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February 24, 1984 - Image 53

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-02-24

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Friday, February 24, 1984 53

German Columnist Voices Opposition to Saudi Arms Deal

Continued from Page 1)
reason require.
The refusal of a collec-
tive guilt of all Germans
is appreciated in Israel,
too. There is, however, a
collective responsibility
for the atrocities commit-
ted against Jews not only
"in the name of Ger-
many" but by Germans.
That we have to ac-
knowledge conscien-
In other words: We have
to be held responsible by our
conscience. This is not a
question of generations.
Honorable children accept
credit as well as debts left
behind by their parents.
Chanbellor Kohl said in
Jerusalem that to have been
a youth at the end of World
War II does not permit any-
one to shirk responsibility.
But is it not curious that not
only the Israeli but also the
German press complained
about the Chancellor's
pointed and repeated hints
that he had been only 14 in
1945? A Jew who had been
in Auschwitz at the same
age and survived will be
haunted by the terror until
the end of his life. Hence the
impression that the Chan-
cellor "was flippant and
lacked the dimension of
And of course Israel
wants to know if and how
the Federal Republic of
Germany practices its spe-
cial responsibility toward
the Jews. It would be an
empty declamation if it did
not have tangible conse-
These consequences do
not only stem from the
shadows of the past and
do not only refer to the
guilt which — if at all hu-
manly possible — must be
redeemed by deeds. Even
if there were not such
horrible burden, the
democratic, constitu-
tional German state
would be obliged to stand
by the side of Israel, be-
cause Israel is-a free land
— contrary to the Arab
dictatorships and feudal
states, some of which
have fallen to Islamic
fundamentalism and are
filled with hate.
And it is a free country
whichh stands for the pre-
servation of human rights
in this region.
Moscow's agressive greed
in the Near and Middle East
is well known, and it is
equally clear how fatefully
dangerous this is for Europe
as well. Only Israel with its
courage and strength
stands up against this
threat and thereby also
serves our vital interests.
It is, therefore, demo-
cratic bonds as well as our
own interest in this bul-
wark of democracy that
should prevent us from of-
fering equally to Israel and
her enemies an undefined
and unqualified friendship.
With a view to our his-
tory and its darkest chap-
ter, however, this neces-
sity becomes a special
ethical command. To
sever it would not only
ignore old German guilt

but imply the danger of
becoming guilty again.
Small wonder, then, that
a thoughful man like Is-
rael's ex-Premier Rabin
spoke of "German cynicism"
and warned that German-
Israeli relations might
freeze when the German
government spokesman
tactlessly remarked, Au-
schwitz should not be "in-
strumentalized in daily
Pastor Jan-Williem van
der Hoeven of the "Interna-
tional Christian Embassy of
Jerusalem" said in Berlin
during the Chancellor's
trip: "We Christians must
tell the Jews: Israel, you are
not alone. Wherever we
stand, wherever we go, we
must let the Jews feel that
we stand by them, that we
support them."
For Germany to claim
impartiality and "normal-
ity" vis-a-vis Israel is
wrong, as this may lead to
the contrary. Is it really
natural that a German
Chancellor, less than 40
years after the gas cham-
bers ceased functioning,
was saluted in Israel, in the
Jewish state, by black-red-
gold flags and the hymn
that reads "blossom in good
fortune, blossom, German
motherland"? The young
trumpeter in the army band
on the apron of Ben-Gurion
Airport may well be the
grandson of a man who died
in the electric fence of a con-
centration camp.
A German Chancellor
traveling through Israel
meets innumerable
people whose relatives
were gassed in the
Holocaust, were shot by
the open pits, were slain
in the shacks of the con-
centration camps. And
yet the survivors and the
children of the victims
hold out their hand to the
German guests. Who
could be impartially de-
tached here? Who would
dare to demand "normal-
Moreover, the horrors of
the past have found a bloody
continuation through new
hatred against the new
murder, of the people of Is-
rael. They not only mourn
the dead who were killed by
the barbarism of the Nazis,
but also the victims of the
aggressions on Israel, and
the men, women, children
and old people who were
torn by the bombs of Pales-
tinian terrorism.
Israel is in a permanent
state of emergency. Muni-
tions to show readiness for
compromise and conces-
sions to the Arab side are,
therefore, totally out of
Whoever says Israelis
were too brusque toward
their Arab environment
shows a lack of information
and insight. Nobody would
make conceessions and give
presents to people who in-
vaded this house, murdered,
and lurked by the fence,
heavily armed, sweating
destruction, proclaiming
hate. Nobody — except one
prepared to commit suicide.
To urge Israel to make

advance concessions to
moderate Arabs who
may be ready to negotiate
cannot be allowed for
two reasons: German
admonitions to the state
of Jews will, in any case
and for a long time, be an
act of arrogance. And
secondly, one has to bear
in mind that the more. or
less moderate Arab coun-
tries and politicians are
shaken by fear of the hat-
ing, war-mongering and
murderous Arab forces.
Their hidden readiness
for a peace of reason is
not practicable. But this
is not Israel's fault.
In the Camp David
Agreement, Jerusalem has
proved to be conciliatory
and ready to make peace.
But even in Egypt Sadat's
courage, after he was assas-
sinated, made room for vac-
illation caused by fear.
If the Federal Republic of
Germany were to make a
naive appeal to all parties
concerned to finally make
peace, this would mark the
right target but would lose
touch with reality. Regard-
ing the misery of the di-
vision of Germany, we have
often been told Bonn and
East Berlin should solve
this problem together. Such
advice was either cynical or
And likewise it is just as
cynical or stupid to appeal
to Israel to come to terms
with her enemies. Because
these enemies do not want
that. And whoever would
open the door for them in
Israel would be letting in
the murderers.

To realize that is above
all a German duty. For
the Germans were the
perpetrators of the past.
Whoever wants to make
amends must not belittle
the murderers of today.
To stand by the side of Is-
rael clearly means not be
friendly with her enemies
— let alone support them.
This concerns above all
the plan to supply Ger-
man arms to Saudi
Saudi Arabia is an Is-
lamic feudal country whose
rulers, some thousand pr-
inces, concentrate on
preserving their oil riches.
Thieves have their hand
chopped off; people violat-
ing religious fanatic norms
are decapitated. Money is
transferred abroad by the
billions because of the
petro-monarchs, aware of
the morbidity of their re-
gime, fear its end coming
and want to save their
heads as well as dollars.
They open their treasure
chests for the PLO as ab-
solution while at the same
time dreading a long-term
success of the Palestinian
The former Israeli Am-
bassador to Bonn, Meroz,
wrote about this: "No coun-
try is more fundamentalist
than Saudi Arabia (while
there are Shiites in Iran,
there are the Sunnis in
Saudi Arabia). Recognition
of the state of Israel is
wholly unacceptable to the
Saudi interpretation of the

Islamic religion."
There would be two
deadly dangers if modern
German arms were
supplied to Saudi Arabia:
The states hostile to Is-
rael and the extremist
Palestinians could
blackmail Riyadh to
hand over these arms and

then use them in an as-
sault on Israel.
Or a revolution might
wipe out the trembling
anachronistic dynasty so
that these weapons would
reach Israel's enemies, who
are ready to attack.
Furthermore, it cannot be
excluded that Saudi Arabia

— in order to avoid that —
might wage the proclaimed
"holy war" against Israel by
joining with the others.
It is a mistake to assume
German arms could enable
the Saudis to fend off a
threat from other Arab
states or — absurd! — from
(Continued on Page 54)

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