conflict & communication online, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2011
ISSN 1618-0747




Markus Maurer & Wilhelm Kempf
Criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism. A comparative analysis of the German press coverage of the 2nd Intifada and the Gaza War

In recent years German media coverage of the Middle East conflict has been accused of an anti-Israeli bias that reinforces old, widely held prejudices and stereotypes about Jews and supports the common accusation that Israel misuses the tragedy of the Holocaust to justify anti-Palestinian policies. In particular, there is the accusation that during and after the Gaza War the media portrayed Israel as the aggressor while minimizing Palestinian terrorism.
There is still no systematic research on this topic, however. The present paper is intended to help correct this deficiency by presenting the results of a content analytical study comparing the coverage of the Gaza War and the Second Intifada by a group of highly regarded national German quality newspapers: Die Welt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau and Tageszeitung.
We analyzed a representative sample of 396 articles from these papers, covering the entire political spectrum from right to left, using the following dimensions: (1) portrayal of the conflict parties’ behavior, (2) evaluation of their aims and actions, and (3) punctuation of the conflict and portrayal of victims.
We found that the media coverage of both conflicts was much more complex and differentiated than assumed by critics. As well during the Gaza War the German quality press did its best to avoid shifting to the Palestinian side. If the German press stimulated anti-Israeli or even anti-Semitic attitudes, this was rather due to the production of reactance than to an anti-Israel bias in news coverage


  full text in German  


A prior English version of this paper, called „Coverage of the Second Intifada and the Gaza War in the German quality press“, was presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) in Istanbul, July 9-12, 2011, and can be downloaded from here.

On the authors:
Markus Maurer erwarb sein Diplom in Psychologie an der Universität Konstanz. Derzeit arbeitet er als Dozent und Seminarleiter im Bereich der gewaltfreien Kommunikation. Interessengebiete: Gewaltfreie Kommunikation, Konfliktbewältigung und -vermittlung
Address: Geissbergstrasse 30, 5408 Ennetbaden, Schweiz.

Wilhelm Kempf ist seit 1977 Professor für Psychologische Methodenlehre und Leiter der Projektgruppe Friedensforschung an der Universität Konstanz. Seit 2002 Herausgeber von conflict & communication online. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: Gewaltfreie Konfliktlösungen, Konstruktion sozialer Wirklichkeit durch die Massenmedien.
Fachbereich Psychologie, Universität Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Deutschland.