A man wears a kippa. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A German Jew filed a criminal complaint against the mayor of Jena, Albrecht Schröter, alleging he incited hatred toward Israelis because of his call to boycott products from the Jewish state and blaming Israel for the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe.
The Thüringische Landeszeitung newspaper reported on Tuesday that Andreas Neumann filed the criminal complaint against Schröter with the public prosecutor’s office in Gera.
According to a fax sent to the Mayor’s office, Neumann seeks a 15,000 Euro penalty, as well as a temporary restraining order against the Mayor’s allegedly anti-Jewish rhetoric.
Neumann said “Schröter’s call has a clear anti-Semitic character and is, in my view, clearly incitement to hate.”
Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's director for international relations, told the Post
on Thursday “it would be a good sign if the court sees him [Schröter] as an anti-Semitic agitator.”
Neumann said Schröter’s support of a boycott of Israeli products, for example, Soda Stream, targets all Jewish people, as well as Palestinians. “Two generations before my time my ancestors had to wear a ‘label’ and one called it a yellow star,” said Neumann, who sees a parallel between the label on Israeli products from the disputed territories and the Nazi-era designation to dehumanize Jews.
According to Thüringische Landeszeitung
, Neumann is a member of a “messianic Jewish community” in the Bavarian city of Augsburg. The president of the Jewish community in Augsburg, Alexander Mazo, told The Jerusalem Post
on Thursday that Neumann is not a member of the community’s 1,500 registered Jews, which is part of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Efforts to reach Neumann on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Schröter unleashed a storm of criticism last month after he said Israel is partially responsible for the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. Schröter , a social democratic politician, called on his party colleague, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to “show less restraint” toward the Jewish state. Schröter is currently in Ramallah working on a city partnership between Jena and the headquarters of the Palestinian authority.
Schröter, who has declined to answer Post
queries, as well as from the main German Jewish newspaper Jüdische Allgemeine,
told Thüringischen Landeszeitung
that the complaint against him is absurd and unfounded.
Samuels told the Post
that Schröter needs to be challenged. “Schröter has a very confused form of anti-Semitism. He is not a clear anti-Semite but a confused anti-Semite. He has an IQ problem and the worry is what impact will it have on the young generation. Germany faces mass migration and there is a need for inclusion. He is not making it easier.”
Samuels asked, “is this what his [Schröter]followers and voters wanted?” The head of the Social Democrats in the state of Thuringia, Andreas Bausewein., where Jena is located, told the Thüringer Allgemeine on Thursday that the party opposes a boycott of Israel and “I don’t share the problem analysis of Albrecht Schröter.”
Bausewein, like Schröter, however, blamed the U.S for being largely responsible for the instability in the Middle East.
Samuels said the anti-American thinking from Bauswein and Schröter is part of a world view of “conspiracy theorists.”
He said the confused thinking from the SPD politicians Thuringia may be linked to the its role as a former communist state of the German Democratic Republic . The East German communist state rejected Israel’s existence and was fiercely anti-American.