German Reichstag Parliament_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
BERLIN – The co-chairman of Germany’s Left Party, Klaus Ernst, called last week
for Dr. Dieter Graumann, the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews,
to “leave party politics,” because Graumann sharply criticized what he said is
an anti-Israel foreign policy agenda of the party.
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Among Left Party
politicians, mainly from Western Germany, there is a “rabid, almost pathological
hatred of Israel, ” Graumann wrote last week in a news commentary, prompting
Ernst, an MP and Bavarian trade union leader, to call for Graumann’s political
Graumann said a number of acts and statements from the Left
Party reveal “anti-Semitic traits,” citing, for example, the party’s support for
boycotts against Israel.
Ernst accused Graumann of defaming Left Party
politicians. The party announced a resolution to blast the “inflationary
use of the term ‘anti-Semitism.’” Germany’s Archbishop Robert Zollitsch told Die
that Graumann, who is not a politician, “has every right to intervene in
politics,” adding, “where there are anti-Semitic tendencies, they must be
Zollitsch said Left Party MPs showed a lack of respect toward
Israeli President Shimon Peres during a 2010 Holocaust commemoration event in
the Bundestag by refusing to participate in a standing ovation.
state president of Israel speaks in the Bundestag, he represents a nation. And
it belongs to respect toward the nation and its
Zollitsch called for the German Left Party to recognize
Israel’s right to exist and support a two-state solution in its
The 60-year-old Graumann represents 105,000 Jews in Germany,
and was born in Ramat Gan. He left the Jewish state as a young child, and was
raised in Germany.
German Jewish historian Michael Wolffsohn, a
distinguished professor at the Universität der Bundeswehr München in Bavaria,
wrote on Saturday in a German language commentary in the Financial Times
that it is either a “lie or stupidity” that the Left Party is merely
voicing criticism of Israel. He continued that the “Jewish character of Israel
is a thorn in the side of the Left.”