(JTA) — The French-German channel Arte is facing criticism for deciding not to broadcast a documentary called “Chosen and Excluded — Jew Hatred in Europe.”
Arte’s head of programming Alain le Diberder wrote a letter to the Central Council of Jews in Germany on Thursday defending the network’s decision, according to Deutsche Welle.
Diberder said that the documentary was supposed to focus on rising anti-Semitism in countries such as Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Hungary and Greece. Arte, which is jointly owned by France and Germany’s public broadcasting agencies, claims that the film instead “concentrates primarily on the Middle East.”
The film’s director Joachim Schroeder told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Arte failed to recognize that “modern anti-Semitism is anti-Zionism.”
“You can’t make a film on anti-Semitism [on European television] without saying every three minutes that the Palestinians are the victims of Israelis,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder told the Post that he “delivered” by covering anti-Semitism in Germany and France in the film.
The Post quoted multiple experts on anti-Semitism, such as Götz Aly and Ahmed Mansour, who expressed concern over Arte’s decision. Central Council of German Jews President Josef Schuster asked the channel to reconsider airing the documentary and wondered why formalistic considerations derailed the showing.
The French newspaper Le Monde ran a headline on the controversy with the headline “ARTE, a hint of the censor.”
“This … was a necessary procedural decision taken to ensure editorial responsibility and quality,” Diberder said in his statement.