BERLIN – Germany’s Press Council issued a ruling last week asserting the
Munich based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung
violated the council’s press code
against discrimination because of the paper’s publication of an anti-Israel
After the SZ published an early July illustration showing Israel
as a demonic monster , pro-Israel groups in Germany filed a joint complaint to
the Press Council in the same month.
“This German Press Council ruling is
a wake-up call for the media to exercise greater caution in depictions of
Israel, which all too easily slide into anti-Semitism,” said American Jewish
Committee Berlin director Deidre Berger.
“The ruling reinforces the
message that artistic freedom cannot be used as a cloak to disguise
anti-Semitism,” she added.
The caricature depicts a young woman serving
food to a demonic monster with horns sitting at a table and holding up a carving
The caption under the cartoon reads: “Germany at your service. For
decades, Israel has been provided with weapons, partly free of charge. Israel’s
enemies consider the country to be a voracious Moloch.”
The Press Council
did not formally rebuke the SZ but said the cartoon violated its
The main German Jewish newspaper, Judische
, reported that the chairman of the complaints office at the press
council, Peter Enno Tiarks, said the application of the cartoon in the SZ
context is “discriminatory and contributes to prejudices against Israel and
Edda Kremer, an official from the Press Council, wrote that a
formal rebuke was withheld because the SZ dealt with the cartoon in a
After reader complaints and charges of
anti-Semitism, the paper apologized.
In a separate German media story,
the Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomed the decision of the Bauer media group to
pull the plug on Der Landser, a military history magazine the center said
portrayed Nazi units responsible for numerous atrocities “in a favorable
“This is a major victory,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the center’s
founder and dean.
“This is also the right decision at a time when anti-Semitism has reached unprecedented levels in many parts of Europe.”
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