Germany’s historical guilt haunts opponents of Israeli war in Gaza

© Fabrizio Bensch, Reuters

Germany’s responsibility for the Holocaust underlines Berlin’s staunch defence of Israel and its bans on expressions of Palestinian solidarity, which authorities blame for a rise in anti-Semitism. But critics say the state is failing German Jews opposed to Israel’s policies and stifling the freedom of expression of immigrants.

Deborah Feldman knows a thing or two about standing up to authority. Her bestselling autobiography – which was the basis of the Netflix miniseries, “Unorthodox” – attests to that.

In her book, “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots”, the New York-born Feldman recounts how she escaped her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, the Yiddish-speaking Hasidic Satmar sect.

After moving to Berlin, Feldman became a naturalised German citizen in 2017 and is a familiar figure in her adopted country, where her book readings are sold-out events.

In numerous media appearances, she has discussed the curious twist of fate that saw a girl, brought up to be terrified of Germany by Holocaust survivors, embrace a country that is now considered an icon of post-conflict national reckoning.

But on Tuesday, November 1, Feldman took her adopted country to task in an electrifying TV appearance.

The next day, US President Joe Biden was on the tarmac at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, where he walked into Netanyahu’s arms.

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