Editors from the Franco- German TV network ARTE have reneged on showing a widely acclaimed documentary on the explosion of lethal antisemitism in Europe, because the film is considered pro-Israel.
ARTE commissioned the 90-minute documentary, Chosen and Excluded – Jew Hatred in Europe, in 2015.
Joachim Schroeder, who filmed the documentary, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the editors failed to recognize that “modern antisemitism is anti-Zionism.”
He added that there is fierce opposition within European television outlets to refrain from bashing Israel.
“You can’t make a film on antisemitism without saying every three minutes that the Palestinians are the victims of Israelis.”
Le Monde wrote in its headline about the row: “ARTE, a hint of the censor.”
Schroeder, along with Sophie Hafner from his Munich-based Preview Production company, covered the most serious outbreaks of violent antisemitism in Europe in the film, including the Islamic-animated murders of French Jews and Israelis in Belgium and France.
European political support of antisemitism targeting Israel is presented in the film, including a speech by the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas who told European lawmakers that rabbis urged Israel’s government to poison Arab water supplies.
The European Parliament rewarded Abbas with a standing ovation.
According to The New York Times, Abbas’s speech of June 23, 2016, recalled “antisemitic claims that led to the mass killings of European Jews in medieval times.” Martin Schulz, then-president of the European Parliament and currently the Social Democratic challenger to Chancellor Angela Merkel for the leadership of the German government, praised Abbas’s speech.
The film shows the growth of the BDS campaign targeting the Jewish state. The research into the film covered a BDS event in Munich, which in 2015 provided city-funded space to Christoph Glanz, a leading BDS advocate, to call for the boycott of Israel.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center cited Glanz, a public school teacher in the northern city of Oldenburg, in its list of the Top Ten Worst Anti-Semitic/ Anti-Israel Incidents in 2016.
“Glanz, who has tried posing as a Jew to avoid charges of antisemitism, recently called for the eradication of the State of Israel and relocation of its Jews to southwestern Germany,” the Wiesenthal Center noted.
Leading experts on antisemitism, Islamism and German history endorsed the film as an outstanding exposé on the new forms of antisemitism plaguing Europe.
Writing in the Berliner Zeitung daily, Götz Aly, a German historian who has written books about antisemitism, said ARTE’s decision to not show the film “stinks to high heaven.” He spoke of a censor at work. ARTE and its sister outlet in Germany, WDR, are publicly funded outlets.
Israeli-Arab psychologist Ahmed Mansour, in an email to Sabine Rollberg, the Cologne-based editor-in-chief of WDR/ARTE, said the film was “great” and “long-overdue.”
Mansour lives in Germany and is an expert on radicalization among Muslims.
Rollberg faced massive criticism because she voted at an editorial meeting to show the film. According to German media reports, ARTE editors ultimately decided not to show Chosen and Excluded – Jew Hatred in Europe because “The film is a provocation,” “The film pours oil into the fire,” “The film shouldn’t be shown because of terrorism,” “The film is anti-Protestant, anti-Muslim and pro-Israeli,” “The film is biased.”
ARTE, in a statement on Tuesday, said the accusation of antisemitism leveled against it is “grotesque,” and that for it “can attest to its engagement against antisemitism for the past 25 years and it will continue to do so in the future.”
ARTE claimed that Schroeder violated its program plan and focused largely on the Middle East, and did not address antisemitism in Norway, Sweden, the UK, Hungary and Greece.
Schroeder flatly denied ARTE’s account, saying that he delivered by filming antisemitism in Germany and France. A 90-minute film can’t possibly cover antisemitism “from Oslo to Minsk,” he added.
WDR said it “respects ARTE’s decision” and “rejects the accusation of antisemitism.”
Alex Feuerherdt, a journalist who has written extensively on German antisemitism, rejected ARTE’s assertion that it fights antisemitism. “ARTE has always in the past showed films in its program that present Israel in a dark light,” he noted.
A Post query to Tom Buhrow, the head of WDR in Cologne, was not immediately returned.