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Germany’s public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle has unblocked a prominent journalist from Twitter after The Jerusalem Post questioned the news outlet about the reporter’s criticisms of a DW article that quoted an antisemitic Muslim politician in India.
Vijeta Uniyal, who is widely considered one of the leading experts on Israeli-India relations, told the Post: “As an Indian journalist living in Germany, I regularly analyze German media coverage. I have repeatedly tweeted about the anti-Israel bias in Deutsche Welle’s coverage. Last month, I was appalled to see an Indian politician with a track record of making antisemitic remarks being quoted by the broadcaster as a representative of the Indian Muslims.”
He continued, “I approached Deutsche Welle in a private message on Twitter. Instead of taking any action on my complaint, they decided to block me. I don’t buy their lame apology. I was deliberately blocked to prevent me from tracking their future coverage. Apparently, someone at Deutsche Welle wasn’t comfortable with me sifting through their work.”
After the Post contacted DW, a spokeswoman in the city of Bonn said the news outlet would research the case.
The next day, DW sent Uniyal a tweet stating: “Hello @iUniyal, blocking people goes against our own DW social media standards – so it seems we blocked you by mistake. We’ve unblocked you now. Please accept our apologies.”
DW published an article on May 28 titled “Narendra Modi’s victory worries Indian Muslims.” Modi was reelected prime minister of India in a landslide victory in May.
The DW article quoted Asaduddin Owaisi, a politician from the Muslim All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party.
Uniyal pointed out Owaisi’s antisemitic comments, in which the Indian politician wrote, “Zionists & Sanghis natural allies made for each other common hatred for Muslims.” Sanghis is a bigoted term for Hindu nationalists. Embedded in Owaisi’s antisemitic tweet was a picture of Modi wearing a kippah with a Star of David on it, and a yellow Star of David imposed on a crowd in the background.
DW made no reference to Owaisi’s history of Jew-hatred in its article.
Uniyal, who has written extensively about antisemitism, told DW, “[This] despicable antisemite is your source.”
DW was embroiled in an alleged anti-Israel scandal last year for publishing an antisemitic commentary against the Jewish state.
According to Values Initiative, a German Jewish group, Bettina Marx, the head of the Ramallah office of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation – who has faced criticism over the years for alleged hardcore anti-Israel sentiments – wrote a one-sided commentary in DW on June 9 that blamed only Israel for a collapse in peace talks with the Palestinians.
Values Initiative listed a series of alleged factual errors in Marx’s text. Marx claimed Israel “annexed” West Jordan and the Gaza Strip in 1967, while Adler and Sandra Kreisler from Values Initiative pointed out that Israel’s seizure of those areas took place in the context of a war launched by Jordan and Egypt.
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