Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

German’s Comments on Jews Met With Tepid Responses

It’s hard to decide what’s more disturbing — yesterday’s race-baiting comments about Jews from a board member of Germany’s central bank, or the tepid responses from almost all quarters of the German establishment.

According to today’s New York Times, Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin told an interviewer that “all Jews share a particular gene [that] makes them different from other peoples.” To make sure German Muslims didn’t feel left out, he added that they’re “unwilling or incapable of assimilating into Western societies.”

Sarrazin’s interviews were given a day before publication of his scary-sounding book, “Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab” (“Germany Does Away With Itself”), which maintains that Germany “lacks a long-term integration policy for ethnic groups, particularly Turks,” the Times reported.

The responses from Chancellor Angela Merkel on down came fast, but not exactly furious. Merkel herself said the Bundesbank should consider “dismissing” Sarrazin, the Times said. The Bundesbank refused to comment, helpfully adding that “This topic is not central to his responsibilities at the Bundesbank.” Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle protested that Sarrazin’s comments “have no place in political discourse,” according to the Times. And Germany’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, cryptically said that “every provocation has its limits.”

Even Stephan Kramer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, reacted with what felt like less than full force, the Times reported. “Whoever tries to define Jews by their genetic makeup, even when it is superficially positive in tone, is in the grip of a race mania that Jews do not share,” he reportedly said.

For his part, Sarrazin told the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, “I am not a racist”. But considering his very public position that Turks and Arabs live off Germany’s welfare, it’s a little hard to take that seriously.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.