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German ambassador to Israel praises anti-Israel NGO

Ir Amim opposes the security barrier and accuses Israel of apartheid.

German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert. Photo by Re: Publica via Wikimedia Commons.
German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert. Photo by Re: Publica via Wikimedia Commons.

In a series of tweets, Germany’s ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, and its envoy to Ramallah, Oliver Owcza, lauded the anti-Israel NGO Ir Amim in comments regarding their tour with the group on Tuesday.

According to a 2021 report by the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, Ir Amim slammed Israel’s security barrier while “omit[ing] the context of Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli national security concerns.”

NGO Monitor noted that Ir Amim argues that the security barrier “extracts neighborhoods from the city [Jerusalem] with the goal of reducing the portion of Palestinians” and that the “barrier’s demographic rationale therefore outweighs its security rationale.”

“Ir Amim frequently accuses Israel of attempting to ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem and promotes the Palestinian narrative on the city, including claims that ‘government powers are being handed over to the settler organizations’ and archeological digs have become an important ‘tool in the fight for control’ over Jerusalem,” NGO Monitor said.

Berlin’s ambassador wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “Accompanying @GerRepRamallah Oliver Owcza on an insightful tour with @IrArmin’s Judith Oppenheimer to focal points like [the eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods of] Silwan & Givat Hamatos.”

NGO Monitor revealed that “In May 2021, Ir Amim shared on its website an article published in the Irish Journal titled ‘Jerusalem expulsions are a microcosm of Israel’s apartheid—justice requires action,’ which called for the Irish government to ‘study’ Human Rights Watch’s report accusing Israel of apartheid and ‘act upon its recommendations.’ ”

The watchdog group also said that “Ir Amim condemned the decision by the Israeli [Defense] Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations.”

JNS sent a press query to Seibert but no response was received by press time. The ambassador has a history of refusing to answer queries from Israeli news organizations.


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