The policy organization for the German Green Party – the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation – is co-sponsoring November conferences in Gaza and Beirut with top Hamas leaders.
The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of the program listing the German tax-payer funded Böll-Foundation as one of the partner organizations for the late November conferences titled: “The 1987 Intifada, : History and Memory, Commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the first uprising against the Israeli occupation.”
The conferences are slated to take place in Gaza (November 24-26) and Beirut (November 28-30) and will feature the Gaza-based Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad and the Hamas movement leader Hasan Yusuf as listed speakers on the program.
The US, the EU and Germany classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Olga Deutsch, director of the European desk of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told the Post on Tuesday: “The record reflects years of support and cooperation between the Heinrich Boll Stiftung in Ramallah and other groups including those allegedly linked to terror organizations. The Stiftung’s involvement in an event which lends a platform to a Hamas leader is unprecedented in its severity.”
She added, “This sort of activity is inconsistent with the body of the Stiftung’s activities and its values. The management’s silence, as well as the silence of the Israel branch, is difficult to understand.”
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the president of NGO Monitor, told the Post that “German political foundations with very large budgets are powerful actors, particularly regarding Israel, as this example shows. Unfortunately, some of their officials act with insensitivity, including providing platforms for terrorists, lack transparency, and seek to silence democratic debate and criticism.”
“We strongly urge these foundations to open a wide dialogue with all groups in Israeli society, and to start to listen to the criticism,” added Steinberg.
The head of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation’s Ramallah office Bettina Marx has apparently pulled out of the event. Marx is considered by German experts on the Middle East and antisemitism to be pro-Hamas.
The prominent journalist Henryk M. Broder wrote that Marx’s “small heart bleeds for Hamas.”
The Böll foundation wrote on its Twitter feed on Tuesday that it “did not invite any Hamas representatives to the podium.” The foundation added that its “Ramallah office cooperates every year with the IPS [Institute for Palestine Studies], a well-respected and independent [institute].”
The foundation denied that it was involved in the conception and organization of the conference. The logo of the foundation’s co-sponsorship of the conference was removed during the course of the day on Tuesday.
It is unclear whether the Green Party’s funds for the event will be investigated for terror finance. The foundation lists the Bank for Social Economy as an account on its website.
The Post reported late month that the Heinrich Böll-Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon held an event “50 years of occupation, 50 years of resilience” that appears to have involved anti-Israel activists.
The pro-Hezbollah moderator, Sahar Mandour, signed a petition against Israel in 2006 stating her support for Hezbollah’s war against Israel.
“Our conscious support for the Lebanese national resistance as it wages a war in defense of our sovereignty and independence, a war to release Lebanese imprisoned in Israel,” stated the petition.