An Evangelical Christian academic center in Germany is under fire for inviting a high-level Hamas official to address a conference planned for June and to dialogue with leading German politicians also attending the parley.
The Evangelical Academy in the southern German city of Bad Boll is slated to host Dr. Basem Naim, the Hamas health minister in Gaza, at an event this summer titled “Partner for Peace: Talking with Hamas and Fatah.” Naim advocates violent “resistance” against Israel, and argues that there is an “exploitation of the Holocaust by the Zionists to justify their crimes and harness international acceptance of the campaign of ethnic cleansing and subjection they have been waging against us.”
A number of politicians from a wide range of German parties, including those in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, have also confirmed their participation and defended their involvement in media interviews on Wednesday.
But critics from Jewish, Christian and secular organizations blasted the move as German courting of a terrorist organization committed to the murder of Jews and obliteration of Israel. The German Interior Ministry sharply criticized Hamas and denied financing the event, noting that the European Union has placed the group on its list of terrorist organizations.
A German Foreign Ministry spokesman added today that, “The federal government’s attitude toward Hamas is unchanged: The federal government demands that all actors in the Middle East refrain from violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist and the results of the peace process so far.” But Joachim L. Beck, director of the Evangelical Academy, told The Jerusalem Post by e-mail today they were simply acting out of a “strong desire and interest of the German population regarding the opening of a perspective for a violent-free and just peace in the Middle East.”
– From Prophecy News Watch