Skip navigation
No more
Know more

The most uncomfortable photo in the world

So German Chancellor Angela Merkel flew to Jerusalem this week and this was a thing that happened while she was there. O.K., O.K. The shadow of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s finger on her upper lip makes her look like a past German head of state who shall remain nameless. We get it. This is just a coincidence that does not indicate anything about Merkel or Germany’s attitude toward Israel or the Jews. That’s all that needs to be said.

Indeed, the fact that this awkward moment is no more than an uncomfortable joke for the international media is really an indication of how far Germany has come since the Third Reich — or even since 1961, when Merkel’s predecessor Konrad Adenauer sent a secret agent to Jerusalem during the trial of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann. Adenauer hoped to ensure that during the trial, Israeli prosecutors did not reveal anything about the Nazi histories of German officials in his government at the time. It wasn’t until 1965 that the two countries established formal diplomatic relations.

Now, even as the economic crisis has fostered resurgent far-right movements in other European countries, such as the Golden Dawn in Greece, these have attracted comparatively little support in Germany.

Yes, Merkel’s government includes several senior officials who have spoken harshly about Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, enraging the Israeli right. But if there is ever going to be any possibility of peace in that part of the world, we all need to acknowledge that criticizing Israel’s policies, or appointing someone who does, does not always mean you are a Nazi.

The photograph above was taken by Yoav Lemmer for Agence France-Presse and was made available by Getty Images. Click below for more on the relationship between Germany and Israel.

Max Ehrenfreund | February 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm
Know more: That time a couple of weeks ago when angry Israeli legislators walked out on a visiting German dignitary
No more
Know more
12 years of best-selling book covers, in one graph
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Here’s how many people have died in war in the last 600 years
Ana Swanson
ADVERTISEMENT
No more
Know more
Map: Where gay men are happiest around the world
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Gorgeous star maps show how 16th Century astronomers saw the heavens
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
The deadliest months in America
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Map: The average price of weed in all 50 states
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
The dramatic rise of life expectancy around the world
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
This computer program predicts how old you are based on your name
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Map: Where almost 2,500 nuclear bombs have exploded since 1945
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Admission rates at Ivy League schools are falling sharply
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Map: The world’s economic center is shifting south and east
Ana Swanson