NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Why is the German Left Unconditionally Supporting Israel?


    Hermann Dierkes was personally attacked and called an anti-Semite, because he dared express solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle -   May 31, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


    I support the real news because they deal with real issues, not meaningless articles and sound bites - Gary
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Transcript

    Why is the German Left Unconditionally Supporting Israel?SHIR HEVER, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to the Real News Network. I am Shir Hever in Germany.

    The Left Party in Germany has an unusual position on the issue of Israel/Palestine. Compared with most left parties and movements in Europe, the party is reluctant to criticize Israel's policies of occupation, apartheid, and colonialism.

    Hermann Dierkes is an activist in Die Linke, the Left Party of Germany, and a member of the city council of Duisburg in Germany. He was a long-time worker in the steel industry and a well-known trade unionist, and today he is a pensioner.

    He spoke in a conference in Stuttgart on May 9, a conference in which I also took part.

    HERMANN DIERKES, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER, DUISBURG, GERMANY (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I am convinced that a special obligation has been placed upon us, because in the name of Germany, with the brutal murder of the European Jews, a tragedy against humanity has been committed, the Holocaust, or even similar racist exclusion, violence, and annihilation must never be allowed to happen again. This was the consensus of the survivors, not just to remember Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and indeed nowhere and against no one. And we must guard against its beginning, before it is too late. But this obligation must be universally perceived.

    Expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Arab and especially Palestinian population, this is the great difference from the apartheid system in South Africa, in order to make room for their own population, to ensure the demographic majority, and to suppress any attempt by the colonized and the disenfranchised to establish their own state, a strong structural inequality in basic rights and in civil rights, to the point of creating a social apartheid space which defines certain ethnic and/or religious communities as enemies and as inferior, especially Muslims, but not only.

    It [Israel] defines itself as a bulwark of defense for the West against the Arabic-Muslim world. The proportion of religious justifications and national-religious political groups has increased enormously in the last three decades, although in Israel it has always been the case that you don't have to believe in God; you just need to believe that he promised Palestine to the Jews. Today, Israel is not only a result of the Zionist colonial project, but also an instrument to further its expansion.

    HEVER: Hermann Dierkes will speak to us about this special political situation in Germany in which even the left is reluctant to criticize Israeli policies.

    Hello, Hermann.

    DIERKES: Hi, Shir.

    HEVER: So how did you become interested in the issue of Israel and Palestine? And what kind of activities did you take once you become involved?

    DIERKES: Well, already, as a political leftist activist since the early '70s, one of my most important political teachers was the Jewish socialist and trade unionist Jakob Moneta, a kibbutz worker in the '40s until he went back to Europe disgusted by Zionist politics, and who died last year at the age of 98. I had the pleasure to meet activists of the then Matzpen organization in Israel, like [jank@l'taoUt] from Haifa and many others.

    Nowadays I'm working with Christians, humanists, leftists, and exiled Palestinians in the German Palestinian society. I have been to Israel and Palestine various times, at last in 2011 when I organized a group of 30 friends participating in a seminary of the AIC in Jerusalem and Beit Sahour. I have been to various social forums from the outset in 2001 where the question of Israel-Palestine was always an important issue on the agenda. I took part in the discussion to clarify the problematic positions of the party Die Linke [incompr.] toward Israel-Palestine, published many articles, published a book, and gave interviews.

    HEVER: You said it was important to clarify the position of Die Linke Party on Palestine. Why is that important? Is there a special reason why the German left should take a position on the Palestinian struggle for freedom? Or is it just that Germany, like any other country, should adopt a coherent position?

    DIERKES: No, absolutely. No. We have the historic burden through Judeocide and a certain obligation for the left. Even nowadays, you can't jump out of history and you have to work on it. And Germany is one of the most important states with trading with Israel. Germany is delivering many, many arms to Israel, and even Israel is selling arms to Germany, security installations, and so on. And Germany is a very important state of the European Union. It's massively interfering in what's going on in the Middle East. And so, as a leftist, you have to tackle that question and you have to take a position.

    HEVER: You are a member of the Left Party, Die Linke. What can you tell us happened to you specifically after you expressed your opinions and because of the actions that you took?

    DIERKES: I was confronted with a horrible smear campaign in spring 2009 after a local meeting on Palestine and on the Gaza onslaught of the Israeli army. In that meeting we presented Mohammed Alatar's film The Iron Wall. And I spoke out in favor of BDS. At that time, I stood as the left candidate for major in our city of Duisburg during the municipality elections. A real tsunami of vicious attacks, slanders, and threats came down on me. This was a very hard time for me. But the worst thing that happened was that the considerable part of high-ranking members of the left took their distances from me and accused me of encouraging antisemitism, if not being an antisemitist. For many weeks there was a public stoning in the mainstream media in Germany and by many mainstream politicians, some church leaders and so on. And in the end, the whole party was finally slandered as being antisemitic, or at least tolerating antisemites in its ranks. Members of the inner party sect shalom, real hardliners defending Zionist Israel and militant anti-Muslim propagandists, tried to oust me from the party.

    HEVER: Now, the chairman of the party, Gregor Gysi, he formulated this document for Die Linke defining what the position of the party should be on the matter, and also defining what kind of activities should be called antisemitic. Can you talk a little about this letter?

    DIERKES: Not only about the letter. And I even wouldn't personalize the question on the Gregor Gysi [incompr.] It still seems to be a common position among many more or more or less prominent party leaders and parliamentarians not to criticize Israel, at least not too harshly. In 2009, after this horrible smear campaign against me and more comrades, like Norman ['fEsSEn] and comrades in Bremen and so on, both the parliamentary faction and later the party leadership voted for very problematic resolutions upholding a kind of equidistance between Israel as an oppressor state and the Palestinian people as being oppressed. In 2010, one more resolution was whipped through by Gregor and others against the protest of one-third of our parliamentarians in the federal parliament not to support the BDS campaign, not to take part once more in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla from 2011 on, and not to engage in one-state discussions. In the new party program, adopted by the [ErfoUrt] conference in late 2011, the mere discussion of amendments to the draft program was suppressed as to whip through positions like we fight against any kind of antisemitism, the left is in particular obliged [incompr.] the right of existence of Israel, and we should strive for a two-state solution as the only way to solve the conflict.

    HEVER: So the Left Party in Germany is saying that there is only one solution, and they want to impose the two-state solution on the Palestinians.

    DIERKES: That's the official position. And there is in my opinion no clear definition at all what falls into the category of antisemitism. The party members should not take action at ideas or joint movements due to many statements of party leaders, like [pregoU] and others, wherever they create the impression of being antisemite or anti-Israel. BDS, the Freedom Flotilla, and the discussion about the alternative Palestinian or Palestinian-Jewish statehood is regularly included in this way of reasoning. Of course, the main purpose of that kind of verdicts and resolutions is to silence the party, foremost that party who thinks different or is even engaged in the solidarity movement.

    HEVER: For our viewers who don't know, BDS stands for boycott, divestment, and sanctions, and it's a global movement to put economic and cultural pressure on Israel to end its colonial, apartheid, and occupation policies. The Freedom Flotilla is a movement which attempts to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with humanitarian supplies.

    Now, you are describing about the Left Party in Germany something which sounds rather unusual. We see in most countries in Europe and around the world that the left parties tend to be more in solidarity with the Palestinians or at least more critical of Israel. And it's also consistent with the left politics in general to take the side of the repressed and the weak.

    But why would you say that in Germany the situation is so different? Why is the Left Party taking this position of unconditional support to Israel, even to the point where they harass and attack members of the party who express solidarity with Palestinians?

    DIERKES: This solidarity movement rightly so criticized this stance, positioning of the party, including many Israeli peace activists and Palestinians. I am fighting with many others to correct these politics of the Left Party. But we still have a long way to go. In my opinion, one main reason for this kind of positioning is to prepare for a governmental coalition if you nowadays in Germany reenter on the [incompr.]

    HEVER: The federal state of Germany.

    DIERKES: The federal state, or in the federation, the government. And you will have it together, let's say, with the Green Party or Social Democrats. This is one major point, to unconditionally defend the security of Israel as the reason of state, as Angela Merkel put it in 2008 when she gave a speech in the Knesset.

    HEVER: Raison d'état, the French term for reason of state. So you're saying that the mainstream political parties and the right political parties in Germany already support Israel anyway, and the left is willing to adopt this position in order to possibly join the coalition government.

    DIERKES: Yes, but it's also part and parcel of the politics of the Green Party, and it's still the main reasoning of Social Democrats as well.

    HEVER: Well, thank you very much for joining us, Hermann.

    DIERKES: Goodbye.

    HEVER: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting