All parties in the German Parliament passed a resolution last Thursday slamming the Jewish state for its interception of a flotilla heading for Gaza in open violation of Israel’s naval blockade.
The major democratic parties – ranging from the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union and its governing coalition partner the Free Democrats, to the Social Democrats, and the Green Party – drafted a resolution urging Israel to agree to an international inquiry and end its blockade of Gaza. The resolution further criticized Israel for “violating the principle of proportionality” by employing violence against the radical activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.
The Bundestag resolution is the first post-Holocaust legislative act in the Federal Republic to apply disparate treatment to Israel, and it comes at a time when Iran and its subsidiaries Hamas and Hezbollah are determined to obliterate the Jewish state. Given the so-called German-Israeli special relationship based on Israel's security needs being integral to the interests of the Federal Republic, a detached, objective observer could interpret the resolution as a brazen act of betraying Israel's national security.
German parliamentary resolutions targeting Hamas rocket fire (to date, over 8000 have been shot into Israel) in recent years are conspicuously missing from the orders of business list. Predictably, the German parliament has not issued a resolution condemning the rearming of Hezbollah, and its accumulation of an arsenal of over 40,000 rockets and missiles since the end of the second war in Lebanon in 2006. Wasn't Germany supposed to block the delivery of weapons to Hezbollah as part of the cease-fire agreement and its participation in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon?
The successor to the former East German Communists, the Left Party, issued an even harsher resolution calling for compensation for the Jihadist victims aboard the Mavi Marmara. Two members of the Left Party, Inge Höger and Annette Groth, were aboard the Mavi Marmara and made great efforts on national German television to depict their actions as part and parcel of a “peace” and “humanitarian” mission. By way of background, Höger and Groth accepted their assignment to a women-only deck on the radical Islamic-controlled ship, even though the Left Party considers itself a pro-feminist party free of sexism.
The Left Party's foreign policy spokesman, Wolfgang Gehrcke, was one of the sponsors of the party's resolution. He frequently attends pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah rallies and has equated Israel with Nazi Germany. Gehrcke did not hide his pleasure about the end of the German-Israeli special relationship: "This marks a profound shift in policy towards Israel in Germany, in my view."
The following members of parliament euphorically voiced their support in the German media for the anti-Israeli measure.
Phillip Mißfelder, a MP from the CDU, who considers himself an advocate of Israel; MP Rolf Mützenich, from the Social Democrats, who is a member of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Group but also on the board of the pro-Tehran German-Iranian Friendship Society; the Green Party's MP Kerstin Müller, also a member of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Group.
Rainer Stinner, foreign policy spokesman for the Free Democrats, the party of Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, endorsed the resolution. Stinner, a self-described friend of Israel, rejects sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps because they control vast sectors of the Iranian economy and that could endanger German and European economic interests.
The unity generated by the resolution to beat up on Israel comes at a time when German Chancellor Angela Merkel cannot even muster her majority governing coalition members to vote on her preferred presidential candidate Christian Wulff from the Christian Democratic Union. He stumbled to victory on Wednesday in a third round of voting that turned out to be a great source of embarrassment for the Merkel administration. Wulff could not secure enough votes in the first and second rounds of voting from Merkel’s governing coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU), Christian Social Unionists, and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP).
All of this means that while members of parliament defected from the governing coalition during the Wulff vote to protest Merkel's policies, anti-Israel sentiment was capable of bringing about solidarity among the diverse parties.
A fitting rejoinder from the Israeli Knesset would be to pass a resolution demanding that Germany agree to an international investigation into its deadly bombing of civilians and Taliban fighters in Kunduz last September. Or the Israeli Knesset could both condemn Germany's roughly 4 billion euro trade relationship with the Iranian regime, which is propping up Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, and its safe-haven on German soil for 900 active Hezbollah members.
But with Israel focused on threats that actually question its long-term existence, it’s probably better if it takes the high road. At least now, the little democracy in the Middle East is able to identify its friends with greater ease.
Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.