Germany’s relationship with Israel must not be used for internal political needs. Instead of trying to impose suicidal solutions on Israel, Germany should stop supporting groups that are interested in Israel’s destruction.
There is no doubt that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is committed to the uniqueness of her country’s relationship with Israel, both in words and—more importantly—in actions. Merkel cannot, therefore, afford a situation in which—on her watch, which may come to an end in September’s federal elections—the relations between Israel and Germany will deteriorate to the low they have reached, following pressures from interested parties working to shake off Germany’s responsibility for the Holocaust and its outcomes.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in his typical sophistication, put Merkel in a catch-22 situation. Two weeks before extremely important local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia—the most populous state of Germany, which is home to large Muslim immigrant populations and is considered a traditional social-democratic stronghold—Gabriel created a conflict with Israel, which could only strengthen his Social Democratic Party in the elections and impact the general elections. A victory in North Rhine-Westphalia could start a political snowball that may secure the social-democrats’ victory in the federal elections. Merkel had no choice but to back Gabriel in his dispute with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so as not to harm her party’s chance in the regional elections. (...)
Precisely because of Germany’s huge commitment, it has been under a great amount of pressure from elements in the German establishment, in the German public opinion, in the European Union, and even in the Israeli Left, to enter a conflict with Netanyahu and his government. Merkel should deal with these pressures by demonstrating leadership rather than being dragged. Germany, like the EU, must realize that the Middle East has changed dramatically in the past few years, and that the traditional diplomatic mantras on the “two-state” solution have become irrelevant under the current circumstances. Merkel admitted that herself, while standing next to Netanyahu. Instead of trying to impose suicidal solutions on Israel, Germany should stop supporting groups that are interested in Israel’s destruction. Merkel should stop listening to the bad advice she is receiving from some of her advisors and reconnect to comments she made only a decade ago, before and after her election: “Germany must adopt a policy which, when there is doubt, supports Israel’s stance and does not allow neutrality considerations.”