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German employee defends against accusations

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A German federal employee accused of anti-Semitic writings defended himself against the charges.

Ludwig Watzal, an employee of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, in a 2004 article titled “An Israelization of the World?” wrote, “If the U.S.A. further Israelizes its domestic and foreign policy, conflicts a la Palestine will become globalized.”

In an e-mail to JTA, Watzal objected to the interpretation that “conflicts a la Palestine” could be a justified response to U.S. policies. He said the “content of this article does neither imply such an impertinent interpretation nor did I ever justify in my writings any use of force or terror in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for political ends or as a means for a solution of the conflict. I have ever condemned any violence and I do abhor the use of force in principal. My solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was and has been the implementation of international law.”

Germany’s Jewish leaders have asked the interior minister to intervene in the Watzal affair.

A letter to Germany’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble from the Jewish Community of Berlin and the Coordinating Council of German Non-Governmental Organizations Against Anti-Semitism said Watzal has “crossed the boundary” of anti-Semitism with his statements on Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban. Schaeuble has promised to respond to the Jewish community this month

The Anti-Defamation League in a letter to Watzal’s boss, Thomas Kruger, said Watzal’s comments are anti-Semitic according to the definition published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. According to that definition, anti-Semitism “could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”

One member of parliament, Gert Weisskirchen, agreed with the critics, saying that some of Watzal’s comments “cross the line.”

 

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