A team of independent experts on Monday presented their findings following reports in German media about antisemitic and anti-Israel remarks made by employees of Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, and said the company was right to suspend five employees and suggested taking measures against eight more. They also recommended restructuring DW’s Arabic service and a “new beginning” for the department.
The head of DW’s Arabic service has offered to step down from the post and DW has accepted the offer and is searching for a replacement.
The panel examined remarks that were made by those DW employees on their social media, and their comments that were published in the media. It also looked into DW’s partner broadcasters in the Middle East and North Africa, following reports that they, too, published antisemitic content.
The investigation was led by German-Israeli psychologist and antisemitism expert Ahmad Mansour, actress Beatrice Mansour, and former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. Born in Tira, Israel, Mansour has dedicated his career to countering Islamist extremism and antisemitism, particularly among Muslim youth in Germany. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger is a member of the German Free Democratic Party and a prominent advocate of human rights in Germany and Europe.
Mansour and Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger determined that the statements by five DW employees clearly amounted to antisemitism, Holocaust denial, or Holocaust relativism, and denied Israel’s right to exist.
“Those were comments that were made on private social media accounts — but they were public,” Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said.
Cases of potential concern involving an additional eight DW employees were also flagged by the panel.
The panel also said that while the editorial work of DW’s Arabic department was not be antisemitic, the individual cases uncovered could damage DW’s reputation.
Mansour and Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger called for better orientation procedures for future employees and training for current employees at DW on antisemitism, Israel, and the conflict in the Middle East.
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, Beatrice Mansour, and Ahmad Mansour found that there was no structural antisemitism in DW’s Arabic service, where four of the five suspended employees work, and no fundamental antisemitic tendency in its reporting. However, there had been selective omissions and errors in recruiting, journalistic research, and the selection of guests for shows.
The panel recommended cutting DW’s ties with two local broadcasters in the Middle East and North Africa region, while encouraging clear guidelines on antisemitism with the rest. DW has already suspended its cooperation with Jordanian broadcaster, Royal TV, after discovering the station was spreading antisemitic comments and cartoons.