Anti-Israel demonstrators led by the protest group Code Pink wear masks of Prime Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, March 1, 2015 .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel slammed a Bavarian city council for awarding a tolerance prize to the radical US NGO Code Pink, which rejects Israel’s right to exist and has ties to Holocaust deniers in Iran.
“The Israeli Embassy in Berlin and the General Consulate in Munich acted to prevent the awarding of the ‘Wilhelmine-von-Bayreuth’ prize to the organization ‘Code Pink,’” the Israeli Embassy said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“It is shocking that in Germany, of all places, a decision was taken to award, in the name of tolerance and humanitarianism, an organization which openly denies the right of the State of Israel to exist,” said Ambassador to Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman.
“It seems that in Bayreuth, the definition of tolerance and humanitarianism means cooperating with Holocaust deniers in Iran, boycotting Jews and rejecting the right of Israel to exist.”
The city council of Germany’s Bayreuth on Wednesday overruled the mayor’s opposition by a vote of 23-18 to award €10,000 to Code Pink.
The decision prompted sharp criticism in Germany, Israel and the US.
The anti-Israel and pro-BDS group, which participated in an Iranian regime-run conference with Holocaust deniers in 2014, is slated to receive the prize on April 15.
Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, condemned on Thursday the German city council members who voted in favor of honoring the “extremist anti-peace” group, and called on German leaders across the spectrum to denounce the “shameful” vote.
“Better the founders of this ‘Tolerance’ prize cancel it permanently, than see it and the very concept of tolerance desecrated by the bestowal of an award on those devoted to a dangerous agenda that threatens six million Jewish citizens of Israel,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “We call upon German leaders from the full spectrum of German life to denounce this shameful vote.”
On February 11, Bayreuth Mayor Brigitte Merk-Erbe said that she rejects awarding the city’s tolerance prize to Code Pink because of its ties with alleged Holocaust deniers.
“I consider it correct to refrain from awarding the prize out of a sense of [historical] responsibility, and out of respect for the victims of National Socialism,” said Merk-Erbe.
The mayor recommended to the city council that the award and prize money be rescinded.