April 24, 2018 | The Jerusalem Post

German CEO: Israel should no longer rely on Germany for its existence

In an eye-popping commentary in the Die Welt newspaper last week, Mathias Döpfner, the pro-Israel CEO of the Axel Springer media conglomerate in Berlin, wrote that the Jewish state should no longer depend on Germany if it is attacked and its existence is on the line.

Döpfner wrote that in the past, he would answer “Yes” to the inevitable question while visiting Israel about whether Germany would send weapons and soldiers if the Jewish state faced attacks that threatened its survival. However, over the last few years, he has started to hesitate. “Today, I would say: ‘Better to not rely on us,’” wrote Döpfner.

The CEO of Europe’s largest media company listed a bill of particulars in his commentary outlining Germany’s failure to learn the important lessons from the Holocaust. He said for the 70th year anniversary of Israel’s founding, “Germany distinguishes itself as the world master of paying lip service. The solidarity to Israel and the fight against antisemitism take place on paper.”

The media giant took Germany to task for its pacifism in the face of Syrian children being gassed.

Döpfner said one frequently hears on the streets and in offices more criticism of US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May for their bombing of military sites and airports in Syria than they do of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. The US, Britain and France accused Assad of using poison gas in April that murdered scores of Syrian in the city of Douma.

He summed up the practical effect of Germany’s Holocaust remembrance culture: “In remembrance we are giants. In action and help we are dwarfs.”

The Jerusalem Post reported in April that the Merkel administration continues to allow the Baden-Württemberg-based German company Krempel to conduct business with Iran, after it sold material to Iranian companies that later turned up in Iranian chemical rockets in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, .

Merkel has rejected the US administration’s push over the last few months to get Germany outlaw Hezbollah, which the US classifies as terrorist organization.

According to German intelligence reports, there are 950 Hezbollah operatives in the Federal Republic.

Döpfner blasted the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign) in Germany. He wrote “An international lobby organization calls for a boycott of Israeli products and no one gets upset in a country that 75 years ago scrawled ‘Don’t buy from Jews’ on the walls.”

The Post exposed the Cologne-based Bank for Social Economy’s vigorous defense of BDS accounts used by groups to undercut Israel’s existence.

Sammy Endzweig, the president of the pro-Israel group Keren Hayesod Germany, told the Post by email on Sunday that his organization is dissatisfied with the bank’s response to the BDS accounts it maintains.

Endzweig said he plans to send a new letter to the bank demanding clear answers about the bank’s alleged antisemitic activity.

Keren Hayesod Germany has an account with the Bank for Social Economy. On Friday, the German LGBT organization Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation pulled the plug on its account with the bank to protest the bank’s enabling of BDS. The Post sent media queries to the three members of the bank’s executive committee: Harald Schmitz, Oliver Luckner and Thomas Kahleis.

Döpfner’s criticism of German society’s failure to take action against BDS was mirrored in his criticism of anti-Israel politicians who are largely met with indifference. Tamer Sert, the chairman of the Free Democratic Party in the city of Delmenhorst, wrote on Facebook: “Terror-State Israel.”

Benjamin Weinthal reports on human rights in the Middle East and is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.

Follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.