Angela Merkel gestures during a cabinet meeting in Berlin.
(photo credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS)
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Saturday in a podcast video that the Federal Republic and Israel share a unique relationship, but she remained silent about her country’s support for the Iran nuclear deal and trade with the regime that calls for the Jewish state’s destruction.
“A unique relationship connects Germany and Israel. We can be grateful that we are today close partners and friends,” said Merkel in advance of the seventh German-Israel joint cabinet consultation, slated to take place in the first week of October in Jerusalem.
Merkel, however, was silent on her government’s advocacy for the controversial 2015 Iran atomic deal that Israel vehemently opposes because of its alleged defects, including permitting the Islamic Republic a legal path after the agreement’s expiration to build a nuclear weapons device.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to his frustration with Europe in his speech to the UN General Assembly last in week that could be viewed as part of the growing German-Israeli rift over Merkel’s pro-Iran deal position: “Europe and others are appeasing Iran by trying to help it bypass those new sanctions,” stated Netanyahu.
Merkel and her social democratic foreign minister Heiko Maas support the European Union’s “special purpose vehicle (SPV)” mechanism to permit financial transactions with Iran. The SPV will undercut powerful US financial and energy sanctions on Iran’s regime slated to go into effect on November 5.
Merkel said in the podcast that because of the Holocaust, “Germans carries a special responsibility for the relationship to Israel.” She said Germany supports a two-state solution – a Jewish state and Palestinian state.
A prominent German-Iranian dissident, Nasrin Amirsedghi, responded to the tweet of Merkel’s podcast from her spokesman Steffen Seibert, stating “It is only lip service and nothing more. There is no credible belief, otherwise your government would behave differently toward the mullah regime.”
Merkel has rejected key Israeli security and diplomatic concerns over the years. The chancellor opposed the US move of its embassy to Jerusalem and the US government’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state.
Merkel refuses to outlaw all of Hezbollah in Germany, where 950 Hezbollah operatives raise funds and recruit new members. Germany reneged on its pledge to drop out of the race for a post on the United Nations Security Council, so Israel could secure its first-ever UNSC seat.
A German business delegation will accompany Merkel to learn about Israel’s high-tech industry and cyber-security sector. Merkel called Israel’s high-tech and cyber-security industries a world leader in the podcast.
Merkel also addressed the continuation of antisemitism within her country in the video.
“There is a lot of antisemitism in Germany, unfortunately,” said Merkel. She said that is why the government appointed Felix Klein as the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism in 2018. Klein has called on Germany’s financial institutions and banks to not enable BDS groups.
Merkel said Klein is “a fighter against antisemitism.” He has previously told the Post that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting Israel “is decidedly antisemitic in its actions and goals.”
Germany’s roughly 100,000 member Jewish community is at odds with Merkel’s government over her pro-Iran business policy.
According to Dr. Josef Schuster, Merkel’s robust trade with Tehran “seems paradoxical that Germany – as a country that is said to have learned from its horrendous past and which has a strong commitment to fight antisemitism – is one of the strongest economic partners of a regime that is blatantly denying the Holocaust and abusing human rights on a daily basis. Besides, Germany has included Israel’s security as a part of its raison d'etre. As a matter of course this should exclude doing business with a fanatic dictatorship that is calling for Israel’s destruction, pursuing nuclear weapons and financing terror organizations around the world.”
Schuster called for “an immediate halt to any economic relations with Iran. Any trade with Iran means a benefit for radical and terrorist forces, and a hazard and destabilization for the region.”
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