(September 23, 2021 / JNS) Rafael Korenzecher, publisher of the conservative Germany Jewish monthly, Jüdische Rundschau, does not spare any nicety in his parting words to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose successor will be determined after the German federal elections on Sept. 26.
“It is a real pity you haven’t been dismissed from office much sooner,” he wrote in a statement following his video interview with JNS. “So leave now, and hopefully, never, ever come back. Germany and we the people will not miss you for a second but will, unfortunately, have to suffer the terrible consequences of your horrible and almost endless mislead of this country.”
More particularly, he will never forgive Merkel for her controversial 2015 immigration policy that saw millions of migrants enter Germany from Middle Eastern countries whose cultures are steeped in Islamic Jew-hatred.
“Your suicidal open-border immigration politics and your import of masses of violent Islamic Jew-haters and enemies to our secular democratic systems has destroyed the stability our democracy and the security of the people of this country—mainly, the security of the Jewish community,” he continued.
He believes he needs to compensate for the words that no one will utter from the established Jewish community in Germany—by “established,” he means state-sponsored Jewish leaders. The Central Council of Jewish Communities in Germany (Zentralrat der Juden), the umbrella Jewish representative body, receives a budget of around 13 million euros a year, essentially making it an employee of the state rather than an independent agency. The Zentralrat has coddled Merkel as her party has suffered double-digit losses since 2015.
That’s why he took matters into his own hands and revived Jüdische Rundschau (translated as Jewish Spectator), the name of a Zionist German-Jewish newspaper published in Berlin from 1902 until it was banned by the Third Reich. He believes that the Jewish establishment has betrayed the interests of the people they’re supposed to protect. As a completely independent endeavor, the newspaper (with a print circulation of about 13,000) takes considerable time and effort to operate, but it’s a price he’s glad to pay for speaking what he believes is truth to power.
Korenzecher lost his Polish Jewish family, except for his parents, to Majdanek death camps and has spent his life dedicated to Jewish causes. Today, he says he feels compelled to fight against what he sees as both a German and Jewish betrayal of the Jewish people. He notes missing the “glory days” of Germany in which he grew up and which allowed him to build a family and business in peace and security. He says he receives hundreds of letters from readers who thank him for providing them an uncensored outlet.
He fears for the future of the next Jewish generation. These days, he wouldn’t send children to a public German school. “The much-praised ‘new Jewish life’ takes place to a large extent under police protection,” he says.
He doesn’t foresee any of the mainstream political parties, even the more conservative-leaning Christian Democrats (CDU), truly standing up for Jewish interests despite their lip service to the contrary.
“They all say the same about Jews,” he says. “We value the Jewish presence in today’s Germany very much. Jews are very important to us. ‘Never Again’ is such a wonderful slogan.”
The current CDU-SPD coalition, for example, has been relentless in forging diplomatic and economic ties with the Iranian regime that vows to wipe Israel off the map. If this is the behavior of a so-called “centrist” government, he fears the rise of a coalition with the Greens, which lag behind the Social Democrats (26 percent) and CDU (21 percent) in the polls at 18 percent. (The AfD remains steady at 11 percent.)
‘We have new voices of anti-Semitism’
The one party that seems to have broken this trend is the right-wing Alternative for Deutschland, which is why Korenzecher disagrees with the Jewish establishment’s singular assault on the AfD. Recently, about 60 Jewish organizations (most beneficiaries of state funding), issued a statement asking Jews not to vote for the AfD, calling it an anti-Semitic and racist party. The AfD is the only party to oppose Merkel’s Muslim immigration.
During Merkel’s last term, AfD introduced anti-BDS and anti-Hezbollah legislation in the German parliament and voted in favor of an FDP motion to change Germany’s anti-Israel voting pattern in the United Nations. It was the only party to abstain from a parliamentary motion condemning any Israeli plan to apply sovereignty to Jewish communities Judea and Samaria. In recognition of AfD’s pro-Israel record and also in sympathy with its immigration stance, a Jewish faction was formed in October 2018.
“The AfD clearly has right-wing problems in the expressions of some of their politicians and that cannot be overlooked,” says Korenzencher. “It’s not tailor-made nor our desired child, but this is what we got if we look at the other parties and their behavior towards Israel and their true behavior towards the Jews.”
All German parties, he says, host their share of anti-Semites, particularly on the far left, some of whose members openly support the boycott against Israel. The Jewish establishment, adds Korenzecher, would not dare condemn those other parties lest they lose their funds and kavod, “honor.”
“How can they talk about anti-Semitism without mentioning the most active, most dangerous, most violent part of anti-Semitism today?” he asks. “We can’t go on and talk all the time about the old-school Nazi hate. We have new voices of anti-Semitism which are much stronger than the right.”
Korenzecher views Merkel’s potential successor as head of the CDU, Armin Laschet, as her loyal follower who will protect her legacy, which includes environmental policies the German voter should expect from the Greens, such as the phasing out of coal and nuclear energy. The rise of the SPD and the Greens hints to Korenzecher that German society at large still has little interest in transforming itself into a truly pro-Jewish, pro-Israel country.
“Wisdom of the German voters is infinite,” he says sarcastically.
He particularly laments the waning freedom of expression in Germany. “Cancel culture” and especially the fear of being called a “racist” have created an atmosphere in which people feel scared to reveal their true opinion about Muslim immigration, the ruling coalition and other hot-button issues, such as coronavirus regulations and climate change.
“By supporting the Greens and the left,” he concludes, “you have caused the biggest reactive political right-shift ever in the postwar history of this country. You are the true mother of the AfD, and they cannot thank you enough for their political appearance and their votes.”
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