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September 11: A Jewish Holiday?

Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

As reported by the German wire service the Deutsche-Presse-Agentur (DPA) last week, the American Embassy in Berlin has announced that it will be holding a commemorative service on September 11 for the victims of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. This is hardly unusual. What is unusual, however, is that the service is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community of Berlin (an umbrella group of Jewish congregations) and will be held at the Centrum Judaicum at Berlin's historic "New" Synagogue.

Malte Lehming of the Berlin daily Die Tagesspiegel rightly asks: "Why?" The 9/11 attacks were, after all, attacks on America and Americans, regardless of creed or whether they even had a creed.

By virtue of its joint "Jewish" and American sponsorship, Malte Lehming writes, the planned commemoration:

suggests what Anti-Semites and Anti-Americans alike claim: that there is an eternal friendship between America and Israel, a sort of unholy alliance to the detriment of Arabs, which is steered by powerful Jewish lobby groups in the USA . . . [and] that America can be made to pay for the sins of Israel.

In fact, belief in the existence of such an "unholy alliance" and of the de facto control of the United States by "Jewish" forces is an integral part of al-Qaeda ideology. Bin Laden himself has expounded upon this alleged relationship as follows.

I say that the American people gave leadership to a traitorous leadership. This became very clear and especially in Clinton's government. The American government is called the American government, but we think it is an agent that represents Israel inside America. If we look at sensitive departments in the present government like the Defense Department or the State Department, or sensitive security departments like the CIA and others, we find that Jews have the first word in the American government, which is how they exploit America to carry out their plans in the world and especially the Muslim world.

(Interview with ABC News, June 10, 1998. Transcript available here as Exhibit AQ00081T from the Moussaoui trial.)

Astonishingly, the American Embassy in Berlin has chosen to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 in such a way as to tell al-Qaeda and other enemies of the United States that their morbid fantasies about Jews and America are true.

Update: The American Embassy is apparently claiming that the commemorative service at the New Synagogue was conceived as part of a series of commemorations with different religious groups. Thus in 2006, as noted on the Embassy website here, a commemoration was held in the American Church of Berlin in the presence of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim dignitaries. In 2007, an invitation-only ceremony was held at the Embassy with the Afghan Ambassador to Germany and Abdul Hadi Christian Hoffmann of the Muslim Academy in Germany. As noted here on the Embassy website, "a prayer was given by Imam Advan Ljevakovic." There appears not to have been any official sponsorship by Muslim organizations. It could be supposed that a ceremony with "Jewish" sponsorship at the New Synagogue is, then, somehow the logical next step. But there was no indication of such an "inter-faith" context in the original dpa report, which was presumably based on an Embassy press release and which was widely reproduced in the German media.