European Jewish Congress
German Jews slam Wiesenthal Center for terming Berlin mayor an antisemite
Germany
German Jews slam Wiesenthal Center for terming Berlin mayor an antisemite

Germany’s Jewish community responded with outrage on Thursday after media reports that the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre was considering the inclusion of Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller on its annual top 10 list of global antisemitic incidents.

Such a move would be “grotesque” as it would involve putting Mueller on the same list that has previously included such antisemites as "former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the worst antisemites in the world,” Dr. Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the country’s EJC affiliate, said in a statement.

Speaking with the Jerusalem Post, Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper said that Mueller was "mainstreaming the BDS movement,” which is "widely recognised as antisemitic.”

“There are two reasons why he [Mueller] could theoretically make the list,” Cooper told the Post. “He is the mayor of, arguably, the most important European city. And his colleagues get it that BDS is not just mean-spirited but downright dangerous.”

Last week Frankfurt became the first German city to ban the use of municipal funds and facilities by the BDS movement. Munich is expected to pass a similar measure in the near future. 

Mueller, on the other hand, has declined to condemn or take action against either the recent anti-Israel Quds day march through Berlin or a publicly funded event held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist group, which operates freely in the city.

While the Central Council objected to the possible inclusion of Mueller on the Wiesenthal Center’s list, Schuster also had harsh words for the mayor, stating that it was "embarrassing for the city of Berlin that the Governing Mayor has so far considered it not necessary to stand clearly and unambiguously against BDS activities. The Jewish community also hoped for a more decisive action against the Berlin Al-Quds march.”

The insinuation of antisemitism impacts the entire Berlin government, Müller told the Berliner Zeitung on Wednesday.

“Especially in a city like Berlin, we are aware of the special responsibility” of Germans given their history, he said.

Others have defended Müller, including Bundestag member Volker Beck, former head of the body’s German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group; Elio Adler, founder of a nonpartisan Jewish political initiative in Berlin; and Sergey Lagodinsky, a member of the Berlin Jewish community assembly of representatives.

“Including the mayor in the list for no obvious reason discredits all the critical work we do to keep the issue alive. This is irresponsible,” Lagodinsky told JTA. “One can and must criticize Müller’s too mild course in dealing with conservative or political Islam, but to attribute to him antisemitic motives in doing so is wrong and unfair.

Click here to read the full article in The Forward

Monday, September 04, 2017
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President's Page Security and Crisis Centre by EJC European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism