Power Suits 11 November 2014
He wanted to show a photograph of the al-Kilani family – German citizens killed by an Israeli bomb that struck the Gaza City home they were sheltering in last summer – to leading left-wing politician Gregor Gysi.
On 21 July, Ibrahim al-Kilani and his wife Taghrid were killed along with their five children: Reem, 12, Sawsan, 11, Yasin, 9, Yasser, 8, and four-year-old Elias. Mahmoud Derbas, aged 16, was killed in the same strike.
Blumenthal hoped to ask the lawmaker and influential figure in the center-left Die Linke (The Left) party why he and other German leaders had said and done nothing to bring justice for the al-Kilanis – and why Germany is instead providing Israel with new gunboats which will likely be used to attack Palestinian fishermen.
Instead, as the video above shows, there was a bizarre spectacle as Gysi fled from Blumenthal and fellow journalist David Sheen and locked himself in a toilet.
In the hours before the incident, Gysi was behind an unsuccessful effort to cancel Blumenthal’s and Sheen’s appearance at the Bundestag earlier that day.
That event was initiated by Die Linke legislators Inge Höger and Annette Groth, two long-time supporters of Palestinian rights who have been smeared as “anti-Semites” by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Although The Jerusalem Post reported that Gysi had ordered the event canceled, evidently members of his party ignored him and the meeting went ahead.
Blumenthal was able to speak about what he witnessed in Gaza and Sheen told the German audience about Israel’s racial violence and incitement against African refugees and others.
This is a video of Sheen’s testimony:It was after the event, attended by dozens, that Blumenthal and Sheen requested to meet Gysi to confront him about Israel’s crimes in Gaza and the smears that Gysi and his acolytes had disseminated against them.
Rather than explain himself, Gysi ran away.
Barred from the Volksbühne
The failed effort to cancel the Bundestag meeting followed a more successful effort at censorship on Sunday, when Blumenthal and Sheen were disinvited from speaking at the Volksbühne, a public theater in Berlin.
This came after a smear campaign promoted by Volker Beck, an anti-Palestinian legislator with Germany’s Green Party, Petra Pau of Die Linke and Reinhold Robbe, the president of the German-Israel Friendship Society and a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party.
Blumenthal’s and Sheen’s appearance would serve “to promote anti-Semitic prejudice by comparing the terror of the Nazis with Israeli policies,” the ostensibly leftist politicians wrote in an open letter.
Barred from the Volksbühne as a result these smears, Sheen and Blumenthal spoke Sunday morning in the street outside the theater:
Speaking to The Electronic Intifada from Berlin, Blumenthal pointed out that the smear campaign against him and Sheen – and more importantly the effort to prevent discussion about Israel’s crimes in Gaza – was the product of the anti-Palestinian network funded by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
In his most recent racist and quasi-genocidal outburst, Adelson – a key funder of the US Republican Party – declared that the Palestinians are “a made-up nation” and that the “the purpose of the existence of Palestinians is to destroy Israel.”
Blumenthal notes that it was Benjamin Weinthal, a Berlin-based anti-Palestinian activist, who initiated the smear campaign with an article in the right-wing Berliner Morgenpost, and later in The Jerusalem Post, falsely claiming that the Bundestag meeting would not take place.
Weinthal is a fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), which Blumenthal calls “one of the most right-wing neocon think tanks there is.” FDD describes Weinthal as its “eyes and ears on the ground in Central Europe.” Weinthal was also behind an unsuccessful 2010 smear campaign against The Electronic Intifada.
Weinthal’s article is filled with torrid quotations – including from Beck – smearing Blumenthal and Sheen, who are both Jewish, of being “anti-Semites” because of their criticisms of Israel.
FDD received $1.5 million from Adelson from 2008-11, making the casino magnate the group’s third most generous donor. Adelson has also given tens of thousands of dollars to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Blumenthal points out that the material smearing him in the German media comes from “my Simon Wiesenthal Stasi file” – an ironic reference to the former East Germany’s notorious secret police.
“Beck falsely accused me of using the term ‘Judeo-Nazis’ – he made that claim on Twitter,” Blumenthal said, offering an example of how the smear campaign works. “But I had merely quoted Yeshayahu Leibowitz, one of the most famous Israeli intellectuals in history, using the term.”Last year, the Wiesenthal Center featured Blumenthal on its list of “Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs.” He tied for ninth place with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Alice Walker. Typical of such smears, the Wiesenthal Center offered up gross distortions of Blumenthal’s book Goliath to falsely present him as an anti-Semite.
But such tactics are nevertheless effective in Germany, where politicians are generally terrified of criticizing Israel and confuse offering unquestioning support for Israeli crimes with atonement for their country’s genocide of Europe’s Jewish population.
Weinthal got a prominent legislator in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party to join the attack, claiming that the Blumenthal-Sheen event sponsored by members of Die Linke would do “damage to Germany’s reputation” by making an argument for recognition of a Palestinian state.
Using the left to undermine Palestinian rights
In its 2010 roadmap for sabotaging the Palestine solidarity movement, the Israeli think tank the Reut Institute pointed out that the value of support for Israel is far greater if it comes from the left. This is because the left is seen as generally more receptive to Palestinian rights.
Weinthal’s attack on Blumenthal and Sheen appears to come precisely from that playbook. Weinthal got members of the Greens, Social Democrats and Die Linke to push his far-right, anti-Palestinian agenda.
And now the affair is being used to go after those perceived as being hostile to Israel, with calls for Groth and Höger – the lawmakers who sponsored the Bundestag meeting – to be purged from Die Linke.
Blumenthal told The Electronic Intifada that several members of Die Linke urged Gysi to meet the two writers after their Bundestag meeting. But, according to Blumenthal, Gysi sent text messages to his colleagues saying he would not.
“The first message said ‘I will not meet with Max Blumenthal, he always compares Israel to Nazis,’” Blumenthal recalled. “The second one said that the meeting would be used to make him ‘look bad.’”
Blumenthal and Sheen confronted Gysi anyway, demanding to know why he had endorsed the smear campaign against them. In the end, they came out fighting and it is the German politician’s reputation that ended up in the toilet.
- Gregor Gysi
- Die Linke
- Green Party (Germany)
- Angela Merkel
- Max Blumenthal
- David Sheen
- Benjamin Weinthal
- Sheldon Adelson
- Simon Wiesenthal Center
- Reut Institute
Lesson of the Holocaust
Permalink Hugh Ekeberg replied on
We often hear from the apologists of Israel or more correctly, from those who profit from their nation's relationship with Israel, that to compare the holocaust with the policies of the Israeli state is an obscenity.
While Weinthal and Adelson would have us never forget the holocaust they have no idea why we should never forget it. Yet we are also reminded again and again by pundits in the mainstream media and documentary makers never to forget it.
So we have to ask ourselves, what is the critical lesson we draw from the holocaust? That thing which enabled not only the holocaust to happen but also the extinction of indigenous peoples across the planet because of colonial expansion.
Well that process which led to the holocaust is the process which is happening today in Israel and it's THE DELIBERATE PROCESS BY WHICH ORDINARY PEOPLE COME TO REGARD OTHERS AS UNTERMENSCHEN OR SUB-HUMAN. Then it becomes acceptable to strip them of all human rights and acceptable to massacre them as we saw in Gaza.
This dehumanising process morally corrupts the perpetrators who go on to declare that Palestinians are an invented people and therefore fake and illegitimate. It's then OK for the police to execute the Untermensch, to demolish their homes and perpetrate other state crimes which would be unthinkable for Jewish citizens.
This cancer goes on to corrupt the mainstream narrative where corporate media outlets find great tragedy in the death and injury of the Jewish citizens of Israel but for the Untermenschen it doesn't matter.
More and more, Israel is fermenting the same racist hysteria which led to the holocaust in Europe and they are totally blind to it because they themselves have missed the critical lesson which applies to all humanity.
FOR H EKEBERG AND FRINEDS
Permalink Peter Loeb replied on
For Mr. Ekeberg and his friends, many thanks for expressing so eloquently
what many of us feel in our hearts and souls but lack the courage
to say aloud.
-----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
How smearing works
Permalink Otla Pinnow replied on
To presume that "Judeo-Nazi" is an expression from Blumenthal is typical for the smearing practice at least of German Israel Lobby. And they also insist on it. You can proof a hundred times that it's wrong - they say it though.
But interesting an other expression, from Gysi, published today in Spiegel http://www.spiegel.de/politik/...
"Especially we in Germany have to get used: there was only one Hitler. To seek for a second one will fail."
But who seeks in Israel for a 2nd Hitler? Nobody.
But there is another implication. Is it only nazi and fascism if someone wants to present a 2nd Hitler? Then not only Blumenthal and Sheen were smeared without any reality behind (they were anyhow), more important: with that he wipes away all neonazis and fascists not only in Europe. Because none of them wants to present a 2nd Hitler. Already for propaganda purpose they are not interested in Hitler.
Of course also neonazis within the zionists are wiped away; one word: kahanists. They can set mosques on fire, claim jewish superiority and that Arabs should be gassed - but they are no nazis. Because they don't present a 2nd Hitler. Ridiculous.
I think there is one reason for the run to loo: Blumenthal and Sheen are foreigners, not used what Germans are used to: that every pro-palestinian can be smeared as anti-semit in public and that it's useless to complain. Pro-palestinians are outlaws in Germany, due to activity of her widely protected Israel-Lobby. I think Gysi did simply not understand how somebody could demand an explanation for being smeared as anti-semit. What? Explanation? It's simply old custom in Germany. Since decades! They must be somehow delusional (newspaper Bild wrote that!) to complain.
The Jewish Prison
Permalink Artemis replied on
Excellent summary that clearly demonstrates the absolute, iron-clad resistance to even listening to, let alone discussing, the testimonies of courageous individuals who constantly witness and evaluate the on-going extermination of any Palestinian rights and the extreme or violent vindictiveness of Israel towards any resistance or opposition, whether it comes from Palestinians or a tiny percentage of Israelis - or for that matter from Jews and non-Jews anywhere in the world.
My research into German refusal to be informed and think/speak about Palestinians as human beings with rights and the utter illegality of Israel's occupation has led me to believe that they also exist in the "Jewish Prison" described by Jean Daniel in the little book of the same name. I quote from Adam Katz's brilliant essay on Claude Lanzmann's autobiography: "This prison, unlike anti-semitism, was self-imposed, and made up of three invisible walls: the idea of the Chosen People, Holocaust remembrance and support for the state of Israel. Having trapped themselves inside these walls, the prosperous, assimilated Jews of the West were less and less able to see themselves clearly, or to appreciate the suffering of others – particularly the Palestinians living behind the ‘separation fence’."
As far as I see it, Germans have unconsciously taken on this same position. Mix this with identification of Israelis as being "European", racism towards Arabs, terror of being accused as antisemites, and you get people like Beck, Gysi and Pau, Chancellor Merkel (the latter three were East Germans) Merkel harbours many false illusions about Israel and it's 'blooming of the desert' mythology and has even declared the existence of Israel to be part of Germany's "raison d'etre". And Merkel's government sends the tanks and submarines and other weapons (which German taxpayers largely subsize) that bombard Gaza, while German military and police train and its secret services collaborate with Israel.
It is only right that Germany
Permalink maggie replied on
It is only right that Germany step up and protect the rights of the oppressed Palestinians, It would go a long way to demonstrating German commitment to the rights of minorities held in contempt by an occupying force, such as the Palestinians are now suffering at the hands of the zionists in Israel.
Permalink Artemis replied on
I should add, following Gysi to challenge him, will be - or is - seen as 'bad behaviour' in Germany. Activists are generally very polite and well-behaved.
Many Germans will ignore the words of David Sheen to Gysi, that his family and he are endangered by these false accusations, which will have repercussions for them in Israel. Probably for Max as well. Even worse, the terrible and traumatizing things these two young men have witnessed and are willing to take risks to expose are considered secondary to the 'insult of chasing a German politician into the toilet in his own Parliament building'. - No! damn it - it is the Paliament building of the people of Germany! They should be treated as adults who can think for themselves, which means all the truths on the table.
Permalink Otla Pinnow replied on
That doesn't convince me.
This strong force of Israel lobby is quite new and has a lot of reasons; I wrote about one reason here: http://otlasblog.wordpress.com... - anti-germans, who developed with re-unification. So it's not accidentally, that the strongest supporters of Israel come from east, from former GDR.
In fact, all that has to do more with Germany than with Israel and Palestine. It's a neurotic reaction.
But on the other side one should not forget Israels interests in one of the most important states in EU, worth of all efforts. And the ideology of Israels far right, who, following their own supremacy thoughts, see it as their legitim effort to oppress the Germans in revange and make them their servants. As a result you would wonder to hear how many also well educated Germans tell you in confidence that you are not allowed to say anything against Israel in Germany.
Permalink Artemis replied on
Otla Pinnow: I don't think you understand what I wrote. I would also disagree with you about the Israel lobby being quite new. It is not new at all, in Germany or elsewhere. In fact, if you read Might Over Right and other books that trace Zionism from its beginnings, lobbying was one of the most powerful and effective tools for certain Zionists to push through what they desired, whatever the cost.
The amount of subversive manipulation and cowering of politicians, journalists and even intellectuals and artists in Germany is unbelievably shocking. And the way they turn on those who speak out is, quite frankly, frightening.
German Israel Lobby
Permalink Otla Pinnow replied on
I did not mean that the Israel Lobby in Germany is a new phenomenon. But what you name "unbelievable shocking" is quite new. First, as I wrote in my blog, because of re-unification. The blind and stupid pro-Israel fanatism of the "Anti-Germans" is something that didn't exist in old West Germany before.
2nd already since 2012 Israel came heavily under pressure also from EU. Germany is important for EU. So they increased pressure very much, one can say, they became wild.
Everybody knows that because of many zionist journalists placed in media they can set up a smearing campain that can blast an existence (see Salaita, here it would not become public); despite the nerves it costs. So they fear the lobby. I think Gysi feared her; he was already in his GDR times not an example for courage and is not now. The three legislators who made a kotau surely fear as well; the Israel lobby already claimed loudly that they must step back.
I'm looking for the lobby because they attacked me as well, so I know how they work.
But here an example not yet mentioned:
Up to now - there is a new trial running - also the courts did not see the heavy insult in smearing somebody as antisemit or even nazi, when anti-fascism belongs to his identity. So no protection.
The hardest case I know is this http://www.jpost.com/Internati..., here described of course one-sided from well known Benjamin Weinthal. I don't know Jebsen and he is not a political journalist. But he is smeared from all sides in an unbelievable way nobody deserves. It's a sort of social killing. I fear his career is at end perhaps forever.
Maybe he had an epiphany and
Permalink David Christie replied on
Maybe he had an epiphany and realized that's exactly where he belongs.
thats not gregor gysi
Permalink tittenrolf replied on
...not gregor gysi. Besides the left party is not part of the government, only in the opposition.they have actually no say in whether weapons are being delivered since since the two main parties (who were supposed to oppose each other) have gotten into a coalition and can whatever they want.
Permalink Otla Pinnow replied on
He is surely not the worst. But his behaviour is a problem.
I don't think he forbade the event on his own; he was forced to. Forced by the Israel lobby. As the speaker of the group said in the video, Gysi didn't want to speak with Blumenthal and Sheen because that could cause problems for him. And it would have caused problems. Please remember Kreisky, also a jew who was no zionist. He also was attacked by the Israel lobby. Because of his strong international position they could not really harm him; but Gysi is not a Kreisky, in no way.
Though his behaviour was with no doubt coward. Chickenshit way, said with a just popular word. To let them lobbyists smear and attack and lie and even follow their demands, just because of the fear to get smeared and attacked as well - ok. Not everybody is a hero. We know Gysi is not. He was not in GDR time. He was not a defender of GDR. But when something just became dangerous for himself ( he was a lawyer then) he retired; perhaps not to the loo, but to another quiet place he could not be seen.
He's not a hero. In case he could get problems in defending someone who get's smeared, then it's the pity of the smeared and Gysi retires. He can do that, but then he has to tolerate, that others bring it to public.
And it's not really an excuse that a German has to bear it when he gets smeared by Israel lobby. first, why, and second: Blumenthal and Sheen are no Germans.
Permalink Me replied on
Unfortunately what happened to the Al-Kilani family doesn't surprise me. I myself was in Gaza with my family when the attack on Gaza in 2014 started. I called the German embassy in Tel-Aviv who "could not help me". There was no "evacuation list". What saved me and my family was my Irish passport and the Irish embassy.