Wiesenthal Centre Open Letter to France24: Shocked at Antisemitism of Arabic Channel Correspondents
March 7, 2023
Paris - In an open letter to France24 Director, Vanessa Burggraf, Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, highlighted a report by CAMERA Arabic on France24 Middle East correspondents.
After having repeatedly documented the biased terminology used by several of these correspondents in covering Israeli-Arab relations, the report investigated their social media footprint over the past decade, revealing cases of open admiration for Hitler, banalization of the Holocaust, glorification of terrorists and justification of violence against Jews... Some quotes:
Joelle Maroun, Lebanese correspondent for France24:
“Rise, sir Hitler, rise, there are a few people that need to be burned.”
“If only Hitler was Lebanese... He should have been cloned for a time of need.”
“It is upon every Palestinian to kill one Jew and the case is closed.”
“I hate you, you Jew.”
Speaking of a US peace proposal, she lamented “the tyranny of the Jew and his filth.”
She also praised the “martyr” Samir Quntar, a Hezbollah terrorist responsible, inter alia, for the brutal kidnapping and murder of a 4-year old Jewish girl.
Laila Odeh, Jerusalem correspondent for France24:
She consistently glorifies terrorists, banalizing the targeted victims, for example:
“Death of one of the settlers in the stabbing operation... carried out by a Palestinian who was martyred after getting shot.”
“Martyrdom of seven Palestinians in Gaza... death of an Israeli settler in Ashkelon.”
Likewise, referring to Hamas-PIJ terrorist Muhammad Asi, who bombed a Tel Aviv bus in November 2012, she stated that he “ascended to the highest heavens.”
Examples of her distorted view of history:
“The UK will never apologize due to [the fact that] the Jew for whom Balfour had felt sorrow because of the Holocaust is not the Jew that settled the lands of historical Palestine north to south, with no one strong enough to take him out.”
“Israel dumps the complex of its Holocaust on the Palestinians, it despises Hitler while having become a version of him.”
These correspondents are joined by Dina Abi Saab, who from Geneva regularly spouts similar hatred and celebrates Hamas rockets on Israel, and Sharif Bibi from Lebanon, who is quoted: “...we shall eradicate you, Israel, from your [very] roots.”
CAMERA laments that “these journalists demonstrated consistent hatred and ignorance over several years, even as their professional obligations called on them to cover Israeli- and Jewish-related affairs.”
The Wiesenthal Centre recalls that there has been a long and complicated history of creeping antisemitism in the French media: since the 1886 article in Le Figaro that launched the bestselling pamphlet “La France Juive” by Edouard Drumont, edited at least 200 times during the divisive Dreyfus affair. As an instrument of the bigoted far-right, it became fashionable again in 1938 and during WW2. It was further published by antisemitic outlets in 1986 and more recently in 2012 by Dieudonné’s friend Alain Soral, who repeatedly spews hateful stereotypes against the Jews.
During the 1930’s, the weekly “Je Suis Partout" (I Am Everywhere), was the mouthpiece of conservative nationalism, gaining ever more success as the “official” collaborationist and antisemitic media during the Nazi occupation of France until 1944. Not surprisingly, the name was rehashed for an outrageous 2021 antisemitic screed online, promptly banned from French Internet outlets following our Centre’s protest.
Though open Jew-hatred is frowned upon and sometimes sanctioned in France, biased media reporting on Israel is frequent, by some even considered to be a form of appeasement of a Muslim minority, which is purportedly sold to the Palestinian cause.
There have been cases recently of creeping Jew hatred, for example, Le Monde’s questioning a “sephardi trait of dual allegiance” in French Jewish Member of Parliament, Meyer Habib.
Franco-Arabic media has generally espoused antisemitic tropes as mainstream, especially in countries that have, over the past 75 years, waged war against Israel... Most Arab journalists were raised among nationalist élites where Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” or “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are bestsellers, as reported at book fairs by our Centre.
See latest: https://www.wiesenthal-europe.com/en/news-releases-2023/996-antisemitism-goes-viral-in-cairo-book-fair
“Though it is not surprising that Arabic-speaking correspondents of France24 be biased when reporting on Israel, it is the news broadcasting company’s responsibility to vet its collaborators’ reports - as well as their social media footprint - to avoid being associated with blatant outbursts of Jew hatred, calling for violence, glorification of Nazism or of terrorism... We urge you Madame Burggraf, as Director of the channel, to take necessary measures. We are also bringing this situation to the attention of France Médias Monde and the CSA (Superior Audiovisual Council),” concluded Samuels.
For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at email@example.com, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).