The leader of the main opposition party in Germany, the far-left Die Linke (“The Left,”) has shut down a forthcoming party seminar at the German parliament featuring Max Blumenthal, an American writer of Jewish origin whose visceral attacks on Israel are widely regarded as anti-Semitic.
Gregor Gysi, the Jewish leader of Die Linke – a successor organization to the former ruling Communist Party in East Germany, and the largest opposition bloc to the governing Christian Democrat/Social Democrat coalition, with 64 parliamentary seats – told the daily Berliner Morgenpost that “the event will not take place.” Gysi reached his decision after Benjamin Weinthal, a Berlin-based journalist who writes for the Jewish and general press, presented him with evidence of Blumenthal’s anti-Semitic activities and writings.
The seminar had been scheduled for this coming Monday, November 10 – one day after the 76th anniversary of the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom in Nazi Germany. Blumenthal’s appearance was secured by two Die Linke MPs, Inge Höger and Annette Groth, who were both on board the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship that attempted to illegally break the Israeli security blockade of Gaza in 2010.
Speaking with The Algemeiner by phone, Weinthal reported that promotional materials for the event had emphasized that Max Blumenthal is the son of Sidney Blumenthal, a confidante and adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Sidney Blumenthal’s support for his son’s latest anti-Semitic screed, a book about Israel entitled “Goliath,” led noted scholar and Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz to warn that his stance could create unnecessary problems for any future Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
Max Blumenthal’s books and articles frequently compare Israel to Nazi Germany, an analogy which many experts on anti-Semitism view as anti-Semitic, since it deliberately seeks to wound the Jewish state by portraying it as no different from a regime that systematically murdered six million Jews and millions of others. A State Department briefing paper on anti-Semitism states unequivocally that “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is anti-Semitic. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has included Blumenthal in its “top 10″ list of anti-Semitic slurs for 2013, because of chapter headings in “Goliath,” such as “The Concentration Camp” and “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People.”
More recently, Blumenthal is credited with having invented the Twitter hashtag #JSIL, which stands for “Jewish State in the Levant.” Israel is the equivalent, he believes, of the Islamic State terrorist organization currently engaged in a genocidal campaign against the Christian, Yezidi and Kurdish minorities in Syria and Iraq.
Along with Gysi, other Germans on the left reacted with horror to the Blumenthal invitation. The Green Party MP Volker Beck, who is also chairman of the German-Israeli parliamentary group, declared that “while there are legitimate criticisms of Israeli policy, Blumenthal has consistently made anti-Semitic comparisons between Israel and Nazism.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner that Gysi should be “lauded” for canceling the Blumenthal event.
“It’s especially important, because there are so few people in the progressive camp that have put down any red lines when it comes to criticism of Israel,” Cooper said. “The fact that Gysi pulled the plug on this has global implications, because someone has finally woken up and said, ‘this isn’t about criticizing Israeli policies, but aiding and abetting those who want to see the end of Israel.'”
Cooper added that while the Wiesenthal Center would never endorse the idea of German collective guilt, Germans nonetheless have a “collective responsibility” when it comes to anti-Semitism. “Germans have a responsibility, and they will always have, to do no harm to the world’s largest Jewish community,” Cooper said.