June 19, 2018 | The Jerusalem Post

German Jews urge Firing of ‘Antisemitic’ Green Party Ramallah Office Head

A prominent German Jewish organization – Values Initiative – called on Friday for the German Green Party’s think tank to discharge the head of its Ramallah-based office because she allegedly spreads contemporary antisemitism and defends Palestinian terrorism against the Jewish state.

“The willingness to condemn antisemitism is very high in the speeches of German decision-makers,” Dr. Elio Adler, chairman of Values Initiative, told The Jerusalem Post, adding, “But when it comes to putting words into action, we often see weakness. Some even have a blind eye when antisemitism is right in front of them. This is why we call upon the heads of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation to dismiss Mrs. Marx.”

In May, the head of the Green Party in the Bundestag, Kathrin Göring-Eckardt, called for more decisive action against antisemitism.

According to Values Initiative and Israeli critics, Bettina Marx, the head of the Ramallah office of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, who has faced criticism over the years for alleged hardcore anti-Israel sentiments, wrote a one-sided June 9 commentary in the German state-owned Deutsche Welle, blaming only Israel for a collapse in peace talks with the Palestinians. Values Initiative listed a series of alleged factual errors in Marx’s text. Marx claimed Israel “annexed” West Jordan and the Gaza Strip in 1967, while Adler and Sandra Kreisler from Values Initiative wrote that Israel’s seizure of West Jordan and the Gaza Strip took place in the context of a war launched by Jordan and Egypt.

Adler and Kreisler wrote that Marx did not mention once that it is the terrorists of Hamas who frequently force “women, and even children, in the front line of combat.” Values Intiative sent a public letter to the head of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in Berlin, Ellen Ueberschär.

The German Jews also said Marx is silent about Hamas destruction of the environment by setting tires on fires and sending hundreds of terrorist devices that burn Israeli territory. Marx previously worked for Deutsche Welle as a Middle East correspondent. Adler and Kreisler said Marx’s text meets the criteria of modern antisemtism – the demonization, delegitimization and application of double-standards to Israel.

Writing on his personal Facebook page, Maj. (res.) Arye Sharuz Shalicar termed Marx’s commentary the “most one-sided, unprofessional commentary that is contemptuous of Israel from a German (without a migration background!!) that I have read.”

Shalicar, who immigrated to Israel from Berlin about 17 years ago, served until recently as an official IDF spokesperson.

Shalicar blasted Marx for her failure to condemn Palestinian terrorism that has cost the lives of thousands of Jews.

He noted that she omitted Palestinian vehicular terrorism aimed at Israelis and the rockets fired by Palestinians at innocent people.

He also said she declined to mention the Palestinian knife attacks against Israelis. “Her entire presentation could come from the mouth of a Hamas terrorist,” wrote Shalicar, adding, “Why was a Hamas commentary published?”

Marx’s organization in Ramallah faced criticism in November for its plan to participate in a conference with Hamas in Gaza and Beirut.

The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of the program listing the German taxpayer funded Böll-Foundation as one of the partner organizations for the late-November conference titled: “The 1987 Intifada: History and Memory, Commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the first uprising against the Israeli occupation.”

After public outrage and articles in the media, Marx canceled her organization’s appearance at the event. The European Union and the United States classify Hamas as terrorist organization. The Green Party foundation receives annually  62 million euro in public funding. Post press queries to Marx and to the Böll-Foundation’s Ueberschär in Berlin were not immediately returned.

The Green Party foundation is named after the later German writer and Noble Prize winner in literature Heinrich Böll who said in 1978: “There is enough criticism on Israel’s policies. There is too little criticism on – and within – the Arab states and their policies toward Israel.” Values Initiative cited the Böll quote in its pubic letter on Ueberschär.

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.