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Its Jewish Leader Gone, the German Pirate Party Sinks

It’s been all downhill since Marina Weisband left

Adam Chandler
July 12, 2013

Back in December, we noted (ambivalently) that Marina Weisband, a leader in the very German Pirate Party, had been named the hottest politician in Germany. The 25-year-old Jewish politician won the honor despite having just resigned her position to return to school. Prior to her early retirement, Weisband had been the political director of the German Pirate Party, helping the group plunder 9% of the vote in 2011.

It seems though that hard times have befallen the German pirate in the wake of Weisband’s departure. The party, which made some serious noise in German politics, now seems destined to spend the rest of its political life in Davy Hasselhoff’s locker.

It was not a dramatic passing. It was not sudden. There was no external foul play involved. It was more like those stories one hears of some poor soul dying in his apartment only to be found months later. This week, it has become clear that the Pirates actually left us long ago.

The proof is in the surveys. If ever there was a news event that might provide a boost to a political party focused on issues relating to Internet freedom and digital privacy, it is the recent revelations that the US, the United Kingdom and several other countries have spent years maintaining a close surveillance of the worldwide web. And yet the most recent public opinion polls published in Germany show that support for the Pirate Party remains paltry. A mere 3 percent of voters would cast their ballots for the party were elections held this Sunday.

Jews and Pirates have always had a complicated relationship, but not without some important historical overlap and certainly not without some humor:

Q: What is a pirate’s favorite Israeli newspaper?
A: Israel Hayom. (Perhaps you thought it was Ha’arrrretz, but that’s far too liberal for the average pirate.)

We’re sad to see the German Pirate Party sink. Sometimes the hardest ship for a pirate to steer is a relationship.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.