'Bild': German president, MPs, diplomat ‘make antisemitism respectable’
Bild wrote “Madness: In February, the federal president sent ‘warm congratulations’ to the antisemitic mullah regime on its national day, ‘also on behalf of my compatriots.'”
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
The best-selling European paper Bild published a jaw-dropping exposé on Tuesday alleging Germany’s president, Berlin’s mayor, MPs in the Bundestag, a senior diplomat, the head of the Central Council of Muslims and the company Siemens, among others, are contributing to a charged antisemitic climate in the federal republic.The article titled “How antisemitism becomes socially respectable” accuses Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SDP) of playing a part in rising antisemitism because of his courting of Iran’s mullah regime.The German-language paper said there was a disconnect between Steinmeier's political activity and his rhetoric. Take the example of his announcement after the neo Nazi terrorist attack on a synagogue in Halle, which murdered two people: "It must be clear that the state takes responsibility for Jewish life, for the security of Jewish life in Germany," said Steinmier, who called for "a clear, a firm attitude of solidarity with the Jewish people in our country."Bild wrote “Madness: In February, the federal president sent ‘warm congratulations’ to the antisemitic mullah regime on its national day, ‘also on behalf of my compatriots.”The Jerusalem Post reported in early October that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has declared that Iran's call to obliterate the State of Israel is not an expression of antisemitism.On October 1, Merkel’s Foreign Ministry labeled the call to destroy Israel by commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Gen. Hossein Salami as merely “anti-Israel rhetoric.”Traditionally, Germany’s government and politicians are reluctant to criticize Iranian-sponsored antisemitism. "Antisemitism is a societal problem," the prominent German-Jewish historian Michael Wolffsohn told Bild, adding: "Anyone who criticizes antisemitism only where it is politically acceptable to him is simply unbelievable.”Bild charged Berlin’s Mayor Michael Müller (SDP) with only reacting to outbreaks of antisemitism after massive media and political pressure urge him to take action. Müller hosted his Tehran counterpart Pirouz Hanachi in September in Berlin City Hall. Hanachi participated in the Al-Quds march calling for Israel’s destruction in Tehran. Müller has repeatedly refused to stop the Berlin Al-Quds Day march and declined to ban 250 Hezbollah operatives in the German capital.Bild alleged the social democratic undersecretary of foreign affairs, Niels Annen, is part of the antisemitism problem in Germany because in February, he celebrated the Islamic Revolution at Tehran’s embassy in Berlin. Bild noted in the section on Annen that Iran’s regime wages war against Israel, and its “secret service planned attacks in Germany against Jewish kindergartens and against Annen's political party friend Reinhold Robbe.”Annen sought to block The Jerusalem Post author of this article on Twitter in February for criticism of his pro-Iranian regime activities. He unblocked the reporter after legal action was initiated and media articles appeared in the German press.Bild slammed Annen for meeting in June with the Palestinian organization al-Haq, an entity with links to the terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.Annen is also opposed to a ban of the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Germany, where 1,050 Hezbollah members operate and spread antisemitic ideology.Bild cited Left Party MP Inge Höger as a factor in growing German antisemitism. Höger was on board the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara that sought to break Israel’s legal naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in 2010. Bild reported she appeared at an event wearing a scarf showing Palestine imposed over where Israel should be on a map. Höger was present at a demonstration in the city of Essen where the Holocaust was denied, calls for “Death to the Jews” were heard, and support for Hitler was promoted. The Simon Wiesenthal Center included Höger, along with the German Left Party politicians Annette Groth Heike Hänsel and Claudia Haydt, in its top 10 list of worst outbreaks of antisemitism in 2014, because they "played a crucial role in stoking hatred of Israel" in the Bundestag.The paper also listed Alexander Gauland, an MP for the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), for dismissing the Nazi era as a “speck of bird poop in more than 1,000 years of successful German history.” The AfD politician Björn Höcke termed the Holocaust memorial in Berlin “a monument of shame.”The Green Party MP Claudia Roth was cited because her alleged mainstreaming of antisemitic Iranian regime officials over the years. She greeted the Islamic Republic of Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, with open arms and a wide smile last week in Belgrade. Larijani has denied the Holocaust.In response to Roth and MP Peter Beyer, from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party, meeting with Larijani, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi-hunter, tweeted on Tuesday: “Shame on these German hypocrites!!!”The Free Democratic Party MP Till Mansmann was also invited in mid-October as part of Roth's delegation to the meeting with the Iranians, according to Bild, but declined to attend. Mansmann told the paper that "I think it's good to talk to all sides. But I did not feel like meeting with representatives from countries that question Israel's right to exist.”Ayman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslim, was named because he tolerates antisemitic Islamic and right-wing extremist groups within the council. Bild listed the Turkish Grey Wolves as an examples of right-wing extremism within the council. The Iranian regime-controlled Islamic Center of Hamburg is also a member of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany. The Islamic Center of Hamburg promotes boycotts against Israel and spreads its Islamic revolutionary ideology in the federal republic.The anti-Israel journalist Patrick Bahners was cited for stoking hatred of the Jewish state and watering down the dangers of modern antisemitism in Germany.Bahners, who writes for the conservative paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, “regularly defends the enemies of Israel,” wrote Bild. Bahners wrote that freedom of speech in Germany is threatened by “Israel’s lobbyists” and called for a discussion about Israel and its “publicity helpers in Germany.”An institute in Berlin that is supposed to research and combat antisemitism is promoting contemporary Jew-hatred was cited by Bild.The Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University in Belin “cooperates with supporters of the anti-Israel boycott campaign (BDS)” wrote Bild. The center also hired a research assistant who works for the Al-Quds mach in London where each year the call for Israel’s extermination is urged. As part of its list, Bild slammed a court in the City of Wuppertal that said a 2014 firebomb attack on a synagogue by three Palestinians in Wuppertal was motivated by a desire to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict,” not antisemitism. A higher court in Düsseldorf upheld the Wuppertal decision in 2016.Bild also cited the role of the German engineering giant Siemens in providing Iran’s regime surveillance technology that was used against Iranian democrats during the Green movement protests in 2009. Iranian flooded the streets to demonstrate against a fraudulent presidential election in 2009.