November 15, 2003

Discussing Lunacy Calmly and Objectively

"No one is allowed to tell the truth in Germany any more" has become a popular catchphrase here to block off any criticism of antisemitic slurs. Then there is "One isn't allowed to criticize Israel any more" when, in fact, just that is done all the time, heavily and much more often unfairly than fairly. But try to rebut anything, from unfair criticism of Israel to open antisemitic insults and one gets thrown "It isn't allowed anymore..." in one's face, irrrespective of the political affiliation of the thrower. It goes with left, right and center, blissfully oblivious of any political affiliation, which invariably suggests that something stinks.

"Why can't we debate calmly and objectively in Germany" is at least a variant of the old pattern, one must grant the new shooting star of the "No- one- is- allowed- to- tell- the- truth- in- Germany- any- more"-faction, the federal lawmaker and Christian Democrat Martin Hohmann that.

Don't get me wrong, there is no reason whatsoever for the hypocritical left gloating that it happened to this party. Over the years, there have been similar and worse incidents from even more prominent members of virtually all parties, which again suggests that something stinks.
German opposition expels deputy in anti-Semitism row
Fri Nov 14,12:11 PM ET

BERLIN (AFP) - After weeks of soul-searching debate Germany's conservative opposition Christian Union alliance voted to expel a member of parliament from its ranks over an allegedly anti-Semitic speech.

The parliamentary faction of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its small sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), voted by 195 for to 28 against, with 16 abstentions, to expel back bench MP Martin Hohmann.

A two-thirds majority of at least 166 votes was needed to remove him.

[...]

The decision does not mean Hohmann will lose his parliamentary seat as he can remain in the Bundestag as an independent.

In a speech to constituents on October 3, the national holiday, Hohmann said Jews could, with some justification, be seen as a "race of perpetrators" for their alleged crimes against civilians in the 1917 Russian revolution.

But he then went on to say Jews were in fact not a race of perpetrators -- and neither were Germans.

In a brief written statement after the vote, he apologized for his speech -- without retracting it -- and promised to continue to work for his electorate in Neuhof, in the central state of Hesse.

"The public pressure" had an impact on the CDU, admitted the vice-president of the group, Wolfgang Bosbach, but he said that "Hohmann's refusal to withdraw his insufferable remarks" was the last straw.

"Why can't we debate calmly and objectively in Germany," he lamented.

The head of the parliamentary faction of the Greens, the junior partner in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's governing coalition, praised the decision to expel him.

While CDU leaders had been confident of getting the majority they wanted to throw him out of the parliamentary group, the vote showed he has some support.

A separate process to exclude him from the party altogether is underway in his home state and a decision is expected later this month.

CDU leaders have been desperate to end an embarrassing debate over their stance on Germany's troubled past and Hohmann's refusal to officially retract his speech has not helped.

They were also put on the back foot when the government quickly dismissed the general at the head of Germany's special forces troops after he sent Hohmann a letter of support.

Criticism of the CDU mounted, including from Jewish leaders, who said they were astonished he had only be reprimanded and dropped from a parliamentary committee rather than removed altogether.

CDU leaders have acknowledged there is a ground swell of support for Hohmann, some of it tacit, and have sought to avoid it breaking into the open.

Privately, some CDU deputies have told newspapers they are concerned he is being discarded for the sake of political correctness.

Even the public seems undecided about the row.

A survey released on Wednesday showed 41 percent of Germans thought the remarks by Hohmann were enough grounds to expel him. Another 41 percent thought he should stay in the party.

The figures changed when people were asked if he should be thrown out of the parliamentary group -- 43 percent said yes, 38 said no.

Meanwhile, the CDU mayor of Recklinghausen, western Germany, has been told he faces possible exclusion for hanging a sign in the party's local office lamenting: "No one is allowed to tell the truth in Germany any more."
The "apology" of the mentioned backbencher who made that infamous speech (for which he got passionate acclaim from the audience in his constituency, btw.) was actually even funnier than the speech itself. He said, in effect, that the Jewish perpetrators of Stalinism were no real Jews because they didn't believe in God, so the Jews were no "people of perpetrators" and because the Germans who commited the holocaust didn't believe in God either, the Germans, on the whole, were no "people of perpetrators" either.

You got it? Because the Jews were no major perpetrators of Stalinism they were no "people of perpetrators" and because the Germans were major perpetrators of the Holocaust, they were no "people of perpetrators" either.

And nobody laughed!

The problem is not age-old, traditional, "old-fashioned" anti-Semitism, the problem is anti-Semitism. Period. According to the particular trend and topical relevance it gets new clothes, that's how it has become en vogue once again, even politically correct, albeit not only in Germany.

A global alliance of Muslims, right wingers, leftist ideologues and sanctimonious scientists and academics, frighteningly ignorant undergraduates, a bloodthirsty international media and opportunistic politicians have joined forces to blame the Jews and the Über-Jew, the Jewish state, for the present state of the world, again without any links to -- and sometimes in opposition with -- "conservative" powers.

It is a self-sufficient resentment that, different from racism, doesn't need any specimen to fuel its hatred. It exists independently even without the actual presence of Jews.Those two politically correct lies, first that is a purely right-wing phenomenon and secondly one that is similar to racism, does a lot of damage by obfuscating the true roots and the -- conscious or subconscious -- agenda.

So the new "lack of inhibition" is not merely "limited to anti-Semitism" but includes apologizing Palestinian terrorism. If that is not a manifestation of anti-Semitism PER SE, WHAT is?