Germany vs. the Jews — Again

A poll earlier this month caused some consternation when it found “high levels of anti-Semitism in Germany” and, particularly, 47.7 percent of Germans saying that “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.” One of the researchers called the findings “remarkable” in light of the “widespread Holocaust remembrance and education events in Germany.”

These don’t seem to be working. Some German academics, however, explain such findings in terms of “secondary anti-Semitism" -- or “that Germans are filled with pathological guilt about the Holocaust and shift the blame to Jews and Israel to assuage their complexes.” One wonders if Germans are really that consumed with guilt, or if it’s just old habits resurfacing.

Whatever the case, it would be pleasant to report that, despite popular antipathy to the Jewish state and the Jews, the current conservative government of Angela Merkel is doing much better. But its record, too, at least toward Israel, is fraught with problems.

Much of this concerns a Hamburg-based entity called the European-Iranian Trade Bank, or EIH. As Fox News reported last month, the U.S. Treasury Department states that “EIH has acted as a key financial lifeline for Iran as one of Iran’s few remaining access points to the European financial system.” Earlier in February, eleven U.S. senators wrote to the German foreign minister “asking that he stop EIH from doing business with Iran” and expressing concern about EIH’s “continued financial support of Iran’s nuclear proliferation activities.” To no avail.

Iran’s geopolitical aggression and nuclear program are recognized by now as a threat to the West and not just to Israel -- hence the U.S. effort to coordinate sanctions against Iran. But, considering that Tehran has often boasted of its imminent annihilation of Israel and is sponsoring terrorist activity on its borders, the threat to Israel is most acute -- making Germany’s abetting of that threat all the more striking.

Indeed, Fox News also reports that Treasury says “EIH facilitated the sale of more than $3 million in materials for Iran’s missile programs.” And it goes beyond EIH, since “Germany is Iran’s biggest European trade partner. German exports to Iran totaled $4.7 billion from January through November of last year. This was a 5 percent increase over the same period in 2009.”

Israelis could be forgiven for wondering if, the more things seemingly change, the more they stay the same.