Why does Germany support Israel so much?


In the current crisis in Gaza, opinions are sharply divided between the UN and a large global community who condemn Israels actions as an occupation, apartheid, war crimes or even a genocide. On the other side, Israel has staunch allies like the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, France. Since the reasons for the support of Israel by the USA has been already discussed in depth [1], I would like to discuss why Germany is such a strong supporter of Israel.


“Judaism is an Abrahamic, monotheistic, and ethnic religion. It comprises the collective spiritual, cultural, and legal traditions of the Jewish people, having originated as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Contemporary Judaism evolved from Yahwism, the cultic religious movement of ancient Israel and Judah, around the 6th/5th century BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions. Religious Jews regard Judaism as their means of observing the Mosaic covenant, which was established between God and the Israelites, their ancestors. Along with Samaritanism, to which it is closely related, Judaism is one of the two oldest Abrahamic religions.” [3]

“Zionism is a nationalist movement that emerged in Europe in the 19th century to enable the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, a region roughly corresponding to the Land of Israel in Jewish tradition. Following the establishment of the modern state of Israel, Zionism became an ideology that supports the development and protection of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.” [4]

“Antisemitism … is hostility to, prejudice towards, or discrimination against Jews. This sentiment is a form of racism, and a person who harbours it is called an antisemite. Primarily, antisemitic tendencies may be motivated by negative sentiment towards Jews as a people or by negative sentiment towards Jews with regard to Judaism.” [21]

Genocide of European Jews (Holocaust)

The obvious reason proclaimed by Germany itself is the historical responsibility of Nazi Germany and its collaborators for the Holocaust (shoa) [2] during which around 6 million members of the Jewish community [3] were murdered. Therefore, Germany perceives a special responsibility to protect the Jewish community including its support of the colonization of Palestine by a subgroup of the Jewish community following Zionism  [4].

However, the German support of Zionism goes back to times before the  Holocaust as demonstrated by active support of Zionism by Nazi Germany in the Haavara Agreement [5]. The Haavara Agreement was an  agreement between Nazi Germany and Zionist German Jews signed on 25 August 1933, which was a major factor in making possible the migration of approximately 60,000 German Jews to Palestine between 1933 and 1939.

In this context, it is also important to note that in the Balfour declaration [6] as of 1917 (long before the Holocaust), British Government in 1917 during the First World War announcing its support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population [6].

Moreover, the beginnings of Zionism go back to the late 19th century, when the “Lovers of Zion” united in 1884 in Kattowice (former Germany, today Poland) and the first Zionist congress was held in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland with clear plans since 1897 to create a Jewish state in Palestine.

In addition, racism against the Jewish community (anti-semitism) is more of a European phenomenon [7, 24], which does not apply in the same way to Jews outside Europe, which have been rather well-integrated and well-accepted, for example, in Arab/Muslim countries before the colonization of Palestine by Zionists in 1948 [8, 24, 25].

These historical facts question the narrative of the reason why Germany and other European states support Zionism because of the Holocaust and may point to other explanations.

Individual Political Interests

There are personal political interests to support Israel because after the Holocaust the accusation of “anti-semitism” against a German politician is a certain weapon to end the career of the accused politician. These accusations may be used not only by Israelis, Zionists, or Jews, but also simply by political adversaries to get rid of a rival.

Therefore, it is very difficult for German politicians to take a stance against Israel or in favor of Palestine without risking severe political negative consequences. As a result, the tendency to re-frame conflicts of Israel with others via guilt reversal (cf, role reversal of victim and perpetrator, self-victimisation) is very strong to avoid having to go into conflict with Israel or the Jewish community in general and reduce the cognitive dissonance between atoning historical guilt, while not creating new guilt.

As an example, Israeli Gil Ofarim had lied about  that he was insulted by a German hotel manager because of his Jewish faith and Israeli nationality, which was proven later as a lie by court. Therefore, Gil Ofarim was sentenced to pay a fine to a Jewish (!) organisation as a compensation for the suffering they had experienced because of the lies of Gil Ofarim which harmed the reputation of the Jewish community. [18]

Similarly, Germany has paid a financial compensation to Israeli Holocaust survivors as compensation for their suffering since October 7, 2023, although Israel is currently committing a genocide and the suffering of the Palestinians is a multiple of the suffering of Israeli victims.

This also leads to extreme, paradoxical actions by Germany also suppressing Jewish voices against Zionism and the state of Israel. [20]

The weird, paradoxical behaviour is also similar to an “experimental neurosis”  [22], which goes back to an experiment by Shenger & Krestinikova [23]. They trained a dog to differentiate between circles and  ellipses with increasing similarity. Depending on his reaction the dog was either highly rewarded or severely punished. With the task getting harder and harder and finally impossible the behavior of the dog became more and more erratic similar to a neurosis because it was not able to cope anymore.


Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the state [9]. Therefore, German nationalism and xenophobia is consistent with the support of the migration of Jews to Israel, because this will reduce the number of Jews in Germany (see also Havaara agreement). It is interesting in this context, that especially right-wing politicians (e.g., head of state of Bavaria Markus Söder (CSU), and German head of the European commission (CDU), Ursula von der Leyen, and of course the far-right party AfD [10]) have strongly supported the aggressive military actions of Israel against Palestinians after October 7, 2023.


The responsibility of Germany (and its collaborators) for the Genocide against European Jews requires corresponding compensation of the Jewish community. However, following the narrative that Jews can only be safe in their own homeland, historically it would have been just, if Germany would have ceded some of its territory to found a Zionist state. Considering the horrors of the Holocaust and wide-spread anti-Jewish racism in Germany, which would have not changed immediately, it is understandable that Zionists did not prefer this option, even if it would have been politically feasible. Therefore, the foundation of a Zionist state in historical Palestine was a convenient solution for Germany to make another people bear the consequences of the crimes Nazi Germany had committed which follows the principles of colonialism as the pursuing, establishing and maintaining of control and exploitation of people and of resources by a foreign group of people.[11]

Geopolitical Interests

Germany has geopolitical interests in securing its borders and economic interests, e.g. access to cheap resources, which are protected by US-led NATO. NATO has considerable advantages for Germany because it provides a high-level of military protection by the world’s only remaining superpower, ie the USA, while Germany is saving on its military expenses. Considering the strong influence of the Jewish community in the USA and the state of Israel via various lobby groups (esp. AIPAC), NATO policies will also strongly reflect Zionist interests.

Economic Interests

Germany has also short-term economic interests to support the state of Israel because of weapon sales to Israel (but also wars in other countries which NATO is supporting by military supplies). [12, 13]. Long-term interest may also concern the construction of the Ben-Gurion chanel as an alternative trade route to the Suez-canal which is controlled by Egypt and other Arab/muslim countries (e.g. Ansar Allah/Houthis in Yemen). Here, the Gaza strip is a geopolitical barrier and it is in the interest of Israel and Western economies to cleanse Gaza of Palestinians [14-17].


Germany is faced with the crucial moral question whether it is more important to atone for a past genocide or to prevent a future genocide. German politicians choose here the former, ie it is more important to atone a past genocide. An important reason is that political careers are based on strong social norms (no tolerance for antisemitism), a violation of which can end political careers. German politicians at present seem not capable of moral leadership keeping up with the rapid changes in global politics.

Personally, I think that partially historical guilt is hindering Germany as the largest country in Europe and a major actor in international politics to make its contribution to international stability and implementation of human rights. To help Germany to step up to its responsibility the Jewish community should consider granting a certain degree of forgiveness  to the new generation of Germans, who have not experienced or participated in the Holocaust, while keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. I am afraid without some progress in this healing progress, Germany will behave weirdly out of sync with its leadership role on a European level to the detriment of global peace and stability.

Furthermore, it will be necessary to hold all nations, including Germany, accountable to international law in front of the International Court of Justice. Nationalism, colonialism, all forms of racism, and national agendas, esp economic interests, should not be tolerated as a cause for breaching international law.


[0.1] https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2024/1/7/why-is-germany-so-viciously-anti-palestinian
[0.2] https://www.aljazeera.com/program/inside-story/2024/4/10/whats-behind-germanys-unwavering-support-for-israel

[1] Geopolitical Economy (2023-11-12). Why does the US support Israel? A geopolitical analysis with economist Michael Hudson A geopolitical analysis of why the United States so strongly supports Israel: Economist Michael Hudson discusses with journalist Ben Norton. https://geopoliticaleconomy.com/2023/11/12/why-us-support-israel-geopolitics-michael-hudson/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haavara_Agreement

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Europe

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_under_Muslim_rule

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism

[10] https://www.timesofisrael.com/loathed-by-jews-germanys-far-right-afd-loves-the-jewish-state/

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonialism

[12] https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/german-military-exports-israel-up-nearly-10-fold-berlin-fast-tracks-permits-2023-11-08/

[13] https://www.reuters.com/business/rheinmetall-hails-new-decade-defence-spending-drives-up-sales-2024-03-14/

[14] https://www.eurasiareview.com/17112023-the-ben-gurion-canal-israels-potential-revolutionary-alternative-to-suez-analysis/

[15] https://www.newarab.com/news/what-israels-ben-gurion-canal-plan-and-why-gaza-matters

[16] https://www.trtworld.com/middle-east/what-is-israels-proposed-ben-gurion-canal-and-is-it-related-to-gaza-16098520

[17]  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Ben_Gurion_Canal_Project

[18] https://www.spiegel.de/politik/der-fall-gil-ofarim-und-seine-folgen-worum-es-bei-dem-skandal-wirklich-geht-spurensuche-in-leipzig-a-78e05b53-de8c-4e59-9d06-3b0964164a3d

[19] https://edition.cnn.com/2024/04/12/europe/israeli-holocaust-germany-payout-october-7-intl/index.html

[20] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/nov/13/germany-jewish-criticise-israel-tv-debate

[21] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism

[22] https://dictionary.apa.org/experimental-neurosis

[23] https://www.futurelearn.com/info/courses/research-methods-psychology-animal-models-to-understand-human-behaviour/0/steps/265699

[24] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jews

[25] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world