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September 29, 2022 2:34 pm

Israeli-Arab Psychologist Ahmad Mansour Calls for Renewed Effort in Fight Against Antisemitism

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Israeli-Arab psychologist Ahmad Mansour. Photo: Wikimedia

The Israeli-Arab psychologist who led an inquiry into accusations of antisemitism at the Arabic language service of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) has urged the country’s politicians to step up the fight against rising anti-Jewish bigotry.

“I  am often dissatisfied with the culture of debate in Germany and would like to see more engagement from politicians and society against extremism and antisemitism,” Ahmad Mansour told the news outlet Deutschland in an extensive interview on Wednesday.

Born in the Israeli-Arab town of Tira, the 46-year-old Mansour moved to Germany as a student in 2004, where he became involved in initiatives to counter extremism among Turkish and Arab youths.

“One night in 2007 I saw a TV report about honor killings in Germany. For me it was absolutely surprising; I thought something like that only existed in the Middle East,” Mansour told the German paper. “That same night I wrote an e-mail to the integration officer in the Berlin district of Neukölln – many families of Turkish and Arabic origin live there. I offered my help, he referred me to a school education project that was urgently looking for staff. That’s how it all started.”

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Earlier this year, Mansour led an investigation into claims of antisemitism at the Arabic language service of DW, Germany’s state-funded national broadcaster. “The statements we have criticized are not legitimate criticism of Israel,” Mansour said at the probe’s conclusion, adding that he “would like to see a discussion begin now about where criticism of Israel ends and antisemitism begins; the Arab world urgently needs this debate.”

In his interview on Wednesday, Mansour said that the German government’s decision earlier this year to award him with the Federal Cross of Merit had bolstered his desire to remain in the country.

“I  have already been sharply criticized in the German public for some of my positions on religious extremism, so it was a great pleasure to receive this recognition,” he reflected. “It gives my own feelings of integration an incredible boost and encourages me in what I am doing here in Germany.”

Mansour credited the education he had received at Tel Aviv University in Israel for cementing his views against religious extremism.

“What I experienced back then at the university in Tel Aviv was great: critical thinking was encouraged among us students, we learned to debate and argue objectively,” he recalled. “And for the first time I read books that shook the world view I had at the time. This kind of education definitely works against radicalization.”

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