Germany’s former ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Bernd Erbel, will not oversee the European Union’s mechanism to conduct trade with Tehran because he appeared on a radio show with a virulently antisemitic radio host who allegedly denied the Holocaust.
Germany’s top-selling tabloid, Bild, reported about the latest antisemitism scandal that is consuming Germany’s Foreign Ministry. US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, tweeted that “Bild reports that the German official tapped to run Instex, the outfit designed to bypass US sanctions on Iran, has been forced to resign because of antisemitic comments and poor judgment.” Instex is an abbreviation for the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges payment system between the EU and Iran designed to circumvent US sanctions. Erbel said he pulled out of the position for “personal reasons.” Bild reported that Erbel appeared twice on an Internet radio show with Jebsen in which he praised the terrorist entity Hezbollah and defended Iran’s missile program as legal. The former ambassador to Iran and Iraq lashed out at the Jewish state in crude terms, stating that Israel was also founded “at the expense of another people” and the “people has lost their home.” As a result, Erbel said, “The Palestinians are the victims of our victims. Quite simple. For example, if one had said that a Jewish state was founded in East Prussia, then the Palestinian problem would not have existed.” Erbel said the Jewish state is “more than a foreign body in the region.” He also heaped praise on Hezbollah’s 2006 war against the Jewish state. “But it was enormously important to see, also psychologically, there are forces that oppose Israel and also successfully do it,” he noted.Chancellor Angela Merkel has refused to outlaw Hezbollah’s entire organization in Germany where 1,050 members operate. Bild said Erbel showed great sympathy for the mullah regime in the interviews with Jebsen. The Jerusalem Post previously reported that in 2010, while ambassador to Iran, Erbel said he wanted to promote the “historical treasure of the German-Iranian friendship.” Bild reported that Erbel praised Tehran for not conducting wars but ignored Iran’s role in promoting the Syrian civil war and supporting the Houthis in their war in Yemen. Bild also noted that Erbel was silent on Iran’s support for the terrorist entities Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Erbel declined to cite Iran’s role in providing missile technology and aid to the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah and Hamas. The Post reported in 2011 that Jebsen wrote in a rambling e-mail filled with grammatical and spelling errors that, “I know who invented the Holocaust as PR.” He added that Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels implemented the public relations plan of the Holocaust and the Americans provided fuel for the entire Nazi bombing campaign, citing Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller, the American businessman. In a separate comment, which was voiced before the published e-mail, Jebsen termed the destruction of the twin towers on 9/11 a “warm demolition.” As a result of Jebsen’s alleged Holocaust denial, his former employer Radio Fritz fired him in 2011. The Bild article termed Jebsen an “antisemite and conspiracy theorist.” Merkel and her social democratic foreign minister, Heiko Maas, have spearheaded the efforts within the EU to weaken US sanctions against Iran’s regime. Last month, the director of the German Foreign Ministry’s representation for the Palestinian territories, Christian Clages, was revealed to have liked scores of antisemitic tweets while using his government Twitter feed.