August 11, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

German reporter under fire comparing Israel’s human rights record to Egypt’s

Jennifer Lopez defies BDS calls in Israel and Egypt.
August 11, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

German reporter under fire comparing Israel’s human rights record to Egypt’s

Jennifer Lopez defies BDS calls in Israel and Egypt.

The Cairo correspondent for a German publicly-funded radio station on Thursday equated the Jewish state’s human rights record with Egypt’s in connection with the concert appearances of the US singer Jennifer Lopez in both countries, sparking outrage in the media.

Germany’s top-selling paper Bild reported that Cornelia Wegerhoff from the Deutschlandfunk radio program declared that “Human rights are equally disregarded in Israel and Egypt.”

Bild wrote that “In Israel free elections take place, in which Jewish and Arab citizens of the country take part – as voters and candidates. Tens of thousands of government critics are imprisoned in Egypt. Freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate are also severely restricted” in the world’s largest Arab country.

The Bild article tore into Wegerhoff ‘s contention, writing that while Israel holds the Middle East’s “largest LGBT parade each year in Tel Aviv, homosexuals are arrested in Egypt.”

The paper took Wegerhoff to task for ignoring Egypt’s flawed women’s rights record in contrast to Israel. “Women’s rights activists are being persecuted by the authorities in Egypt” and the prosecution of sexual harassment and rape of women are not being legally pursued.

In response to the article, a spokesman for the public radio station regretted the impression that Israel’s human right’s record is comparable to Egypt’s.

“This was neither intended by the editors nor by the correspondent herself. We regret this error and have corrected our website accordingly and deleted the audio,” said the spokesman.

The German journalist Stefan Frank, who has written extensively about German bias against Israel in the media and antisemitism in press, wrote on Twitter: “Cornelia Wegerhoff, Cairo correspondent of @dlfkultur, has lost her mind.”

Wegerhoff used the concert appearances of singer Jennifer Lopez in the Middle East to launch her attack against Israel.

She said that Lopez is “consistently making her way through all of the embarrassments of the region.”

The US superstar singer and actress held a concert in Tel Aviv on August 1 that attracted over 50,000 people.

A week later, she performed north of Cairo in El Alamein, where 2,000 fans showed up. Lopez defied calls from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign, including the Egyptian branch, to not perform in Israel and Egypt.

BDS Egypt said Lopez showed “clear support for the state of occupation and its racist policies towards Palestinians.”

BDS Egypt had called on Orsacom Development, who organized the concert, to cancel the show. Eygpt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, the Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali, and the Minister of Planning and Administrative Reform Hala Al-Saeed attended Lopez’s concert.

Germany’s parliament classified BDS as antisemitic in May. Lopez tweeted after her Tel Aviv concert: “Amazing energy in Tel Aviv last night!! Over 50,000 strong!!! I love you so much.”

Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 


Arab Politics Egypt Israel Palestinian Politics