BERLIN – Claudia Roth, chairwoman of the large Green Party in Germany, is facing
a storm of criticism from media outlets, Iranian dissidents and pro-Israel
advocates because she greeted Iran’s ambassador to Germany euphorically last
week at the Munich security conference.
Roth’s high five, an American form
of praise or encouragement, was caught on video. She used it to greet Iranian
ambassador Reza Sheikh Attar, whom Iranian Kurdish dissidents accuse of
massacring Kurds during his tenure as governor of the Kurdistan and West
Azerbaijan provinces between 1980 and 1985.
Roth’s pro-Iranian behavior
prompted Germany’s largest daily paper, Bild, to dub her “Loser of the Day,” on
its front page because of her action. This category is reserved for people who
engage in shameless, criminal, or embarrassing conduct.
Henryk M. Broder,
a popular columnist for the daily Die Welt, said Roth belongs “in the hall of
shame of politics” for her high five.
Nasrin Amirsedghi, a prominent
Iranian- German intellecutal who has written about human rights in the Islamic
Republic, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, “It is an open secret that the
Green Party lobbies intensively for the mullahs in Germany.”
that a “high five normally serves as an the expression of satisfaction about
success. And [the Green Party] has contributed greatly to the success of keeping
an inhumane system going in Iran since 1979.”
Roth has long been a
controversial figure in Germany because of her alleged appeasement policies
toward Iran’s clerical rulers.
In 2010, she visited Iran and met with
the Larijani brothers, Ali and Mohammed.
Ali Larajani, president of
Iran’s parliament, engaged in a form of Holocaust denial at the Munich security
conference in 2009, according to “Spiegel” online. His brother, Mohammed Javad
Larijani, is head of the judicial human rights council and has defended the
stoning of women.
During Roth’s visit to Iran she donned a head scarf and
refused to criticize Iran’s human rights violations, including the government’s
calls for the destruction of Israel and denial of the Holocaust.
at the second Israel congress event, the head of Germany’s central council of
Jews, Dieter Graumann, said: “Should one recall the picture in which we saw
Claudia Roth from the Green party, who in Germany so passionately fights for
freedom and women’s rights, wear a headscarf there, submissive before the
Mullahs, one can only shake one’s head.”
The German-language website Free
Iran Now posted the video of Roth and Attar, which led to fierce criticism in
the bloggosphere and on Twitter, of Roth and the Greens.
the head of the pro-Israel NGO Honestly Concerned, told the Post on Sunday, “The
latest high five only fits in too well with the appeasement and double
standard, which is all too common among parliamentarians, when it comes to
He added, “Instead of leveraging Germany’s economic and political
strength, showing a clear distance and a cold shoulder to a regime which is
denying the Holocaust and threatening the existence of the Jewish state, if not
world peace – parliamentarians succumb to silly excuses and dumbfounded
explanations for what everyone clearly knows as a gesture of friendship and
The Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that a
spokesman for Roth said she was “completely surprised by the unexpected gesture
from Iran’s ambassador, and reciprocated with a short touch of the
Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, a fellow with the European Foundation for
Democracy and a leading authority on German-Iranian relations, told the Post on
Sunday, “the Greens must explain their relationship to the inhumane regime and
say openly how they, in fact, stand to democracy, the USA, and
He added that the video shows clearly how Roth crossed the line
into appeasement toward a totalitarian dictator.
“Roth proved with her
false pro-Iranian policies” that she is likely deeply anchored in
Stawski said, “There was a time when the Green Party still
stood for something. What is left of that one can only
He said this helps to explain why so-called human rights
experts like Roth “continue to follow a similar path of appeasement when it
comes to Hezbollah.
Instead of advocating that this group be added to the
European Union’s list of terror organizations, they continue to believe in the
illusion that dialogue is going to contain these terrorists.”