Germany and Israel: whitewashing and statebuilding

30 September 2020

According to common perception, the Federal Republic of Germany supported the formation of the Israeli state for moral reasons—to atone for its Nazi past—but did not play a significant role in the Arab–Israeli conflict. However, the historical record does not sustain this narrative.

Daniel Marwecki’s pathbreaking analysis deconstructs the myths surrounding the odd alliance between Israel and post-war democratic Germany. Thorough archival research shows how German policymakers often had disingenuous, cynical or even partly antisemitic motivations, seeking to whitewash their Nazi past by supporting the new Israeli state. This is the true context of West Germany’s crucial backing of Israel in the 1950s and ’60s. German economic and military support greatly contributed to Israel’s early consolidation and eventual regional hegemony. This initial alliance has affected Germany’s role in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to the present day.

About the speaker:

Daniel Marwecki is a lecturer at Hong Kong University’s Department of Politics. He previously taught in Leeds, London and Leipzig and holds a PhD from SOAS. Before his PhD, he worked for a brief time with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in East Jerusalem.

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