(...) A scarcely covered topic in modern German history is Chancellor Willy Brandt's abandonment of Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. After a surprise attack by multiple Arab armies, Israel was on the ropes, desperate for arms and ammunition. To the frustration of President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Brandt stuck to an ironclad "neutral position toward the conflict in the Middle East." The Nixon administration sought to use the port of Bremerhaven to deliver weapons to the Israelis. Nixon said at the time: "The Israelis must not be allowed to lose."
Plaque in Warsaw
Herf acutely shows the glaring rift between West German rhetoric and action, writing: "West Germany's neutrality stance ... amounted to a one-sided position in favor of the Arab states even though it was the Arabs who bore responsibility for the war."
Brandt in his hypocrisy was summed up by Herf as "the Chancellor who famously kneeled in an act of atonement at the memorial to the Jews killed in the Warsaw Ghetto declared his country to be neutral in the most dire days in Israel's history since 1948."
The peculiar obsession among large swaths of German elites to mourn the mass murder of Jews during the Shoah while ignoring or playing down Iran's genocidal threats to wipe out Israel is a continuation of Brandt's policy. For example, the current Social Democratic foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a zealous supporter of last year's Iran nuclear deal, termed Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of the agreement as "very coarse."
While the extreme left in West Germany was not part of the GDR state, it benefited from East Germany's sponsorship of Palestinian terrorists. This year marked the fortieth anniversary of the hijacking of an Air France plane by a team of German and Palestinian terrorists. Israelis commandoes successfully liberated nearly all of the more than 100 hostages at Entebbe airport in 1976. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the West German Revolutionary Cells members Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann carried out the hijacking.
Herf writes that the separation of non-Jewish passengers from Jewish passengers was the first selection process by Germans since the Holocaust. Moreover, "it was the first and only time after 1945 that Germans, East or West, pointed machine guns at unarmed Jews and threatened to kill them." Israeli eliminated the German terrorists at Entebbe during the rescue. The book meticulously documents the left-wing violence targeting Israel and Jewish institutions in West Germany and abroad.
The origins of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) targeting Israel that began in 2005, can be traced back roughly to 1967. The ad nauseam attacks by the GDR, the Soviet Union and West German Leftists claiming that Israel is a new manifestation of the Hitler movement begin in this period. (...)
Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner the Social Democratic Party has formed a "strategic partnership" with the Palestinian Fatah organization that embraces the murder of Israelis. (...)
If Germany is serious about grappling with its past, a German publisher will swiftly translate Herf's comprehensive study.read more