Discover more from Blind spots with Farah Maraqa
Chronicles of a new “Anti-Semitism Scandal” (part 2): What is “my case”?
It was a normal workday at Deutsche Welle when I got an email from a journalist in “Süddeutsche Zeitung” asking me if I wanted to comment on three sentences he picked up from old articles that look criticizing to Israel.
The sentences were from an ironic column I wrote that dated back to 2014 and 2015. The “colleague” gave me a mixed deadline of fewer than 24 hours to answer his email.
After asking if I wanted to comment on the sentences, he brought up questions about my Twitter account and the experiences that made it possible to work on the TV. And as a female journalist, my instincts told me what kind of report I would be quoted in later.
Answering him very professionally (with the consultancy of the DW Spokesperson), I sent him an email stating that it is not fair to handpick sentences from some of the old articles I wrote a while ago in Amman. Adding that ever “since I joined DW in 2017, my track record proves that I have adhered to the journalistic guidelines of the Organization. I stand for those values professionally and as a person”.
As a journalist, I realized “the colleague” from SZ wasn’t actually interested to hear my narration as he didn’t ask for a call or a meeting, and after less than 24 hours of my answer, he published his article.
The article was based on claims that I am part of “systematic” appointments to create a movement against Israel. The writer didn’t mention that my articles were meant to be ironic, nor did he mention the historic or content-wise context.
At the end of his article, the journalist in SZ wrote that since I started to work in DW, nothing could be found about my work against the code of conduct of DW. Still, it was already too late in his article that it was missed in all the other judgmental reports against me later.
My name started to appear in the front lines, and it turned out that my answer to SZ was not important at all and was excluded from all the following articles.
What shocked me was that the doubts surrounding my qualifications became bigger, a practice me and my female colleagues experienced way more than our male colleagues back in Jordan. I thought it had something to do with the culture and the community back then. But unfortunately, the German (and Israeli) reports that attacked me misjudged that “my hatred to the Jews” was my only qualification for joining DW!.
Regardless of not hating Jews, none of the sentences that have been misused and out of context mentioned that. It was easier for the journalists to judge me this way than to check my articles or LinkedIn profile, including my master’s degree in new media (specializing in TV and radio) and my experiences in variant Jordanian and Arab press, and some English ones.
The media that attacked me never asked me anything, and no one wanted to hear my part of the story. Moreover, they decided to undermine me and belittle all of my opinions, professionalism, all of my battles against corruption and for human rights, aiming only to frame me as a hater!
Working in Germany for more than four years made me realize how crazy these allegations may go and how anyone could be unprotected when it comes to anything about Israel. But I never thought someone would assume that I was born with “Awareness of the German History” while I am in the other part of the world and being on the absolute opposite side of the story!!.
Germany is a country with a history with Jews, and the holocaust was one of the ugliest crimes committed in the last century; here, I have no doubt, and I understand the sensitivity of the topic.
On the other hand, I never thought that the media here could not understand our upbringing and the conflict(s) of the Middle East.
Coming to Germany, I chose to respect the country’s history, but I was naive enough to expect the same!.
*This article is a part of my “Chronicles of a new “Anti-Semitism Scandal” series documenting my experience while being wrongfully accused of anti-Semitism and subsequently under investigation by Deutsche Welle and the German media. I am a professional journalist who believes in my profession’s mission, ethics, and values, and I will not remain silent in search for the truth, facts, and honest dialogue. I will keep writing and documenting until the end of investigations on the 15th of January 2022 or longer if needed.