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.
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