Journalist critical of German leaders wants to be one


BERLIN (JTA) — A Jewish journalist who has subjected German Jewish leaders to tough criticism says he wants to run the leadership of Germany’s Jewish community. 

Henryk Broder, who writes for Der Spiegel magazine and has authored several books, said this week that he will "throw his kipah in the ring" to become the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany in the 2010 elections.

Reactions to the announcement from Jewish leaders in Berlin have ranged from laughter to applause. Many of them have been subjected to Broder’s critiques over the years.

The Central Council called the announcement an "amusing fantasy." Its president, Charlotte Knobloch, told reporters last week that Broder has no experience as a Jewish community leader and doesn’t belong in the race.

Broder, 63, who has called Knobloch "Tante Charly," has said that today’s Jewish leaders have failed to focus on issues of current importance instead becoming mired in the past.

In recent years he has focused increasingly on issues of anti-Semitism in Germany, Islamic extremism and the threat from Iran against Israel.

In January, a German court ruled that Broder could describe anti-Israel statements by the daughter of a former Central Council leader as anti-Semitic after Evelyn Hecht-Galinski sued him over a letter he wrote to a local radio station and published on a Web site.

And when Felicia Langer, who is Jewish, received Germany’s top award for her humanitarian work, Broder noted that she was a vehement critic of Israel — emphasizing what he described as Langer’s anti-Semitic, one-sided attacks on the Jewish state — and suggested that German President Horst Koehler should have known about this before approving
the award.

Broder was born in Poland and moved to Germany with his family in 1958.  

The Central Council officially represents the 105,000 Jews who are registered members of German Jewish communities. It is estimated that another 100,000 German Jews are unaffiliated.

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