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Israel's bomb, and international finance as the undoing of foreign policy

By N A J Taylor - posted Thursday, 26 July 2012

A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe that is suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942

The story broke like this: a German shipyard has been manufacturing submarines for Israel, who are allegedly arming them with "nuclear tipped" missiles.

In the 1970s when this practice started as now, many within the German establishment recast the Nazi holocaust as a future responsibility to arm the state of Israel. Der Spiegel, the daily that published the claims, and its readers, are aghast.


The underlying scandal, however, is arguably more sinister than German-Israeli cooperation, and as equally troublesome as the "nuclear holocaust" paradox.

By my reckoning, Arab states are likely to be financing the German ship maker either directly, or, more likely, indirectly by investing in firms which do provide the arms producer with financial and other services. The causal logic behind this claim goes to the very heart of the institutional structure of global financial markets.

The company: ThyssenKrupp

The German shipbuilder is a firm based in Kiel called, Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft - let's just call them, HDW.

HDW are in turn majority-owned by ThyssenKrupp. You may not have heard of ThyssenKrupp, but other people buy their products and services all the time to shuffle you around.

This morning, you may have navigated numerous flights of stairs on your way to work in a ThyssenKrupp elevator. The shopping mall, airports, car parks and train stations you use daily are designed to function efficiently using ThyssenKrupp escalators. Special needs homes are often equipped with ThyssenKrupp chair and platform lifts.


For many, ThyssenKrupp are one of the many ubiquitous, but not seen multinationals.

Your money, and ThyssenKrupp

If you have a bank account, an investment portfolio or pension fund account, chances are you've got some form of financial relationship with ThyssenKrupp.

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About the Author

NAJ Taylor is a doctoral researcher at the University of Queensland, and a co-investigator in La Trobe University's Centre for Dialogue. Follow him on Twitter: @najtaylor

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