MUNICH (JTA) — A German politician dropped out of his local party race over poems he wrote that were widely condemned as anti-Semitic.
Ulf Dunkel, 49, of the Green Party, published two poems taking a hard-line position in Germany’s recent debate about ritual circumcision of boys by Jews and Muslims.
Dunkel, a software developer and salesman by trade, decided to quit the race in the Cloppenburg district of the state of Lower Saxony, according to reports. He could not remove his name from the list, but will not serve in the local parliament if the party should win seats.
The content of his poems came under harsh criticism by Jewish bloggers Henryk Broder and Sacha Stawski, as well as by Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, who called Dunkel’s words "hate-filled arrogance."
In one poem, Dunkel referred to those who circumcise their sons as "a**holes" and "blind fanatics" who refuse to hear "what the babies are telling you … screaming their guts out." In another, he cynically referred to the circumciser as "mutilating, circumcising both legal rights and foreskin," and suggested that "if you’re for an intact member, you’re immediately declared an anti-Semite."
The local Green Party welcomed Dunkel’s decision to withdraw, and criticized his "derogatory and hurtful" statements.
The German Bundestag recently passed a law protecting and regulating the right of Jews and Muslims to practice ritual circumcision in response to efforts to curtail or end the right. Jewish and Muslim leaders welcomed the law.