Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Monat: November 2009

The “Prague Declaration” is Europe’s new Antisemitic Poison

Preface

Fighting Antisemitism while supporting Antisemitism?

Contradictions of a Berlin conference
by Dr. Clemens Heni

Can we fight one form of antisemitism while supporting another? Have a look at what is planned this week-end in Berlin. The groups “Mideast Freedom Forum” and “Stop the Bomb” are organizing a conference on Iran, entitled Time to Act. Indeed: it is time to act against Islamo-fascist Teheran, which works to produce nuclear weapons and said it wants to wipe Israel off the map. Every effort has to be undertaken to help stop Iran going nuclear.
But this Berlin conference most recently announced very proudly that they invited as a key speaker, Czech politician Jana Hybaskova. With no personal disrespect to Ms. Hybaskova, sorry, but it is not OK to deal with Iran and invite a politician with Hybaskova’s record on a cardinal Jewish issue in Europe: the history of the Holocaust at a time when “another branch” of antisemitism, with this politician’s help, is working overtime to delete the Holocaust from European history and try to make “equal” the perpetrators and victims of the Holocaust.

If someone is seriously concerned about the threat of antisemitism, that person cannot be active in supporting or initiating antisemitism in the EU and promoting the Prague Declaration, while donning philo-Semitic clothing when it comes to the faraway Middle East.
There is a lot to learn from this Berlin invitation to a leading figure of the Holocaust Obfuscation movement.

The following article, co-authored by Professor Dovid Katz, Vilnius (Lithuania), explains. Readers are respectfully referred to my paper, and to a page on the Jewish protests against the Prague Declaration.

The ”Prague Declaration” is Europe’s new Antisemitic Poison

Katz and Heni in Algemeiner Journal 4 Dec 2009 in: www.algemeiner.com (week of November 30, 2009) Algemeiner is a New York based Jewish, Yiddish, and English weekly newspaper, editor: Rabbi Yosef Y. Jacobson, Director: Simon Jacobson, Chairman of Advisory Board: Dr. Elie Wiesel

by Dovid Katz, Vilnius, and Clemens Heni, Berlin

Your open opponent is your friend. He or she states a clear position that you can accept or dissent from. That is the spirit of robust debate in a democratic society. The real enemy is the camouflaged trick-speak of Orwellian parlance. In a one-to-one fair fight, it can be overcome by a skilled debater.

Much more difficult to come to grips with what is happening in Europe now at the odious nexus of Holocaust revisionism and a special East European brand of antisemitism. Difficult, because the product is manufactured by a cunning and powerful ultranationalist elite, based in the Baltics and spreading westward with alarming speed, working with ample government funding. It is spreading its poison with such cunning that even seasoned players, including naive Westerners (Jews included) do not always see what is happening.

In Eastern Europe, one finds a certain local kind of elitist antisemitism. One of its versions: “We love Israeli, American and British Jews, we just hate the local Jews because they continue to think that we helped Hitler while the Russians saved them or their parents or grandparents. Time to mix it all up in a trendy new model of equivalence of evils that the westerners will buy into.”

Antisemitism neo-Nazi style in Eastern Europe today (daubing of the Jewish Community of Lithuania in August 2008; there have still been no arrests)

A condensed version of a complex narrative: Instead of coming to terms honestly with their Holocaust histories (highest percentages of Jews killed — mid 90s — in all of Europe), which various individual Baltic scholars boldly tried to do, these states’ elites took the basest antisemitic version (“The Jews were all communists and got what they deserved”) and transformed it into sophisticated Eurospeak: “The Equal Evaluation of Totalitarian Regimes”, or, as it is best known, “Double Genocide”. First, the word “genocide” is legally redefined to refer to any kind of evil (particularly: Soviet deportations and deprivation of freedoms). Second, the imaginary “Jewish Bolshevist” image cherished by antisemites is revived and polished up. Then, the “two genocides” are legally made to be “equal” and — shockingly, in Lithuania — prosecutors started to defame and “investigate the war crimes” of Holocaust survivors in their late 80s who are alive because they escaped the ghetto to join the anti-Nazi resistance. They are heroes of the free world. One, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 87, is librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Another, Dr. Rachel Margolis, 88, cannot return to Lithuania for fear of prosecutors’ harassment. (She is loathed by the state-run “Genocide Industry” for having rediscovered and published a Christian Pole’s eyewitness diary of tens of thousands of murders.)

The most dangerous success the history-twisters have had to date is the so-called “Prague Declaration” issued at a conference there in June 2008. It proclaims “Communism and Nazism as a common legacy” and demands that Communism be assessed “in the same way Nazi crimes were assessed by the Nuremberg Tribunal”. Just ask any Holocaust Survivor on the planet if the perpetrators of Genocide are “the same” as those who offered refuge to the small number who could flee and indeed, those who liberated the few survivors in the eastern sector at war’s end.

But the distortion doesn’t stop at proclaiming one true Revisionist history for all Europe. The Prague Declaration calls for “the overhaul of European history textbooks so that children could learn and be warned about Communism and its crimes in the same way as they have been taught to assess the Nazi crimes”. There is demand for a Europe-wide mix-and-match commemoration day for Nazi and Soviet crimes that would in practice supplant Holocaust Memorial Day.  The intrepid human rights champion John Mann MP of the UK parliament has very rightly called the Declaration a “sinister document”.

One of the founding signatories of the Prague Declaration, Jana Hybaskova, is announced as a speaker at a Berlin conference about Iran, this weekend, entitled “Time to Act”. Why are good willed people featuring founders of the dangerous Holocaust Obfuscation movement? Why support an antisemitic movement, while – for very good reason – attacking anti-Zionist Iran? We cannot fight one form of antisemitism while supporting another form of antisemitism. It is not just a mistake of Ms. Hybaskova, which can easily be corrected (like all the other signatories, she is free to explain that she made a mistake…). In fact, it was MEP Hybaskova’s office, in collaboration with that of Czech Republic parliament senator Marin Mejstrik, that stage-managed the dissemination of the Prague Declaration, in a joint press release of 9 June 2008. Three days earlier, they had both “presented” the English and Czech versions of the Declaration to the Czech Republic’s Senate.

Antisemitism Prague Declaration style in Eastern Europe today ("Delfi", the major news portal in the Baltics, gloating over "successes" in convincing Europe that Soviet crimes were "worse" than the Nazi genocide of their Jewish populations; most recently published 14 November 2009)

There is an inherent problem in professing support for Israel while obfuscating the Holocaust by comparing that unprecedented genocide with the serious crimes of the Soviet Union (which certainly merit separate and serious ongoing scrutiny). In the actual current climate in Eastern Europe, where antisemitism is inextricably linked with Holocaust Obfuscation, and where Holocaust survivors are pursued and defamed, the red-equals-brown movement is today’s elitist antisemitism par excellence. Nobody knows that better than the small, embattled and often vanishing Jewish communities of Eastern Europe who bear the brunt of the local antisemitic campaigns that are the unspoken accompaniment of those fancy declarations in the European Union. The signatories of this sinister document have provided this antisemitism with high-class cover. High time to unmask the whole charade.

Dovid Katz is professor of Judaic Studies at Vilnius University and research director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. www.holocaustinthebaltics.com and www.dovidkatz.net

Clemens Heni, PhD, recently a Post-Doc at Yale and is now an independent scholar and author, is currently based in Berlin

Offener Brief an Stop the Bomb und Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin

Offener Brief an Stop the Bomb und

Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin

Wo bleibt die Kritik am Antisemitismus?

Auf einer Konferenz zu Iran Ende November in Berlin wird u.a. auch die tschechische Politikerin Jana Hybášková auftreten, wie die Gruppen „Stop the Bomb“ bzw. das verschwisterte “Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin” bekannt gaben.

Nun ist es von großer Bedeutung, gegen das iranische Atomprogramm aktiv zu werden, die “Iranian Threat” wahr- und ernst nehmen, um sie adäquat zu bekämpfen. Bei den Vorträgen auf dieser Konferenz „Time to act“ fehlen jedoch den Vortragstiteln zu folgen, klare Kritikpunkte. Keiner der Referenten spricht explizit über Antisemitismus oder Antizionismus, islamischen in diesem Fall. Das mag zwar sicher in einigen Vorträgen dann vorkommen, aber warum nicht schon im Titel andeuten, dass es hier um den antizionistischen Antisemitismus geht? Wäre das zu wenig publicityträchtig oder würde es die Breite der Kampagne schmälern? Warum tauchen die wichtigen Begriffe Antisemitismus und Antizionismus oder Israelhass erst gar nicht auf?

Das ist das eine.

Etwas nur vordergründig anderes ist nun Frau Hybášková, die auch auf der Konferenz reden wird. Sie wird nun in einem Programm-Update als tolle neueste Referentin angepriesen. Frau Hybášková ist eine der führenden Verfechter der Gleichsetzung von Stalinismus und Nationalsozialismus, namentlich die Prague Declaration vom 3. Juni 2008 unterzeichnete sie als „Gründungsunterstützerin“. Sie zählt also zum harten Kern der Protagonisten der Prague Declaration. Was ist die Prague Declaration?

Die Prague Declaration geht auf die Initiative baltischer Staaten zurück, insbesondere Litauens. Dort soll die Erinnerung an den Holocaust weggewischt werden und die Zeit unter sowjetischer Besatzung als genauso schlimm dargestellt werden, wie unter den Deutschen. In Wirklichkeit jedoch wurden in keinem Land prozentual so viele Juden in der Shoah ermordet wie in Litauen. 95% der dortigen Juden wurden ermordet. Viele freiwillige Helfer waren Litauer, wie u.a. der Historiker Knut Stang schon vor Jahren (1996) auch für Interessierte auf Deutsch publizierte. Litauen geht so weit in seinem staatlichen Antisemitismus, dass gar ehemalige jüdische Partisaninnen, welche selbstredend unter dem Schutz der Roten Armee gegen die Deutschen gekämpft haben, heute wegen „Kriegsverbrechen“ angeklagt werden, wie Dr. Rachel Margolis.

Die Prague Declaration möchte den 23. August (1939, als der “Hitler-Stalin-Pakt” geschlossen wurde) als europaweiten „Gedenktag“ etablieren und gesetzlich festlegen lassen, so wie der 27. Januar der internationale Holocaust-Gedenktag ist, der Tag, an dem niemand sonst als die sowjetische Rote Armee das KZ – und Vernichtungslager Auschwitz und einige wenige tausend Überlebende befreite.

Der Antisemitismus der Prague Declaration besteht darin, die präzedenzlosen Verbrechen der Deutschen und ihrer Helfer wie den Litauern mit der Zeit unter der Herrschaft der Sowjetunion gleich zu setzen. Der Historiker Stang listet allein einige hundert litauische Mitglieder von sieben Kompanien auf, welche 1941 im „Rollkommando Hamann“ an Massenerschießungen von Juden auf dem Land in der Gegend von Kaunas und Paneriai in Litauen beteiligt waren, wobei ca. 70.000 Juden zwischen dem 7.7.1941 und dem 2.10.1941 ermordet wurden.

Frau Hybášková unterstützt den sekundären Antisemitismus, der die Erinnerung an die Shoah verblassen lässt und die Gleichsetzung der präzedenzlosen Verbrechen mit der Zeit der Besatzung Litauens bzw. des Baltikums durch die Sowjetunion bzw. der Geschichte des Ostblocks insgesamt betreibt.

Der Yiddish-Professor Dovid Katz aus Vilnius bezeichnet die Prague Declaration eine „Deklaration der Schande“, das Simon Wiesenthal Center hat mehrfach öffentlich gegen diese Deklaration Stellung bezogen und auch Philosophen und Historiker wie Prof. Leonidas Donskis aus Litauen oder Prof. Yehuda Bauer aus Israel haben sich dezidiert gegen die unerträgliche, antikommunistisch und antisemitisch gleichermaßen motivierte Gleichsetzung von Nationalsozialismus und Stalinismus in der Prague Declaration gewandt.

Vor diesem Hintergrund ist es schwer verständlich, warum eine Unterstützerin einer so furchterregenden Deklaration wie der Prague Declaration, Frau Hybášková, auf einer vorgeblich kritischen Konferenz über Iran – und ja wohl irgendwie auch über Iran’s Antisemitismus – auftreten soll.

Geht es blindlings nur um “deutsch-iranische Wirtschaftsbeziehungen” und keine Ideologiekritik des Jihad sowie des sekundären Antisemitismus mehr, von einer Analyse und Kritik der „Holocaust-Vernebelung“ (Holocaust Obfuscation), wie es Prof. Dovid Katz nennt und wie es auch von John Mann, Politiker und Parlamentarier aus Großbritannien, sowie von Dr. Efraim Zuroff und Dr. Shimon Samuels vom Simon Wiesenthal Center gesehen wird, ganz zu schweigen?

Wer sich ein wenig in Osteuropa auskennt und dortige Kritiker des Antisemitismus befragt, weiß, dass in gewissen Kreisen (und Frau Hybášková mag symptomatisch für diese Tendenz stehen, sie ist Jg. 1965) eine gleichsam merkwürdige Unterstützung für die Juden in Israel vorherrscht, bei gleichzeitiger Abscheu vor den Juden in Osteuropa (selbst wenn sie heute in Israel leben), denen „Kommunismus“ vorgeworfen wird.

Der sogenannte „antitotalitäre Konsens“, sprich: die antisemitisch und antikommunistisch motivierte Gleichsetzung entgegen gesetzter Gesellschaftssysteme wie Nationalsozialismus und Stalinismus, ist so gemeingefährlich wie weit verbreitet. Dabei war der Antisemitismus/Antizionismus der Sowjetunion schrecklich genug, doch um Kritik geht es den Propagandisten der Prague Declaration nicht, es geht um Ressentiment gegen die Erinnerung an  die präzedenzlosen Verbrechen der Deutschen und um ein pures, aggressives Ressentiment gegen Kommunismus an und für sich.

Wie kommt es, dass eine Politikerin wie Jana Hybášková den europäischen Antisemitismus stärkt, indem sie die Prague Declaration aktiv unterstützt, und gleichzeitig nach Berlin zu dieser Konferenz eingeladen wird, nur weil sie evtl. etwas zu Iran macht? Wurde mit dieser Frau im Vorfeld überhaupt nicht über die verschiedenen Facetten des heutigen Antisemitismus (sekundärer Antisemitismus, z. B., in der Prague Declaration; islamischer Antisemitismus; rechtsextremer Antisemitismus in Osteuropa, um nur einige wichtige zu nennen) geredet?

Werden hier in gleichsam alt-linker Manier Haupt- und Nebenwidersprüche konzipiert? Sprich: wer irgendetwas gegen Iran sagt, ist mein Freund, ob die gleiche Person ansonsten den Holocaust verharmlost und andere Formen des Antisemitismus unterstützt, ist nicht das Thema?

Suicide bombing is “not necessarily antisemitic”…

Suicide bombing against Jews in Israel is “not necessarily antisemitic”

German Professor Wilhelm Kempf lectures in Dublin about today’s antisemitism…

Wilhelm Kempf, since 1977 professor of psychology at the University of Konstanz in the southwest of Germany, gave a lecture on “Israel-criticism and modern anti-Semitism” at the conference of the International Society for Political Psychology in Dublin, June 14-17, 2009.

Before analyzing his paper in detail, some more information about Kempf. He is not known as an expert in research on antisemitism, rather as psychologist with a background of “peace and conflict” research. As early as 1999 he published a piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in comparison with the conflict in Northern Ireland. He compares two incomparable conflicts by ignoring the ideological core of anti-Zionist Islamic antisemitism. He goes so far as to claim that a suicide killing by Hamas on April 6, 1994, in Afula, was not resulting “from the ‘extremism’ of Hamas per se”.

He does not analyze Hamas ideology. Instead he conforms with mainstream “peace research”, which is in fact a strange terminology for people who have no problem with fascist regimes like today’s Iran or dictatorships in the Arab World, often driven by religious, Muslim, fanaticism and antisemitic public or political culture (see cartoons in Egypt, Saudi, or Syrian newspapers etc.).

Kempf is not analyzing antisemitism in the Muslim world to get a closer picture of Hamas ideology. Hamas ideology has been analyzed by Yitzhak Santis from the Jewish Community Relations Council in San Francisco:

“The Cairo Agreement, as it became known, called for a period of calm (tahdiya). Notwithstanding this ‘calm’ Hamas continued attacking Israeli targets, including firing dozens of Qassam missiles from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns and a number of attacks in the West Bank. Hamas leaders made it clear that this was but a ‘tactical’ move, and they were still committed to their goal of destroying Israel. (…)

During the 1990’s, Hamas emerged as a ‘spoiler’ as it began to use suicide bombers as a means of disrupting the peace process. By the time of the ‘Al Aqsa’ intifada in 2000, Hamas already led the way in a war of terror against Israeli civilians.”

Without any proof or analysis Kempf is arguing that suicide bombing of Hamas is “not resulting” “from the ‘extremism’ of Hamas per se.” This has nothing to do with scholarly research.

Like many Middle Eastern Studies scholars psycholgoist Kempf is obviously not interested in decoding the concept of Islamic Jihad in general or of Hamas ideology in particular–the word Jihad is not even mentioned once in his paper, for example. He is biased and coming from a “peace and conflict” research frame, ignoring any specifics of the so called Israeli-Palestinian conflict e.g. Arab rejection of the 1947 UN plan to build up two separate states and permit a Jewish state in the Middle East. How can he compare this with a typical old-European style religious conflict of Catholics and Protestants, respective England and Ireland?

His silence regarding Arabic, Islamic and Iranian antisemitism can also been seen in a 1994 article where the Gulf War in his view was used to avoid “non-military” options. He failed to mention anti-Jewish threats against Israel from Saddams and Iraq’s propaganda machinery.

Furthermore: Kempf’s paper, given in Dublin in July 2009, can help us shed some light on today’s mainstream (not only but especially) German scholarship on anti-Zionism and (implicitly) Islamic Jihad and antisemitism as whole. He starts his piece with a short-run through the history of antisemitism, starting with Christianity and ending with Nazi Germany, and he refers to German sociologist Werner Bergmann. Just as a footnote: this historical background is not correct, as it denies the anti-Semitic history of the pre-Christian era, especially Greek-Roman pagan antisemitism (JSA, Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, volume 1, number 1, October 2009, page 30, footnote 5), which has been analyzed by Peter Schäfer, former head of Jewish Studies at Princeton University.

Let’s have a look on other aspects of Kempf’s paper. He says:

“Although we cannot rule out that criticism of Israel’s policy represents a medium in which antisemitic contents can be articulated in a socially and politically correct manner, from a conflict-theoretical perspective we must assume that criticism of Israel could also derive from a variety of other sources.”

He then introduces his concept of “War frame” and “Peace frame”, in Israel and Germany. Like many so called liberals or leftists in Germany he claims that the result of World War II has been “never again fascism, never again war”. It’s interesting what conclusion Kempf proceeds to draw:

“Support for the victims of National Socialism, which implies a tendency toward unconditional solidarity with Israeli policy and a weakening of the Peace Frame. This can go as far as turning into a War Frame: (never again fascism, therefore war), as was the case (in part) in the Gulf War discourse 1990/91 (Kempf, 1994).”

I myself was part of so called German “peace rallies” in 1991. I was naïve and uninformed. Months later, at a reading of Lea Fleischmann’s “Gas” in the city of Stuttgart, finally I got the message: Jews had been threaten to death by (German made) Gas, coming from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Lea Fleischmann, who made aliya in 1979, told us naïve and intolerant German “peace” friends what it means to collaborate with or to appease a regime like that of Saddam Hussein. Taking this personal experience into account, I find Kempf, who is more than 20 years older than I am and who cannot claim naivety in the early 1990s, and his statement highly ideological and problematic. He speaks in a very negative tone about “unconditional solidarity with Israeli policy” – read: He knows maybe sometimes much better than the Jews who to achieve peace, right?

Kempf goes on, next quote:

“Support for human rights worldwide, which implies a tendency to refrain from supporting at least some aspects of Israeli policy, and includes expressing solidarity with the Israeli peace movement and at least a certain degree of empathy with the Palestinian side.”

OK, I see. Israel is not for human rights, at least not always, this is the message. Kempf is not going into any detail of human rights in Israel, nor is he referring to Hamas, the PA or aspects of human rights violation in the Gaza strip since the take-over by Hamas in 2007. The entire ideology of Kempf’s “peace frame” is obvious in his following statement:

“Rejecting a statement like the one in example No. 4 (“Israel wages a just war against the Palestinians”) may be motivated by anti-Semitic prejudice. But a participant’s rejection of this statement does only indicate that he does not follow a pro Israeli War Frame. Whether he rejects the statement due to anti-Semitic prejudice, whether he rejects it due to a pro-Palestinian War Frame or whether he does so due to a Peace Frame remains open: Since – from a pacifist point of view – every war is evil there does not exist something like a “just” war and even from a pro Israeli Peace frame this statement would be accepted, therefore.“

“Every war is evil” –is a typical German point of view. Considering that Germany lost two wars in the 20th century, though they achieved their main goal: the destruction of European Jews. Kempf, however, finds every war evil: this ipso facto includes the war against Nazi Germany, logically spoken. Furthermore it includes today’s War on Terror (“say good bye Taliban”) under George W.  Bush, though Obama prefers bowing for Saudi Kings and speaks no longer of a War on Terror.

Kempf obviously has drawn the wrong lessons from National Socialism: it’s not “never again war”, it’s “Never again Fascism” (or National Socialism). What  are we to do with Islamic fascist regimes like Iran? Such a question does of course not occur on the radar of mainstream German scholar Wilhelm Kempf, who spoke in July 2009 about peace, war, antisemitism and Israel without mentioning once the genocidal threat of Ahmadinejad and Iran against the Jewish state of Israel.

Kempf is arguing in a hardly scholarly way:

“Similarly, the acceptance of a statement like the one in example No. 5 (“Israel is exclusively responsible for the emergence and perpetuation of the Middle East Conflict”) may be motivated by anti-Semitic prejudice. But a participant’s acceptance of the statement might as well result from a pro Palestinian War Frame.”

Someone who likes the Hamas or the “Palestinian War Frame” in this view might be motivated by antisemitism; in fact it is concrete support for a fascist organization like Hamas, which wants to wipe Israel off the map (with military, personnel and economic help from Tehran).  The next paragraph in Kempf’s remarkable piece goes like this:

“The same holds even for the statement in example No. 6 (“The Palestinian suicide attacks are an appropriate means to combat Israel”), which takes sides with the Palestinians and involves military logic, but as long as it is not associated with the denial of Israel’s right of existence, its acceptance does not necessarily embody any anti-Semitic content.“

Wow! One has never heard such an excuse for suicide bombing. Palestinian suicide bombers killed several hundred Jews, especially since the second Intifada starting in fall 2000. The goal of every suicide killer was and is to kill as many Jews (Israeli) as possible. Who on earth can claim, as Kempf does, that the acceptance of suicide attacks “does not necessarily embody any antisemitic content”? This is itself an antisemitic statement. Killing Jews is not necessarily anti-Semitic? OK, Kempf is probably an ordinary non-Jewish German with no relatives in Israel, he does not really care about victims of suicide bombing in Israel. For a scholar it is nonetheless hard to believe that Kempf seriously believes that killing Jews via suicide attacks is not anti-Semitic. I do not get this ‘argument.’

That’s not all. He goes on to say:

“As Zimmermann (2002, 2) has pointed out, even NS-comparative criticism of Israel can gain different meaning, depending on the intention behind it. A statement like in example No. 7 (“What the Israelis do to the Palestinians resembles what the Nazis did to the Jews”) may either result from a Peace Frame and aim at warning Israel not to abandon the high moral standards of Jewish culture, or it may result from a pro Palestinian War Frame and aim at delegitimizing Israel, or it may result from secondary antisemitism and aim at trivializing the Holocaust.”

Kempf is a supporter of the so called “standpoint” theory (which is mostly deriving of a postmodern feminist angle, but can also be used in a postmodern cultural relativst and anti-Zionist view), read: it always depends on your point of view. Comparing Israel with Nazis might be bad if you are Jewish and your grandmother hardly survived Auschwitz. Scholars like Kempf claim for a Palestinian or an anti-Zionist Jewish peace activist or a non-Jewish Western scholar, such comparisons can help Jews NOT to lose their own “high moral standards of Jewish culture.”

This kind of philosemitism is in itself antisemitic. Kempf refers to Israeli historian Moshe Zimmermann, quoting a piece from 2002.

Kempf does not tell the story and scandal behind: Zimmermann was accused by historian Anat Peri, who was a former student of Zimmermann, to compare the Israeli Army (IDF) with the Schutzstaffel (SS) of Nazi Germany. Peri wrote this on August 24, 2001. Zimmermann sued her, but a Jerusalem court said Peri is right in her accusation, the court decided on March 25, 2004. Zimmermann indeed compared the IDF special forces with the “Waffen-SS.” Also according to the EUMC every comparison of Israel with National Socialism is anti-Semitic (“Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli Policy to that of the Nazis”). Kempf, on the other side, refers o an Israeli historian who lost a lawsuit in Israel exactly with reference to this very comparison. The Zimmermann case clearly indicates that antisemitism can be part of University based departments, whether in Israel, in Germany or elsewhere in the Western world. Kempf is in support of Zimmermann in until today, rejecting any substantial analysis of the antisemitic impact of Zimmermanns equation or comparison of the SS and the IDF. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as well a German Jew are aware of this, in 2005 a Haaretz report reads:

“Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, sent a letter to Hebrew University President Prof. Menachem Megidor demanding a public response to statements made by the head of the university’s German studies department, Prof. Moshe Zimmerman. According to the letter, Zimmerman compared Israel Defense Forces soldiers to Nazis. University authorities in effect failed to say a thing to Zimmerman. Moreover, the university rector, Dan Rabinowitz, demanded that the former leader of the Jewish community in Berlin, Dr. Alexander Brenner, apologize for his statement that ‘there are professors at the Hebrew University who compare the behavior of IDF soldiers to the behavior of SS soldiers.’ “

By supporting Moshe Zimmermann‘s comparison of the Waffen-SS and the IDF Professor Wilhelm Kempf is attacking Jews and Holocaust survivors like Abraham Foxman and Alexander Brenner, who both did publicly criticize Zimmermann.

A final example from Kempfs lecture in Dublin 2009. He writes:

“Fourth: Also the response to statements which overtly contain anti-Semitic content and/or provoke anti-Semitic sentiments is often not unambiguous. Although the acceptance of the statement in example No. 8 (“It would be preferable if the Jews would leave the Middle East”) implies the delegitimation of the Jews and the denial of Israel’s right of existence, even a hard core Neo-Nazi, who fears that “the Jews” might return to Germany might reject it.”

This is another cultural relativist approach to minimize antisemitism by hypothetically inventing wrong cases. If Kempf was aware of Neo-Nazi ideology in Germany he knew that they agree with Palestinian extremism. The answer is: they want the Jews to leave Israel, destination is not Germany, rather the Mediterranean sea. It is ridiculous to invent a Neo-Nazi who might reject this example No. 8 (“It would be preferable if the Jews would leave the Middle East”), but it helps Prof. Kempf to downplay anti-Zionist antisemitism. In fact German Neo-Nazis made propaganda for a rally in the heart of Berlin in January 2009, literally saying (like all other anti-Israeli rallies): “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza“.

This case study of a lecture of a typical German scholar indicates the following: even hardcore anti-Jewish activism like suicide bombing or the comparison of Israel with Nazi Germany are seen as not entirely antisemitic. Without saying here, he follows his colleague (one of the few scholars on antisemitism Kempf is quoting, by the way), Prof. Werner Bergmann. See Interview with Prof. Bergmann in Neue Zuericher Zeitung, February 9, 2009. He claims that Muslims just were in fear for their relatives in Gaza, etc. He does not explain what the slogans “Death to the Jews” and “Olmert is a son of a dog” have to do with worry about family in Gaza. In consequence, he says, it is something totally different if German leftist or right-wingers are against Israel, compared to anti-Israel hatred of Muslims. Really?

This is the end of serious research on antisemitism, if we always say: it depends on your standpoint! ‘If you are a Jew and killed in such an attack – bad for you. If you are a Western scholar who seeks peace and a bi-national Israel, it’s fine’, for example. Kempf goes so far as to say it is also not necessarily anti-Semitic to compare Israel with Nazi Germany. He does not give a single argument. To compare the only democracy in the Middle East and the most human army in our world, as a British Col. Richard Kemp most recently said at the UN in a hearing on the Goldstone report, with the worst regime ever, National Socialism, is the most extreme (not only but also ‘academic’) form of Jew-hatred. To say, as Kempf does, such comparison ‘might be made with bad (antisemitic) intentions, but not necessarily so,’ was beyond my horizon, before having read Kempf’s piece. Such a downplaying of genocidal antisemitism is fashionable.

Such a comparison is not just anti-Israel antisemitism, it’s also part of, to use Dovid Katz’s word, “Holocaust Obfuscation,” a tendency mostly associated with the Baltics and Eastern Europe to compare crimes of the Soviet Union with the unprecedented crimes of the Germans and their friends and followers in Lithuania and elsewhere. To use the reference of Nazi Germany and the Shoah, because the Shoah is the core of National Socialism, to ‘help’ Jews not to give up their “high moral standard,” is an absurd, and extremely horrifying argumentation. It denies any specifics of the Holocaust– it is Holocaust obfuscation.

Wilhelm Kempf is a typical German scholar who always wants to differentiate between good and bad anti-Zionism, so to say. One of the worst examples he refers to is proof for his own producing of antisemitism: he literally claims that not every comparison of Israel with the Nazis/Germans is antisemitic. He insinuates that some people using this ‘argument’ just want to help Jews not to lose their “high moral standard”. In fact every comparison of the Jewish state with National Socialism is antisemitic!

His reference is Israeli historian Moshe Zimmermann who just lost a lawsuit in 2004 exactly on that topic, comparison of the IDF special forces with the Waffen-SS. The fact that Kempf’s research did not prompt a scandal at the conference of Political Psychology in Dublin this July, and the fact that his research is well funded e.g. by the biggest academic research foundation in Germany, “German Research Foundation” (DFG), are proof of his mainstream attempt to downplay antisemitism, and, even worse, to produce antisemitism by claiming at least two things: first he says that it is not necessarily antisemitic to support suicide bombing; second he says that not every comparison of Israel with Nazi Germany is antisemitic. Number one and number two are typical examples of antisemitism in the 21st century and Prof. Kempf contributes with his kind of research to this fashionable form of resentment.

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