Germany eyes new deals with Israel’s merchants of genocide

Partners in genocide: Germany’s Olaf Scholz with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. (German government)

Israel’s “Declaration of Independence” – issued 76 years ago this week – invokes the Holocaust in an effort to confer legitimacy on a settler-colonial enterprise.

The industrial slaughter carried out by Germany’s Nazi regime illustrated that there was an urgent need to solve the problem of Jewish “homelessness” by “re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish state,” the document claimed.

The juxtaposition of a recent and extremely painful history with a reference to something from a few millennia earlier was perverse.

Leading figures in the Zionist movement were contending that both the Holocaust and the Bible gave them the right to set up a Jewish state in Palestine, which they were now calling “Eretz-Israel” or “Greater Israel.”

The promise in the declaration about ensuring equality regardless of religion and race did not alter how Israel asserted itself as a Jewish state. Palestinians, most of whom were not Jewish, were by definition accorded an inferior status.

Besides, the equality promise was nullified by facts on the ground.

The declaration was issued at a time when the Nakba was still being carried out. Approximately 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes by Zionist forces between 1947 and 1949.

Weaponizing Jewish trauma

The horrors of the Holocaust did not entitle the Zionist movement to develop an apartheid system in Palestine. Those horrors most certainly do not entitle Israel to perpetrate genocide in Gaza today.

Yet Israel’s leaders have on countless occasions weaponized collective Jewish trauma in order to try and win support for their aggressive behavior.

Germany – the state most directly responsible for the Holocaust – has assisted that weaponization.

David Ben Gurion – Israel’s first prime minister and the man who read out the May 1948 “Declaration of Independence” – secured major support from West Germany.

Although Israel was not founded until after World War II, West Germany paid that state reparations for the Holocaust. The funding proved a vital source of income.

The support had a strong military dimension, which the Israeli elite wanted to keep under wraps. In 1963, some politicians were incensed when they learned that Israeli troops were being trained in Germany.

The military cooperation continues to this day.

Germany has been second only to the US as Israel’s largest external weapons supplier over the past decade.

Nicaragua challenged those arms exports recently when filing a complaint at the International Court of Justice, which alleges that Germany has violated the Genocide Convention. By replying that the number of licenses granted for weapons shipments to Israel have fallen since October, Germany was not telling the full story.

While Germany may be sending Israel fewer arms, it continues to work closely with firms participating in the Gaza genocide.

Germany has recently approved flights by Heron drones in its airspace. The Heron is made by the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)

The same IAI has boasted that it is playing a “pivotal role” in the war against Gaza and has just announced record profits.

IAI, meanwhile, hosted a visit by German defense ministry officials on the same week Israel had its Holocaust Remembrance Day earlier this month – which was “symbolically” important, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Participants in the visit do not seem to have been too distracted by the symbolism. They discussed the possibility that IAI would sell its Arrow 3 weapons to Germany.

Lufthansa, the German airline, is discussing a drone deal with Elbit Systems, another major Israeli weapons firm.

IsraelDefense – a weapons trade website – has reported that a provisional agreement between Lufthansa and Elbit Systems was reached in January, though no formal contract has yet been signed. The deal would involve delivering a batch of Elbit’s Hermes 900 Starliner drones to the German navy.

Elbit groups its drones into what it calls “families.”

A drone belonging to the Hermes “family” was infamously used in killing aid workers with World Central Kitchen last month – an incident that even angered some of Israel’s staunchest allies.

Germany cites its own history when pushed to explain why it aids Israel’s present-day crimes.

There is a grim logic to that argument.

In the 20th century, Germany was so convinced of its own racial purity that it gassed people considered as lesser beings.

In the 21st century, Germany backs Israel when it labels the people of Gaza “human animals” and gets away with subjecting them to terror and starvation.


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