Berlin government supports Hezbollah activists through refugee project
NEW YORK CITY: Senior employees of a Berlin-based theater project designed to assist refugees—which is funded by the Berlin government—are activists for the EU-designated terrorist organization Hezbollah, it has been alleged on Tuesday.
Nadia Grassman, the artistic director of the theater project Refugee Club Impulse (RCI) and her sister Maryam, a pedagogical director at RCI, were key organizers in the annual pro-Hezbollah and pro-Iranian regime al-Quds Day rally, according to a Tuesday report in the Berliner Zeitung daily.
The paper reported that at the al-Quds Day rally in 2015 “anti-Semitic slogans were chanted and the abolition of Israel was called for.”
The Berlin-based office of the American Jewish Committee alleged that the Grassman sisters support their father Jürgen Grassman, who completed the registration process for the al-Quds Day protest in Berlin.
Video and photographs showed Nadia on the loudspeaker truck at the al-Qud Day rally while Maryam distributed flyers, collected donations, and provided posters, reported the Berliner Zeitung. Multiple photographs from the event also revealed Maryam sporting earrings with the Hezbollah logo.
It is unclear if the donations received by Maryam were used to fund the terrorist activities of the Lebanese-based Shi’ite organization in Syria and against Israel.
The RCI is slated to receive 100,000 Euros from the Berlin government for refugee work. Public taxpayer funds have been furnished to the RCI for a number of years.
Nadia told Andreas Kopietz, the Berliner Zeitung journalist, “I don’t play an active role at the al-Quds demonstration.”
She said her work with refugees is “to hear the many diverse voices and to give those voices impulses so they that they themselves can reflect. Social projects are political but we are not partisan.”
Jürgen Grassmann told the paper that the “co-organizers of the [al-Quds Day) demonstration are not my daughters. But they support their father.”
An interior spokesman for Berlin’s Green Party and a member of the Berlin city Senate, Benedikt Lux, said there “is a danger that the project [RCI] funds will be used for anti-Semitic forces.”
According to a Jerusalem Post review of the 2014 Berlin intelligence report, the most recent document covering Islamism in Berlin, found that there are 250 active Hezbollah members in the capital. Across Germany, there are a total of 950 Hezbollah members. The number of Hezbollah supporters is believed to be significantly higher in the Federal Republic than the data listed in intelligence reports.
In 2014, Germany shut down the Lebanon Orphan Children Project (Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon e.V.) The group claimed to be a humanitarian organization but was closed for funding terrorism.
Lebanon Orphan Children Project provided funds to the al-Shahid (“The Martyr”) Association in Lebanon. Al-Shahid was “disguised as a humanitarian organization” and “promotes violence and terrorism in the Middle East using donations collected in Germany and elsewhere,” according to a 2009 European Foundation for Democracy report by German security expert Alexander Ritzmann
The EU along with Germany proscribed Hezbollah’s military wing to be a terrorist entity in 2013. Hezbollah members blew up an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria in 2012, which killed five Israelis, their Bulgarian bus driver, and injured over 30 people. Germany permits Hezbollah’s so-called political wing to operate.
The late Christian Democratic Union deputy Philipp Missfelder told the Post in 2012: “It is long overdue to place Hezbollah on the EU’s list of terror organizations.” Missfelder’s call to outlaw Hezbollah’s entire organization was ignored by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration.
The US, Canada, and the Netherlands classify Hezbollah as a monolithic terrorist entity. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said at AIPAC’s policy conference in March that Hezbollah’s entire structure should be banned in Europe.
International al-Quds Day – initiated by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder, in 1979 – is an annual global event calling to destroy the Jewish state.
Photographs of anti-Israel activists at the al-Quds Day rallies in 2014 and 2015 in Berlin showed boycott Israel signs. The al-Quds Day movement in Germany is part of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Israel’s ambassador to Germany blasted the 2015 al-Quds Day march in the capital city, saying “It is a disgrace that in Germany a march full of hate, agitation and anti-Semitism can take place,” the diplomat said.
After the Israeli embassy complained about Commerzbank providing an account to the al-Quds Day organization, the bank terminated its al-Quds day account in September.
Commerzbank bank, which was fined $1.45 billion by the US in 2015 for Iran, Sudan, and Cuba sanctions, maintains a second anti-Israel account with a pro-BDS magazine and website. The Commerzbank—Germany’s second largest financial institution—declined to answer specific Post questions about the closure of the second BDS account.