July 2011        

International

Palestinian issue divides Germany’s Left Party

Very public leadership battles aside, Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke) seems to be in a state of crisis. The issue tearing it apart is the thorny one of “anti-Semitism” or, to be more accurate, “perceived anti-Semitism.” To be totally truthful, the issue is in fact a division over principled anti-Zionism, which of course has nothing to do with the issue of Jewish people and everything to do with the issues of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. But then this is Germany, where the shadow of the Holocaust still looms large.
     For their stance on Israel and Zionism, sections of the Left Party have come under increasing pressure, both from without and—scandalously—from within the party. Last month the party leadership passed a resolution that barred Left Party members of parliament from taking part in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla (three had taken part in the previous flotilla) and prevents involvement “in Middle East conflict initiatives that call for a one-state solution for Palestine and Israel, and boycotts of Israeli products.”
     According to the party leadership, calling for a democratic bi-national state with one person one vote in Palestine/Israel is anti-Semitic. As is engaging in the perfectly legitimate non-violent solidarity action of boycotting the goods of an apartheid state! In protest at the move, fourteen of its MPs walked out of the vote, and five didn’t show up. However, the party has seventy-six MPs, the rest of whom presumably voted in favour of this ridiculous motion.
     It ill behoves a socialist party to cave in to such bullying from external forces. Principle should always outweigh opportunism, and the party should be defending its members who are facing this preposterous attack, not trying to please the apologists for Israeli apartheid.
[KS]

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