German Bundesbank executive Thilo Sarrazin has sparked a new uproar by saying that "all Jews share a common gene" and also attacked the Basques in Spain the same way in a newspaper interview.
This comes only a few days after Sarrazin came under fire in Germany for using shock talk about the country's Muslim immigrants, Turks, Middle Easterners and Africans when he presented a new book.
Sarrazin’s new book, whose title translates as “Germany Eliminates Itself,” sparked a heated debate. A spokesman of the Bundesbank so far only said that the book is Sarrazin's personal opinion, not exactly distancing itself from Sarrazin's xenophobic bouts.
His frothy statements were immediately rebutted by foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and minority representatives. A spokesman for chancellor Angela Merkel began his Sunday with expressions of outrage.
Sarrazin is still on the job after an interview with conservative German Sunday paper "Welt am Sonntag" where he extended his attacks to Jews.
German official news outlet Deutsche Welle was the first to report on Sarrazin's nationalistic outbreak that is destined to destroy Germany's image rebuilt in the last 65 years.
Sarrazin appears to have wild mood swings. In 2009, the central banker, who is a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), had said he would prefer immigration "if it was by eastern European Jews with a 15-percent-higher IQ than the German population."
His new book, to appear on shelves this week, claims that immigration from Turkey, the Middle East and Africa would dumb down his country and led him to draw a line between Christian culture and the rest.
From Deutsche Welle:
German central bank executive Thilo Sarrazin has stirred fresh controversy over the weekend with discriminatory remarks concerning religious minorities.
"All Jews share a particular gene," Sarrazin said in an interview. "That makes them different from other peoples."
Sarrazin, who is currently promoting his book "Deutschland schafft sich ab", remained undeterred in expressing his views despite criticism and calls for his resignation from the board of the Bundesbank.
The cultural peculiarities of the peoples is no myth, but determines the reality of Europe," Sarrazin told the newspapers Welt am Sonntag and Berliner Morgenpost.
Berlin's former finance chief has said in the past that Muslims living in Germany do not contribute to the country's economic prosperity, reducing their role to the running of fruit and vegetable stands.
He reiterated his view that Muslim immigrants all over Europe were integrating more poorly than other immigrant populations into the societies of their host countries.
In 2009, the central banker, who is a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), had said he would prefer immigration "if it was by eastern European Jews with a 15-percent-higher IQ than the German population."
The Jewish community in Germany reacted with indignation to Sarrazin's attempts at racial profiling.
Whoever tries to define Jews by their genetic makeup, even when it is superficially positive in tone, is in the grip of a race mania that Jews do not share," said Stephan Kramer, secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
While Sarrazin made reference in his interview to the alleged unique genetics of social groups, he also claimed he was not racist. It was not ethnicity, he said, but rather the culture of Islam that kept Muslims immigrants from integrating into European societies.
Germany's Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, responded to Sarrazin's latest comments, saying statements "that promote racism or anti-Semitism have no place in political discourse."
Roland Koch, the outgoing premier of the German state of Hesse, told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag that Sarrazin was pushing himself into the margins of politics. Koch recognized that the banker was "addressing existing problems that society mustn't ignore," but added that he obviously appeared to be concerned only with pursuing "radical speech and the breaching of taboos."Looking at my calendar I see the date of August 29, 2010. Sarrazin's version must be from 1938. Berlin's local SPD organisation has initiated a move to expulse Sarrazin from the party.
Before Sarrazin's latest statements were published, the chairman of Germany's Turkish Federation had called for Sarrazin to be removed from his post. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany's integration commissioner Maria Boehmer expressed outrage at Sarrazin's statements.
Christian Gaebler of the SDP told news magazine Spiegel that if Sarrazin did not willingly leave the party, he and other members would "begin procedures to expel him from the party."
Sarrazin has claimed his views toe the party line. Other parties, he said, would prefer to see immigrants kicked out of Germany, whereas he claimed to advocate integration.
Finance minister Schaeuble had said on last week to Bloomberg, he was ashamed of Sarrazin. A Merkel spokesman had called Sarrazin's views that migrants are making Germany “dumber,” are “not helpful at all” and “can be hurtful for a lot people.”
IMHO it would be most opportune if we keep religion out of politics. Europe has never fared well on that path.
UPDATE: Reuters quotes a Bundesbank spokesman, saying
they are his personal opinions and not linked to his role at the bank. The central bank requires evidence of "serious misconduct" to bring about Sarrazin's dismissal.
The central bank last year stripped Sarrazin of some of his duties. If the central bank's board voted to remove Sarrazin, the move would then need the approval of the president.and summarized the outrage in official Germany:
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said Thilo Sarrazin was out of line for comments about Jews, remarks that were also criticised by Jewish leaders in the country responsible for the Holocaust...
There's no room in the political debate for remarks that whip up racism or anti-Semitism," Westerwelle said.
"There are limits to every provocation and Bundesbank board member Sarrazin has clearly gone out of bounds with this mistaken and inappropriate comment," Guttenberg added.
Stephan Kramer and Michel Friedman, leaders in Germany's Jewish community, also criticised Sarrazin, 65, a member of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and former finance minister in the city-state of Berlin.
"Someone who tries to define Jews by a genetic make-up is consumed by a racist mania," Kramer said.
"Enough already!" Friedman wrote in Bild am Sonntag newspaper. (NOTE: This is Germany's best-selling paper) "No more tolerance for this intolerance. It's okay to provoke thought but enough of this baiting and defamation. We don't need any hate preachers, especially in the Bundesbank."