NEW YORK – World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder has congratulated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on securing a fourth term in Sunday’s federal elections, calling her “a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.” Lauder also sharply denounced what he termed the “disgraceful” reactionary party AfD “recalling the worst of Germany’s past”, which is set to enter the Bundestag for the first time.
“I have met with Chancellor Merkel on many occasions over the course of her 12-year leadership, and witnessed firsthand her sincere and unyielding commitment to combating anti-Semitism and defending the State of Israel. She is a true friend of both Israel and the Jewish people.
“Anti-Semitism - both on the far right, and with its new mask of anti-Zionism on the far left – is rising across the globe, including in parts of Germany.
“It is abhorrent that the AfD party, a disgraceful reactionary movement which recalls the worst of Germany’s past and should be outlawed, now has the ability within the German parliament to promote its vile platform.
“Amid these disturbing trends, Chancellor Merkel has shown remarkably strong signals of dedication to protecting the Jewish citizens of her country and cracking down on hateful rhetoric and action.
“Germany already has some of the strongest laws against hate speech in the world, and the German government, under Chancellor Merkel, recently put into place even stronger policies to combat anti-Semitism in its various forms, both on social media and in the public sphere.
“Germany announced just last week the honorable decision to adopt a new and far-reaching definition of anti-Semitism in line with the international definition proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and an unprecedented law will go into force in Germany next month imposing fines on social media networks that fail to remove 'manifestly unlawful' hate speech content within 24 hours.
“Merkel’s government last year declared BDS to be ‘coarse anti-Semitism’, reminiscent of the Nazi boycotts against Jews in the years leading up to the Holocaust, and she has said unequivocally that desecration of Jewish property is an attack on Germany and its culture.
“These are all critical measures for identifying, measuring, and dealing with anti-Semitism, no matter how trivial the manifestation may seem.
“The World Jewish Congress is encouraged by Chancellor Merkel’s dedication and confident that she will continue with these crucial efforts in support of the Jewish community and the State of Israel, and resist any attempts to the contrary within her own parliament.
“We wish Chancellor Merkel success in her upcoming term and look forward to many more years of friendship.”