Halle (dpa) – After the Max Planck Society parted ways with a visiting professor over allegations of anti-Semitism, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Joseph Schuster, called for clarification and consequences. Schuster said on Thursday, at the request of the German News Agency, that it is a good thing that the company has separated amicably from the scientist Ghassan Al-Hajj. “But a simple explanation is not enough for me; I expect an explanation of the process and, above all, the necessary precautions to ensure that such cases do not happen again in the future.” The newspapers Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk and others had previously reported this.
Al-Hajj has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Anthropological Research in Halle (Saxony-Anhalt) since April 2023. The Max Planck Society said in a statement that he has repeatedly posted opinions on social media that contradict the basic values of society. On Wednesday, she announced her separation from the Lebanese-Australian world. The company made the decision in agreement with the Halley Institute.
According to reports, Al-Hajj compared the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip following the Hamas attack to the actions of the Nazis. First, the newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” reported Al-Hajj's statements last weekend. As a result, voices calling for consequences have grown louder. Al-Hajj did not initially respond to an inquiry from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Researchers violate civil liberties when they undermine the credibility of science through publicly published statements, the association said in a statement. This also damages the reputation and trust of the institutions that support them. “The fundamental right to freedom of expression finds its limits in the mutual obligations of consideration and loyalty in the employment relationship.” Racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, discrimination, hatred and agitation have no place in Max Planck's society.
Federal Government Anti-Semitism Commissioner Felix Klein, Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt Rainer Haselof (CDU) and State Science Minister Armin Wellingmann (SPD) did not comment on the case when asked.
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