Frank Müller-Rosentritt

Majority of German lawmakers deny greater support for Israel at UN

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Majority of German lawmakers deny greater support for Israel at UN

German parliament on Thursday rejected a motion demanding greater support for Israel in the United Nations.

The motion, tabled by members of the liberal, pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), called upon the government to change its voting patterns in the General Assembly in response to disproportionate targeting of Israel.

408 out of 626 lawmakers voted Thursday night against the bid.

Only one member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative block voted in favor of the motion, with 224 voting against. The Social Democrats (SPD) and the Left party also rejected the bid entirely, and the Green party choosing to abstain. Apart from the FDP, only the populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) largely supported the motion.

Last year, 21 of 26 resolutions passed by UN General Assembly condemning states for various violations have targeted Israel. Germany has voted in favor of 16 of these resolutions. The FDP's motion highlighted also the bias against Israel in the UN Human Rights Council and in UNESCO.

The proposal called upon the German government “to clearly oppose attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and to support Israel's right to exist in practical politics in UN bodies and specialized agencies – including and especially within the framework of Germany's membership of the UN Security Council from 2019.”

During the debate, AfD representative Anton Friesen quoted Merkel's famous 2008 speech before the Israeli Knesset, in which she stated that Israel's security is part of Germany's “raison d'état.”

“The difference between words and actions have never been so clear as in Germany's politics towards Israel,” he said, to the sound of applause from his party. He also criticized Germany's migration policy for allowing the “mass import of Islamic anti-Semites.”

The speaker for the conservative block, MP Roderich Kiesewetter, reiterated Merkel's promise and stressed that Germany is protecting Israel and Israeli interests against unwarranted attacks in international organization.

“I believe all factions here support this,” he noted and criticized the motions focus on figures, without any comment “on the failed peace process, on why the Palestinians are radically pursuing an internationalization strategy, by which they exploit the states of the Global South for their anti-Israel position.

“It is important to us, first, to create an atmosphere that is friendly to Israel within Europe, and second, despite the concerns raised about Israel, to make clear that Israel's right to exist and a two-state solution are not negotiable for us,” added Kiesewetter.

The SPD's representative Nils Schmid also defended Germany's existing policy of striving for dialog with all sides and softening the wording of resolutions against Israel rather than rejecting them. “One thing is also clear: If a text negate Israel's right to exist, that would always be a red line.”

In the end, nearly all members of the German coalition voted against the motion. FDP parliamentarian Frank Müller-Rosentritt, who initiated the vote, called its result “unbelievable and really disappointing.”

“I know of many colleagues, especially among the conservatives, who personally fully support our demands of the government, and yet they voted against it. They didn’t have the courage to call their government to take a lead in changing the UN’s extreme bias against Israel,” he told i24NEWS.

He also accused the Social Democrats of refusing to acknowledge “the problem of anti-Israel imbalance at the UN,” just like Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who belongs to the party. Remarking on the AfD's show of support, he noted that the fact that the “wrong” party voted in favor of the motion does not reflect on its legitimacy.