German foreign minister under fire for accusing Israel of ‘apartheid’


BERLIN (JTA) — German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has come under fire for his suggestion that Israel pursues an “apartheid” policy.

Now, a Jewish woman in Cologne has addressed Gabriel in an open letter, demanding an apology for “providing further ammunition to
youths who were fed anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk,” according to a report in the German Jewish weekly, the Juedische Allgemeine.

As yet, there has been no such apology.

At issue is an event in Berlin in mid-December, at which Gabriel addressed the issue of anti-Semitism among Muslims in Germany, with a group of Muslim communal representatives. The event was hosted by the Kreuzberg Initiative Against Anti-Semitism, a non-governmental organization that works in schools with children of migrant background, trying to combat anti-Semitic attitudes from an early age.

Instead of helping fight anti-Semitism, Gabriel fed the flames, the letter from Malca Goldstein-Wolf said.

In her open letter to Gabriel, published on the Israel advocacy website “Honestly Concerned” on Dec. 21, Goldstein-Wolf applauded the idea of meeting with Muslim leaders. “But if you use this occasion to repeat your defamation of Israel as an apartheid state, then it is not only counterproductive but must be vehemently condemned.”

According to the Berliner Zeitung, during the meeting with Muslim representatives Gabriel mentioned that he had visited Hebron several years ago and what he saw reminded him of apartheid. In fact, he had posted words to that effect on Facebook after his visit there in 2012.

Responding to a query from the German Jewish weekly, Gabriel’s office said he had emphasized at the meeting that there was no place for anti-Semitism in Germany.

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