Defining Dualities: Context, Content and Comparison in German-Israeli Relations in the Framework of Europeanization

German-Israeli relations against the background of Europeanization transpire at multiple levels. This essay begins with the context, and then turns to the content of the link between the German-Israeli relationship and the European framework. Finally it addresses the idea of comparison, of whether other “special relationships” compete with or complement the German-Israeli relationship, both within the ambit of the process of Europeanization and outside it. The focus here is German official policy towards Israel, which in no way diminishes the richness of ties in the societal and non-governmental arenas. By “the process of Europeanization” I mean the development of the EC/EU as a peace and economic community affording an antidote to the history of war in Europe, in which Germany has played a significant role in policies affecting Israel. The policies of Europe vis-à-vis Israel divide into two dimensions: a bilateral structural relationship; and the larger issue of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This essay is published in Alfred Wittstock (ed.), Rapprochement, Change, Perception and Shaping the Future: 50 Years of German-Israeli and Israeli-German Diplomatic Relations. You can see the cover of the publication here and find out more about the publication and how to order here.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

Lily Gardner Feldman

Harry and Helen Gray Senior Fellow; Director, Society, Culture & Politics Program

Dr. Lily Gardner Feldman is currently the Harry & Helen Gray Senior Fellow at AICGS at Johns Hopkins University. She also directs the Institute’s Society, Culture & Politics Program. She has a PhD in Political Science from MIT.

From 1978 until 1991, Dr. Gardner Feldman was a professor of political science (tenured) at Tufts University in Boston. She was also a Research Associate at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies, where she chaired the German Study Group and edited German Politics and Society; and a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs, where she chaired the Seminar on the European Community and undertook research in the University Consortium for Research on North America. From 1990 until 1995, Dr. Gardner Feldman was the first Research Director of AICGS and its Co-director in 1995. From 1995 until 1999, she was a Senior Scholar in Residence at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University. She returned to Johns Hopkins University in 1999.

Dr. Gardner Feldman has published widely in the U.S. and Europe on German foreign policy, German-Jewish relations, international reconciliation, non-state entities as foreign policy players, and the EU as an international actor. Her latest publications are: Germany’s Foreign Policy of Reconciliation: From Enmity to Amity, 2014; “Die Bedeutung zivilgesellschaftlicher und staatlicher Institutionen: Zur Vielfalt und Komplexität von Versöhnung,” in Corine Defrance and Ulrich Pfeil, eds., Verständigung und Versöhnung, 2016; and “The Limits and Opportunities of Reconciliation with West Germany During the Cold War: A Comparative Analysis of France, Israel, Poland and Czechoslovakia” in Hideki Kan, ed., The Transformation of the Cold War and the History Problem, 2017 (in Japanese). Her work on Germany’s foreign policy of reconciliation has led to lecture tours in Japan and South Korea.