Der Spiegel claimed that two Jewish organizations are “controlling German Middle East policy.”
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A German paper has caused an outcry after publishing a report last weekend that is being called anti-Semitic.
The article accused two Jewish organizations of acting as agents of the Israeli government and using “dubious methods” to influence the Bundestag to pass an anti-BDS resolution in May.
The weekly Der Spiegel said that the German groups Middle East Peace Forum (MEPF) and WerteInitiative (Values Initiative) pushed an initiative of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs against the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement.
According to the report, their successful efforts in passing the non-binding resolution included donations of some $1,700 to Green Party politicians and organizing tours to Israel for party members.
It also accused the Jewish groups of using questionable lobbying methods such as telling parliamentarians that if they did not vote to formally call the anti-Israel movement “anti-Semitic” they would be labeled as anti-Semitic themselves.
Germany’s most popular newspaper, Bild, came out strongly against the report on Saturday, flatly calling it anti-Semitism in the headline of its critique. It said that the article had provided no proofs, while hinting at such long-time canards as Jewish money controlling governments behind the scenes.
Dr. Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, quoted in Bild on Sunday, said “The article clearly uses anti-Semitic clichés, fueling anti-Semitism. This type of reporting is irresponsible and dangerous.”
Uwe Becker, the commissioner to combat anti-Semitism in the state of Hesse, tweeted, “Der Spiegel must officially apologize for practicing Israel-related anti-Semitism. The article contains all the stereotypes that constitute anti-Semitism and is an example of how deep these thought patterns are in mainstream society.”
MEPF rejected all insinuations of wrongdoing. It said that the small political contributions mentioned in the article were made privately, and that the parliamentarians who visited Israel participated in the cost of their trips. The organization also denied that it was trying to represent an Israeli government agenda.
The alleged “controller” of the two German organizations, the Strategic Affairs Ministry, denied the story’s allegations as well.
“The claims that arose from the Der Spiegel article lack any basis,” it said. “The Strategic Affairs Ministry had no connection to the German Parliament’s decision, which it views as a decision that is principled, ethical, and important.”
The May resolution was supported by most of the parties in the Bundestag. It formally named the BDS movement as anti-Semitic and called on the government to deny money from the public purse to organizations that support it.