French state TV sacks journalist who shared 'joke' about Hitler barbecuing Jews

Joelle Maroun, France 24’s correspondent in Beirut, was fired but three others suspended over accusations of posting inflammatory material have been reinstated


A French state broadcaster has fired a journalist who posted allegedly antisemitic material on social media, including for sharing a sick “joke” about Hitler barbecuing Jews.

Three others accused of posting inflammatory material were suspended but have now been reinstated.

France 24, which broadcasts internationally in French, English, Arabic and Spanish, has launched an investigation into its staff members’ posts, which include praise for terrorists who killed Israeli civilians.

The reporter fired on Wednesday was Joelle Maroun, France 24’s correspondent in Beirut who, in 2013, in an Arabic tweet reportedly wrote: “They asked Hitler ‘what did you do with the Jews?’ He said ‘nothing extraordinary, just having barbecue with the guys’.”

Other tweets highlighted included one in which she said “if only Hitler was Lebanese” and “Rise, Sir Hitler, rise, there are a few people that need to be burned.”

Another said: “Every Palestinian has to kill one Jew and the case is closed,” and, discussing peace proposals, attacked “the tyranny of the Jew and his filth”.

Following his death in a rocket attack, she also praised a senior Hezbollah terrorist Samir Quntar, who was convicted for his part in a brutal kidnapping plot that led to the death of an Israeli policeman and his four-year-old daughter, victims Maroun referred to as “Zionists”.

The tweets were unearthed by media watchdog CAMERA Arabic, which is investigating allegations of bias and inaccuracy in France 24’s reporting.

One of the suspended but now reinstated is France 24’s Jerusalem correspondent Laila Odeh, who CAMERA says praised as “martyrs” terrorists including Tel Aviv bus bomber Muhammad Asi; Saleh Barghouti, who shot seven people near an Israeli settlement in Ofra, including a pregnant woman, killing her baby; and Ra’ad Hazem, who killed three in central Tel Aviv last year.

Odeh’s older brother was a PLO member killed in a clash with IDF soldiers near Beit She’an in June 1970. In 2013 she tweeted: “I demand of the Arab League that it arms me so that I retrieve my land which Israel has unlawfully occupied.

"And because I am the sister of a martyr, I demand of the Arab League that it arms me so I can retrieve the body of my martyr brother.”

CAMERA’s report also singles out Dina Abi-Saab, a France 24 correspondent in Geneva, who covers UN issues including those relating to Israel.

She, it says, has celebrated rockets fired from Gaza at Israel civilians and the work of the resistance.

In 2017 she tweeted that the then-Prince Charles understood that “the influx of Western Jews is the cause of conflicts in the Middle East”. In a 2013 Facebook post she wrote: “I haven’t stopped hoping that Israel will be annihilated. This Facebook status is for safekeeping.”

The third suspended journalist is Sharif Bibi, based in Lebanon. His posts included one tweet in which he warned: “Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, from the see of the martyrs’ blood, from the effort of the red revolutionaries, we shall eradicate you Israel.”

In a statement, a France 24 spokesperson said that following the CAMERA report, the network had established that the posts were authentic and had questioned the named staff.

It said “the channel is ending all collaboration” with Maroun, because of “intolerable messages posted on her personal accounts” which were “at odds with the values of the channel and… represhenible”.

However, the statement went on, although some of the other three journalists’ posts broke France 24’s rules on impartiality, they had been warned and “the collaborations can continue in this context”.

Earlier, when it announced the suspensions, France 24 said that “as in all of France 24’s languages, the Arabic-language channel distinguishes itself every day by its commitment to the fight against antisemitism.”

CAMERA’s executive director Andrea Levin said: “Professional journalists are expected to hold up basic standards of objectivity, which obviously includes not cheerleading for Hitler and Hamas-inspired terrorism.

"We commend France 24 for promptly investigating this serious situation, and we hope that the news outlet cuts ties with these apologists for Nazism and terrorism.”

One of the suspended journalists, Odeh, told the JC she would not comment.

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