BERLIN—German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has refused to apologise for comparing Israel to the former apartheid regime in South Africa.
Daily Berliner Zeitung first reported on December 14 Gabriel’s comparison made at at the Kreuzberger Initiative against Antisemitism. He prompted fierce criticism from Jewish organizations.
While discussing criticism of Israel, Gabriel told Muslim migrants at the meeting after the outbreak of protests where Israeli flags were burned in response to the US declaring that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, that he spoke some years ago after a visit to the occupied territories in Hebron that it reminded him of what was seen during apartheid.
Asked for a comment, the German foreign ministry said Gabriel had emphasized at the meeting that there was no place for anti-Semitism in Germany.
Gabriel previously called Israel an “apartheid regime” in 2012 during his visit to Israel.
By falsely claiming that Israel is an ‘’apartheid state,’’ he denies its democratic basis, which is a central tenet of Israeli statehood since its establishment, and legitimizes unjust attacks on the Jewish state for sins committed on a regular basis by all its neighbors but not by Israel,” Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Jerusalem Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center ,told The Jerusalem Post.