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Left-wing hatred of Jews in divided Germany

Reader comment on item: Harvard's Communist Uprising, 50 Years Later

Submitted by Karl (United States), Apr 15, 2021 at 23:37

NO. 4, APRIL 2020

Left-wing hatred of Jews in divided Germany

Jeffrey Herf's book "Unexplained Wars against Israel" is more topical than ever

From Sylke Kirschnick

Jews are not special, but the hatred that hits them is. Because the West is always at the disposal of anti-Semitism, it differs from other inhuman hostilities against groups. Hardly anything becomes clearer in Jeffrey Herf's new book Unexplained Wars against Israel. In 14 chapters, the historian examines left hostility towards Jews: Where do false accusations such as apartheid, colonialism and imperialism against Israel come from? Who declared Zionism racism and fascism? And who brought the countless comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany into circulation? The new study provides conclusive answers to these questions. Herf's focus is on the GDR and West German left-wing extremists in the period between the Six Day War in 1967 and 1989, when the Eastern Bloc collapsed. Jews in Germany and Israeli civilians were affected by constant propaganda, terrorist attacks, military aid in the form of training courses or arms deliveries to Arab states and the PLO. That is why Herf includes their voices in his presentation. Incidentally, but all the more impressive, it resembles the communist,

Imperialism? Colonialism? Racism? Fascism?

The speech that the then GDR head of state Walter Ulbricht gave in Leipzig a few days after the end of the Six Day War on June 15, 1967, brought together all the above-mentioned accusations against the allegedly sole responsible "aggressor": Israel is the instrument of the US Imperialism, represent a colonial rule and cultivate "racial madness and class arrogance". Ulbricht drew the connection to fascism through the vocabulary "Protectorate" and "Generalgouvernement", which was supposed to associate the Nazi occupation in the CSR and Poland. East German media frankly compared the incumbent Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dajan with Heinrich Himmler, describing Israel's preventive strike as a "lightning war" (as did some West German media, above all Der Spiegel) or assumed, as in the 1982 Lebanon War, that Israel is pursuing an "extermination policy" and is conducting an "extermination campaign against the Palestinian people".

According to Herf, the Arab world and the Soviet Union introduced the fascism and Nazi comparisons to the media public. According to Marxist-Leninist doctrine, fascism was a natural consequence of capitalism and imperialism. The PLO Charter of 1968 spread the accusation of racism. Herf rightly devotes a separate section to it, because with Yasser Arafat's speech to the UN in April 1974 she inspired UN Resolution 3379 of 1975, which declared Zionism to be racism and Israel placed on a par with South Africa and Rhodesia. The accusations of apartheid that are now being brought against Israel at American universities come from this period. It was not until 1991, after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, that the UN withdrew the resolution.

In his 1967 speech, Ulbricht flatly denied the existential threat to Israel from the neighboring Arab states in the run-up to the Six Day War. Herf countered the threats from the Arab media at the time: "After this war there will hardly be any Jewish survivors," for example the then PLO leader Ahmad Shukeiri on the Egyptian state radio from Cairo, following the tradition of the racial anti-Semite and Nazi collaborator Amin interrogate el-Husseini. Neither these extermination fantasies nor the terrorist acts against Israeli civilians were ever a topic in the East German media. West German left only had to consult them in order to stock up on anti-Israeli slogans. The correspondence cannot be overlooked and showing it is one of the merits of Herf's book...


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