Complaint against German ‘Mavi Marmara’ MPs

FDP member resigns from party because of row.

June 15, 2010 06:38
2 minute read.
Marmara passengers prepare for IDF raid

mavi marmara passengers 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

BERLIN – Thomas Schalski-Seehann, a local politician from the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the city of Stade, outside of Hamburg, filed a legal suit against three members of the German Left Party last week.

He told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper that “as liberals, we want to send a clear message against this nasty anti-Semitism in the Left Party, nor are we blind in the right eye. Other criminal complaints against politicians in the Left Party that have been submitted to the Berlin prosecutor’s office show that our complaint is right and important.”

The FDP is the political party of German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

He appeared to be the first German politician to charge the three Left Party members with “incitement to hatred” and the “support of a terrorist organization.” Inge Höger and Annette Groth, members of the Left Party in the parliament, and Norman Paech, a former Left Party MP and foreign policy spokesman, were on board the Mavi Marmara.

However, Schalski-Seehann’s decision to take legal action against the Left Party caused friction among fellow FDP politicians, and according to a report in Monday’s Hamburger Abendblatt, he resigned from his post as chairman of the FDP in Stade, as well as his party membership. He still plans to pursue his complaint against the Left Party members and said he wanted to show the “anti-Semitic continuity between the SED [former communist party in East Germany] and the Left Party.”

In a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Margret Mohrmann, the deputy chairwoman of the FDP in Stade, said Schalski-Seehann had made an “entirely personal decision” to take legal action against the Left Party. When asked if he had been forced to resign by the FDP, Mohrmann said that there had been no pressure from the local FDP in Stade.

“We are a local organization” and “such matters” as Gaza are of no interest to a local political organization, she said. She stressed that Schalski-Seehann “did not speak with us” before he initiated his legal complaint against the Left Party.

Schalski-Seehann did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Anti-Israel sentiments following the Left Party’s involvement in the flotilla, and the alliance of many MPs with radical Islamic organizations, has been the subject of growing media criticism in Germany.

Writing in the Tageszeitung, a left-liberal German daily, reporter Doris Akrap noted that Paech “is not an objective observer, when it [comes to] Israel. He has compared over the years Israel’s military approach with Nazi methods, recommends Hamas as a dialogue partner, and leaves open whether the right of resistance of the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation has a limit.”

In a widely viewed investigative television report last week titled “Questionable Peace Mission, German Leftists on Ship with Turkish Islamists and Right-Wing Extremists,” Report Mainz showed that radical Islamists with a history of violence had been on board the Mavi Marmara. Members of the Great Union Party (Büyük Birlik Partisi) a radical nationalistic Islamic party, traveled on the Mavi Marmara. According to Islam expert Michael Kiefer, who was quoted in the broadcast, the Great Union Party has similar views, within a German context, to the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party. When confronted with the list of radical Islamic passengers, including members of the Great Union Party, Groth told Report Mainz that she was not the right person to ask and walked away from the camera.

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