The city of Stuttgart, the headquarters of the German auto giant Mercedes-Benz, has included a link on its website to an antisemitic BDS organization that promotes a banned pro-Hamas entity, sparking outrage from one of Israel’s leading military experts on the Hamas terrorist movement.
Brigadier General (ret.) Amir Avivi, founder and CEO of IDSF (Israel's Defense and Security Forum, told The Jerusalem on Friday that Stuttgart’s mayor Frank Nopper should “delete” the posting of the Palestine Committee Stuttgart on its municipal website. “Terrorists use it” and “This is a tool of war and a tool of terror” he said, with respect to Stuttgart's enabling of the Palestine Committee Stuttgart.
The Palestine Committee Stuttgart posting on the city website provides links to its website, Facebook page and email of the group. Palestine Committee Stuttgart zealously supports the Israel-designated terrorist entity Samidoun on its website. The Palestine Committee Stuttgart is defined as a “Cultural institution” on the city’s homepage.
According to the Samidoun website, Palestine Committee Stuttgart “joined the call issued by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network, as part of the ‘Revolutionary Solidarity Coalition.’"
On Thursday, Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his administration would outlaw Samidoun because its members celebrated the Hamas terrorist attack that slaughtered at least 1,300 people in Israel.
When asked if the city of Stuttgart will delete the information about Palestine Committee Stuttgart, Susanne Kaufmann, a spokeswoman for the city, told The Jerusalem Post “I can assure you that the city administration is monitoring current developments very closely and is constantly checking whether this will result in a changed legal situation.”
Kaufmann added “Only the contact details of the Stuttgart Palestine Committee are available on the city's homepage. The state capital Stuttgart had actively removed this address from the homepage, but had to put it back on the homepage in spring 2022 following a ruling by the Stuttgart Administrative Court (hearing on April 21, 2022).”
Palestine Committee Stuttgart did not answer a press query
However, prominent German Jews and German lawyers say Stuttgart, which is situated in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg, failed to appeal the decision and is tolerating a Hamas-linked group.
The pro-Israel and media specialist attorney, Joachim Steinhöfel, told the Post”Islamofascism must be dealt with in exactly the same way as fascism. It must be fought to the point of unconditional surrender. The state of Baden-Württemberg has repeatedly shown that it is not up to this challenge.
Even today, Stuttgart's website advertises the Hamas-friendly Palestinian Committee of Stuttgart, which just this week organized an anti-Israel demonstration criticizing the ‘inflammatory rhetoric of the Israeli leadership.’ The fact that nothing can be expected from the state’s incompetent antisemitism commissioner has made its way to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's top 10 list.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center classified Blume as antisemitic in its 2022 and 2021 top ten lists of worst outbreaks of antisemitism for his anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activities, including his failure to curb state funding for BDS activities
Nathan Gelbart, a veteran attorney and an expert on anti-Semitism and the law, told the Post that appealing the ruling “would send a signal we are not boycotting peace-loving activists but rather radical anti-Semitic boycotters, and that morally, we are right. Let the courts decide on this. We are not giving in to anti-Semitism.”
Stuttgart could also remove all NGO postings so there is no antisemitism and Hamas-linked groups on the municipal webpage. Nopper has refused to delete all NGO posting to ensure the website is free from Jew-hatred. Nopper’s administration has also ignored resolutions against the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, argue critics.
Nopper’s decision to re-post the information violates the spirit of anti-BDS resolutions of the state of Baden-Württemberg, and a non-binding legislative act passed by the Bundestag in 2019, say critics.
Samidoun was founded in 2012 by operatives from the EU- and US-designated Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organization.
Samidoun says on its website that it is a “Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network” that functions as “an international network of organizers and activists working to build solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom.”
Palestine Committee Stuttgart did not immediately answer a Post press query about its links to the terrorist and pro-Hamas Samidoun.
Michael Blume, who is tasked with fighting BDS for the state of Baden-Württemberg, declined to answer Post queries about the Stuttgart Palestine Committee on the website.
Avivi told the Post the state of Stuttgart Palestine Committee “should immediately fire” Blume. The Post reported in 2021 that Blume denigrated the Israeli national hero Orde Wingate as a “war criminal.” Wingate is widely considered the father of the IDF. The IDF spokesman, Richard Hecht, blasted Blume at the time for smearing Wingate.
Blume has posted blogs and tweets that Wingate is a “British murderer” and “war criminal.”
Babara Traub, the head of the Jewish community in Stuttgart, has remained silent about the city’s promotion of Palestine Committee Stuttgart on its website. Traub has faced criticism from the former chairman of the Jewish community in Stuttgart, Martin Widerker, a prominent Zionist and Jewish leader for 40 years.
He told the Post the municipality should “absolutely” appeal the decision.When asked whether Traub should condemn the court’s ruling, Widerker said, “Of course.”Widerker slammed Blume, stating, “Of course he should criticize [the pro-BDS decision], but he hasn’t done it yet and probably will continue to not do so. If he does, it would be a colossal reversal.”
Widerker also criticized Blume’s alleged antisemitism. The Post sent numerous press queries to Traub and other Jewish community leaders in Baden-Württemberg.