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Failed Zionist attack on free expression in Germany

Carlos Latuff/ MWC NEWSBy Elias Davidsson

On Thursday, January 12, 2012, I attended proceedings before the labor court of the city of  Bonn, Germany, that involved a Zionist attempt to stifle free expression in Germany. While the attempt failed, it provided glimpses into the modus operandi of the international Zionist lobby and the misguided support given to that lobby by the Jewish community.

The proceedings pitted a well known expert on Middle Eastern affairs, Dr. Ludwig Watzal, and his employer, the Federal Republic of Germany. Dr. Watzal is a scholar working since 1986 at the Federal Center for Political Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung) and former editor of the journal “From Politics and Contemporary History”, published by that Center. This Center operates under the authority of the Federal Ministry of Interior.

Dr. Watzal recently sued his employer, the German Government, because his employer unilaterally canceled an agreement, according to which Dr. Watzal was entitled to work part of his time from home. In justifying this sanction, the government argued that Dr. Watzal had posted on his private blog a polemic article, in which he took issue with what he considered as failing standards of debate in the Bundestag, the German Parliament. The debate in question concerned alleged antisemitic tendencies within the German Leftist Party (Partei die Linke). The mere allegation that such tendencies exist within the Leftist Party was considered by Dr. Watzal as “hallucinatory” and “repelling”. 

Dr. Watzal wrote: “The members of the Parliament have seldom displayed in such a glaring fashion their ignorance, their lack of awareness and their meanness as today.” Dr. Watzal used strong words, but these were commensurable with the circumstances. It is, under any standards, difficult to contain one’s disgust when observing members of parliament, who approve of arms sales to rogue regimes, smear their colleagues, who have risked their lives in attempting to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza (on the ship Marmara), with the term “antisemite”. The logical converse would be that supporting Israeli war crimes is the mark of friendship to Jews. Is not the role of intellectuals, such as Dr. Watzal, to ring the bell, when politicians lose their moral compass?  It is, however, a pity that Dr. Watzal, intimidated by the Zionist lobby, chose to remove his courageous article from his blog.

It emerged during the court proceedings, however, that the Government did not at all claim that Dr. Watzal had transcended the limits of decency in his article, or that Dr. Watzal pretended to write in the name of the Center, or that he had neglected his work. The sole argument the Government presented was that by posting his article - which he removed after three days from his private blog after being hounded by Zionists in Germany -  he could or would damage the reputation of the Center. The Government argued that due to the positive reputation of Dr. Watzal, any view he may express in public, could be imputed to the Center. The Government’s representative did not explain, however, how a well grounded article by one of its experts could impair the Center’s reputation. One would rather expect that a good article would enhance the Center’s reputation, or at least bring some life into a drab political landscape. A justified critique of an immature parliamentarian assembly is, anyhow, within the ambit of that Center’s work. The Center was not established to massage the good feelings of the political elite. Or so it proclaims.

What prompted the Government to move against Dr. Watzal was not his article, but a letter by a member of the right-wing CSU parliamentary faction, a certain Mr. Uhl, to his party-brother Hans-Peter Friedrich, Minister of the Interior. In his letter Uhl complained that Dr. Watzal had on his blog referred twice to an independent Jewish magazine - The Semit - that appears in Germany. This monthly magazine, edited by Abraham Melzer, publishes mostly articles by Jews and Israelis who oppose Israeli violations of human rights and campaign for a just peace. It represents essentially a critical Jewish voice. Citing this Jewish magazine was the “crime” for which Dr. Watzal was asked to be dismissed. The willingness of the Minister to act in this direction, reveals the anti-democratic and antisemitic tendencies still prevalent in the German public administration. Let us remind ourselves that the Nazi regime also differentiated between “good Jews” (the Zionists who were ready to emigrate to Palestine) and “bad Jews” (those who wanted to remain German citizens). The former were tolerated and even helped by the Nazi authorities (they could even run summer camps in Germany). The latter were discriminated, persecuted and ultimately exterminated.

This attempt to gag Dr. Watzal is just one more episode in a long smear-campaign against him, masterminded by the Zionist lobby. Members of that lobby attempt periodically to pressure various levels of government to sack Dr. Watzal. Thus, the Secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany (“Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland”), Stephan Joachim Kramer, wrote on February 26, 2008 to then Germany’s Minister of the Interior, Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, a letter complaining about statements made by Dr. Watzal. In his letter, Kramer wrote that Dr. Watzal’s critical analysis of Israeli policies towards the Palestinian people “verges” on antisemitism or even “exceeds” it, whatever that means. According to Mr. Kramer, Dr. Watzal had the nerve to designate the State of Israel as a “colonial power”, reported that Israel engages in “ethnical cleansing” and recognized that the Palestinian people are fighting for their self-determination and their freedom. As a Jew born in Palestine and a committed opponent of Zionism since my youth, I entirely agree with Dr. Watzal’s statements. Such views are common among thousands of Jews and Israelis for the simple reason that they are correct. Are Jews expected to reject common sense? Contrary to the perfidious charge of antisemitism, the positions taken by Dr. Watzal testify to his deep and genuine concern for the fate of Jews and Palestinians. Few public officials in Germany fulfil their moral duty towards the Israeli and the Palestinian people with such a principled and dignified manner as Dr. Watzal.

Joining his German colleague, the General Secretary of the Jewish community of Austria, sent on the same day a letter to Minister Schäuble, complaining about Dr. Watzal. In his letter he went one step further, actually alleging that Dr. Watzal was a closet antisemite, who rationalizes his anti-Jewish hatred by criticizing Zionism and Israeli policies. While we may disregard such slander as reflecting a pathological frame of mind, it has hitherto served well the State of Israel.  One prays that the Austrian Jewish community will muster the wisdom to uphold truth and justice rather than chase phantoms.

A day later, the Jewish community in Berlin joined its voice to help rid the German administration of Dr. Watzal, who according to the President of that community “moves with his hate-filled expressions towards [the State of] the border of antisemitism, and even crosses that border.” This illustrates the tone of a letter she sent to Minister of Interior Schäuble, urging him to dismiss Dr. Watzal. A detailed examination of her letter is unnecessary as it repeats, more or less, the same arguments adduced by her colleagues.

In order to give some “real punch” to their submission, these Jewish leaders sought the assistance of the notorious Anti-Defamation League of the United States. Merely a week after the leaders of the Austrian and German Jewish communities sent their letters to Minister Schäuble, Glen Lewy and Abraham Foxman, respectively National Chairman and National Director of ADL, joined the fray by writing to the President of the Center for Political Education, asking him to “sever the Center’s ties” with Dr. Watzal.  To ensure compliance, a copy was sent to Dr. Schäuble, to whom this Center reports. The German officials to whom this letter was addressed were thereby reminded that the power of the Zionist lobby knows no borders. The ADL appears, once again, to enjoy nurturing the perception that a global Zionist cabal exists, which does not hesitate to tell governments around the world whom to hire and whom to fire.

At this point, I feel compelled to explain the role antisemitism plays in the promotion of political Zionism. Let it be recalled that political Zionism has at all times entertained a symbiotical relationship with antisemitism. This symbiotic relationship was explicitly acknowledged by founder of modern Zionism, Dr. Theodor Herzl, who confided to his diaries that antisemites are Zionism’s best allies. Contrary to appearances, there is no paradox involved here. This symbiotic relationship derives from Zionism’s basic premise, namely that Jews cannot and should not assimilate into their surrounding societies. This premise was shared by the Zionist movement and the Nazi regime. A variant of this view, promoted by Zionist socialists, is that Jews - because of their membership in the upper-middle class - will inevitably be victims in a class struggle and should, therefore, create their own national state, in which they would become a “normal people”, comprising all classes. On that base, socialist Zionists in Palestine attacked Jewish businessmen who dared to hire Arab workers.

These socialists opposed any form of cooperation between Jews and Arabs, whether as equals, or as employers and employees. They aimed at total segregation that was far more radical than that of South African apartheid. Zionism, i.e. the ideology of serving the State of Israel, feeds on the existence of anti-Jewish bigotry, because such bigotry reduces Jewish assimilation and induces Jews to move to Israel. Zionism also feeds on Arab distrust towards the Jews, because real peace will inevitably lead to a growing integration of Israeli society in the Arab Middle-East, to an increasing rate of mixed marriages and ultimately to the demise of the Jewish national state. This explains why a Zionist Israel cannot and will not reach an accommodation with its neighbors and will at the first threat of peace engage in provocations. Professional Zionists thus act rationally when promoting, directly or indirectly, the perception of antisemitism and when provoking gentiles to distrust Jews. Current cooperation between Zionists and right-wing racist movements in Europe is thus logical.

The leaders of the Jewish communities in Germany and Austria may sincerely believe that Zionism is helpful to Jews, but they fool themselves. For only a fool would attempt to conflate efforts to ensure the respect for human rights by Israel, or to equate the opposition of Zionism, with antisemitism. Opposition to Zionism has a long and honorable tradition in Jewish society. Initially, most Jews opposed Zionism. To trivialize antisemitism, as they leaders do, by conflating it with anti-Zionism, is playing with fire. I appeal to these Jewish leaders to differentiate between the interests of their own community and Zionism, a regressive nationalist ideology.  Dr. Ludwig Watzal has contributed a great deal in Germany to the understanding of Zionism and should be commended for that.  I found no trace of bigotry and antisemitism in his writings. On the contrary: All his efforts tend to support a just peace in my country of birth.  Jews designate such people as Righteous Gentiles.

One should be pleased that the misguided efforts by the aforementioned Jewish leaders did not succeed. The judge in Dr. Watzal’s case, apparently unaware of Zionist machinations, said that if the Government contends that the trust between itself and Dr. Watzal had be broken by his private political publications, that trust would not be restored by having him merely relocate from home to the main office. By this reasoning, the judge implied that the Government had argued its case in bad faith. Imposing the sanction on Dr. Watzal was thus seen by the court as an inappropriate response to the alleged grievance. Going by the quality of their arguments in court, it appears to me that Dr. Watzal’s direct superiors who were sent to represent the Center in court, had done so against their own conviction. The court had no choice but dismiss the Government’s position and uphold Dr. Watzal’s negotiated agreement of working partly from home.

The question remains who else within the German administration will now be recruited to serve the Zionist lobby in harrassing Dr. Watzal. The willingness of senior German officials to resort to the petty measures and asinine arguments described herein, suggests that the payoff accruing to some of them from such services may be substantial. But not everyone can be bribed.

Editor Note: Dr. Ludwig Watzal, is a contributing editor at MWC News

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