Franco-German broadcasters have been accused of censorship after shelving a documentary film about European Jews facing persecution by Muslim migrants, saying it was not “balanced” and the topic was “very sensitive”.
Chosen and Excluded — The Hate for Jews in Europe highlights anti-Semitism on the continent and depicts the violence Jews experience from Muslim communities in cities such as Paris.
Filming took place in France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, and was hailed by German historian Michael Woffsohn as “the best, most intelligent and [most] historically profound film on this subject, which is sadly extremely topical”.
However, Franco-German broadcaster Arte and German public broadcaster WDR refused to broadcast the film, reports The Times.
Co-director Joachim Schroeder said senior broadcast figures told him the subject of anti-Semitism in Muslim migrant communities was “very sensitive”, and the documentary failed to offer a “multi-perspective” and “balanced” view of persecution faced by all ethnic communities.
“If I make a documentary about Auschwitz, must I also report on the suffering of the families of SS guards?” Schroeder said.
“It seems we hit the nail on the head and it was too much for the TV management,” Mr. Schroeder said of his film, with Götz Aly, another historian who watched the film, accusing the producers of “censorship”.
One part of the film, seen by The Times, shows Jewish teenagers from a Paris suburb contemplating leaving France to go to Israel and describes the frequent physical assaults the teens face.
“This is a Jewish quarter surrounded by banlieues [low-income housing projects]. We’re trapped here — when we go out we risk our lives,” said a Jewish schoolboy from Sarcelles.
“Everybody here wants to move,” said one. “Almost everyone from Sarcelles has moved to Netanya [in Israel]. If you go there it’s like Paris — there are only French [people] around.”
Sarcelles, a Paris district, saw violent attacks on Jews during pro-Palestinian riots in 2014. The socialist mayor François Pupponi, interviewed for the documentary, said pro-Palestinian groups had encouraged hatred of Israel.
“For a certain number of young people ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’ are one and the same so if you’re against Israel, you’re also against synagogues,” Mr. Pupponi said.
With anti-Semitism on the rise from Muslim migrant communities in Europe, notably in Germany which took in over a million migrants from the Middle East and Africa during the migrant crisis, and terror attacks which specifically target Jewish communities, the continent has seen large numbers of European Jewry making Aliyah (returning to Israel).
In 2016, 5,000 Jews left France in 2016; adding to the record the 7,900 who left in 2015 and 7,231 in 2014, in total, 40,000 French Jews have emigrated since 2006.