President Rivlin to Merkel: No Such Thing as Loving Israel and Hating the Jews

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Rivlin and Merkel, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, October 4, 2018.
Rivlin and Merkel, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, October 4, 2018. Credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters

President Reuven Rivlin expressed concern over a new wave of anti-Semitism in Europe during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. The two met at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on the second day of Merkel's two-day visit in Israel. 

“A new breed of anti-Semitism is rising in Europe. This time, it takes the form of right-wing nationalist politics with roots in Nazism and it is gaining momentum across the continent," Rivlin told Merkel. "Some of these people appear to support Israel, but hate Jews. There should be no misunderstanding. There is no such thing as loving Israel and hating Jews.”

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“Our past continues and will continue to shape the special nature of our relationship, now and in the future. It binds us to a shared commitment to remember the past and to continue to fight against anti-Semitism, hatred and denial,” Rivlin reiterated. 

Merkel's meeting with Rivlin came after a visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust museum earlier on Thursday as well as a private meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“History teaches us one thing: we must not tolerate any level of anti-Semitism or racism. Zero tolerance. Where there is fertile ground for that, terrible and awful things can happen, as we all know well,” Rivlin told Merkel, and thanked her: “We appreciate your efforts and those of your government to ensure that future generations remember what happened.”

Rivlin also expressed concern over Iran, calling on Germany to join the sanctions on Tehran. “We cannot avoid speaking out against the decision taken by the European Union aimed at circumventing the sanctions on Iran. As we see it, now is the time to join in on sanctioning Iran, not to work around them."

In recent months, the European Union has tried to salvage what is left of the nuclear deal. Rivlin called on Merkel to end such attempts. "We must starve the Iranian monster, not feed it. This is the only way we can maintain the stability of this region. We ask Germany to stand with us in our demands for inspection of the Iranian nuclear program, and not allow them to evade their commitments,” Rivlin said. 

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