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Hebrew University
HUJ Moshe Zimmermann: Israel exaggerates Iran's nuclear threat in an effort to marginalize the Palestinian problem


HUJ Professor Moshe Zimmermann. Born 1943, Jerusalem. Richard M. Koebner Professor of German History, Director of the Koebner Center. E-mail: mszimm@pluto.mscc.huji.ac.il

Editorial Note:
Moshe Zimmermann (HUJ) is one of the most provocative Israeli professors; he had compared children of the settlers to Hitler Youth and declared that Nazi Jews do exist.  A fluent German speaker, Zimmermann is popular in Germany where he assures his listeners that Israel is an apartheid state. 

Zimmermann, who "remade" himself into a Middle East expert, is now offering punditry on Iran. He suggests that it is Benjamin Netanyahu who is exaggerating the nuclear threat of Iran in an effort to marginalize the Palestinian problem.  In other words, Iran is not a genuine threat but rather a tool in the hands of Israeli leadership to manipulate public opinion.  Indeed, in his German book Fear of Peace: The Israeli Dilemma, Zimmmermann states that "the policy of deterrence became an existential issue" for Israel because the country is afraid of peace.  He suggests it is an assumption in Israel that Hizballah and Hamas are spearheading the effort of those who want to destroy Israel and only by moving away from the "fixation on fear and deterrence" can Israel achieve peace.
Zimmermann, a professor of German history, joins a long list of Israeli academics who decided that writing books bashing Israel is a  better use of their time than researching and publishing in the area of their expertise.  The question is whether this is a good use of tax payers money.


Moshe Zimmermann interviewed

The interview is from Saturday, 17 March 2012. Moshe Zimmermann interviewed by Juergen Zurheide.

Click here to listen to the interview in German 

Translated by Dr. Gudrun Eussner for IAM

At Deutschlandfunk, 17 March, 6:51h, repeated at 11:45h.
Moshe Zimmermann: The subject is more of a side issue. There is discussion in Israel about Apartheid since long time already.
(Desmond Tutu is feeling the same in Israel, the interviewer says.) 
Occupation policy is criticized. May be the term Apartheid related to Hebron is not very appropriate, but there is unjustice through occupation.
Hebron is an Arabic (!) city, 500 to 600 settlers are living there, they are afraid. The roads are blocked. The occupation is hurting the life of the Arabs. The Debate continues, a majority in Israel is taking the occupation as something Israel was predestined to do, and does not see an alternative.
Sigmar Gabriel has reacted to the situation there. Everybody is obliged to react, the situation is not flattering for Israel. The security item is a pretext only, if there were no settlers there would not be a security problem. Hebron is an Arabic city. As a Jew one could live there but after an agreement only, but there is none. That is the reason for agitation and terror attacks by the Palestinians.
(The interviewer asks about an attack/onset on Iran).

Moshe Zimmermann: In Israel, Netanyahu created an impression as if his visit to the USA had been especially successful, that he has warped America and Obama too. This impression is totally misleading, Obama is not interested in an attack/onset on Iran, and by policies of general deterrence he is trying to keep off Israel from attacking Iran by herself alone. This is the difference between Netanyahu's propaganda machinery in his own country and what is really happening, what interests Obama.
These two questions (Hebron and Iran) of course have nothing to do one with the other. The policies of settlements, the policies of occupation are one thing, and the Iran-policy is another, entirely different. One has to take care here, that constituting (darstellen = in this context: to make believe, to pretend), treating Iran as the greatest danger is trying to marginalize the problem of Palestine or the Palestinians (man = this means no subject: one, they, somebody, anybody).
Interview has started 6:51h, ended 6:58h as the Deutschlandfunk-interviewer mentions.

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