Germany is on the wane, secondary anti-Semitism, often couched in anti-Israel views are on the rise, especially among the Left.

The German researchers who conducted the polls conceded that the results showing a majority of Germans equating Israel's Policy with Nazi Atrocities "may be worrying," but concurred with Yad Vashem's Shalev that the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinians conflict has made such analogies part of the public discourse.

"When you see an image in the newspaper, in a caricature, which is repeated day in and day out that Sharon is equal to Hitler than the image catches in your head because maybe you do not like Jews so much or maybe you hate Jews, and than this works out excellent," Shalev said, stressing that education of the young generation was the key to stemming such a tide.

In the survey, 82 percent of the respondents polled said that they are angered by the way Israel is treating the Palestinians, while 45 percent of those polled said that considering Israel's policies it was "no surprise" that people were against them.

The telephone poll of 3000 "non-migrant" respondents, which was taken in May and June, did not come with a margin of error.

"This is a very sad commentary about what is happening in Europe today which needs to send a very strong warning signal about how much work needed to be done to deal with these attitudes," said, Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Due in part to its blighted history, Germany is generally considered to be one of the more supportive countries of Israel in Europe.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.