Difficult times are ahead for the relationship between Jerusalem and Berlin and Brussels. While a series of anti-Semitism scandals rocks German public broadcasters, and a new government with a history of opposing Israel comes to power, the European Union and Germany continue to fund NGOs related to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
With the new left-Green government, a coalition of parties has come to power in Berlin with a checkered history regarding Israel, to put it kindly. The founding generation of the Greens around former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and ‘60s radicals like Dieter Kunzelmann were present at the founding of the PLO and PFLP in 1968/69, and maintained ties to Palestinian terrorists through the Red Army Faction offensive of the 1970s all the way to the current-day NGOs.
Today, the Green Party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation funds a number of NGOs with ties to the PFLP, as NGO Monitor has documented extensively. Unfortunately, the Greens have shown no inclination to drop their old 1960s allies at the PFLP. In fact, when Israel recently announced it was designating six PFLP-tied NGOs as terror groups, including those with links to the murder of Rina Shnerb on Aug. 23, 2019, Green MEPs in Brussels signed a letter this week to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell “to publicly and explicitly condemn these designations, which are the culmination of years of smear campaigns and attacks by Israel against Palestinian civil society, aimed at silencing and undermining their critical work promoting and ensuring respect for human rights and international law in the occupied Palestinian territory.“ So reads the letter by Danish Green MP Margrete Auken.
The German Social Democrat Party (SPD) of fresh-baked chancellor Olaf Scholz also has a problematic history of supporting left-wing anti-Israel NGOs. When then-Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) visited Israel 2017, he planned his first call to radical NGOs “B’Tselem” and “Breaking the Silence”, offending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and causing him to cancel their meeting. Gabriel had called Israel an “Apartheid State” in 2012.
Like the Greens, the SPD also has a troubling record of supporting the regime in Teheran. On January 14, 2020, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Niels Annen (SPD) met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif in New Delhi, less than a week after the Jan. 8 downing of Ukrainian flight PS752 by the Revolutionary Guards, with 176 dead.
Gabriel, Annen and the new Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock are all members of the European Council on Foreign Relations, which calls the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria an “occupying power” and “apartheid state” and supports the boycott of Jews in Area C. ECFR receives EU funding (2019: €29,930) and exerts enormous influence over Israel policy in Berlin and Brussels.
On Oct. 26, the SPD nominated the first Muslim vice-president of the German Bundestag in the person of former SPD co-chair Aydan Özoguz, whose brothers run an Islamist website called Muslim Market, which supports the boycott of Israel and has been under observation by the German secret service for anti-Semitism since 2004. Özoguz is close to several groups related to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), including the “Central Council of Muslims” and “Islamic Relief”, which is banned in Israel for its ties to MB and Hamas.
Özoguz also supported a number of young Muslim-German YouTubers who have risen to prominent positions at German public broadcasters, including Nemi El-Hassan, who was recently dropped by West German Broadcasting (WDR) when it emerged she had attended the anti-Israel “Al Quds March” 2014 and supported the six escaped terrorists as recently as this summer. German public broadcasters have been at the center of a series of anti-Semitism scandals this year, including Deutsche Welle’s Arab Service, which employed a number of anti-Israel journalists.
Last year, my colleagues in the “Identity & Democracy” group in the European Parliament and I revealed how the EU had channeled at least €36.5 million in taxpayer Euros to NGOs tied to the Muslim Brotherhood 2014-2019, including NGOs which lobby Brussels to call anti-terror efforts “racist”.
We revealed how Berlin and Brussels are financing “Islamic Relief”, which bills itself as a charity. Critics claim it is a MB front group which channels European donations and taxpayer Euros for “Meals for Orphans” to Hamas’ “pay-for-slay” funding. After our revelations, German public broadcasters and politicians such as Özoguz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) had to drop their public support of Islamic Relief.
However, the EU and German government continue to support “Islamic Relief” even after a series of anti-Semitism scandals in 2020, which eventually caused the entire board of “Islamic Relief Worldwide” (IR-W) to step down. In same week as the London Times exposed anti-Semitic posts made by IR-W head Heshmat Khalifa, the EU awarded a fresh grant of €1.25 million to IR-W in July 2020. According to the EU Financial Transparency System, IR-W has received €33.77 million in taxpayer Euros since 2007.
While most German politicians were silently disappearing from the “Islamic Relief Germany” (IR-D) website, the German government’s Society for International Collaboration (GIZ) actually increased their funding, to €120,227. The city of Berlin gave IR-D €135,000 for a “Muslim Help Hotline”. IR-D called 2020 its “most successful year ever”, with donations up €5 million from €16.4 million 2019 to €21.4 million 2020.
Joachim Kuhs is a trained Auditor. He is a member of the AfD National Committee, head of the “Christians in the AfD” and member of the Budget Committee in the EU Parliament. He lives in Baden-Baden, has 10 children and 15 grandchildren.