Saturday, March 31, 2012
The Jusos passed , arguably, the most pro-Israel resolution in the history of the Federal Republic on Sunday at their party conference and their officials have voiced unconditional solidarity with the Jewish state in the major media.
‘If Iran continues to work on a nuclear weapon, we are arguing for a preventive attack,’ said the Berlin Jusos chairman Kevin Kühnert in the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung The roughly 4,000 members of the Berlin Jusos are under the age of 35. The organization serves as both a platform to cultivate future leadership and as an idea factory.
Fabian Weissbarth, the 24-year-old deputy representative of Jusos Berlin, told me on Thursday via telephone, that the resolution serves to jumpstart ‘a discussion within the party’ about support for Israel. When asked why Jusos Berlin launched the resolution, he said there has been a culture of ‘criticizing anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism’ within the youth group. As an example, he cited the Jusos decision in 2006 to defend Israel’s right to counterattack Hezbollah rocket attacks.
In sharp contrast to a kind of naïve pacificism of most of Germany’s political establishment, including the defense and foreign affairs ministers, the Jusos Berlin section has redefined the debate about what constitutes meaningful solidarity with Israel. The decision to retain the military option conforms with the positions of the Dutch, British, US, and Israeli governments.
Bizarrely, the Merkel administration, the only European government to declare Israel’s security interests to be integral to the security of the Federal Republic has a rather large security blind spot on the issue of military intervention in Iran. What should be self-evident for German politicians, namely, the retention of military strikes to force Iran to abandon its illicit nuclear program, is not.
There is a prominent exception. The 32-year-old deputy Philipp Missfelder, who serves as the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party (CDU) in the Bundestag, understands the need for more sticks than carrots when dealing with Tehran. He told me in early March that ‘It was a mistake in the fall to rule out a military option.’
Germany’s foreign minister Guido Westerwelle—a product of pro-business trade policies towards Iran and the ambivalent Israel position of his Free Democratic party—has vehemently rejected, even as a last resort, military strikes to knock out Iran’s nuclear systems.
Missfelder, the federal head of the CDU youth organization (Junge Union), however, noted that ‘Obama was correct in how he handled [relations with Iran]. The military option must remain on the table because, if not, the negotiating strategy will not be taken seriously by Iran.’ The Junge Union has 130,000 members and is considered the largest political youth organization in Europe. As its federal head, Missfelder has breathed new life and fire into practical Israel solidarity in terms of the Iranian threat.
Is there a generation gap unfolding in terms of supporting Israel’s security in Germany? It may be too early to know.
What we do know is this: There has been no shortage of theoretical and abstract support for Israel in Germany. It is rather the concrete, practical support where the gaps—or better put, large holes—exist.
As if to fill these gaps, the most recent Jusos resolution on Israel states, “Our self-concept: Solidarity with Israel, theoretical and practical.” Will Jusos (and the Junge Union) influence a radical change in the behavior of German political and civil society?
Benjamin Weinthal, jpost
Friday, March 30, 2012
Approximately 50 protesters rally in solidarity for Land Day; top politician slams Leftist deputy for supporting the event.
Berlin - Palestinian Germans staged a scarcely attended rally in the heart of the government district on Friday to call for the expulsion of Israel from its capital Jerusalem. A statement of support from German Left Party deputy prompted sharp criticism from the deputy and foreign policy spokesman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post at the event, the organizer of the Berlin “March to Jerusalem” protest, who identified himself as Lafi Khalil, said the attendees demonstrated against “the Judaization and expropriation of Jerusalem.” Khalil added that 50 people registered for the protest and it was mainly symbolic. Police officials told the Post that roughly 50 protesters appeared at the anti-Israel rally across from the chancellery, the seat of Merkel’s administration.
Several pro-Israel activists appeared at the event, including one man who stood in front of the pro-Palestinian red banner with the words “Global March to Jerusalem 2012: Jerusalem for everybody!” The police intervened to separate the two pro-Israel supporters from the largely Palestinian group.
In response to Left party deputy Annette Groth’s statement of support on the German language website of the “March to Jerusalem,” deputy Philipp Missfelder, who serves as the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party (CDU) in the Bundestag, wrote the Post by email that “the Global March is everything else but a peaceful protest, which the protest pretends to be.”
He added that “radical groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, whose goal is the destruction of Israel, have called for participation in the action. The protest march is an instrument to stoke hate against Israel. That a deputy of the Left Party is participating in the Global March event in Germany is once again proof of this party’s hostility toward Israel."
The Left Party deputy Groth along with two additional Left politicians was aboard the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara in 2010. The ship attempted to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of nine radical Islamists and severe injuries to Israeli naval commandos.
Post emails to Left Party deputies Gregor Gysi and Petra Pau were not immediately returned. Pau and Gysi have attempted over the years to convince deputies and voters of the Left party to accept the right of the Jewish state to exist. The Left Party has been engulfed in a series of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic scandals over the last two years.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center placed Hermann Dierkes, the Left Party city councilman in the west German city of Duisburg, on the center’s list of top ten global anti-Semites in 2011. Dierkes called for a boycott of Israel and deemed Israel’s existence a “petty” matter. The Left Party has refused to expel Dierkes from its ranks.
The anti-Israel protesters waived eight large Palestinian flags at the “March to Jerusalem” event. Young children held a sign in Arabic stating “We will return” and “Freedom for Palestinian prisoners” in Israel. A number of young demonstrators sported “Boycott Israel” t-shirts.
Dr. Elvira Grözinger, a member of WIZO and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East in Germany, told the Post "I consider Israel'’s enemies’ planned “March to Jerusalem” as a fatal continuation of the fascist and Nazi tradition of marches – Mussolini'’s March to Rome (1922) and Hitler’s march in Munich to the Feldherrnhalle(1923) as well as Neo-Nazi marches in the present days."
She continued terming the German Lefitst political support for the March to Jerusalem to be " totally ignorant."
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation said it was forced by the UAE government last week to stop its work in Abu Dhabi, where it opened an office in 2009. It said it had received "no understandable explanation" for the move.
It was the second time in three months that the foundation saw one of its foreign offices shuttered, following a similar step in Egypt in late December.
The think tank this week termed the decision an "alarm bell for democratic development in the Arab world".
Foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke said the UAE's ambassador to Berlin had been invited for talks Friday at the ministry to underline the "positive work of the foundation" and seek a "common solution" to reopen the Abu Dhabi office.
"It is our goal to find a way together with the United Arab Emirates for this to happen," Peschke told a regular government news conference.
"But whether and how this could happen I cannot say at this time."
He declined to draw a parallel to the decision in Cairo. "The situations in the individual countries are too different," he said.
Merkel said Thursday that she "regretted" the decision and that Germany would "attempt to maintain close cooperation with the United Arab Emirates".
"However we of course wished that the Konrad Adenauer Foundation could continue its work there," she told reporters.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he had personally asked his Emirati counterpart to revisit the decision.
More than 40 representatives of international groups promoting democracy are on trial in Egypt charged with illegal financing and other infractions, including two employees of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Iran calls for March to Jerusalem: The German Left Party, Sunni Islamists and the Iranian regime collaborate against Israel
As a caravan that is part of the march, arriving in Tehran on March 17, they met among others the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He said at this occasion that “the existence of Israel is illegal, and be it only on one inch of Palestinian soil”. (2) Even when wide parts of the organizations that participate at the March share this view, there are reports about tensions within the coalition. Some Palestinian organizations fear that the pro-Iranian participants of the march will act very violently. (3)
In Germany, members of the Left Party are again collaborating with anti-Semitic and Islamist forces. On the supporters list of the March are MP Annette Groth, the former foreign policy spokesperson of the Left Party Norman Paech as well as Jürgen Aust, board member of the Left Party in North Rhine-Westphalia. (4)
STOP THE BOMB spokesperson Michael Spaney comments: “Parts of the Left Party and anyone else participating in the March to Jerusalem are collaborating with the Iranian regime in the struggle against Israel. They collaborate with a regime that is responsible for mass executions and grave human rights violations, that has a president who just recently denied the Holocaust on German Television and that strives for nuclear weapons. The reference to human rights and non-violence by the marchers and their supporters thus loses any credibility.”
The protest against the alleged “Judaization” of Jerusalem is sheer cynicism coming from a regime that systematically discriminates and persecutes religious minorities. The small remaining Jewish community in Iran has been coerced to support the march and to distance themselves from Israel. (5) Adjacent to oppressing the Iranian Jews, the regime of the Islamic Republic especially threatens and persecutes Baha’i and Christians, often with the accusation of being “Zionist agents”.
The political and military support for Assad’s bloody crackdown on the uprising in Syria has earned the Iranian regime the hate of the Arab-Sunni world. The support of the March to Jerusalem is thus also a doomed attempt to regain sympathy and to distract from the enormous problems that confront the regime. Those include the effects of the massively tightened economic sanctions and the discontent of the Iranian population, which in great parts rejects the regime.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
German media outlets reported on Monday that Peter Feldmann was elected as the new mayor of Frankfurt, and is the first Jewish mayor to head a large German city since World War II, and the second Jewish mayor in the country's history.
The 53-year-old Social Democrat won 57% of the votes in the second round of elections, which were held on Sunday. Feldmann defeated his rival Boris Rhein, the representative from Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right CDU party.
"I didn't expect this; truthfully no one predicted this," Feldmann told a German Jewish website, adding that the fact that he is Jewish had no effect on his campaign.
'This goes to show the strength of our open and liberal city; my religion was not even an issue in the elections campaign," he noted. "Religion is important to me, but as a personal matter," Feldmann added.
Prior to WWII, Frankfurt was home to Germany's second largest Jewish population, boasting approximately 30,000 members. Nowadays, the population remains around 7,000 members.
Feldmann is not the first Jewish mayor to head the city of Frankfurt – In 1924 Ludwig Landmann was elected mayor, but was forced to step down after the Nazis came to power in 1933.
There was no sign that Islamist extremists were giving up or weakening their hopes of mounting attacks on Germany, he told a conference with Muslim leaders on how to deny the extremists any safe refuge in the Muslim community.
'Currently, we have 130 individuals seen as posing threats in Germany,' he said. He said the biggest threat to western nations now came from lone-wolf attackers.
Last week, a presumed Islamist, Mohamed Merah, died in a shootout in France as police tried to arrest him for the killing of three children, three soldiers and a rabbi in Toulouse.
A year ago, in the worst Islamist-linked lone-wolf attack yet in Germany, Arid Uka, 22, murdered two US Air Force personnel at Frankfurt airport. He was sentenced last month to life imprisonment.
Friedrich said solo attackers like Uka, who were not linked to groups such as al-Qaeda, were becoming radicalised via the internet and were especially hard for security authorities to spot.
Ahmad Wali Siddiqui says in trial that Islamic Republic supports the terrorist group.
KOBLENZ – Ahmad Wali Siddiqui, a German-Afghani who is alleged to have been a member of al-Qaida, said on both Monday and Tuesday during his trial that Iran harbored al-Qaida terrorists.
The revelations were fresh evidence of Shi’ite Iran’s ongoing support of Sunni terrorists in al-Qaida and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
“Life in Germany is not good. You live with gays, lesbians and Jews. Islam rules here,” Siddiqui, 37, told his mother in Hamburg in a wiretapped telephone conversation disclosed during his trial. He is charged with being a member of a terrorist organization.
A group of German Islamists planned to return from Pakistan in 2010 to mount attacks targeting Europe’s economy. American forces in Kabul arrested Siddiqui in 2010 when he was on his way to Germany.
He said during the trial that two of his fellow conspirators – Rami Makanesi and Naamen Meziche – flew from Vienna to Tehran so as not “to not get caught.” An Iranian-operated travel agency in Hamburg arranged their trip.
Makanesi and Meziche established contact with a facilitator known as “Dr. Mamoud,” who works for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Siddiqui continued.
The travel route allowed the two men to travel unimpeded to the eastern Iranian city of Zahedan, which serves a hub for terrorists seeking to enter Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dr. Mamoud “welcomed them” to Zahedan and from the border city they made their way into Pakistan, Siddiqui said.
Pakistani authorities arrested Makanesi in 2010 while disguised as a woman wearing a burka. Meziche is believed to be in Iran.
Presiding Judge Angelika Blettner poised tough questions to Siddiqui about his views toward the West and Jews. She said his anti-Jewish and homophobic comments revealed contempt for life in Germany. When asked by federal prosecutor Bernd Steudl who had taught him to hate Jews, gays and lesbians, Siddiqui replied that “every mujahideen [people involved in jihad] holds this opinion.”
Siddiqui said at the trial, “I have nothing against Jews.”
Sources connected to the trial said it is expected to reveal an intricate network among al-Qaida members, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and other Islamic terrorist groups operating in Europe, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Gabriel's remarks triggered a wave of criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU), which issued a statement saying: "The fact that a German politician is using the term 'Apartheid' in connection with Israeli society is shameful. This is out of turn and reveals Mr. Gabriel's ignorance in foreign policy matters, especially when it comes to such complex issues such as the Middle East conflict."
Gabriel, a former environmental minister, was unrepentant. He later sought to meet with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, despite Germany's official policy not to recognize the terror group. Gabriel also said he welcomed the inclusion of Hamas as political partner in the Middle East.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on public television station triggers criticism.
BERLIN – German Iranians and German Jews on Sunday criticized ZDF (Second German Television) for broadcasting without objection an interview in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust.
The interviewer was also slammed for failing to raise the repression of Iran’s democracy movement.
The Holocaust is “a lie of Israel” that allows the Jewish state to hurt the Palestinians, Ahmadinejad said in the ZDF interview broadcasted last week.
Claus Kleber, a brand name journalist for ZDF, a tax-payer funded, public station, aired the 45-minute interview on the popular news channel.
Dieter Graumann, head of Germany’s 105,000 member Jewish community, told the Bild am Sonntag paper that ZDF provided Ahmadinejad a platform to spread his “poison.”
“I am very disappointed that a respected German journalist, and on top of that, a public station, allowed the most brazen remarks from notorious Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad to remain unchallenged,” Graumann said.
Kleber said he did not contradict Ahmadinejad because he did not want to give him the opportunity to “fully spread his rubbish,” according to a statement cited in the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel.
Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany, but Iranian diplomats and politicians have denied the Shoah at state-funded events in Germany.
German authorities chose not to purse violations of the country’s Holocaust denial law in 2008 against senior Iranian politician Mohammad Larijani for denying the Holocaust at a German Foreign Ministry event in Berlin. A year later, his brother, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, issued statements containing elements of Holocaust denial at the annual Munich Security Conference, saying his country has “different perspectives on the Holocaust.”
While Germany enforces its anti-Holocaust denial law against neo-Nazis, the authorities fail to apply it to Iranian officials.
German-Iranian scholar Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh told the mass circulation Bild in Sunday’s article that the ZDF interview was “careless.”
“Ahmadinejad was able to present himself as a quite friendly head of state who presented Iran as the victim of an indiscriminate use of Israeli state power. The interview was celebrated as a great success in Iran and an unbelievable prize win for Ahmadinejad, and this was made possible by a broadcast from our publicly funded television!” he said.
Wahdat-Hagh, who has written extensively about human-rights violations in Iran and Islamic-animated anti-Semitism, is the author of a new book, The Islamist Totalitarianism.
Omid Nouripour, a Bundestag deputy for the Green Party who was born in Tehran, told Bild that the interview represents a “moral failure” of Claus Kleber.
“Kleber did not cover the bloody repression of the protests against the regime in Iran. That is a big journalistic mistake because the human rights mistake cannot be separated from the nuclear weapons questions,” Nouripour said.Iran's president ended the interview saying, "We very much like Germany. We like you very much [Mr. Kleber]."
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Dr. Matthias Küntzel (political scientist, Hamburg)
Chair: Simone Dinah Hartmann (STOP THE BOMB)
Thursday, March 29th 2012, 7 pm
University of Vienna, Neues Institutsgebäude, Lecture Hall II
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna
Dr. Matthias Küntzel, political scientist in Hamburg; external research associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; author of “Die Deutschen und der Iran. Geschichte und Gegenwart einer verhängnisvollen Freundschaft” and co-author of "Der Iran - Analyse einer islamischen Diktatur und ihrer europäischen Förderer". His book “Jihad and Jew-Hatred” was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2007 London Book Festival. Organized by STOP THE BOMB and Studienvertretung Doktorat Gewi/Hus at the University of Vienna.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
What did the defense minister get out of his trip? Will Germany support a strike on Iran?
BERLIN - German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere's statements earlier this week during his meeting with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak mean, on the surface, opposition to a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Nonetheless, Barak may have secured more military cooperation from Germany than was voiced in de Maiziere's anti-strike comments.
The signing ceremony with Barak for the contract to purchase a sixth Super Dolphin submarine for Israel's navy took place at the country's embassy and represents the crowning achievement of German-Israeli military cooperation. The advanced Dolphin possesses a second-strike nuclear weapons capability.
Philipp Missfelder, the Christian Union Democratic deputy and foreign spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel's party in the Bundestag, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, "We stand strongly on the side of Israel. The military cooperation shows that Israel has a special status."
"We cannot merely make nice speeches if we do not cooperate with Israel militarily. If Israel is in danger, Germany should stand by its side. It is right to advocate that the military option remain. I support defensive military supplies to Israel," he continued.
In sharp contrast to de Maiziere's remarks, a Tuesday article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, also known as FAZ, lends additional evidence that Barak has convinced the Germans to fulfill aspects of their pledge to champion Israel's security. The FAZ piece noted that the Merkel administration will "immediately" support Israel and provide rocket-defense systems and specialized personnel if requested by Israel in order to bolster its defenses during a conflict with Iran.
Former Israeli ambassador to Germany Shimon Stein, who served from 2001 to 2007, told the Post on the telephone that the "FAZ article is good news. Netanyahu's office will be pleased to read it."
Stein, who is widely considered to be one of the top Israeli ambassadors in Germany, added that he considers it a mistake that Germany has not publicly retained the military option against Iran. In connection with the military possibility, "Israel and the US differ not on substance but on timing.
Germany finds itself in opposition to the US, not just Israel," he said.
While de Maiziere said at a joint meeting on Tuesday in Berlin that "a military escalation would bring i ncalculable risks for Israel and the region, to the detriment of Israel," the meetings among German ministries spoke a somewhat different language.
The FAZ noted that the German defense ministry, foreign ministry and chancellor's office met to determine the meaning of Chancellor Merkel's statement about Israel's security interests being integral to German interests. According to the newspaper, the German government will "immediately" show support for Israel's defense measures.
Concretely, the Merkel administration will supply Israel with Patriot rocket systems, mobile defense devices and technical personnel. The article also said that Germany's government would not expect additional military requests from Israel.
The article, titled "Möllemann's inheritors: The FDP, the chancellor, and the conflict with Iran" and penned by Majid Sattar, outlined splits in the governing coalition in Germany among the Christian Democrats/Christian Social Union party and the FDP (Free Democratic Party).
According to the piece, a unnamed FDP deputy said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statements about military strikes against the Islamic Republic are "irresponsible." Though the FDP has a responsibility toward the Jewish state, wrote Sattar, the party has to play the role of the mediator with the Muslim world.
Though the statements from Westerwelle and de Maiziere could be interpreted as undermining the US, British, Dutch and Israeli positions, namely that the military option has to remain on the table, there are signs that Chancellor Angela Merkel might stick to her pro-Israel position.
She told the Knesset in 2008 that "we would never abandon Israel" and "consequently, in the hour of truth, these cannot remain empty words." She was the only European leader to unconditionally support Operation Cast Lead in 2008, though, in contrast to US President Barack Obama, she has not publicly issued a statement about the military option vis-a-vis Iran.
Merkel plays her military cards close to the vest. It is hard to assess if, when the moment of truth arrives, she will fulfill her promise to support and defend Israel.
Mohammed Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, proclaimed allegiance to al Qaida during a siege in Toulouse after he admitted having killed four people at a nearby Jewish school. Police also believe Merah murdered three French soldiers.He died in a hail of bullets as French police stormed the apartment where he had been holed up for 31 hours in the southwest French city. Such attacks could take place in Germany, said Rainer Wendt, chairman of the DPolG police union. He told the business daily Handelsblatt that 250 of “roughly 1,000 sympathisers of Jihad-terrorism in Germany" had received attended terrorist training camps on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.But it is impossible for security agencies to keep a round-the-clock observation of these 250 people. “In this respect it is of course possible at any time that also in Germany a radicalized single perpetrator commits such actions like in Toulouse,” said Wendt.He called for politicians to make training in so-called “terror camps” a crime in Germany.“Politicians would be well advised to think about this [legal] instrument and not first become active when there are concrete plans for an attack,” he said. “Then it can be very quickly too late,” he added.The police union leader noted that the French police were able to quickly home in on the suspect because of internet research and called on the German government to quickly adopt legislation that would allow German authorities to store and retain internet data.Separately, a German Jewish leader condemned the French massacre, and said it should be regarded as a “warning signal for Germany. The problem of Islamism has been “played down, misjudged and underestimated,” Charlotte Knoblauch said in Munich.“Hostility toward Jews is growing rapidly among Muslims living in Germany,” said Knobloch, the former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, while calling on politicians and society as a whole to not hide from these problems.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
"We inform you that your compatriot Edgar Fritz Raupach is a prisoner of fighters from AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)," the group said in a statement published by the ANI agency, demanding the release of a woman who it said had converted to Islam.
The woman, Felis Lowitz, whose Muslim name was given as Um Seiv Al-Islam-Al-Ansariya, was said to be detained in Germany where she was being "tortured".
A video obtained by ANI and seen by AFP showed Raupach, his hands tied behind his back, surrounded by masked gunmen.
In the video he called on his "parents, friends and German public opinion" to convince Berlin to "bring an end to the torture of our Muslim sister", adding that only her liberation will save his life.
AQIM warned that any attempt to rescue Raupach will lead to his death, as happened in the case of Italian engineer Franco Lamolinara and British colleague Chris McManus, killed earlier this month during a failed rescue bid by Nigerian forces.
Raupach, ANI said, is an engineer who was kidnapped in northern Nigeria on January 25.
Germany has confirmed one of its nationals has been kidnapped in northern Nigeria, and the German construction company Bilfinger Berger has said he is one of their employees.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Ahmad Wali Siddiqui told the Koblenz state court in the second day of his trial that he and a group of others bought iPhones, Sony laptops and other electronics on credit in Germany, then sold them on eBay to fund their 2009 trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"We wanted to fly there to live life according to (Islam's) Sharia law and fight jihad," he said, using the Arabic word for holy war. "We didn't want to ever return."
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Neukölln, Berlin: Muslims want revenge on German who killed Muslim in self-defence -- 'This is a separate universe with its own laws'
Even though the German journalists only report bits and pieces of the story and one has to piece several articles together to get the full picture, they allow small and very interesting bits of information slip through -- often buried deep inside the articles. The above-mentioned article ended with this quote: "'Arab family clans appear regularly in hospitals and schools in order to make ruckus over trifles.' Mostly in groups, usually armed.'"
Another article, "'How did it come to this?'" ends like this, clearly showing the role of their prophet and their women: "'I do not know what will we do when we get hold of the offender.' At this moment the sound words of the preacher Ferid Heider are a fitting response: 'Think about it! How did it come to this?' he calls out with a sad voice: 'Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, we do not want our youth to fight, we are too small in this area for that. We want a youth who acts according to our prophet's advice. We have to show what kind of religion Islam is.' In the end, the women are also allowed to put flowers at the grave."
Last month, German Secretary of State for Defense Christian Schmidt told The Jerusalem Post that the contract for the submarine had already been signed a few weeks earlier and that Germany had agreed to subsidize its cost.
The Defense Ministry initiated talks with Germany last year about buying a sixth submarine but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government initially balked when Israel asked that it underwrite part of the cost. In late November, though, Germany announced that it had approved the deal and that it would pay for part of the vessel.
In late February, German media reported that the submarine slated for delivery to Israel had been openly placed in the harbor of the northern city of Kiel.
Also on the agenda during Barak's visit were developments in the Middle East and dealing with the Iranian issue, along with discussions on security cooperation between Israel and Germany.
Monday, March 19, 2012
by Ralph Giordano
Dear Former Chancellor,
“I am your president!” “Learn German, but stay who you are!” “Form a state in the state, but do not call it that.”These declarations of war on integration from February, 2008 in Cologne and March, 2011 in Düsseldorf were fired off before an inflamed crowd of 18,000 people by the man who will receive the “Steiger Award for the Tolerance, Humaneness and Growing Together of Europe” — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey.This is the same Erdogan who is till denying the genocide of the Armenians after almost one hundred years, and who personifies like no one else this Turkish grand delusion. That very genocide, Mr. Former Chancellor, recognized under your chancellorship for the first time in almost 100 years by the German Bundestag. On February 22, 2005, to non-partisan applause, without a nay vote or abstention — an almost unfathomable miracle in the history of the German parliament.Now you are speaking in praise of a firebug: “There are 100,000 Armenians living in my country who are not its citizens. And if necessary, I can say to them: Go, back to the land you came from.” Direct quote from Erdogan — the speech of a thug.“Tolerance and Humaneness”? I protest giving the Steiger Award to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who can be just as hypocritical as the speech in his praise.You, Former Chancellor,once called Putin “a flawless democrat.” That will stay in your memory.But praise and honor of a politician who denies an overwhelmingly attested genocide, that is even heavier.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Social Democrat chairman Sigmar Gabriel to meet Israel’s ambassador and German Jewish leader.
BERLIN – Sigmar Gabriel, the chairman of Germany’s second biggest political party who last week called Israel an “apartheid regime,” is slated to meet with the head of Germany’s Jewish community and the new Israeli ambassador.
Yaakov Hadas-Handelsman became ambassador in Berlin on March 9.
Gabriel, 52, who will likely run for chancellor in 2013, wrote on his Facebook site Wednesday following a visit to Hebron, “It’s a zone without legal rights for Palestinians. It is an apartheid regime, and there’s no justification for it.”
Dieter Graumann, head of the Jewish community, told the German media that “what Gabriel said is completely screwed up.”
It is morally imbalanced to call for negotiations with Hamas, which openly seeks to destroy Jews worldwide, and at the same time to denigrate Israel as an “apartheid regime,” Graumann said.
Gabriel called for Israel to negotiate with Hamas. He sought to visit the Islamist group in the Gaza Strip, but because of the Gazan rocket fire into Israel he could not gain access.
Philipp Missfelder, a deputy in the Bundestag and foreign policy spokesman for the Christian Democrats, wrote to The Jerusalem Post in a phone text message on Thursday, “I advise against the political upgrade of Hamas.” Germany and the EU recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Email queries to Gabriel and to Tobias Dünow, a spokesman for the Social Democrats, on Friday regarding Gabriel’s views were not returned.
Fabian Weissbarth, a representative of the Social Democrats’ Berlin youth organization (Jusos), wrote to the Post in an email, “Jusos Berlin calls on Sigmar Gabriel to distance himself” from his statements.
There is “in no way a justification” for calling the situation in Hebron an “apartheid regime,” Weissbarth said.
Kevin Zdiara, a representative of the German-Israel Friendship Society in Erfurt, criticized Gabriel in a lengthy article on the website “Die Achse des Guten” for using his trip to Israel to visit Hebron while “more than 200 rockets were launched at Israel, forcing more than one million Israelis to live in a state of emergency and deadly terror... One could have expected that he would have at least condemned with clear words this new wave of terror.”
German media reporting on Gabriel’s trip to the Middle East has been dominated by his criticism of Israel. His comments have electrified German-language social network sites and major media organizations.
Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, posted a response on his Facebook site calling Gabriel’s comment “‘idiocy’ that reflected poorly on his party,” JTA reported.
Gabriel, however, garnered praise from the PLO’s top diplomat in Germany, Salah Abdel Shafi, for his parallel between Israel and apartheid.
“The statement of the SPD [Social Democratic Party] chairman is a courageous and truthful contention. He earns respect for his statement,” Shafi wrote on Friday on the German- language website of the PLO’s diplomatic mission in the Federal Republic.
Henryk M. Broder, a top German Jewish journalist and prolific writer on contemporary German anti-Semitism, told the Austrian daily Die Presse that “I do not believe that Gabriel is an anti-Semite, rather he is an idiot” in connection with his apartheid remark.
The daily Die Welt quoted Rudolf Dressler, a Social Democrat who was ambassador to Israel from 2000 to 2005, strongly disapproving of Gabriel’s comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa.
While Gabriel’s Facebook page contained protests against his anti-Israel posting, Sacha Stawski, the head of the Frankfurt-based media watchdog organization Honestly Concerned, wrote the Post on Saturday that Gabriel’s Facebook has also attracted a sizable “collection of anti-Semites, both brown [neo- Nazi] and Islamic,” supporting Gabriel’s perceived efforts to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist.
A leading political columnist for the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger daily wrote on Friday that Gabriel could have noted that there is an Israeli Arab minority in the Jewish state, “while in Palestine Jews cannot survive without army protection.”
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Erdogan cancelled his trip to Bochum in the west of the country after a Turkish military helicopter crashed into a house Afghanistan killing at least 12 Turkish soldiers and five people on the ground including two children.Yet police said on Saturday morning they were still expecting tens of thousands of people to demonstrate against the awarding of the Steiger Award for Europe to Erdogan. The prize was to be given to him as a representative of the Turkish people for, “50 years of German-Turkish friendship”.But those still set to take to Bochum’s streets on Saturday include German Armenians, Kurds and Alevis who have called the award a “slap in the face for all minorities in Turkey,” according to a statement from the Alevi Community of Germany. Seven different demonstrations have been registered with the police, and are still expected to take place.Other people set to receive prizes include Queen Silvia of Sweden for her charity work, former German president Horst Köhler under the category “tolerance”, and even Lou Reed for his music. Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder had been booked to deliver Erdogan’s laudation at the ceremony. He was criticised for agreeing to do so in an open letter by writer Ralph Giordano who said Schröder should not so do for as long as Erdogan refuses to recognise the 1915/6 genocide of the Armenians.
The United Kingdom is widely considered to be the central hub of efforts to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, largely because of anti-Israel trade unions, the loony extremist British Left, and a sizable segment of politically reactionary British Muslims. To its credit, however, the UK’s government did expel Iranian diplomats after Tehran sponsored a storming of the British Embassy in November.
In sharp contrast to UK posture, on the Continent, the central European state of Austria has become a kind of diplomatic oasis for Iran’s regime. Leading Iranian human rights violators and nuclear weapons traffickers frequently shuttle back and forth between Tehran and Vienna. In short, Vienna is the hub of ubiquitous pro-Iranian regime activity in Europe.
Two events this week coalesced to show a rather glaring disconnect between Austria’s stated goal to fight anti-Semitism and its hands-off approach to enforcing EU and UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic, the world’s number one exporter of modern Jew-hatred.
First, the Austrian Foreign Minister delivered the run-of-the-mill speech to mark the—in retrospect regrettable—March 12 Anschluss of Austria, when Nazi Germany absorbed Austria on March, 12 1938 into its empire and euphoric Austrian crowds on Heldenplatz welcomed the Hitler movement.
Austria’s conservative foreign minister Michael Spindelegger said on Monday, “Every person of good will, who has like myself visited Yad Vashem, understands that it is essential to fight anti-Semitism and prejudices” [my translation]. He also praised Austria’s civil society service work in Israel.
While Mr. Spindelegger issued this boilerplate diplomatic language about combating anti-Semitism and remembering murdered Austrian Jews during the Shoah, Iran’s Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar attended a UN-sponsored forum in Vienna to fight criminality and drug trafficking.
It was a bizarre invitation. The recent UN human rights report, after all, notes: Iran executed 670 people in 2011, including more than 20 for offenses against Islam, a UN investigator said in Geneva on Monday. Most startlingly, the vast majority of people Iran executed in 2011 were convicted of drug offenses that do not merit capital punishment under international law. Iran’s judiciary is notorious for lacking any semblance of due process and fairness. In light of these facts, what was Mr. Najjar doing at any forum on the fight against drug trafficking?
To make Najjar’s invitation even more repulsive is the fact that he was a crucial figure in the regime crackdown against Iran’s pro-democracy protests in 2009. The EU sanctioned him and he is, at least on the penalty EU list, barred from visiting EU countries. He helped lay the foundation to build the anti-Semitic terror entity Hezbollah in Lebanon. Najjar has a long history with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, a US designated global terror entity. Lastly, he played a role in the bombing of U.S. military base in Beirut, resulting in the deaths of 241 soldiers.
Whatever the flaws or advantages of former NYC Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s decision to expel Yasir Arafat in 1995 from a concert for world leaders at Lincoln Center, he sent a clear signal against terror.
One wonders if Mr. Spindelegger could make more of an effort to enforce EU sanctions and bridge the gap between his anti-anti-Semitism rhetoric and the modernized form of terror from 1938, namely, Iran’s jingoism.
Friday, March 16, 2012
The three songs by a German man under the name Abou Maleeq, were described as Islamist fighting songs, or Nasheeds, by the federal department for media harmful to young persons, which banned them. Arid Uka was jailed for life in February for the attack on US airmen in a bus, telling the court he had been influenced by propaganda and lies after seeing a video on the Internet purporting to show American soldiers raping a woman in Afghanistan. He was also a devoted fan of Abou Maleeq, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper said on Friday. He wrote “I love you for Allah, Abou Maleeq” on his Facebook page just a few days before carrying out the deadly Frankfurt attack. Abou Maleeq is a 36-year-old German man originally called Denis C., from the Kreuzberg area of Berlin, Die Welt newspaper reported. His musical career began in gangster rap under the name Deso Dogg, but he entered the radical Islamist Salafist scene and regularly publishes militant rap songs on the internet – under his latest moniker Abu Talha.One of the three newly banned Abou Maleeq songs is rated as race baiting, and includes the words, “Mujahid run! Mujahid fight! See how the Kafir dies and burns... Allah promised victory would come... We hold the line to the death. Our aim is Sharia, until death comes to us.”A government spokesman said these fighting songs, “push young Muslims to take part in Jihad, and promote martyrdom as something to strive for.”Berlin state office for the protection of the constitution said the songs were aiming at young Muslims, to indoctrinate them with the militant-Salafist ideology. The authorities have been working towards the ban since October 2011.
Iranian Interior Minister in Vienna again: STOP THE BOMB criticizes silence over visit of Mohammad-Najjar
"Whether or not you want us in the European Union, our influence in Europe is growing. We are more numerous. We are younger. We are stronger."
A second-generation Muslim immigrant in Austria has authored a provocative new book in which he argues that Europe's future is Turkish, whether Europeans like it or not.
The book's short, sharp and confrontational title says it all: "We are Coming."
The thesis is: "Regardless of whether or not you [Europeans] like us [Turks], whether or not you integrate us, whether or not you want us in the European Union, our influence in Europe is growing. We are more numerous. We are younger. We are more ambitious. Our economy is growing faster. We are stronger."
The author, a 25-year-old Austrian-Turk named Inan Türkmen, says his objective in writing the book is to change the terms of the debate about Muslim immigration in Europe.
Türkmen -- who was born in Austria to Kurdish migrants and speaks fluent German -- says he is sick and tired of the way Turkish immigrants are being portrayed in the European media. He believes the time has come for Turks to fight back.
Taking a page from the playbook of the American Tea Party movement, Türkmen says he wants to establish an "angry citizen movement" (Wutbürgerbewegung) in Europe. His Turkish Tea Party would unite Turkish immigrants in Austria, Germany and other European countries to protest against European "arrogance."
In an interview with the Vienna-based newspaper Die Presse, Türkmen says he decided to write "We are Coming" after getting "hot under the collar" over a recent book about Muslim immigration by the renowned German economist Thilo Sarrazin.
Sarrazin's best-selling book, "Germany Does Away With Itself," broke Germany's long-standing taboo on discussing the impact of Muslim immigration. The book, which was first published in August 2010, is now on its 22nd edition. At last count, more than two million copies have been sold, making it one of the most widely read titles in Germany since the Second World War.
Sarrazin's book has resonated with vast numbers of ordinary Germans who are becoming increasingly uneasy about the social changes that are transforming Germany, largely due to the presence of millions of non-integrated Muslims in the country.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
Gabriel’s remarks trigger wave of criticism from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party, as well as leading Jewish NGOs.
BERLIN - Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the German Social Democratic Party and a possible candidate for the Chancellorship of Germany, described on Wednesday Israel as an “Apartheid-Regime” on his Facebook site.
After a wave of protest notes on his Facebook page, Gabriel, who is currently visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, continued to defend his terminology of Israel’s policies as racist.
“I was just in Hebron. That is a lawless territory there for Palestinians. This is an apartheid regime, for which there is no justification,” wrote Gabriel.
The Social Democratic chairman sought to meet with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and he appears to have abandoned German foreign policy regarding non-recognition of the terror group Hamas. Gabriel welcomed the inclusion of Hamas as partner in the political process in the Middle East.
Gabriel’s remarks triggered a wave of criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU), as well as leading Jewish NGOs.
In an email to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Philipp Missfelder, a deputy in the Bundestag and foreign policy spokesman for the CDU, wrote: "The fact that a German politician is using the term ‘Apartheid’ in connection with Israeli society is shameful. This is out of turn and reveals Mr. Gabriel's ignorance in foreign policy matters, especially when it comes to such complex issues such as the Middle East conflict."
Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Director for International Relations of the human right group the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post on Thursday, “Mr. Gabriel gets an F in History - German, South African and Israeli/Palestinian. The first is obvious. The SPD has hardly been on the side of the angels, adopting indiscriminately radical bad guys even if terrorist.”
Samuels continued: “Now it is ID theft of South African history taking apartheid as a loose catchword, diminishing its evil, just as the Holocaust is similarly abused. Indeed, Jews figured disproportionately in the anti-apartheid struggle, including many Israeli Jews. A real application of apartheid and ethnic cleansing took place in the 1929 Palestinian massacre of the Jews of Hebron who had resided there non-stop for 2000 years.
"The declared policy of President Abbas is Hebron without Jews, despite the Tomb of the Patriarchs and 3500 years of history.”
Samuels said that “Gabriel must apologize to Germans, South Africans and Israelis for his revisionism and bad politics.”
According to Samuels, Gabriel comparison of Israel with apartheid meets the EU’s definition of anti-Semitism as a “contributing factor to anti-Semitism.”
The head of the Berlin-based office of the American Jewish Committee , Deidre Berger, wrote the Post by email that "The comparison of Israel to an apartheid state is an incendiary historical falsehood that delegitimizes the state of Israel.”
She continued that "Statements that one-sidedly blame Israel for Palestinian aggression, while allowing the Palestinians to evade all responsibility for terrorism, repression, and human rights violations, can only result in setbacks to the peace process."
Berger added that the comparison of a democracy with extensive minority rights to a system of state-sponsored racism and oppression serve to foment a climate of hatred toward Germany's closest ally in the Mideast.
"Particularly at a time when the region is engulfed in turmoil, the consequences of scapegoating Israel can be severe. The only way to relaunch the peace process is for the Palestinians to stop stalling and sit down at the negotiating table," said Berger.
The 52-year-old politician, a former environmental minister in the former grand SPD-CDU coalition, is not known as a foreign policy expert. Traditionally, he has directed and formulated policy in connection with Germany’s labor market and domestic agenda.
In response to a Post email query on Thursday, Tobias Dünow, a spokesman for the SPD and Gabriel, wrote that Gabriel has many appointments today in Israel. Dünow wrote that Gabriel will try and respond on Thursday to the Post queries and criticisms of his statements.
Gabriel appeared to be defiant on Wednesday, writing that "it is clear to me that I used a very drastic formulation. But that is exactly what the Palestinians are experiencing in their situation in Hebron.”
Gregor Wettberg, the co-chairman of the Jewish Social Democratic group in Berlin-Brandenburg, wrote the Post “The choice of words from Sigmar Gabriel and their sloppy announcement on Facebook is inappropriate for the chairman of the SPD.” Wettberg, who is a member of the Berlin Jewish community, continued that the "the term 'Apartheid' evokes a false historic as well as factual comparison and serves popular resentments."
The General Secretary of the CDU, Hermann Gröhe, slammed Gabriel in the daily Die Welt on Thursday. Gröhe wrote “This comparison is a scandal and shameful for the chairman of a people’s party.” He added that Sigmar Gabriel "must apologize as fast as possible for his verbal blackout.”
“Hamas is a factor in this conflict. And you can’t solve a conflict if one factor is being ignored,” Sigmar Gabriel, the chairman of Germany’s main opposition party SPD, told reporters Monday in Jerusalem. Gabriel also said that he had planned to visit the Gaza Strip and meet with a Hamas representative, but canceled due to the current cross-border conflict, during which the Palestinian terrorists fired over 200 rockets at Israel’s south and the IDF retaliated with air strikes.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The people of Solothurn voted yes to the controversial initiative with some 46,869 votes to 19,852, representing an overwhelming acceptance to the proposal by a little over 70 percent of the electorate, news agency SDA reported.
The vote means that amendments will need to be made to cantonal police laws, the Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure and the Swiss youth crime code.
In future, not only the age and gender of a suspect or perpetrator will be given in police press releases, but also the nationality of the individual.
This represents a victory for the far-right Swiss People’s Party, whose members proposed the initiative.
Member of the Legal Commission and Swiss People’s Party member Oskar Freysinger pointed to the fact that some three quarters of Switzerland’s prison population are foreigners, online news website Basler Zeitung reported in February.
Freysinger said he no longer wants the fact that rich Switzerland is seen as an attractive place for foreigners to be swept under the carpet. Instead, Freysinger called for transparency.
Prior to Sunday’s vote, St. Gallen was the only other canton with such a regime.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
On February 15, 2012, at 8:30 PM an unimaginably ferocious act was committed on a human being — a bestial, barbaric act. A 16-year-old girl was tormented, beaten and gang-raped in a parking garage in Worms. But that was not enough for her tormenters. They raped her with a bottle and then broke the bottle and jammed it into her, severing her intestine and slicing open her womb. She was found unconscious, severely wounded and unclothed. Only an emergency operation saved her.
The results: Because of the severe mutilation in the genital area, a permanent ileostomy was performed (creating a permanent, artificial anus). She will never lead a normal life, have a sexual life, have children. At the moment, it is a question of supporting her spiritually and finding psychological care for her. Her family will have to be there for her at all times and let her know that she is needed and will always have someone who loves her — suicide is a great danger. In a similar case, the girl tried to take her life and had to be committed to a psychiatric institution.
There were two perpetrators, a 17-year-old male and a 19 year-old male of Turkish immigrant background. One of them, however, “only” watched, and has been released.
It is really of secondary importance whether the perpetrators of such a terrible rape are native or immigrant. It is utterly inhuman. But we have one question: Would this case have been gagged by the press if the perpetrators had been named Michael, Karl or Peter? Not likely.
Whatever the names, whatever the ethnic background, there is no fitting punishment for this brutal act of torture.
It is regrettable that the Claims Conference has for over a year and a half refused to answer questions about this looted art. An equally important problem arose over the use of funds held by the CC.
As the process of filing claims can be difficult to undertake, the Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO) of New York State Banking Department, created in June 1997, has been helpful in providing assistance to individuals seeking to recover assets lost because of Nazi persecution. The HCPO has helped claimants to collect as much detailed and accurate information as possible.
In contrast, the major disquieting issue concerning justice for Holocaust survivors or their heirs remains unresolved, as does the question of the moral compass of a major organization founded to deal with the consequences of the Nazi regime and material claims against Germany for the mistreatment of Jews. The controversy concerns the activities and non-activities of the Claims Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany), CC, founded in October 1951, largely at the urging of Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, with 23 Jewish organizations as members, to negotiate with the Germany Government for compensation for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution
By an agreement signed in 1952 and entered into force in 1953 the West German Government agreed to pay Israel for the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust and to pay compensation for Jewish property stolen by the Nazis. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on September 27, 1951 had declared that "unspeakable crimes" had been committed, and therefore restitution, moral and material, was necessary for the person and properties of the Jews who had been seriously harmed. The West Germans therefore paid billions in reparations through different programs to those who had suffered physical injury or loss of property and income. Today, the German government is still paying compensation pensions to those Jewish victims eligible to receive them.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Berlin police are worried that an outbreak of Muslim violence may be forthcoming. Here is the story. In the Muslim-colonised area of Neukölln in Berlin, a fight breaks out at an informal "youth" football match. Most of the youths are Arabs and Turks. Two German men in their 30s intercede to try and calm matters down. The Muslims then turn on them and forget about their original quarrel. The men leave the area but a crowd of about 20 "youths" follows them home, arming themselves with stones and sticks along the way. Once the men reach their homes and go inside, the crowd doesn't disperse. So one of the men, Sven K., comes back out with a kitchen knife. The Muslims attack him and he defends himself with the knife. An 18-year Muslim is stabbed and later dies.The police investigate the offence but the man is not held in custody because the circumstances indicate that he acted in self-defence. Sven is himself admitted to hospital, suffering from a fractured base of the skull. Now the word on the streets is "Revenge".
"We are aware of a threatening situation," says police spokesman Stefan Redlich. For that reason officials have been sent to the families, those directly concerned and to meeting places to engage in discussions. Not normal law enforcement officials, though, but rather specialists in integration and migration. They see themselves as the "connecting link" between the police and immigrant organisations. "We made clear the sequences of events that was previously known and also explained German law - for example, what self-defence is," explains Redlich. ..."I would advise him not to surface too quickly," says Burak K. "If I was killed, right away my lads would be on their way to take care of whoever had done it." That's how it works here among friends, explains the young man. When one of the mates has a dispute, the others will back him up unconditionally. Group cohesion, with the groups mostly arranged according to nationality, is very strong. One call and all the mates will be on the spot right away. The reason for the dispute is not so important. ..."I can guarantee one hundred per cent that there will be a follow-on from this. This here is its own universe with its own laws," says Burak K.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Westerwelle also held talks with Yemen new President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi during a brief visit to Sanaa on Saturday before heading to neighbouring Saudi Arabia that evening.Westerwelle paid tribute to the "peaceful transition" in which Hadi last month replaced veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh. The former president ceded power in line with a Gulf-brokered deal following months of mass pro-democracy protests demanding his removal, Saba said.The new president will be serving for a two-year transitional period. Germany said it was ready to help Yemen rebuild."Developments in Yemen have shown that the political solution is possible. Peaceful transition is necessary and it must be understood by other countries," Saba quoted Westerwelle as saying Saturday.This was apparently a reference to Syria, where at least 8,500 people have been killed in a regime crackdown on dissent, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.The German foreign minister also announced that his country will provide €265 million to help rebuild Yemen.Germany will attend a "Friends of Yemen" forum of aid donors in Riyadh in April, the foreign minister said, according to Saba.On Saturday evening Westerwelle travelled to Saudi Arabia where he is due to hold talks with officials on the violence in Syria, diplomats said.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
He said he would not send troops to Syria, where violent political unrest continues to rage following an uprising against the ruling regime and a savage crack-down on rebels.“The disintegration of the Assad regime has started,” he said. “No country allows itself to be ruled with barbarism and repression in the long term.”The US government, however, is debating whether to send troops to try to stop the violence – in support of the rebels. Syria has been in revolt for nearly a year, but fighting has intensified over recent months while the country’s third largest city, Homs, has recently been subjected to a wave of violence by the army.Last month the United Nations said at least 7,500 Syrian civilians had been killed so far, with at least 100 more, including many women and children being killed every day.Westerwelle welcomed the defection on Thursday of President Bashar al-Assad’s oil minister, a high-ranking politician, to the opposing Syrian Free Army. Abdo Hussameddin’s defection showed that Assad’s regime was starting to crumble, said Westerwelle. Not only were many other lower-ranking politicians already leaving the president’s side, but increasing numbers of soldiers were also fleeing the country, for neighbouring Turkey. “We do not want to escalate the problem, but to dampen the inferno in Syria,” he said. Germany should look for a solution along the same lines of sanctions that have been imposed upon the country by the United Nations Security Council, he said. Westerwelle said he would be at a United Nations meeting on Monday in New York to present Germany’s three main aims for Syria: humanitarian aid, an end to the prolonged violence and a peaceful change of government.
Friday, March 09, 2012
Philipp Missfelder, deputy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, tells 'Post' military option against Iran can't be ruled out.
BERLIN – Israel’s vital security interests are integral to the interests of the Federal Republic, according to Philipp Missfelder, the Germany deputy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party in the Bundestag.
In a wide-ranging telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post on Friday, the Christian Democratic Union deputy covered the pressing security issues unfolding in the Middle East.
“The Chancellor is 100 percent right that Israel’s security is in Germany’s national interest,” he stressed. “Israel’s military capacity should not be underestimated.”
“It was a mistake in the fall to rule out a military option,” Missfelder continued. “Obama was correct in how he handled it. The military option must remain on the table because, if not, the negotiating strategy will not be taken seriously by Iran.”
Last November, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, of the pro-business Free Democratic Party, spoke differently: “We reject a discussion about military options” in connection with the Iranian nuclear threat, he said.
Additionally, in February, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere delivered a grim assessment of Israel’s capability to knock out Iran’s nuclear facilities. He said an IDF strike on Iran would be “highly unlikely” to succeed, and would cause “obvious political damage.”
The 32-year-old historian is viewed by close followers of German-Israeli relations as a politician who seeks to breathe new life into strengthening the security bond between Israel and the Federal Republic.
Israeli diplomats in Berlin have praised Missfelder’s unwavering support for the security of the Jewish state over the years.
“Germany’s population wants to be the like the Swiss and stay out of conflicts, such as the one in Afghanistan,” Missfelder told the Post. “But that is no longer possible.
There is a joint responsibility towards Israel, to say to the German population that we have a new role in Europe and the world.”
When asked about what the UN has characterized as civilian massacres by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, Missfelder said, “Syria shows the region is in upheaval...There is no unity in the UN...[They are] no longer in the position to engage in protected responsibility in connection with Syria. Many have criticized [former president George W.] Bush for intervention, but the US should take more responsibility.”
He noted that a military option for Syria would be very difficult after the Libya decision, and one option would be to arm the opposition.
Missfelder added, “We will not profit from instability, friends of Israel and the West – and Israel belongs to West, in my view. My main concern is Iran will win great influence.”
In regard to the so-called “Arab Spring,” he said he was very skeptical in the beginning: “It was great that young people became political. But foreign policy is very serious.
There is romanticism in the world of art, but in foreign policy that is ridiculous.”
Egypt and Yemen, he said, are the largest question.
“Egypt is a challenge,” he continued. “It has not become easier. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation worked successfully in Egypt, but now is massively prevented. I cannot say that I was disappointed [when] I saw this development. It is not clear who will take over power on the long term.”
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation is a think tank affiliated with Missfelder’s party that promotes pro-democracy work.
Missfelder observed that the EU government in Brussels tends to be pro-Palestinian.
“Brussels is orientated on the Palestinians. I know this phenomenon from the Left in Germany,” he said.
Critics argue that the Left movement in Germany and many Left Party deputies have focused the bulk of their foreign policy work on criticizing Israel and advocating for the Palestinians – including, at times, the Hamas terror group in the Gaza strip.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
The National Council on Monday rejected a motion by Swiss People’s Party member Oskar Freysinger to ban the wearing of burqa in certain situations.
The Council decided with a significant majority that imposing such a ban was unnecessary.
Social Democratic Party spokesman, Hans Stöckli, said that the majority of women wearing burqas in Switzerland were tourists, Swiss news agency SDA reported.
Furthermore Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga warned that a blanket ban could violate the Geneva Convention on Refugees, as it would not distinguish between those with and without refugee status.
But the minds behind the anti-minaret initiative, the so-called Egerkinger Committee, believe a burqa ban to be worthwhile.
The Egerkinger Committee claims that the rejection of the motion to ban burqas pointedly ignores the majority who expressly reject the “Islamization” of Switzerland.
The Committee maintains that while the Swiss constitution guarantees freedom of expression, wearing a veil is a denial of that freedom.
“Freedom of expression is exercised in our country with an undisguised, open, readable face,” the Committee said in a statement.
The Committee said that it was ready to launch a popular initiative for the banning of the burqa “without delay”.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
The company's involvement may violate US and EU sanctions barring the supply of technology to the Islamic Republic.
BERLIN – ILF Consulting Engineers, a German-Austrian company, confirmed on Monday that it is providing “advice and planning” work in the technological development of an Iranian-Pakistan pipeline project.
The German-Austrian involvement may violate US and EU sanctions barring the supply of technology to the Islamic Republic.
“Advisory and planning engineers” are working on the project, Rüdiger Ophoven, a spokesman for ILF’s gas and oil department, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. He stressed that ILF is only involved in the Pakistani side of the project.
The Pakistan paper The Nation reported on Sunday that “according to the secretary of petroleum, Pakistan has offered $250 million to a German company, ILF Engineering, for laying the gas pipeline inside its territory.
The gas pipeline would be completed till 2014, the secretary added.”
Iran’s Persian- and English-language press reported extensively on the pipeline project and Germany’s role in its development.
When asked about the value of ILF’s contract, Ophoven told the Post that such a project is “less than 10 million euros.”
He said he did not know if ILF’s legal department had examined whether the deal violated US, UN or EU sanctions.
The United States pressed Pakistan in 2009 to refrain from entering into a pipeline agreement with Iran. However, the Pakistani government moved forward with its Iranian partners.
Austria and Germany are considered by experts in Europe to be the weakest links in the enforcement of the sanctions regime targeting Iran. Germany remains Iran’s most important EU trade partner, with an annual bilateral trade of roughly 4 billion euros.
Ophoven could not confirm or deny whether German regulators had approved the deal with Pakistan.
Nasrin Amirsedghi, a leading German-Iranian intellectual and a close follower of trade relations with Tehran, told the Post on Monday that chief executive officers of companies look “for a way to circumvent” the sanctions.
She criticized ILF’s explanation that it has a contract only with Pakistan.
“Do we want to prevent an atomic catastrophe in the Middle East? Do we want to support Israel and the Iranian people? Then all European and Western governments should end their diplomatic, cultural and scientific relations with Iran — the cancer of terrorism and war in the region,” Amirsedghi said.
She added that by severing relations with the Islamic Republic, the “sanctions will have an effect.”
Ophoven told the Post that the project entails a “1.5- to 2-year phase,” and there may be additional phases. ILF is providing the Pakistanis with “state-of-the-art technology” that deals with the know-how to build the pipeline project, he said.
Monday, March 05, 2012
"The Jewish homeland guarantees Jews their security -- which is why every attempt to rob them of this homeland, or endanger its existence, is an anti-Semitic act endangering the entire Jewish community."
On March 18, the Germans will appoint a new President. It is a ceremonial function, which the German political class will bestow on the 72-year old pastor Joachim Gauck, a former human rights activist from East Germany. Gauck is backed by the major German parties, from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian-Democrats and her Liberal coalition partners, to the Socialist and the Green opposition parties.
The far-left party, Die Linke (The Left), however, has put forward its own candidate for the function, 73-year old Beate Klarsfeld. She is not a party member, but has been chosen by Die Linke as a symbolic figure.
Beate Klarsfeld, née Künzel, was born in a German Christian family. She has lived in France since the 1960s, after marrying the French Romanian-born lawyer Serge Klarsfeld. Serge is a Jew, whose father was murdered in Auschwitz. In the 1970s and 80s, the Klarsfelds were famous human rights activists who brought several Nazi war criminals to justice. Like her husband, Beate has always been a strong supporter of Israel.
When last week Beate Klarsfeld was asked who of the various candidates for the French presidential elections next April she supports, she did not name Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the candidate of the far-left Front de Gauche (Left Front), the French sister party of Die Linke, nor François Hollande, the Socialist candidate who is leading in the polls; she named Nicolas Sarkozy, France's incumbent president who hopes to win a second term. Of all the French presidential candidates, Sarkozy is the one most friendly towards Israel.
Klarsfeld's pro-Israeli positions are not shared by Die Linke. Three Linke members of the Bundestag, the German Parliament, remained seated when Israeli President Shimon Peres visited the Bundestag in 2010. Several Linke deputies have also taken part in demonstrations where "Death to Israel" was chanted. Some took part in the so-called "Gaza flotilla." Inge Höger, a Bundestag member, who attended a pro-Hamas conference clad in a keffiyeh [checkered headscarf for men] showing a map labeled "Palestine" across the entire territory of the State of Israel, accused opponents of "misusing the Holocaust" in silencing criticism of Israeli "occupation policies." The German newspaper Die Welt has called Höger a "flawless anti-Semite" because of her "anti-Jewish statements." Independent academic observers have warned that positions hostile to both Israel and Jews are increasingly dominant within Die Linke.
With this record, it seems puzzling why Die Linke put Beate Klarsfeld forward as its candidate for the presidency. The answer is probably that the party, knowing that Klarsfeld does not stand a chance, just wants to annoy the ruling German Christian-Democrat establishment -- many of whose members still bear a personal grudge against Klarsfeld for her campaign in the 1960s against Kurt Georg Kiesinger, a Christian-Democrat who was West German Chancellor from 1966 to 1969. During the war, Kiesinger, a Nazi Party member, had worked at the propaganda department of the Foreign Ministry. In 1968, Beate Klarsfeld slapped Kiesinger in the face, an action for which she was sentenced to one year in prison – a sentence later reduced to four months probation.
In 2009, Die Linke nominated Beate Klarsfeld for the Federal Cross of Merit in honor of her relentless efforts to bring Nazi criminals to court. The request was turned down by the German government. One year later, in stark contrast to Beate's treatment by the German political establishment, the French government awarded her husband Serge the title of Commander in the Legion of Honor.
The revelation that, almost seven decades after the defeat of Germany's Nazi regime, Germany still has more problems with the Klarsfelds than with France, should not come as a surprise. History seems to leave deep cultural impressions which are difficult to eradicate.
Last year, two German economists, Nico Voigtländer of the UCLA in Los Angeles and Hans-Joachim Voth of the university of Barcelona, Spain, published a paper in which they showed a remarkable geographical pattern between the anti-Jewish pogroms in 14th century Germany, 1920s pogroms in Germany, and the electoral strength of the Nazi Party in 1928 (before it became a mass movement attracting all sorts of opportunists).
Their study showed that German towns that blamed the Black Death, the pestilence epidemic, in 1348-1350, on the Jews and subsequently murdered them were much more likely to commit anti-Semitic violence in the 1920s and vote for the Nazis.
Of the 19 pogroms recorded in the 1920s, fully 18 took place in towns and cities with a record of medieval violence against Jews. In the places with a 14th century history of Jew-burning, the Nazi Party received 1.5 times as many votes as in places without it. In cities like Aachen, for example, the Jews were left undisturbed in 1349, while they were massacred in Würzburg. In the 1920s and 30s, Würzburg was again the scene of anti-Jewish violence, while Aachen witnessed no such violence. In the 1928 elections, the Nazi Party got 6.3 percent of the Würzburg vote, twice the national average, while in Aachen it got barely 1 percent.
The parallels are striking. The German regions with the highest incidence of medieval anti-Semitic violence were also the regions with the highest incidence of anti-Semitic violence in the 1920s. They attracted 1.5 times as many Nazi voters, deported 24% more Jews between 1933 and 1944, destroyed or damaged a fifth more synagogues in 1938, and their inhabitants sent 20 percent more letters to the anti-Semitic Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer.
In a new study, to be published later this year in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Voigtländer and Voth researched whether the old patterns still exist today. By asking people questions such as "Do you object to a Jew coming to live next door?" or "Do Jews abuse the Holocaust for their own personal gains?" they tried to quantify the degree of anti-Semitism in a particular region.
To their amazement, they found that for every 10 percent of extra votes which the Nazi party used to attract in a particular German town, there are 1 percent more anti-Semites in this town today. This is a very high percentage, says Voth, as only about 4 to 5 percent of the contemporary Germans are considered to be anti-Semites.
Looking at the historical records, it is understandable that many Jews consider Israel a safer place to live than Europe. The Jewish homeland guarantees Jews their security – which is why every attempt to rob them of this homeland, or endanger its existence, is an anti-Semitic act endangering the entire Jewish community.