A German public school teacher and leading BDS activist praised a Facebook photo of a Palestinian using a slingshot to apparently hurl stones at Israelis, prompting calls on Friday and Saturday for his immediate removal from the classroom in the city of Oldenburg, in the state of Lower Saxony.
The Facebook post by the teacher, Christoph Glanz, was seized upon by his critics in Israel and Germany as a glorification of Palestinian violence against Israelis and a “blatant violation” of the German civil service’s legal requirement to remain politically neutral.
His “one-sided verbal, ideological and photographic support of a party to a conflict, as well as of a stone-throwing man, presents the support of a criminal act and has already led to the deaths of many Israelis and serious injuries,” Nathan Gelbart, head of Germany’s United Israel Appeal and a prominent attorney with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Berlin, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday. “Glanz is entirely unqualified to teach students in a state school,” said Gelbart, who added that Glanz’s “call for the elimination or ‘resettlement’ of a member [Israel] of the international community with over 8 million citizens (and total boycott of Israel)” is a violation of German civil service law regarding teachers.
The Post reported in October that Glanz said it would not be absurd to abolish the Jewish state and relocate Israel to Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany.
Michaela Engelmeier, a Social Democratic deputy in the Bundestag, wrote the Post: “Unbelievable! This man [Glanz] teaches refugee classes and circulates antisemitic statements! Who is controlling what Mr. Glanz teaches in his class? I would, of course, also be interested in knowing if a disciplinary complaint was issued against Glanz.” Engelmeier called Glanz an “antisemite and racist” last month.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem and the organization’s chief Nazi-hunter, told the Post that Glanz’s “place is not in the classroom” and his praise of a Palestinian slingshot attacker “disqualifies him because of incitement of violence… the stance he takes encourages violence against innocent civilians.”
Zuroff said Glanz should be taken at his word that he is not neutral.
Glanz posted a picture on his Facebook page of himself standing next to a stone mural, which depicts a Palestinian wearing a keffiyeh and aiming a slingshot. Glanz, who uses the false identity Christopher Ben Kushka on his Facebook page, wrote above the photograph: “feeling definitely not neutral.” The words on Glanz’s T-shirt in the photograph read “Make Trouble.” Glanz’s Facebook post was liked 34 times and shared once. It is unclear if his students read and endorsed the violent post.
Glanz wrote in August on the website BDS-Kampagne that his Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions group is “absolutely nonviolent.”
In one case, Palestinian rock-throwers caused a vehicle carrying the Biton family to crash in 2013, wounding four-year-old Adele Biton, who died of her injuries in 2015. At least 14 others have been killed by stone-throwers.
In a statement published this week on BDS-Kampagne, BDS Oldenburg, the group Glanz oversees, wrote, “The accusations against Christoph Glanz are entirely untrue. Legal measures concerning this matter will be examined.” Post emails to BDS Oldenburg were not returned.
Glanz wrote on a pro-Palestinian website that the allegation of antisemitism against him is “absurd.” Several Post telephone and email press queries to Glanz were not returned.
Tanja Meister, a spokeswoman for Lower Saxony state’s Education Ministry, told the Post on Friday that the Palestinian slingshot photograph will be “considered in the context of the examination process” against Glanz. The public school authority is investigating Glanz for misconduct and stoking hatred of Jews.
Glanz’s promotion of Palestinian violence is believed to be the first instance of a German public school teacher using social media to promote violence against Jews in Israel.
Jörg Rensmann, a member of the German branch of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told the Post, “Mr. Glanz stands with the BDS movement, which, in Nazi-style, calls for a boycott of Israeli products and shows connections to Palestinian terrorism.” Rensmann, who is expert on Israel curriculums in German schools, said BDS seeks to obliterate Israel.
“Mr. Glanz’s positions have no business in our schools. If the possibility exists that such positions are conveyed to our kids in or outside of schools, there exists a danger that the children will be damaged emotionally,” said Rensmann.
Rensmann cited German law holding that every child has a right to a violence-free education, and that physical or emotional damage, or other degrading measures, are not allowed. Such positions are in fundamental violation of “political neutrality, according to civil service law in Germany. In my opinion, Mr. Glanz should be permanently discharged from the teaching profession.”
The only political parties in Germany that endorse full-blown BDS boycotts of Israel are the neo-Nazi parties the Third Way and the NPD.
Rolf Woltersdorf, a member of the German-Israel Friendship Society in Oldenburg, told the Post the Facebook photograph of Glanz shows he is “completely on the side of the so-called intifada” and he “glorifies and treats as heroic the violence against the Jewish population of Israel.”
Woltersdorf and other members from the friendship society first exposed Glanz’s BDS activities in Oldenburg. Woltersdorf said Glanz’s activity is “especially perfidious” in view of the current wave of Palestinian terrorism.
“Mr. Glanz is a dedicated representative of this [BDS] antisemitic campaign, which demonizes and defames the Jewish state,” he added. “In view of the glorification of Palestinian violence, and at the same time of the demonization of the Jewish state, it is very questionable to what extent Mr. Glanz is suitable as a teacher.”
Sacha Stawski, the editor-in-chief of the media watchdog group Honestly Concerned that monitors anti-Semitism in the German media, wrote the Post by email: “Christopher Glanz is a picture-book anti-Semite, both in a classical sense, as well as in a sense of the so called new anti-Semitism / anti-Zionism. He gives himself a Jewish name online, then goes out to smear Jews with the worst blood libels. He delegitimizes and demonizes Israel and applies a disgusting double standard to Jews as a whole.”
Stawski, a German Jew from Frankfurt, added “For him [Glanz] to continue to be employed as a teacher is an embarrassment for Germany and a disgraceful shame for his school and the State, which employs him.”