BERLIN – A report in Sunday’s Jerusalem Post
that revealed anti-Israel and anti-Jewish statements from Hermann Dierkes, a regional Left Party politician in the industrial city of Duisburg, prompted the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Europe on Monday to call on national Left Party leaders to expel the “Holocaust slanderer from your party” and “fellow-travelers.”
Dr. Shimon Samuels, head of the Paris-based office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, issued a letter to Gregor Gysi, chairman of the Left Party in the German parliament, and Petra Pau, the party’s vice president.
“The fact that he [Dierkes] endorses Palestinian violence and the boycott of Israel as ‘an apartheid regime,’ is bad enough,” the letter stated. “However, his questioning of Israel’s right to exist and his belittling of the severity of the Holocaust take him beyond the pale, in challenging the so-called ‘German-Israeli special relationship’ over the past four decades of diplomatic normalization.”
Gysi and Pau told the Post
last Friday that “Left-wing criticism of Israeli politics may not relativize either Israel’s right to exist or the Holocaust, or it leads itself ad absurdum. Mr. Dierkes does not speak for the Left Party.”
The unusually harsh public rebuke of a politician stopped short of a call to evict Dierkes from the party. Anti-Semitic scandals among politicians in post-Holocaust Germany have previously resulted in exclusion from democratic parties.
Samuels wrote that in “order to keep [the Left Party] in the camp of post-war and post-wall Democracy,” Dierkes ought to be stripped of his party membership.
Dierkes “adds contempt in presenting Israel" ‘as the only refuge for the survivors of the Holocaust,' Samuels, quoting Dierkes, wrote. 'The survivors are dying. That is the most dangerous place for all the Jews in the world. The entire thing is dishonest.' Samuels asked "Is Dierkes ambiguously questioning the veracity of the Holocaust, or is he endorsing a repetition?”
Appealing to Pau and Gysi, Samuels wrote that “when we last met in Jerusalem, you called for a campaign against anti-Semitism, likewise recalling to Gysi that we first spoke in the heady days of January 1990, when the wall had fallen and you fought to prevent the passage of neo-Nazis from West to East Berlin... Both of you have publicly denounced Dierkes, but your declared cause to contain anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism cannot be served by allowing such discourse to remain in your party.”
In an e-mail to the Post
on Monday, Dierkes wrote, “I do defend the right of self-defense of an oppressed and occupied people, if necessary by means of armed struggle,” against Israel. He added that if Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, then this “state doctrine will lead to insoluble conflicts.”
Dierkes added that he “denounced the Nazi-genocide against the European Jews as being a crime against humanity. I also reminded the audience of the fact that some more big crimes have been perpetrated by German governments as the onslaught on the former Soviet Union, which caused 21 million deads [sic] and up to now is belittled and has never met an appropriate answer.”
Commentaries on the German version of the extreme left-wing media
Web site Indymedia reveal praise for Dierkes. Commentaries found on the
neo-Nazi press site Altermedia.info are also full of accolades for a
“comrade who speaks the truth.”
Observers have pointed out that
both the extreme Left and neo-Nazis represent two wings of the same
bird of Israel hatred, and their anti-Jewish and anti-Israel languages
are practically identical.