After allegations of anti-Semitism: Deutsche Welle separates from employees

Status: 07.02.2022 8:05 p.m

An external investigation into Deutsche Welle’s Arabic department ran for weeks. The allegation against some employees in the room: anti-Semitism. The broadcaster is now drawing the first conclusions.

Following allegations of anti-Semitism against employees of Deutsche Welle (DW), the German international broadcaster has initiated separation proceedings in five cases. That’s what DW director Peter Limbourg said in a press conference. No information was given about the individual employees.

The broadcaster also wants to set a definition of anti-Semitism and make it mandatory internally. This includes the recognition of Israel’s right to exist and the rejection of denial and trivialization of the Holocaust.

No structural antisemitism identified

In the past few weeks, an external investigation initiated by the broadcaster has been underway against some employees of the Arabic editorial team and freelance DW employees abroad. It was a result of allegations of anti-Semitism that became public through a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung at the end of November. More press reports followed. The employees were released for the time of the audit.

Former Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and the psychologist Ahmad Mansour presented the results of their external examination. They emphasized that it was a case of isolated misconduct. A structural anti-Semitism in the Arabic editorial team was not found.

In addition to the five separation procedures, Deutsche Welle is investigating eleven other suspected cases, as Limbourg explained. In addition to eight suspected cases that arose from the test, three other cases were discovered in the course of DW’s own investigations in the past few weeks. One of these three people is no longer employed by DW.

Director: “I’m really sorry”

At the beginning of his remarks, Limbourg emphasized: “I and the management are sincerely sorry that we are in this situation. The mere suspicion that there is anti-Semitism in a German tax-financed institution must be unbearable for Jews in this country and worldwide.” He spoke of omissions and mistakes.

Central Council calls for rapid implementation

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, commented on the results of the test at Deutsche Welle: “The broadcaster should now quickly implement the experts’ recommendations. In three months, Deutsche Welle should present an initial report about the measures taken,” he said.

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) also underlined the special role of Deutsche Welle: “Deutsche Welle has to respect and protect human dignity in its broadcasts.” The central task of the directorship and management is now to propose structural measures for sales, program, academy and human resources management, she explained.

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