(photo credit: CDU-KREISVERBAND FRANKFURT)
The powerful deputy mayor and city treasurer of the German city of Frankfurt announced at a pro-Israel conference that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and urged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration to cut ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Rogel Rachman, an Israeli diplomat at the Berlin embassy, tweeted on Sunday: “Uwe Becker, mayor of Frankfurt in the Israel Congress: ‘Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”’
Uwe Becker, a prominent Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician, took a position in sharp contrast to his party’s chancellor and her government. The Jerusalem Post reported exclusively in November that Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis to not relocate his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. Merkel, from the CDU, is believed to have launched a campaign to convince European heads of state to keep their embassies in Tel Aviv. Merkel declines to say if Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state.
Becker said, “We must freeze relations with Iran until it accepts the right of Israel to exist.”
Becker has established his pro-Israel credentials with strong actions against rising antisemitism, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in Germany. Becker has termed BDS “deeply antisemitic,” saying it uses “the same language that National Socialists once employed to say ‘Don’t buy from Jews.’” He played a key role in securing language in the CDU platform that rejects BDS.
Frankfurt, Becker said, is “the most Israel-friendly city outside of Israel.” The deputy mayor has served as virtual force of nature in the creation of pro-Israel policies in the city. Frankfurt, the financial capital of Germany, bans public funds and space for BDS events and groups.
Becker also announced a policy earlier this year to outlaw city business with banks that support BDS. The fifth annual Israel Congress honored Becker with an award for his support for German-Israeli relations. Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff delivered a speech in honor of Becker’s pro-Israel work.
A day after Becker’s call to end business and diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Merkel administration might use Germany as a host country for a payment system to evade US sanctions on Iran’s regime. The US classifies Iran as the top state-sponsor of terrorism.
Writing on the website Legal Insurrection, Vijeta Uniyal, an expert on German-Israel and Israel-Indian relations and who attended the conference, said, “Presently, Chancellor Angela Merkel is spearheading a European campaign to circumvent the latest round of US sanctions against Iran in an attempt to coax the regime into keeping the Obama-era nuclear deal alive. With backing from Germany and France, the European Union is scrambling to create a non-dollar trading mechanism to shield European companies and banks engaged in sanctions-busting with Tehran.”
Hanning Voigts, a journalist for the Frankfurter Rundschau, reported that CDU MP Martin Patzelt said at the conference the interests of Israel in connection with Germany’s Iran policy are not considered enough. In his keynote speech at the conference, Israeli Security Minister Gilad Erdan urged Germany to join US sanctions against Iran.
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