German paper compares Netanyahu to Nazi film ‘The Eternal Jew’
“What’s going on in a German editorial office that plays the title of its editorial with antisemitic Nazi language?”
The lead article Thursday on the opinion page of the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the 1940 Nazi antisemitic movie The Eternal Jew.
The article was titled in the paper “The Eternal Netanyahu” in a word play in connection with director Fritz Hippler’s antisemitic pseudo-documentary, based on the medieval legend of the wandering Jew, that served as a cinematographic justification for the Holocaust.
The anti-Netanyahu headline lit up German Twitter, with accusations of antisemitism directed at the left-leaning paper that is read by many social democrat voters.
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“Unbelievable,” wrote Ulf Poschardt, the editor-in-chief of the daily Die Welt on Twitter, with a hashtag next to antisemitism.
Adolf Hitler’s minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels organized the production of the film The Eternal Jew, widely-considered to be the most violent anti-Jewish film ever made.
Filipp Piatov a journalist with Germany’s top-selling daily Bild, asked on Twitter: “What’s going on in a German editorial office that plays the title of its editorial with antisemitic Nazi language?”
After intense protests on Twitter, the Frankfurter Rundschau issued a statement that “The first version of the title of our editorial on Israel’s election results provoked a controversy – and rightly so. We wanted to point to the term of office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – and we did not consider that the Nazis in 1940 with the antisemitic propaganda film ‘The Eternal Jew’ agitated against Jews.”
The paper wrote: “The FR apologizes for the historical amnesia.”
The print edition headline reads: “The Eternal Netanyahu.”
The initial online article read “The Eternal Bibi” and was changed to: “The Eternal Netanyahu.” The online headline now reads “The irreplaceable Netanyahu.”
Post queries to the Rundschau editorial office were not immediately returned. It is unclear who wrote the headline and whether the journalist was disciplined. The commentary was written by Inge Günther.
Alex Feuerherdt, a journalist who has written extensively on German antisemitism, blasted the Frankfurter Rundschau on Twitter for its explanation: “It should not be ‘especially difficult’ to use words that are not contaminated with antisemitism. That should be expected from a national newspaper.”
The Rundschau wrote in its apology it is “especially difficult” to find words that are not associated with antisemitism.
Feuerherdt wrote on Twitter that the headline and apology only “show how deeply antisemitic thought is situated.”