BERLIN— The fallout from an alleged anti-Israel scandal embroiling Germany’s foreign ministry widened this week with B’nai B’rith International blasting a diplomat for defending an academic who promotes the BDS movement, spreads antisemitism, and trivializes the Holocaust.
The Jerusalem Post has exclusively obtained the letter B’nai B’rith sent to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “On behalf of B’nai B’rith International’s more than 100,000 members and supporters in over 40 countries, we write to express our deep dismay at recent tweets by Andreas Görgen, the Ministry’s director for culture and communication. Mr. Görgen has posted multiple times on his official twitter feed in defense of Achille Mbembe, a Holocaust-minimizer and denier of Israel’s right to exist,“ the organization wrote.
BDS is an abbreviation for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement targeting the Jewish state. The German Bundestag classified BDS last year as an antisemitic campaign.
B’nai B’rith added that “Mbembe has signed an abhorrent BDS petition against scholars from Ben Gurion Univeristy. He has called for the ‘global isolation’ of the Jewish state and has compared apartheid to the Holocaust. Görgen’s pro-Mbembe tweets, meanwhile, include the posting of an article accusing Mbembe’s detractors of conducting a 'witch hunt' against him.”
The Jewish organization said it “is alarmed that a senior Foreign Ministry official would use his official twitter feed to defend the bigoted pronouncements of a demagogue who engages in the sort of malicious behavior encapsulated in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, such as the denial of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. We would expect the Ministry to forcefully denounce Mbembe, rather than defend him.”
B’nai B’rith continued “we call on you [Maas] to condemn both the bigotry of Mr. Mbembe and the tweets of Mr. Görgen in Mbembe’s defense. We hope that your Ministry will set an important example in this instance by demonstrating zero-tolerance for antisemitism.”
Maas declined to comment to numerous Post press queries.
A spokesperson for the ministry told the Post last week when asked about the topic that ”We ask for your understanding that we won’t comment on the issue mentioned.”
The international human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Post on Tuesday that the NGO is considering including the senior-level German diplomat Görgen on its top 10 list of worst outbreaks of antisemitism and anti-Israelism for 2020 due to his support of antisemitic positions.
Rabbi Cooper, the associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said that “Andreas Görgen would be a candidate, especially because of his rank and the timing his tweets and statement, which were made leading up to Yom Hashoah [Holocaust Remembrance Day].”
“It is past due for the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who said he went into politics because of Auschwitz, to start showing in real terms and real life his commitment to fight antisemitism, especially when it rears its head in his Foreign Ministry,” said Cooper.
“I am worried sick that for the second year in row we have consider naming a top echelon official of the German government in the top 10. We need the German Government to act swiftly against antisemitism expressed from within its own diplomats and gatekeepers.”
Last year, the Simon Wiesenthal included Germany’s ambassador to the UN, Christoph Heusgen, on its top ten list for equating Israel with the terrorist entity Hamas at the UN and voting repeatedly against the Jewish state.
Last year, the director of the German Foreign Ministry’s representation for the Palestinian territories, Christian Clages, was revealed to have liked scores of antisemitic tweets while using his government Twitter feed. Clages retained his job. The German paper Bild broke the story about Clages.
The Foreign Ministry disciplined Clages for liking neo-Nazi and KKK tweets. Görgen has refused to answer numerous Post media queries.