Last Thursday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a friendly gesture to Germany. Speaking on state television, Ahmadinejad said the Germans should not feel guilty because, "a certain number of Jews were killed during World War II." He bemoaned that "today an intelligent people is still a hostage of World War II," arguing that Germany "still doesn't have the right to have independent policies or proper defenses."
It is possible that Ahmadinejad's statement absolving Germany of guilt for its liquidation of European Jewry in the Holocaust is part of a general charm offensive on his part towards Germany. Two weeks ago, Germany's Deputy Minister of the Interior August Hanning returned from discussions in Teheran with the announcement that ahead of the World Cup soccer championship next month, Iran will release a German citizen it has held since he inadvertently entered Iranian territorial waters last year.
Perhaps in exchange for Iran's presidential pardon for the Holocaust and the release of his German hostage, Germany has agreed to host Ahmadinejad in Germany if he decides to attend the Iranian national team's opening game against Mexico in Nuremberg. Germany has also agreed to coordinate its actions to secure the games with the Iranian government. As Hanning told Tagesspiegel newspaper last month, "When the Iranians fear a threat, they will tell us their reasons. Then our evaluation will flow back to Teheran."
Iranian regime opponents in Germany are concerned that in negotiating this agreement, the Iranian regime is working to delegitimize its exile opponents by spreading misinformation about them. Former Iranian soccer players, who represented Iran in the 1978 World Cup had planned to protest Iran's inclusion in the games. Speaking to the Associated Press, former soccer player Hassan Nayeb-Agha said, "Don't let the Iranian regime misuse the World Cup [to gain international legitimacy] in the same way that Hitler did with the Olympic Games in 1936."
While Germany's Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said last month that Ahmadinejad would be welcome to come to Germany to watch his team's matches, he has also made clear that – except from the man who is working to make Hitler's dream of a world without Jews or America come true, his entourage and press corps – Germany will take a strong stand against anyone who endangers the order and honor of the games.
To this end, Germany has suspended the Treaty of Schengen that abolishes border obstacles for EU citizens traveling among EU member states in order to prevent fanatical soccer fans from Britain, Poland and Holland from entering Germany for the games.
In addition, while as Schaeuble put it, Ahmadinejad can "naturally… come to the matches," Ahmadinejad's German supporters will be prevented from demonstrating their support for him. Indeed, in spite of Germany's problems with its large and increasingly radical Muslim minority, Iran's radical Muslim leader enjoys a considerable support base among white Germans. Germany's fascist NPD party enthusiastically supports Ahmadinejad and the Teheran regime for their Holocaust denial and their calls for Israel's destruction. Last month NPD's office in Leipzig announced its members' intention to rally in support of Iran during Iran's game against Angola scheduled to take place in Leipzig on June 21. But against these German neo-Nazis, the German government will show no tolerance. Shaeble himself angrily announced, "Germany will fight with might and main against rightist extremist ambitions before, during and after the World Cup!"
GERMANY'S refusal to isolate Ahmadinejad goes hand in hand with its appeasement of Iran's nuclear ambitions. Last Thursday Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier restated his country's position that the US should open direct negotiations with Teheran about those ambitions. His statement came two days after Iran's official news agency reported that in a meeting with Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran "is prepared to transfer the [nuclear] experience, knowledge and technology of its scientists."
That is, Germany again tried to get Washington to commit itself to ruling out taking military action against Iran's nuclear installations two days after Iran announced its intention not only to develop nuclear weapons, but to share those weapons with others.
From a strictly legal perspective, Ahmadinejad should be arrested when he sets foot on German soil. As Israeli attorney Ervan Shahar noted in his petition to Germany's federal prosecution this past February, Ahmadinejad commits a felony under German law every time that he denies the Holocaust. Shahar requested that the prosecutors enforce German law and indict Ahmadinejad in abstentia. Doing so would force Germany to issue an international arrest warrant against the Iranian leader and so make him liable for arrest any time he stepped foot on European soil.
Unfortunately, as Germany has shown both by not acting on Shahar's request, and by refusing to bar Ahmadinejad entry to Germany next month, Berlin is unwilling to levy any sanction against Iran for its pursuit of nuclear weapons which, as Ahmadinejad has repeatedly made clear, it seeks in order to annihilate Israel – that is, to finish the job that Hitler started.
Germany's refusal to place any sanction on Iran is disturbing, because as German political scientist Matthias Kuntzel argued in the Transatlantic Intelligencer last December, "If there is a western nation today that has the means to confront [Iran's nuclear weapons program] with effective sanctions, it is Germany."
Kuntzel notes, "Germany is today by far the most important supplier of goods to Iran and its exports are increasing at a steady 20 percent per year. In 2004, German exports to Iran were worth some €3.6 billion. At the same time, Germany is the most important purchaser of Iranian goods apart from oil and Iran's most important creditor."
GERMANY'S behavior toward Iran is a clear sign that for all its Holocaust memorializing, for all its anti-Nazi legislation, and for all its protestations of friendship with Israel and the Jewish people, Germany has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust.
The main lesson of the Holocaust is not that war is bad and must therefore be avoided at all costs. The main lesson of the Holocaust is that evil is bad and must be fought with every effective means. By trading with Iran and protecting Iran from those who point out its obvious dangers not only to Israel but to the entire world, Germany is protecting evil and thus advancing its cause.
The Germans are acting in a morally blind and thus immoral fashion when they apply the lessons to the Holocaust only against neo-Nazis. In pretending that the only way that the Holocaust can repeat itself is for Adolf Hitler, Jr. to become Chancellor of Germany, the Germans give themselves license to ignore Hitler's actual reincarnations.
In mindlessly – yet patronizingly – squawking that all violence is bad and all peace is good, the Germans allow themselves the odious privilege of impugning the honor, nobility and morality of Israelis and Americans who fight Islamofascists by pretending there is no moral distinction between our soldiers and Islamofascist fighters who incinerate innocent people. They pretend it is possible to appease a murderer like Ahmadinejad, just as 70 years ago, at the 1936 Olympics others maintained that Hitler was someone who could be trusted to keep his word.
TODAY, ON Remembrance Day for Fallen Israeli Soldiers, we bow our heads in gratitude as we commemorate the thousands of Israeli soldiers who have died protecting th
e people of Israel. As we reflect on their service and sacrifice for our freedom and safety, we need look no farther than Germany – to the cowardly and treacherous behavior of our former oppressors, who claim today to have learned the lessons of their evil while they shield new evil – to know how precious and sacred are the memories of our fallen warriors and how crucial the strength of our people, our state, our society, and our army are today, to ensure that our survival will never again be dependent on the goodness of others.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.