The Alternative for Germany party (AfD) is the only party in Germany standing up against Islamic terror and anti-Semitic attacks caused by the uncontrolled influx of migrants from the Middle East. Now the AfD wants to expose the funding by Berlin and Brussels for anti-Israel groups. Absurdly, the AfD is often defamed as "far-right" or even "anti-Semitic" by the people who have been campaigning against Israel for years.
In September, I had the honor of speaking at the founding of the "Jews in the AfD" lobby as foreign policy spokesman on the Foreign Committee of the German Bundestag about this problem. My colleague Beatrix von Storch, who co-founded the "Friends of Judea and Samaria" in the European Parliament to fight BDS measures, also attended. In April, she had filed an official query to the German government, which exposed that Berlin funds the pro-Hamas UNRWA with up to €80 million a year.
At the same time, in light of Donald Trump's decision to move the US embassy, I filed a query to the German government with a simple question: "What is the capital of Israel? (Please answer with a place name only)." In his answer, Undersecretary Niels Annen of the German Foreign Ministry needed two pages to explain why he could not answer this simple question.
Now we have begun to look at the influence foreign NGOs such as the Open Society Foundation have on media and politics in Germany, and German funding for anti-Israel NGOs. NGO Monitor has pointed out "large and extensive Open Society Foundation grants to Palestinian organizations such as Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, and Palestinian Center for Human Rights, as well as Israeli political NGOs, including Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, and Adalah. These groups (...) portray Israel as a 'racist' and 'apartheid state' that commits 'war crimes.'" ("Bad Investment", NGO Monitor).
The Open Society Foundations (OSF) have enormous influence in Berlin and Brussels. It is no accident that they are moving to Berlin, of all places, after Viktor Orbán's government forced OSF out of Hungary. On March 15, 2018, the Jerusalem Post quoted Balázs Dénes, executive director of Berlin-based, Soros-funded Civil Liberties Union for Europe, boasting of "influencing the German government and the Foreign Ministry of Germany".
One of the first Open Society organizations in Europe was the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), whose representatives are not shy about voicing their anti-Israeli sentiments. Former ECFR MENA program director Daniel Levy has referred to BDS as "a legitimate and non-violent form of protest against an illegal and inhumane policy of occupation." ECFR Programme Coordinator for Israel/Palestine Hugh Lovatt has called the killing of settlers "a symptom of deeper issues caused by Israel’s policy of occupation." ECFR researcher Jose Ignacio Torreblanca calls Israel an "apartheid" state, according to NGO Monitor.
So it's no wonder Benjamin Netanjahu has called George Soros an "enemy of Israel". Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon has said that Soros-funded organizations “defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself”.
This anti-Israeli lobby campaign has infiltrated the highest circles of German government. When then-foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel visited Israel in May of 2017, he caused a serious diplomatic rift between Germany and Israel by visiting NGOs Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem before speaking to Mr. Netanyahu or President Rivlin. Mr. Netanyahu thereupon canceled his meetings with the German foreign minister. Gabriel is a member of the ECFR council, and the NGOs he chose to visit are funded by Open Society and the New Israel Fund.
Our latest parliamentary inquiry asked specifically about German funding for ECFR, and German government support for calls to boycott "settlers" in Judea and Samaria. The official answer, which was issued by Undersecretary Annen for the German Foreign Ministry on Nov. 23, 2018, revealed the German government has funded ECFR projects with €451.636,00 in the years 2015-2018. So in effect, the German government is paying ECFR to lobby it.
Security Council Resolution 2334 is the infamous resolution passed by the outgoing U.S. Obama Administration just before leaving office, the first time the United States refused to veto such a blanket condemnation of Israel's policy in Judea and Samaria. Annen's answer made no mention of the Oslo II Accords, the bilateral agreement between Israel and the Palestinans which provides for the current arrangement of the contested areas.
As we have seen with the current debate over the UN's Global Compact on Migration, the German government is very eager to welcome migrants from all over the world into Europe. However, when Jews want to 'migrate' to their ancestral homelands in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, where Jews have lived since the days of Abraham, it suddenly becomes 'illegal settlement' of 'occupied territories'.
Annen himself is also a member of the ECFR council. The fact the German government has an inquiry critical of the ECFR answered by a member of that same body tells you everything you need to know about the nexus between Open Society and the Merkel government.
The AfD will continue to expose German and EU funding for anti-Israel NGOs, and work closely with our allies in Israel to do this. While many media portray us as racist or even fascist, we strongly support Israel and the Jewish community in Germany – much as Israel is demonized in many media in the West. We hope to forge a strong alliance between all the forces opposing radical Islamic terror, from Washington to Moscow and Jerusalem.
Petr Bystron is the Speaker of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) on the Foreign Policy Committee of the German Bundestag. He came to Germany in 1988 as a political refugee and joined the Euro-critical AfD in 2013. He was chair of the AfD for the State of Bavaria 2015-2018. Under his leadership the party reached the best tally of all states in West Germany in the federal elections 2017. He is a leading political publicist who has won several prizes for his writing and edited a book for University of Geneva with Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa. He is currently one of the 10 most popular German politicians on social media.