Deutsche Welle illegally fired Palestinian journalist, German court rules

A glass and wood object with words Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award engraved on it

German government broadcaster Deutsche Welle, which markets itself as a champion of free speech, illegally fired a Palestinian journalist after falsely accusing her of anti-Semitism. (via Facebook)

A court in Germany has declared that Deutsche Welle unlawfully fired a Palestinian journalist based on false accusations of anti-Semitism.

Maram Salem was among a group of Arab journalists fired by the government broadcaster following an official smear campaign accusing them of anti-Jewish bigotry because of comments or criticisms about Israel.

On Wednesday, the labor court in Bonn ruled Salem’s dismissal to be invalid.

“The Facebook posts she was accused of were not anti-Semitic and the termination was unlawful, the court stated during the hearing,” according to a statement provided by her lawyer Ahmed Abed.

Salem “explained that she has long been an advocate for women’s rights, human rights, animal rights and LGBTQ and the accusations hit her hard. She called on DW to take responsibility, publicly apologize and retract the allegations,” the statement adds.

The court threw out the anti-Semitism allegations of investigators Ahmad Mansour, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Beatrice Mansour, the statement says.

Ahmad Mansour, a Palestinian-German psychologist with close ties to the Israel lobby, and Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a former German justice minister, were commissioned by Deutsche Welle to investigate alleged anti-Semitism at the channel.

Mansour’s anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and pro-Israel views have made him a darling of German media and state-funded institutions.

In February, Deutsche Welle fired Salem along with several other journalists based on their report.

Deutsche Welle, which masquerades as a champion of free speech and a free press, had tried to portray Salem’s mention of “illegal Israeli occupation as anti-Semitic,” according to the statement from her lawyer.

“The verdict shows that the smear campaigns against Palestinian women like me or Nemi El-Hassan can no longer succeed,” Salem said. “It was clear from the beginning that I am innocent.”

El-Hassan is a German journalist of Palestinian ancestry who had her science show canceled by another broadcaster, Westdeutscher Rundfunk.

El-Hassan’s supposed transgression was “liking” Instagram posts on the account of Jewish Voice for Peace, a well-known US-based group that campaigns for Palestinian rights and opposes Zionism, Israel’s state ideology.

“The Bonn Labor Court has made it clear that the strong accusations of anti-Semitism against Maram are without any basis,” lawyer Abed said. “Deutsche Welle should now protectively stand in front of Maram instead of giving in to the agitation.”

The European Legal Support Center, a group that fights anti-Palestinian repression through litigation, hailed Salem’s win as the “first victory in the Deutsche Welle case.”

Farah Maraqa, a Palestinian-Jordanian journalist fired amid the anti-Arab witch hunt, is also suing Deutsche Welle. Her case is still pending.
Unconditional support for Israel is viewed by German elites as a form of atonement for the German government’s murder of millions of European Jews during World War II.

As a consequence, German institutions repress Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian rights using legal harassment, smears, censorship and violence.

Germany’s commitment to supporting Israel’s crimes against Palestinians is so unyielding that it permits Israel to kill German citizens, including children, with total impunity.

But in a hopeful sign that democracy and human rights may be possible in Germany, courts have been pushing back against anti-Palestinian repression.

In another recent defeat for official censorship, the city of Stuttgart acknowledged that it had illegally removed information about a local Palestine support group from its website.

The city has complied with a court ruling and reposted the information.

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Many thanks to Ali Abunimah for publicising Palestinian journalist Maram Salem's important legal victory against German government broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

The work of the European Legal Support Centre in pushing back hard against Israeli government inspired smears of 'anti-Semitism' levelled against Palestinians and their supporters in Europe with a view to silencing them, is perhaps the most positive development on European turf to date regarding the Palestinian struggle for justice against Israeli settler colonialism.

ELSC's impressive string of victories includes the UK, where earlier this year ELSC advocate Giovanni Fassina secured the reinstatement of Palestinian associate lecturer Shahd Abusalama following her suspension by Sheffield Hallam University UK on the back of a smear campaign orchestrated by Israel lobbyists and the UK's zionist Jewish Chronicle.

Those that resort to 'lawfare' are increasingly being paid back in kind.
Mike French.

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Europe's Jews were systematically murdered in their millions by the German state, by the German military, economic and political leadership, with the explicit or tacit collusion of virtually every institution in German society. For that, there can be no atonement. No expiation. With this harsh truth in mind, German handwringing over German crimes has become a nauseating spectacle for the ages, not least because it's used as a means of avoiding rather than accepting responsibility. The historical guilt which German elites brandish in our faces has been retooled as a qualification for smearing Palestinians and their defenders. At the same time, assuming the authority to judge the world precisely due to one's own record of wickedness evokes a diabolical cynicism. In this, I'm reminded of the films and plays of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and always of Bertold Brecht's estimation of the German bourgeoisie.

As for Deutsche Welle, whose management clearly dwell at the bottom of a very dirty information stream, this court-ordered vindication of Maram Salem's right to her job and good name is highly significant. The other employees purged from Deutsche Welle must also be returned to their former positions or compensated. The fact that German courts are now prepared to upheld democratic principles must be taken as an encouraging sign. As well, the decision restoring Stuttgart's Palestine Committee to the communal website is another indication that progress is being made through legal channels. So long as that's the case, advocacy for Palestinian rights will continue to make gains in Germany. There must be a great many people of good will there who are fed up with their country's war guilt being weaponised against a people who in the historical frame of reference most closely resemble Germany's past victims.

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