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Merkel defends German UN voting record on Israel after rap from Jewish group

Chancellor says Berlin doesn’t have to agree with 100% of Jerusalem’s policies after Simon Wiesenthal Center accuses country of bias against Jewish state

German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes questions as part of a meeting of the German parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany December 18, 2019. (AP/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes questions as part of a meeting of the German parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany December 18, 2019. (AP/Michael Sohn)

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday defended Germany’s voting record on Israel at the United Nations, arguing that supporting the country doesn’t mean backing all of its actions.

Last week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized Germany’s ambassador to the UN, Christoph Heusgen, for casting “anti-Israel votes” among other things. The German government strongly backed Heusgen, who previously served for years as Merkel’s foreign policy adviser.

“A commitment to the state of Israel … does not mean 100% agreement with all of Israel’s political actions,” Merkel said during a regular question-and-answer session in the German parliament.

She noted that European Union countries consult on how to vote at the UN, where Germany is currently serving a two-year stint on the Security Council.

Germany works to try to ensure that “all tendencies that we can influence that could embody an anti-Israel stance” are removed from resolutions, she added. “So I think we are doing good work.”

Germany and other European countries haven’t joined the US in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and continue to criticize Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.

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