Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Iran meeting compared to Hitler appeasement

Israel's ambassador to Switzerland has likened the recent meeting between the Swiss and Iranian presidents to the appeasement of Hitler.

Speaking to the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, Ilan Elgar said it was not possible to “chasten a dangerous government” by “making concessions”.

Elgar noted that Swiss-Israeli relations had reached an all-time low.

He added that the strong Israeli reaction to President Hans-Rudolf Merz’s recent meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in part due to the fact that the encounter coincided with the start of Israel’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations.

Ahmadinejad has suggested the Holocaust never happened and has called repeatedly for Israel’s destruction.

Merz and Ahmadinejad met in Geneva to discuss bilateral ties, ahead of the United Nations racism conference where the Iranian president gave a controversial speech the following day.

Elgar was ordered home for “consultations” on March 20 as a result. He told the Swiss newspaper this was the first instance of Israel recalling an ambassador from a European country since 1986, when it reacted to the election of Kurt Waldheim, an intelligence officer in the Nazi army, as president of Austria.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here . Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR