Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday harshly criticized a planned Tel Aviv conference linking the Holocaust and Israel’s War of Independence.

The conference, titled, “The Holocaust, the Nakba and the German Culture of Remembrance,” was organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Israel in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Tel Aviv.

According to the Rosa Luxemburg website, “Almost 75 years after the declaration of the establishment of Israel, remembering in Israel remains a politically contested terrain. Holocaust survivors and their descendants focus on the extermination of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis, while many Palestinians focus on the fateful year of 1948, when hundreds of thousands of people were destined to flight and displacement by Jewish fighters—known in Arabic as the Nakba (catastrophe).”

The ministry issued a statement on Tuesday, expressing “shock and disgust” in the face of the conference’s “blatant Holocaust scorn” and “cynical and manipulative intent to create a link whose entire purpose is to defame Israel.”

Originally scheduled for Nov. 9, the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom, the conference was postponed to Nov. 13 due to the sensitive nature of the date. However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachson emphasized that the date was not the issue.

“Our position is that the event is shameful and disgraceful and should not take place on any date in the calendar, and not only on the anniversary of Kristallnacht,” he said.

Zionist groups and activists have also condemned the event, expressing anger at the comparison between the Holocaust and Israel’s War of Independence.

Merav Hajaj, head of the Choosing Life Forum, an Israeli NGO that represents bereaved families of terror victims, said: “The German government dishonors the memory of the Holocaust, dishonors the fallen soldiers and the bereaved families. The Nakba is an invented concept whose purpose is to negate the existence of the State of Israel. We paid a very heavy price in the defense of this country, the German government must stop intervening in Israel’s right to exist.”

Matan Peleg, CEO of Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu, said, “The new government must reassess relations with the German government.”

Im Tirtzu, which planned to protest the conference on Wednesday, has also rescheduled its protest to coincide with the conference.

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is a fund tied to the German political party Die Linke, or “The Left.”

Six German political party funds operate in Israel. They have come under scrutiny in the past, with critics saying they operate in a non-transparent way, ignore Israeli laws and fund radical groups.


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