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N.B. Writing for IMC UK, John Strand observed on 30 December 2008 that the Berlin demo organized by Palestinian and other migrants the day before was “only attended by literally a handful of the Left. None of the peace groups or the radical left attended.” Strand attributes the absence of the Left to a powerful pro-Israel campaign “inside and outside” the Left making charges that left-wing criticisms of Israel constitute “left-wing anti-Semitism.” As a measure of the strength of this campaign inside the Left, see the case of Die Linke:
Gregor Gysi, a leading figure in the party and head of the large Left caucus in the Bundestag, added new issues recently by calling for a clear rejection of “anti-Zionism” and clear support for Israel. He went further by claiming that issues like imperialism and anti-imperialism were hardly relevant today, when no country is seeking colonies, and he indicated support for a sort of German consensus on such issues. A small youth group, going further, called for an end (all in one breath) to anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, anti-Americanism, and “regressive anti-capitalism.” In the historic context of Germany’s past, there is an unquestioned need for a rejection of all anti-Semitism (increasingly used by right-wingers, aided by the widespread unpopularity of Israel’s policy in Palestine). But labeling all criticism of Israeli military and occupation policies as anti-Semitism can represent another extreme.
This issue was hardly mentioned at the congress, but contains real perils to future unity. (Victor Grossman, “Key Contrasting Congresses in Germany” MRZine, 28 May 2008)