BERLIN – The German parliament was slated on Thursday evening to discuss and vote on resolutions slamming the Jewish state for its interception of a flotilla heading for Gaza in open violation of a naval blockade.
In what appears to be precedent-setting German parliamentary action against Israel, the major parties – ranging from the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union and its governing coalition partner the Free Democrats, to the Social Democrats and the Green Party – drafted a resolution urging Israel to agree to an international inquiry and end its blockade of Gaza.
Germany's 'growing displeasure with Israeli conduct'
The Central Council of Jews on Wednesday issued an angry condemnation of the German parliamentary resolutions.
“This behavior is unparalleled in the history of the friendship between Germany and Israel and worsens the conflict in the Middle East, instead of facilitating peace prospects,” wrote the heads of the council.
The German Jewish organization criticized all the German parties, saying “the planned joint motion by the CDU/CSU, FDP, SPD and Alliance 90/The Greens, as well as a separate motion by the Left Party, are based on incomplete information and a mixture of half-truths and public prejudices.”
The Central Council termed sections of the media and the public as engaging in a “one-sided bias against Israel.”
According to the text of the draft resolution of all parties, there is a call “to support the demand for an international investigation of the operation against the ‘solidarity fleet,’ as was again demanded by the secretary-general of the United Nations, which would consider the behavior of both sides...”
The resolution further criticized Israel for “violating the principle of proportionality” by employing violence against the radical activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.
“The blockade of Gaza is counterproductive and does not serve the security interests of Israel,” wrote the party leaders.
The Israeli Embassy declined to comment on the resolution. An Israeli diplomat, however, said privately that the political situation has dramatically shifted against Israel in Germany.
Alex Feuerherdt, a German expert and author on German-Israeli relations, sees the German parliament applying a double standard to Israel.
Israel did not demand an international investigation into Germany’s deadly bombing of civilians and Taliban fighters in Kunduz last September, he noted.
He further criticized the German parliament for demanding in a resolution that Israel agree to an international inquiry into the Gaza flotilla raid, noting that Israel is a democratic state, which can conduct its own investigations.
The largely anti-Israeli Left Party, two of whose MPs, Inge Höger and Annette Groth, were aboard the Mavi Marmara, submitted a second resolution attacking Israel in even harsher terms than the mainstream parties. Groth and the Left Party’s foreign policy spokesman MP Wolfgang Gehrcke are two of the sponsors of the anti-Israel resolution.
The Left Party calls for “Israel to issue compensation to the victims of the attack” on the vessel as well as for an independent investigation of the violence on the Mavi Marmara and an immediate end to the blockade of Gaza.
A number of sponsors of the Left Party resolution, including Gehrcke, have attended pro-Hamas and pro-Hizbullah demonstrations and equated Israel with Nazi Germany.
Writing this week in a Berliner Zeitung commentary, Anetta Kahane, the chairwoman of the Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung, a foundation fighting racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism in Germany, sharply criticized the two female members of parliament for forming an alliance with reactionary “Turkish-Islamic organizations, enemies of women, killers of gays, and anti-Semites” aboard the vessel.
Kahane noted that Höger and Groth accepted their “assignment” to a women-only deck on the ship. The Left Party considers itself to be a pro-feminist party free of sexism.