German academic 'harassed' in Tel Aviv by 'far-right activist' after 'Israel bashing'

German academic 'harassed' in Tel Aviv by 'far-right activist' after 'Israel bashing'
After the Israeli embassy in Germany publicly attacker her for making light criticisms of Israel on a podcast, Muriel Asseburg has now been accosted on the streets of Tel Aviv by a man alleged to have links with Israeli far-right.
3 min read
13 July, 2023
The Israeli embassy took the unusual move of singling out Asseburg for a public attack on twitter [Getty]

A video purportedly showing an alleged member of an Israeli far-right organisation confronting a prominent German academic in Tel Aviv has emerged on Twitter on Thursday.

It comes after the Israeli embassy in Germany publicly accused Dr. Muriel Asseburg of “insulting Israel” last week. 

Asseburg, who is a senior fellow at the German Institute of Security Affairs, specialising in the Middle East and Africa, was in Tel Aviv for an academic conference when the incident occurred.  

Asseburg, though critical of Israeli policy, is a self-defined supporter of Israel and frequently visits the country. 

In the video, Asseburg is seen walking out of a building when she is accosted by an alleged member of influential Israeli far-right group Im Tirzu.   

The man, who is filming the encounter, says to Asseburg: “What are you doing here, Miss?” 

“Haven’t you spread enough anti-semitic propaganda against us?,” the man continues, as Asseburg continues to walk.

Asseburg waves the man away and sighs, however continues his tirade.

"You are not wanted here," he says. “Did you make the Nazi comparison too?” he sarcastically asks her. 

The man also insinuates that Asseburg wants “another Holocaust to happen”, before shouting "an anti-semitic witch like you has no place in our country". 

Asseburg, clearly perturbed by the incident, puts her hand around a woman colleague as another person confronts the man verbally assaulting her.  

The attack comes after the Israeli embassy in Germany made the highly unusual move of personally targeting Asseburg after she appeared on a popular German current affairs podcast where a wide range of topics were discussed.

In one segment of the talk, Asseburg pointed out the perceived double standards in the West of supporting the Ukraine's right to resist Russia while opposing Palestinians' right against Israel. 

This led to the Israeli embassy in Germany slamming the academic on social media. On its Twitter account, it accused Asseburg of "Israel bashing", perpetuating "wild conspiracy theories" and being soft on "terror", along with other slurs intended to discredit her. 

The New Arab contacted the Israeli embassy for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Some social media users have accused the Israeli embassy of "incitement" and opening up Asseburg to a Twitter pile-on. 

Others see it as an attack on freedom of speech and the right to criticise Israel policy.  

Despite Asseburg, her institution and her colleagues refuting the claims made by the Israeli mission, the embassy has doubled down and refused to retract its statements.  

She told Haaretz that the disturbing behaviour of the Israeli embassy is a consequence the far-right nature of the Israeli government.