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  • A place of dignity for refugees in Berlin

    An outpouring of hospitality is on full display at a shelter in the German capital, where volunteers insist on treating refugees as people, not just victims. But as the gifts pour in, how deep is the well of kindness — and what is brewing under the surface? BERLIN — A few young teenage Arab boys line up loosely, side by side, in a concrete courtyard. They are concentrating hard on four big guys dressed in black, who are busting hip-hop moves to music blaring from an amplifier. The boys bounce a little with the beat, then follow after the big…

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  • Occupation increasingly a touchstone for Israeli-German relations

    After 50 years of diplomatic relations, the Israeli-German partnership is strained by mounting German dismay over Israel’s settlement policy and reinvigorated anti-Semitism in Germany. By Angela Gruber Israel and Germany are marking 50 years of diplomatic relations this week. While most people probably aren’t reeling with excitement in anticipation of the countless festivities (especially on the German side) to mark the occasion, the anniversary does serve as a good occasion to take stock of the relationship between these two countries. [tmwinpost] Can Israeli-German relations ever be normal? Should they, after the Holocaust? Is Israel more entitled to German support than…

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  • PHOTOS: Anti-Zionists join rally against anti-Semitism in Berlin

    Our joint Jewish-Palestinian-German protest confused participants at the rally against anti-Semitism, and definitely confused the German police. We wanted to chip away at the automatic linkage between Jews and the State of Israel. Text by Inna Michaeli Photos by Oren Ziv/ BERLIN -- By the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Sunday, some 3,000 people rallied against anti-Semitism, at the initiative of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. As promised, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech. Many in the crowd were touched by her declaration of historical responsibility for the crimes of the past, and for ensuring that Jews are…

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  • Beyond the market and the state: Horizons for a new kind of public housing

    The choice between entrusting the right of people to a house either to the hands of a violent government or to capitalists is futile and dispiriting. But is it possible to free ourselves of this stranglehold? A conversation with Sebastian Schipper about a new possibility for public housing (and what it is like to pay rent to yourself). Tomer Gardi and Sebastian Schipper (translated from Hebrew by Orna Meir-Stacey) The following interview stems from a difficulty that I have been feeling for a while in the struggle for public housing. Put simply: on the one hand, through the struggle we…

  • Why Germany abstained from the UN vote on Palestine

    After a diplomatic disaster following the 2011 Security Council vote on Libya, and with popular opinion in Germany against him, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle realized he could not isolate Germany again. By Anselm Kiersch "... and, what a surprise, Germany!" So said Moussa Ibrahim, Muammar Gaddafis spokesman, when he listed the countries that had abstained from the vote for Resolution 1973, which legitimized the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya. Even South Africa voted for the resolution, though it bitterly regretted doing so when it saw how the operation was unfolding. In abstaining, however, Germany broke out of the Western alliance and appeared…

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  • Outlawing circumcision: Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic

    A German court ruling against circumcision has sparked controversy and emotion across religious and secular lines. The debate has reached +972: Larry Derfner views the decision as a crucial message against a practice he rejects, and Noam Sheizaf considers circumcision's normative power in conformist Israeli society. The following text presents a third perspective, which sees grave danger in state intervention in religious rituals.  By Alex Stein Attempts to ban circumcision are anti-Semitic and Islamaphobic, even if their primary motivation is not always anti-Semitism or Islamaphobia. Or, to put it another way, if outlawing core Jewish/Muslim practices is not anti-Semitic, then the…

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  • Stand up for your son: Say 'no' to ritual circumcision

    Even if criminalization is impractical, this week's German court ruling against circumcision on children, except for medical purposes, sent a much-needed message.  I've been an atheist since adolescence, but being a Jew has always been a vital element of my identity, something I can't imagine not being, and for this reason, above all others, I knew as a matter of course that I would have my two sons circumcized. It was only after going through it, with the blood and the boys' wailing and our anguish and worry - with the realization that this mohel was actually taking a knife to the foreskins of our eight-day-old sons' penises -…

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  • Günter Grass, persona non grata in Israel

    Now Interior Minister Eli Yishai has declared Grass to be persona non grata while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused the German author of being "willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time, just to sell a few more books or gain recognition.” Yishai and Lieberman are the two most outspoken racists in the Israeli government, so if one of the ways to know a person is by his enemies, I'd say Grass is looking pretty good. And in a way, he's getting off easy; when ex-Mossad boss Meir Dagan started criticizing Netanyahu and Barak's plan to bomb Iran, his diplomatic passport was revoked and some cabinet…

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  • Naomi Chazan: An undemocratic Israel will not last a minute

    In a conference in Berlin on Israeli-German relations, Israeli speakers ask Germany to become the 'true' friend that Israel needs. (Berlin, GERMANY) - “No self respecting democracy in the world can accept the current wave of anti-democratic legislation in Israel,” said  New Israel Fund President Naomi Chazan in Berlin this weekend. Chazan, a former Meretz MK, spoke at a conference held by the Heinrich Böll Foundation titled “Estranged Friends? Israeli and German perceptions of state, nation, force - a comparison.” (Disclaimer: The writer was a guest of Heinrich Böll Foundation. +972 Magazine received a grant from Heinrich Böll Foundation, and is due to…

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  • Alone in Berlin: Unsuccessfully trying to forget

    (BERLIN, Germany) - I always knew that Germans did stuff by the book, but I didn’t think I was going to get a taste of it so soon, right after taking my first steps on German soil coming off my El Al flight today. We were all herded onto a bus at the bottom of the stairs and waited about 10 minutes or more until it filled up. We then proceeded to drive across the street, a distance of about 10 meters (and I’m being generous), and the doors of the bus opened. Nobody understood what was going on for…

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