| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

German business lobby group defends its mocking of Greens leader

On Tuesday, a German business lobby group defended a divisive advertisement in which Greens Chancellor Candidate Annalena Baerbock is depicted as a biblical Moses clutching two tablets, with the phrase “Annalena and the 10 Bans.”

INSM, a lobbying group, is attacking the Greens’ proposals to encourage Germans to drive electric cars and take trains instead of flying domestically. However, its portrayal of Baerbock as Moses has sparked outrage and anti-Semitic charges.

The Greens, aiming to win the chancellery for the first time at a Sept. 26 federal election, surged ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in polls in late April after they picked Baerbock as their candidate to run for chancellor.

Since then, Baerbock has been the target of numerous internet attacks, including a viral photo purporting to show her naked. In actuality, the image was of a Russian glamour girl.

“Why we don’t need a state religion,” says the June 10 campaign post on INSM’s website, adding, “Green bans don’t take us to the promised land.”

Despite criticism in German media over its portrayal of Baerbock, a 40-year-old London School of Economics alumna and mother of two, INSM, which is funded by the metal and electrical industries, has preserved the post on its website.

“The strongest accusation is that we are serving anti-Semitic conspiracy myths with the motif of the Moses depiction. We firmly reject this,” INSM said in a statement published on its website on Tuesday.

“If we have hurt personal or religious feelings with the advertisement, we regret this and assure you that this was in no way intended,” it added. “The INSM will continue to stand up for the social market economy in a decisive and clear manner.”

At a weekend conference to agree the Greens’ election manifesto, Baerbock said the party would seek to support German industry in cutting carbon emissions by ensuring the state helps meet any additional costs companies incur.

Baerbock lost her train of thought during a conference speech and, as she exited the stage, shouted a profanity while her microphone was still on.

The defeat came after a terrible few weeks for the Greens, which included a regional election failure, a bonus payment scandal, and a controversial recommendation that Germany equip Ukraine.

According to an INSA poll released on Monday, support for the Greens has dropped to 19.5 percent, trailing Merkel’s conservative alliance’s 27.5 percent. Merkel has decided not to run for re-election in September.

  • Reuters