German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel visits the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem on April 24, 2017.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON)
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is the newly- crowned poster boy of Hamas. A picture of Gabriel was featured on Hamas’s Twitter page on December 31, accompanied by the following tweet: “German FM describes the Israeli occupation as an apartheid regime like the one was [sic] in South Africa.”
How did the foreign minister of one of Israel’s most important allies suddenly end up on the side of an Islamist terrorist organization that advocates targeting Israeli civilians and suicide bombings? Like many European progressives, Gabriel is capable of being hypercritical of his own Western culture – and of Israel – which is maliciously misrepresented in progressive circles as a colonialist power, while the many problematic aspects of non-white cultures, including radical Islam, are viewed as essentialist, racist or bigoted. For Gabriel, this might be due to feelings of guilt for his own country’s past crimes or might be an extension of his socialist ideology, which views Western, capitalist societies as inherently exploitative.
This worldview makes Gabriel and other like-minded progressives susceptible to anti-Israel propaganda. As reported by The Jerusalem Post
European correspondent Benjamin Weinthal, Gabriel touted his hyper-critical attitude toward Israel during a panel discussion organized by – of all groups – the Kreuzberg Initiative Against Antisemitism.
The public event was held in Berlin in mid-December, as thousands of demonstrators – most of whom were migrants from Muslim countries – thronged the streets, burned Israeli flags and denounced US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
By the way, Gabriel is one of the architects – together with Chancellor Angela Merkel – of Germany’s self-destructive immigration policy that has resulted in the influx of more than a million immigrants from the Middle East and Africa since 2015. According to a recent survey by the American Jewish Committee in Berlin, many of these migrants bring with them anti-Jewish and anti-Israel prejudices.
Gabriel was confronted during the panel by a German- Palestinian activist who claimed the German debate on antisemitism does not leave room for any critique of Israeli policies.
“You are wrong,” Gabriel reportedly responded, reminding the activist of his own harsh criticism of Israel during a 2012 visit to Israel that included a tour of Hebron. After the tour – which was likely organized by one of the many groups that use freedoms provided by Israel’s democracy to present a tendentious, pro-Palestinian account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – Gabriel wrote on his Facebook page that Israel was an “Apartheid-Regime” and called to include Hamas as part of the political process in the Middle East. Gabriel later apologized, after Jewish groups took him to task, and recently articulated his belief that Germany has a special moral obligation to protect Israel because, “We are obliged to guarantee that Holocaust survivors have at least one place they can always go.”
In April of last year, Gabriel once again showed his partiality to Israel’s many detractors, when during another short visit to Israel he insisted on meeting with representatives of B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. The vast majority of Israelis view the political agendas of these two organizations as dangerous and overly sympathetic to a Palestinian population that has repeatedly chosen terrorism and violence over peace and negotiations.
We criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the time for refusing to meet with Gabriel because, by doing so, he was missing the opportunity to present Gabriel with a more accurate perspective. And we supported Gabriel’s right to spend his time in Israel as he chose.
But we also warned of the potential dangers that can result when men like Gabriel, leaders of liberal Western democracies, grant legitimacy to a slanted narrative of “the conflict.” Now, with Gabriel being enlisted by Hamas, we are given a concrete example of how progressives are exploited by terrorist organizations to advance their own totalitarian agendas. And if Germany’s foreign minister insists on perpetuating the false claim of apartheid against Israel, can the German government object when thousands of migrants from the Middle East take to the streets of Berlin and call for Israel’s destruction?