Deutsche Welle Arabic Host ‘Respects’ Guest’s Bigoted Boycott of Israeli Co-Panelist

Deutsche Welle’s host Youcef Boufidjeline has taken a page out of the book of  BBC Arabic presenter Mohamed Seif Alnasr, who earlier this year said on air he “respects” the position of a guest who abruptly departed a broadcast vowing never to appear alongside an Israeli in the same live panel.

“I’m sorry to ruin your program. It’s my policy not to appear with Israeli guests. I apologize to you, to your honorable channel and to the program. I apologize to you for leaving the program… I’m sorry to ruin your program,” said Jordanian MP Omar Ayasra on Deutsche Welle’s March 4 evening magazine (al-Masa’iyyah) broadcast.

“No problem, no problem,” Deutsche Welle’s Boufidjeline said in response. “Mr. Aywasra, we as well respect this position.” (All translations by CAMERA Arabic.)

Boufidjeline’s understanding of Aywasra’s bigotry is inconsistent with Deutsche Welle’s very own code of conduct, which states:

Open-minded, globally and regionally networked, we are in dialogue with people all over the world. … We promote constructive exchange and treat all people with respect — always and everywhere.

Further on, the code of conduct reiterates: “We respect every person regardless of their ethnic origin, gender, religion or disability, age or sexual identity.”

Furthermore, as Germany’s public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle is required to ensure that all of its news output, regardless of its language, complies with the standards set by the German legislature’s Deutsche Welle Act. (2004), which states:

The offerings of Deutsche Welle […] should provide a forum […] for German (and other) points of view on important topics, primarily in the areas of politics, culture, and economics, with the aim of promoting understanding and the exchange of ideas among different cultures and peoples. (Goals, Chapter 1.2, section 4; p.6)

The programmes of Deutsche Welle shall respect and safeguard human dignity. The stipulations of general law […] shall be observed, as shall the right of personal honour.

The programmes must enable the public to form independent opinions, and must not one-sidedly support a party or other political association, a religious community, a profession or community of interest. The moral, religious and ideological convictions of radio and television consumers shall be respected.

Reporting shall be comprehensive, truthful and factual and shall be done in the awareness that Deutsche Welle programmes affect the relationship of the Federal Republic of Germany with other countries.” (Basic principles of the programmes, Chapter 1.2, section 5; p.8, emphases added)

In 2019, the same German parliament famously passed a resolution condemning the international campaign to boycott Israel and Israelis. It was Deutsche Welle itself which then reported as follows: “A cross-party alliance in the German parliament on Friday passed a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and cutting off funding to any organizations that ‘actively support’ the BDS movement.”

Shame on Deutsche Welle for allowing such farce in its Arabic-speaking department, in a way that subverts even the laws and resolutions of the parliament which conceived it.

For the Arabic version of this post, please see CAMERA Arabic.

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