The current understanding of reasons of state is harming our country. Germany should be a partner in addressing the difficult Israeli-Palestinian situation.

Destroyed houses.

Much of the Gaza Strip has been destroyed Photo: Khaled Daoud/APA Images/Zuma Press/dp

The German translation of “The Hundred Years War Against Palestine” will be published soon. Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian-American historian, contemporary witness, and political advisor, tells the story of Palestine through a double tragedy: oppression and failed liberation strategies. Eminently critical of past and present Palestinian leaderships, Khalidi leaves no doubt: everything must be tested; A new vision of equality between two peoples is necessary.

The bell of Gaza, a death knell for so many people, also rings in a new beginning under the black veil of pain: nothing can remain as it is, as it was. This applies to Israel, to the occupation, to sclerotic autonomous authority, but it also applies to Germany, to an understanding of reason of state that is causing considerable damage to our country, to our international reputation and to our social opportunities.

It is time to say this clearly and change it, especially so that Germany can be a constructive and fair partner in addressing the Palestinian-Israeli catastrophe.

What happened? Germany has fallen down the slippery slope of misunderstood exceptionalism: by limiting responsibility for the Holocaust and the resulting extraordinary obligations to a commitment to the constitution and policy of the Israeli state. And telling others how they should think about Israel when they set foot on German soil.

This creates a sensual mixture, a strangely ostentatious alienation from the world. We invite you to download. And we have the right to offend, because as former bad guys we are the only true good guys.

Conferences, guest lectures, or award ceremonies are generally not canceled because those responsible are convinced that anti-Semitism would otherwise be expressed at their institution. But because they fear that they may be accused of this. That is why they wash their hands of innocence at the expense of others. The German historical confession of guilt has been transformed into an insurance policy: I testify to my purity by denouncing others.

This is sad, yes, and even sadder in the context of the real suffering in Gaza. Some things just seem ridiculous, erratic and pathetic. But there is something dark and disturbing; Too often, imperious kindness punishes prominent Jewish women.

Germany is becoming dumber than necessary

Meanwhile, I also see a different side of Germany. Just as the majority opinion soon stopped sharing the government's position on the Gaza war, the petrified view of reason of state is primarily a phenomenon of political elites (and those who would like to be included in them).

Even at memorials, to name just these, people think differently. There is a wealth of literature on Israel/Palestine in bookstores and libraries, but a narrow corridor of legitimate opinions in public forums. Our scientific landscape in the Middle East is rich, but the lists of experts circulating in local institutions as “safe guests” are pitifully short. Instead of censorship, I prefer to talk about an authoritarian management of the public word – and an intellectual self-amputation.

In this way, Germany is becoming dumber than necessary, while at the same time the need to find a way to navigate the new complexity of circumstances grows. Example of right-wing extremism in Israel: Long before October 7, many Germans had difficulty understanding this phenomenon cognitively and ethically, but the confusion and uncertainty were hardly a topic of public discussion. When members of the Israeli opposition spoke of Jewish fundamentalism and even fascism, German politicians covered their ears.

Feasible utopias

It is time to notice how large minorities of young Jews in the United States are distancing themselves from Israeli politics, calling conditions in the West Bank apartheid and siding with the Palestinians more radically than ever. The term “ethnic supremacy,” which caused the University of Cologne to withdraw a visiting professorship from philosopher Nancy Fraser, is used by many to critically describe the reality of a Jewish state that denies equality to non-Jews.

Germany could be the place where everyone goes for open, creative and constructive discussions

Omri Boehm, awarded in this country, also asks that this concept of the State be overcome. And the most interesting Israeli-Palestinian initiative for a binational solution (“One Land for All”) is based on the recognition that both peoples have a sense of home “from the river to the sea.” Why don't we actively think about this?

Everything could be so different. Thousands of people in Germany have years of experience in Israel/Palestine, through church initiatives, NGOs and as human rights observers. There are 200,000 Palestinians and an estimated 30,000 Israelis live among us. What resources! And what a spectacular waste not to use them.

Instead of being singled out for intolerant moralism, Germany could be the place where everyone goes for open, creative and constructive debates. He practiced diplomacy in Israel/Palestine with everyone involved; a feasible utopia. And it is an inclusive historical responsibility to understand Israel, Palestine and Germany as a triangle.

There is something else:

Resistance to equal rights for all connects the AfD to the Trump camp in the United States and radical Zionism in Israel. Anyone who wants to belong to this movement should say so and then it is better not to refer to any teachings of the Shoah.

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