Is It Friendship? An Analysis of Contemporary German-Israeli Relations

Felix Berenskötter, Mor Mitrani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article explores the nature of the contemporary "special relationship"between Germany and Israel. Having emerged out of the ashes of the Second World War and the Holocaust, political relations between these two states are widely seen as having successfully undergone a process of reconciliation. A key feature is German support for Israel, usually understood as a constant attempt to pay off a historical debt in exchange for rehabilitation and recognition of Germany as a "good state."The article probes another interpretation by asking whether contemporary German-Israeli relations have reached the stage of friendship, a relationship structured by care rather than guilt. To this end, it presents an original conceptual framework of interstate friendship as a bond of shared memories and visions that enable a common orientation toward the past and the future both sides are committed to invest in. Applied to an interpretive analysis of the "sharedness"of the memory of the Holocaust and the vision of a secure Israel, the paper finds strong evidence for the former yet significant gaps in the latter, concluding that relations between the states of Germany and Israel still fall short of friendship.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbersqac001
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s) (2022). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association.


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