German Jews and watchdog group slam Green Party leader

Critics cite Kerstin Müller’s ‘intolerably paternalistic tone’ and role in drafting anti-Israel resolution.

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
August 11, 2010 03:47
3 minute read.
I Like Israel Day 2010 in Germany.

I Like Israel Day in Germany. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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BERLIN – The Frankfurt-based media watchdog organization Honestly Concerned posted an exclusive August letter on its Web site from Germany’s Central Council of Jews Saturday, ripping a leading Green Party member of parliament, Kerstin Müller, for her “intolerably paternalistic tone” against Israel and Jews in Germany.

In July, Müller played a key role in drafting an anti-Israel parliamentary resolution, and in a letter attacked the Central Council, which represents 106,000 Jews.

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Referring to Müller’s efforts to single out Israel for criticism, Sacha Stawski, editor-in-chief of Honestly Concerned, an organization that seeks to combat anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel in the German media, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that “many Bundestag motions are passed every day.

Interestingly, though, there are rarely, if ever, motions passed when terrorists murder Israeli citizens, or when Israeli officers get killed by Lebanese snipers on Israeli soil, or for that matter when radicals murder thousands in Darfur or elsewhere for ‘ethnic’ reasons.”

He added that “the fact that such a double standard is applied only when it comes to Israel, and the fact that [Israel] gets singled out by all factions unanimously in this case, would, according to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights definition of anti-Semitism, suggest that the Bundestag has an anti-Semitism problem.”

While Müller’s office refused to release her letter attacking Israel and the Central Council of Jews, the Post obtained a copy on Tuesday. In the letter, Müller writes that the Central Council’s criticism of the parliamentary resolution as “one sided and taking sides against Israel" is indefensible.

Müller wrote the “accusation that Israel alone was made responsible for the ‘new escalation’ is without foundation.”

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The Green Party MP, who describes herself in the letter as an “Middle East expert with outstanding expertise and years of experience in the region,” stressed that Israel’s security interests were the priority based on “our history” and the “special relationship” to the Jewish state.

Müller also cited Rainer Stinner in her letter as one of the experts in the region. Stinner, a MP from the Free Democratic Party of Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and an energetic supporter of the anti-Israel Bundestag motion, visited Iran on Monday and faced a barrage of criticism from Iranian dissidents in Germany.

An Israeli diplomat, who wished not be named because of the sensitivity of German- Israeli relations, expressed disapproval of Stinner’s decision to visit Iran at a time when the international community is applying pressure on Teheran to suspend its nuclear program.

When asked if Westerwelle had agreed to Stinner’s visit, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry wrote by email to the Post, “The representatives of the German Bundestag decide on their own responsibility [regarding] foreign trips, their timing and program.”

Müller stressed in her letter that the German parliamentary resolution singling out Israel was grounded in protecting Israel’s security. But pro-Israel observers in Germany have long criticized anti-Israeli sentiments dressed up as peace measures or phony concerns for the security of the Jewish state.

German critics argue that this is a form of “moral anti-Semitism” that targets Israel in the name of alleged peace missions like the Gaza flotilla.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany slammed Müller’s letter as in no way mitigating the biased resolution against Israel.

Stawski told the Post that “there was not even a motion passed in regards to why members of parliament [from the Left Party] were on board a ship financed by a known extremist organization, the IHH and so forth.”

The Left Party, many of whose members champion the cause of Hamas and Hizbullah, were thrilled about the anti- Israeli parliamentary motion.


When asked about the Central Council’s criticisms of her letter, Müller declined to comment because the “letters deal with a personal exchange” and she planned to engage in personal discussions with the members of the Central Council.

In response to the criticisms that the Bundestag resolution applied double standards to Israel, Müller wrote in an email to the Post that there was no basis for the criticism because the “resolution was unanimously accepted.”

She wrote that MPs who are members of the German-Israeli Friendship Society and the German- Israeli caucus, also voted for the motion. Müller noted that she is a member of both organizations.

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