Protesters draped in the Israeli flag attend a march in solidarity with Israel in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin (French)

BERLIN Pro-Israel lobbies are working strongly in European countries, including Germany, where they exploit the latter's historical specificity and responsibility for Nazi crimes against Jews to gain more support from Berlin in favor of Israel.

If these groups in the United States rely mainly on money and on the network of relations with Democrats and Republicans, in Germany they rely on the historical reality that constrains German politics, which is a key factor in the transformation of "Israel's security" into a "supreme national interest" in Germany.

Public records confirm the existence of lobbyists supporting Israel. But these records do not include everyone, especially since pro-Israel lobbyists are not necessarily registered associations, but may be religious bodies.

Central Council of Jews

It is the largest body representing Jews in Germany, but instead of focusing on the situation of the Jewish community in the country and defending its causes, or defending Judaism itself, this body takes positions in Germany's foreign policy.

The council clearly declares its absolute support for Israel as a "Jewish state," which makes a number of Jews inside Germany, especially the left, refuse to represent them, especially since half of German Jews are not registered in the Jewish community that the council is supposed to represent.

According to the council's website, it "stands against any form of demonization, delegitimization and the application of double standards towards the sole Jewish state." The Council does not recognize Klupe in Germany as a public law institution, not a non-governmental organization, but its use of the symbolism of Jewish representation makes it influential in the political sphere.

The Council's support for Israel amounts to fundraising for the Israeli army, as occurred in the current aggression on the Gaza Strip, despite the fact that these funds are used in hostilities, and called on the federal government to immediately cease all forms of financial support to the Palestinians in the wake of the attack by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), although a large part of this support is directed exclusively to humanitarian affairs.

The council has put pressure on parties and has previously accused members of the Left Party of anti-Semitism for their critical stances on Israel. The Council recently called on the German branch of the Friday for Climate Movement to distance itself from the international movement after the latter expressed solidarity with Gaza.

Intellectuals critical of Israel, even if they are Jewish, are also in the Council's crosshairs, including the American philosopher Judith Butler, as well as soccer players, such as Moroccan Naseer Mazraoui for wishing victory to the Palestinians. As well as the media, such as Der Spiegel, which the council accused of "using anti-Semitic clichés" in response to an investigation that revealed how two pro-Israel organizations, which will be mentioned later in this report, used their influence in the German parliament.

The Council also enjoys significant support from the German authorities and coordinates with the Government at the highest level. The German parliament recently approved raising the subsidy allocated to it from 13 million euros to 22 million, which was in the range of 10 million before 2018.

President of the Central Council of Jews Joseph Schuster at the fiftieth anniversary of the 1972 "Munich Process" (French)

Values Initiative Association (WerteInitiative)

It was founded in 2018, by Elio Adler, a dentist. The association says its main goal is to express German-Jewish positions, and that it is a Jewish organization that wants to ensure a Jewish future in Germany, but that most of its work focuses on supporting Israeli trends.

The Der Spiegel investigation revealed that the group launched a campaign to label the BDS movement anti-Semitic. The magazine says that 103 out of 700 parliamentarians disagreed with this decision, as it would affect cooperation with Palestinian organizations, but they could not stand against it so as not to be accused of anti-Semitism.

This organization is working to find donors to a number of German party figures, with the aim of expressing positions in line with the Israeli narrative, as well as spreading demands for further restrictions on the Palestinians.

In its data published in the lobbie register, the association does not provide detailed information on the nature of its material activities, but confirms that it received revenues exceeding 877,2022 euros in <>, and most of the support comes from the German Ministry of the Interior.

🇮🇱❤️ Our hearts are with the people of Israel 💔 #AmIsraelChai!

— WerteInitiative. jüdisch-deutsche Positionen (@WerteInitiative) October 7, 2023

Middle East Peace Forum (NAFFO)

An organization that defines itself as "bringing together German citizens committed to peaceful political and social development in the Middle East" and therefore "engages in a regular and future-oriented dialogue with German political decision-makers". It explains that it advocates Israel's "inviolable right to exist."

This organization meets regularly with representatives of the major German parties, all of which are pro-Israel, trying to convince them to visit Israel, meeting with officials from the Israeli embassy, and focusing on repeating the Israeli narrative despite claiming to believe in a two-state solution. It was mentioned in the aforementioned Der Spiegel investigation.

The Middle East Peace Organization is officially registered in the database of licensed lobbies within the German parliament, and its budget in 2020 amounted to about 269,<> euros, mostly from member subscriptions and donations, but there are expectations that the budget will be larger due to the nature of its activities.

It was founded in 2009, but its activity is largely absent from the media, as it focused its work on a lot of secrecy, especially interviews with German politicians, as its CEO Mariam Rosenstein confirmed in a previous interview. Also on its executive board was Elio Adler, who founded the Values Initiative before withdrawing.

Volker Beck, president of the German-Israeli Association, at an event in solidarity with Israel (Getty Images)

German-Israeli Association (DIG)

The biggest difference between it and the previous two associations is that it works a lot in public. It clearly declares its defense of Israel and Zionism. She recently conducted a fundraising campaign for Israel claiming that there was a war against it. It also supports Israel's foreign orientations and has a youth forum that operates in several universities.

The association is one of the oldest lobbies in Germany, as it was founded in 1966, and receives great support from the German Foreign Ministry, reaching in 2022 550,5 euros, does not reveal in the lobbies register its financial budget, but it is expected that the incomes will be greater, by virtue of the fact that it includes at least <>,<> members.

Its president, Volker Beck, is a frequent guest on German channels and regularly calls for pro-Israel demonstrations. He is very active on social media and belongs to the Green Party, which is concerned with the environment, although a number of environmental parties in Europe defend the Palestinians.

Beck presses members within the Green Party to take positions critical of Israel, focuses his campaigns on Muslim organizations, and recently demanded that the state require every Islamic association willing to partner with it to recognize "Israel's right to exist and its security," and exerts significant pressure on supporters of the Palestinians.

Tikvah Institute

The word "Tikvah" is Hebrew and means hope. Founded in 2020, the organization still has a modest role but is also headed by Volker Beck, who already heads the German-Israeli Association. The organization works to confront anti-Semitism, including with regard to Israel, and wants to "promote a friendly relationship between Israel, the Jewish state, and Germany."

The organization publishes research and studies as well as "promotes legislative proposals," and one of its projects is to analyze media coverage of Israel, so it openly criticizes the German media if its coverage does not meet its criteria. The organization received support from at least 3 German entities in 2022, the largest of which was from the Ministry of the Interior with about 300,<> euros.

Source : Al Jazeera