German documentary equates Israeli anti-Arab prejudice with Palestinian incitement to kill

A German TV documentary has come under fire for equating Israeli anti-Arab prejudice with Palestinian incitement to kill Israelis.

The documentary, which aired on broadcaster Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen’s “Heute,” or “Today,” show on July 5, was originally called “Educated to hate? How Israeli and Palestinian children are taught to mutually despise each other – and to kill.”

Under pressure from critics, ZDF – one of Germany’s most popular broadcasters –  changed the program title, removing “to kill” – because in fact there was no evidence that Israeli children were being taught to kill.

Observers were quick to point out that, while the documentary showed plenty of examples of Palestinian children being taught by Hamas to hate and kill Israelis, imitating the motion of stabbing and playing war, there were no examples of Israeli children being taught anything
similar about Palestinians.

There were, however, examples of stereotypical images of Arabs on camels in some Israeli schoolbooks.

In a tweet, Green Party politician Volker Beck asked ZDF whether the broadcaster was driven by a misguided wish to be “evenhanded.”

German blogger Gerd Buurmann called the documentary “one of the worst defamations of Jews in modern German history.”

“[T]he report did show Arab school children with knives in their hands, learning to hate Jews and how to kill them. In regard to Israel, the only ‘evidence’  the documentary could produce was a textbook in which a ‘racist’ drawing depicted a Bedouin riding a camel as many do today,” Buurmann wrote.

The Bild, Germany’s most-read newspaper, called the parallel “tasteless” in a commentary on July 8.

A ZDF spokesperson told Bild that editors had changed the title because, “in contrast to the fair report itself, [the title] had been inappropriately edited and could therefore lead to misunderstandings.”

The broadcaster said it “greatly regretted” any possible hurt feelings.

Probe launched into Safed rabbi’s anti-Arab comments

Israel’s attorney general has opened a criminal investigation on suspicion of incitement to racism against the chief rabbi of Safed.

The probe of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who signed a religious ruling against renting apartments to non-Jews, stems from anti-Arab comments he made several months ago during media interviews, according to reports. Numerous complaints have been lodged with the attorney general’s office over the comments.

Eliyahu reportedly said that “Arab culture is very cruel” and “Arabs have a different codes and norms that have become ideology. Such as the agricultural thefts, which have become part of Arab ideology.” Also, “A Jew should not run away from an Arab. A Jew should chase away Arabs,” and “Expelling Arabs from Jewish neighborhoods is part of the strategy.”

Eliyahu signed a rabbinic letter in October 2010 calling on Jews not to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews. It is believed that the letter, which was signed by 50 rabbis, was directed against Arab college students in Safed.

Find distributors of anti-Arab leaflets, Safed police ordered

The Israeli prosecutor’s office has ordered Safed police to investigate anti-Arab leaflets that were distributed throughout the city.

The prosecutor’s office on Sunday ordered the arrest of the fliers’ distributors, who likely would be charged with incitement to racism and insulting a public figure, Ynet reported.

The fliers criticized Mayor Ilan Shohat , saying that his support for the establishment of a medical school in Safed would bring more secular and Arab students to the city. More than half of the student body at the Academic College in Safed are Arab, according to Haaretz.

Last month, a group of rabbis that included the chief rabbi of Safed signed a letter calling on Jews in the northern Israel city not to rent apartments to Arabs or non-Jews saying it would bring down property values.