Second France24 journalist fired after antisemitic tweets revealed

A number of journalists from France's national broadcaster found themselves in hot water after antisemitism expose, now two have been fired

 france 24 arabic (photo credit: REUTERS)
france 24 arabic
(photo credit: REUTERS)

France24 journalist Dina Abi-Saab was the second to be fired of four journalists who were revealed to have written antisemitic tweets, a French parliamentary session revealed on July 18th.

The tweets were revealed by The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), an organization that investigates and brings to light instances of anti-Israel bias in world media. The expose was originally published in March and revealed the names and social media profiles of the four journalists.

In March, France24 dismissed their Beirut correspondent Joelle Maroun, after the expose uncovered an extensive list of tweets by Maroun ranging from praising Hitler to calling on Palestinians to murder Jews in a now-deleted tweet.

Abi-Saab, who is of Lebanese descent and serves as France24’s Geneva correspondent, was revealed to have made a litany of controversial and antisemitic posts on Twitter. In 2017, she shared an article about a letter King Charles III allegedly wrote saying that “the influx of Western Jews to ‘Palestine’ is the cause of the conflicts in the Middle East”.

But articles claiming that Jews are the root of the Middle East's ills are not the only antisemitic content she spread on Twitter. In what CAMERA terms “France24’s hate-on-Israel club”, Abi-Saab used the platform in 2019 to refer to Omar Abu Laila, a terrorist killed in a shootout with soldiers after murdering a soldier and a civilian, as a ‘martyr’.

In other tweets, Abi-Saab celebrated rockets being fired at Israel from Gaza and referred to Israel as "occupied Palestine."

French Union of Democrats and Independents deputy Meyer Habib delivers a speech during a debate on Palestine status (credit: REUTERS)
French Union of Democrats and Independents deputy Meyer Habib delivers a speech during a debate on Palestine status (credit: REUTERS)

Given all of the above, CAMERA was quick to note that, being a state-sponsored news site, France24 pays its employees' salaries with French taxpayer money. All of the statements exposed by CAMERA were made on the employees’ publicly available Twitter accounts and had been ongoing for several years.

Working with CAMERA, the French parliamentarian Meyer Habib brought the issue up in a session of the French assembly last week and asked the French government why it continues to pay the salaries of journalists who not only hold such views but openly express them. The news of Abi-Saab’s termination marks a significant victory for the organization. 

Third and Fourth journalists keep their job

The third journalist, Sharif Bibi, has retracted and publicly apologized for his remark saying “We will eradicate you, Israel” and still remains in his position. CAMERA has stated it accepts these measures as sufficient.

“Although his posts reflect almost the same levels of toxicity and misinformation, they are fewer and further apart,” the organization wrote.

Laila Odeh is the fourth. Odeh had referred to a terrorist's death as an "ascension to heaven," just three weeks after taking seminars in “the difference between journalism and activism,” CAMERA said. "We’re doubtful that someone like Odeh can be reformed by signing ethics charters or attending sensitivity training."