GERMANY EDITION AUGUST 9, 2009 Dear Friends: As promised, this is the one and only August edition.

The next issue will come to you in early September. I am going to try to make reading The DuBow Digest a little easier. We’ll try to make it briefer and, with this issue, introduce a short explanation for each article. IN THIS ISSUE AMERICAN JEWS AND THE SETTLEMENTS – Where do American Jews stand on the issue of “settlements” in the West Bank? There seems to be differences between Orthodox and non-Orthodox views. CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS -- If there are questions in the minds of some American Jews about the “settlements” there is one group that doesn’t have any qualms – and they’re not Jewish. RABBIS IN HANDCUFFS - Several rabbis were arrested as part of a public corruption and international money-laundering investigation in New Jersey. Will a wave of anti-Semitism follow? ISRAEL IN NATO? – A noted Israeli professor and former Government Minister thinks it would be a good idea. It’s not on the American Jewish agenda as yet. Maybe it should be. THE NEW AMERICAN AMBASSADOR – Philip D. Murphy appeared before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on July 28th, the first step toward Senate confirmation. What did he have to say? THE LANGER BUNDESVERDIENSTKREUZ FIASCO – A medal is awarded to a former Communist who is an outspoken critic of Israel. How was the news received in the American Jewish community? ****************************************************************************************** AMERICAN JEWS AND THE SETTLEMENTS My AJC colleague Steve Bayme, writing in the Jewish Week, is… “anguished over the future of religious Zionism, in recent decades closely identified with religious messianism and the settlers’ movement. Believing the return of territories to be forbidden, many religious Zionists oppose the very prospect of negotiations. The Gaza withdrawal validates for them the belief that territorial compromise constitutes theological sin and a security nightmare. 1

In this context, settlements pose an educational challenge as to whether religious Zionism can reclaim a vision of social justice in a democratic Jewish state. Or was the late Minister of Education Zevulun Hammer, who once championed Gush Emunim, correct in later years when he questioned whether religious settlers had placed the sanctity of land over the sanctity of human life. American Jewry appears divided over these questions. Orthodox Jews, often citing friends and family members among the settlers, generally support the settlers’ movement. Moreover, feelings of betrayal over Arafat’s rejection of Barak’s Camp David proposals lead many to believe that a two-state solution is an illusion in any case. Last, they note correctly that the champions of Gush Emunim in its formative years were secular Israeli political leaders — as are many of today’s settlers — suggesting that theology was less a factor in constructing settlements than security considerations... “By contrast, non-Orthodox Jewish opinion generally favors a two-state solution and often perceives the settlements as an obstacle to that vision. Permanent retention of the West Bank represents a demographic threat to Israel’s future Jewish majority. Thus, for example, the Reform movement has consistently opposed further West Bank settlement activity as an obstacle to peace.” Steve covers the arguments on both sides in his piece and concludes, “Whatever our disagreements over the wisdom of Israeli settlement policy, let us recall that American Jewry’s fundamental role has been to strengthen ties between Washington and Jerusalem. The question of settlements challenges those ties but by no means fatally.” Unhappily, as Steve points out, the settlements issue is a major dividing line in American Jewish life which plays into the hands of those who are not pro-Israel. What could be better for them than having the Jews fighting among themselves? Even more unhappily, I do not see a quick solution. Sad for us and for Israel! CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS JTA reports, “While criticism of President Obama's demand for an Israeli settlement freeze has been relatively muted among U.S. Jewish organizations, (recently) the Christians United for Israel conference (held in Washington) provided the opportunity for some prominent Jews and Christians to level some public complaints. (Rev. James) Hagee and his organization have been a source of much debate in recent years. AIPAC and some other Jewish organizations have embraced his efforts to create an Evangelical Christian pro-Israel lobby. But some critics complain that CUFI supporters hold ultra-conservative views on abortion, gay rights and church-state separation, and fear the organization could end up working to oppose Israeli peace moves. (CUFI leaders insist they would never work against the decisions of the elected government.) 2

The American Jewish community is caught on the horns of a dilemma when it comes to Rev. Hagee, CUFI and the Christian Zionists. Naturally, almost all American Jews welcome non-Jewish support for Israel but are very suspicious of Evangelicals who they feel have a hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) agenda of wanting to eventually convert all Jews to Christianity. Obviously, that makes them feel very uncomfortable especially, as mentioned above, since most Evangelicals do not share the liberal view held by most (but not all) American Jews on domestic American issues. Should they accept the sort of vigorous Israel support of Hagee and put off thinking about his possible ulterior motives or should they welcome him with open arms because Israel needs all the political help it can get? Some American Jewish organizations including the prestigious Presidents Conference have welcomed CUFI’s support. The Israel government does, as well. I don’t see (or hear) any of the major groups rejecting it even though some have been critical of Hagee for his right wing positions and some rather intemperate statements he has made. Most have just not said anything positive or critical and passively accepted the CUFI support pointing out that many (in fact, most) nonJewish Americans have positive views about Israel and let it go at that. To read more: http://jta.org/news/article/2009/07/23/1006730/cufi-conferencebrings-criticism-of-obama-administration RABBIS IN HANDCUFFS JTA recently reported that, “Several rabbis were arrested as part of a public corruption and international money-laundering investigation in New Jersey. According to reports, among the 44 people arrested Thursday morning by the FBI along with the rabbis were the mayors of three New Jersey towns, a deputy mayor and a state assemblyman. The rabbis arrested were religious leaders from Syrian Jewish neighborhoods in Deal and Elberon, N.J., as well as Brooklyn, N.Y. The Asbury Park Press reported that the investigation involved the Deal Yeshiva, a Sephardic institution that has a boys' division in Ocean Township and a girls' school in West Long Branch.” In years gone by, the entire American Jewish community would be hunkering down expecting the worst – an outburst of anti-Semitism to follow. No longer! While it’s not pleasant to see the media full of Orthodox rabbis in handcuffs, I think, almost to a person, most of us feel that if proven guilty the perpetrators should pay the price – fertig! It’s a tribute to the U.S. society and Jews’ place in it that “sure footedness” reigns and that criminal behavior, even carried out by those wearing skullcaps and prayer shawls, should be treated with the full force of the law. Incidentally, there were no accusations of group guilt and we’re not expecting any. It would be very un-American and, besides (and I hate to say it but its true), white collar crime such as money laundering is as American as apple pie. ISRAEL IN NATO? 3

Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, a professor of law at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a former minister of education and Knesset member, as well as the recipient of the 2006 Israel Prize in Law recently wrote a piece in the Jerusalem Post suggesting that Israel seek membership in NATO. It’s not a totally new idea and my guess is that most American Jews would certainly welcome such a move. I wonder whether Germany and the other European nations would agree. Prof. Rubinstein makes the following argument: • Such membership may decrease the willingness of potentially nuclear Arab and Muslim states to "wipe Israel off the map." Article 5 of NATO's founding Washington Treaty states that "an armed attack against one or more of them [member states] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." • As it is reasonable to assume that any claim to membership will not be considered without a parallel admission of an Arab state - Jordan? Morocco? Lebanon? Palestine? - such joint membership may lead to reduced tension between the two Middle Eastern member states, as indeed was the case between Turkey and Greece who were on the brink of war at one time. • NATO membership is conducive to enhancing Israel's integration into the European community and will have a long-range beneficial effect on US-Israel relations. • Last, but not least, such membership will decrease the psychological stress of being an isolated island in a sea of rejection and enmity. Obviously, Prof. Rubinstein’s suggestion is of the long range variety. I doubt if the Israelis are filling out membership applications or actively pushing the idea with the Obama people. However, Middle East peace to become a reality will require imaginative and innovative thinking. And, who knows? Maybe it’s not so long range after all. THE NEW AMERICAN AMBASSADOR The newly appointed American Ambassador to Germany, Philip D. Murphy, testified before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on July 28th. The appointment, certain to be approved by the Committee, must go to the full Senate for approval. Approval is expected (and may have already happened by the time you read this) and Amb. Murphy should be in Berlin (hopefully) in September. Amb. Murphy lived in Frankfurt for four years as the head of Goldman Sachs office there and so he is no stranger to Germany. He made a nice short statement to the Committee which you can read in full. http://foreign.senate.gov/testimony/2009/MurphyTestimony090728p.pdf 4

Good luck Mr. Ambassador! THE LANGER BUNDESVERDIENSTKREUZ FIASCO I try to keep the Germany Edition of DuBow Digest focused on happenings in the American Jewish community. However, the recent awarding of the Bundsverdienstkreuz to Felica Langer, a vociferous critic of Israel who lives in Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, initiated a great deal of protest here in the U.S. (and in Germany) so it deserves mention. What follows below is essentially what I wrote in the American Edition of DD. Langer, 79, who left Israel in 1990, frequently compares Israel with apartheid in South Africa, and praised the speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Durban II UN conference on racism in Geneva in April. When asked about the award and the parallels she has drawn between Israel and South African apartheid, she told The Jerusalem Post that the Federal Cross of Merit was a "recognition of my work," and "what Israel is practicing in the occupied territories is apartheid." Asked about her interview with the Muslim Markt Web site, in which she argued that Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as well as other leading Israeli politicians and generals should be convicted of war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Langer told the Post that she considered Israeli officials "war criminals" and stood by her comments. She also said the "official translation" of Iran leader Ahmadinejad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map" did not contain a statement advocating the obliteration of Israel. I don’t think I have to go into detail about the storm of protest that this ill thought through award kicked off. There was a movement (which didn’t go very far) for all holders of the medal to return them to President Koehler. However, there were lots of messages sent and press releases skewering the President for such a thoughtless act. The problem, of course, is that it was not thoughtless. The vetting process for the Bundesverdienstkreuz normally takes a year – sometimes two. In this case the recommendation came from the government leadership in the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg. When questioned, they replied, “"The honor bestowed on Felicia Langer recognizes her humanitarian service, independent of political, ideological or religious motivation. Most important is her dedication to people in need, regardless of nationality or religion, given her own background as massively affected by the Holocaust. The decision to present the Order of Merit was made on the recommendation of the Lord Mayor of Tübingen, where Ms. Langer lives, with confirmation from all the usual departments involved in bestowing such honors, including the Foreign Ministry. The honor will be conferred by President Köhler and presented by Undersecretary [Hubert] Wicker." The American Jewish Committee not only issued a press release but David Harris, AJC’s Executive Director, a medal recipient himself, sent a letter of protest to Pres. Koehler on his own behalf and that of the three other staff members (including yours truly) who also hold the award. As of this writing no answer has been received even though one has been promised. 5

So how did it happen? I wrote the following to one of my informants who I consider very well versed in how the German government works, “The vetting process for a BVK takes at least a year and sometimes two. It is very deep and extensive. So, I cannot believe that some underling "slipped up". Rather, I think someone fairly highly placed took the word of some high status State politician and decided that being on the Palestinian side was O.K. After all, Langer is Jewish and an Israeli so how vocal could the Jewish community be?” My informant replied, “You are right about the length of the vetting process, also the importance of a high-ranking politician, in this case Baden Wuerttemberg Minister President Oettinger, who last year shone for showing up at a true Nazi's funeral (Hans Filbinger) and praising him for his post-war work in government. Koehler is not a politically versed president - he is a mixture of naive and a conservative anti-globalization ideologue, as far as I can see thus far. Langer would not have meant anything to him, nor would it have set off alarm bells. The Green Party Tubingen Mayor who proposed Langer obviously did not do so by citing her most outrageous quotes. (In terms of politicians) it is (even) fashionable among many to chastise Israel on human rights issues. So someone high in Koehler’s Office probably did not do his (or her) homework. I fear the proper underlings never got a chance to vet the proposal, which might have been the problem.” We’ll probably never know what really happened. No doubt there will be a well thought through letter from the President and, hopefully, a bit more care in the future regarding who it is Germany decides to honor. See you in September. 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 as well.

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