Major Berlin paper’s publisher says appeasement toward Iran not working.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during her visit of Herrenknecht AG in Schwanau, Germany, October 7, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/RALPH ORLOWSKI)
Stephan-Andreas Casdorff, the publisher of the prestigious Berlin daily Tagesspiegel newspaper, authored a rare commentary in the German media on Thursday, urging Chancellor Angela Merkel to impose sanctions on Iran’s regime because of its recent threat to obliterate the Jewish state.
In one of the few commentaries in a large German paper calling for sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran since the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was reached, Casdorff wrote that the foreign ministry’s condemnation of Iran’s declaration to wipe Israel off the map is “vague.”
“It would not be vague for Germany to take new practical steps together with the EU and the US to oppose this inhumane regime with tougher sanctions,” Casdorff wrote.
The Merkel administration has responded, according to critics, with a feeble statement to Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who said last week that destroying Israel is now an “achievable goal” thanks to the country’s technological advances.
“This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer … a dream (but) it is an achievable goal,” Salami added.
Iran’s clerical regime has “managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the imposter Zionist regime,” Salami said, adding that “The second step of the revolution is the step that rearranges the constellation of power in favor of the revolution. Iran’s Islamic evolution will be on top of this constellation. In the second step, we will be thinking of the global mobilization of Islam.”
In his op-ed, Casdorff asked: “When is the EU, and first of all Germany, ready to admit that appeasement attempts do not work? Again and again, Iran threatens Israel’s destruction, just in the form of Hossein Salami, the new Commander in Chief of the Revolutionary Guards.”
Uwe Becker, commissioner of the Hessian federal state government for Jewish life and the fight against antisemitism, told The Jerusalem Post last week that “The current escalation with Israel should be reason enough for Germany to advocate the…. Iran nuclear agreement, which has been undermined by Iran… [as] dead, and for the necessary sanctions against Tehran to become effective again in their entirety.”
The United States government classified the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization and designated Iran’s regime the leading state-sponsor of terrorism.
The Post repeatedly asked the Merkel administration if the chancellor believes Salami’s call to extinguish Israel is antisemitic.
A spokesman for Merkel’s government said her administration has nothing to add to the foreign ministry statement stating Salami’s comments are “anti-Israel rhetoric.”
Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post last week that “The condemnation by the German foreign ministry of the recent threats to destroy Israel by Hossein Salami seems to ignore the starkly antisemitic dimensions of his comments. To reduce them to ‘anti-Israel rhetoric’ is to ignore the obvious antisemitic component and their genocidal intent.”
Zuroff, a widely acknowledged expert on antisemitism who oversees the Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, added that “The verbal condemnation of the German Foreign Ministry should be accompanied by practical steps to expel Iran from UN and to boycott all commerce with the fanatic fundamentalist Islamic regime, instead of [Germany] promoting business with Iran and seeking ways to circumvent sanctions against a terrorist regime in Tehran.”
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor and professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told the Post that Germany and Merkel “should be the first to condemn Iran’s genocidal threats against the Jewish state as antisemitism.”
“Instead, by taking refuge behind the canard that ‘anti-Israel’ language can be distinguished from antisemitism, they undermine the international consensus behind the IHRA [The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] working definition,” he said.
Steinberg, an expert on contemporary antisemitism, added that “Every aspect of Iran’s campaign to destroy Israel is anchored in hatred of Jews and Jewish national self-determination, including many of the images that echo Nazi propaganda.”
“In the time she remains in office, Merkel should give high priority to undoing the damage she has done by failing to confront Iran,” Steinberg added.
Merkel has repeatedly refused to ban the entire Iranian-backed terrorist entity Hezbollah in Germany. According to German intelligence reports, there are 1,050 Hezbollah members and supports in Germany who recruit new members, raise funds and spread jihadi and antisemitic ideology.