In June 2015 a spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in Berlin told Israeli journalists it was in the country’s interest to maintain German guilt about the Holocaust, and that it isn’t seeking full normalization of relations between the governments.
This is largely an untold story. One Israeli activist told me that Germans are extremely squeamish about saying the obvious: Israel is a settler colonial state.The reason is obvious: holocaust guilt, the same dynamic Angela Merkel exhibits in her generous resettlement of refugees in Germany. While difficult o codify,it is a factor in Germany.
Embassy spokeswoman Adi Farjon made the comments in a closed briefing session with journalists at the embassy.
“We were all in shock,” said a female journalist present at the briefing. “The spokeswoman clearly said it was an Israeli interest to maintain German guilt feelings. She even said that without them, we’d be just another country as far as they’re concerned.”
Others present at the event confirmed the journalist’s account.
Some added that the Israeli ambassador himself, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, was present for some of the briefing, as were other embassy workers who don’t speak Hebrew. Another journalist commented, “It was so awkward. We couldn’t believe our ears. We’re sitting there eating peanuts, and behind the spokeswoman there are two German women sitting there who don’t understand a word of Hebrew – and the embassy staff is telling us they’re working to preserve the German guilt feelings and that Israel has no interest in normalization of relations between the two countries.”
Required reading: The Holocaust is Over, Time to Rise from the Ashes by former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg