(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
BERLIN – A local chapter of Germany’s second largest party, the Social Democrats (SPD), posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theory entries on its Facebook page in Hagen, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia state.
“Anti-Jewish agitation appeared on the Facebook page of SPD Hagen,” went the headline in a piece in regional paper WAZ on Sunday.
The hardcore anti-Semitic statements allegedly came from Osman Demir, an SPD chapter committee member in the Wehringhausen neighborhood, and were on the Hagen branch’s Facebook page for a lengthy period and available to its 150 members.
Under the headline “Incitement by the Zionist media and press and press powers in Germany,“ the post author engaged in a rant about Jewish media reports shaping the February 2012 resignation of German president Christian Wulff, WAZ reported. Wulff resigned facing allegations of corruption relating to his prior service as prime minister of Lower Saxony. He was acquitted of the allegations at a trial last February.
The postings on the SPD Hagen Facebook page prompted a prominent veteran SPD member to resign.
“It is bad when a person posts anti-Jewish agitation on the Internet. When a person does that on the page of a political party, it is worse. When the article remains of the page for weeks, it is even worse,” Martin Schlegel said about the direction of his former party. Schlegel served as the director of the city’s statistics and research division, pulled the plug on his membership because of the anti-Semitic postings.
Timo Schisanowski, the head of SPD Hagen, appeared to defend the postings. “We did not want to face the accusation that we closed down a discussion,” he said.
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He added that he “was not happy about the statements” on the Facebook page.
Nesrin Öcal, the administrator of the website, was removed and there may be a disciplinary process against Demir, WAZ reported. The SPD leadership appeared to show little appetite to confront the anti-Jewish outbursts.
Robin Baranski, the business manager of the SPD chapter, has declined to schedule meetings to address the matter.
Schlegel and his wife, Erika, have been members of the SPD for a combined 85 years. The party’s failure to confront hatred of Jews left them dissatisfied with its direction. “A party that gives space to disgusting anti-Jewish slogans, and with difficulty removes the agitation from the Facebook page, cannot be trusted,” they said in an email.
“A party that refuses to stop the author of this article can no longer our be our party,” the Schlegels added.
Anti-Israel controversies have rocked the SPD over the past few months by. The national SPD, which has designated Fatah as its sister party, is struggling with its commitment to Israel’s security.
Bundestag deputy Rainer Arnold, the party’s top defense spokesman, earlier this month compared Israel to Hamas.
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