Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 8

AMERICAN EDITION

December 26, 2009

PERSONAL NOTES

I was going to wait until January for my next newsletter but there is a lot to report
so I’ve decided on an end of the year edition. It will give you something to read
over the New Year holiday. Happy reading! Happy New Year!

I want to clear up a couple of issues regarding DuBow Digest. Most important is


whether it has institutional backing or not. The fact of the matter is that DD is
written and published by me alone and does not have any connection to the
agency I have been part of for more than 43 years – the American Jewish
Committee (AJC). While, in my semi-retired status as Senior Advisor I still have
an AJC affiliation and its philosophy is deeply imbedded in my outlook on life, the
newsletter is mine alone and expresses only my own opinions. If you want to sue
for libel, it’s me personally that you want as the defendant. If you want to
disagree with something I’ve written, please let me know and I’ll be glad to
include your comments in my next edition. Write to me at
dubowdigest@optonline.net .

If you are a new reader and wonder how you got onto my mailing list (and didn’t
ask to be) the answer is that either someone provided me with your e-mail
address or a list that contained it. If, for some reason, you no longer want to
receive it, all you have to do is click on “Opt Out” at the bottom of each edition
and you’ll automatically be removed from the list. I’m not suggesting that, but I
thought you should at least know that being a DD recipient is not a life-long
irrevocable matter.

IN THIS EDITION

THE EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE : REDUX - I told you so! She has a lot to say
and she just began.

MINARETS & MOSQUES – First the Swiss. Now the Germans?

THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS: THE ROAD BACK – It’ll take time, but…

A SECOND LOVE – DuBow admits to an indiscretion.

HOLOCAUST REPARATIONS – It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

CHRISTMAS IN THE TIME OF THE NAZIS – How was it considering that Jesus

1
was a Jew?

THE EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE - REDUX

I don’t want you to think I can see into the future or are even prescient when it
comes to the role the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and
Security Matters Lady Catherine Ashton. However, in my last newsletter I said
when she was referred to as a “nobody”, “One thing I do know is that people in
strong positions tend to make their positions stronger as they go along.
Yesterday’s “nobodies” are today’s “somebodies.”

Well, Lady Ashton is on her way to being exactly that. Under a headline that
read, “New EU Policy Chief Blasts Israel”. The JTA reported, “Catherine Ashton,
who earlier this month replaced Javier Solana as high representative for foreign
affairs and security policy, on Tuesday condemned Israel's "occupation,"
demanded that Israel lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip and blasted the security
fence.

"East Jerusalem is occupied territory together with the West Bank," Ashton said,
according to the EU Observer. "The EU is opposed to the destruction of homes,
the eviction of Arab residents and the construction of the separation barrier."

In her address to EU representatives in Strasbourg, she also belittled Israel's


construction freeze in West Bank settlements, calling it a "first step," despite the
fact that EU foreign ministers last week took "positive note" of the freeze.

Ashton also took a shot at Tony Blair, special envoy to the Middle East for the
Quartet made up of the United States, European Union, United Nations and
Russia, saying that "The Quartet must demonstrate that it is worth the money,
that it is capable of being reinvigorated. I have talked about this with both sides
in Jerusalem, to Mr. Blair and the [U.S.] secretary of state."

Incidentally, Lady Ashton said all the above without the benefit, as yet, of a trip to
the Middle East and Israel. Nowhere in the German press have I seen any
response or commentary. There is no doubt that Germany is committed to the
expansion of the duties and responsibilities of the High Representative’s office.
There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a diminution of the independence
of Germany’s foreign policy. Maybe they want it that way or maybe the foreign
policy establishment thinks it can eventually “control” what comes out of the
H.R.’s office. If that’s the case, I feel they will be sadly disappointed. One would
think that the ability to “control” an entity (or individual) is a “fool’s errand”

2
especially as that entity or person gathers strength.

I certainly hope I am wrong and that my crystal ball is giving off false information.
However, without the ability to foresee the future, I’m getting a knotted feeling in
my stomach. Let’s all stay tuned.

By the way, Herb Keinon wrote an interesting piece on the above subject in the
Jerusalem Post. I guess I don’t have to tell you that there is more than a little
friction between the H.R. and the Israelis. Click here to read it.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1261244337074&pagename=JPost
%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

And, if Keinon’s opinion doesn’t sway you, try the Wall Street Journal. I think they
hit it right on the head.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870347870457461159425935823
8.html

MINARETS & MOSQUES

In a recent election, Swiss voters approved a ban on construction of new


minarets, a surprise result certain to embarrass Switzerland's neutral
government. The Swiss news agency ATS and other media said about 57.5% of
voters and all but four of the 26 cantons approved the proposal in the nationwide
referendum, which was backed by the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP).

Not to be out done (according to Ynetnews.com), “…a rightist group from the
German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has become the first official European
party to promote a ban on the construction of mosques. The group, Pro-North
Rhine-Westphalia, is promoting the ban as part of its campaign against "Muslim
occupation of land" ahead of the state elections in May 2010.

The campaign joins a European trend most recently manifested by a Swiss


referendum that approved a ban on minarets in the country. "We will organize an
elections campaign that clearly criticizes Islam," says Markus Wiener, secretary-
general of Pro-North Rhine-Westphalia. "We will adopt slogans used by
Switzerland. We see the construction of mosques as a violent symbol of Muslim
occupation of our land," he told the Die Welt daily. Wiener stressed that the
campaign was not aimed "directly against Islam", but dealt with the issue of "non-
European immigrants, most of whom come from Muslim culture". Wiener plans to
hold an anti-minaret conference this spring, to which he wants to invite other
rightist groups in order to debate the question of whether a referendum similar to
the one held in Switzerland should also be held in Germany. He plans to make
use of the Lisbon Treaty approved by European states last month, which says
the European Commission must debate bills supported by a million or more
citizens.

3
While we should be concerned about any anti-immigrant, anti-any religion
movement either here in the U.S. or Germany, the Pro-North Rhine-Westphalia
Party is very small and not very important. However, this sort of negative
movement usually, somewhere along the line, mixes in a little anti-Semitism and
should not be taken lightly. I’m not a pro-minaret person and I know very well that
many of the terrorists and some of the countries that are no friends of the Jews
are Muslim. However, we Jews should be outraged at the banning of any houses
of worship. And, when that gets joined together with an anti-immigrant position
we should start worrying. If we’ve learned nothing else, when group
discrimination raises its ugly head it is the Jews that are usually the next victims.

THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS: THE ROAD BACK

The Social Democrats (SPD), as we used to say in my native Bronx, got their
heads handed to them in the last election. They got pushed out of the
Government coalition into opposition status and, are in the process of re-
grouping as I am sure they will. Dieter Detke was for many years the Washington
Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a German political foundation
connected to the SPD. He is now a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at AICGS and
Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University's Security Studies Program.

In an article printed in the AICGS ADVISER, a publication of the American


Institute for Contemporary German Studies of Johns Hopkins University, Dieter
(I’ve known and admired him for many years) writes about the party’s comeback
process. He focuses on the reasons for decline, who the new leaders are and the
future of Social Democracy in Germany. I could excerpt the article but I would not
be doing Dieter justice. So I am providing you with a URL that you can click on
the read the entire piece. If you truly want to understand where the SPD is at the
moment and where its path to regrouping itself might lead, you’ll take the couple
of minutes (It’s just 2 pages) to read it. Click here:
http://www.aicgs.org/analysis/c/dettke120309two.aspx

A SECOND LOVE

How do you fall in love with a woman not your wife, have a 25 year affair with her
– and not get any complaints from your spouse (of almost 49 years) even though
she is aware of your divided love? Well, roughly a quarter of a century ago I
happened to go by a small museum in the west part of Berlin. If memory serves
me correctly, it was called the Egyptian Museum and their prime attraction was
the bust of Queen Nefertiti done 3,300 years ago. I took one look and it was love
at first sight.

The bust had been discovered in Egypt in 1912 and sneaked out of Cairo to
Germany illegally using false documents. Thousands of antiquities were spirited
out of the country during Egypt's colonial period and afterward by archaeologists,
adventurers and thieves.

4
Nefertiti was the 14th century B.C. wife of Akhenaton, who initiated a new
monotheistic religion that involved the worship of the sun. Her bust was recently
moved back to Berlin's Neues Museum from the adjacent Atles Museum, part of
a cluster of five art halls that make up one of Berlin's most familiar landmarks.

The Egyptian government wants Nefertiti back and who can blame them? She
has about as perfect a face as any woman could have.

I am attaching a picture of “Nef” (We’re on familiar terms). It’s O.K. that she is
3,300 years old. I’m not so young myself these days. I think one look (if you’re
male) and I am sure I will have competition.

Frankly, the Egyptians are probably the legal and rightful owners. However, if I
were the Germans the Egyptians would have to invade Berlin before I’d give her
up. Have a look at real beauty by clicking here:
http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2009/12/20/egypt_antiquiti
es_chief_to_demand_nefertiti_bust/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+Latest+news

HOLOCAUST REPARATIONS

If you thought that the matter of Holocaust reparations now almost 65 years after
the end of World War II is settled and behind us – well, you’re wrong.
Ha’aretz.com recently reported, “Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will demand
between 450 million to 1 billion euros in reparations from Germany on behalf of
Jews forced into slave labor during the Holocaust, it emerged on Sunday.

Minister Steinitz (Israel) will reportedly present German government with the
demand on behalf of 30,000 Israeli survivors of forced labor in wartime ghettos,
during a joint session scheduled to take place in early 2010 in Berlin.

Israeli officials estimate that according to a ghetto workers act passed by the
German parliament in 2002, all of the 30,000 living forced labor survivors are
entitled to a retroactive payment of approximately 15,000 euros each.

However, Finance Ministry officials say that according to the German


government's calculations, the one-time payment is larger than that estimated by
Israel, and reaches a total of 1 billion euros.

In addition to the one-time payment, the survivors are also entitled to a monthly
allowance, which adds up to around 100 million euros a year.

My guess is that as in years gone by, the German government will not receive
this demand happily and a probably long process of either court action or
governmental negotiation will take place. Interestingly, I saw only this one
mention of Minister Steinitz’s demand. As far as I could tell, none of the major
German or Jewish news outlets carried it. I suppose that when the official

5
demand is made it will get some more ink. Certainly, the German people will not
be thrilled by a matter they think was taken care of years ago. Somehow, the
Holocaust never goes away – and, in my opinion, never will.

Hitler said his Reich would last 1,000 years. Well, instead he left his nation a
painful 1,000 year legacy. In many ways I feel sorry for the Germans (almost the
entire population these days) who were born after the Holocaust and had nothing
at all to do with it. However, “you have to play the cards you’re dealt” so they are,
indeed, dealing with it. – in a pretty positive way I’d say.

CHRISTMAS IN THE TIME OF THE NAZIS

If you think the Christmas holiday is sort of all consuming in the U.S., you should
try Germany during almost all of December. While church attendance is not
spectacular during most of the year, the nation’s Christian background really
emerges at Christmas. I always wondered what happened there during the Nazi
period. I had the feeling that the fact that Jesus was Jewish somehow got lost in
any public discussion. I wasn’t wrong!

www.dw-world.de ran an interesting story on this very subject. They note,


“Between 1933 and 1945, under the Third Reich, Christmas was just as popular
as it is today. But honoring the birth of a Jewish baby - who was celebrated as
the Christian Savior - was difficult for Nazis to embrace. As a result, national
socialist ideologues decided to remove Christian symbolism from the celebration.

"Celebrating the birth of a Jewish baby was unthinkable for the Nazis," said
Juergen Mueller, the chief researcher behind the exhibit "Not Such a Holy Night"
at the National Socialism Documentation Center in Cologne, which documents
Christmas tradition during the Third Reich.

But Christmas was too popular even during the Nazi period to be banned,
Mueller told Deutsche Welle. "They therefore decided to corrupt it."

Initially Nazi officials had tried to reject all Christian traditions. They renamed the
festival Julfest and propagated the Germanic origins of the winter celebration of
light on December 21, the winter solstice.

But for the majority of Germans, the Christian traditions were still the basis of the
holiday.

Mueller said Nazi officials then took inspiration from classical images showing a
baby Jesus with his loving parents, Mary and Joseph. They reinterpreted this as
a model Aryan family, an image which the Nazis had elevated to the highest
levels during the late 1930s. So for the Nazis, the family rather than
Jesus became the center of the Christmas celebrations.

6
Churches in Germany, although outraged by the Nazis' fervent efforts to
undermine beliefs central to Christianity, were powerless to protest what was
happening.

"The reaction of the church was not very strong. At about 1936-1937, the Nazi
government was so powerful that the possibility of protest was extremely low,"
Mueller said. "The Church couldn't really condemn it or protest against it,
although it stuck to the Christian traditions within itself," he added

The reaction of people today who come to see the exhibition is very interesting.
To read about them you’ll have to go to the original story which is available at:
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5042819,00.html

A 15 year old who came to see it said, “"I think it's very important that the people
here in Cologne remember what happened here because it was very crucial and
you should not forget it," he added.

Smart and perceptive kids in Germany!

See you in January


*************************************
DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contacted at
edubow@optonline.net Both the American and Germany editions are also posted on line
at www.dubowdigest.typepad.com.

7
8