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Germany: Jews quit interfaith council

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Leo LataschBERLIN — The Jewish community of Frankfurt dropped out of the German city’s interfaith Council of Religions, saying it failed to condemn anti-Israel statements by local Islamic leaders.

Leo Latasch, the head of social affairs for the Jewish community, cited the council failing to censure statements made by members of the Islamic Religious Association of Hessen.

“These are not people with whom we can continue to work,” Latasch told Germany’s Jewish weekly, the Juedische Allgemeine.

As an example, the Islamic association in a press statement accused the Central Council of Jews in Germany of using the issue of anti-Semitism in Europe “to divert attention from the war crimes of the Israeli government.”

Unal Kaymakci, deputy director of the Islamic association and a member of the Council of Religions, also posted on Facebook a link to an article in which Israel was charged with state terrorism and crimes against humanity, the Jewish weekly reported.

Selcuk Dogruer, who represents Muslims on the interfaith council, said Frankfurt’s police chief should not have apologized to the Central Council for losing control of an anti-Israel demonstration there. The police handed a megaphone to the demonstration leaders in hopes that they would calm the crowds, but the leaders instead chanted anti-Israel slogans in German and Arabic.

Latasch told Juedische Allgemeine that it was not enough for the Council of Religions to say that Facebook comments and other public statements were not official statements.

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews, accused the interfaith group of failing to hold up its end of the bargain.

The Jewish organization “has always stood up for Muslims in Germany,” he said. “But solidarity from Muslims towards Jews remains missing.”

 

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