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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Buying German Products

Many Jews refuse to buy German products. Why? Well it has something to do with the Holocaust. But is there any real point to this boycott? Does it really accomplish anything? If you won't buy a BMW but you have a Bosch dishwasher, are you a hypocrite? Why do we single out Germany; there are dozens of other countries that have killed and expelled Jews. Is boycotting German products the equivalent of Arabs boycotting Israeli products and American companies who deal with Israel?

Jews who boycott German products are not trying to change anything. They are not trying get Germany to apologize for the Holocaust; that's already been done. They're not trying to "punish" Germany economically; the purchasing power of Jews isn't strong enough to have any serious effect. They boycott German products because they are making a statement and that's it. They are not going to buy from a country that slaughtered 6 million fellow Jews.

That's why the most common boycotted product is cars. When you buy a German car you are making a statement. "I don't care". (This doesn't apply to Sephardic Jews, who did not go through the Holocaust) If you see frum Jew driving a BMW, you wonder what's wrong with the guy. It's just so easy not to buy the BMW or the Mercedes and not broadcast to everyone around you that you have a German car. A dishwasher stays in your house. And since this boycott is all and only about image, that's ok.

So why don't Jews boycott Spanish goods? Or Ukrainian goods?

The truth is, if Jews want to be consistent, they'd have to boycott pretty much the entire world. But that's impossible. So Jews do the next best thing, they (try) to boycott the one country that represented the greatest evil of modern civilization. 50 or 100 years, maybe Jews will be driving German cars.

And no, this boycott isn't like the Arab boycott. The Arab boycott was designed to cripple the Israeli economy, and by extension, the State of Israel in it's infancy. No Jew is trying to cripple Germany. It's just a statement.


Rebecca points out that Sephardic communities were wiped out in the Holocaust; I was incorrect in saying that Sephardim did not go through the Holocaust. However, I believe that it is safe to say that the vast majority of Jews who were killed were Ashkenazim. The Sephardic Jews who do buy German cars, presumably were not from the communities that were invaded by Hitler. (Persian, Syrian, Bukharian, etc...)


We are in the process of buying a German Shepherd puppy...we call it "stickin it to the Man". So, we will buy a German Shepherd - probably the same breed they had in the camps...except now our dog will be in a nice Jewish family!

Didn't they say that post 9-11 the real victors continue life with little disruption.
You touch on the primary point in your second to last paragraph, and your Sefardi distinction does too. The issue is experience.

Granted, if we were to boycott anyone who caused us (significant) harm, all of Europe would be boycotted. Which leads me to believe that the German boycott must be of a different nature.

Its not the numbers, or the systematic killing. Rather, most of us have parents or grandparents that survived the war. When you see the tatoos on their arms, hear of their nightmares and experiences, how can you go buy a German car? Sefardim, who don't have that experience, don't really have that reaction.

In 100 years Jews will be driving German cars more than they do now. Not because, cs"v there will be a greater evil eclipsing Nazism, rather, because our grandparents will no longer be here, *we* will no longer be here, and the Holocaust, and experience through movies and testimony is no comparison for hearing it directly from survivors.
I'd like to make a historical point here. It's incorrect to say that Sefardim were untouched by Nazism and the Holocaust. The Greek Jewish community was almost entirely destroyed in Auschwitz - and this was a largely Sefardic (from Spain) community. The same is true of Jews in the Balkans, for example in Sarajevo - this was a Sefardic community, and tens of thousands of Jews in Yugoslavia were killed by the Nazis. There was an old Sefardic community in Holland, also decimated by the Nazis. And the French colonies in North Africa were in part occupied by the Nazis for a time, and Jews in those countries were threatened. If you read Norman Stillman's book, The Jews of Arab Lands in the Modern World, you can learn about what happened to Jews in North Africa. If the Allies had not managed to get the Germans out of North Africa fairly early in the war, then there would have been many more Jewish deaths in Algeria or Tunisia. If you remember the movie "Shoah," by Claude Lanzmann, one of the really striking scenes is when he's standing in a square on the island of Rhodes talking about the deportations to Auschwitz. And one of the barbers whom he interviews, who was in Auschwitz, was one of the Greek Jews who survived. Primo Levi also talks about them in his book "Survival in Auschwitz."
You should really read up more on your history before making statements like that- about the Sfardim and the Holocaust. To add on to Rebecca's point. On could say that the Sfardim were just as terribly affected as the Ashk. community b/c the percentage of Sfardim murdered compared to the size of the community was huge. ie, most of the Sfardic communities were wiped out. Anyway, it's just not a good road to go down, comparing the lot of others to our own. Bad taste.
My point wasn't to say that one group suffered more than another.

Many Sephardic communities were not affected by the holcaust. That's simply a fact. That's why most of them don't seem to have a problem with buying German cars. I'm not accusing them of doing anything wrong.
" just as terribly affected as the Ashk. community"

Some Seph. communities were: In Greece, in Holland, Yugoslavia.

The North African, Oriental, Caucasus and Turkish communities weren't though.

Just as American, British and some other Ashkenazi communities weren't.

The Jewish people should stay united on this point.

The Bulgarian Jewish community escaped the holocaust due to protection from their government. They were Sefardi and almost completely went to Israeli later. Actually Moshe Dayan was a Bulgarian Sefardi.

It's also interesting to see how Sefardi names are the same in different countries. Many North African Sefaradim have the last name "dayan" as well, another example is Behar which can be found among both Tunisians and Bulgarians.
I believe that lots of people are coming around now that the holocaust generation is passing away. I see many frum ashkenazi jews driving BMW's and Mercedes. I do agree with you though. It's really a silly statement, quite null and void. So many would never drive a BMW but have the Bosch.... Now lets think about this: if we look at this generations jew-haters and killers... the arabs/terrorists... does this mean those making a statement will boycott oil/gas and not heat our homes or drive at all?
Not buying German cars? WHY?
1) if you say not to make a people that massacred jews benefit from jewish money, well I'm sorry but it's not a jewish way of thinking. Because Germans today are a great people, they did "teshuva" if you want, and they're acting much better towards jews than most countries.
2) if you say it's not not shock people who survived the holocaust, then the same holds true for those people. The germans today are not nazis. And if they're shocked by seeing a Jew drive a German car, then there's a problem with them!
why do we like so much to remember that we've been victims? Can't we move on and not base our identity on it? Can't we accept the fact that it's over?
Not buying german cars is like saying to them you'll always be nazis for us, and there's no way you can ever change! That's so not jewish!
Like i said's either a sensitivity you have or you don't. Davy- it's clear that you lack that sensitivity; there's no point in me trying to convince you.
Careful with the use of sensitivity, CWY. Sometimes it makes you think stupid things, that have nothing to do (or even are against) the torah. Like people who, because of their sensitivity, feel that it's wrong to kill animals to eat them. That's also not jewish.

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