BERLIN – The academic study titled “Anti-Semites as a Coalition Partner,” which
sharply criticizes entrenched left-wing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attitudes
within the German Left Party, sparked a heated debate in the Bundestag on
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The debate addressed what many experts consider to be the
dominant form of modern anti- Semitism in the federal republic: the loathing of
the Jewish state.
Hans-Peter Uhl, from the Bavarian- based Christian
Social Union, a sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic
Union, accused the Left Party on Wednesday of “fishing for votes in anti-Semitic
A telling example was the Left Party deputy Inge Höger,
who appeared in May at a pro- Hamas conference in Wuppertal, North
Rhine-Westphalia, wearing a keffiyeh showing a map labeled “Palestine” on the
entire territory of the State of Israel. She spoke about the “misuse of the
Holocaust” in silencing criticism of Israel’s “occupation policies.”
study was written before the Left Party’s new wave of aggressive anti-Israel
actions, including calls to boycott the Jewish state in March and April and
Höger’s appearance in Wuppertal.
“A power has established itself within
the parliamentary spectrum of the Left Party, which tolerates anti-Semitic
positions,” political scientists Samuel Salzborn from the University of Giessen
and Sebastian Voigt from the University of Leipzig wrote in their study about
rising hatred of Israel among Left Party politicians.
Rundschau first published the conclusions of the Voigt and Salzborn study last
week, prompting a minor media sensation and angry responses from Left Party
leaders. The Frankfurt-based daily’s website provides a link to the
According to the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung
newspaper, Gregor Gysi, a
top Left Party deputy, termed as “nonsense” the study’s main conclusion – that
anti-Semitism is spreading among the party’s politicians and members.
do not need any instructions from outside,” Left Party co-chairman Klaus Ernst
said in the daily Westfälische Rundschau.
However, Bodo Ramelow, the
Left’s leader in the Thuringian state parliament and one of the party’s
dissenting voices, told the Tageszeitung
daily, “When a Catholic cardinal
revokes a gay religion teacher’s permission to teach, the indignation in the
Left Party is, rightly, great. But when gays in the Gaza Strip fear for their
lives, I don’t hear anything from the same indignant people. That’s a
In the Bundestag on Wednesday, Left Party deputy Lukrezia
Jochimsen said “calls to boycott” Israel are not acceptable.
Left Party politicians in Duisburg and Bremen, as well as Bundestag deputies,
have either called to boycott the Jewish state or participated in activities
with groups that energetically campaign to delegitimize and boycott
The Left Party’s foreign policy spokesman, deputy Wolfgang
Gehrcke, has attended pro- Hamas and pro-Hezbollah rallies in Germany, and
compared Israel’s policies with those of the Third Reich.
of the Left Party have over the years waged an anti-Israel campaign. Deputy
Christine Buchhloz was a member of the party’s “Shift to the Left” faction,
which supports the “legitimate resistance” of Hamas and Hezbollah in their
terrorist attacks against Israel. She has played down the Iranian threat against
She and Left Party Vice President Sahra Wagenknecht criticized
President Shimon Peres in January 2010, for spreading the “untruth” about Iran’s
drive to build nuclear weapons.
Wagenknecht and Buchholz’s refusal to
participate in the standing ovation for Peres during his Holocaust remembrance
speech in the Bundestag was praised by Germany’s NPD neo- Nazi party.