Things seemed to be looking up for Israel haters Max Blumenthal and David Sheen. Some gigs in Germany spreading their libel of Israel and the Jewish people – one of which on the anniversary of Kristallnacht (a nice touch, to be sure). I’m sure they thought they would be treated like rock stars.
Alas, things started to go downhill when they decided to harass someone at a bathroom stall. And film it.
Blumenthal and Sheen, who are often hosted by groups campaigning for BDS, have been in Berlin for the past few days. They were scheduled to speak at several events, including one at the Volksbühne theater on November 9 and another one hosted by some members of The Left (party) at the German parliament on November 11. Some of the scheduled events were also advertised, sponsored and promoted by the BDS organization in Berlin.
However, Gregor Gysi, the leader of The Left, as well as several prominent left-wing politicians and other public figures, opposed giving Blumenthal and Sheen prestigious platforms like the Volksbühne and the German parliament for fear that they would repeat their usual anti-Semitic rhetoric demonzing Israel as the Nazi Germany of our time. As a result of these concerns, the Volksbühne event – which would have coincided with the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms – was eventually cancelled and moved to a fringe venue after a protest in front of the theater. But while party leader Gysi had announced that the event at the German parliament would also be cancelled, the two party members who had invited Blumenthal and Sheen defied his decision and hosted them in a conference room available for the use of MPs. Before the event started, Blumenthal found it appropriate to post a photo of himself in front of the German parliament building with the caption: “The Bundestag is in our hands.”
After their presentation, Blumenthal and Sheen reportedly insisted on a meeting with party leader Gysi, and when this meeting was not granted, they apparently waited for Gysi in the hallway near his office, accosted him when he left to go to the bathroom and pursued him aggressively through the corridors until he managed to shut the door of the bathroom stall. Astonishingly, Blumenthal and Sheen felt their conduct was something to be proud of: they filmed their harassment of Gysi, posted the clip on YouTube and promoted it on Twitter, boasting about having forced him to seek shelter in the toilet – and unbelievably enough, they even demanded an apology from Gysi.
Blumenthal for his part denounced Gysi on Twitter as an “anti-Palestinian Stasi-ist” and a “coward from the New Stasi” – alluding to repeated allegations that Gysi had collaborated with the former East German Ministry for State Security; he also retweeted insulting remarks about Gysi posted by his supportive fans; and even when the German media were already full of shocked reports about the incident, Blumenthal still continued to mock Gysi.
In an apparent reaction to the media coverage, Blumenthal also pontificated on Twitter that Germany’s [media?] “culture is not yet ready for democracy,” dismissing his critics as “the children & grandchildren of Nazis.”
Unsurprisingly, the German media reacted with shock and bewilderment. The popular Bild posted the blunt headline “Lunatic Israel-haters pursue Gysi into the loo” and featured several screen shots showing a clearly distressed Gysi – who, it should perhaps be noted in this context, survived brain surgery and a heart attack10 years ago. Berlin’s B.Z. featured similar pictures under the headline “Political thugs [Polit-Pöbler] chase Gysi through the Bundestag [i.e. parliament building];” the magazine Focus headlined their story “Shocking incident: Enemies of Israel chase Gysi through Bundestag,” while Spiegel Online run the headline “Harrassed leader of The Left: Israel critics pursue Gysi into the loo.” The high-brow Zeit reported about “Gysi’s uninvited guests,” noting that Blumenthal and Sheen were “hostile” to Israel and had “aggressively” tried to confront Gysi. The headline in the respected Welt read: “Gregor Gysi flees from anti-Zionists to the toilet;” the report noted that the video of the incident showed “scary” and “grotesque” scenes reminiscent of a “hunt” or a “school mobbing.” The Welt article also mentioned that the MPs who hosted Blumenthal and Sheen already had a record of radical anti-Israel activism and that such attitudes had led to previous controversies about anti-Semitism in Gysi’s party. According to the Welt report, the party debated the incident on Tuesday evening and the MPs who hosted Blumenthal and Sheen apologized for the conduct of their guests. Other press reports noted that, while Gysi did not intend to initiate legal proceedings against Blumenthal and Sheen, the party rejected any further contact with them.
Bloomberg reports that Blumenthal and Sheen “are banned from entering the German parliament in the future, according to an e-mailed statement today by the chamber’s president, Norbert Lammert. ‘Every attempt to exert pressure on members of parliament, to physically threaten them and thus endanger the parliamentary process is intolerable and must be prevented,’ Lammert said, according to the statement.”
Read the entire thing here.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of rabid Israel haters.