Frankfurt Jewish community drops out of interfaith council over anti-Israel statements

Marcy Oster

BERLIN (JTA) — Frankfurt’s Jewish community has dropped out of the city’s interfaith “Council of Religions” due to anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements by local Islamic leaders.

At issue is the failure of the interfaith group to condemn statements by members of the Islamic Religious Association of Hessen, according to Leo Latasch, head of social affairs for the Jewish community.

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

For example, in a press statement, the Islamic association had 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.”

Ünal 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.

Selçuk Dogruer, who represents Muslims in 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 leaders of the demonstration in hopes they would calm the crowds. Instead, the leaders chanted anti-Israel slogans in both German and Arabic.

Latasch told the German Jewish weekly 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.”