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Will Bundestag Now Retract Flotilla Decree?

Will Bundestag Now Retract Flotilla Decree?

Benjamin Weinthal
15th September 2011 - The Jewish Chronicle

Last year the German Bundestag and Vienna city council both voted unanimously to condemn Israel after it intercepted a flotilla that was in open violation of its naval blockade.

Now that the recent UN Palmer Report has debunked the European political consensus that Israel's blockade is unlawful, are Vienna council and Germany's parliament prepared to rescind their legislative resolutions attacking Israel?

In Vienna council, this looks unlikely given that members of all mainstream democratic parties, ranging from the social democrats to the Greens to the conservatives, formed an alliance with the radical right-wing Freedom Party, which has connections to Austrian Nazis, to criticise Israel's actions aboard the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara.

The seizure of the Marmara resulted in the deaths of nine jihadists.

While the Vienna city parliament's Pavlovian rebuke of Israel on the same day of the Marmara incident underscored the tendency to assume Israeli guilt, Germany's Bundestag voted for its own anti-Israel resolution a mere four weeks later.

The major democratic parties, including Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), joined forces with the radical left-wing anti-Israel Left Party to condemn Israel.

Melody Sucharewicz, a Munich-born Israeli expert on Germany, said in connection with the Bundestag resolution: "The Palmer Report provides an opportunity to at least symbolically alleviate this political error."

Although he voted for the Bundestag resolution, Philipp Missfelder, a leading deputy from the CDU, welcomed the fact that the UN report deemed Israel's naval blockade to be a legitimate security measure and sees the Palmer Report as a "step in the direction of an objective discussion about Israel's security interests".

While Sucharewicz sees the Bundestag action as a "one-time lapse, rather than the beginning of a political trend", some critics last year were eerily reminded of Wilhelm II's famous line: "I know no more parties, I know only Germans."

Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies

Tags

flotilla, germany, israel, united-nations