American and German Jews objected to the World Jewish Congress’s decision to honor German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Theodor Herzl Award because of her support for the Iran nuclear deal and her failure to combat rising Jew-hatred in the federal republic. The Zionist Organization of America announced on Friday its opposition to honoring Merkel.
“The ZOA firmly believes that a foreign leader who continues to support the disastrously flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which will enable the Iranian regime in time to become a nuclear weapons state, is a singularly inappropriate recipient of the WJC’s prestigious award.”
According to the ZOA, “The announcement of the award has produced strong criticism and upset in Germany’s Jewish community which, in addition to decrying Chancellor Merkel’s support for the Iran nuclear deal, is also deeply critical of her support for mass Muslim immigration to Germany and Europe in view of the vicious antisemitism that is rampant among the new immigrants.”
ZOA added that “Germany’s support for numerous anti-Israel UN resolutions and initiatives in international bodies; its refusal to ban the operations of the Iranian Shia proxy Lebanese terrorist group, Hezbollah; Germany’s continued financial backing for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which entrenches Palestinian rejectionism and extremism; and the German government’s opposition to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, are additional points of bitter disappointment with the Merkel government.”
The Jerusalem Post was the first newspaper to report, in 2018, that Merkel intensely lobbied Central and Eastern European countries not to move their embassies to Jerusalem. According to a Post review of German intelligence reports from 2019, some 1,050 Hezbollah members and supporters operate in the federal republic.
ZOA national president Morton Klein said, “The ZOA is stunned and deeply disappointed that the World Jewish Congress has chosen to bestow its Theodor Herzl Award upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel. By any reasonable yardstick, Chancellor Merkel has done little, if anything, to justify the bestowal of this award and a great deal that should disqualify her as a candidate for this award.”
Israel Hayom reported last week that Dr. Rafael Korenzecher, deputy chair of the Coordinating Council of German Non-Governmental Organizations against Antisemitism, mocked the WJC award to Merkel, saying it is “justified.”
Korenzecher, a German Jew, told Israel Hayom “To her credit and to the credit of the people around her, it should be said that they are contributing to German Jews making aliyah to Israel. Chances are thanks to current policy, Germany will be Judenrein (Free of Jews).”
Korenzecher is the publisher of the monthly Jewish community newspaper Juedische Rundschau. Israel Hayom wrote that the local Jewish community is upset with Merkel’s administration because of her funding for NGOs that advocate the BDS campaign against Israel. The Jewish community in Germany, according to Israel Hayom, criticized Merkel’s anti-Israel voting record at the UN and in international forums, as well as her government’s refusal to outlaw Hezbollah.
Henryk Broder, a German Jew and the country’s leading authority on contemporary antisemitism in the federal republic, questioned on the popular journalist website The Axis of Good, “What is Angela Merkel getting the Theodor Herzl award for?”
He answered, with his famous biting sarcasm, for her UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen “equating Hamas missile attacks on Israeli citizens to Israel’s demolition of homes?” Broder also asked if Merkel is receiving the award because Heusgen abstained a few times at the UN with respect to anti-Israel resolutions that amount to “in effect supporting them?”
Merkel’s government voted 16 times for anti-Israel UN resolutions out of a total of 21 anti-Jewish state resolutions at the UN in 2018.
Merkel’s government voted all 16 times with authoritarian regimes like the Islamic Republic of Iran. Broder also satirized the award to Merkel by asking if she received it because she warned other countries not to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem.
When asked about Broder’s commentary, a spokeswoman for Merkel’s administration said the government does not comment on opinion articles from the media.