Monday, July 4, 2011

Germany’s Left Party Abandons Gaza Ship

by Stephen Brown

The Gaza flotilla has not even sailed yet and some rats have already abandoned ship.

Stung by accusations of anti-Semitism, Germany’s Left Party passed a resolution earlier this month forbidding any of its 76 elected representatives in Germany’s Bundestag (the national parliament) from taking part in this year’s anti-Israeli floating propaganda exercise, scheduled to sail next week. Two current Bundestag Left Party members and a former Left federal representative took part in the 2009 Gaza flotilla that ended in the deaths of nine activists after Israeli commandos raided the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, and fought a running battle with radical Islamists armed with wooden staves and iron bars.

“We are very proud of your involvement,” Left Party President Gesine Loetzsch told the three upon their return to Germany.

The participation of Left Party representatives in the 2009 flotilla and their leader’s warm approval are just one in a string of incidents that led to accusations that the party nourishes anti-Semitism. Three years earlier in 2006, for example, the Left Party’s Bundestag representative for foreign policy accused Israel of conducting a “forbidden war of annihilation” in Lebanon in Israel’s armed clash with Hezbollah. In a ludicrous comparison with the Nazi era, he said the Israeli army’s actions reminded him of “the German Wehrmacht’s orders for taking revenge.”

Other incidents that evoked the anti-Semitic accusations involved the Left Party in Bremen supporting a call for a boycott of Israeli fruit in front of supermarkets. A more disturbing anti-Semitic occurrence concerned the Left Party association in Duisburg. It posted a two-page, anti-Semitic tract on the Internet that showed a swastika inside of a Star of David and began with the words “Never Again War For Israel!” The tract called on people to oppose “the moral blackmail of the so-called Holocaust.” Two Left delegates also disrespectfully remained in their seats when Israeli President Shimon Peres appeared in the Bundestag in January, 2010, to make a speech as part of a Holocaust memorial event.

“This was a sign for me that parts of their caucus not only tolerate an anti-Semitic undertone, but also cultivate it,” said Stefan Ruppert, a Bundestag representative from Germany’s liberal party who witnessed the disgraceful scene.

But its was a study by two university researchers, one an expert on anti-Semitism, that forced the Left Party’s leadership to take action and compose the resolution that prohibits its members’ participation in next week’s Gaza flotilla. Called “Anti-Semites as Coalition Partners,” the study stated that anti-Semitism is a “consensus position” among Left members and was “clearly gaining in influence in the party,” especially in West German Left associations.

“Anti-Semitism feeds itself there (in West Germany) on an anti-imperialist tradition, which has its origin in the communist groups of the 1970s,” the report states.

One German newspaper described the June resolution as having changed three of the Left Party’s positions regarding Israel. The first dealt with the fact the Party will “not make common cause with initiatives that demand a one-state solution for Palestine and Israel.”

This particular Left policy has been interpreted as concealing a hidden desire for Israel’s destruction. In April 2010, the Left did recognize Israel’s right to exist, but at the same time it demanded that Israel free its “political prisoners and dismantle all border security positions” as well as involve Hamas in all political negotiations. In the German newspaper Die Welt, German-Jewish writer Henryk Broder says this kind of argumentation has “tactical advantages.

“It enables the Left to be both for and against simultaneously. For Israel’s right to exist and for the recognition of Hamas, which has made clear again and again, that it will never come to terms with Israel’s existence,” Broder stated.

The Left Party’s second changed position contained in the June resolution stated the Party will no longer take part in calls for boycotts of Israeli products, while the third one saw the Party swearing off any involvement in this year’s Gaza flotilla. The resolution passed unanimously in a federal Left Party caucus vote, but only because 15 members opposed to the new measures left the meeting before the vote took place.

The Left Party is a descendant of the old East German communist Party, the Socialist Unity Party (SED), which renamed itself the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. One report states about 70 percent of current Left Party members belonged to the SED, which merged with the West German leftist Electoral Alternative for Labor and Social Justice Party (WAGS) in 2007. After unification, members called their new party simply ‘The Left’ (Die Linke). It is the fourth largest party in the 622-seat Bundestag, having received 11.9 percent of the vote in the last federal election in 2009.

Since 2007, the Left Party has been basically known for its staunch anti-American and anti-Israeli positions, which members brought to the party. Left members from East Germany were taught to dislike America and Israel as part of “state-directed policy.” But what probably transformed this dislike into hatred was that the East German state also taught its citizens, even as schoolchildren, to hate. But the hatred they absorbed was class hatred, which was then transferred after the failure of the workers’ state to Israel and America. The West German Left members, on the other hand, despise Israel as “an extension of the arm” of American imperialism. And it is this hatred of Israel and America, as has often been pointed out, which makes such leftists the Islamists natural allies.

In an essay in the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, the president of Germany’s Central Council for Jews recently called the Left Party’s attempts to distance itself from its “anti-Semitic tendencies” through the June resolution as having “spectacularly failed.” President Dieter Graumann said the dislike of Israel among some Left Party federal representatives was “obsessive.” He accused some Left members, particularly from West Germany, of “living out their downright pathological, blinded by rage, Israel hatred.”

For its part, the Left Party denies there are any anti-Semites among its members and says racism does not exist in the party. There are just “different positions on the Middle East conflict,” the Left Party’s leader for the state of Sachsen-Anhalt said in an interview.

“We don’t have any pathological Israel haters,” he declared.

But the “Arab Spring” contradicts the Left leader’s assertion. The Arab uprisings are showing, once again, what heartless hypocrites the leftists supporting or involved in the Gaza flotilla truly are. The fact they are sailing with humanitarian aid to a relatively well-off Gaza rather than to a bleeding Libya, Syria or Yemen, where thousands of people have died and tens of thousands made homeless, bears this out. These leftists, it appears, are interested in suffering Arabs only in places where they can score anti-American or anti-Israeli propaganda points, their true goal, which confirms they don’t care about the welfare of Arabs at all – and never will.

Stephen Brown


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