The July 7 conference calls for the implementation of a controversial international court opinion on the West Bank security barrier.
“This is an immoral anti-Israel propaganda event, under the facade of an academic conference, and exploiting the language of international law and human rights. Most of the speakers are active in political warfare through BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] and lawfare, and are using the notorious ICJ ‘advisory opinion’ to demonize Israel. Shawan Jabarin is alleged to have ties to the PFLP terrorist group,” Prof. Gerald Steinberg told The Jerusalem Post by email on Thursday.
Steinberg added, “A June 2007 decision by the Israeli Supreme Court called Jabarin a ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,’ a human rights campaigner by day and a terrorist by night.
And the sponsors of this farce, Brot für die Welt–Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (EED) and Hilfswerk Misereor, are deeply involved in demonizing Israel, as documented by NGO Monitor. The transfer of German taxpayer funds to organizations and events that promote hate is blatantly unethical.”
EED, Misereor, and the human rights center of the University of Potsdam are slated to hold the conference titled: The ICJ’s Wall Opinion Revisited: Towards its Effective Implementation.
Itay Tagner, a spokesman for Israel’s embassy to Germany, told the Post, “All efforts and energies should focus first and foremost on eliminating and delegitimizing terrorism.
Only when it ceases to pose a constant threat, can effective, lawful anti-terror measures be re-evaluated. The security wall has prevented numerous terror attacks and thus saved many lives. Israel has an ultimate duty to protect its citizens and will continue to do so.”
Svenja Koch, a spokeswoman for EED (known in English as Bread for the World–Protestant Development Service), wrote “the conference addresses the question of the legality of the construction of a barrier on occupied Palestinian land. This is a question that has been raised by the General Assembly of the United Nations and put in front of the International Court of Justice.
It is thus a matter for the world community, not least as it also relates to peace in the Middle East and therefore the security of the State of Israel.
Brot für die Welt [EED] and Misereor defend the right and the obligation of the State of Israel to defend its citizens.”
Asked if the conference meets the criteria of modern anti-Semitic anti-Zionism, she wrote “we would never organize an anti-Semitic conference.
We will also not tolerate any anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, delegitimizing or demonizing speech during the conference.
There is also no double standard to discuss human rights.”
When questioned if Bread for the World had organized a conference about Assad’s crimes in Syria, Koch wrote “such a conference would not be possible in the same form since the Ba’ath regime has brutally erased most of the civil society opposition that might be partners of Misereor and Brot für die Welt.”
In response to a question about Palestinian terrorism, Koch could not cite any events organized by Bread for the World. She wrote, “We fully agree… that Israel has a ‘duty to protect its citizens.’ It is our understanding that the obligation to protect and to combat terrorism with legitimate and lawful means derives – for Israel as for any other contracting State – also from the international human rights treaties. Brot für die Welt and Misereor are supporters and defenders of human rights worldwide.
Therefore we condemn terrorism worldwide, including Palestinian terrorism.”
The Post‘s email queries to Nikolaus Schneider, president of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) were not returned.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization with over 400,000 family members, told the Post “Let's be clear. This conference has nothing to do with justice. It is another carefully - crafted stop on the road towards demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish state, in this case by manipulating international law.
Let's be clear: This is the Hamas Fence. That group, its leaders and its ilk should be standing in docket of international justice for the suicide bombings, kidnappings, the missile launches targeting civilian centers, the use of their own civilian population as human shields for their terror and for the pre-genocidal screeds which themselves constitutes crimes against humanity.”
Cooper added, “That this blatant use of insidious double standards designed to hurt the only democracy in the Middle East--home to the largest Jewish community in the world-- is emanating from Berlin and German NGOs, is a stain on Germany.
In the increasingly dangerous world the Israelis and European Jewish Communities face today, we deeply regret that some Germans see themselves promoting justice and human rights by joining one-sided anti-Israel campaigns while maintaining a deafening silence over terrorism and violent anti-Semitism targeting Israelis and Jews across Europe. “ During last month’s visit of Pope Francis, Prime Minister Netanyahu said. “If the incitement against the State of Israel ceases, along with the terrorism, there will be no need for the means that we have undertaken, such as the security fence, which has saved lives, thousands of lives.”