Israel commits unprovoked violence against Palestinians

When German “anti-fascists” waged war against Israel

From Florian Markl

It is now well known that hatred of Israel has had a prominent place in the ideology of the West German radical left since the late 1960s. In contrast, the extremely active role that the GDR played in the fight against the Jewish state has so far remained relatively unnoticed. The historian Jeffrey Herf brings with his recently published book “Undeclared Wars with Israel. East Germany and the West German Far Left 1967-1989 “[1] Shed light on this dark chapter of German post-war history.

The selection of Entebbe

In a few days it will be the 40th anniversary of a memorable event: On June 27, 1976, a command of the “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” (PFLP) hijacked Air France Flight 139, which was supposed to have gone from Tel Aviv to Paris. After a stopover in Benghazi, Libya, the plane, in which there were 12 crew members and around 250 passengers, reached the Ugandan Entebbe airport, where the Israeli and Jewish passengers were separated from the other passengers and the non-Jewish hostages were released. The "selection" of the Jewish passengers, who were liberated a few days later in the course of a spectacular rescue operation by Israeli special forces, was carried out by Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann - two German terrorists from the ranks of the "revolutionary cells" who were involved in the hijacking of the aircraft were.

"No other terrorist attack perpetrated by Germans has in retrospect caused such irritation as Entebbe's selection," says political scientist Wolfgang Kraushaar. "This step is unmistakably an anti-Semitism of the act, which needs no further explanation." [2]

The cooperation of German left-wing radicals with Palestinian terrorist organizations, above all the PFLP, and their involvement in anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli attacks has attracted some attention in recent years. [3] It is also examined in detail in Jeffrey Herf's new study, but in a certain sense it is a distraction from what he sees as the far more important support that Palestinian terrorist organizations and Arab states received from the Soviet-dominated Eastern Bloc.

While the West German terrorists attracted public attention with their attacks, but achieved very little in the process, the Soviet Union and its allies supplied vast amounts of weapons to the Middle East to support the war against Israel. The Soviet allies also included the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which trained Palestinian terrorists and soldiers from Arab countries in its own country and supplied military material to these states and the PLO. Via the detour via the GDR, which sees itself as anti-fascist, weapons that had been produced by the Nazis during World War II also ended up in the hands of Arab fighters who sought to eradicate the state of the Holocaust survivors.

In comparison, the contribution of the West German left seems rather modest: The support of Palestinian terrorist organizations and Arab states such as Egypt, Syria or Iraq by the GDR and the rest of the Eastern Bloc was by no means limited to the writing of leaflets and the occasional terrorist attacks - here there were extensive state attacks Resources put at the service of the never officially declared war against Israel. For example, during the Six Day War in 1967, the GDR delivered MiG fighter planes, T-34 tanks and tens of thousands of Kalashnikovs to the warring parties Egypt and Syria.

Turn against Israel

This contribution to the struggle against the Jewish state was based on the ideological about-face that the Eastern Bloc under the leadership of the Soviet Union had made soon after the establishment of Israel.

Originally he had welcomed the creation of a Jewish state. On May 14, 1947, Foreign Minister Gromyko at the UN General Assembly called on the West to defend the “elementary rights of the Jewish people and to protect them from the violence of fascist murderers”. It is unjust to deny the Jews the creation of their own state. The Soviet Union would have preferred a united Arab-Jewish state, but since this did not seem possible, it supported the division of the country into an Arab and a Jewish state. Both peoples, Jews and Arabs, have "historical roots in Palestine".

As Herf points out, Gromyko's support for the establishment of Israel had three components. First, he linked the realization of Jewish statehood with the anti-fascist struggle waged by the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. Second, he described the Jewish endeavors as just. Third, he emphasized the historical roots of the Jewish people in Palestine. Within a few years, however, the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc was to change course radically.

"The reversal of policy transformed the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine into an injustice, denied the Jews had historical roots in Palestine, and suppressed mention of the Holocaust."

Anti-Zionism as a Foreign Policy Tool

The support of Israel was replaced by its defamation as a fascist and racist state that would practice a Nazi-like "extermination policy" against its Arab opponents, and the attempt to isolate the "imperialist entity" of Israel internationally. According to Herf, no one excelled more than the GDR, although ideological convictions were joined by a practical aspect: agitation against Israel became an essential part of the strategy of overcoming one's own diplomatic isolation (outside the Eastern Bloc).

The verbal and active support of the war against Israel led to the recognition of the GDR by Arab and African states. Iraq began in 1969, and the GDR became a member of the United just four years later
n nations, where she immediately joined the solid majority that supported every resolution, no matter how absurd, in which Israel was pilloried. The high and low point of this anti-Israel propaganda fireworks was Resolution 3379 of 1975, in which the UN General Assembly was the only national liberation movement in the world to condemn Zionism as a form of racism.

While the GDR and its allies always presented themselves in their rhetoric as forces of "peace" and demanded compromises to solve the "Middle East conflict", they practically supported precisely those extremist states and groups that made peace impossible - even if by how the PLO, murdered several hundred Palestinians over the years who stood for peace with Israel.

Internal reports by the East German State Security Service spoke openly about the terrorism of the Palestinians - outwardly, of course, even the most murderous attacks were legitimized. The terrorist organization PLO, which carried out daily attacks against Israeli civilians, was granted observer status at the United Nations; meanwhile, the alleged Israeli “state terrorism” against the Palestinians has been demonized and the Jewish state has been accused of “genocide”.

Some simple rules

According to Herf, the statements of the GDR and the West German left on Israel followed a few simple rules. In the dispute over facts, the representations of Arab states or the PLO were believed; Israel, on the other hand, has always been accused of lying. Zionism was condemned as a form of racism closely related to colonialism and imperialism - Israel was thus portrayed as a state devoid of any moral legitimacy.

Palestinian terrorist attacks were either not reported at all, or they were described in such a distorted manner that injured or killed Jews were not included in the reports. So when Palestinian terrorists killed Israeli civilians, these attacks were portrayed as "armed struggle" against the Israeli army. Even when terrorists wreaked a bloodbath in an Israeli elementary school, it was not labeled terrorism.

It has been denied that Israel was threatened. All Israeli self-defense measures were therefore condemned as unprovoked aggression. When the terror against Israel was celebrated bluntly in the Arab and Palestinian media, it was kept quiet. The praise for “martyrdom” in the fight against Israel was not discussed.

If Arabs were killed in the course of Israeli counter-terrorism measures, grotesquely inflated figures from Arab or Palestinian sources were reproduced without questioning. When civilians were killed, these victims were not viewed as collateral damage, but rather as the deliberate result of Israeli policies. The allegation that the PLO was engaging in terrorism was rejected as an insult and defamation.

The GDR and the West German left denied that they would support a policy aimed at the annihilation of Israel. The countless attacks on Israelis had nothing to do with anti-Semitism. The accusation of anti-Semitism is rather an instrument of imperialist propaganda with which those who oppose colonialism, racism and imperialism should be discredited.

Herf rightly sees the last point, the defense against accusations of anti-Semitism, as splitting hairs:

"For the Israelis who were killed or wounded, either as civilians or in the armed forces in these years, it made no difference whether their enemies were motivated by the atavism of anti-Semitism or the more fashionable anti-Zionism of the global Left. The idea that seeking the destruction of the Jewish state had nothing to do with hatred of the Jews was one of the central leftist illusions of this era. "

Increased terror, increased support

In the 1970s, the Palestinian terror against Israel steadily intensified. Herf devotes his own chapters to the bloody milestones in this development: the attack on the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympic Games, the countless attacks on Israeli civilians, such as in Kiryat Shmona and Ma’alot in 1974, and the aforementioned Entebbe hijacking.

All these attacks were documented by the Israeli ambassadors to the United Nations and made known to all UN members. In March 1978, Chaim Herzog pointed to about 1,548 terrorist attacks against Israel that had occurred over the past four years. The United Nations did not want to know anything about it: Since the Olympic attack in Munich, the Palestinian terror has not been condemned or even criticized once.

The more intense the Palestinian terror became, the more extensive the support the PLO received from the GDR and other Eastern Bloc countries. The number of states that unilaterally pilloried Israeli self-defense measures grew on the international stage. The peak of this development was reached in 1982 when Israel reigned on terrorist sustained fire with the invasion of Lebanon. Without even mentioning the Palestinian terror in a word or recognizing Israel's right to self-defense, the UN General Assembly condemned the Israeli military operation with an overwhelming majority of 127 to 2 votes - for the first time, the Western European states joined the scandalously unilateral condemnation of Israel at.

Sorry after the turnaround