Sunday, September 24, 2017

Germany: Progressive paper blasted for justifying terrorism, stoking Nazism

The Berlin-based taz daily is facing withering criticism from German Jews and US and Israeli experts on antisemitism for justifying Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, promoting hatred of the Jewish state, and stoking Nazi conspiracy theories targeting Jews. 
After the left-wing newspaper published a series of pro-BDS articles, a tipping point was reached among the news outlet’s critics. The Jerusalem Post exposés on rising boycott activity in Berlin played a role in the mayor’s decision to outlaw funding and space for BDS groups and activities, triggering angry taz columns and interviews slamming the mayor. 
The Post conducted an in-depth report into the taz’s coverage in 2017 of Israel and Jews. 
Sigmount Königsberg, the commissioner on antisemitism for Germany’s largest Jewish community in Berlin, said taz’s Israel-based correspondent “Susanne Knaul legitimizes terrorism.” 
Knaul sparked outrage over her commentary last January arguing that “Jerusalem is not Berlin” when evaluating the morality of vehicular terrorist attacks that took place in both cities. It is a “fact that there are reasons for the desperation which motivates Palestinians to suicide attacks,” she wrote. Knaul cited the “occupation” and “injustice” as ostensibly legitimate reasons to murder Israeli soldiers. 
In January, a Palestinian drove his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, murdering four of them in attack that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said was “part of the same pattern inspired by the Islamic State.” In December last year, an Islamic State supporter rammed his truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people, including Israeli Dalia Elyakim. 
Michaela Engelmeier, a Social Democratic deputy in the Bundestag, said Knaul “with her tendentious statements pours more oil into the fire of antisemitism and legitimizes violence against Israelis.”
Knaul did not respond to Post queries. 
Antisemitism experts accuse Daniel Bax, a taz editor who writes about German politics, of spreading extreme right-wing ideologies and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories reminiscent of the Nazi era. 
Bax, who is an energetic supporter of the BDS movement, wrote in a commentary this month that the American Jewish Committee “acts entirely in line with Israel’s government.” He also wrote that “Germany’s Central Council of Jews has made itself into a one-sided mouthpiece for the interests of Israel’s government.” Bax claimed the mayor of Berlin’s decision to reject BDS meant he “caved in” to German and US Jewish NGOs.
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