Only a few days before the Palestinian commemoration of the 1948 Nakba, in which the indigenous people of Palestine were massacred, displaced and ethnically cleansed to pave the way for the European Zionist colonial project, Germany issued a statement declaring its intention to oppose “any unfair treatment” allegedly exhibited at the UN towards Israel. “Germany’s historic responsibility for the Jewish and democratic State of Israel and its security is part of our raison d’être,” the German government declared. “Germany will always work, including in the UN, to ensure that Israel’s right to exist is never called into question.”
Germany deliberately chose to issue its statement on the 70th anniversary of Israel becoming a full UN member state. On this day, despite purportedly championing human rights, the UN abdicated its responsibilities in order to embrace a new colonial power and celebrate its own role in the process of normalising colonialism. The UN has also conveniently and consistently overlooked the fact that Israel’s membership of the organisation was conditional upon it allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their land.
At the UN, Israel faces no threats whatsoever. Its recent bombing of Gaza and official statements from the international community testify to this fact. Yet Germany has jumped on the bandwagon, claiming that Israel is treated unfairly in the international arena and citing its allegiance to the settler-colonial state as a “historic responsibility”. Does Germany also extend the same sentiment and diplomatic commitment to other minorities murdered during the Holocaust?
Israel was a planned political project mooted in the late nineteenth century, as historical documents and research show very clearly. The Holocaust facilitated its implementation but did not create the demand for a “Jewish State”. However, historic responsibility and Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid state are incompatible. Furthermore, such responsibility which Germany has towards all of the minorities murdered in the Nazi era does not cancel out the collective historic responsibility towards Palestinians, from which the entire world has absconded.
Meanwhile, Germany has also attributed its stance to the “firm belief that the UN lies at the heart of the multilateral, rules-based order” for achieving peace and security. It is a fact that the UN has excelled in neither, not least in terms of the impunity with which Israel is allowed to act. The German government, therefore, is merely affirming its commitment to the propagation of ongoing human rights violations which, of course, suits Israel’s interests.
At a time when the least that the international community can do is shift its attention to the Nakba commemoration, Germany is determined to score diplomatic points for Israel which have more to do with the ongoing colonisation of Palestine than Nazi horrors during the Second World War.
“Israeli interests” constitute nothing more than wanting an international commitment against the decolonisation of Palestine. In its statement, Germany is refusing the possibility of questioning Israel’s right to exist, in line with Israel’s purported security and “self-defence” narrative and justification for its violence against Palestinians.
Why not turn the narrative around? Surely, just as Israel demands unconditional support for its existence, Palestinians have a greater claim and legitimacy in asking why the people and their land were ethnically cleansed. If justice truly existed, the UN — and Germany — would not hesitate to call Israel’s creation and existence in such a manner into question. As things stand, however, the UN continues to be a mouthpiece for Israel and its allies, while Palestinians are butchered by the colonial entity that does not hesitate to profit from terms such as “historic responsibility”.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.