September 18, 2002
Fishing for votes in the swamps of Germany

Der Spiegel reports that Juergen Moellemann, the German politician whose bizarre anti-Semitic escapades I've been tracking since the spring, has broken new ground in post-war German anti-Semitism by sending out the following campaign flyer the week before the federal election.

Moellemann departs from his otherwise centrist party's line of "Taxes, Jobs and Education" to prove that he can lay it on the Jews better than any German politician since the fall of Auschwitz:

Juergen W. Moellemann has long worked tirelessly for a peaceful solution to the Mideast conflict: secure borders for Israel and an independent Palestinian state.
He also happens to be President of the German-Arab Friendship Society, an "export consultant" who opens doors for German businessmen in the Arab world, and a friend of Yassir Arafat, Saddam Hussein and various members of the Iranian mullahocracy

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejects a Palestinian state. His government sends tanks into refugee camps and disregards UN Security Council Resolutions.

Michel Friedman defends the actions of the Sharon government. He tries to label Sharon-critic Juergen W. Moellemann as "anti-Israel" and "anti-Semitic".
Friedman is vice-chair of the German Jewish Federation, the man who Moellemann blamed earlier this year for fueling anti-Semitism, and is apparently this year's proxy for The Eternal Jew

Unimpressed by these attacks, Juergen W. Moellemann continues to be engaged for a peaceful solution, with justice for both sides.
As far as I know, the Israelis refuse to speak with him
For that is the only way that we can avert a war in the Middle East, which might involve us as well.
Pesky Jews, dragging Germany into one war after another!

Support Juergen W Moellemann by voting for the FDP!
All polls have indicated that Moellemann is causing the FDP to lose votes

So there you have it. The only reason for war in the Middle East is Ariel Sharon sending tanks into refugee camps. And if it weren't for the interference of the German Jewish Federation, Juergen W. Moellemann would be able to bring peace to the region and save Germany from World War III. All that's missing from this flyer is for Juergen W Moellemann to trim an inch off each side of his moustache and to change the color of Sharon's Star of David to yellow.

Der Spiegel goes on to say that this flyer has been slammed by other leaders of all the major parties, including the FDP. The two large parties have made it clear that Moellemann will not be part of any coalition government after the election.

UPDATE (9/19): Check my main blog page over the next few days as I'll be posting updates on the election campaign straight from the German press.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at September 18, 2002 06:56 AM
Comments

Talking to friends over the weekend about the election, a woman I thought I knew well let slip that 'Möllemann is at least partly right, isn't he?'

I was too shocked to be able to give an intelligent answer. In the 12 years I've been in Germany, I hadn't never before noticed any anti-Semetic tendencies among people I keow. Möllemann might be bringing latent hostilities like this into the open.

Or maybe there's a regional aspect that I've been missing. Möllemann and Norbert Blüm are both from NRW, and the woman I mentioned also lived there several years. Is there something poisonous in the air down there?

Posted by: PapaScott on September 18, 2002 11:09 AM

Stefan,

I see you have already heard what Möllemann did this time. Here's the link I wanted to give you anyway:

http://de.news.yahoo.com/020918/71/2ysiv.html


PapaScott,

I don't know about NRW (the German state Nordrhein-Westfahlen for the rest of you). Some people are anti-Semitic and are only daring to show it now. Leftists seem to dig everything that goes against Israel, since they see the Palestians as the poor victims of a colonial power. I think what Möllemann wants most is to appeal to the self-pity of as many people as possible, that's why he is claiming that Israel cannot even be criticised in Germany.

I think you should talk to your friend and let her know that she said something really
objectionable. If she really has anti-Semitic tendencies she will at least be less willing to voice them. If it just was a stupid remark, she'll hopefully learn from it.

Posted by: Ralf Goergens on September 18, 2002 03:25 PM

For some astonishingly candid statements from ordinary Germans, see the reader e-mails that were sent to me at the Moellemann.com website. Many of these were from people who misunderstood what the site was all about and thought they were sending messages of support to Moellemann himself.

">http://www.moellemann.com/readermail.html

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on September 18, 2002 03:57 PM

I read the posts from the Germans. I don't see where they indicate rabid anti-semitism. Maybe some people there are sick of Germans constantly being held up as the avatars of evil. And that no German can say the slightest thing critical of any Jew or Israel without being branded as a Nazi anti-semite. (BTW, I am a total supporter Israel)
Someone brought up the parallel situation in the U.S. with the constant guilt mongering about the Native Americans and black slaves. The reparations movement is the latest chapter in that book. Things have gotten to a point in the U.S. where no white person can say anything critical about blacks, their culture, etc. without immediately being branded a racist. It is politically taboo. But black racism is allowed. Some black political group in NYC recently feted Robert Mugabe as a guest of honor at some party dinner. Did you hear anything about that? But can you imagine the outcry if some white political group honored some white dictator that had been throwing black people off their property. The point I am trying to make is that eventually this causes anger and resentment in the group that is constantly being disparged.

Posted by: Peter J on September 18, 2002 10:42 PM

Peter J -- I don't think the reader emails indicate rabid anti-semitism either. In some of them there is a subtext of unfriendly indifference and outright hostility. I can understand some of the sentiments. e.g. those who were born after the war and think the financial reparations should be finally settled.

On the other hand, Moellemann is also the head of an Arabist organization that is explicitly hostile to Israel and he has made a number of stupid inflammatory statements that were clearly calculated to provoke and taunt the Jewish community. That some of the readers wrote to egg him on is not a positive thing.

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on September 19, 2002 12:40 AM

Papa Scott:
Or maybe there's a regional aspect that I've been missing. Möllemann and Norbert Blüm are both from NRW

North Rhine Westphalia is a stronghold of socialism and has been for 140 years. Because of the high taxes, strong unions, NRW has been declining in comparison to other German Laender, especially Bavaria.

Rather like the Arabs, they are blaming others for their problems. I'm not surprised that NRW may be an anti-semitic stronghold, the Jews have made great scapegoats for centuries.

Posted by: Jabba the Nutt on September 19, 2002 09:55 AM

Mr. Shark, et al:

If you haven't seen "The Roots of European Appeasement", by David Gelernter in the 09/23/2002 issue of The Weekly Standard, be sure to check it out.

The topic is more broadly oriented toward all of Europe, but it applies to Germany and I think helps explain what it is that European Liberals feel so guilty about.

Posted by: Iphicrates on September 19, 2002 10:06 AM

I've lived in Germany for many years off and on and found the level of anti-semitism there to be objectionably high always. I've had many Germans make anti-semitic comments to me off-handedly (I used to speak German fluently) because I "didn't look Jewish". First, I used to ask them "What does a Jew look like?" As an American that question most often made the speakers confused, but many times they would go on to describe what a Jew should look like. Americans are finding anti-semitism in Europe as if it is something new. It's not, it never went away, it just went underground. Rascism is alive and well also. I knew a woman married to an African-American and when she tried to place her child in a German preschool they told her they didn't accept 'blacks'. Of course, there may have been a little anti-Americanism thrown in too, but things like this happen all the time, it's not the exception. Since the left has made anti-semitism acceptable again the Europeans feel they may express freely what they've always expressed in private.

Posted by: Moira Rogow on September 19, 2002 11:48 AM

Come on! It's not anti-semitic to be against Sharon, just as it's not anti-American to be against Bush. It may be mistaken, of course: maybe Sharon is realistic, and maybe opposing his policies is self-serving moral posturing. Maybe it's even playing in terrorists' hands. But come on! Judging from the contents of the leaflet, this is no big deal, just a political difference.

There *are* Israelis that oppose Sharon, after all. And since the Middle East conflict seems to be everyone's business whether we like it or not, it should not be necessary to say amen to everything Israel does just to avoid being called anti-semitic. Oh and "opening doors for Arab businessmen" has not been declared criminal yet, certainly not in the Bush White House!

And then there's the fact that for years Germans have been extremely sensitive to Jewish concerns. This honestly seems to me like just a little political testing of the limits. Maybe I'm naive. But I fear knee-jerk accusations of anti-semitism are counter-productive.

Posted by: Not a Nazi on September 19, 2002 11:57 AM

Not a Nazi--
you're absolutely right. Simply criticizing Sharon is not anti-Semitic. But whenever a political candidate launches a ridiculous one-sided criticism against a foreign head of government in a campaign flyer you have to ask yourself what his agenda is, and what he hopes to accomplish. Implying that Sharon was the aggressor because of "tanks in refugee camps", with no mention of the reason why the tanks were sent there (e.g. to destroy terrorist bomb factories) doesn't serve a constructive purpose.

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on September 19, 2002 12:18 PM

PapaScott: ask exactly what "part" your friend ('Möllemann is at least partly right, isn't he?') meant. Möllemann has said a lot of thinks, and it's easy to misinterpret what she said as it's anything but specific. I'm a '67 born German, and I can tell you that there's something as a German you learn pretty fast when expressing an opinion - especially to foreigners: rarely will you be given the benefice of doubt if you say something that may be interpreted as being anti-semitic or racist. One has to be very careful in his choice of words, or just avoid any sensitive subject altogether. I guess that's why a lot of people do not feel free to criticize Sharon/Israel while in fact they are. And Möllemann knows that, hence his tricky and manipulative (in my understanding at least) "I'm not allowed to criticize Sharon/Israel" statement and the ensuing supportive mails on moellemann.com. Möllemann has been very careful in his choice of controversial statements: they are all crafted as to touch emotional subjects that makes it very difficult for his audience to approach them at more analytical and rational level. Machiavelli would be proud of him.

Posted by: Chris K on September 19, 2002 04:48 PM

Does anyone here know anything about the Safire column in the NY Times today?

The article alleges that . . . . "at a meeting in the Axel Springer building in Hamburg on Aug. 27 with about 30 American friends of Germany, former defense minister Rudolf Scharping was asked why Germany was so loudly opposed to President Bush's campaign to oust Saddam Hussein.

Scharping reported that he had answered that very question in a Schröder cabinet meeting: it was all about the Jews. Bush was motivated to overthrow Saddam by his need to curry favor with what Scharping called "a powerful — perhaps overly powerful — Jewish lobby" in the coming U.S. elections . . . . . . "

Is there any truth to these allegations, or does Safire have it completely wrong? There's a big internet debate going on tonight.

Posted by: Iphicrates on September 19, 2002 05:26 PM

I fully agree that issues regarding criticisms of other religions and minority should be handled with utmost care, especially in Germany. However, I had been hearing about Möllemann's "anti-Semitism" in German media and always wondered what really was in this flyer that everybody talked about. It was on this website that I saw it for the first time ... and I really would like to ask what it is that makes it anti-Semitic. Why can't people differentiate between criticism of minorities/religions (which is wrong) and criticism of countries and individuals (which is right). Regardless of what one’s opinion is about Sharon, why is it not legitimate to criticize him? What if this flyer would have featured Vladimir Putin and what he is doing in Chechnya? Would there have been the same uproar? Israel needs to understand that it is now a powerful and mighty country ("more powerful than all its neighbors combined" according to Mr. Sharon), which can and should be criticized in public just like all other countries.
I would like to ask one question: Which part of the content of this flyer is 1) not true or 2) criticism of Jews as a group and not criticism of the state of Israel and certain individual individuals.

Best Regards,

Karim

Posted by: Karim Ragab on September 24, 2002 11:45 AM

Why can't a person criticize someone's government and not bring in their religion?

Because, in the case of Germany--the german mind is highly selective of religious concerns.

When 5,000 muslims disappeared in Kosovo and the Serbs were heading for 12,000 more in other areas America put her foot down and bombed the Serbs back. And who was the german public upset with? America.

Now we know that those 5,000 muslims died underneath the noses of a vastly silent german public which evidently only thinks palestinians are muslims--and that's the rub.

Not one German dropped a beer out of concern for the Mulsims in Kosovo; no one took to the streets as they do every time an american president shows up. Instead, they protested the US.

Thus, the Israeli Palestinian conflictis nothing more than a proxy war where europe uses palestinians to kill jews to irritate america.

If this is the case, than Israel is being hit because anti-american voices in europe feels they can't hit america safely. Their only other optionis funding suicide bombers to make Israel half-nuts with grief.

Europe, I believe, is openly lying about it's motives with Israel.

5,000 dead muslims on european soil dead and not ONE protest over that massacre, but let the Israel's blink wrong and the germans are outraged.

Something about europe's supposed high-minded moralism--smells.

Posted by: judy on September 28, 2002 09:44 AM

I am soooo tired of all this BS. As soon as somebody attacks (verbally!) a member of the Jewish community, he is considered to be fascist, racist, anti-semite.

Moellemann did NOT AT ALL attack the jews. With his flyer, he attacked Sharon (who really isn't a tolerant leader), the government of Israel and M. Friedman (who constantly talks nonsense about an anti-semitism in Germany (which doesn't exist)). Not a single word about believes or religion!

All of my friends don't care about colour, religion, believes, they only see people. But most of them dislike Friedman because of his polemic speaches, always blaming the Germans to be anti-semites.

Besides: The nonsense that you (Stefan Sharkansky) implied is not true! And polemic shit about trimming his moustache is not better than Friedman's BS.

I am really not a fascist, nor an anti-semite. I am just so fed up with all this blaming. The war ended almost 60 years ago. We learned of the horrible shit that happened back then. I really can understand when elder people (who lived back then and most probably were affected personally) have fears. But most of the time, they know that this is history. Most strangely, younger people start again (Friedman is born in the 50s, so Michel, please shut up! You didn't have to do anything with the things back then, nor did I.)

But others should learn as well. What's happening now in Israel can easily turn into another genocide and ethnic cleansing. But I guess that this will be blamed on Germany as well. It's so easy, isn't it?

@Judy: "...let the Israel's blink wrong..."
How do you call the sending of tanks, helicopters, special forces into Palestinian communities, killing women and children? A blink? Wow! YOU learned a lot!

As I already said: I am so fed up with that shit!
We are a democratic country, with a democratically elected government. Stop blaming us if you don't know what you're talking about. You should learn out of history and not "re-run" it again and again!

Posted by: Dirk on December 2, 2002 01:55 AM

The Dirk guy is a little bit angry and that is not ok. His point, I think, is that Germany is not a Nazi-Germany since almost 60 years. I actually think that he is right and that one should not keep on blaming. I do not blame the United States for killing all the Indians, do I? Why then do people have the right to discriminate against a peaceful country that has a few neo-nazis only, compared to e.g. the USA, Great Britain, Holland, Danmark, Sweden etc. because of the past? I do understand why Dirk is reacting this way. He is not allowed to stand in Berlin in a soccer stadium (soccer is the most famous sport in germany) and say "Deutschland! Deutschland!" whereas - and please everybody read and think about this - after September 11, 2001, thousands of Americans could just say "USA! USA!". I would like to encourage you to think about what difference it means to never be allowed to be proud of you country.

I would like to say it again: I do understand the feelings of people like Dirk (who posted a statement in here). It is because...

...I AM GERMAN! (and I decide to be proud of it!)

Posted by: Michael on June 5, 2003 11:17 AM

I am sorry for the mistakes that are in my statement.

Posted by: Michael on June 5, 2003 11:20 AM

Although I know that we are looked down on, I would like to say " I am german too and YES I am proud of my country"

Posted by: Wanda on June 6, 2003 11:56 AM

Dear Stefan: What can be noted about the world of today? Convincing the Jews to change their ways(which cause them to be hated wherever they've been)is like persuading the fleas on the family pet to cease their activity, depart and take up vegetable farming. The flea is a parasite. He knows it. We know it. And he will do or say literally ANYTHING to sustain this mode of existence. It's evolutionary. But now it's not just the "bad old (and young)" Germans who aren't listening to your lies, it's a rainbow of peoples pissed about everything from bought local politicians to pollution to globalization and Andy Fastow. Oy vay! Could it be that the stuff in the bible about "the nations" marching against Israel is just a self-fulfilling prophecy? That the Jews knew beforehand that their destructive actions in the bodies of other nations would eventually catch them up?

For those who want an Example of Jewish Activity in the body of an undefended nation, see "Latvia: Year Of Horror". It's on the web. Of course, this isn't representative of all Jews. It's an anomaly. Like Lazar Kaganovich and 10 million dead Ukrainians, or Germano-"phile" and misquoted humanitarian Ilya Ehrenburg, or Israeli consul Arie Scher, who with pal Georges Schteinberg ran a child prostitution ring out of the Israeli Embassy in Brazil, or...............

Posted by: Bolt Upright on June 6, 2003 01:39 PM

Dad gummit!! If we aint in agreement 'bout this war on I-raq! Of course, show me the Jew who's agin the killin' of A-rabs (or Germans), anytime, anywhere...

Nevertheless methinks you've miscalculated on this, Stefansky. I too, support the war. But only if it happened the right way:

First: Have the US, already known by the world to be run by Jews and "oil drillin' christian-zionists", rattle its' sabres for action against a stationary 'aggressor' who just happens to be anti-Israel...(and full of oil!)...

Second: Pretend to defer to UN consensus (a nod and wink to our "precious" idea of democracy uber Alles)while shipping US forces to the area regardless of the debate of existence of "WMD"s...

Third: (And this was iffy...) have the usually jello-based European leaders actually oppose THE WILL of WASHINGTON (in spite of the 'withering' boycott of things francaise and the re-named Freedom Fry)on something that, frankly, wouldn't have made life too much worse for them: a little more home-grown "terror" balanced by re-building contracts in Iraq...(and oil!)...

Fourth: Have the US thence thumb its' nose at a UN decision against force, attack Iraq (I must point out here my satisfaction on this: that never again can Americans wag a finger with impunity against Hitler for waging "aggressive war"), bomb and kill civilians (the ineptitude of going after Hussein with a couple tons of bombs in downtown Baghdad because they THOUGHT he was there and killing, what? 9, 10 plus, women, kids, at a point in the war when Mean Mr. Mustache was IRRELEVANT to the outcome! - this will be in some future Machiavelli's book under the heading "How To Win A War and Lose The Peace").

Finally: In the wake of all this, no WMD's ("real" ones by soccer mom standards)to be found...

As long as it happened this way, I say GO USA!!

The other good things about this (not to you, a Jew, of course) is that Hussein, certainly anti-Israel, but far short of an effective pan-Arab nationalist seeking to do anything real to liberate Palestine, is gone. Good Riddance! Hello, Osama!
The people will get food, medicine...some of it paid for (or should I say diverted from Israeli pockets)by (unwilling) American Jewish mega-capital...and the Iraqis, sunni, shiite, sunshine- US buddies- the- Kurds, all will get stronger, want more, more AK's, territory, influence...the sum total of all of the above being bad news for Israel, the US taxpayer (and soldier) and layed-off civilian now trying to figure out why he's losing his house while Marc Rich and his tribe are livin' it up. I helpfully suggest to folks the National Alliance website. William Pierce had such a nice way with words. And forever will...
Yes, I support this war. But I wouldn't say that in public amidst friends or acquaintances who might think I have TRUE support for Bush, etc. By holding my tongue, my argument has far more effect when I later confront disillusioned(in the truest sense of the word)friends on their ill-placed trust in our rulers. Why am I divulging all this? Because it aint a secret plan, it's only observation, Steffi, of an irreversible trend. Like Bono says, have a "beautiful dayyy......"



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