Germany disciplines personnel who 'liked' anti-Israel tweets

Germany's Foreign Ministry issues new social media guidelines after anti-Israel tweets were "liked" by diplomats.

Nissan Tzur ,

Germany's Bundestag
Germany's Bundestag

Germany's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it has instituted new social media guidelines and disciplined personnel after anti-Israel tweets were "liked" by the official Twitter account of the German mission to the Palestinian territories, The Associated Press reported.

The Foreign Ministry said that 10 people had access to the @GerRepRamallah account and it wasn't clear who clicked the "likes."

The ministry said the account wasn't secured against unauthorized users.

It further added that the head of Germany's office in Ramallah, Christian Clages, and others were disciplined. The social media guidance sent to all diplomatic posts clarifies "that even 'likes' are understood as expressions of opinion of the German government" and now require the approval of two people.

The ministry said it "publicly made it clear the contents of the tweets concerned are unacceptable, contradict the attitude of the German government, and are not tolerated."

The Foreign Ministry had launched an investigation earlier this month after learning that the head of the country's mission to the Palestinian Authority had "liked" several anti-Israel tweets, including one involving notorious US anti-Semite and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Anti-Semitic crimes rose by 20 percent in Germany last year, according to interior ministry data which blamed nine out of 10 cases on the extreme right.

A report released last summer found that Germany had seen an increased number of attacks on Jews during the first half of 2018.

In November, Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned what she called a "worrying" resurgence of anti-Semitism in Germany.