Germany's complex relationship to the issue of Palestine is often explained in terms of the country's past and its consequent affinity for Israel as the perceived homeland of Holocaust survivors. German policy decisions in the last two decades, including the sale of nuclear-capable submarines to Israel, seem to confirm this view. That notwithstanding, argues this article, Germany's Middle East policy and popular German perceptions of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis must be placed in a more contemporary historical context of evolving political priorities. The article contends that the current political class' zealous identification with Israel is a qualitatively new phenomenon in Germany largely unrelated to moral considerations pertaining to the Nazi era. In addition to examining how this identification plays out more broadly in society, the article also attempts to locate possible fissures that could give rise to changes in official policy.

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