Netanyahu brags on his fancy German car

Israel/Palestine
on 35 Comments

When I was a child, Jews didn’t buy German cars. It wasn’t done, for obvious reasons. But from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s twitter feed the other day:

Prime Minister’s Office Trivia Question: Do you recognize this vehicle? Let us know what you think it is! http://ow.ly/i/2wD37

The Audi in that link is evidently a 12-cylinder car that Israel bought for about $1 million 3 years ago from the German manufacturer, to serve the Prime Minister.

Here’s some context for understanding the Israeli relationship with Germany. Netanyahu spoke of the Holocaust to the Congress in May 2011 but always in reference to Iran. The word Germany did not appear in that speech.

Now, the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads on the stand. Less than seven decades after 6 million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state…

But there’s something that makes the outrage even greater. Do you know what that is? It’s the lack of outrage, because in much of the international community, the call(s) for our destruction are met with utter silence. It’s even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies. Not you. Not America. (Applause.)

You’ve acted differently. You’ve condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You’ve passed tough sanctions against Iran.

History will salute you, America. (Applause.)….

Now, as for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously.
 
We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. (Applause.) Israel always reserves — (applause) — Israel always reserves the right to defend itself. (Applause.)

When he spoke in Germany last year, alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel, Netanyahu said not a word about the Holocaust or Nazi history, but focused on the attempts to “wipe out the Jewish state” — even during a period when Jews in the country he was visiting were in huge danger:

The attempt to wipe out the Jewish state was conducted from 1920 to 1967, 47 years, when there wasn’t a single Israeli settlement or a single Israeli soldier in the West Bank or in Gaza. 

At that time, Netanyahu described the relationship with Germany as a special relationship:

I know, and I heard it again yesterday and today, how important to you is the relationship between Israel and Germany. You said it’s not just another relationship; it’s a special relationship and it’s deeply felt, that you deeply feel it. And I appreciate it greatly. I appreciate the time and energy that you’re devoting to strengthening this relationship…

We spoke today about the various realms of cooperation – scientific, economic, academic, cultural – in every possible way between our two countries.

Last year I did a post on traveling through Israel and Palestine, and my friend Bill spoke of how the Israel-Germany friendship affects Palestinians.

I told Bill what an old Palestinian guy on the bus from Ramallah said about Nakba reparations. “The Jews got reparations for their Nakba. Did you know that? They got money from the Germans. But we have never gotten money for the Nakba. It’s been 63 years, and we’ve never gotten anything.”

I said to Bill, “But the Holocaust and the Nakba, they’re not really the same.”

“They are and they’re not,” Bill said. “Of course it’s not genocide, it’s not gas chambers. But it was an effort to destroy a people, to turn the cultural landscape of the place upside down. And there’s something else to what he’s saying. After El Al, the most flights in here are Lufthansa. And what’s the most popular cab in Israel? Mercedes. So Palestinians look at all that and they say, ‘They tried to wipe them out and now they have all this stuff from them, and they get along? What’s going on?’ It’s been 63 years and they have nothing.  Add anger and cynicism and it’s easy to see how all sorts of crazy conspiracy theories about the Holocaust and Zionism can resonate.”

Thanks to Scott Roth for conception of this post. He’s been on the Spitzer beat.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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35 Responses

  1. Citizen
    July 8, 2013, 12:45 pm

    My wife’s parents would never buy a German car. Caddie people a la Seinfeld Show. Their only son, a very successful lawyer, drives one proudly, it was an early mark of his success, a Mercedes of course, top of the line, every few years. Me? I’ve owned a half-dozen VW beetles since 1967, only one new, & a new Rabbit & Fox. Whatever Hitler did wrong (lots, & immensely so on the humanitarian front), the VW Beetle was not one of them. With the old Beetles you could toss a milk crate under the rear, pull out the engine, and fix it with a wrench and duct tape, and a few cheap parts, etc. You could start them by running alongside, jumping in, and keying the ignition. They were great on gas, and very reliable, even if they only cost you a couple hundred bucks.
    Of course Netanyahu is more like my brother in law than me.

    • Blank State
      July 8, 2013, 4:22 pm

      “Me? I’ve owned a half-dozen VW beetles since 1967…..”

      HA!!! Remember the “Volkwagen Repair Book For the Complete Idiot”? Great cars, I’ve had eleven over the years, although only two beetles. The rest were vans and buses, no newer than 1971, (the year they changed the buses into pieces of junk.)

      The idea of “the people’s car” was a fantastic concept, kinda reminds me of what many urban centers are now attempting to do with bicycles. Hitler, evil to the core, at least got something right. I’d buy an older bus today if I could find one for a decent price. Unfortunately, they are now priced out of range if not a rust bucket.

      Memories, man, memories……….

      • Citizen
        July 9, 2013, 7:54 am

        @ Blank State

        Yep, I remember that old repair manual. My brother still has his copy. He also has a ’61 Beetle he keeps running, totally stock. He just took it out of the garage after winter storage, and called me to say he took it out, and it ran fine. He’s got two photos framed, juxtiposed to each other. They are of two of his daughters, sitting atop a reddish 61 Beetle, the first taken around 1970, the second, taken a couple of years ago.

        He had a number of VW vans. We loved them. They were dependable, and very functional. The ones you had were about the same age as the ones he had. We still love them.

        About a month ago I went to the local VW dealer and checked out the new retro-style Beetle with the old hubcaps and lower roof. Great car!

  2. Stogumber
    July 8, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Even if the Holocaust and the Nakba can’t be treated as equal – part of the financial recompensations Germans have paid are recompensations for the material losses of expelled or killed Jews: real estate, inventary, artwork etc.
    I’ve always wondered, why Palestanians don’t refer to this part of the German-Jewish treaties as a base for their own claims against Israel.

    • lysias
      July 8, 2013, 2:22 pm

      Did Israel actually buy the Audi with its own money, or was the Audi somehow a part of Germany’s reparation payments (because, for example, some of the reparation payments are tied to buying things from Germany)?

    • Hostage
      July 8, 2013, 4:02 pm

      part of the financial recompensations Germans have paid are recompensations for the material losses of expelled or killed Jews . . . I’ve always wondered, why Palestanians don’t refer to this part of the German-Jewish treaties as a base for their own claims against Israel.

      The responsible UN committees and rapporteurs did cite that evidence and other historical precedents, including the plight of the Palestinian refugees as part of the preparatory work done on the “Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power” (1985) and the UN report on Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2005).
      link to untreaty.un.org
      link to untreaty.un.org

      An even more interesting comparison can be made to the recent German reparations paid to Moroccan Jews that resulted from the application of those same guidelines. See “Berlin to pay Moroccan Jews who suffered under Vichy –
      Claims Conference: Germany agrees to make payment to Moroccan Jews whose freedom of movement was curtailed by Axis powers.
      link to jpost.com

  3. eGuard
    July 8, 2013, 2:57 pm

    If Israel would produce cars, they’d be the best in the world. The Chosen Chariot of Fire. Win a Nobel prize (for Peace, Physics, Poetry — all of them). Palestinians would never be deported by ugly cattle cars.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    July 8, 2013, 3:08 pm

    RE: “I know, and I heard it again yesterday and today, how important to you is the relationship between Israel and Germany. You said it’s not just another relationship; it’s a special relationship and it’s deeply felt, that you deeply feel it. And I appreciate it greatly.” ~ Netanyahu

    URI AVNERY [REFERRING TO "GUNTER THE TERRIBLE"*]:
    . . . For me, this extreme kind of pro-Semitism is just disguised anti-Semitism. Both have a basic belief in common: that Jews – and therefore Israel – are something apart, not to be measured by the standards applied to everybody else. . .”

    * SEE: “Gunter the Terrible”, By Uri Avnery, The Palestine Chronicle, 4/13/12

    [EXCERPT] Stop me if I have told you this joke before:
    Somewhere in the US, a demonstration takes place. The police arrive and beat the protesters mercilessly.
    “Don’t hit me,” someone shouts, “I am an anti-communist!”
    “I couldn’t give a damn what kind of a communist you are!” a policeman answers as he raises his baton.
    The first time I told this joke was when a German group visited the Knesset and met with German-born members, including me.
    They went out of their way to praise Israel, lauding everything we had been doing, condemning every bit of criticism, however harmless it might be. It became downright embarrassing
    , since some of us in the Knesset were very critical of our government’s policy in the occupied territories.
    For me, this extreme kind of pro-Semitism is just disguised anti-Semitism. Both have a basic belief in common: that Jews – and therefore Israel – are something apart, not to be measured by the standards applied to everybody else. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to palestinechronicle.com

  5. DICKERSON3870
    July 8, 2013, 3:13 pm

    RE: “I know, and I heard it again yesterday and today, how important to you is the relationship between Israel and Germany. You said it’s not just another relationship; it’s a special relationship and it’s deeply felt, that you deeply feel it. And I appreciate it greatly.” ~ Netanyahu

    MY COMMENT: Apparently Netanyahu really likes his German “yo-yos”!

    SEE: “Bibi and the Yo-Yos”, by Uri Avnery, Antiwar.com, 05/26/11

    [EXCERPT] It was all rather disgusting.
    There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world’s only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.

    It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.
    What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?
    The sight of these hundreds of parliamentarians jumping up and clapping their hands, again and again and again and again, with the Leader graciously acknowledging with a movement of his hand, was reminiscent of other regimes. Only this time it was not the local dictator who compelled this adulation, but a foreign one.
    The most depressing part of it was that there was not a single lawmaker – Republican or Democrat – who dared to resist. When I was a 9 year old boy in Germany, I dared to leave my right arm hanging by my side when all my schoolmates raised theirs in the Nazi salute and sang Hitler’s anthem. Is there no one in Washington DC who has that simple courage? Is it really Washington IOT – Israel Occupied Territory – as the anti-Semites assert? . . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to original.antiwar.com

    • Stephen Shenfield
      July 8, 2013, 7:12 pm

      Under Stalin applause went on for a long long time because everyone was afraid of being the first to stop. Eventually some public-spirited citizen would stop clapping and then everyone else stopped at once. But the one who stopped first was arrested on his way out.

  6. Don
    July 8, 2013, 3:27 pm

    Just in case anyone missed this last time…really pretty funny…

  7. Hostage
    July 8, 2013, 3:39 pm

    The attempt to wipe out the Jewish state was conducted from 1920 to 1967, 47 years, when there wasn’t a single Israeli settlement or a single Israeli soldier in the West Bank or in Gaza.

    What Jewish State could anyone have possibly destroyed in 1920 for God’s sake? That sounds more like a plot device recycled from a Star Trek script about a fictional parallel universe where Nimoy, Shatner, et al portray a bunch of sociopathic villains with goatees. Even they had fewer assassinations than Netanyahu can take credit for carrying-out during his regimes.

    Of course there wasn’t a single Israeli soldier in the West Bank or Gaza. Back in those days they were called the Irgun, the Lehi, the Haganah or the Palmach.

  8. Blank State
    July 8, 2013, 4:36 pm

    Really….too…..

    The German car is less an issue of Netanyahu’s boasting than what his boasting telegraphs. Like our own elitist sacks of crap at the helm of our Ship of State, Netanyahu has lost touch with the reality of having to scrounge for a living, which most citizens have to do in today’s global economy. His out of touch boasting is despicable enough if only considered from the standpoint of the less than fortunate Jewish Israeli citizens. But when one considers the plight that most Palestinians are experiencing, his boasting is obscene.

    The term” leaders”, when considering our own “leaders”, as well as the term being applied to these Israeli “leaders” such as Netanyahu is a misnomer. These elitist megalomaniacs are far from the kind of humans that should be “leading” the citizens of global powerhouses such as Israel or the United States. These people such as Netanyahu and Obama are dangerous to the global population, and the only place they will “lead” us to is global catastrophe and endless war.

  9. German Lefty
    July 8, 2013, 5:57 pm

    My Story: A Son of the Holocaust Buys German
    link to nytimes.com
    The comments to the article are more interesting than the article itself. Some commenters actually berate the author and call him a traitor for having bought a German product… 68 years after the end of the Holocaust.

    • Citizen
      July 9, 2013, 1:56 pm

      Yeah, they are the WW2 Generation, never think about the problem with imposing collective guilt on all Germans, even those born yesterday. Naturally they are also all for Israel right or wrong, never thinking about what harm they bestow on the Palestinians, who were innocent in the first place. Their moral/ethical clock stopped way back when, and they are not cogent or deeply integrated principled thinkers.

  10. Egbert
    July 8, 2013, 6:57 pm

    At least it wasn’t this car.

    Note the four interlocking wheels (the current Audi logo) above the radiator and on the world record chart on the left.

  11. just
    July 8, 2013, 7:05 pm

    More hypocrisy– both Israel and the US are masters of it. We are the world leaders!

    I guess anyone can pay anyone else off……….cha-ching. I, for one, will hold this one shining example up as reason enough to stop listening/reacting to the Israeli Game of Eternal Victimhood. I feel for those that perished so cruelly, and the survivors are passing on with horrible memories. Thank goodness my “people” only helped to save lives of the victims and potential victims of the Holocaust. I think that if Netanyahu proudly rides around in a million dollar Audi, has replaced Iran and other predominately Islamic countries as the “enemy” while embracing Germany, well then we can stop the “concern trolling”. The Palestinians, and others, are now and have been the victims of the Zionists for a long, long time now. They do deserve our efforts toward Justice.

    I believe in forgiveness, and am glad that Israel and Germany have “made nice”, but this is ridiculous.

    btw, the Israelis have also acquired nuke capable subs…….from Germany.

  12. john_manyjars
    July 8, 2013, 8:41 pm

    Funny, a majority of the Jews I know personally in the US drive German cars, BMWs or Mercedes in particular. They appear very conscious of the Holocaust, but I guess they aren’t blaming today’s Germans for the sins of their grandfathers.

    That said, Bibi sucks eggs!

    • Citizen
      July 9, 2013, 1:51 pm

      Nothing “funny” or strange about it. Time goes on, people have different experiences, and, as you say, the younger generations are not eager to impose collective guilt when most Nazi era Germans are dead. That’s a good thing.

  13. Allison Deger
    Allison Deger
    July 8, 2013, 10:10 pm

    how did the car cost $1 million? did it come with a slave?

  14. BrianEsker
    July 8, 2013, 11:21 pm

    Idiotic article. Comments here are not much better.

    The Israeli national bus company Egged uses Mercedes Benz Buses. The Israeli navy buys German made submarines. Jews drive German cars all over the world.

    The war has been over for a while.

    • seafoid
      July 9, 2013, 1:01 am

      Brian

      Let me know when they play Wagner again in Israel

    • just
      July 9, 2013, 2:35 am

      What???

      Which and what “war” are you you defending?

    • Cliff
      July 9, 2013, 3:30 am

      And yet Israel is still shaking Germany down for Holocaust reparations.

      link to spiegel.de

      link to nytimes.com

      Germany’s postwar reparations program has become such a matter of fact that many Germans are not even aware that their country, after paying $89 billion in compensation mostly to Jewish victims of Nazi crimes over six decades, still meets regularly to revise and expand the guidelines for qualification. The aim is to reach as many of the tens of thousands of elderly survivors who have never received any form of support.

      link to jpost.com

      The issue of transparency will be a significant one at this week’s meeting of the board of the Claims Conference, which is comprised of representatives of Jewish communities and organizations from around the globe.

      Chairman Julius Berman has come under fire due to a controversy surrounding a 2001 anonymous tip-off letter detailing several fraudulent restitution applications which resulted in the launching of two internal probes that failed to uncover what would later turn out to be a $57m. fraud committed over a period of 16 years.

    • Citizen
      July 9, 2013, 8:22 am

      Your comments are idiotic. Israel buys submarines from Germany, with German reparation money paying a substantial part of the bill. It’s probably the same with Israel’s buses. All US aid to Israel is unconditional, bears interest, and is totally fungible–US taxpayers probably paid for Netanyahu’s million dollar+ armored German-made car, perhaps with help from German reparations, some mix of both.

  15. Citizen
    July 9, 2013, 8:32 am

    Obama’s government car cost $300,000. It’s an armored Caddy. I read it just got replaced by another Caddy. I think just before he became POTUS he owned a Chrysler 300, which is probably sitting in his garage because, as POTUS, he gets driven everywhere in his government car.

  16. jsinton
    July 9, 2013, 9:04 am

    He drives a Ford to get groceries.

  17. gazacalling
    July 9, 2013, 9:06 pm

    Interesting article. Compare Netanyahu with Pope Francis.

    On Saturday, the pope told a group of priests and nuns that cars “are necessary. But take a more humble one.” He said it “hurts” him when he sees a priest or nun in the “latest model car; you can’t do this.” He told his audience to drive a cheaper car and pass the savings on to feed starving children.

  18. mcohen
    July 10, 2013, 7:35 am

    by Philip Weiss on July 8, 2013 19

    ” But we have never gotten money for the Nakba. It’s been 63 years, and we’ve never gotten anything.”

    Janice summed it up nicely

    Oh Lord, won’t you
    Buy me a Mercedes Benz
    My friends all drive Porsches
    I must make amends

    Worked hard all my lifetime
    No help from my friends
    So Lord, won’t you
    Buy me a Mercedes Benz

    the Egyptian revolution/evolution confounds-morsi did not deliver my Mercedes-out he goes,even with G-d on his side,all that praying and good deeds-did you know that you can now sell your good deeds to another person,no kidding-you can be bad boy all year round but you are covered by another guys good deeds, paid for in cash of course—-thats right, devil cannot touch you -your all deeded up.
    there are 2 things that can see a persons soul ,G-d and the righteous dead.they watch and see what no other person can see.
    what are the righteous dead-they are people who live there lives doing the best they can too live a righteous life-could be anybody-not necessary relegious
    if you have had such a person in your life you get the feeling that they are watching -it happened to me-I believe it

    so who is watching now in Egypt,in Syria,in Israel,in lebanon

    that picture of the standing man in turkey has got to mean something,i do not know his story but to me it is a message from G-d to the people of Syria and Egypt

    the righteous dead are watching

    • RoHa
      July 10, 2013, 10:04 pm

      “the righteous dead are watching”

      That takes me back. I think I’ve still got a copy of their last album somewhere.

      • mcohen
        July 11, 2013, 7:56 pm

        RoHa ,

        Jerry says hi

        this from wiki

        Garcia came up with “Grateful Dead” by opening a Funk & Wagnalls dictionary to an entry for “Grateful dead”.[15][16][17] The definition for “Grateful Dead” was “a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial”.[47] The band’s first reaction was disapproval.[15][16] Garcia later explained the group’s reaction: “I didn’t like it really, I just found it to be really powerful. [Bob] Weir didn’t like it, [Bill] Kreutzmann didn’t like it and nobody really wanted to hear about it. [...]“[15] Despite their dislike of the name, it quickly spread by word of mouth, and soon became their official title.

  19. LanceThruster
    July 10, 2013, 12:17 pm

    Loved bugs and VW vans though I never owned any. Be sure to check out the origin of the Beetle which borrowed heavily from the Czech Tatra T97 – link to wizbangpop.com

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