Axel Springer chairman raised Israel's flag at company HQ to show solidarity after antisemitic attacks spike
In a refreshing show of a CEO not allowing staff to cow them into submission, German media giant Axel Springer's chairman addressed the company's 16,000 staff after several complained about the raising of an Israeli flag outside its Berlin headquarters.
“I think, and I’m being very frank with you, a person who has an issue with an Israeli flag being raised for one week here, after antisemitic demonstrations, should look for a new job,” Mathias Doepfner said in a video conference with employees around the world and reported in The Jerusalem Post.
Axel Springer was established in 1946 in Berlin that was destroyed in the Second World War. It has now grown to be the largest digital publishing house in Europe. It owns Bild, Die Welt, Business Insider, Politico Europe, and many other news brands, as well as Israel’s largest classified-ads website, Yad2, according to the Post.
“We support the Jewish people and the right of existence of the State of Israel” is listed as one of Axel Springer’s five essential values on its website.
The other essential values are: standing up for freedom, the rule of law, democracy, and a united Europe; support for the transatlantic alliance between the United States of America and Europe; commitment to a free and social market economy, and the rejection of political and religious extremism and any kind of racism and sexual discrimination.
“After these weeks of terrible antisemitic demonstrations, we at our building headquarters said next to the European flag, and the German flag, [and] the Berlin flag, let’s raise for one week the Israeli flag as a gesture of solidarity,” he said. “We do not accept these kinds of aggressive antisemitic movements.”
Some people said they did not want to work for a company that does such a thing, Döpfner maintained.
As was the case in many Western countries, there was a significant uptick in online and actual assaults against Jewish people and property in Germany in the wake of the 11-day conflict between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, which fired more than 4,300 rockets at the Jewish state.