Diplomacy

German Foreign Minister Under Fire After Comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa

Israel has slammed German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, for comparing the Jewish State’s policies in the disputed West Bank territory to the former apartheid regime in South Africa, after terrorist organization Hamas used the minister’s statement for propaganda purposes, Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Public Security Minister, told the newspaper that “The statement that Israel is reminiscent of apartheid South Africa is not only totally false, but it also delegitimizes and demonizes the Jewish state.”

The minister warned that “The line between such delegitimization and antisemitism is very thin” and said that “It is no surprise that Hamas, an antisemitic organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel, happily tweeted the statement. All those interested in promoting peace and opposing hatred in the region must reject such an outrageous comparison.”

Gabriel told a group of Muslim immigrants in Berlin in December that he had previously criticized Israel. In a 2012 Facebook post, following his visit to Hebron, he wrote: “I was just in Hebron. There’s a legal vacuum there for Palestinians. This is an apartheid regime, for which there is no justification.”

Israel’s minster for Public Security went on record on Tuesday, after the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas used Gabriel’s statement for propaganda purposes. In response to the German minister, Hamas wrote on its official English Twitter on Sunday, “German FM describes the Israeli occupation as an apartheid regime like the one was in South Africa.”

Oliver Luksic, a deputy of the Free Democratic party in the Bundestag, said on social media: “The terroristic Hamas now references the German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel. The German bashing of Israel is intolerable.”

Aras-Nathan Keul, an executive board member of the youth organization of the German-Israel friendship society, wrote on his Twitter feed: “The German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel receives applause from the terror organization Hamas. He can easily change that when he apologizes for the apartheid comparison against Israel and explains why this [the comparison] is false.”

When contacted by the newspaper, the German foreign ministry did not walk back Gabriel’s criticism of the Jewish State.

[Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Michael Thaidigsmann]