AN AMERICAN JEWISH – GERMAN INFORMATION & OPINION NEWSLETTER dubowdigest@optonline.

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AMERICAN EDITION March 6, 2013 Dear Friends: With spring (almost) in the air my friends in Germany tell me they are beginning to see the end of the grayest winter they can remember. Perhaps the citizenry, by and large, has been waiting for warmer temps to start complaining about whatever it is they want to complain about. However, the last month, at least, seems to have been a quiet one. Yes! In Berlin there was a demonstration against tearing down, or at least moving part of the remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall (It succeeded – for the time being) and the government admitted they made a mistake in trying to impose a big new train station in Stuttgart (They have to continue the construction as it would cost too much to stop) but nothing really monumental happened. However, that is not to say that the issues we report on in this journal were without activity. As the kids say, “Stuff happens!” It did. Read about it below. On to the news…

IN THIS EDITION ANTI-SEMITISM: GERMANY – When does anti-Israelism morph into anti-Semitism? POLITICS: THE UPPER HOUSE & THE ELECTION – The Chancellor has lost her majority. What does that forecast for the election? DRESDEN & THE NEO-NAZIS – Hooray for the citizens! NEO-NAZI FUNDING – Government money no less!

THE NSU MURDERS - Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund: And they were killing
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GERMAN JEWS & BANNING THE NEO-NAZIS – United? No!

people. THE OBERMAYER AWARDS – German Jewish history awards. Can you help? DEATH OF A PARTY – The Pirates walk their own plank (or lack of having one) GERMAN POLITICAL SCANDAL & ACADEMIC TITLES – Plagiarism takes its toll.

ANTI-SEMITISM: GERMANY (This article also appears in my Germany Edition) When Jews and Israel are discussed one of the most difficult issues to come to terms with is “What is anti-Semitism and what is legitimate political criticism of the Jewish State of Israel?” There is no doubt that some people who are critical of Israel’s policies are not anti-Semites even though they are accused of being just that. On the other hand, there are those with deep seated anti-Jewish feelings and attitudes that claim they are only being critical of political policies. Because overt anti-Semitism is no longer acceptable in Western society they claim not to be anti-Semitic and, therefore, “bulletproof”. Sometimes the armor looks pretty thin. Over the years wordsmiths have worked up ways of expressing anti-Semitism so that no one can lay a glove on the purveyors. Indeed, it is sometimes very difficult to “prove” that individuals are anti-Semites. “Smoking guns” are frequently hard to find. However, what are we to believe when there is a tsunami of anti-Israelism in a society? Is it just political criticism or is it something more troubling? There are indications that something like that may be happening in Germany. Isi Leibler is a well-known Israeli leader and political “pundit”. He writes frequently in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom. In a recent article which appeared in both journals he wrote, “In the aftermath of the Holocaust, successive German governments have meticulously upheld their obligations to the Jewish people. Study of the Holocaust is a mandatory component of the German state education curriculum, Holocaust denial is classified as a crime and restitution commitments were honored and even exceeded. Chancellor Angela Merkel is a genuine friend of the Jews and despite intense political pressures and occasional minor vacillations, has consistently supported Israel, describing its security as “part of my country‟s raison d‟etre”. However in recent years, as in other European countries, German public opinion has turned against Israel, perceiving it as the principal threat to global stability and peace. This hostility has increasingly assumed overt anti-Semitic tones. There is growing resentment against Jews, who are blamed for imposing excessive emphasis on collective German national guilt for the Holocaust.

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Anti-Jewish hostility is often expressed in the more „politically respectable‟ demonization of the Jewish nation state, allegedly not related to anti-Semitism although the “Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe” (OSCE) explicitly defines such behavior as anti-Semitic. I am going to make you read Leibler’s article (see below) wherein he spells out the various outcroppings of the kind of language which seems to prove the point he makes that anti-Semitism is becoming more acceptable than it would have been a decade ago. Leibler concludes his article with, “It was significant that in 2010, two Bundestag leftist representatives were aboard the Turkish Marvi Marmara and that for the first time, the left and the right united in parliament to carry a unanimous resolution censuring Israel for the Gaza flotilla episode. This in itself may not represent anti-Semitism, but reflects the atmosphere of increasing hostility against Israel which would have been inconceivable in Germany only a few years ago. For Jews, the positive side of Germany is the evident abundance of pro-Israeli and even philo-Semitic rank and file Germans in all walks of life. Yet, simultaneously the intensifying efforts by left wing activists uniting with Moslem extremists and occasionally even Nazis, to demonize Israel and promote anti-Semitism, provide valid grounds for concern about a future for Jews in Germany. The situation is likely to further deteriorate drastically after the culmination of Angela Merkel‟s term as Chancellor. Perhaps he is a bit over the top about his “concern about a future for Jews in Germany”. Every time I see an eruption of anti-Semitic writing or behavior I also see a strong reaction in Germany. As long as it remains the democracy it is the implications remain positive for Jews and Jewish life. However, European anti-Semitism remains a constant and, indeed, is growing by leaps and bounds. If the virus spreads further, well, all bets are off. It is a time when actions and words have to be examined more closely. What is happening is very unsettling. The Leibler article can be read by clicking here. http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=68624233&msgid=994155&act=MF2Y&c=3651 52&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwordfromjerusalem.com%2F%3Fp%3D4518 POLITICS: THE UPPER HOUSE & THE ELECTION The national election in Germany won’t be taking place until September. Chancellor Merkel remains the most popular politician in the country but, as I’ve pointed out numerous times she (and her CDU/CSU party) needs her coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP) to get at least 5% of the vote to win seats in the Bundestag. If that doesn’t happen, the opposition Social Democrats (SDP) and the Greens would have an easier path to a majority and could push her out of office. If none of that happens there is the possibility of a “Grand Coalition” between the CDU/CSU and the SDP – an
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outcome no one likes. However a late poll just completed notes that the FDP for the first time in a long time has reached the 5% level. Good news for them and for the Chancellor. We’ll have to see if they can maintain it. It would be nice for Fr. Merkel to, sort of, sit back, govern and see what happens in September. She can’t! Why? She no longer has a majority in the upper house of the parliament, the Bundesrat. According to DW, “The Bundesrat is becoming a troubling problem for Merkel. Her difficulties began in 2010, when Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its coalition partner the Free Democratic Party (FDP) lost several regional elections and along with them its majority in the upper house, which is made up of the governments of Germany's 16 states. In the Bundesrat, state government representatives can reevaluate and overturn laws passed in the Bundestag, the German parliament's lower house, if the laws affect the states. Merkel's government has been forced into compromises with the opposition and those compromises have often only come after drawn-out talks in the parliament's bicameral negotiating committee. Occasionally, the government has attempted to use legal loopholes to shut the Bundesrat out of the legislative process, by declaring certain laws as "not subject to approval." But ever since the Lower Saxony election in January, that's no longer possible either. Now states governed by the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the socialist Left party account for 36 of the 69 votes in the Bundesrat. With that majority under its belt, the opposition has the right to either stop or renegotiate all government bills, without exception. The Bundesrat can also let the bills rot until the end of the legislative period. That means that most laws are now dependent on the approval of the opposition - which the government can rarely count on. It is true that the Bundesrat is not always so slavish about party politics. Often, the state premiers make decisions according to their own interests, not those of their party headquarters in Berlin. But now, with a general election looming in September, that is hardly likely. But the Bundesrat is not limited to imposing blockades. It also has the right to start its own legislative initiatives, and in the next few months, it intends to prepare the ground for another SPD-Green turn in German politics. It wants to introduce initiatives like a minimum wage, tax equality for gay couples, and the right to dual citizenship for all children born to foreign parents in Germany. The Bundesrat is rarely the scene of eye-catching heated political duals, and even applause is frowned upon. And the Bundestag, still in Merkel's hands, has the right to block the Bundesrat's bills. But opposition members are determined to show the electorate they mean business and that the bills they proposes could become reality if they receive the most votes in the poll on September 22. One thing is already certain: if the SPD and the Greens do win the election, the new center-left government under Social Democrat Peer Steinbrück can look forward to at
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least a year of completely unblocked legislating. The earliest that an SPD-Green coalition government could lose its Bundesrat majority would be the Brandenburg election in autumn 2014. Being the “most powerful woman in the world”, as you can now see, is not a permanent position. The politics in the local states can eat away at that power. It does not as yet appear to have affected Chancellor Merkel’s personal popularity. However, it should be kept in mind that in Germany the political parties are much more important than the individual. Therefore, it behooves us (and her) to “stay tuned”. DRESDEN & THE NEO-NAZIS In early February The Local.de reported on an annual expected rally of neo-Nazis. It noted, “Far-right extremists gather in Dresden each February 13th to condemn the firebombing that nearly completely destroyed the city only months before the end of World War II. But local residents have challenged the neo-Nazi hijacking of the date for their propaganda purposes. The massive Allied bombing raid on Dresden in February 1945 killed thousands of civilians even though it was strategically unnecessary at the time with Hitler‟s forces nearly defeated. The number of those who were killed has also been controversial, with an official estimate lowered to 25,000 a few years ago. Prior to that, hundreds of thousands where thought to have died in the raid. Some 3,000 police from across Germany will be present to try and keep around 1,000 fascists away from an estimated 10,000 demonstrators. “The police consider its duty to be a neutral party guaranteeing the freedom of assembly,” said Dresden Police Chief Dieter Kroll, according to public broadcaster MDR. No doubt that the city of Dresden was ready for a dangerous demonstration and possibly an ugly confrontation between the neo-Nazis and the expected counter demonstrators. Surprise! That’s not what happened. In a later edition The Local.de reported, “In the past, right-wing extremists have sought to dominate Dresden efforts to remember the World War II bombing of the city on Feb. 13, 1945. But on Wednesday night, a vast human chain blocked a planned neo-Nazi march while peacefully marking the tension-filled anniversary.
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Thousands of people joined hands to form a human chain in Dresden Wednesday, blocking a planned neo-Nazi march and remembering the World War II bombing of the
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city 68 years before. For years, neo-Nazis have used the anniversary of the bombing to march on the city. The bombing of Dresden holds great emotional significance for some because of the vast destruction of the city -- long admired for its beauty and cultural heritage -- and because of the number of people killed in the attack. It has often been instrumentalized by right-wing extremists to highlight what they see as Allied barbarity. Peaceful protesters have been gathering in Dresden in recent years in counter demonstrations to the neo-Nazi marches, and local politicians say they have been effective in keeping the right-wing presence down. Until just a few years ago there were an estimated 6,000 right-wing marchers in the city on the anniversary each year. This year police say there were between 600 and 800. To get thousands of people out on a February night to stand in the cold to make a political statement is a genuine achievement. The message is clear. The article is accompanied by a set of pictures both touching and upsetting. I think you should take a moment to click here and give them a look. They will tell you a great deal more than the printed article. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/demonstrators-in-dresden-block-neo-nazimarch-with-human-chain-a-883326.html

NEO-NAZI FUNDING One of those peculiarities of the German political system is that all political parties get government funding – including the neo-Nazi NPD Party. According to DW, “Despite its far-right positions, the NPD received financial support from the German parliament, the Bundestag, until last week - in 2011 it received a grand total of 1.32 million euros ($1.74 million) of taxpayer's money.” But that is all over now. A payment of 113,000 euros, which the party was still entitled to for last year's campaign costs, was stopped. The Bundestag has also asked the regional parliaments to freeze their payments to the NPD. The reason is apparently an administrative error - the NPD is reported to have provided incomplete records of its finances, and is now refusing to pay the fine imposed by the Federal Administrative Court. But why should a German far-right party be entitled to state money as long as it keeps its books in order? Germany's party financing regulations apply irrespective of a party's politics. "At the very start of the history of the Federal Republic, money was distributed according to preference," says Kai Arzheimer, head of the political science institute at the University of Mainz. For that reason, government parties tended to benefit from state money the

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most. "But in the subsequent development of party financing, we moved away from such arbitrary political payments." Now the Bundestag decides by way of strictly objective rules which groups get money from the state. In order to qualify for support, a party must field candidates at federal, state, or European elections. Then the party must win at least 0.5 percent of the vote. If clears that hurdle, the party receives 85 euro cents for every vote - and 70 cents for anything above four million votes. That gives small parties the opportunity to take their place on the political stage, and that doesn't only go for the NPD. The rise of the Green party was only possible because of party financing, according to Arzheimer. "The system is meant to make political innovation possible, so that parties can prove that they have serious goals and can get elected too," he says. So the NPD is subject to the same rules as all the other parties, and the reason for the withholding of funds - at least for now - lies in its faulty accounting. In order to get the subsidy from the Bundestag, each party has to provide regular reports of how much money it has, and what it is spending its state subsidy on. The Federal Administrative Court said that its 2007 report was incorrect and incomplete, and in December 2012 it imposed a fine of 1.27 million euros. As the NPD failed to pay up, all payments have now been stopped. The cancellation of payments comes two months after the interior ministers of Germany's 16 states agreed to attempt a legal ban on the NPD. It will be the second time that the ministers will present a ban to Germany's Constitutional Court. The first attempt failed in 2003 because German intelligence agents were found to be active in the NPD leadership. According to the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, citing Christian Democratic Union sources, Chancellor Angela Merkel is now planning to convince her cabinet to bring its own suit to ban the NPD. No matter what sorts of law suits are brought and no matter what the Bundestag does the final decision regarding the NPD’s legality as a party is up to the courts. I think outlawing them will be a tough sell. They may be undemocratic but outlawing a party is a sensitive matter in Germany going back to the 1930’s when the Nazis outlawed opposing parties. Germany democracy in some instances can be very democratic. We’ll have to wait and see how the matter is finally concluded.

GERMAN JEWS & BANNING THE NEO-NAZIS One would think that the German Jewish leadership could, behind closed doors, map out a unified position on whether the neo-Nazi NPD Party should be outlawed or not. However, that does not seem to be the case.

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The Times of Israel recently reported, “Germany‟s Jews are disagreeing about whether the country‟s largest neo-Nazi party should be banned. The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany says the organization‟s official position has for many years been consistent in calling for authorities to initiate legal proceedings to outlaw the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which is said to follow in the ideological footsteps of Hitler‟s Nazi party. Yet the organization‟s secretarygeneral, Stephan J. Kramer, caused a stir last week when he said that he was decidedly against such a step. “One cannot prohibit [neo-Nazi] ideas, you can only fight them,” Kramer told a local newspaper. Any efforts to ban the party were doomed to failure, he said. In response to Kramer‟s statements, which were widely reported in national media outlets, the Jewish Central Council‟s president and vice presidents issued a statement Thursday clarifying that the organization‟s longstanding call for a ban remains its official position on the matter. “We still strongly advocate for the Bundestag and the federal government to rapidly join the Bundesrat‟s initiative,” the statement read, referring to the two houses of German parliament. “We would view this as a sign of a fighting democracy that confronts its enemies.” It is incomprehensible why public funds should finance neo-Nazi propaganda and hatred, the statement continued. “In our view, this party should have been banned long ago.” The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has yet to decide whether to support the effort. Several senior politicians in her cabinet are skeptical, fearing that either the German Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights could annul a ban of the party, which, despite being ideologically close to Nazism, operates within the parameters of the law. “The Central Council‟s position [to support an NPD ban] is unequivocal,” Kramer told German reporters last week. “But as a citizen of this country I allow myself to have a different personal opinion.” I know Stephan very well. He is an outstanding and deeply committed Jewish professional. In this case he has, perhaps, erred. Every human being is entitled to have a “personal opinion”. That’s not the question here. The problem is going public with that opinion when the organization for which you work has an opposing position. Do you not have an obligation to support the organization or, if you cannot, either stay silent or resign? Of course, there is the question of how important the individual is to the organization. Sometimes things can be overlooked and that may happen here. Stephan is a very important and well known public figure. I’m sure the Central Council would not want to lose him. I wouldn’t! However, divergent opinions coming from the Central Council can be very confusing to the general public and, worse, to the government. Unanimity here, in my opinion, is really important.
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THE NSU MURDERS In the last year I have written sporadically about the neo-Nazi murder group but have not spelled out the entire story. Below I want to rectify that error of omission. It’s an important story, one that bears telling and understanding not only about the murder gang but the aftermath as well. It is certainly no secret that that there are neo-Nazis in Germany. What was not known until a little more than a year ago is that there was a small organized murder group that was unknown to the police. According to Wikipedia there were, “…a series of murders that took place in Germany between 2000 and 2006, leaving ten people dead and one wounded. The perpetrators called themselves National Socialist Underground (NSU) (German: Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund). The primary target of these right-wing extremist-oriented crimes were predominantly immigrants of Turkish origin and one person of Greek origin. The victims were mostly small business owners (doner kebab vendors, grocers, locksmiths, alteration tailors, internet café operators) who were murdered in broad daylight by being shot in the face at close range, all with one and the same weapon, a silenced CZ 83. The German authorities identified three suspects, Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and Beate Zschäpe as responsible for the murders and attempted murders. Böhnhardt and Mundlos were found dead by police after they robbed a bank on 4 November 2011. Police say they committed suicide. Zschäpe turned herself in on 11 November 2011. She will go on trial shortly. The police and intelligence services were terribly embarrassed especially when it was revealed, (DW) “Fresh revelations have once again put an embarrassing spotlight on the German police: an alleged accomplice of the neo-Nazi terror cell National Socialist Underground (NSU) apparently also for several years worked as an informant for Berlin's State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA). Initially the only news trickling through was that the authorities were tipped off as early as 2002 on the possible whereabouts of the terrorist trio; however, they apparently failed to pursue this line of enquiry. Shortly after it transpired that the LKA informant even supplied the group with explosives. The very poor performance of the police and intelligence agencies, including the fact that this group was killing people for years without their even knowing about it made it into a national disgrace. It came to a point where the President of Germany felt it incumbent upon himself to meet with the families of the victims and a new national neoNazi register was announced. In addition, a memorial was held in Berlin in which, “Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the main address before 1,200 guests at the Concert House on the central Gendarmenmarkt Square.
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“The murders of the Thuringian terror cell were an attack on our country,” a somberlooking Merkel said. “They have brought shame upon our country.” She was flanked on stage by candles representing the victims: “Ten burning candles, ten lives extinguished – extinguished by cold-blooded murder.” In order to somehow make amends to the families of the victims an ombudsperson for the NSU victims' families was appointed. Barbara John, who for 22 years was commissioner for foreigners' affairs for the city-state of Berlin was given the job. She heads the Association of Social Movements in Berlin. In 2007, John was elected head of the federal government's antidiscrimination advisory board. She’s great person. Exactly the right one to shoulder this responsibility. DW interviewed her. The transcript follows. “Deutsche Welle: you are urging the creation of a foundation to commemorate the murders of the rightwing extremist NSU group. What is behind this appeal? Barbara John: The basic idea is that the relatives can get active. The process of coming to terms with the worst series of murders in post-war Germany since those of the leftwing extremist RAF should not come to an end the moment the parliamentary inquiry finishes its work and the memorial plaques have all been put up. The foundation should mainly work to get security officials - the police and possibly justice authorities - to deal with victims better. One could get the families concerned involved, with all their experience. It is also very important to ensure that the documents - the investigation records, the documents from the future court case and the minutes of the parliamentary inquiry - are not again dispersed all over the place. Much is to be learned from these documents, and that is only possible if they are kept in one place - that means there should be a documentation center. How would you finance the project? There are no funds yet. It would be groundbreaking if civil society would make it possible. If every citizen who earns money were to donate 50 cents just once, such a foundation could become reality. Isn't that first and foremost a task for politics or the government? It would certainly be easier, but a civil society foundation, where the citizens themselves say "we want things to change," would be an important stimulus for society. It would express the commitment of the citizens that we want to push back rightwing radical thought and action. Speaking about money: you campaigned for payments to the murder victims' families are you and the families satisfied?
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That varies. There is one family that will not accept a cent. The Yozgat family from Kassel wanted a permanent memorial for their son Halit. They wanted the street where
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the 21-year-old was born and murdered renamed after him. Currently, there's a square which bears his name. Apart from that, the family refuses any kind of compensation. Of course, no amount of material compensation can compensate for the death of a family member. But it is also about compensation for expenses. Every close relative has received 10,000 euros ($13,383.) As far as I am concerned, this is a meager sum. Just think of the victims on the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground in Italy. Everyone on that ship got more money than the NSU murder victims' families. The German Chancellor wants to meet the relatives once again. How significant is that? It is exceedingly important to be noticed and to continue to remind the public that these inconceivable events really happened. What we know so far about the security authorities' botched investigations will play a great role in the meeting with the chancellor. I think it is very important for the chancellor to hear first-hand what effect that had on the families and how they think one might create a better atmosphere in general between natives and immigrants. What must change, what lessons must Germany learn from the neo-Nazi killing spree? Two things - when I was commissioner of foreigners' affairs, this was always the most important issue, too: there should never be mixed political messages. On one hand, there are demands for immigration and better integration, but at the same time, foreigners across the board are held responsible for things that go wrong. Demonizing or denying the existence of a multifaceted, multicultural society also sends the wrong signals: "They are just a nuisance here." That must stop. The second point concerns us all: how often do you hear a derogatory, negative remark about immigrants in your own circles. People accept it or ignore it. Instead, you should broach the subject, and try to find out why people think that way. It is important not to give any space to such opinions which want to exclude some people. Rightwing radicals can only spread into the spaces we leave for them. Like I said – the right person for the job.

THE OBERMAYER AWARDS In the year 2000 Arthur Obermayer of Boston instituted an important set of prizes, the Obermayer German-Jewish History Awards which are given annually to individuals who have made outstanding voluntary contributions toward preserving and recording the Jewish history, heritage, culture and/or remnants of local German communities. The award announcement notes, “In recent decades, many individuals in Germany have tried to study, interpret, and reconstruct information about the Jewish life that flourished in Germany for centuries in communities large and small, and to confront its destruction. In many cases, these individuals have, without thought of reward, helped raise awareness about a once-vibrant culture, in memorial to those who perished in the
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Holocaust, in recognition of the profound contribution of Jewish culture and individuals to Germany and in hopes of rebuilding destroyed connections. These volunteers have devoted countless hours to such projects, but until now few have been recognized or honored for their efforts. The German Jewish Community History Council believes it is particularly meaningful for Jews the world over to recognize and encourage such work through this award, and to bring international attention to these activities”. Arthur, an old friend, wrote to me, “Because so many American Jews have been beneficiaries of the work of these dedicated Germans, it is important that your audience has an opportunity to submit nominations for this significant award. For more information, please visit http://www.obermayer.us/award. So, if you know of a possible nominee, please contact Arthur. A nominating form can be obtained by clicking on the link above. DEATH OF A PARTY Those of you who have been reading DuBow Digest know that last year I extensively covered the rise of a new political party in Germany – The Pirate Party. Any political organization with such a name was, of course, destined to get publicity. When it somehow was not able to come together to post any kind of a political platform it looked as if it might come to a quick end. It did talk about being the party of the Internet but no one could figure out what that meant. Surprisingly it did not quickly self-destruct. With deep concern about the established parties, some of the electorate turned to the Pirates and elected some of them to state parliaments. They got 15 seats in Berlin, 4 in Saarland, 20 in North Rhine Westphalia and 8.2% of the vote in Schleswig-Holstein though it was hard to figure out what they stood for. However, with the national election coming up in September the Pirates seem to be committing political suicide and look as if they’re finished as any kind of even a protest organization. Spiegel On-Line recently reported, “The Pirate Party finds itself falling apart. With German federal elections seven months away, a minor miracle would have to occur for the Pirates to clear the 5 percent hurdle that allows a party to hold seats in the Bundestag, the country's parliament. The Pirate Party has been too busy tearing itself apart, with members fighting leaders, who are bickering among themselves and antagonizing the members too. In just the last two days, party leaders for the states of Baden-Württemberg and Brandenburg have stepped down, citing the negative climate.
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"The atmosphere is so poisonous, there's hardly any constructive work taking place anymore," says Udo Vetter, one of the party's prominent candidates in the state of North
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Rhine-Westphalia. Marina Weisband, one of the Pirates' most iconic figures, took refuge in gallows humor last week when she tweeted, "We're the party of liquid democrazy." It may sound funny, but it's not a joke. One of the reasons why I’ve had more than a passing interest in the Pirate Party is the fact that its political director, Marina Weisband, is Jewish. I pointed out last year that my close friend, Howie Weisband who lives in Israel, and is a longtime Pittsburgh Pirate fan, might be related to Marina. They may or not be kin but it seems that their organizations are suffering the same fate. Again Spiegel On-Line, “Marina Weisband, too, has seen how her party treats people who are well-liked by the general public. The party's former political director, who stepped down in January citing health issues, briefly considered returning to politics and running for a seat in the upcoming parliamentary election. But when SPIEGEL published an article detailing her intentions, there was a hail of criticism from party members who said the politician was arrogant and taking herself too seriously. Soon after, Weisband announced she would not be running for parliament this year. These days, Weisband looks exhausted, in part from all the party infighting. She has written a book scheduled for publication in March, and at the moment will comment publicly only on that, not the Pirates. It seems she's afraid to be told once again that she's making too much of herself. But Weisband's blog reveals how she sees the Pirate Party these days. The party promised to reform democracy, she writes, wanting to be a force in which an idea's merit was the only thing that mattered, and anyone could take part. But it failed to make good on that promise. "We're too cowardly," Weisband writes. "We lied." If you’d like to read the whole Spiegel On-Line story click here. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-pirate-party-sinks-amid-chaos-andbickering-a-884533.html

GERMAN POLITICAL SCANDAL & ACADEMIC TITLES The German government has recently had to shoulder a major scandal when (DW) “Former Education Minister Annette Schavan has suffered the consequences of the plagiarism scandal surrounding her doctorate. Four days after Heinrich Heine University revoked her title, Schavan resigned from her post. “…it was Internet users rather than university officials who got the ball rolling on the plagiarism affair. People trying to spot instances of plagiarism published questionable passages from prominent figures' dissertations online. The passages in question generally involved unattributed quotations that could be found in other works. Although mild cases might be chalked up to citation errors, people were looking for evidence that theft of intellectual property had occurred. The most well-known case to date involved former Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who stepped down in March 2011
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after reports surfaced that parts of his dissertation were taken from sources he had not appropriately credited. A little plagiarism in a 30 year old Ph.D. thesis, it seems to me, would not be such a big deal in the U.S. A public apology or some half-truth explanation would probably be accepted by the public and the matter would be put to rest. However, the culture in Germany, especially when it comes to academic titles, takes cheating to obtain them very seriously. How come? Anna Sauerbrey, an editor at the Berlin daily Der Tagesspeigel wrote in The New York Times, “…the scandal has opened up a conversation about Germany‟s hunger for scandal and moral self-flagellation wherever it is found, however minor — a condition that has fed a deep, slow-burning crisis in our political culture. Germany is remarkably free of serious cases of political misbehavior. Strangely, the lack of scandal and the hunger for it wherever it arises [by the media], has fed another tendency in the German psyche: a historically induced mistrust of the political system. Though Germany has been a nation of goody-two-shoes for decades, many Germans remain convinced that there is evil lurking in each of us, especially our political elite. Isn‟t that the one thing history has taught us, that every political system is fallible, that there can never be enough control over the political leaders? When we don‟t find that evil, we look deeper, until we find something, anything, to prove us right. Instead of taking pride in our comparatively low level of corruption and our fairly high level of prosperity, German voters and the news media are busy scolding their leaders and constantly feeling mistreated. All of this would be funny if it didn‟t have a dire consequence. Fewer and fewer of the young and talented are choosing politics as their field of work. Who wants to work in a supposedly wicked profession, where everyone is watching you? The political parties, which function as the magnet and training ground for future bureaucrats and political leaders, are having trouble attracting enough people to work in the federal government, not to mention the states. True, there are other factors: the money is definitely elsewhere; politics in Germany is not as lucrative as it is in America. But the idealism that drives young politicians everywhere is gone, too. In the reactions to Annette Schavan‟s resignation, however, there has been a new tone. Berlin, capital of vain negativity and furious criticism, seems to be on the brink of selfreflection. People are starting to ask whether we should be so cruel toward leaders who make such minor mistakes, just to satisfy our own righteousness. Seeing a decent, upstanding minister of education leaving the stage for minor reasons could be a turning point in our political culture.”

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Obviously, the article doesn’t have anything to do with German – Jewish relations. However, I think it is important for those who read this newsletter to understand Germany, its morals and its political climate. When one considers the recent Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Jack Abramoff scandals here in the U.S. the differences between the morals and penalties here in the U.S. and in Germany are absolutely stark.

**************************************************************************************************** See you again in early April. DuBow Digest is written and published by Eugene DuBow who can be contacted by clicking here Both the American and Germany editions are posted at www.dubowdigest.typepad.com Click here to connect BTW – all editions are posted at www.dubowdigest.typepad.com

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