German Antisemitism Tsar Endorses Probe into Diplomatic Representative to Palestinians Over Anti-Jewish Tweets
Pressure has continued to pile on Christian Clages, Germany’s official diplomatic representative to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, after an investigation by the newspaper Bild last week revealed that several antisemitic and anti-Zionist posts on Twitter had received “likes” from his verified account.
The German Foreign Office immediately launched a probe into the tweets, with some German parliamentarians and government officials expressing shock at the revelation that Clages’ account had, among other offenses, liked a tweet posted by the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke condemning “Jewish supremacists.”
Among those who voiced support for the probe into Clages was Felix Klein, Germany’s federal commissioner tasked with combating antisemitism, who described the scandal as fundamentally a question of “trust.”
“If German interests are to be effectively represented, it is necessary that the representative in Ramallah has good relations not only with Palestinians in the West Bank, but with Israelis too,” Klein added.
A spokesperson from Germany’s Foreign Ministry told Bild that it distanced itself “emphatically” from the tweets that had been approved from Clages account, describing them as an “unacceptable” deviation from German government policy that “will not be tolerated.”
The 64-year-old Clages has worked for the German diplomatic service since 1985, and has previously served as Germany’s ambassador to Rwanda, Senegal and Lebanon.
One of the goals of the Foreign Ministry probe is to establish whether it was Clages himself who liked the tweets, or whether there was unauthorized access to the account, @GerRepRamallah. According to the magazine Spiegel, more than one person in the Ramallah office had access to the account. Clages has meanwhile distanced himself from the tweets.
The tweets liked included a rant by Duke on April 10, in which the American neo-Nazi leader tweeted a lie popular on the far right and the extreme left: “On this day 71 years ago, Jewish supremacists invaded the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, where they slaughtered men, women and children. Innocent Palestinians were mutilated, raped and paraded through Jewish neighborhoods before being summarily executed.”
Other tweets liked by the German diplomat included one by an activist asking “when will Israel occupy the moon?” — a possible reference to Israel’s recent “Beresheet” moon mission — while another claimed falsely that the Jewish state only “respects its own religious holidays.”