The Old Continent has already written about the German documentary “Chosen and excluded; Hatred of Jews in Europe”. As we reported then, the two broadcasting companies who had commissioned the documentary, WDR and Arte, refused to air it, although they had paid for it.
Following criticism of their decision, and the subsequent broadcast by BILD on its website, which lead to the documentary showing up online, ARD has rescinded its decision. Although the documentary is now available online, it is defaced by additional WDR commentary, and a dedicated website has been commissioned to point out the perceived flaws in the documentary.
After it was first broadcasted on German television, it was discussed. Seeing how one of the criticisms levelled at the documentary, both through text added to the film itself and on the website, was the accusation of a lack of journalistic integrity, one would assume that the makers were invited to defend themselves. This was not the case. Indeed, the authors were not informed of who would be there to discuss it, nor of the critique on their film. Reacting to the airing of his documentary, one of the makers, Joachim Schroeder, said in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine:
“It is good and overdue [meaning the showing of the documentary]. A success for us, the film and the concern it discusses. But I am informed that the WDR is trying to turn the broadcast into a show tribunal. WDR wants to broadcast a version of the film with comments. The Maischberger-Runde [the discussion afterward] does not disclose its guest list. We are only aware Michael Wolffsohn is invited.“
When asked, if either the WDR or Arte had contacted him with regards to their decision to broadcast the film, Schroeder said:
“Neither the WDR nor Arte have spoken to us in the last six months. Despite this, the WDR has been spreading rumours about defects to the film for the last two weeks. We were asked to answer a catalogue of fifteen questions from the WDR about the film, sent to us last week, within three days. We received no communication with regards to it. I am debating, to publish the catalogue with our answers. We have nothing to hide.“
After the broadcasting, Schroeder did an interview with website Die Achse des Guten (Axis of Good), who have put the interview on YouTube.
The presenter makes the statement, while introducing the subject, that
“Anyone who makes a film about andti-semitism for a German public broadcaster nowadays, should do so “with an open mind”. Apparently, one should also draw attention to arguments in favour of anti-semitism. Not so long ago, this would have been as absurd as demanding a morally neutral evaluation of national socialism. However, taking position against anti-semitism and anti-semites could land you in a lot of trouble in Germany today. “
During the interview, Schroeder says that he feels Arte would have liked the documentary to focus on ‘right-wing’ anti-semitism, neo-Nazi’s and Auschwitz. Such an approach, he feels, would not have disturbed anybody. He aimed, however, at exposing the
“left-wing anti-semitism that has become mainstream and Muslim anti-semitism which is seeping into the mainstream.“
Schroeder vehemently protests the fact that there is no place for his opinions to be heard on a public broadcasting network. Special attention is given to the criticism he has received for his portrayal of Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas, currently in the 12th year of his 4 year term as Palestinian president, is quoted from a speech he gave at the European Parliament in 2016:
“I’d also like to say that certain rabi’s in Israel have said very clearly, and they have said it very clearly to their government, that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed. That is provocation, that is an incitation to commit a crime and we are against this sort of call for violence, this kind of incitation.“
The WDR took exception to the comment on the quote was placed. This commentary places it in the context of the centuries old anti-semitic lie that the Jews poison wells. The WDR now defend Abbas by saying that he did not use the word well, does not say that the
The WDR now defend Abbas by saying that he did not use the word well, does not say that the rabbi’s are “planning” to poison the water and that the quote does not speak of ‘stealing land’. The WDR says that:
“from this interpretation is derived that the speech of Abbas is part of a tradition, that has accused the Jews since the the Middle Ages of poisoning wells in order to ‘expropriate, expel and assasinate them’. Abbas in his speech, from which the commentary wants to isolate certain citations, also speaks of the goal of a peaceful coexistene of the two states of Israel and Palestine.“
Anyone who listens to the speech, will hear Abbas loudly condemning Israel for a considerable length of time. The link with the Medieval well-libel was made by others, like the New York Times, not just by the documentary’s makers. Still, it is hard to see how a lie that amounts to an accusation of genocide would be excused by talking about peace. Why would the WRD try and defend something so indefensible?