Germany funds middle east conference calling for Israel's destruction

by Kal El on July 6, 2008 · 0 comments

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I guess they weren’t satisfied with 6 million dead Jews.

Germany admits financing Larijani forum

The German government has admitted it was deeply involved in funding last month’s conference here on the Middle East, and reports indicate it suggested inviting former Iranian deputy foreign minister Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani to speak at the gathering, where he called for the destruction of Israel.

At the Third Transatlantic Conference – whose stated purpose was to address “common solutions” in the Middle East – Larijani said the “Zionist project” should be “canceled” and argued that Israel “has failed miserably and has only caused terrible damage to the region.”

Jens Plötner, a spokesman for German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend that the Foreign, Economics and Research ministries and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office transferred funds to the Hesse Foundation for Peace and Conflict Research, which he said had proposed inviting Larijani. The grant was made from a fund for “civil society projects.”

The foundation made the suggestion to invite Larijani “four months before the event” at an inter-agency meeting involving the four government bodies, Plotner said.

However, a Financial Times Germany article titled “Publicly funded anti-Semitism” reported on June 27 that the Hesse Foundation claimed it was the Foreign Ministry that suggested Larijani as a speaker.

A representative of the German Foreign Ministry’s Iran Desk told the Post on June 26, “The Foreign Ministry did not support the event financially. The Foreign Ministry knows of Mr. Larijani’s statements from media reports.”

A ministry spokeswoman had told the Post repeatedly last week that the Foreign Ministry did not fund the conference. After being told of the contradictory statements, the spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday that “the HSFK [Hesse Foundation] Peace Institute received a grant” for the event as a result of the inter-agency meeting, but she did not address the ministry’s earlier denials.

A spokesman for the German government told the Post that federal agencies involved in planning the conference received funds from the European Recovery Program.

Bernd W. Kubbig of the Hesse Foundation, the principal organizer of the conference, refused to provide the Post with a transcript of the event in which Larijani said, “Denial of the Holocaust in the Muslim world has nothing to with anti-Semitism. And President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has never denied the Holocaust.”

However, Ahmadinejad has consistently questioned the authenticity of the Holocaust, and he invited well-know Holocaust deniers to the “World without Zionism” conference held in Teheran in 2005.

Critics charge Kubbig with placating a regime that wishes to destroy Israel. “The idea that today the Iranian regime would like to complete the Nazis’ job is bad enough; even worse, however, is German cooperation with this,” said Nasrin Amirsedghi, an Iranian intellectual who fled the Islamic Republic and now lives in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate.

“The German government is currying favor with the mullah-regime,” said an angry Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

The incident has become a foreign relations debacle for the German government. According to critics, it appears to be the first government-funded event in Germany since WWII in which the government sponsored a speaker who advocated a second Holocaust against Jews. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Europe demanded Steinmeier’s “public condemnation” of Larijani’s statements and an “investigation and disciplining of those responsible for the invitations and funding of this scandalous encounter.”

And people wonder why the United States has maintained a presence in Europe for the past 60-plus years.

Read the rest of this outrage in the Jerusalem Post.

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