German magazine stokes ‘antisemitism’ against Israel amid coronavirus

Spiegel said Israelis couldn’t protest, Netanyahu created ‘Corona dictatorship’

An ambulance car carries an Italian patient infected with coronavirus arrives at the Helios hospital in Leipzig, Germany, March 25, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues (photo credit: HENDRIK SCHMIDT/POOL VIA REUTERS)
An ambulance car carries an Italian patient infected with coronavirus arrives at the Helios hospital in Leipzig, Germany, March 25, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues
BERLIN - The German news magazine Der Spiegel has been catapulted into a new alleged antisemitism scandal after falsely declaring last week that all demonstrations in Israel were outlawed.
Israeli author and expert on antisemitism Arye Sharuz Shalicar, who was born in Germany to Jewish-Persian parents and made aliyah in 2001, tweeted: “The magazine Der Spiegel is lying! Despite the general curfew, political demonstrations are explicitly allowed in Israel. What Der Spiegel does is no longer journalism, but antisemitic agitation! When will this finally stop?”
The magazine’s article by Christoph Sydow, who has previously been accused of co-writing an antisemitic Spiegel article, claimed in his March 20 report that “demonstrations are prohibited because of the coronavirus” in Israel.
Protests on social media from Israelis and Germans prompted a correction.
Spiegel changed the headline to: “Demonstrations with more than ten participants are prohibited due to the corona crisis.”
The magazine did not recognize its error in an editorial note at the end of the article. The magazine merely wrote “An earlier version contained a shortened sub-headline. We have made it more precise.”
There was no editorial explanation as to why Sydow reported fabricated information about the Jewish state.
Marc Neugröschel, a Germany-born Israeli, tweeted: "But why do media [outlets] like the Taz or the Spiegel need to add to the coverage of these real and serious problems with lies and half-truths to place Israel again near a dictatorship?!”
Neugröschel is an academic expert on antisemitism based out of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The title of the Spiegel article read: “Benjamin Netanyahu: Is he establishing the 'First Coronavirus Dictatorship?”’
When asked about the criticism, Anja zum Hingst, a spokeswoman for Spiegel, told The Jerusalem Post that “Of course the Spiegel article you quoted is not antisemitic. It reports criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu expressed in Israel. We regret the original headline.  It was replaced after a short time. We have transparently corrected the error in the sub-headline, in the text itself. However, the point with the rallies was represented precisely from the start.”
GREEN PARTY politician Volker Beck tweeted about Sydow’s report: “That is not critical reporting, that is an obsession.” Beck added that this is "the same author who recently informed his German readers that the German Bundestag was taking its decision based on the leading strings of a small Jewish NGO. Something like the Protocols of The Wise Men of Zion 2.0.”
The Protocols of the Elder of Zion was a deeply antisemitic work written to blame Jews for a diverse set of ills.
Numerous emails and Twitter queries sent to Sydow did not result in answers to detailed Post questions. Sydow told the Post to write his Spiegel email address.
Israeli rapper Ben Salomo wrote on his Twitter account that, “For years, Spiegel has reversed the perpetrator with the victim in its reporting on Israel. The editorial team has an antisemitism problem, which neutral observers have long been able to prove. If you still work there without criticizing it, you have to wear blinkers!”
Antisemitism experts say a large part of the German population turns Israelis into the perpetrators to purge guilt and memories associated with the country's crimes of the Holocaust.
Last year, the magazine was plunged into a fresh fact-checking crisis after a massive backlash over its allegations that two small pro-Israel organizations are directing German Middle East policy. Sydow was a co-author of that Spiegel article.
“The Spiegel must officially apologize for practicing Israel-related antisemitism,” Uwe Becker, commissioner to combat antisemitism in the state of Hesse, wrote on Twitter at the time. “The article contains all the stereotypes that constitute antisemitism, and is an example of how deep these though patterns are in mainstream society.”
A few months later, Spiegel depicted contemporary Jews in Germany as ultra-Orthodox Eastern European Jews with side locks, triggering a new wave of antisemitic allegations against the magazine.
Richard Grenell, the US Ambassador to Germany and current US Director of National Intelligence, told the Post at the time: “Sadly, we are not surprised that they [Spiegel] are continuing to be antisemitic and anti-American.”
Spiegel has been embroiled in anti-American scandals over the years, according to critics. The scandals have caused the news magazine to lose credibility as a reliable news source. Claas Relotius, a former reporter for Spiegel, had reportedly fabricated scores of news stories, including anti-American articles. The Relotius scandal revealed the magazine’s deeply flawed fact-checking system and its encouragement of anti-American articles based on falsehoods, according to media experts.