Mayor of Berlin Michael Mueller.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The international human-rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center is considering the inclusion of Berlin’s Mayor Michael Mueller on its list of the top-10 worst cases of anti-Israel and antisemitic activity in 2017 because of an epidemic of hate and BDS in the German capital.
The associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that Mayor Mueller is “mainstreaming the BDS movement that never contributes to the daily life of Palestinians. BDS is widely recognized as antisemitic.”
Cooper said Mueller’s mayoral colleagues in Frankfurt and Munich recognize the antisemitism of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign targeting Israel and are legally banning city support for BDS activities.
“There are two reasons why he [Mueller] could theoretically make the list,” he said. “He is the mayor of, arguably, the most important European city. And his colleagues get it that BDS is not just mean-spirited but downright dangerous.”
Berlin has been a hotbed of pro-BDS and lethal antisemitic activities, including nearly 600 Hezbollah supporters
and members – and pro-Iranian regime activists – who marched in the main shopping district at the al-Quds Day rally calling for the destruction of the Jewish state in June.
Mueller declined to criticize the al-Quds Day or initiate legal action against the march. The Iranian-regime controlled Islamic Center in Hamburg bused supporters to the annual al-Quds event, which also serves as a rally for the BDS campaign against Israel.
Cooper told the Post
at the time of the al-Quds march that the “Berlin mayor enables Hezbollah terrorists.” The Wiesenthal Center will make public its top 10 list of antisemitic and anti-Israel cases in December.
According to Germany’s intelligence agency – the rough equivalent of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) – there are 250 active members and supporters of Hezbollah in the German capital.
Mueller declined to publicly oppose a planned fund-raising event for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and EU. The PFLP has murdered scores of Israelis since the 1970’s. Its supporters operate in Berlin and have held support events in Berlin over the years.
The main newspaper of the 98,600 member Central Council of Jews in Germany, Jüdische Allgemeine Zeitung
), took the mayor to task in its current issue for his silence regarding Arab singers who boycotted a late August pop festival because of Israel’s participation.
editor Philipp Peyman Engel cited the unsettling silence from the mayor about BDS, adding: “On the topic of antisemitism, Berlin is simply hypocritical and dishonest.”
Engel also contrasted Mueller’s, a social democrat, indifference to BDS with his also social democratic mayoral counterparts in Munich and Frankfurt who have vehemently rejected BDS.
Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
broadsheet on Friday, the paper’s Berlin correspondent Regina Mönch said it was “high time for clear words” against BDS agitation. She wrote that “alarm bells should be ringing” in Germany because “the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” is now active in the federal republic.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid slammed the Berlin mayor in June after BDS activists disrupted an event
with Yesh Atid’s MK Aliza Lavie and an Israeli survivor of the Holocaust at Berlins’s Humboldt University. “As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I was deeply disturbed that in the same week that a group of Jews are targeted, antisemites are given the freedom of the city,” wrote Lapid in a letter to Mueller.
Frustrated with the mayor’s inaction, Lapid and German MPs wrote to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, urging the minister to outlaw all of Hezbollah and the PFLP in Germany. The MPs wrote, “Hezbollah and the PFLP have no place in a society that cherishes freedom, democracy and human rights.”
Mueller declined to respond to numerous Post
Rogel Rachman, the head of Israel’s public diplomacy at the embassy in Berlin, writing in the embassy’s newsletter in June, said the Berlin mayor’s decision to allow the al-Quds march was “not to be tolerated and wrong as wrong can be. Today, like every year, tens of thousands haters of Israel are demonstrating under the disguise of anti-Zionism for the destruction of Israel... It [al-Quds Day] deals with a hate festival where flags of various terrorist organizations are waved.”
The Israeli Embassy at the time of the al-Quds march “appealed to the mayor to send a clear signal against this hate parade and deny permission for the annual event on legal grounds.”