German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stands accused of whitewashing the world’s top state-sponsor of Jew-hatred and Holocaust denial, Iran’s regime, and Palestinian antisemitism, in the first signs of blowback against his national strategy report on combating the oldest hatred.
JNS’s examination of the German-language “National Strategy against Antisemitism and for Jewish Life” found glaring omissions concerning some of the most dangerous states and terrorist organizations targeting German Jews and Israel.
Brig. Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi, chairman and founder of the Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF), told JNS, “While I commend the German government for publishing its first comprehensive plan to ‘combat antisemitism and promote Jewish life in Germany,’ I find it very disturbing that two of the vilest modern-day proponents of Jew-hatred and violence against Jews on German soil are not named and shamed in the report even once: the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Palestinian Authority.
“Both of these entities officially promote institutionalized Holocaust denial at all levels of government and poison their students with hate-filled incitement against Jews and the Jewish state, and their senior leaders openly call for the annihilation of Israel.”
He continued, “If the German government indeed aspires to protect Jews from the dangers of hatred and violence, it must be truthful about the state and political entity that today spread antisemitism and violence, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Palestinian Authority.
“Germany, given its unique historical role, should condition its generous financial aid to the Palestinian Authority as well as its extensive trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran on an immediate change of policy by the two when it comes to Jew-hatred and incitement against Israel.
“Anything short of that is whitewashing and an insult to the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and to their descendants today, many of whom live in Israel,” Avivi said.
Refused to criticize Iran
Germany’s federal commissioner for combating antisemitism, Felix Klein, and his European Union counterpart, Katharina von Schnurbein, presented the report in Berlin in November. Klein, who has been commissioner since 2018, has refused over the years to criticize the Iranian regime’s genocidal antisemitism and Holocaust denial. He did, however, find the time to blame the Trump administration for antisemitism.
Schnurbein has faced criticism from the Simon Wiesenthal Center for failing to publicly urge the E.U. to proscribe Hezbollah’s entire movement as a terrorist organization.
Klein and Schnurbein, neither of whom has a history of campaigning against antisemitism, called the national strategy report to fight antisemitism a “milestone.”
The Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper said that “Dr. Felix Klein is a highly respected official with whom the Simon Wiesenthal Center has had important meetings and exchanges. What Dr. Klein says as Germany’s top official dealing with antisemitism has great impact, not only in Berlin but globally. We understand that his 55-page national strategy to combat antisemitism makes no mention of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas or the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine]. This would constitute a fatal flaw in creating a national game plan to thwart antisemitic hate, violence, and even terrorism.”
Cooper, the associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, continued that “the Iranian regime spreads antisemitism, Holocaust denial and demonization of Israel, home to the world’s largest Jewish population, which Tehran constantly threatens with nuclear annihilation. We urge Dr. Klein to write a second report for Germany that focuses on Iran, its terrorist lackeys and allies, and their impact and threats to German Jews.”
When asked about Avivi’s and Cooper’s criticism, a spokesperson for Scholz told JNS that the interior ministry is “responsible” for the report. JNS reached out to the ministry, where Klein’s position is based.
Klein told JNS: “In its national strategy, the federal government of Germany makes clear that it fights against all forms of antisemitism in equal measure. Germany’s punitive measures to fight antisemitism range from efficient investigation and monitoring to prosecution and the banning of organizations. To name one such measure, in 2020 the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community banned the terrorist organization Hezbollah from operating in Germany on the grounds that its activities violate criminal law and oppose the concept of international understanding. As another example, I took a very clear position with regard to demonstrations held in Germany on Al-Quds Day.”
He added that “the parts of your inquiry that relate to foreign policy fall within the remit of the Federal Foreign Ministry.”
Germany’s foreign ministry declined to respond to JNS inquiries.
Klein, when asked whether he agrees with former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, that Iran is the worst international state-sponsor of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, again declined to comment.
German diplomats have joined in celebrations of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution at Tehran’s embassy in Berlin over the years.
In light of Iran’s ongoing campaign to kill Jews in Germany and to conduct espionage against Jewish and Israeli institutions, the question remains of why Klein and the interior ministry failed to single out Iran’s regime and Islamist terrorist organizations dedicated to the extermination of Jews.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps contracted a Pakistani man living in Germany, Syed Mustafa H., to collect information on pro-Israel advocates in Germany, France and elsewhere in Western Europe. German prosecutors said the espionage was part of an assassination plot. The Quds Force—an elite branch of the IRGC responsible for extraterritorial operations—paid Mustafa at least €2,052 in July 2015-July 2016. The IRGC frequently outsources its terrorist operations.
The release of the national strategy report coincided with German media reports that the IRGC was behind the shooting at synagogues in Germany.
German state security sources accused the IRGC of contracting terrorism against synagogues in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and spying on the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. According to a report by ARD television’s political magazine Kontraste, security sources believe Ramin Y., a German-Iranian, was behind the attacks. “We’re talking about state terrorism here,” one investigator told Kontraste.
According to longtime observers of affairs in the Federal Republic, Klein and Schnurbein have to mirror the domestic and foreign policies of Germany and the European Union. Both the E.U. and Germany are wedded to the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, and critics believe Klein and Schnurbein cannot deviate from the pro-nuclear-deal line. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the formal name for the deal—would provide Tehran with more than $100 billion in sanctions relief and allow it to eventually build nuclear weapons.
Martin Arieh Rudolph, chairman of the Jewish community in Bamberg, Bavaria, told JNS, “The Federal German Ministry of the Interior must know that the Iranian mullahs’ regime has been planning terrorist attacks on Jews in the Federal Republic of Germany and France for several years. Jews in the Federal Republic of Germany were specifically spied on for this purpose. That this is not mentioned in the report is a scandal.”