A German court in Hamburg on Monday published a landmark ruling, declaring a civil servant antisemitic because he compared a German Jew with Nazi mass murderer Adolf Eichmann and called one of the Zionist founders of the IDF a “war criminal.”
The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of the court ruling that cited two Post articles on Michael Blume, as part of the legal reasoning for labeling him antisemitic. Blume is tasked with fighting antisemitism in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg.
In October, German attorney Joachim Nikolaus Steinhöfel filed a legal complaint against Twitter for deleting his tweet that called Blume antisemitic.
Calling Blume antisemitic is free speech
Steinhöfel explained to the Post on Monday that “there are sufficient facts that justify the classification of Blume as antisemitic; this classification is protected by freedom of speech.
The court mentioned Blume’s assessment of Orde Wingate as a war criminal, and his mention of Malca Goldstein-Wolf in the same breath as Adolf Eichmann and calling Jews ‘right-wing extremists.”’
Steinhöfel tweeted: “Baden-Württemberg allows itself an antisemitic commissioner for antisemitism.” According to the court decision, Steinhöfel’s tweet “is not abusive criticism, but a sharp – still permissible – expression of opinion.” The court noted the importance of highlighting Blume’s alleged antisemitism because he is a public servant.
The scrutiny and criticism of Blume “apply all the more when assessing the behavior of an antisemitism commissioner of a German state” because the “issue is of considerable public interest,” the court added.
Additionally, Steinhöfel said, “his evident incompetence or narcissism, so far, did not bring about the resignation of Dr. Blume. Nor did his repeated defeats at the administrative court of Stuttgart because of defamatory tweets slandering Jewish publications, or me, as their attorney. The regional court of Hamburg held that there is sufficient evidence for opining that Blume is an antisemite. Fighting antisemitism is too important a task, to leave in the responsibility of a nationally and internationally discredited bureaucrat.”
Twitter had deleted Steinhöfel’s tweet though Steinhöfel told the Post that it has since been restored.
Anti-BDS German Jewish activist Malca Goldstein-Wolf told the Post that “Blume’s misconduct activities are factually documented and all of them are unacceptable and unworthy of a public official. A look at his followers on social networks reveals a large number of openly antisemitic like-minded people. It is actually unbelievable that an antisemitism commissioner gets applause from antisemites. This unspeakable official is a symbol of how dishonest the fight against Jew hatred is actually being conducted in Germany. He worked hard to be officially labeled an antisemite.”
Green Party Governor of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, has defended Blume. The Post previously reported that Kretschmann awarded a check for $32,000 to a Lutheran pastor in the West Bank who advocates the destruction of Israel.
The Post sent numerous press queries to Blume and to Kretschmann’s spokesman for the state of Baden-Württemberg, Matthias Gauger.
Blume has faced calls to resign over the years, recently from former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi, founder and CEO of the Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF), blasted Blume back in August. Avivi, a former commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division, told the Post, “to accuse Wingate of war crimes is a reprehensible attempt to rewrite history and blemish the exceptional legacy of a British officer. This attempt should be squarely rejected. The IDSF will continue to advocate exactly the type of military strategy that Wingate embodied: initiative, creativity and a firm belief in the justness of our cause.”
The IDF also rebuked Blume for his anti-Wingate comment. Fox News Digital reported that when asked about Blume’s attacks on Wingate, IDF spokesman Lt.-Col. Richard Hecht said, “Orde Wingate’s spirit and disruptive thinking were an inspiration to the founding fathers of the IDF, and he is deeply admired until today.”
There is ongoing litigation against Blume "because of defamatory remarks,” said Steinhöfel. Blume used his government account to promote the defunding of the highly popular pro-Israel website “The Axis of Good” (Die Achse des Guten) in Germany, say critics. The Wiesenthal Center accused Blume of stoking Jew hatred on his private and government Twitter accounts.