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May 15, 2008

Is the German Media Asleep at the Wheel?

In a deeply disturbing piece in the Wall Street Journal, German author Matthias Küntzel details how, little more than 60 years after the ovens of Auschwitz have cooled, elements of the current and former German governments are working hand-in-hand with the Holocaust-denying leadership of Iran.

Flipping last week through the online itinerary of the German Near and Middle East Association (honorary chairman: Gerhard Schröder), I found the following entry: "April 16, 2008, Meeting with the Iranian Vice Foreign Minister S.E. Mehdi Safari in Berlin." I couldn't find anything in the German press about this visit. I turned to Iranian media. It reported that Mr. Safari was in Berlin for three days at the invitation of the German government. He met with officials at the foreign, interior and economics ministries, as well as with lawmakers and businessmen.

It is strange, to say the least, that neither the German government nor the media said a word about the visit.

Küntzel goes on to explain that despite Chancellor Merkel’s call for tougher sanctions against Iran and a historic speech in the Knesset last March, key advisors to her coalition partner, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, seek to develop a “strategic partnership�? with Iran.

According to Iranian press agency PressTV… "the two sides discussed ways to expand economic cooperation and agreed that a German economic delegation would visit soon to follow up agreements already signed between Tehran and Berlin."

When pressed on the issue, the German foreign office confirmed holding discussions with Mr. Safari but refused to comment on the Iranian reports. So did Tehran and Berlin sign an economic agreement, and if so, what is its nature? Are German economic experts really planning a visit to Iran, now of all times?

Will the German media follow up on this story? Or will they, in their silence, be part of a new impulse that seeks to reap economic benefits at the expense of the Jewish state?

Posted by at May 15, 2008 05:44 PM


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