Now more than ever, it's okay to root for Germany
As we count down to the World Cup semifinals and the final match, we are now permitted to support the German national team. Until a few years ago, we could never have brought ourselves to do so. Who would have thought of Jews supporting Germany?
We sympathize with this team, and not necessarily because of the professionalism that television commentator Danny Neuman sees fit to mention. What can we expect from a player-turned-commentator like Neuman, a young pup who was nurtured in the racist greenhouse of Beitar Jerusalem and cannot manage to remove himself from it. Nor does Neuman's TV colleague Shlomo Scharf fill in the blanks. Neither have anything to offer except what their eyes see - barely anything - and neither of them are capable of seeing inside this German team.
For this is a team unlike any other in Germany's history, or in the history of any other national team, for that matter. Many of the players, close to half of them, are not even German; they were born outside the country, or their parents were born abroad, or one of their parents is a foreigner - all are foreigners, others. Defender Dennis Aogo is of Nigerian descent on his father's side; Serdar Tasci is of Turkish extraction (both his parents are from Turkey ); midfielder Sami Khedira is of Tunisian origin; Mesut Ozil is of Turkish lineage; forward Lukas Podolski is Polish, as is midfielder Piotr Trochowski; Cacau is of Brazilian origin; defender Jerome Boateng's father is from Ghana; midfielder Marko Marin was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and forward Mario Gomez's father is from Spain. Even forward Miroslav Klose, who is more German than any German, was born in Poland. When he was a child, he was left back a grade due to language and adjustment difficulties in his new homeland.
Eleven players in total - an entire soccer team - are tinged with foreignness, some more and some less. Three of them were born dark-skinned, and at least two are Muslims from birth, as if they weren't causing enough trouble as it is. Today all are German citizens. The 1999 immigration law enabled them to obtain German citizenship, along with hundreds of thousands in similar situations.
We are here to snitch, for don't think for a second that we didn't take note. On Saturday, as the German national anthem was playing, we noticed the poker face and pursed lips of Ozil and a few of his teammates. One could have expected an immediate and loud protest, a pan-German denunciation. Yet nobody opened his mouth or jeered. What has happened lately to these lions, these pure-bred, blond-haired, blue-eyed Germans? Where is their national honor?
It doesn't exist, for it has disappeared along with the bone-chilling days of Deutschland uber alles. Today there is no other nation in the world like the German nation, one which is more fearful of flags that fly too high and anthems that play too loud. There is no one like the Germans, who are more afraid of themselves than they are of others. Happy is the man and happy is the nation who is always fearful, especially of his own iniquity.
The ethnic and cultural diversity of the German national team is the secret of its charm. It is what gives the team strength. While it represents the state of the German people, it is also a state of all its citizens. There is no hostile contradiction between the two characterizations. Rather, it is the willful reconciliation of life's realities.