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DuBow Digest - American Edition Feb. 23, 2010

DuBow Digest - American Edition Feb. 23, 2010

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Published by Eugene DuBow
DuBow Digest is a newsletter on American Jewish - German Relations.
DuBow Digest is a newsletter on American Jewish - German Relations.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Eugene DuBow on Feb 22, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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AMERICAN EDITIONFebruary 23, 2010Dear Friends:Sometimes I fear that I am giving you a distorted picture of what the vast majorityof Germans think about during a normal day. Frankly, it’s not Jews or Israel.They, like most people elsewhere, have the economy, their jobs, the lousyweather and whether their kids will grow and be able to get a decent education or a decent job on their minds. Jews are not at the top of the list.However, rarely does a day go by when the media does not have some sort of astory dealing with the subjects
DuBow Digest 
covers. Some great sage oncesaid, “In Germany, Jews is news”. The German media is no different than our own. Negative or sensational stories are usually the featured ones. It is difficult toread anything positive except in the back pages where “human interest” stuff isfeatured. Negativity reigns supreme. However, that is not to say that the GermanJewish community, the Israeli Embassy, AJC and others are not trying to combatthat sort of thing. They are! I’m proud to say that my own agency does a prettydamn good job. However, it’s a tough slog. I hope you will understand the realityof the situation and for that reason I decided to devote two paragraphs to it.Sometime in the future I’ll give you more details about what’s being done.Now, on to the news…IN THIS EDITIONTIME TO MOVE ON – The chairperson of the Central Council of Jews inGermany decides to call it quits in favor of someone younger.THE NPD AND THE KIDS – The neo-Nazis get the right to distribute their poisonnear the schools.HOLOCAUST DENIER DOES HIS TIME – If you deny the Holocaust you shouldkeep your mouth shut or you get a sentence to spend time at “sleep away camp”.GERMANY & THE MUSLIMS – Anti-Muslim fever sweeps Europe. Germany isno exception.ANTI-NAZI HUMAN CHAIN – The people of Dresden rise up against the neo-Nazis.A GERMAN MILITARY MONUMENT – The Bundeswehr, today’s German Army,is not the Wehrmacht. Aren’t they entitled to memorialize their dead? My answer is “Yes”.1
END OF A FRIENDSHIP – Political allies become competing lobbyists.THIS & THAT – The leftovers.TIME TO MOVE ONCharlotte Knobloch, the 77 year old elected head of the Central Council of Jewsin Germany (Zentralrat) has announced that she will not stand for re-election inNovember and is moving aside so a younger person can take her place.Frau Knobloch, the chair of the Munich Jewish community will, in all likelihood,be the last Zentralrat head to have been born in the time of the Holocaust. Shehas served honorably in the post but with 80% of the Jewish community inGermany having immigrated from the former Soviet Union, it has becomeobvious that the time had come for her to move on.It is not clear now nine months from the time Frau Knobloch is to leave office whoher replacement will be. Dieter Graumann, a 60 year old Israeli born Vice Chair of the Zentralrat is seen as a possible successor but his election is not at allassured. The Russian born majority, especially the younger people, obviously willhave a major voice in the selection.One of the most vocal leaders of this group is none other that SergeyLagodinsky, who worked for AJC Berlin as Program Director for quite some time.For his bio click herehttp://www.gppi.net/about/team/sergey_lagodinsky/ 
The Local 
notes, “
Knobloch’s position at the top of Germany’s leading Jewishorganisation had been brought into question of late amid suggestions there wasdissatisfaction and infighting at the top of the council. Various media reported she was under pressure from other council members not to run again for  president.But she said in her statement that the board of directors and executive council had expressed their “full and unconditional confidence” in her and that there had been a “consensus” that she would see out her full term until November.Her colleagues had recognised “with understanding and respect” that she
wanted to make way for a generational change.
The turmoil in the ranks of German Jewry is not only caused by age differences.The focus of younger people is not so much on the Holocaust but rather on theproblems that face the community today such economic issues and maintaining aJewish community that includes those that are secular as well as those who aremore religious in their orienatation. Perhaps the biggest problem is holding on tothose whose children will drift into the general German community and wind uphaving no Jewish identity at all (Sound familiar?).My guess is that the next 9 months will be full of genuine political in-fighting. The“new” agenda of the German Jewish community will begin to emerge during thebattle that has already begun. Since the future of German Jewry depends to alarge extent on the outcome we will be following it very closely.A more complete story from
can be accessed by clicking here.http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5227285,00.htmlTHE NPD AND THE KIDSThe NPD, the largest neo-Nazi party in Germany has recently won a victory andwill now be allowed to distribute CDs outside schools with interviews and musicby party members because authorities have no legal grounds to stop them.As
The Local 
reports, “
The Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons said the disc merely contained political opinions, daily SüddeutscheZeitung reported.The department therefore found no basis on which to ban the disc, the report quoted director Elke Monsen-Engberding as saying. The NPD is Germany'sleading far-right party. It promotes an anti-immigrant agenda and is considered by the country's domestic intelligence agency to be a threat to the constitution.” 
Obviously this sort of a ruling is very disturbing. Having the NPD distributing their stuff is bad enough in itself. Having the right to dsitribute it outside schools tochildren is, in my opinion, 100 times worse. However, the NPD is a legal partyand are careful about staying within legal boundries. So, Germany’s free speechrules allow this sort of thing. I, am sure, like you (and them), we are all on thehorns of a dilemma. Germany’s democarcy must accord their citizens the right of free speech – even if it is utilized by neo-Nazis.This story reminds me a little of my Chicago days when a group of neo-Naziswanted to have a march in Skokie. They finally won the right in court. It madealmost everyone unhappy but the decision was correct. To have a democracyyou have to put up with such things.3

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