The United States and Israel ranked below North Korea, China and Russia by Germans Polled
Poll results from a 2007-2008 BBC World Service Poll reveal that a higher percentage of Germans surveyed viewed the United States (72%) and Israel (64%) as having a negative influence on the world than North Korea (62%), China (59%) and Russia (56%). The United States finished not too far ahead of Iran (85%) and Pakistan (77%).
Interestingly enough, Germany had the highest favorable ratings overall among the countries polled. Given the troubling results of this survey and the irrationally anti-American and anti-Israeli attitudes prevalent in German media and society, however, some may want to rethink their views of how positive an influence Germany really is.
No doubt here that the highly biased, one-sided and constant railing of much of the German media against the United States and Israel plays a major part in these results. This is why our subject matter is important - as an educated public, well-informed by a media community dedicated to balance and even-handedness (as opposed to the hateful populism), would not likely hold such views.
I don't know whether it's just me being paranoid...but I get a strong feeling that references to the holocaust are increasingly used in political statements from Germany when actions of the U.S. or Israel are addressed.
Remember the awful article in Germany's daily FAZ from feminist Alice Schwarzer, equating Abu Ghraib and Auschwitz? Well, you might say Schwarzer is a left-wing nut and not to be taken seriously. You have a point here.
Yet here is another example of holocaust labeling techniques in current Germany, this time leveled against Israel from prominent catholic representatives:
Bishops equate Israel's actions to Holocaust
Hours after historic visit to Jerusalem holocaust museum, group of German bishops tour Palestinian Authority, say Israel behaving like Nazis
"This morning we saw pictures of the Warsaw ghetto at Yad Vashem and this evening we are going to the Ramallah ghetto." Several hours earlier on Sunday you probably would not have heard German Bishop Gregor Maria Franz Hanke choose such a divisive analogy. But then on Sunday morning he was still in Israel and the rhetoric was considerably different than the one elected by the German Bishops' Conference once they crossed over in to the Palestinian Authority on Sunday evening.
The visit of 27 members of the German Bishops' Conference to Israel included a historic first-time visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem as well as guided tours of sites holy to Christianity and meetings with Christian congregations in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority.
During their time in Israel the bishops uniformly made moderate and balanced statements, but once in the PA they provided German reporters accompanying them with a plethora of harsh proclamations against Israel. Their criticism received widespread coverage in the German media on Monday.
While crossing one of the checkpoints into East Jerusalem the Archbishop
Ohne den 11. September 2001 säße im Weißen Haus ein anderer, über Afghanistan wüsste die westliche Welt so viel wie über West-Kansas, und stehen gelassene Koffer wären höchstens als Stolperfalle gefährlich. Oder doch nicht? Experten skizzieren für SPIEGEL ONLINE die Welt, in der wir jetzt leben würden.
[…] Israel, Syrien und Iran scheinen sich allmählich aussöhnen zu wollen. Die Furcht vor dem Unsicherheitsfaktor Nummer eins in der Region eint sie: Saddam Hussein rasselt seit dem Golfkrieg 1990 ständig mit dem Säbel.
Nette Idee. Hätte man tatsächlich was draus machen können. Hat man aber nicht. Stattdessen malt man sich eine nahezu idyllische Welt voller rational handelnder Akteure, in der die einstigen Erzfeinde Israel, Syrien und Iran plötzlich dicke Freunde sein wollen, und das wird dann makabererweise auch noch mit Saddam Husseins friedenstiftendem Säbelgerassel begründet.
So greift man erst in einen Wassermalkasten voll bunter Farben, und stellt dann angesichts der unattraktiven Schwarzweißbilder der Bush-Ära mit kindlichem Erstaunen fest, daß die Welt ohne ihn viel hübscher wäre. Mit der Bezeichnung Best-Case-Szenario sind diese Träumereien jedenfalls noch äußerst freundlich umschrieben. Doch der SPIEGEL wäre nicht der SPIEGEL, wenn er eine dermaßen peinliche Schönfärberei nicht wenigstens pro forma mit dem Feigenblatt einer pseudokritischen Analyse zu entschärfen versuchen würde:
Schöne neue Welt - könnte sie so aussehen, wäre ein bestimmter Tag des Jahres 2001 anders verlaufen?
dass sich die Welt ohne die Terroranschläge dieses Tages völlig anders entwickelt hätte? Dass der mächtigste Mann der Welt ein anderer wäre; dass die Welt friedlicher wäre; dass islamistischer Terror nicht unser Leben bestimmte?
Experten zweifeln erheblich an einem solchen Szenario. Bei SPIEGEL ONLINE beschreiben sie, was dieser eine Tag wirklich verändert hat.
Soso, Experten. Ich kann mir schon gut vorstellen, wie man die aufgetrieben hat. Wahrscheinlich hat unser Redakteursschneewittchen einfach "SPIEGEL, SPIEGEL, in der Hand, wer ist der klügste im ganzen Land?" gerufen und plötzlich standen unsere sieben Zwerge vor der Tür, überglücklich, daß sie endlich mal jemand nach ihrer Meinung fragt.
Anders ist jedenfalls nicht zu erklären, wie dieses Dreamteam es fertiggebracht hat, einen Artikel zum Thema "Die Welt ohne 9/11" zu schreiben, ohne dabei wenigstens einmal Begriffe wie Dschihad, Demokratisierung, Achmadinedschad, Katjuscha oder Völkermord zu verwenden; ganz so, als ob die Erfindung der Schariah, die ethnischen Säuberungen im Sudan, die Gründung der al-Qaida, der palästinensische Terrorismus, die Raketenrüstung der Hisbollah, der Beginn des iranischen Atomprogramms oder das gegenseitige Massakrieren von Sunniten und Schiiten erst durch die amerikanische Reaktion auf den 11. September ausgelöst worden wäre, während diese Politik gleichzeitig natürlich nichts, aber auch gar nichts mit dem Sturz der mittelalterlichen Schreckensherrschaft der Taliban, den ersten freien Wahlen im Irak, der Demokratiebewegung im Libanon und der zunehmenden innerarabischen Diskussion über westliche Freiheiten zu tun hat.
Aber lassen wir stellvertretend für diese geballte Brainpower unserer glorreichen Sieben einfach mal den "Politologieexperten" zu Wort kommen, der durch seine rosarote Brille unter seiner über die Augen gezogenen Zipfelmütze offenbar einen ganz ausgezeichneten Blick auf die Weltpolitik hat:
In den USA wäre Bush auf relativ unspektakuläre Art ein zweites Mal gewählt worden. Keinesfalls war eine solche Polarisierung zu erwarten, dass Bush am Ende unter seinen Republikanern bessere Zustimmungsraten hatte als Ronald Reagan zu seiner Glanzzeit - und unter Demokraten schlechtere als Richard Nixon vor seinem Rücktritt. Die Welt wäre weniger dramatisch, doch vielleicht ein schönerer Platz zum Leben mit beliebteren USA.
Mal ganz davon abgesehen, daß der Verlust des Beliebtheitspreises in einem globalen, um das nackte Überleben geführten Konflikt nur Abzüge in der B-Note bedeutet, ließe sich ohne allzu viel Phantasie mit einer weit größeren Berechtigung als jede der hier in SPIEGEL online vorgestellten Märchenwelten auch folgende, nicht einmal extrem negativ fortgeschriebene Entwicklung skizzieren:
Die Hisbollah-Milizen im Süden des Libanons sind im Kampf gegen Israel möglicherweise mit Nachtsichtgeräten aus Großbritannien ausgerüstet. Das britische Außenministerium ordnete eine Untersuchung an.
London - Israelische Truppen hätten die Nachtsichtgeräte in Kommandobunkern der Guerilla sichergestellt, berichtet die "Times". Die Geräte könnten der Hisbollah wesentlich beim Beschuss israelischer Ziele und bei der Beobachtung von Truppenbewegungen geholfen haben. 2003 waren 250 solcher Geräte mit einer Export-Sondergenehmigung an Iran verkauft worden, um den Kampf gegen den Drogenhandel an der Grenze zu Afghanistan zu unterstützen.
Kampf gegen den Drogenhandel, wie süß! Die sind ja richtig putzig, diese naiven kleinen Dummerchen. Wer konnte denn schon ahnen, daß ein Regime, nur weil es die eigene Bevölkerung vom oppositionellen Demonstranten bis hin zum minderjährigen Vergewaltigungsopfer massakrieren läßt, den internationalen Terrorismus auf jede nur erdenkliche Art und Weise unterstützt, völlig offen an der Auslöschung eines souveränen Mitgliedsstaates der Vereinten Nationen arbeitet und zu diesem Zweck mal eben einen völlig sinnlosen Krieg in einem unbeteiligten Land vom Zaun bricht, die Weltöffentlichkeit beim Bau der Atombombe seit Jahrzehnten an der Nase herumführt und dabei beängstigend zielgerichtet auf einen Krieg gegen eine Supermacht zusteuert, deswegen auch gleich lügen würde?
Wer dermaßen engagiert gegen die Drogen kämpft, kann so schlecht schließlich nicht sein, sondern ist dadurch automatisch ein vertrauenswürdiger Partner im Kampf gegen das internationale Verbrechen. Und wenn man die Wahl hat zwischen einem schmierigen Drogendealer und einem anerkannten Massenmörder, muß man notfalls auch mal mit letzterem paktieren, wenn er dafür mit Indianerehrenwort verspricht, im Kampf gegen ersteren mitzuhelfen. Spätestens seit dem 11. September gilt ja bekanntlich, besser HighTech-Waffen in Terroristenhänden als eine Zunahme der Verstöße gegen das Betäubungsmittelgesetz. Manchmal muß man eben Prioritäten setzen.
Wenn die Mullahs halbwegs clever sind, lernen sie was draus und schreiben auf die Bestellzettel für benötigtes Kriegsführungs- und Repressionsmaterial in Zukunft bei Verwendungszweck nicht mehr "Gefangenenmißhandlung", "Weltvernichtungsmaschine" oder "Judenausrottung", sondern bestellen die Handschellen für ihre Folterungen offiziell für ihre Sado-Maso-Spielchen, die Tornado-Jagdbomber für die größte Kunstflugstaffel der Welt, die Uran-Zentrifugen für eine riesige Atomuhr und die dazugehörigen Mittelstreckenraketen für das "Imam-Chomeini-Gedächtnisfeuerwerk". Wobei letzteres nicht mal so richtig gelogen sein dürfte...
For those of you who can read German, a visit to "Lizas Welt" is an absolute must. This relatively new blog has an outstanding analysis of the current situation in the Middle East and the reaction in the German media. Check it out.
One of the special features of the IDF's (Israeli Defense Force) Gaza operation is the minimal damage to civilian human life. Constant care is taken to spare the civilian Palestine population.
This interview in the Jerusalem Post with Israel Air Force chief Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy explains the ethics behind the Israeli operations:
Q: If they (the terrorists) are making themselves ever harder to hit, the chances of hitting only them...
A: Are becoming ever more complicated.
Q: So, are we relaxing our limitations in determining when to fire?
When we see his son in the car with him, that's it, we don't fire? Or
do we say, "His son's always with him." And he's firing at us every
A: The question is very appropriate and no, we're not relaxing our limitations.
Q: Instead, we're improving our accuracy?
A: Our answer is to create a situation where you hit within a
meter, a meter and a half. If we know that [the terrorist] is holding
his son's hand, we do not fire. Even if the terrorist is in the midst
of firing a Kassam, and the Kassam is aimed to kill. We do not fire.
You should know that. And that's a fearsome thing.
Q: So we open the door to him to keep firing at us?
A: Yes. And that is the kind of dilemma we live with every day and I'm very pleased you asked me about it.
I'm very proud of what we do. I think it is unprecedented. I'm proud of our morals. I'm proud of our operational capabilities.
Q: Maybe in the end we'll kill more people because we weren't
ruthless enough at the start, because we encouraged them to become
bolder? Maybe we're too moral, for our own good and theirs?
A: That's a very interesting philosophical question, with practical consequences. And yet I'll tell you something...
(Shkedy pauses here for a full 20 seconds.) Ultimately our
strength is not solely our military power. That's part of our strength.
The strength of the Jewish people in the State of Israel and the Land
of Israel is first and foremost our profound moral strength. Everything
stems from that.
If we were to lower our standards, not to find a solution that
meets the highest ethical standards, that would be a mistake with far
more, immense significance for us as a nation and a state and as people
than the operational error.
That's the great strength that I believe in. That's how I
educate the people [in the IAF], and that's what the air force does.
And, still, I'm aware that this is war, with live fire, and things will
happen that I don't want to happen. Because to protect your child and
my child, that can happen. (emphasis added)
Shkedy's explanation shows how inappropriate it is to equalize the Hamas terrorists' actions with those of Israel. There is no moral equivalence: the terrorists deliberately target civilians, while Israel takes great care to avoid actions even against terrorists if civilians are around. (For example, the IDF informed civilians in the Gaza strip about forthcoming air attacks.) That's why it is grossly misleading to talk of a "cycle of violence" between two brutal military powers, as for instance Joerg Bremer, Israel correspondent of the FAZ, and scores of other German Israel correspondents constantly do.
It's the rules of cause (Hamas terrorism) and effect (Israeli response) that govern this conflict. Probably too simple a fact for the sophisticated minds of German journalists...
Neutrality is not possible - Israel and the Palestinians Column in "Die Welt" (12.04.2006) By Jeffrey Gedmin
I cringe every time I hear the BBC or CNN report about Palestinian "militants." They are not willing to call the suicide bombers "terrorists". European commentary is now talking about the next Israeli government "threatening" the Palestinians with new unilateral pull-outs. Of course, it gets worse. A friend brought to my attention a Tagesspiegel article, in which Israelis who die at the hands of Palestinians lose their lives to "the resistance" ("Widerstand"); while Hamas members who perish in the conflict are "murdered" ("ermordet") by the Israelis. This does not seem terribly even-handed. Rolf Behrens did an eye-popping study of Der Spiegel's bias against Israel a couple of years ago. I have the impression not much has changed at Der Spiegel.
I was in Israel for the country's recent elections and the visit reminded me of my own bias. While I was there, the Israeli air force was striking targets in Gaza. The Israelis hit bomb making factories and in one case a vehicle carrying a Palestinian "militant." I think Israel deserves the right to self-defence. That's why I favour "targeted killings." I visited the security fence again. The International Court of Justice still sees this barrier as illegal. The Guardian compares Israel to South Africa at times of Apartheid. I am glad Sharon had built the thing. It looks hideous. It also brought the number of suicide bombings down.
I visited during this trip a Palestinian womens' NGO in East Jerusalem. I heard a young woman from the group explain how wife beating in her community was somehow understandable. Palestinian men suffer so much, she explained, from the Israeli "occupation."
I am not really sure how I became so one-sided in this conflict. I grew up Catholic, knowing little about Jews or the Jewish state. I remember my
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..."
I'm on the mailing list of Naomi Regan, an American author who lives in Israel. I greatly appreciate her critical comments about the pro-Arab, anti-Israel reporting in the Western media.
Here's another gem. Her critique aimed at the BBC would be quite appropriate for the German media as well.
The Prince, The Swastika, and the BBC By Naomi Ragen
I was watching BBC this morning. In horrified tones, the news people reported the incident of Prince Harry choosing to wear a Nazi officer's uniform, complete with swastika armband, to a fancy dress ball. How could such a thing happen? How stupid! huffed the BBC.
Well, well. After four years of sympathetic interviews with Hamas terrorists; one-sided reports on Israeli "atrocities" like the Jenin "massacre"; widespread and unrelenting coverage of demonstrations against Israel (...), the BBC is shocked.
A new, comprehensive poll of British opinion on foreign nations was just released by The Telegraph. The results: Israel is considered by Britons the #1 'least deserving of international respect,' the 'least beautiful country,' the country Britons would 'least like to take a holiday in,' and would 'least like to live in.'
I think we should excuse the confusion of Prince Harry. He's simply been watching too many BBC programs. So spare us the hypocrisy and the crocodile tears, will you?
BTW, Thursday's terrorist attack on the Kami crossing on the Israel-Gaza border gets the usual "cycle of violence" treatment in the German media (1, 2, 3). Abbas is even called a "moderate pragmatist". That leaves Sharon as the only villain in the conflict, at least for the German media.
"Finding and identifying four bodies out of thousands of bodies lying here is something no one else was able to do." So says Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, head of the Zaka rescue-and-recovery organization.
"The Israeli delegation [in southeast Asia] has become famous," Meshi-Zahav told Yediot Acharonot. "All the other countries are looking for us, a small country with our relatively small delegation, to get advice."
The Israeli delegation, headed by Police Identification Department Head Shalom Tzarum, together with the Zaka volunteers, managed to do what
In a superb essay Henryk Broder addresses German leftists’ sanctimonious protest of the “wall” in Israel that is intended to, and in point of fact does, keep Palestinian terrorists from conducting further attacks.
Never in the 28 years during which a wall divided Germany and people who only wanted to move from Radebeul to Regensburg were hunted down and mercilessly shot like so many rabid dogs there was there ever – in Cologne or anywhere else – a conference held under the slogan “Stop the Wall.” On the contrary; anyone who thought the wall was not entirely a good thing and the GDR, as a whole, was less than perfect was a reactionary, a revisionist, a fascist. And there was no talk anywhere of a “barrier wall” that reduced peoples’ freedom of movement and led to Apartheid. In the Bonn republic’s leftist and progressive milieu there was respectful and sympathetic reference to the “anti-Fascist protective wall” that would ensure the GDR’s continued existence. And when the wall fell, mourning and distress spread through the leftist and progressive milieu. Not about the more that 1,000 people who had died along that border, but rather about the end of the ‘socialist utopia.’
The first wall that these fools, who were approvingly silent about the Berlin Wall, demand be torn down is between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Why? Because this wall makes it more difficult for Palestinians to kill Jews. And that’s a violation of basic human rights that leftists and progressives, who like to wrap themselves in the PACE flag, cannot accept. Israel is the first, and to date the only country in the world being asked to expose its people to terrorism so that another people’s freedom of movement not be constrained and their quality of life not be negatively affected. I call that a fair, sober, sensible comparison of conflicting goods. It obviously would be even better if Israel would build welcome centers along the Green Line, greet terrorists with goodies from the neighborhood welcome wagon and then escort them to their targets. That would not only be perfect service, but also a signal that Israel is really taking the UN General Assembly’s resolutions and the International Court’s expert opinions very seriously indeed. …
That’s why Europe needs a scapegoat, someone who can be held responsible for everything. If the Arabs turn off our oil, then it’s because of Israel. If the Third World War breaks out, it’s because of Israel. If the Americans attack Iraq, it’s because of Israel. Not long ago the Berliner Morgenpost, which belongs to Springer Publishing, printed a cute little cartoon called “Pulling Ariel’s Cart.” It shows a happily grinning Sharon sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat and a huge sack labeled “Palestinian Territories” in the cargo bay. Sharon has the reins in his hands, but the cart is not being pulled by a horse. It’s being pulled by George W. Bush. It’s the Jew who’s got the American on a leash.
What does that remind us of? When did we last see such cartoons? Was it in the Nazi Stürmer or in the communist Neues Deutschland? (our translation)
Gabi made me aware of this anti-semitic video clip of NDR, a regional German public TV channel. The clip is to be shown on the programme Extra3 on Thursday, April 29, 2004, at 11pm. It is supposed to be a satire... (Update: I learned in the meantime that the clip was actually already shown on Extra 3 on April 22, 2004. Extra 3's had initially listed the clip for April 29.)
You don't need to speak German to understand the message of the clip: awful Ariel Sharon suppresses the poor Palestinians. Now, that's the standard bias in the German media, so this by itself doesn't deserve special attention.
But have a closer look at the scene with a Jew sitting laughing on the back of a Palestinian, and the one where a Jew stands next to a Palestinian who holds a sign "Doof" (Dumb).
German Public TV's perception of Jewish dominance over Palestinians
This is an old tradition of anti-semitism: depicting Jews as using their alleged intellectual superiority to take advantage of more simple minded folks.
And NDR addresses another traditional German anti-semitic cliché: poking fun at religious jews.
Quote: "Look: there are a few settlement homes, erected before your very eyes. And just like that the dear Israelis with the funny curly sideburns moved in for the Palestinians. All was well..."
A couple of years ago this clip would not have been shown on German TV. Times are a-changing...
Anti-semitism used to be a right-wing speciality in Germany. Yet, there aren't that many right-wing anti-semits left in Germany. However, anti-semitism of the left is healthy and active and can be studied in the context of "criticism" of Ariel Sharon and Israel's policies in the German media. It's a bias of the German media, not of the German people, as yesterday's posting proves.
Update: The "Rundfunkrat" is the supervisory board of the TV channel NDR. Chairman is Lutz Mohaupt. This is his e-mail-address. In case you want to let Mohaupt know your feelings about the anti-semitic rantings of NDR, please refer to the German version of this posting.