Thursday

19th Oct 2017

Opinion

Left flirting with antisemitism in EU parliament

  • During the conference in the EU parliament, numerous antisemitic statements were made. (Photo: European Parliament)

Two major issues have been shaping the western world for the last decade and a half: terrorism and racism.

In spite of what is often thought, both have strong contemporary connections to the European left.

At the end of September, the GUE/NGL - a political group uniting parties to the left of social democracy - organised a seminar in the European Parliament where both these tendencies were on display.

One of the speakers was Leila Khaled, a member of the Palestinian terror group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a hijacker of two civilian airplanes.

It is outrageous that such a person is given a platform in the EU parliament, a body representing democracy and peaceful cooperation among peoples.

Furthermore, during the conference, numerous antisemitic statements were made.

One speaker argued that "some sections" of Israeli society "are more racist than the Nazis themselves" and that the Zionist movement collaborated with the German Nazi regime.

Another speaker compared the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust and then argued that Israel should be judged like the Nazis in Nuremberg.

A third statement labelled a Palestinian terrorist, who shot and murdered three Israelis, as a "martyr."

Not a one-off event

Even if it is despicable, it could be seen as a one-off event. Regrettably, this is not the case.

In my own country, Sweden, the Left party (Vänsterpartiet) has had systematic ties to undemocratic and violent terror organisations. And antisemitism is popping up here and there in the European left movement.

The British Labour party seems to be particularly hit, with a succession of seemingly antisemitic incidents causing a stir in the UK.

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone suggested that Hitler supported Zionists and others argued for the expulsion of Jewish groups from the party.

Antisemitism is one of the world's oldest forms of ethnic hatred. In his book 'Racism: a short story', US historian George Fredrickson traces its origins back to medieval Europe.

Furthermore, antisemitism is not only the racism that has taken the most brutal expression in industrialised mass slaughter, but it is also one of the 'stickiest' variations of collectivist hate - repeatedly showing its ugly face.

When Europe is overwhelmed by a populist-nationalist surge with anti-immigrant, xenophobic and racist tendencies, it is very important that other political parties display zero tolerance to similar ideas.

Regrettably, though, the European left has not been able to keep itself immune from such influences.

Last weekend, in the second largest Swedish city of Gothenburg, neo-Nazis marched in the streets.

And, in August, white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the US, chanted "Jews will not replace us". It is sad to see that the European left cannot refrain from similar tendencies.

It is clear that Europe is suffering not from one extreme political force tarnished by racism and terror, but from two such groups.

Gunnar Hoekmark is an MEP in the EPP group.

Correction: This article originally said that Gunnar Hoekmark was German, but he is actually from Sweden.

Breaking the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock

The chaos sweeping the Middle East provides the right conditions for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The EU should throw its weight behind a French initiative to restart the peace process.

News in Brief

  1. EU summit moved to previous building after fumes scare
  2. Catalonia will 'not back down'
  3. New toxic incident in EU building ahead of summit
  4. Murdered Malta journalist's family invited to Parliament
  5. EU food safety chief denies keeping studies 'secret'
  6. EU states pledge 24,000 resettlement places so far
  7. US ready for arms sale to update Greece's F-16 fleet
  8. Austria's Green leaders step down following election failure

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU okays Privacy Shield's first year
  2. EU seeks to decrypt messages in new anti-terror plan
  3. EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote
  4. Spain points at elections as exit to Catalan crisis
  5. How EU can ensure Daphne Caruana Galizia's legacy survives
  6. Juncker dinner to warm up relations with eastern EU
  7. Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle
  8. The unbearable lightness of leadership