Germany disciplines diplomats over anti-Israel social media activity
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Germany disciplines diplomats over anti-Israel social media activity

Country’s representative office in Ramallah liked tweets attacking the IDF and Yad Vashem

Christian Clages, head of the German mission to the Palestinian territories. in a video shot in Ramallah. (Screen capture, ramallah.diplo.de)
Christian Clages, head of the German mission to the Palestinian territories. in a video shot in Ramallah. (Screen capture, ramallah.diplo.de)

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said it has instituted new social media guidelines and disciplined personnel after anti-Israel tweets were “liked” by the official Twitter account of the German mission to the Palestinian territories.

The ministry said Tuesday that 10 people had access to the @GerRepRamallah account and it wasn’t clear who clicked the “likes.” It said the account wasn’t secured against unauthorized users.

According to a report in the German tabloid Bild, one of the liked tweets included a video of an attack on IDF servicemen while another compared the work of Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem to the revisionist historical narratives promoted in “totalitarian states.”

The ministry said that the head of Germany’s office in Ramallah, Christian Clages, and others were disciplined. The social media guidance sent to all diplomatic posts clarified “that even ‘likes’ are understood as expressions of opinion of the German government” and now require the approval of two people.

A protester holds a sign reading ‘Solidarity with Israel’ to protest against a march marking Quds Day in Berlin on June 1, 2019 (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)

The ministry added that it “publicly made it clear the contents of the tweets concerned are unacceptable, contradict the attitude of the German government, and are not tolerated.”

In a separate statement on Twitter, the German mission to the Palestinian territories walked back its prior social media interactions, announcing that it “repudiate[ed] such messages in the strongest terms.”

“We sincerely apologize for the misconduct carried out via this account,” the statement read, clarifying that the tweets in question did “not reflect in any way the position of the German Representative Office nor the German government.”

Anti-Semitism “has no place in the German diplomatic service.”

Bild also reported that Clages had recently met with representatives of Palestinian NGO Al-Haq, which supports the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel. In May, the German parliament approved a resolution denouncing the movement, describing its methods as anti-Semitic and reminiscent of Nazi-era calls to boycott Jews.

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