Activists slam German anti-Israel mayor

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
February 18, 2012 23:41

Pro-Israel activists slam Germany's Green Party mayor in Aachen who has waged a media campaign against Israel.

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HILDE SCHEIDT

HILDE SCHEIDT 390. (photo credit:(www.hilde-scheidt.de))

BERLIN – Pro-Israel German NGOs have ratcheted up their criticism of a Green Party mayor in Aachen who has waged a media campaign against Israel and prominent German Jews.

The German-Israeli Friendship Society (DIG) in Aachen blasted Mayor Hilde Scheidt last week, saying her political and media actions were designed to damage the reputations of DIG and German Jewish authors Henryk M. Broder and Ralph Giordano.

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“It is absurd when a mayor attempts to discredit the circle of Aachener friends of the State of Israel as a rightwing organization,” according to DIG.

“The mayor contends that ‘Broder divides and brings conflict and lives from that’ because that statement recalls the unspeakable anti- Semitic rhetoric of past times,” DIG continued.

Broder, widely considered the leading authority on contemporary anti-Semitism in the Federal Republic, wrote to The Jerusalem Post on Friday that Aachen is a “disgusting jerkwater town, half-green [a reference to the Green Party] and half-brown [a reference to Nazi storm troopers].”

Sacha Stawski, the head of the Frankfurt-based NGO Honestly Concerned, told the Post on Saturday that local press coverage has enabled Scheidt to mount a hate campaign against Jews and Israel. His media watchdog group has “concluded that the coverage of the Aachener Zeitung and the Aachener Nachrichten – at least in this case – is not only not factual reporting, but instead highly opinionated and one-sided. And even worse: not only against Henryk Broder, but in actual fact an incitement against all friends of the Jewish state.”

Dr. Nathan Warszawski, a prominent member of the Aachen Jewish community, told the Post on Friday that reports in the jointly owned Aachen papers are “rather anti-Jewish.”

Alexander Drehmann, a spokesman for the Aachen Jewish community, told the Post that it has stopped communicating with some Aachener Nachrichten journalists because of their coverage of Israel and the Jewish community.

When asked about his and his colleagues’ press coverage, political reporter Peter Pappert wrote the Post that “the accusation that our paper is ‘running a campaign against Israel and Jews’ is false and absurd. The position of our paper and our articles are clearly against anti-Semitism and for Israel.”

Pappert wrote an article last week attacking Broder.

Stawski and Warszawski said Pappert’s article was filled with falsehoods. Drehmann, who was misquoted in Pappert’s anti- Israel article, told the Post that he could not remember if he said that Scheidt’s criticism of Israel was “not smart.”

Critics argue that in a series of articles authored by Pappert, Joachim Zinsen and Matthias Hinrichs, the Aachener Zeitung has enabled Scheidt to fan the flames of anti-Semitism. Zinsen quoted fringe Jews who frequently equate Israel with Nazi Germany and the former apartheid South Africa.

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