Journalist suspended from hosting TV show for participating in antisemitic demonstrations

Nemi El-Hassan would have hosted the scientific TV show of WDR from November, but the German television channel withdrew from the plan.

Nemi El-Hassan was supposed to host Quarks, the science program of the German television channel WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), from November, but she was removed from the position. The 28-year-old physician-journalist, daughter of Lebanese parents, admitted that she participated in the Al-Quds March in Berlin a few years ago.

WDR promised a careful examination of the circumstances, claiming that „the allegations against her are grave. But it is also difficult to deny a young journalist professional development.” According to the public broadcasting institution, El-Hassan informed them about her 2014 participation in the notorious, Iran-funded Al-Quds march and other demonstrations. Still, she publicly distanced herself from it and took a firm position against antisemitism or any form of hateful behaviour.

„WDR does not tolerate any form of antisemitism and condemns the Al-Quds marches and the positions that are represented there,” the corporation said in a statement.

Nemi El-Hassan declared that she regrets her past actions and is ashamed of participating in such demonstrations. She emphasised that she did not yell antisemitic phrases at the demonstration and did not physically attack anyone Jewish. She claimed not to be aware that Iran organised these demonstrations. „I don’t hate Israel,she said. She merely wished to express solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the face of an Israeli offensive.

However, in another interview, the journalist contradicted herself, declaring, „In my memory, I believed for a long time that I only shouted things like’ Free Gaza. Now that I am reflecting on this time of my life, I cannot rule out having said things that are anti-Zionist and serve hostility to Israel.”

For years, the Al-Quds March has been taking place in Berlin, where the demonstrators shout antisemitic phrases and sometimes even „Sieg Heil” (meaning „Hail Victory”, a victory salute used originally by Nazis at political rallies), also showing the symbols of the Iran-supporter Lebanese terrorist organisation Hezbollah, despite the fact that the activity of the organisation was banned from Germany by Federal Minister of Inferior Horst Seehofer.

Nevertheless, Elio Adler, chairman of the German Jewish organisation ValuesInitiative noted that El-Hassan had already attracted attention with her lack of distance from Islamists. For example, the Hamburg intelligence also surveilled her annual trips to the „Blue Mosque” in Hamburg, a known Islamist centre. What is more, it turned out that El-Hassan also published a series of extremist posts on her social media platforms.

Nonetheless, hundreds of intellectuals and scientists – several of them Jews – jointly called upon the WDR in an open letter to continue employing the journalist. They believe that Nemi El-Hassan became „a target of hatred and agitation because of her Palestinian origin and Muslim identity.” They also criticised that the journalist is always pictured in a hijab, while she hasn’t been wearing it for a long time. Aras-Nathan Keul, one of the board members of the Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft (German-Israeli Society), labelled the open letter „the abatement of antisemitism.”