A gag order banning a German-Jewish journalist from calling a critic of Israel anti-Semitic was withdrawn.
In a split decision handed down Wednesday, a Cologne district court said Henryk Broder may call statements by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski anti-Semitic if he provides an explanation for his charge. Broder also may not repeat the specific statement that started the trouble.
The case called attention again to the thorny issue of where criticism of Israel crosses the line to anti-Semitism. Several recent cases in Germany have brought the issue to the fore, but this one pitted two Jews against one another.
Broder’s attorney, Nathan Gelbart, told JTA he considered the decision a “win.”
“The court also stated that because of the kinds of statements that Ms. Hecht-Galinski makes in public, she has to accept that other people consider these statements as anti-Semitic,” Gelbart added. Broder reserves the right to contest the limitations further, the attorney said.
Hecht-Galinski – whose father, Heinz Galinski, headed the Central Council of Jews in Germany until he died in 1992 – has suggested that the Central Council is a mouthpiece for the State of Israel. She has complained about what she calls a “Jewish-Israel lobby” with a “worldwide network” trying to control criticism of the Jewish state, and defended those who have compared Israel’s security fence to the Warsaw ghetto.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Hecht-Galinski said she was “very pleased with this decision.” She said it allowed her to fight future attempts at what she considers character assassination.
Hecht-Galinski told JTA recently that it was “not the anti-Zionist part [of Broder’s statement] to which I object, but the [charge of] anti-Semitism.”
Jewish leaders in Germany and Austria had backed Broder.