German Guilt, White Guilt: The Politics of Reforestation and the Return of the Gardening State. Response to Hannah Tzuberi, »Reforesting Jews: The German State and the Construction of 'New German Judaism'«
Topics: Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Jewish Revival, Main Topic: Other, Post-1989, Religion and State, Immigration, Diversity
Abstract: This response puts Tzuberi's analysis into a broader comparative context. First, the post-1990 attempt to create Jews in the image of the liberal-secular German nation-state met considerable resistance by the Central Council of Jews in Germany. In addition, the majority of post-Soviet Jews showed no interest in liberal Jewish theology or the fantasy of reviving the German-Jewish past. Second, the milieu of Judaizing Germans (core architects of German-Jewish revivalism) shows a strong resemblance to other attempts of escaping colonial whiteness, including patterns of what has been called »ethnic fraud.« Third, in comparison to other cases of minority repatriation, the German practice of expiatory demographic engineering was relatively cost-intensive, but contributed considerably to the country's »nation re-branding« after reunification. Fourth, the German politics of reforestation vis-à-vis its Jewish community points to the rise of a post-migratory »gardening state,« heavily invested in regulating its diverse population through a policy mix of migration, education and surveillance.
Topics: Main Topic: Other, Jewish Revival, Post-1989, Religion and State, Rabbis, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Attitudes to Jews
Abstract: This article argues that German post-unification state ideology entails a »return of Jews« and the »flourishing of Jewish life« as a means of readmission into the circle of civilized nations. Drawing on parliamentary debates about the migration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, it foregrounds the state as a central player in revival politics and demonstrates how state-administered revival politics are oriented towards the reconstruction of German Jewry in the image of a substantially German, acculturated pre-war community. It contextualizes the recent establishment of rabbinical and confessional schools in a German state university within German revival politics and argues that the successful incorporation of Jews into the new German nation-building project indicates the neutralization of the past within institutional memory and minority politics.