BERLIN – The associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham
Cooper, on Thursday labeled the Der Spiegel columnist Jakob Augstein an
“anti-Semite” for the first time since the outbreak of a dispute over Augstein’s
alleged anti-Israel and anti-Semitic columns. Cooper said Augstein’s attacks on
Israeli haredim were “classical medieval Jew-hatred.”
Center had previously termed Augstein’s rhetoric explicitly anti-Semitic but
waited to see if Augstein would change his mind and apologize to Jews and his
Cooper also expressed his organization’s “gratitude to
Chancellor [Angela] Merkel for confronting Egyptian President [Mohamed] Morsi on
his anti-Semitism and the anti-Semitism of the Muslim Brotherhood” last week in
Berlin. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, with which Morsi is affiliated,
topped the Wiesenthal’s 2012 top 10 list of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel
personages and associations.
Merkel addressed Morsi’s comments, made in
2010, in which he called “Zionists,” a term often used by Arab leaders when
referring to Israelis, the “descendants of apes and pigs.”
included in the No. nine spot on the Wiesenthal list for his alleged diatribes
against Jews and the State of Israel.
Cooper said there has been very
little discussion in Germany about Augstein’s attacks on haredim.
Spiegel columnist wrote last year, “But the Jews also have their
fundamentalists, the ultra-Orthodox haredim. They are not a small splinter
group. They make up 10% of the Israeli population.
They are cut from the
same cloth as their Islamic fundamentalist opponents. They follow the law of
Cooper said Augstein’s comments about haredim had nothing to do
with Middle Eastern politics, and added that he was “shocked that Augstein was
not called out by fellow German journalists” before asking the roughly 60
journalists in attendance at the Berlin press conference, “Where are you and
what does this have to do with journalism?” Cooper said a significant number of
the victims of the Holocaust were haredi and were singled out straight away for
extermination because of their appearance.