Wiesenthal Center: Washington, World PowersShould Heed Chancellor Merkel's Warning on Iran

November 3, 2009



The Simon Wiesenthal Center today praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s words in her address to a joint session of Congress. They especially praised her warning of the threat of a nuclear Iran, the need for a international culture of tolerance and respect as a way to prevent another Holocaust, and for her extension of Germany’s help in the Mideast peace process.

The first German Chancellor to address Congress in 52 years, Merkel issued a stern warning about the threat of nuclear arsenals developed by counties like Iran. “Zero tolerance needs to be shown when there is a risk of weapons of mass destruction falling, for example, into the hands of Iran and threatening our security,” she said, adding, “A nuclear bomb in the hands of an Iranian president who denies the Holocaust, threatens Israel and denies Israel the right to exist is unacceptable.” She stressed that, “Security for the State of Israel to me is non-negotiable, now and forever...Whoever threatens Israel threatens us,” she said to a cheering Congress. 

 “The 400,000 constituent families of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization dedicated to teaching the legacy of the Nazi Holocaust commend Chancellor Merkel important speech today with confirms her longstanding commitment to a strong Israel and friendship with the Jewish people.  We wholeheartedly endorse Chancellor Merkel’s warning about a nuclearized Iranian regime,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Founder and Dean, and Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, respectively. “To thwart Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs, the United States, Germany and the European Union must act swiftly to ratchet up sanctions that will force the regime to stop its illegal rush to become a nuclear power. All eyes are on The Obama Administration and our Congressional leaders to take speedy action to forestall the threat that Chancellor Merkel has so forcefully and clearly enunciated,” they added

Chancellor Merkel’s address marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, but she also marked the day is also the 71st Anniversary of Kristallnacht that signaled the beginning of the Nazi Holocaust. “I cannot stand here today without remembering the victims of the Shoah,” she said, expressing regret for Germany’s role in WWII and for the murder of six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis.  So that the world will never see another Holocaust, it is important to show tolerance towards each other. “There are different solutions to create peaceful co-existence,” she said adding, “Showing tolerance means showing respect for the history, the traditions, the religion and the cultural identity of others,”

“But let there be no misunderstanding: There must be zero tolerance to those who show no respect for the rights of the individual and who violate human rights,” she said.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter,  or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.