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Thanks for the hat tip.

I really hate to see this. I hate to see Germans born after the fact feel like somehow people think by virtue of being German they are somehow tainted.

I remember when the World Cup was about to begin and seeing discussions about whether it was ok for Germans to enjoy themselves.

That. Just. Sucks.

But I wonder about something. On the previous thread beimami and german observer posted some comments that caught me.

I wonder if the anti_Israel cant is a way of saying, "See, if I really carried this historical guilt, I couldn't be anti_Israel, but I don't carry it so I can be anti_Israel'.

Just a thought.

sloppy argument structure on my part.

"Being anti_Israel proves I carry no historical guilt for the Holocaust".

better.

still thinking.

I wonder if the anti_Israel cant is a way of saying, "See, if I really carried this historical guilt, I couldn't be anti_Israel, but I don't carry it so I can be anti_Israel'." -Pamela

Ding Ding Ding!

A lot. Sometimes people will even start about the Holocaust and how THEY cannot be blamed for it even though the discussion had nothing to do with it, and no one brought it up other than the one "preemptively" defending against it. Freud would be delighted.

@ Pamela

That's not quite correct. For the most part, it goes like this: Anti-Semitism comes from the Nazis, who are "the extreme right". Therefore, anti-semitic remarks from the left can per se not be anti-semitic. They are "criticism". And more: Since they only want the best for the Jews, surely it must be "allowed" to criticize? (Note: It is a not uncommon opinion in Germany that it isn't allowed to criticize Israel because "they" - whoever that means - are using our guilt to silence us.) But it gets better: Since we experienced what horrific crimes the Nazis did, we must prevent others from commiting similar atrocities. In other words: We must stop Israel from haunting the poor "Palestinians". Nice, isn't it?

Disclaimer: Of course it's by far not all of my German countrymen who think like this, it's very likely a minority. And the DMK article is right: The problem is much greater in other European countries. But unfortunately also in Germany, Anti-Semitism is more common than than one would hope for - and it seems to grow, especially on the left.

PS: Of course constructive criticism of Israel is not at all anti-semitic. But, as I explained, too often "criticism" is just the label under which old prejudices sail.

Maybe I should clarify: "Nie wieder" (never again) would in fact be one of the best lessions Germany could have learned from the Nazi era. But unfortunately that means criticizing Israel for defending itself, but it doesn't seem to lead to the least bit of criticism of Iran's leader who once again threatens to destroy the Jews. Also, it doesn't seem to have created some understanding why the removal of mass murderer Saddam may at least in some ways have been a good thing.

Mir is absolutely right about the "Why can't we criticize Isreal?" song and dance that many on the German Left play. I've heard it many times. The answer, of course, is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it if the criticism is reasonable, considers all sides and is proportional in intensity and quantity to criticism pointed at others for similar issues. Most criticism of Isreal that I heard while living in Germany failed miserably on the third point. The people who criticized Isreal with a red face never had an angry word to say about suicide bombers, corrupt Middle Eastern governments, Saddam Hussein and the many he murdered, concentration camps in North Korea, lack of free elections in Cuba, ethnic cleansing in Darfur (or the former Yugoslavia for that matter), etc. Many certainly hated Bush, but never attacked him or America with the ferocity they attack Isreal with. I can't say for certain whether or not their passionate hatred of Isreal is due to anti-Semitism, but I don't see a lot of other factors in play.

That said, I believe that David is correct that there is no substantial, wide-spread anti-Semitic hatred in today's Germany -- at least not at the open, active level. I spent twenty years in Germany and always felt comfortable there as an American (non-Jewish). I also believe the same is true for most foreigners living in Germany, regardless of where they come from. I realize my comments here sort of point both ways, but that was my experience.


Mir

I'm not sure you are aware of the import of what you wrote.

Anti-Semitism comes from the Nazis, who are "the extreme right".

I'd like to tie this to my comment in the previous thread where I posted the link to the article that David and Ray used for this thread.

No fair bringing up Freiburg, Helian. It gives lie to the comforting myth that what happened to the Jews was caused only by the Nazis who just happened to be German. Culture has nothing to do with it.

Then you wrote
(Note: It is a not uncommon opinion in Germany that it isn't allowed to criticize Israel because "they" - whoever that means - are using our guilt to silence us.)

This is what makes me nuts. OUR guilt. The collectivization of guilt. That was used to justify genocide. This is the problem I have with European culture. Not with German politics, left or right. Collectivization.

Since we experienced what horrific crimes the Nazis did, we must prevent others from commiting similar atrocities

There has to be a clinical name for this pathology, I just don't know what it is.

No. The German people did not experience the horrific crimes the Nazis did. The German people were the Nazis. What the German people experienced were the consequences of utter defeat as Nazis.

I need a drink.

I think I'll go get one.

(Mir, I hope you don't read this as a personal disagreemnt from me to you - it most assuredly is not. I understand what you are posting is not your personal opinion, but simply your observations.)

beimami

I don't know how old you are, so I don't know if you remember this.

Go back to the administration of George Bush 41, the father of the current president.

Does anyone remember Manuel Noriega?

We invaded his country (Panama, just in case you don't already know) using a lethal combination of Marines and really obnoxious rock music, abducted him and shit-canned his ass in some maximum security prison from which he will never again see the light of day.

I think there may have been a trial, but it was rather perfunctory.

I don't hear any one complaining now and I didn't hear anyone complaining then.

But heaven forfend that photos of American military personnel examining Saddam's dental work should be circulated.

Oh, the humanity!

@ Pamela

In fact, when I wrote that comment, I had first put the word "guilt" in quotation marks - because I don't share the view that every German today is guilty of what happened back then (those still living who supported the Nazis of course are). I for one don't feel guilty myself, but sad over what happened and over the fact that some of the old resentments are still so alive here. But it is my believe that Germany (like any free country, but also because of lessons learned from our history) should try to help make the world more free, and support people who are suppressed by dictators, not support the dictators. Also, we should be among the first to condemn guys like Ahmadinejad (well, at least Merkel tries).

But it is a fact that many Germans do feel guilt and try to find ways to make this feeling go away. This phenomenon has often been tried to analyse. In my view, the feeling comes from inside the people themselves who are unable to "deal" with the fact that the most horrific crimes ever were commited in the name of their country. Maybe - just maybe - this feeling also arises when someone asks himself: What would I have done? How would I have reacted? Would I have stood up against the evil? I have to admit, that's something very difficult to think about as a German.

>> The German people did not experience the horrific crimes the Nazis did. The German people were the Nazis. What the German people experienced were the consequences of utter defeat as Nazis.

You are absolutely right. It may be my imperfect English that is to blame if my comment sounded otherwise. To clarify: The argument usually implies that since we killed so many people, we should try to prevent others from similar mistakes. As I said, I somewhat share the rationale behind this view. But the common problem is that these people (only want to) see and lament over "crimes" of Israel and the US, which already seems to make them feel better - and I'm convinced that it also helps them to fight their feeling of guilt when they can delude themselves into seeing the US ("only Bush!") as the new warmongers.

Let me add something else: You criticize that many try to blame "the Nazis" like they were some aliens that invaded their country, and want to downplay the fact that it was the people who elected those Nazis, and that it was the people who to a great extend WERE Nazis. Your observation is correct, this is a widespread way to look at the past. Again I think it's their way to force this feeling of guilt out of their mind. But it trobles me, because when I see the extent of Anti-Americanism in German media and politics and the election results of extreme (right and especially left) parties, I fear that once again we are moving in a dangerous direction. I try to talk to people to fight against these developments, although it can get frustrating sometimes.

Mir, who are they? They are the folks who can make you experience the feelings of guilt merely by being present. The Americans. When the German people can come to grips with the collective guilt the the animus toward the US and Israel will drop to a manageable level. There will always be some animosity because we are the 'other.' We experience that also with our 'others.' We had a problem with a group in our history that caused a ruckus called the Civil War. We've just recently gotten rid of the baggage that went with that problem. We did it by accepting that our ancestors did something wrong and we don't want it repeated, but understanding that they were the guilty party and we are responsible for not allowing it to happen again.

Let's see. Some whacked out teacher's aide in Texas with sexual issues complains because a four year old felt her up, and an imbecile principal puts a letter in the kids file. SPON flies into a tizzy, claims it proves the US government, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the incident, is evil, points the finger at the entire American people, who equally had nothing to do with it, and suggests the incident proves their degeneracy, wrings its hands about how the whole world is condemning the United States, in toto, because two out of a population of 300 million committed a stupid blunder, and even puts hate pedlar Pitzke himself on the case, no less. Yet, when a large number of fans in a German stadium shout blatantly anti-Semitic slurs at a Jewish team, it's no biggy, just an isolated incident, reflects in no way whatsoever on the German people, in no way implies blatant racism in German society, and in no way reflects negatively on the German government. I SEE! I think I'm finally starting to get it!

@Pamela

I agree with your sentiment, but you underestimate the depths to which the Euro-Left will go to demonize the U.S. About three years ago I saw a documentary on German TV (ARTE, I believe) that explained to the viewers in excruciating detail how the entire situation involving Noriega was the fault of the U.S. to begin with and how the U.S. used excessive force and killed untold numbers of Panamanian citizens during the process of removing him from power. As is always the case, there were certainly some American mistakes with regard to the Noriega situation in Panama, but we working against Communist/Socialist activities there during that time, a fact that was completely overlooked in the blantent anti-American propaganda film. I am certain that film (among others) is still trotted out now and then to keep the flames of America-hatred burning bright among the Euro-Leftists.

Helian makes an excellent point that I haven't seen discussed here in general for some time. Much of the anti-Americanism in the German press isn't just the sneering and biased tone of the articles, commentaries, opinion pieces, interviews, debates, academic lectures and even obituaries, but also the selection of items that are reported on; squeal about a ridiculous story involving a four-year-old in Texas, but don't worry about Germans shouting anti-Semetic slogans (I doubt it was just Neo-Nazis), act like America is a police state, but have little to say about what German authorities are allowed to do, report breathlessy and endlessly about Enron, but lose hardly a word when Gethard Schroeder goes to work for Gazprom; criticize the U.S. for not signing the worthless Kyoto treaty, but don't worry so much about the Iranian nuclear program (wouldn't want to violate Iranian sovereignty, would we), moan 60 years after the fact about the questionable bombing of Dresden, but act like German atrocities during World Wars I and II weren't committed by Germans. The same formula applies to German press reporting on Isreal.

Few Germans have sufficient understanding of the U.S. to recognize just how hideously biased, inaccurate and unfair German press reports regarding America are. Propaganda outlets like Spiegel, Stern, ARD, ZDF and their ilk are free to push their poison with little fear of consequences; the Medienkritik being one of the few exceptions.

Thank you all for great posts!

@mir
“You criticize that many try to blame "the Nazis" like they were some aliens that invaded their country, and want to downplay the fact that it was the people who elected those Nazis, and that it was the people who to a great extend WERE Nazis.”
And, if France had lost WWI it could have been them. Anti Semitism was not just a German problem, then or now! I have heard in Germany, dozens of times (actually more than that!) anti-Semite statements that in the USA would not be accepted!

@Mike H.
“We did it by accepting that our ancestors did something wrong and we don't want it repeated, but understanding that they were the guilty party and we are responsible for not allowing it to happen again”
Ah, the biggest difference between Europe and the USA! We not only accept that there was a problem, we then try to correct it, be it compensation for the internment of the Japanese in WWI, civil rights, or the medical and school systems on the reservations.

@ beimami
“Few Germans have sufficient understanding of the U.S. to recognize just how hideously biased, inaccurate and unfair German press reports regarding America are”
Really? How could that possibly be? OK, enough kidding. It is indeed the little things that will dehumanize people. “American Parents put their children on the school bus on the 1st day of school and just hope they get home”, “Americans do not know which fork to use at a formal dinner”, “American students are far less educated”……and on and on the drum beat goes!
Even educated Germans fall for this stuff! So, invite some over and have some fun! I had one German who was talking to me in the kitchen while I finished up a meal. We were having company for dinner. He was telling me all about how “Germans know how to set a nice table, unlike Americans”. I asked him to put a few dishes on the dinning room table. He got ½ way through the door, turned around and said: “I could be wrong about that!”….yea…what was his 1st clue ;-)
Or take a group of high school students….AMERICAN high school students to visit the mayor of a German town. Watch him squirm as he tries to answer the question: “Now that the French and Dutch have voted down the EU Constitution, what will Germany’s position be?” “Is Schroeder’s vote of non confidence, at noon today, constitutional?” (We were at a party later that night and I found him telling people how: “I usually get ‘do you like being the mayor’! I have NEVER gotten such questions!”

This is my terribly long-winded way of saying that we need to interact. I have learned and enjoyed having my German host kids live with us (over and over again) and having their families visit! I have also enjoyed and at times been shocked when I have visited Germany. It isn’t much to host. I cook more at each meal and my guest room is used. The favor is returned. And, all of us learn.

@Helian

It has also struck my attention that incidents like the Texas episode are seized upon by some German journalists and enlarged beyond proportion (in this case, as yet another instance of alleged American sexual hysteria).

Not all that long ago, "Stern" and "Spiegel" reported that German au pairs in America were being harassed on the basis of their nationality and the opposition of Germany to the Iraq War. Out of curiosity, I Googled the names of the German nannies and came up with a site on which they said that they had been misquoted and had actually enjoyed their stay in America. Later, "Die Zeit," to its credit, commented briefly that German journalists had been systematically calling up German au pairs recently returning from America to find instances of reportable harassment.

Conversely, to interpret the soccer incident, detestable as it is, as indicative of widely spread anti-Semitism in Germany would be unjust to Germans on the whole. I have heard as many anti-Semitic comments among Americans as among Germans (for an example, take a look at the Duke video clip now on the Andrew Sullivan site). So thank you, David, for your introductory qualification.

However, if the German economy worsens and further mayhem is committed in the Middle East, a resurgence of scapegoating anti-Semitism might well be on its way.

@jlwb
Anti Semitism was not just a German problem, then or now!

You got that right! I'm following the French presidential elections. LePen's party is running at something like 25% - a lot of it apparently from those famous French suburban 'youths'.

@Paul

"Conversely, to interpret the soccer incident, detestable as it is, as indicative of widely spread anti-Semitism in Germany would be unjust to Germans on the whole."

There will, no doubt, never be widespread anti-Semitism in Germany as long as the Germans pretend not to notice it, just as the pervasive blind, irrational hatred of Americans that makes it very profitable to peddle propaganda about 4 year old sex fiends in Waco isn't really racism. How could it be? Americans aren't a single race.

Since we experienced what horrific crimes the Nazis did, we must prevent others from commiting similar atrocities.

This was what I was trying to say some threads ago, Germans as domesticated pitbulls who say of themselves to have seen the light.

Some more thoughts. My opinion is, to quote the great Bill Quick, that collective guilt is for morons. Collective guilt has very detrimental effects. Feeling guilty for something you have not committed produces a feeling of injustice, and hostility. It generally leads to irrationality.

Germans suffering from collective guilt, and pretending to be the new apostles of morality, act like rockstars who have recovered from drugs and now preach to drug-addicts, or like whores who have become nuns and preach about virginity. It's better to shut up. No nation is without a stain, I often hear: America subdued the Indians and the federalist papers (all men are equal) were written while slaves worked on the fields, Stalin's atrocities, Turkey's massacre etc. People who say this need to go to Auschwitz and see the gates of hell with their own eyes.

"Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz." Zvi Rex -> this sentence is one of the greatest of the 20th century.
"The resistance to Hitler and his kind will only grow the farther the Third Reich recedes into the past." Johannes Gross -> this one nails it, too.

@german observer

"Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz." Zvi Rex -> this sentence is one of the greatest of the 20th century."

You've got a point. The problem is as much people who irrationally feel collective guilt as those who accuse others of it. People who feel collective guilt themselves react with virtuous indignation to people who don't share their attitudes. They become obsessed with finding reasons that other groups or countries are just as guilty as theirs. That's why I welcome expressions of German patriotism. A German who loves his country (and Germany is a country worthy of the love of its citizens) is likely to be a German who no longer has the Nazi monkey riding his back.

@german observer
Some more thoughts. My opinion is, to quote the great Bill Quick, that collective guilt is for morons. Collective guilt has very detrimental effects

I love Bill Quick too, but he stands on the shoulders of giants.

Hayek for one.

Totalitarinism has many forms, but all those forms have one thing in common: collectivization.

And the EU is the new soft totalitarinism. I don't understand why Germans don't get this. They seem to view the EU as a redemptive political construct that will forever protect them from the evil of 'nationalism'.

Nationalism was never the problem. Collectivazation was. "Nationalism" was just a code word to provide a euphimistic cover.

The dynamic in France is very different, but that's another subject.

/german observer, you don't seem all that young to me, coming up with this kind of insight

@Pamela

"Totalitarinism has many forms, but all those forms have one thing in common: collectivization."

Once upon a time we almost lost the phrase "rugged individualism" in the US. At the height of the depression, many in the intellectual elite thought that capitalism was doomed. The beliefs that such an event need not necessarily recur, or that the system could be set right, were considered stubborn and lowbrow, and Marxists of all stripes had a brief heyday until Stalin's crimes became too grotesque to sweep under the rug any longer. "Rugged individualism" was a catchphrase for imbeciles who didn't realize that capitalism had come to the end of its rope, and that some form of socialism (we're not talking socialism-lite here) and massive state intervention in the economy with central planning were essential. The Bill of Rights was considered "pablum" for clueless bourgeois throwbacks, who didn't appreciate the "higher freedom" of the Soviet utopia. The Constitution was considered hopelessly outmoded. The rehabilitation of the phrase "rugged individualism" was coincident with the rehabilitation of "bourgeois" human rights. We were lucky to have some intellectuals and leaders in those days who didn't lose their nerve and panic with the rest. Many of them are virtually forgotten today. Notable among them was H.L. Mencken, the sage of Baltimore, who always dismissed Communism as just another variant of religious fanaticism, or, as he quaintly put it, buncombe. I wish we had more like him around today. He was no saint, and wouldn't make the political correctness cut in our times, but he was always interesting and thought-provoking.

Ah, Helian.

I wish I could have been there. But I think you give the "intellectuals" of the time more weight than they deserve.

Aside from my parents on their own merits, one of the great blessings of my life is that they were considerably older than most (almost 40) when they started our family. Most people my age have parents who maybe lived thru Korea, but most certainly not the depression and probably not WWII.

My folks knew both.

Mom, Queen of the Mardi Gras and all-around Southern Bell isn't relevant to this conversation, but Dad most certainly is.

An he is the reason I study history and politics.

This is a synopsis of what he and his parents and siblings told me.

You don't need me to tell you the demographics back then showed a heavily agrarian society, coupled with
what was then cutting age technology using a lot of immigrant labor. Coal mines. Steel mills. etc.

But it was still 'small town' America. People didn't read Mencken. They milked cows. They went to school and church. They fornicated in the woods and the fields and had shotgun marriages. They trained as soldiers and as doctors and they mostly came from agrarian/industrial communties that could care less about Marx, assuming they had ever heard of him.

And some of them went into politics. And my Dad's side of the family somehow or other knew just about all of them.

Dad came home after D Day and was walking down the street when he ran into one of his home town friends.

"Hey Cliff! Time for lunch? I have to tell you what's up in Washington."

Doc Morgan told him all about what became known as the Marshall Plan.

Which was pretty cool, as Marshall was born right in the town they were having lunch in (and later would have the honor of being my birthplace) and everybody knew him.

Uniontown Pennsylvania

My point is this: The U.S. was never close to losing the 'rugged individualism' in any of the places it actually existed. And A LOT of the people who ended up in the hallowed halls that the intellectuals were trying to influence had stepped in enough real bullshit before they got there that they didn't need to look at was on the bottom of their shoes before they scraped it off.

For those who are interested--hope I'm not violating blog etiquette by going too far afield--I found the "Zeit" articles referred to in my earlier post about young Germans in America and distorting German media reports (sorry, these articles are in German):

http://www.zeit.de/2005/45/C-Gastsch_9fler

And:

http://www.zeit.de/2003/16/S_81_C-Keller

Paul

A swastika on a birthday cake?

@Pamela

The passage in question:

"Bevor sie loszog, hatte Katharina Eichhorn einige Gruselgeschichten von ihren Mitschülern über die USA gehört. Die von der Familie etwa, die ihrem Gastschüler eine große Freude machen wollte – und die Geburtstagstorte mit einem Hakenkreuz garnierte. Eichhorn schreckte das nicht: »Ich habe meinen Mitschülern gesagt, ich werde es mir anschauen und mir meine eigene Meinung bilden.«"

"Before her departure, Katharina Eichhorn had heard some horror stories from her classmates about the USA. For example, about the family which wanted to really delight its guest--by decorating her birthday cake with a swastika. That didn't scare Eichhorn: 'I told my classmates that I was going to take a look at the country myself and make up my own mind.'"

That's the sort of apocryphal anecdote one hears now and then in Germany about America and Americans.

But I was referring in particular to the earlier "Zeit" article (ZEIT 16/2003: Gehänselt und gemobbt?), which described German journalists calling up returning exchange students to find stories of harassment by Americans--without much success.

"Bei zahlreichen Organisationen, die deutsche Schüler zum Austausch in die USA schicken, rufen derzeit Journalisten an. Sie fragen nach jungen Menschen, die wegen des deutschen Neins zum Irak-Krieg angefeindet werden oder die aus Furcht vor diesem Mobbing ihre Aufenthalte absagen. Doch den Medienvertretern geht es oft wie dem Fernsehredakteur bei Jessica Jacobs: Sie finden diese Gesprächspartner nicht."

"[German] journalists are currently calling up numerous organizations sending German exchange students to the USA. They ask whether there are any young people who are being treated with hostility because of the German refusal to join in the Iraq War or who are calling off their stays for fear of harassment. But the representatives of the press often have the same experience that the television journalist had in the case of Jessica Jacobs: they can't find anyone to interview."

Excuse my off-the-cuff translations.

The "Zeit" journalist Manuel J. Hartung is to be praised for reporting on the practice, so often discussed in the pages of this blog, of German journalists who, in order to please their editors and sell newsprint, ignore fundamental principles of journalistic ethics when reporting on America and pander to anti-American prejudice.

Why does Germany still have sports teams segragated by religion? Seems like the deep south 50 years ago. Perhaps some forced busing is in order.

@Paul
The "Zeit" journalist Manuel J. Hartung is to be praised for reporting on the practice, so often discussed in the pages of this blog, of German journalists who, in order to please their editors and sell newsprint, ignore fundamental principles of journalistic ethics when reporting on America and pander to anti-American prejudice.

Indeed he is.

I can't provide a link, but there's an article in today's Financial Times about an issue that appears to have been covered in German media, so perhaps you've heard of it.

There is a woman who FT characterizes as 'Germany's most famous political interviewer', Sabine Christiansen who apparently 'uninvited' Garry Kasparov to a panel discussion - at the behest of the Russian government.

If true, that's not media bias, that is utter corruption.

What say you?

@ Pamela

Here is a Link. They say the reason for dropping Kasparov were "technical problems". In fact there seem to have been complaints from the Russian ambassador. But everyone knows how biased and political correct this show (which happens to be one of the biggest weekly political discussions in Germany) is. They usually invite the same elitist guests, the same mainstream politicians, the same so-called experts, the same mainstream journalists who repeat the same talking points again and again nearly every Sunday afternoon. Critical or dissonant opinions are usually non-existant in the show or immediately cut off by the moderator. On the other hand, it could be worse: Some of the usual left-wing fools even accuse this mainstream show as being not leftist enough.

Pamela,

Here is the link you referenced.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/05d49da2-8cae-11db-9684-0000779e2340.html

That a famous German M$M type, even if she does have nice legs, should do something like this should not be surprising at all. Think about how the lesser types must behave?

BTW in English she comes across as a total airhead.

@ Joe: Not just in English....

@Pamela

Thanks for the link--the question of censorship or self-censorship in the German media is so important. But more facts are needed and less speculation in this case. Personally, I think it probable that political pressure was applied directly or indirectly (indirectly in the sense of "political correctness," as Mir pointed out).

There really is an unwillingness to criticize the Russian government. This is something that has always puzzled me. George W. Bush visits Berlin and the entire city goes haywire; Putin arrives and 30 demonstrators turn up (according to an earlier post on this blog).

Why is this? The U.S. government puts lives on the line and pours God knows how many millions into this country to defend it, is key in dismantling the Berlin Wall, and supports German reunification against the resistance of the French and the Brits. In return it is vilified again and again. Not that the U.S. hasn't made mistakes, but I do think that the German press at least owes America fair and balanced media coverage.

As Eric Hoffer said: "People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them." Is that just some primitive neo-conservative sentiment? I wish it were and could be dismissed as such.

I wish, but in my many expatriate years here, I have seen anti-American hysteria sweep all before it like an epidemic from which there is no escape. It has eaten its way into most of German society, from the offices of student associations to government ministries, poisoning and breaking down relations between America and Germany. It's like some huge confidence trick to which German journalists have succumbed. They'll lie like hell and run from the truth in their haste to blacken America and Americans. They'll do it for cash, they'll do it because they're scared of their editors, they'll do it because they've been conditioned to do it ever since the Sixty-Eighters began their famed "march through the institutions."

They'll keep doing it until they dig a big hole for themselves and take down their entire society along with them.

There are at least two reasons why Russia doesn't get nearly as much "criticism" as the US: One is that the old-European left thinks a closer alliance with Russia would be in their interest as a "counterbalance" to the "evil" US. The second reason is increasing German (in fact European) dependence on Russian oil and especially gas. Therefore, many politicians seem to think criticism would only hurt our interests, and the public could care less anyway.

@Mir

The significance of Russian oil and gas did not escape me. Also potential trade, including in weaponry.

But that the Left wants to play the Russian card to counterbalance a malicious, neo-imperalist USA.... That one leaves me staggering. Can they really be thinking that? Which leftists?

I thought I had some idea of what it means to be leftist in Germany. If you're right, maybe I should start subscribing to the "TAZ" after all.

good morning everyone. This is a drive-by as I have a busy day, but I'll check back later.

@Paul
I wish, but in my many expatriate years here, I have seen anti-American hysteria sweep all before it like an epidemic from which there is no escape. It has eaten its way into most of German society, from the offices of student associations to government ministries, poisoning and breaking down relations between America and Germany

The simplistic answer is that Russia does not engender feelings of guilt or inferiority in Germans.
I smiled when I read jlwb's post above about the German guest in her home who felt compelled to inform her that German table-setting etiquette is superior to the American.

I've seen it firsthand also, in a much more extreme incident. I was in a card store in a local mall where 2 German tourists proceeded to insult the staff by implying the (IIRC Hispanic-appearing) cashier was being paid less than the rest of the staff because Americans are inherently racist. The owner, a woman from South Korea, who had become an American citizen, called mall security and had them thrown out.

When I started to get serious about studying anti-Americanism the thing that puzzled me the most was that throwing facts into the discussion was about as effective as throwing snowballs into a fire.

That's because facts don't address the issues. And what enlightened me to that apparent conundrum is this article.

A Genealogy of Anti-Americanism

Read it. The facts don't address the symbolic America. And they won't be effective until the symbol is shown to be just that - a reconstruction of reality in the constructors best interest. There a big and small ways to do this but to my mind, they always involve confrontation. Not necessarily aggressive confrontation, which is how they incident at the card shop could be characterized - although I do think the agression was necessary. Had I been in jlwb's shoes, my guest would not have got off with such subtleness. He would have been asked for specifics, then he would have been asked to set the table in the German style, then he would have been relentlessly queried about it over dinner until he could not longer sustain the vacuity.

As a start, after you read the article I linked to above, you may want to read the book the article is based on. It goes into much more detail.

Reconstructing America: The Symbol of America in Modern Thought

To any of us fighting this pathology, the first thing to understand is that all pathologies serve a function. To cure the pathology, we have to disable the function.

And for desert, a very blunt analysis by one of my favorite historians, Paul Johnson.

Anti-Americanism Is Racist Envy

back later, play nicely.

I do wonder what part Gerhard’s employment and Germany dependence on Russia gas played in this decision making process.

And then there are those who claim the pubic funded M$M in Germany are independent of Berlin.

That is a laugh.

Pamela,

We all have some incident in our most recent lives which caused us to wonder why anti-Americanism exists in Germany.

I agree with you about disabling the function. A good starting point to do this would be to disband NATO. Then all the European nations could decide how they are going to provide for their own security and what their relationship with the US should be.

This single action would cause a more realistic framework for trans Atlantic relationships going forward. It would free Germans to really go their own way as opposed to the balancing act they now must endure.

Joe, I share your sentiments about NATO. But given the situation in Afghanistan, I think the U.S. cannot simply take our ball out of the game.

Be that as it may, I think NATO is crumbling anyway, given the pathetic forces its members can spare for it.

And it will get worse. I read today the the UK's MoD, in a budget cutting effort, will not provide para training for the next four years.

Altho I did read a paper from the Heritage Foundation yesterday responding to the ISG report. One of the recommendations was to admit Israel to NATO. I know that's not really feasible, but the visuals I have of Villepin's hair igniting do lead me to indulge in some wishful thinking........

@Pamela

Thanks for your response and the links.

To overcome anti-Americanism, one needs to understand it. But how is it possible to understand a phenomenon that is in large part irrational? As you say, facts are summarily dismissed (not always, but often enough).

I'm not a fan of "political correctness" and I am a supporter of an open society, in which diverse views can be aired without fear of censure, but I do think anti-Americanism has gone too far, with destructive results, so I would welcome cases brought before European courts against defamation of and discrimination against Americans. The "Stern" pseudo-history of America (see earlier posts), the IG-Metall cover, and so on, require a firm legal response. Perhaps we shall see something of that kind soon.

That would not only be in the American but also in the German interest.

I'll go against the trend here but I am speaking from the heart, anyway.

There is no need for dialog. No need for discussion. No need for interaction. Germans have been anti-American since there was an America. It is built into the philosophies so thoroughly as to be "gene deep". Same for anti-Semitism.

Western europe has issued a steady stream of blood and philosophical feces for at least the last 100 years.

Americans have shed much blood and spent much treasure specifically because europe cant get its act together. Western europe remained out from under the Soviet boot only because the US chose to stand for them, and western europe could be counted on to do nothing but plant a knife in our backs the entire time.

I, for one, will tell you true. I look forward to the day when europe burns. There's a blood debt and the day is coming when it will be called.

I do not say this to offend or insult. I do say this because it is true and I am by no means, the only American to feel this way. For the first time in modern history, you may well be on your own with no backup. You should be aware that europeans are despised by many in the US and trusted by fewer than you might hope.

@Grimmy

There is a need for dialog. Always will be.

Anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism do exist in Germany, but not more, and probably less, than in many other countries. It does not go "gene deep." It is not unique to any one people.

Nobody--Europeans, Americans, Asians--is beyond blame and reproach. Rivers of blood have flowed on every continent.

I could never look forward to a day when Europe burns. God forbid that such a day would ever come.

You may believe you're not writing to offend or insult, but you are offending and insulting nonetheless.

I understand your anger and bitterness, but I'll never let those feelings drive me down the same road you have chosen.

Turn back before it's too late.

Paul,

And just what road do you think Grimmy has taken?

The amount of anti-Americanism in my country is appalling. The American people has sacrificed much for its friends and even for former enemies - and still does. Yet that's all taken for granted, while every real or alleged mistake leads to endless arrogant lecturing. European leaders and people aren't ashamed to blame the US endlessly for their own shortcomings. I can fully understand when that leads to bitterness.

The friend of my enemy is my enemy:

France helps bolster Saddam by promising him that the US will be refused permission by the UN Security Council to proceed with invasion.

France bribes Turkey with promise of EU entry if they refuse to allow the US 4th ID to transit their lands in rout to north Iraq, as per agreement with the US.

Germany constantly interferes with efforts to peacefully end the building Iran nuke threat, thereby guaranteeing that further US blood will be shed to end that problem.

German officials and elected representatives contribute directly and purposefully to fostering anti-Americanism and motivating armed resistance to the US and Coalition in Iraq.

Germany refuses to be of any use in Iraq. Either this is because Germans are completely incapable of recognizing absolute evil when looking it in the face, or simply because what ever the US is for, the Germans are against.

Switzerland refuses to provide M113 armored personnel carriers to Iraq police reconstruction because it would "assist the US war effort".

Austria refuses to allow US supply convoys to cross their borders in rout to ports in Italy with supplies necessary for both Afghanistan and Iraq but sells 1000 of the best of breed .50 caliber sniper rifles to Iran.

That's just the short list.

The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

Grimmy,

But remember these are America's friends and allies.

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