Populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) MP Petr Bystron has claimed that anti-Israel groups enjoy growing influence on the German government, and are funding organisations working against the Jewish state.
Mr Bystron specifically refers to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to which Berlin has given 80 million euros, and accuses the group of being “pro-Hamas,” a charge that has been levelled before at the group when Hamas tunnels were found underneath a school it had been running in 2017. UNRWA schools have also been accused of disseminating anti-Israel propaganda.
Writing for the Israeli radio broadcaster Arutz Sheva, Bystron said his party, the AfD, had been investigating NGOs funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) and claims, “The Open Society Foundations have enormous influence in Berlin and Brussels. It is no accident that they are moving to Berlin, of all places, after Viktor Orbán’s government forced OSF out of Hungary.”
Bystron added that the OSF-funded European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) have had members who are openly anti-Israel including their Middle East and North Africa programme director Daniel Levy who has supported the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement in the past and called it “a legitimate and non-violent form of protest against an illegal and inhumane policy of occupation.”
Federally-Funded, City-Owned Building In Germany Used For Hardline Boycott Israel Group https://t.co/lHPVMkJKoy
— Aaron Klein (@AaronKleinShow) May 30, 2016
The former foreign minister and former leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) Sigmar Gabriel is also a member of the ECFR with Bystron saying Gabriel had deliberately chosen to meet with Soros-funded NGOs while on a visit to Israel in 2017.
In total, Bystron claims the German government has given the ECFR €451,636 over the last three years saying, “in effect, the German government is paying ECFR to lobby it.”
“The AfD will continue to expose German and EU funding for anti-Israel NGOs, and work closely with our allies in Israel to do this,” Bystron said and added, “While many media portray us as racist or even fascist, we strongly support Israel and the Jewish community in Germany – much as Israel is demonised in many media in the West.”
60 European Parliament Members Demand EU Stop Funding Anti-Israel BDS Groups https://t.co/kWrK3i8plU
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 29, 2017
Bystron, who serves as the AfD speaker for foreign affairs, has risen to prominence in recent months after first offering to help former English Defence League leader turned citizen journalist Tommy Robinson claim asylum in Germany following his imprisonment earlier this year.
The populist MP was also behind an initiative to bring criminal charges against activists working on migrant transport NGO vessels, accusing them of people trafficking.