- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
FIELDS: A label for the Jews, again
Germany joins the EU campaign to identify Israeli-made goods as Jewish
Question of the Day
Barack Obama was in Berlin this week, and he was a different Barack Obama than the one who visited the German capital as a candidate in 2008. He was in a different Berlin, too. The welcome was warm, but the crowds were smaller and the adoration — and that’s exactly what it was — has dissolved. The thrill was definitely gone.
Germany has clearly transformed itself. American Jews in particular appreciate the transformation of the dregs of the Third Reich into the redeemed engine of Europe. More than any other country that once constituted the Axis, Germany has tried to make amends for the Holocaust. They have paid reparations. In the heart of Berlin there’s a 5-acre Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. A stroller in the city observes small bronze plaques at her feet, frequently imbedded in the sidewalk, inscribed with names of Jewish families who lived there before they were taken out of their homes and sent to death in concentration camps. Germany has provided generous welfare benefits to thousands of Jewish families from Russia who couldn’t practice their religion there, and now they can in Germany.
The Germans have understood the lessons of history and their role in making that history. Germany has become a “special friend” of Israel and has cultivated that steadfast alliance when it wasn’t always easy to do as a member of the European Union. But now that seems about to change. This probably wasn’t part of the conversations Mr. Obama had with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (but should have been).
Capitulating to pressure, especially from the left-wing and anti-Zionist Green Party, Germany has joined 13 other EU members to put labels on products made in Jewish-owned factories on the West Bank, or in what Israelis call Judea and Samaria. This sends a chill and a shudder along the spines of those who know the history of Kristallnacht, “the night of the broken glass,” when Nazi thugs broke the windows of Jewish merchants across Germany, singling out shops with windows splashed with the word “Juden,” or painted with the slogan “Kauft nicht bei Juden!” Don’t Buy from Jews!
“Whatever one may think of the peace process and the two-state solution,” observes Michael Freund in the New York Sun, “it should be obvious that treating merchandise differently simply because the person who owns the factory where it was made is a follower of Moses rather than Muhammad is an act of pure bigotry.”
Such pure bigotry not only hurts Jews, though that is its aim, but will hurt the Palestinians, too, the people the self-righteous Europeans say they want to help by labeling targets for boycott. More than 23,000 Palestinians work in Judea and Samaria. Almost half of these workers are between the ages of 18 and 29, and their average daily pay is 88 percent higher than what they would be paid in Palestinian-controlled areas. These Palestinians who work for Jews have health benefits and pensions that are not easily obtained in Palestinian factories and shops.
They can work in Judea and Samaria because they can be employed at 17, unlike the Palestinians who, for security reasons, must be at least 26 to work. These fine points are lost on the liberal Europeans who feel oh-so-good about themselves when they can read a label and look for a Jew to target for “occupying” what they consider to be Palestinian territory. Jimmy Carter knows better, but pretends to be acting nobly as a defender of the labels.
“This is not an anti-Israel move,” he insists, but merely a suggestion in behalf of a two-state solution.
Israel rightly identifies the labeling of Jews as the result of a double standard; similar labels have not been imposed against others in other territories in dispute. The EU counters that they’re not aiming for a boycott, only to offer a “service to the consumer.” That’s what someone else said about splashing “Juden” on a Berlin storefront on a cold November night in 1938.
The Europeans don’t post a similar “service to the consumer” on Spanish items from Catalonia or Russian goods from Chechnya, where the land is under dispute. The Jerusalem Post identifies other exceptions: no labels on products from northern Cyprus, Gibraltar, the Falklands, Western Sahara, Tibet, Kashmir or Armenian-held regions of Azerbaijan and Kosovo. “If the only country you want to single out is Israel, that’s anti-Semitism,” says Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.
By adding her support to the labeling of Jews, Mrs. Merkel has hurt herself and Germany’s special relationship with Israel, and casts a dark and ominous shadow over the good works of Germans since the end of World War II. As they say in Yiddish, it’s a shandeh, a shame.
Suzanne Fields is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
Get Breaking Alerts
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops