July 13, 2010 | The Weekly Standard
Why is German Public Television Courting Ahmadinejad’s Media?
Last week, executives from two public German television channels hosted Ezzatollah Zarghami, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Zarghami allegedly has ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp, an organization designated as a global terrorist entity by the U.S. government. Regardless, the IRIB's 'news' website has done its part to help propagate lies about the Jewish state.
There has not been a bleep on the media cardiac monitor in Germany about the rather unsavory form of cooperation between Zarghami and the heads of Germany's highly viewed public television stations.
The Wadi blog in Germany appears to be only Web site to have chronicled last week's meeting.”It is not clear which is more bizarre and scandalous: that ARD and ZDF, personally represented by ARD chairman Peter Boudgoust and ZDF director Markus Schächter, received a delegation from the state broadcaster of the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by its head, Ezzatollah Zarghami, as well as the Iranian ambassador in Berlin, Ali Reiza Sheik Attar, for a nice chat at Lerchenberg – or that no one in Germany was interested in this chat. As if it were completely normal,” author and journalist Oliver M. Piecha on Monday, wrote on the popular Wadi blog site.
There is also YouTube video that shows a cordial meeting between Zarghami, ARD's Boudgoust and ZDF's Schächter. According to the video, Zarghami and the German TV executives plan to expand their work together.
By way of background, on July 4, 2009, Zarghami told the press that the videos of Neda Agha Soltan's death during the 2009 Iranian election protests were all fake and were produced by the BBC and CNN. Zarghami has been the head of IRIB, the corporation controlling Iranian national radio and television broadcasting since 2004. His predecessor was Ali Larijani, now speaker of the Iranian parliament.
Channeling Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, IRIB's German-language web site contains a report from last Wednesday in which Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei describes “Zionism as the new form of Fascism” and in June the IRIB site termed Israel a “cancer” that needs to be ” removed.”
It is a topsy-turvy world when German politicians can issue a cross-party resolution blasting Israel because of its seizure of a vessel carrying Jihadists, but remain silent about the cooperation between taxpayer-funded German television and IRIB. Is that how one is supposed to understand the “German-Israeli special relationship”?
Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.