Germany: Israeli ambassador shuns contact with far-right AfD

Alexander Gauland (R), co-leader of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, shakes hands with Thuringia’s AfD co-leader Bjoern Hoecke, head of the party’s “Der Fluegel” wing, during a Mayday rally on Labour Day, May 1, 2019 in Erfurt, eastern Germany. (File/AFP/Bodo Schackow)
Updated 12 May 2019

Germany: Israeli ambassador shuns contact with far-right AfD

  • Israel’s ambassador to Germany says the far-right politicians have said things insulting to Jews
  • The ambassador says it’s difficult for him to imagine any interaction with those who feel nostalgia for Germany’s past

BERLIN: The Israeli ambassador to Germany says he is avoiding any contact with the far-right Alternative for Germany party because their leaders have said things that are “highly insulting for Jews, for Israel and for the entire issue of the Holocaust.”
Jeremey Issacharoff told German news agency dpa Sunday it is very difficult for him to imagine any interaction with those who feel nostalgia for Germany’s past.
During the Nazis’ reign from 1933-45, the Germans organized and participated in the genocide of 6 million Jews in Europe.
Party leader Alexander Gauland has referred to the time of Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship as a “speck of bird poop” in Germany’s history, while Bjoern Hoecke, a powerful party leader in the east, suggested it’s time for the country to stop atoning for its Nazi past.


Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

Israeli border policemen take up position during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators at a protest against Trump's decision on Jerusalem, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 January 2020

Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

  • The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property

JERUSALEM: Israeli police launched a manhunt on Friday after an apparent arson attack, accompanied by Hebrew-language graffiti, at a mosque in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
“Police were summoned to a mosque in Beit Safafa, in Jerusalem, following a report of arson in one of the building’s rooms and spraying of graffiti on a nearby wall outside the building,” a police statement said.
“A wide-scale search is taking place in Jerusalem,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “We believe that the incident took place overnight. We are searching for suspects.”
The spokesman would not say if police viewed it as a hate crime. The graffiti, on a wall in the mosque compound and viewed by an AFP journalist, contained the name Kumi Ori, a small settlement outpost in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The Times of Israel newspaper said on Friday that the wildcat outpost “is home to seven families along with roughly a dozen extremist Israeli teens.”
“Earlier this month security forces razed a pair of illegally built settler homes in the outpost,” it reported.
All settlements on occupied Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law, but Israel distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.
The paper said: “A number of young settlers living there were involved in a string of violent attacks on Palestinians and (Israeli) security forces.”
Police said that nobody was injured in the mosque incident.
The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property in revenge for nationalistic attacks against Israelis or Israeli government moves against unauthorized outposts like Kumi Ori.
“This is price tag,” Israeli Arab lawmaker Osama Saadi told AFP at the scene.
“The settlers didn’t only write words, they also burned the place and they burnt a Qur’an,” said Saadi, who lives in the area.
Ismail Awwad, the local mayor, said he called the police after he found apparent evidence of arson, pointing to an empty can he said had contained petrol or some other accelerant and scorch marks in the burned room.
“The fire in the mosque burned in many straight lines which is a sign that somebody poured inflammable material,” he said.
There was damage to an interior prayer room but the building’s structure was unharmed.
In December, more than 160 cars were vandalized in the Shuafaat neighborhood of east Jerusalem with anti-Arab slogans scrawled nearby.
The slogans read “Arabs=enemies,” “There is no room in the country for enemies” and “When Jews are stabbed we aren’t silent.”
The attackers were described by a local resident as “masked settlers.”