The post 9/11 media coverage in the German language media has seen a relentless rise in anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic press articles. Germany, Austria and Switzerland lacked a media watchdog organization to systematically monitor the frequently one-sided and shoddy reporting on the Mideast and outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence and activity within Central Europe. Germany harbors, according to BBC opinion polls in 2007 and 2008, the most negative attitude toward Israel. In 2003, a European Union study concluded that Germans consider Israel to represent a greater danger for international security than the Iranian Regime. The Central European media slant against Israel mirrors the public’s widespread misunderstanding of Israel’s security needs.
The non-partisan advocacy organization Honestly Concerned (HC), based in Frankfurt, Germany, rose IN response to this serious need for factual corrections and public awareness concerning biased media coverage of Israel and woefully inadequate reporting on Central European anti-Semitism. Sacha Stawski, Editor-in-Chief, founded HC in May 2002 and its internet presence www.honestly-concerned.org along with its daily and weekly newsletters has become required reading for a wide spectrum of Germans, ranging from journalists to non-governmental organizations combating Israel-hatred and anti-Semitism to academics studying Jew-hatred.
At a time when anti-Israeli attitudes and so-called respectable anti-Semitism enjoy currency on the political right, center, and left in Germany, the dire need to advance HC’s work cannot be underscored enough. HC led the effort to shine a spotlight on the activity of Hizbollah and its 900 members in Germany who are promoting terror in the Middle East through their funding streams.
The German government refuses to ban Hezbollah’s networks in Germany. Stawski and his organization helped to initially disseminate groundbreaking fact sheets, both in English and German, documenting the role of German firms supporting the Iranian Regime’s infrastructure and nuclear weapon’s program. HC’s goals are to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran; combat anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism; and heighten awareness among journalists, politicians, and the public about distorted media coverage of Israel.