Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Berlin mayor slammed for allowing terrorist group fund-raising event

Berlin Mayor Michael Müller was under fire on Monday for failing to stop a local fund-raising event for the terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The pro-PFLP event was organized by the Democratic Committee of Palestine and reportedly took place in the publishing house of the socialist newspaper Neues Deutschland (New Germany) on Saturday. “The PFLP should be banned from staging events anywhere in the world,” Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. Zuroff, Wiesenthal Center chief Nazi-hunter, said, “The mayor should have said he found this offensive. The PFLP has murdered innocent civilians in many places.”The Berlin daily Tagesspiegel first reported on the event on Saturday, terming the PFLP “an Arab terrorist organization.” Requests for comment to Müller were not returned by press time. The PFLP is responsible for scores of suicide bombings in Israel as well as plane hijackings. In 2001, the PFLP assassinated Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi. Neues Deutschland publishing house executive director Olaf Koppe, wrote the Post by email that neither the paper nor the publishing house enabled the PFLP event. He added that he was not aware that the PFLP fund-raiser took place in the building. After the Post's report on the planned PFLP event, in a follow-up email to the Post on Tuesday, Koppe wrote "such an event did not take place. And events of terror organizations or organizations that question Israel's right to exist and propagate antisemitic propaganda will also not take place here." He said on Monday the newspaper Neues Deutschland and publishing house are separate entities from the management events division in the building. A spokeswoman at the Neues Deutschland building said the event management department from the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation in the building is responsible for such events. Jannine Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, told the Post that the “PFLP event did not take place in the rooms of the foundation,” and the foundation did not organize the PFLP fund-raiser or play a role in the participation of the PFLP event. “The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation does not support international terror organizations,” said Hamilton. Over the last month, Berlin’s mayor has been engulfed in criticism that he is soft on combating antisemitism and terrorism. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid blasted Müller for permitting Hezbollah to march in June at the annual al-Quds Day march in Berlin. London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the United Kingdom to ban Hezbollah’s entire organization. The EU outlawed Hezbollah’s so-called military wing in 2013. Berlin’s intelligence agency wrote in its annual report that there are 250 Hezbollah operatives and supporters in the capital. In a related PFLP development in Vienna, the large Austrian bank Erste Group responded to a Post query about a bank account for the Austrian-Arab Meeting Center (ÖAB) that hosted a fund-raiser for the PFLP.

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