Politico’s US employees no longer required to pledge support for Israel

Politico employees in the US will not have to sign a pledge to support Israel when German media giant Axel Springer takes ownership of the new company, despite it being a requirement for European staff.

By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News

Politico’s American staff will not have to sign a mission statement pledging support for Israel when the media outlet changes hands, despite the requirement being part of its new owner’s mission statement.

Politico has bucked the trend in media for falling figures with a focus on Beltway politics and policy, and has now been snapped up by German media giant Axel Springer for a cool billion.

Axel Springer, the publisher of some of Europe’s most widely read outlets including Bild and Die Welt, is open about its strong support for Israel – so much so that the second of the company’s five core principles reads, “We support the Jewish people and the right of existence of the State of Israel.”

Its European staff are required to sign a pledge of commitment to the company’s values, which also includes support for freedom of speech and the free market, commitment to the rule of law and democracy, and support for the Transatlantic Alliance between Europe and America.

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Matthias Dopfner, CEO of Axel Sprinter, reiterated his company’s values earlier this year when, during the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, he flew the Israeli flag over his company’s headquarters in support.

“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 anti-Semitic demonstrations, should look for a new job,” he told Israel Hayom at the time, referring to any employees who might object

However, in an article on the sale published in the New York Times, journalist Ben Smith mentions that Politico’s American staff will not have to confirm their support for Israel and Axel Springer’s other values when the deal goes through.

He quotes outgoing owner Robert Allbritton as saying: “In some ways, they [Axel Springer] are more American than most Americans are these days. They’re about freedom of the press, they’re about freedom of thought, they are blatantly pro-Transatlantic alliance.”

By contrast, Politico’s audience is, according to Allbritton, “professional folks in D.C.”