Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejadhas called the Holocaust "a myth." He's called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." He's the head of one of the most repressive governments on earth. And, as far as most German authorities are concerned, he's a welcome guest at this summer's 2006 FIFA World Cup.
German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (CDU) recently stated that Ahmadinejad is welcome at the World Cup because Germany wants to be "a good host." Schaeuble, who is considered conservative by German standards, said that he would "talk to him about his statements" in the event of a visit and added that "it will not be entirely simple."
Once again, German leaders are paying lip service to ideals that they have no intention of honoring. One day they pose as moral paragons of virtue, the next they are in bed doing deals with the world's most repressive regimes. It doesn't matter if you're the leader of a brutal theocracy who has denied the Holocaust and called for the destruction of Israel. Germany's special historic responsibility to the millions of murdered Jews and the state of Israel is apparently less important than being "good hosts" and rolling over to placate tyrants. What really matters is that the World Cup goes smoothly and serves German interests.
In a story on the potential Ahmadinejad visit, the FAZ newspaper detailed all of the problems with Iran and its President but pointed out: "On the other hand, German-Iranian trade is being promoted." Just another reason not to rock the boat! When in doubt, appease and call for more "dialog." If this is any indication of Germany's sincerity in negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program, the American "friends" ought to be quite concerned.
The only person who seems to have any sense in this is Edmund Stoiber, Governor of Bavaria (CSU). Stoiber warned that Iran's President would be less than welcome for his "tirades against the Jewish state and contesting the Holocaust." But even he wasn't willing to challenge the national government's right to allow Ahmadinejad into the country.
The ultimate question is how other World Cup attendees will react to the German government's weak-kneed stance on a potential Ahmadinejad visit. If a major player decides to pull out rather than participate in an event attended by Iran's notorious head of state, the German appeasement gamble could backfire quite badly indeed.
No doubt, Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's energetic president, might use this cartoon* in last Friday's edition of the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel as an excuse to start WWIII.
I suspect there will be an avalanche of apologies from Germany's government in the next couple of days...
(* Left: (most likely) the Iranian national soccer team; right: the 'Bundeswehr' (German military). The cartoon's text: "Why we definitely need the 'Bundeswehr' at the soccer world championships")
Update: According to this report, the caricaturist has received several death threats. He moved out of his home for security reasons. Also, the Iranian embassy in Germany requested an apology from Tagesspiegel. The story is developing...stay tuned. (For the time being we have decided not to correct this posting's headline.)
So you think German foreign policy is sub-optimal, not up to par, maybe rotten to the core?
The press spokesman for one of the oldest and most stable democracies in the world has warm words of praise for Germany's foreign policy:
Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham, meanwhile, congratulated the German foreign minister for declaring Berlin's commitment to negotiations over the brewing crisis that intensified on Jan. 10 when Tehran removed U.N. seals from its main uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, central Iran. (...) "The Germans have the right idea," Elham said.
Threats of military force against Iran, he told reporters, "have no legal basis. Iran has not done anything that violates international norms."
On Sunday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said his government was committed to a diplomatic solution and cautioned against military action, and Elham said that could signal a shift in the West's position.
"It is better for them to accept Iran's nuclear right in concrete terms," Elham said.
Whatever, Elham. Just let us know your conditions for Germany's surrender.
Have you ever wondered about the German government's soft policy towards the Iranian Mullah regime?
Follow the money...
For the last 25 years, the German government has offered its good offices to the anti-Semitic Mullahs in Tehran with a shamelessness unrivalled by any other western government. ...
Germany is today by far the most important supplier of goods to Iran and its exports are increasing at a steady 20% per year. In 2004, German exports to Iran were worth some €3.6 billion. At the same time, Germany is the most important purchaser of Iranian goods apart from oil and Iran’s most important creditor.
You need to read the complete version of Matthias Kuentzel's analysis (Are 500,000 Keys to Paradise Enough?: Germany "Confronts" Ahmadinejad) at the indispensable Transatlantic Intelligencer...
Yakoov Kirschen of Dry Bones has produced this magnificient cartoon that addresses the latest Iranian death threats against Israel.
Today - Saturday, Oct. 29 - about 300 Islamists demonstrated in Berlin against Israel. The annual worldwide “Al Quds Day” demonstrations ritually call for the destruction of Israel. This year's Berlin demonstration was not as openly anti-Semitic as last year's - because German authorities had requested the removal of hateful anti-Israel banners and posters. Also, about 200 democrats staged their own pro-Israel demonstration.
For a change, the reaction of the authorities and the pro-Israel demonstration are encouraging signs in Germany.
Anti-Semitic books are not permitted in Germany. Authors and publishers of anti-Semitic literature usually face the full brunt of the law, without regard to their nationality. Public presentation of anti-Semitic literature in Germany is simply not tolerated.
Of course, there are exceptions, for instance when the publisher is the Iranian state, as Matthias Küntzel observed at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2005:
"In fact the international publishers in Hall 5 at the Frankfurt Book Fair were not on my program. Having a few minutes before my train was to leave, however, I dropped by and was astonished to see the extent to which Iran was represented in the hall. The Iranian stands seemed to take up as much space as those of all the countries of the Arab League together.
Now, it is well known that the Iranian leadership is dedicated to wiping out the existence of a state member of the United Nations, namely Israel. And it is also well known that to this end, Tehran exports a crude anti-Semitism throughout the world.
Nonetheless, I was astonished how openly this occurred at the Book Fair. ...
There was, for instance, under the heading "Jewish Conspiracy", the text that influenced Hitler's anti-Semitism like no other work: The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", here in an edition published by the "Islamic Propagation Organization" of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Matthias Küntzel presents other amazing examples of anti-Semitic literature at the Iranian stands. I found this quote from one of the books particularly enlightening, from a strictly German point of view of course:
"The numerous footnotes added to the text by the Iranian publisher are particularly interesting. We find, for instance, talk of an "expansion of power" of the Jews during the Second World War ... and of German "resistance" against this "Jewish control"... (emphasis added)
Hmm... German "resistance" against this "Jewish control". Hitler, Himmler, Göring, Goebbels as leaders of the resistance? Freedom fighters, perhaps?
But there are other, more serious questions. Like this one from zombietime:
Is Germany, by blindly adhering to a universal tolerance of all views, unwittingly opening itself up again to a new wave of anti-Semitism -- the very thing that their ultra-tolerant society was created to ensure would never happen again?
The same source also reports on some cozy business deals between Iran and German publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
So, it's strictly business, nothing personal. After all, you wouldn't want to spoil German-Iranian economic relations would you, Israel?
Good old-fashioned anti-Semitic Literature, as seen at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2005
Note from David: By mistake, we erased a comment from James to our posting. Here it is: "Gee if that came from the International Book Fair in Frankfurt (Frankfurt's largest fair), was that from
The fictional section The non-fictinal section Romance
Medienkritik's readers should also be aware that Germany feels that regulating the German book market is also beneficial to German society... If you can't burn em, regulate em..."
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder desperately tries to energize his doomed re-election campaign by "warning" against military "adventures" of the U.S. government in the nuclear conflict with Iran. Only with peaceful means, according to Schroeder, can the Iranian government be convinced not to develop nuclear weapons. Of course, no one in German politics or in the German media would dare to oppose Schroeder's anti-war rethoric.
Not much is heard, though, from Gerhard Schroeder and the German media about some not so peaceful activities of the Iranian government. The Iranian democratic opposition sure would appreciate some help...
On behalf of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan-Iran (DPKI) for diplomatic relations in Germany, Austria and the European parliament to the representatives of the German mass media:
My dear Ladies and Gentlemen!
... This past month the Kurdish population took to the streets of Iranian Kurdistan’s cities to voice their demand for freedom and democratic rights and to protest the Islamic Republic’s repressive policies in Kurdistan. All month the Iranian regime’s revolutionary guards (Pasdaran) have been attacking Kurdish demonstrators. As a result dozens of people have been killed, hundreds seriously injured, and some 1000 Kurdish women have been arrested.
The arrested demonstrators have been subjected to unbearable torture. People don't dare bring their wounded relatives to the hospitals for fear of being abducted by the organs of repression and tortured to death. And for a month the world, including the media, has looked on and done nothing as people in Iranian Kurdistan were brutally beaten, shot, and tortured to death in prison. Europe’s governments turn a blind eye to the systematic human rights violations and constant murders in Kurdistan to justify and sustain their economic ties to the Iranian terror regime.
But how do the media justify their silence about all the human rights violations and the massacre of Iran’s defenseless Kurdish population? Means to combat terrorism are reported and discussed daily in Europe’s mass media. That's open for debate. But one thing is quite certain in this matter: international terrorism can’t be combated while ignoring its most important spiritual and financial patron, the Islamic Republic. ...
Consequently we appeal to you in the name of democracy and human rights and in the interest of objective reporting to break your silence about the bloody events in Iranian Kurdistan. Denounce the Islamic Republic’s grave human rights violations and inhuman policies. (emphasis added)
There was only so much the CDU could do. The party was stuck between a rock and a hard place. When Gerhard Schroeder decided to make peace-at-all-costs a campaign issue for the second election in a row, he knew he was putting his political opponents under enormous pressure. To understand why, one need only rewind to the last national election. In 2002, Schroeder pulled off a come-from-behind victory by mercilessly playing on the pacifist fears of the German people on Iraq. And the tactic worked brilliantly, particularly in eastern Germany, where Schroeder made enormous gains at the expense of the Communist PDS party.
Now its election time again. And the "peace Chancellor" is hoping the same emphasis on foreign policy will carry his party back to power. This time it's Iran. After President George W. Bush commented this past week that he would not rule out military force as a last option in confronting Iran over its nuclear program, Schroeder quickly seized the opportunity by declaring that he was for "taking military options from the table," a position enormously popular with German voters. That left Angela Merkel's CDU (Christian Democrats) with a difficult choice: Either reject Schroeder's position on principle and incur massive electoral losses (as they did in 2002) at a time when the party is stumbling and struggling to hold its majority, or cave on the issue and assume a pacifist position to neutralize Schroeder's ability to exploit it.
It now appears that the CDU has adopted Schroeder's position, thereby abandoning its earlier ideals and diminishing its commitment to a strong transatlantic partnership. But at the same time, it is a position forced on them by the shameless, populist exploitation of the issue by Schroeder. Above all, it is a position forced on the CDU by the majority of the German electorate which has long been staunchly pacifist and would severely punish the party were it to decide differently. Considering Germany's history over the past century, the nation's knee-jerk pacifism is hardly surprising. But it also makes it difficult for Germany to play a leading, responsible role in world affairs and leaves the country looking like a geopolitical lightweight. The mullahs in Iran would certainly be delighted if all the world's nations adopted such a dangerously naive "negotiations only" approach to its nuclear program.
So what does this all mean? It means that whoever wins the election and whatever constellation emerges in the next German government, it will be extremely difficult for Germany's next set of leaders to stand firmly beside the United States when future international conflicts arise. Now that both major parties have adopted a diplomacy-only approach to Iran, it will be difficult to find common ground with the United States should the Iranians decide to push the matter. And the new German position of peace-at-all-costs certainly emboldens Persia's Mullahs to do just that.
Photoblogging: Davids Medienkritik Live at the Iran Freedom Rally
The march began in Philadelphia and ended today in Washington, D.C. Supporters of a free Iran, led by author Jerome Corsi, capped off a long two-week journey today with a rally in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. The marchers called for democracy and women's rights in Iran and an end to the tyranny of the mullah regime. The keynote speaker was former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle. Here are some photos:
The Rally's Organizer, Jerome Corsi, Told Listeners: "The Grip of Fear is Losing its Power" in Iran.
And Baron Von Steuben, The Great German-American Freedom Fighter, Watched-Over the Happenings at Lafayette Park in Stately Silence...
This march was both encouraging and entertaining to attend and the crowd was really into the event. Richard Perle took the shouts of the lone heckler in stride and with good humor. He appropriately pointed out that those who shout and rail against the views of the government in Iran risk prison or even death. He was followed by Jerome Corsi, who proclaimed that the "mullahs who rule Iran have nothing to do with Islam. They have hijacked Islam."
Let's hope Europeans take the message of these dissident Iranians to heart: It is time to stop coddling the theocratic Iranian dictators and it is high time that politicians like Joschka Fischer stop assuming that the Iranian mullahs are trustworthy diplomatic partners when it comes to nuclear weapons and world security.
The breaches that have been identified with regard to Iran's Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA have shaken our confidence in the aims of its nuclear programme. Great Britain, France and Germany, with the support of the High Representative of the European Union, are conducting intensive negotiations with Iran in order to dispel the international community's serious concerns.
The negotiation process has already borne fruit. (...)
Together, we are hoping to conclude a long-term agreement with Iran, at the center of which will be "objective guarantees" – this is what has been agreed with Iran. (...) If we succeed in reaching an agreement on a lasting commitment by Iran to give up uranium enrichment, this would put EU–Iran relations on a totally new footing. (emphasis added)
Not just on a totally new footing, but on a totally new nuke-go-round...
"From Papa Scott's post, I ended up here and then read this interesting blog fact at TrendBlog: There
are 42 000 German weblogs. World wide there are 14 million weblogs,
Iran has 65 000 blogs. Thus Germany is a developing country concerning
An attempt to explain why - Here's my Dave Letterman Top Ten (all in fun).
Top 10 Reasons Why Germany has Less Blogs than Iran
Opinionated German bloggers risk being called Na.zis by the irate,
deranged and mentally disturbed commenters who lurk in the Blogosphere.
8. People will find out how great Germany is and cause a mass migration of (gasp) foreigners!
7. On the internet, no one cares about someone's Dipl-X or Dr.
6. Blogging is not required.
5. No one famous has a blog yet. Olli Kahn, Boris Becker, Joschka... It all rides on you.
You'd think with unemployment as high as it is in Germany that the number of bloggers sitting at home in their pajamas would explode. Perhaps the cutbacks in social benefits and the "Ein-Euro-Jobs" really are taking a larger toll than we first anticipated.
Anyway, the thought of Joschka Fischer or Boris Becker starting a blog is, well, absolutely frightening...
Note: We at Medienkritik can absolutely confirm point number 9:
Our site experiences almost daily outbursts by "irate,
deranged and mentally disturbed commenters who lurk in the
Blogosphere." It's all part of the fun that goes with having a comments
Brussels (AP) Foreign minister Joschka Fischer showed himself concerned about the continuation of Iran's nuclear program. The government in Teheran pursues a technology, with which one can derive highly enriched uranium, "and that fills us with a great cause for concern", said Fischer on Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. He called on Iran, to fulfill a treaty agreed with Germany, France and Great Britain, to stop the program immediately.
"There is the risk of miscalculation in Teheran," Fischer said. "I hope, that it will be seen and understood." It is a miscalculation by government officials in Teheran, "to bid oneself farewell to the agreement, which we agreed upon, and not correctly evaluate the consequences," Fischer said, without going into detail. Should Iran not fulfill the agreement, "we would have a serious situation."
...and then we'd produce another concerned news release. And another one.
In this blog we have time and again pointed out how German young people are being manipulated by anti-American educational material. We are thus introducing an internet-based guide for teachers with clear anti-American and anti-Israeli leanings. The actual goal of the educational materials is naturally to influence young people.
“Schools on the Net” is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research along with the Deutsche Telekom AG (primary owner of the Deutsche Telekom: the Federal Republic of Germany). So it is not only completely taxpayer-funded - it is an initiative completely under the control of the German government.
“Schools on the Net” wants to support teachers in their work with the new media through concrete online help. That is why there are various internet services and platforms from “Schools on the Net”.
"Teachers-Online" is a current online service for those who teach. Here “Schools on the Net” introduces a portal with service offers for lesson preparation and practice that are wide in scope, individually customized and school and subject specific. Centrally featured on Teachers-Online are the new media as well as the presentation of strategies for meaningful use within the lesson.
And here is an example of the “presentation of strategies for meaningful use within the lesson”:
The struggle for order in post-war Iraq
The war is won. The peace is not. To stabilize the situation in Iraq, the US is now bringing the UN into the game. However, they also don’t want to give up their own power and authority. …
Soldiers of the occupational force are dying daily in attacks by Iraqi resistance fighters or in military actions. … That wears away at the nerves of the American citizens, because up to now the government has always repeated that the war would be over quickly and that the number of victims would be limited. …
The American President had to admit in his speech to the nation on 7 September 2003 that he would need another 87 billion US Dollars from Congress for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is
significantly more money than the Congress has approved for the war up to now. …In the face of the new financial demands, massive criticism hailed down from all sides. Even Republicans were appalled and spoke with pointed and direct words to the President. In order to distribute the weight onto several shoulders, the US President brought the United Nations, who he consistently excluded until now, back into the game,. …
Because it now seems as if the USA can no longer afford its involvement, the United Nations should indeed contribute its part to the stabilization and rebuilding of Iraq after all.
A provocative walk along the temple mount in Jerusalem by the right-wing Israeli oppositional leader unleashed a wave of violence: The temple mount with the Al-Aqsa Mosque is holy to Moslems. Sharon wanted to make clear through his walk that the holy shrine is under Israeli authority. When Israeli security forces shot at Arab demonstrators, a bloody “spiral of violence” was set into motion: the Al-Aqsa-Intifada. …
So Sharon (right-wing: doesn't that say it all?) is the guilty party: He provoked through a visit(!) of the historical Jewish temple mount. And then the Israeli security forces started to shoot out of the blue – that is finally the long sought-after starting point of the “spiral of violence.” It is the supreme right of the Palestinians to violently protest against "provocative" temple visits of Jews. And of course it also plays absolutely no role that the Temple Mount is the most holy site to Jews (and the third-holiest of the Moslems).
What began with stone-throwing turned into a wave of Molotov cocktails, auto bombs and suicide-bombings. Every Palestinian attack was answered by the Israelis with an attack on Palestinian settlements. The homes of Palestinian suicide-bombers are, for example, systematically destroyed by the Israeli army. During the Intifada, Hundreds of people have been killed on both sides since 2000. …
What is withheld – as so often in portrayals in the German media: The Israeli army attacks the assassins and their terrorist surroundings (and not "Palestinian settlements"); the Palestinian assassins, on the other hand, consciously murder civilians.
…Although the PLO boss has distanced himself from the attacks, they continued. Because numerous violent groups have long since become independent and distanced themselves from Arafat, for example the radical Islamic organization Hamas. …
Arafat – we knew it all along – is innocent. The critique from the ranks of Palestinian politicians that hold Arafat responsible for the development: Unnoticed.
In December 2003, a new suggestion surprisingly became a part of the discussion in the form of the Geneva peace initiative. The plan was worked out by Palestinian and Israeli politicians in a private initiative with no official state support.
In any case the initiative shows that after decades of violence, and in a situation with nearly no way out, that there really is hope and that the conflict, which has held the entire world in suspense, could one day be defused.
The illusions of a few leftist do-gooders without political influence naturally have to be mentioned as a sign of hope. And oh yeah, Arafat is for it.
What is particularly outrageous about these materials is the refined, “soft” manipulation. Naturally the authors are striving for a clear anti-American and anti-Israeli influence in their materials – in the interest of their own success they avoid, however, crass or easily noticeable manipulation.
One almost misses the directness of propaganda-lies out of the old GDR (the former communist East Germany.) The 100% election result of Saddam also somehow seems more honest…
Fr Jun 20, 10:57:20 PM AP: "Die iranische Regierung lehnt die von der Internationalen Atomenergiebehörde (IAEA) verlangten Messungen in der Umgebung einer mutmaßlichen Nuklearanlage weiter ab. ...Die IAEA hat Iran am Donnerstag in Wien aufgefordert, die Anreicherung von Uranbrennstoff zu beenden und einen umfassenderen Zugang zu allen Nuklearanlagen zuzulassen." Ob man sich später einmal daran erinnert, daß die Krise mit der Verweigerung von Inspektionen anfing? Oder erleben wir bald wieder Kampagnen wie "Nicht in meinem Namen" oder "Kein Blut für Öl", die den Inspektionsverweigerern internationale Solidarität zusichern?