German pro-BDS antisemitic teacher investigated by politician

Jewish groups call for the teacher to be removed from the classroom.

By
October 1, 2016 22:44
4 minute read.
BDS activists in Berlin.

BDS activists in Berlin.. (photo credit: MANFRED DEUTSCHER)

 
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A German lawmaker launched an investigation involving a German school teacher and his alleged antisemitic statements and conduct at a public school in the city of Oldenburg in the state of Lower Saxony.

“Antisemitism and antisemites are not tolerated in our schools,” Jörg Hillmer, the deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Union Party in the state government, told the Jerusalem Post by email on Friday, adding “We will increase the pressure on the state government with a parliament questionnaire to clarify” the case of the teacher Christoph Glanz.

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Social Democratic Party (SPD) MP Michaela Engelmeier originally accused Glanz of anti-Semitism and racism.

A spokesman for the SPD faction in the Lower Saxony parliament, Michael Höntsch later agreed, stating “I share completely the statements of my friend and comrade Michaela Engelmeier.” Höntsch is the SPD spokesman against right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Höntsch also told The Post he agreed with Engelmeier’s remark that “BDS is, to the core, anti-Semitic.”

BDS stands for the Boycott, Divestment,Sanctions movement targeting Israel.

BDS claims its goal is to secure concessions for the Palestinians. Omar Bargouti, a co-founder of BDS, has called for the abolition of the Jewish State and its absorption into an Arab state, where "Jews are minority."

The Lower Saxony parliamentary inquiry appears to be first instance of a public school teacher under investigation for allegedly playing down the Holocaust in the school system, advocating a full boycott of the Jewish State, and calling for the destruction of Israel.

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When asked about Hillmer’s inquiry, Bianca Schöneich, a spokeswoman for the Lower Saxony school authorities, told the Post that “we continue to pursue under public sector employment law the allegations raised against Mr. Glanz…meanwhile, the first talks took place in the school.”

Schöneich said the school authorities can’t disclose more information about interviews in the school due to reasons of privacy.

The public school agency has not pulled Glanz from the classroom.

In a similar case last year involving allegations of antisemitism, school authorities suspended Daniel Krause, a 34-year old school teacher from the town of Unna in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Krause called in to a radio show program on Holocaust Remembrance Day and  said: "Personally, I'm not at all privately interested in Auschwitz... actually, industrial livestock farming affects me more emotionally."

Krause also spoke at an extremist right-wing political rally in 2012 for the anti-immigrant political party “Pro NRW.”

Klaus Thörner, the head of the German-Israel friendship society in Oldenburg, accused Glanz of minimizing the Holocaust, after Glanz said at a school event commemorating the Holocaust in 2013 that Israel committed a genocide on the Palestinians.

Glanz said he has been involved in anti-fascist activity. The only German political parties calling for a total boycott of Israel along the lines of Glanz are the neo-Nazi parties NPD and The Third Way. Multiple Post email press queries to Glanz’s email address were not returned. Glanz has said that the allegation of antisemitism leveled against him is “absurd.”

Glanz has defended in a YouTube comment the idea that Israel should be relocated to Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany.

Glanz’s twitter feed, which is named “intifada of peace,” is filled with attacks on the Jewish state, including “Israel's government is a racist freak show.” He accused Israel of a “crime of against humanity” and “ethnic cleansing.” Glanz wrote Israel is guilty of “immoral child abuse under the disguise of memory of the holocaust victims.”

Glanz has also compared Israel’s security fence with the communist-era Berlin Wall. His twitter feed does not qualify his retweets as non-endorsements. He has retweeted that Israel is an apartheid state. He wrote in apparent reference to a Palestinian: “who wants me to explain to him his suffering was unavoidable to attone [sic] for my grandparents´ sins? #ziologic #BDS.” Ziologic appears to be a reference to Zionist logic.

Schöneich, the spokeswoman for the public school system, told the Post that school teachers are legally required to be politically neutral.

Growing outrage over Glanz’s pro-BDS conduct triggered a new wave of criticism from leading Jewish human rights groups.
“It is very disturbing that it has taken so long for the authorities to look into the prosecution or dismissal of this person [Glanz]. He should not be allowed to influence the minds of young Germans,” said Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Jerusalem and a leading Holocaust educator.

Deidre Berger, the head of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin-based office, said: “The one-sided sharp ideological views of Mr. Glanz, especially his taking sides with the anti-Israel boycott movement, are not compatible with the democratic educational goals of Germany.”

Berger urged the school authorities to examine whether Glanz “instrumentalized his work with refugees, in order to stoke resentments against Israel.” Berger added, “the danger that such extreme opinions can influence pupils or radicalize them is too big” for the educational authorities to ignore.

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