U.S. ambassador slams Merkel’s dismissal of Iran’s call to destroy Israel

Antisemitism experts blast Merkel for ignoring Iranian antisemitism

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, October 2, 2019 (photo credit: MICHELE TANTUSSI/REUTERS)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, October 2, 2019
US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has sharply criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government for its blasé dismissal of Iran’s threat to destroy the Jewish state.
“Threatening the destruction of Israel is something that should not be dismissed, especially when the threats come from Iranian regime officials who regularly use terrorism as a weapon of intimidation,” Grenell,  told Fox News last week. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
Grenell, who enjoys enormous popularity among German Jews, pro-Israel advocates and Israeli government officials, responded to two Iranian officials who recently called for the obliteration of Israel.
“If Israel or America makes a mistake, Israel won’t live for longer than 20 or 30 minutes,” said Mojtaba Zonnour, chairman of National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in Iran’s Majlis legislature.
In addition, Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), told an audience of IRGC leaders that “This sinister regime [Israel] must be wiped off the map and this is no longer… a dream [but] it is an achievable goal.”
He said the Islamic Republic of Iran had “managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the impostor Zionist regime.”
When asked by Fox News whether the statements by Salami and Zonnour are antisemitic, Grenell said, “Yes.”
A spokesman for German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told The Jerusalem Post that “We condemn the recent threats by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps against Israel in the strongest possible terms. Such anti-Israel rhetoric is completely unacceptable. Israel’s right to exist is not negotiable. We urge Iran to commit to maintaining peaceful relations with all states in the region and to take practical steps to de-escalate tensions.”
A Merkel representative from her spokesman Steffen Seibert’s office simply repeated that Iran’s threats to wipe Israel off the map are “anti-Israel rhetoric.”
When pressed by the Post if the Iranian regime’s call to exterminate the nearly seven million Jews in Israel meets the definition of antisemitism, the spokespeople said it is just “anti-Israel rhetoric.”
The Post first reported on Merkel’s administration labeling Iran’s call to destroy Israel “anti-Israel rhetoric” and not antisemitism.
Antisemitism experts in the United States and Germany expressed outrage over the Merkel government’s cavalier attitude toward Iran’s genocidal antisemitism targeting Israel.
The Hamburg-based political scientist Dr. Matthias Küntzel wrote on the website of Perlentaucher on Thursday: “While Berlin has no problem describing a Nazi who wants to wipe out Israel as an antisemite, in the case of Iran sugarcoated language is cultivated: Here one shies away from the A-word [antisemitsim]; here you want to leave it with the term ‘anti-Israel rhetoric.’”
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, the US-based executive director of the 40,000-member Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), told the Post, “As per the recent IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition [the Working Definition of Antisemitism] and the US State Department definition, any calls for the destruction of the State of Israel should be viewed as clear antisemitism. Trying to call these statements anti-Israel dilutes Iran’s real intentions and gives them a pass. The German government should unequivocally define these statements for what they are: antisemitism, and should not tolerate them.”
Dr. Charles Small, a top expert on contemporary antisemitism and a visiting fellow at Oxford University in the UK, told the Post, “For the post-Holocaust German government to remain silent and not denounce, with force and outrage, the Iranian revolutionary regime’s ideologically based commitment to destroy Israel and Jewish sovereignty, is unconscionable, especially given the history of German antisemitism and the mass murder and destruction it caused.”
Small, who is also the founder and director of the New York City-based Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), added, “The Iranian regime’s twisted form of political revolutionary Islam is based on a theology that combines Nazi-inspired antisemitism and Holocaust denial. For the contemporary German government to ignore and dismiss this ideology and incitement to antisemitism makes Germany morally complicit in the hatred and crimes that the Iranian regime carries out daily within its borders and increasingly throughout the Middle East and beyond.”
Dr. Elvira Groezinger, the Berlin-based deputy director of the German branch of SPME, told the Post that said Merkel’s “words, however, had no effect whatsoever and did not urge the murderous Mullah regime to modify its policy towards Israel. On the contrary, Iran keeps threatening Israel with extinction every second day. As long as Germany continues its traditionally close economic relations with Iran, the Chancellor’s declarations will remain ineffective and the situation dangerous for Israel.”