German research institution parts ways with professor critical of Israel

Although Ghassan Hage, internationally renowned Lebanese-Australian scientist, has repeatedly emphasized that he is not antisemite, his contract was suspended

Timo Kirez  | 08.02.2024 - Update : 08.02.2024
German research institution parts ways with professor critical of Israel Image depicts death 14 Palestinian bodies are brought to the En-Neccar hospital after the Israeli airstrikes in the city of Rafah, Gaza on February 8, 2024 (Ahmed Zaqout - Anadolu Agency ).


The Max Planck Society, a leading German research institution, on Thursday announced that they have parted ways with Lebanese-Australian scientist Ghassan Hage, following his pro-Palestinian comments and criticism of Israel.

"Many of the views recently disseminated by Ghassan Hage via social media are incompatible with the fundamental values of the Max Planck Society. The Max Planck Society has therefore parted ways with him in agreement with the Institute," the society said in a statement.

The Lebanese-Australian scientist, who is well-known and respected in the specialist community, has been a vocal critic of Israel’s military assault on Gaza, and its treatment of Palestinians.

Ghassan Hage vehemently rejected the accusations of antisemitism, following various reports published in the local media.

"Some have asked why I don't engage with the journalists who wrote the article about me being an antisemite. it is an article full of half-truths, outright lies and slimy innuendo. I would never dignify such people with a response: they are not intellectuals. they are ideological assassins", Hage wrote in a statement on X on Thursday.

He added: "They don't write to seek truth. they write to engage in character assassination. they can go and have ‘conversations’ with people of their own type."

According to Hage, he could have lived with the wording of incompatibility in the Institute's statement, but the statement also accuses him of racism, which he will not accept.

In Germany, there have recently been more and more examples of a so-called cancel culture.

In Frankfurt, three mayoral candidates want to prevent Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters from performing in the Festhalle. The 80-year-old musician is a critic of Israeli politics and supports the BDS campaign.

The German Heinrich Boll Foundation came under fire last month for withdrawing from an award ceremony because of a prize winner's critical remarks on the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The decision came after several Israeli lobby groups criticized this year's prize winner, the prominent author Masha Gessen, for her statement that Gaza had become "like a Jewish ghetto in an Eastern European country occupied by Nazi Germany."

Bosnian novelist Lana Bastasic announced three weeks ago that she terminated her contract with a German publisher in protest of its silence on the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

"I feel that it is my moral and ethical duty to terminate my contract with S. Fischer. Not only has the publisher failed to be vocal about the ongoing genocide happening in Gaza but they have also kept quiet on the systematic censorship happening in Germany for the last two months," Bastasic, 37, said on Instagram.

She said cutting ties as an all-out boycott of German cultural institutions over the government’s pro-Israel stance divides opinion.

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