MITRI RAHEB 390.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
BERLIN – Christian and Jewish organizations called on the German issuers of the
Media Control prize to disqualify the anti-Israel Palestinian Lutheran pastor
who is set to receive it.
Karlheinz Kögel, the founder of the prize,
wrote in an email to The Jerusalem Post on Friday that a “deep conflict has
unfolded and we do not want to boost it.”
His group has “received
hundreds of protest emails,”he added.
Bethlehem-based pastor Mitri Raheb
is slated to receive the humanitarian prize on Thursday in the southwestern
German city of Baden-Baden.
Raheb supports the controversial Boycott,
Divestment, Sanctions movement targeting the Jewish state, and has rejected the
right of the Jewish people to live in Israel.
According to the Jewish NGO
B’nai B’rith, Raheb said at the 2010 Christ at the Checkpoint Conference – an
overtly anti-Israel gathering – that “Israel represents Rome of the Bible, not
the people of the land,” asserting that he has a DNA link to King David and
Jesus. But, he said, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not have this link
and “will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an eastern European tribe
who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.”
Daniel S. Mariaschin, B’nai
B’rith International’s executive vice president, told the Post that “Mitri
Raheb’s words and deeds are a real-time example of the demonization of Israel
with the intention of delegitimizing Israel. This should be enough to disqualify
him from receiving the prize and should in fact make him the subject of
criticism, instead of the recipient of a prestigious award.”
appealed to organizing leader Karlheinz Kögel to withdraw any tribute to Raheb.
And if the committee doesn’t withdraw the prize, we are urging former German
president Roman Herzog to not participate in the event,” Mariaschin
A spokeswoman for Herzog told the Post last week that he will not
issue a statement before the prize ceremony and plans to attend, adding that he
will honor all recipients of the prize.
The German Coordinating Council
of Societies for Christian and Jewish Cooperation slammed Herzog’s decision to
praise Raheb. The pastor “revives hostile stereotypes toward Jews” and argues
Jesus was Palestinian and not a Jew, the organization wrote in a letter last
Raheb advocates that Palestine should replace Israel, according to
the Christian- Jewish group. Against this background, his “Palestinian
liberation theology must be clearly designated as anti- Semitism.” The letter
also noted that Raheb’s statements recall the anti-Jewish tone of the Nazi
Deidre Berger, head of the Berlin-based office of the American
Jewish Committee, said last week that “Dr. Raheb is known for his radical
theology, which is racist and partially anti-Semitic.”
Herzog and the Media-Control NGO a letter, demanding that both Herzog and the
German group distance themselves from Raheb’s hostile statements toward Jews and
“He denies one of the main pillars of Germany’s foreign policy,
namely, the recognition of Israel’s right to exist,” she said.
diplomats in Berlin expressed displeasure with the award to
Reinhold Robbe, head of the German-Israeli Friendship Society,
also objected last week to the decision to honor Raheb.
“He is not a
promoter of peace,” Robbe said.
Raheb responded to the accusations last
week in an interview with the daily Frankfurter Rundschau, titled “Media prize
for enemy of the Jews or promoter of piece?” “Those are, of course, defamatory
statements. These people toss terms around without being able to prove anything.
They do not want to objectively discuss things. Most of the accusations
are not coming from Jews, but rather from Christian Zionists. They do not
want a Palestinian to receive a prize in Germany,” Raheb said.
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