German mayor embroiled in row over anti-Semitic bank account

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May 6, 2016 00:05
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CHICAGO - The mayor of Stuttgart, who served as one of the patrons of an event celebrating Israel’s 68th birthday on Wednesday, defended his city’s ownership stake in the BW bank that provides an account to an NGO that promotes a boycott of the Jewish state and plays down the Holocaust.

“The idea of facilitating - even in a most indirect way - a boycott of Jews is something that should be self-evident for business people and the city government that they should not be involved in,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

 “When people at the city-owned bank [BW] paid checks to people who minimize the Holocaust that is not something that Germans would want to be associated with,” he said. “BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] everyone knows it is anti-Semitic.”

The city of Stuttgart, which is located in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, owns nearly 20% of the BW bank. The state owns roughly 25% of the bank.

Sven Matis, a spokesman for Mayor Fritz Kuhn, told the Post by email on Tuesday that Mayor Kuhn “in no way shares the calls to boycott Israel. Mayor Kuhn is a patron of the Israel Day event and also has a deep connection to Israel.”

When pressed if his words have meaning when he defends the BW’s BDS account, he declined to comment.

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