A Map without Israel: Germany’s Left Party Faces Charges of Anti-Semitism
Swatiskas intertwined in the Star of David, a map of the Middle East with Israel missing, boycotts of Israeli products: Germany’s far-left Left Party, many feel, has a growing anti-Semitism problem. The issue threatens to divide the party.
Germany’s far-left Left Party has been struggling for months to have its voice heard on the national political stage. Falling membership numbers, shrinking support and a very public leadership battle this spring have all left the party struggling to find relevance.
Now, though, the party is facing yet another challenge. For years, the Left Party — a partial outgrowth of the East German communists — has been criticized for harboring anti-Semitism and being overtly critical of Israel. Just recently, Left Party floor leader Gregor Gysi pushed a resolution through the party’s parliamentary faction stating: “In the future, the representatives of the Left Party faction will take action against any form of anti-Semitism in society.”
The party, the resolution read, will no longer participate in boycotts of Israeli products, will refrain from demanding a single-state solution to the Middle East conflict and will not take part in this year’s Gaza flotilla.
That resolution, however, did not sit well with the party’s left wing. The group protested against being “muzzled,” complaining that Gysi’s declaration was “undemocratic” and “dangerous,” as Left Party parliamentarian Annette Groth complained. And Gysi, formerly head of the party, gave in. This week, he plans to compose a further resolution on anti-Semitism.
He provided a hint at what it might contain in a recent interview with the leftist paper Neues Deutschland. “I don’t see a problem with anti-Semitism in the Left Party,” he said. “I am not a fan of the inflationary use of the term ‘anti-Semitism.’” Gysi himself is from a family that has Jewish roots, several members of which were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.