Journalist, author, and provocateur Henryk M. Broder—who, says Haaretz, “has declared his favorite topics to be Jews, Arabs and Germans: an explosive mixture, indeed”—plans to run for president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany next May. While many nations have similar bodies, the German Council operates under uniquely weighty circumstances, and its default mission has become providing “reassuring comments on anti-Semitism, Nazism and racism.” But Broder is fed up with this “early warning system against political extremism,” he says. He has suggested Germany do away with its law against Holocaust denial, which he says has “served idiots to stage themselves as martyrs in the fight for historical truth.” Instead, he contends that Jews should content themselves knowing what really happened, and focus instead on activism for other victims of human rights abuses throughout the world.
Broder—whose 2006 book, Hurra, Wir Kapitulieren (Hurray! We’re Capitulating!), posited that the world is handing itself over to dangerous Islamist powers—even says he would focus on relations with those Muslim communities in Germany that “step in for strict separation of religion and state and a secular society.”
While Haaretz feels certain Broder has little chance of winning the presidency, he does have one slight demographic edge: at 63, he is closer to the increasing German Jewish population of Soviet immigrants and their children and than to “the Holocaust generation” that has held power in the community. And, at the very least, says the paper, his announcement has made a splash: “The council is outraged, the lay Jewish community amused and a new debate about German-Jewish relations has been sparked—just how Broder likes it.”