BERLIN (JTA) — A German TV documentary has come under fire for equating Israeli anti-Arab prejudice with Palestinian incitement to kill Israelis.
The documentary, which aired July 5 on the public-service broadcaster ZDF’s “Heute,” or “Today” show, 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 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.