[Marxism] The German Left and Israel

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 22 04:44:17 MDT 2009

Yossi Bartel writes:

> One of the reasons for the love affair between Germany and Israel is
> further connected to the weakness of the German Left in criticizing
> Israel.

Is this meant to imply that this was historically always the case?  The debates concerning Israel in the 1980s ignited by writers like Wolfgang Pohrt and Eike Geisel, as well as the urban guerrilla group Revolutionary Cells/Red Zoras and the Communist League, were primarily a response to what was regarded by many as an excessive *Anti*-Zionism in the 1970s on the part of remnants of SDS and the RAF.  Too many times on Internet forums and publications, I have seen people ignorant of the German left make sweeping statements as if the German left has always been treading on egg shells regarding Israel.  That is simply not the case.  In the 70s, aspects of the Left's Anti-Zionism crossed the line into Anti-Semitism, such as when the Tupamaros West Berlin planted a bomb in the Jewish Community House in Berlin.

Within the youthful post-Autonomist and post-Antifa milieu, a differentiated attitude towards Israel is indeed probably hegemonic, but this is in no way the case for groups coming out of the M-L or Trotskyist spectrum.  And the embrace of Israel by certain sectors of the Left Party has less to do with principle and more to do with the essential statist and nationalists character of the party.

> Although I do not wish to go deeply into this matter here, the existence > of a dubious ideological strand which dubs or dubbed itself 
> “anti-German"

I don't much like Anti-Germans of any type, but there is no "strand" called anti-German, because "anti-German" refers to a variety of particular tendencies, just as the terms "Maoist" and "Trotskyist" do.

It refers to the esoteric neo-conservative "communism" of publications like Bahamas, it refers to publications like Phase 2, which emerged from the dissolution of the federal organization of Antifascist Action, and it refers to the monthly magazine Konkret, which is actually quite orthodox communist in almost all other regards and would be indistinguishable in content from most of what is written on lists like this with the exception of its positions on Israel.  And the variety of tendencies that can be subsumed under this term is by no means exhausted.  Please people, research before opening your mouths or reaching for your keyboard.

> within the youth movement of the party there exists a group that calls 
> itself by the Hebrew word “shalom” and with funding from the party 
> organizes events on behalf of Israel, distributes racist and militaristic
> propaganda and terrorizes any party member who dares to criticize
> Israel.

"BAK Shalom" are shameless apologists for Israel, but I have never seen a single piece of literature by them that can even be loosely understood as "racist".  They are not Bahamas.  And to say that they "terrorize" other party members is really a joke.  They are an insignificant minority within Solid (the Left Party youth group), and have come perilously close to having their funding revoked twice, only to eke by at the last minute.  So much for their "terrorism".

Yossi Bartel lives in Berlin, so there really isn't any excuse for ignorance.  There are presumably numerous publications he can refer to.  He's entitled to whatever opinion he wants concerning the German left and Israel, but he should at least get his facts straight.


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