The contempt for the policies of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who ostensibly favors the Iranian regime’s lethal antisemitism and nuclear weapons ambitions targeting Israel, is deepening by the day, according to a wide range of prominent political and civil rights critics.
The associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday:
“With all due respect, it is time for the German foreign minister to drop his assertion that it was the lessons of Auschwitz that propelled him into public life. He clearly has not applied any of the lessons to the current situation. Instead of weakening the tyrannical, genocidal regime in Tehran, he is doing everything to strengthen Iran. His instructions to the German UN ambassador are not those of a friend of a Jewish state.”
Maas, a social democrat, announced last year that he went into politics “because of Auschwitz.”
Cooper said “Before he [Maas] invokes Auschwitz again, he should go back and reread history. We expected much more from Foreign Minister Maas. Unfortunately, we find him on the wrong side of the tracks on the existential threats that Israel are facing every day. “
In a scorching opinion article in the New Journal of Zürich (NZZ) on Tuesday, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) MP Frank Müller-Rosentritt took Maas to task for Germany’s disastrous foreign policy. “Heiko Maas, who according to his own statements once went into politics because of Auschwitz, chases one questionable blunder after the next in Middle East policies,” wrote Müller-Rosentritt, one of the strongest supporters of the Jewish state in the German Bundestag.
Müller-Rosentritt cited examples of Maas’s alleged errors during his 18-month tenure, including permitting his undersecretary of state, Niels Annen, to celebrate Iran’s revolution at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin.
The United States classifies the Iranian regime as the leading international state-sponsor of terrorism.
On Maas’s watch, Müller-Rosentritt wrote, Christian Clages, “The German representative in Ramallah, marked anti-Israeli and antisemitic content as ‘liked’ on social networks. And last week, it became known that former [German ambassador to Iraq and Iran] Bernd Erbel will not take up the post as head of the payment mechanism Instex for European Iranian businesses.”
Erbel was forced to resign from the Instex post was because he had conducted anti-Israel and pro-Iranian regime interviews with the German Holocaust denier Ken Jebsen in Germany.
The Bild paper wrote that in “Mid-July, former ambassador Erbel chatted with Jebsen for two and a half hours about Iran and Israel, and it seemed that they got along very well. According to Erbel, Germany did not budge on ‘one point,’ namely to grant Israel’s wish to stop Iran´s nuclear program.”
Maas has ignored the wishes of his country’s tiny German Jewish community to stop trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Müller-Rosentritt, who helped craft the anti-BDS resolution that passed in the Bundestag in May, said Maas allows Germany’s ambassador to the UN, Christoph Heusgen, to “attack Israel and compare Israel with Hamas.”
Despite Maas’s pledge to reform Germany’s anti-Israel UN voting pattern, Maas has not roped in Germany’s condemnation of the Jewish state.
The FDP lawmaker wrote that “A change in the German voting behavior in the regular unilateral wave of condemnations of Israel within the UN is still not foreseeable.”
Müller-Rosentritt wrote that Maas is indifferent to the activities of the lethal antisemitic terrorist entity Hezbollah. “The terrorist and criminal activities of Hezbollah, whether in Lebanon or in Europe, are studiously ignored by the foreign office. To classify the terrorist organization as such – as Canada, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom did – does not even seem worthy of discussion for the German government.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration permits 1,050 Hezbollah members and supporters to operate in Germany. The Hezbollah operatives recruit new members in Germany, raise funds for the terrorist organization based in Beirut, Lebanon and spread antisemitic and jihadist ideologies in Germany.
Müller-Rosentritt concluded his article, declaring that “It is time for Heiko Maas not only to talk about German responsibility, but also to be responsible for a worthy German foreign policy in the foreign office.”
The prominent German-Jewish historian Dr. Michael Wolffsohn slammed Maas’s “duplicitous” activities in a Bild commentary on Tuesday.
“Cynical or at least duplicitous is the solidarity with Jews, in view of the German devotion to Iran,” Wolffsohn wrote. “Its leadership proclaims year in, year out, to want to wipe out the ‘Zionist structure,’ thus Israel, from the map. The German appeasement of Iran is personified by the last three foreign Ministers: [Frank-Walter] Steinmeier, [Sigmar] Gabriel [and] Maas. Is that solidarity with Jews? Or do you want only the kosher stamp of Jews for this duplicity?”
Wolffsohn used his white-hot commentary to blast Maas’ alleged phony fight against antisemitism by appearing at a solidarity event with Berlin Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal who was attacked by two Arabic-speakers in August. When asked about the criticism of his alleged hypocrisy, his pro-Iranian regime and anti-Israel foreign policy, a spokesperson for Maas told the Post: “Foreign Minister Maas has repeatedly made clear his attitude on the Holocaust and the fight against antisemitism. He attaches the highest importance to a sincere and relentless confrontation with history and the fight against antisemitism. You can read his comments both on [the German Foreign Ministry’s website] diplo.de as well as on his Twitter account. We have sent you some examples in the past.” The spokesperson then referred to Maas’ “words of welcome in the solidarity prayer on the occasion of the antisemitic incident against Rabbi Teichtal.”
The spokesperson also referred the Post to foreign policy defenses of not banning Hezbollah because the terrorist group is part of Lebanon’s political system, and Germany’s rejection of the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran. A Post press query to Chancellor Merkel’s office was not immediately returned.
Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.