Wiesenthal dean labels Augstein 'anti-Semite'

Rabbi Abraham Cooper says 'Der Spiegel' columnist Jakob Augstein is an “anti-Semite” for first time since the outbreak of dispute.

February 3, 2013 02:16
1 minute read.
Jakob Augstein

Jakob Augstein 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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BERLIN – The associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, on Thursday labeled the Der Spiegel columnist Jakob Augstein an “anti-Semite” for the first time since the outbreak of a dispute over Augstein’s alleged anti-Israel and anti-Semitic columns. Cooper said Augstein’s attacks on Israeli haredim were “classical medieval Jew-hatred.”

The Wiesenthal Center had previously termed Augstein’s rhetoric explicitly anti-Semitic but waited to see if Augstein would change his mind and apologize to Jews and his readers.

Cooper also expressed his organization’s “gratitude to Chancellor [Angela] Merkel for confronting Egyptian President [Mohamed] Morsi on his anti-Semitism and the anti-Semitism of the Muslim Brotherhood” last week in Berlin. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, with which Morsi is affiliated, topped the Wiesenthal’s 2012 top 10 list of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel personages and associations.

Merkel addressed Morsi’s comments, made in 2010, in which he called “Zionists,” a term often used by Arab leaders when referring to Israelis, the “descendants of apes and pigs.”

Augstein was included in the No. nine spot on the Wiesenthal list for his alleged diatribes against Jews and the State of Israel.

Cooper said there has been very little discussion in Germany about Augstein’s attacks on haredim.

The Der Spiegel columnist wrote last year, “But the Jews also have their fundamentalists, the ultra-Orthodox haredim. They are not a small splinter group. They make up 10% of the Israeli population.

They are cut from the same cloth as their Islamic fundamentalist opponents. They follow the law of revenge.”

Cooper said Augstein’s comments about haredim had nothing to do with Middle Eastern politics, and added that he was “shocked that Augstein was not called out by fellow German journalists” before asking the roughly 60 journalists in attendance at the Berlin press conference, “Where are you and what does this have to do with journalism?” Cooper said a significant number of the victims of the Holocaust were haredi and were singled out straight away for extermination because of their appearance.

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