September 12, 2019
Helping Arrange Meeting Between Berlin Mayor and Iranian Dissidents
At a joint press conference with Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reiterated its call for German authorities to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization. They also announced that the Middle East Forum along with US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grennell would submit a list of Iranian dissidents who fled oppression in Iran to meet with Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller in the near future. Mayor Mueller, who met with Rabbi Cooper this week was heavily criticized for hosting Müller Pirouz Hanachi, the mayor of Tehran last week. Hanachi, formerly a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards participated in the Al Quds March in Tehran in May. The Al Quds March is a national holiday in Iran that calls for the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jewish state.
“The reception of the Tehran mayor was clearly a mistake. The very fact that it took place is considered to be a victory by the Mullahocracy that continues to threaten Israel and to support terrorist groups worldwide,” Rabbi Cooper said adding, “I urged Mr. Mueller to meet with Iranian dissidents living in Berlin as an act of solidarity. The mayor agreed. The Wiesenthal Center is working closely with the Mideast Freedom Forum, Berlin and US Ambassador Grenell to provide the mayor with an appropriate list of participants.“
“We live in a time when violent attacks against Jews have almost become routine, including the beating of an Israeli because he spoke Hebrew on a Berlin Street, Tuesday night. While we welcome the efforts of German authorities to oppose anti-Semitism and to deal with its consequences, it is vitally important they also take on the multiple sources of Jew- hatred. Not only neo-Nazis, but also from Iran, Hezbollah, and from Palestinians whose educational system indoctrinate children from a young age to hate Jews”, Cooper declared.
Ulrike Becker, director of the Iran Department of the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin, comments: “We are pleased about the willingness of Michael Müller to meet Iranian opposition groups. In contrast, organizations controlled by Iran cannot be partners with democratic institutions. Among these organizations is the IGS, the “Islamic Community of Shiite Communities,” which is closely linked to the Iranian regime. If we do not want the Islamist and anti-Semitic ideology of the Iranian regime in Berlin to spread further, such cooperation must be stopped.”
She told the press conference: “The Humboldt University in Berlin plans to open a new “Institute of Islamic Theology” in October, where imams are to be trained. The IGS is part of the advisory board of this new institute despite of the fact that the chairman of the IGS, Mahmoud Khalilzadeh, belongs to the political-religious establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to the Federal Government.”
“Among groups included under IGS’ umbrella are associations that are close to terrorist Hezbollah. One of those is the Imam Mahdi Center in Münster, where a recent video of the community there included statements by members who stated they were proud to be terrorists.”
“Hezbollah is not only a threat to Israel, but also a danger to Jews in Berlin. We are hopeful that the federal government will finally list the entire Hezbollah organization on the terrorist list. And groups close to Hezbollah should not be partners of the city of Berlin,” Miss Becker concluded.
During his three-day visit Rabbi Cooper also met with German Foreign and Interior Ministry officials and members of the Bundestag from all mainstream parties who led to successful fight to pass a resolution to label BDS as anti-Semitic. He was accompanied by Dr. Arnon Groiss, an expert on Palestinian and UNWRA textbooks and curriculum and activist and Israel Research Center chief, David Bedein. Last week at the UN, the SWC said it was time to replace UNWRA with “new modalities that would block future corruption and present a pro-peace, not pro-war school curricula.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Simon Wiesenthal Center
1399 South Roxbury Drive
Los Angeles, California 90035
800 900.9036 (toll-free from within the U.S.)
310 553.4521 (fax)
Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin
Postfach 2 77 48
Telefon: + 49 30 – 221 81 642
Fax: + 49 30 – 700 143 1010