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Palestinian murdered German for being ‘rich Jew’ who ‘destroyed my country’
A witness said the 31-year-old Palestinian man named Iyad B. said the real estate investor and 57-year-old victim Michael Riecher is a ” rich Jew” who “annihilated my country.”
By Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2019 23:20
A Palestinian man murdered a German real estate investor in November because he was a “rich Jew” who destroyed his country, according to shocking testimony during a Wednesday court appearance in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg.
A witness said the 31-year-old Palestinian man named Iyad B. said the real estate investor and 57-year-old victim Michael Riecher is a ” rich Jew” who “annihilated my country,” according to a report in the local newspaper Schwarzwälder Bote. The witness said the Palestinian’s hatred in connection with the apparent reference to Jews destroying his country is related to the motive for murder. It is unclear what Iyad means by “my country.”
It is also unclear from the German media reports if Riecher was Jewish although he played a critical role in the renovation of a local sanctuary room of the synagogue, according to a media report. Riecher worked with Syrian refugees with respect to housing placement.
Iyad’s accomplice, the 28-year-old Syrian Mohammed Omran Albakr, allegedly devised the plan to attack and rob Riecher. Albakr eventually moved into Riecher’s parent’s house with his wife.
The testimony by the witness, who works as a barber, took place in the court house in the town of in Horb am Neckar. The Schwarzwälder Bote reported that the witness used the alias Hesham A. and said “Iyad did not say anything about plans” to murder Riecher. The witness said that Iyad did not comment on the fact that Riecher could be killed as part of the attack. Riecher was in frail health due to a lung condition. The accused perpetrators strangled the victim.
Iyad’s last name was not listed in German media reports due to privacy protection. Mohammed Omran Albakr was previously listed in media reports because after his arrival to Germany in 2015, Albakr was praised as a model refugee in a 2016 Schwarzwälder Bote article.
Albakr lived on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. According to Schwarzwälder Bote, he studied mathematics and refused to serve in the Syrian army. As a result, the Syrian regime of president Bashar Assad imprisoned him. After he was released from prison, Albakr migrated to Turkey and eventually to Germany.
The Free Democratic Party MP Michael Theurer said in 2014: “If Michael Riecher had not taken over the financial risk of the property developer, we would not be sitting in a rock-solid renovated sanctuary today.”
The murder of Riecher comes amid growing antisemitism in Germany. Michael Blume, the commissioner to combat antisemitism in the state Baden-Württemberg, has faced a wave of criticism for drawing an apparent parallel between the Nazi mass murderer Adolf Eichmann and a German Jewish activist who fights the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Blume to resign because of his comparison in March. Henryk M. Broder, Germany’s leading authority on contemporary post-Holocaust antisemitism, wrote that Blume has “no idea about antisemitism.” Blume refuses to urge a partially-owned state bank to close its account with the pro-BDS Palestine Committee Stuttgart. The Bundestag declared BDS antisemitic in May.
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