Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Monat: Februar 2019

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“Please give me some latkes before you kill me”: Jews and neo-Nazis in Germany

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Dr. Clemens Heni, 11. Februar 2019

The Times of Israel (Blogs)

Our climate is in trouble. Both the climate and climate change as well as the political climate, the political cultures of our societies. My piece about journalist Henryk M. Broder on Tablet Magazine on Monday, February 4, has created some noise among the Far Right. That is no surprise and indicates the importance of the article.

Tablet’s David P. Goldman used “Google translate” to read the German article by Broder in the daily Die Welt. Goldman’s core sentence is the following: “Neither Clemens Heni nor anyone else has the right to scold Henryk Broder for speaking to the AfD, however.”

We have sympathy for a Western naive who doesn’t understand that parties that idolize German history are not to be “negotiated with” and that such legitimization is one of the greatest dangers facing both central and eastern Europe in different ways.

Goldman pleads for an end of Holocaust memory: “My advice to Germans: stop obsessing about the past.” He wants to forget the dead Jews of the Shoah and has no idea about the relationship of forgetting and antisemitism, or he loves the idea that European nations are more than happy to have such a Jewish voice to stop commemorating their crimes. He has no conception about contemporary Europe, Germany and the Western world or likes the  movement underway in Europe and other parts of the world to promote nationalism and Trumpism, to downplay, ignore, forget, obfuscate or deny the uniqueness of the Shoah, the unprecedented character of the Holocaust and the fact that Jews were killed because they were Jews.

According to a CNN poll, 40% of Germans between age 18 and 34 have “no” or “little” knowledge about the Holocaust. In other European countries this shocking percentage is smaller, but still depressing (33%). According to the CNN survey some 25% of Hungarians believe the entire world is to 20% Jewish. 20% of British and Polish young people believe the same. Many more antisemitic myths exist among the European youth.

In January 2018, Lev Golinkin puts it splendidly in the New York Times. A Jew from the Soviet Union, who left the USSR in the 1980s, he knows about the denial or just not mentioning of the Shoah under communist (or state socialist) regimes. Today, though, he sees the threat of forgetting in the Western world and those parts of the former Soviet Union where antisemitism and forgetting are on the rise:

“Today, however, the American Jewish community — including Jewish lawmakers in Washington — is largely silent about the widespread Holocaust distortion being carried out by Eastern European allies. Breaking that silence is imperative, especially given the current global rise of anti-Semitism and the disturbing correlation between Holocaust revisionism and violence against living Jews.”

Perhaps the Goldmans of this world want even more percent of young people in Germany who do not know what their grandparents did during Nazi Germany, the Second World War and the Holocaust? Forgetting the killed Jews is antisemitic in itself, but it also fuels today’s antisemitism, just look at the grotesque numbers of Jews Hungarian, Polish or British young people believe to live on this planet.

Do we need Jewish kosher stamps for forgetting the past and embracing the Far Right? These kind of authors have no problem with antidemocratic regimes and developments, as long as they do not come from the Muslim world. This hypocrisy is well documented in political science and other parts of scholarship and on blogs, Op-Ed pieces, conferences etc. Another aspect is the fact that such authors as Goldman harm both the Jews in the diaspora as well as Israel. For them, Zionism translates into bigotry, and the love for extreme right-wing movements all over Europe, despite the fact that Jewish communities all over Europe know of the threat of the Far Right as well as the danger of Jihad and post-colonial or left-wing anti-Zionism.

In his Tablet piece, Goldman absolves Italian Salvini from his right-wing extremist agenda and praises him alongside with the equally far right government in Austria under Kurz, with (former?) neo-Nazi Strache from the Freedom Party (FPÖ) as main representative of Austria’s most antisemitic party.

Contrary to the fantasies of Tablet’s David P. Goldman, the biggest threat for Jews in Germany are still those almost six million voters for the AfD and their fans, who chanted, “We will build an underground to Auschwitz”.

Contrary to Tablet and Goldman, the Central Council of Jews in Germany is well aware of the antisemitic threat deriving from the AfD. The Jewish Community Berlin held a memorial event at the 80th anniversary of the nights of pogroms in 1938 in November 2018. During the event in the Synagogue at Ryke Street in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (in the former East-Berlin of the German Democratic Republic until 1990) the head of the Central Council Josef Schuster emphasized the following: They invited all parties in the German Parliament, but not the right-wing extremist and antisemitic AfD. Schuster said, “It would have been unbearable for our community to have representatives of that party [AfD] among us tonight when we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the night of pogroms.”

In a representative poll in summer 2018, the result was no surprise. Asked, if “Jews have too much influence,” some 17% to 20% of supporters of the mainstream parties like the Social Democrats, the Greens or the Libertarians responded with “yes.” That is already a shocking number. Even much worse, 55 percent of followers of the AfD said “yes.”

August 27, 2018, neo-Nazis attacked a Jewish restaurant in the city of Chemnitz. October 6, 2018, far right people attacked a Persian restaurant as well and injured the owner severely.

German Jews and the Antifa in Germany know much better than Tablet or Goldman about the threat of neo-Nazis and right-wing antisemitism.

Muslim antisemitism is a topic, we deal with as well – contrary to Goldman, I wrote the entry about Germany in the World Almanac of Islamism (last update in 2018), published by the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C. In 2011, I did a study (410 pages) about Islamic studies and antisemitism in Germany after 9/11. My PhD was about the political culture in the Federal Republik of Germany from 1970 through 2005, nationalism, antisemitism, racism and anti-Americanism during that period. I do not need right-wing extremist American authors (non-Jewish and Jewish) and media outlets to tell me about the wide range of antisemitism in Germany, to be sure. The first time, we publicly attacked Muslim antisemitism was in 2002 with the German “Muslim-Market,” an online page that promoted a form of BDS before BDS was founded, for example. Goldman is part of the racist tent that insinuates that all refugees are antisemites and dangerous and he ignores that most Muslim antisemitic attacks come from homegrown Islamists and Muslims. Someone who knows Germany should know these facts.

Ignoring reality and joining the AfD ideology, Goldman writes:

“Merkel has put German Jews in a dilemma. After street attacks by young Muslims, the Central Council of Jews in Germany warned Jews not to walk in public with a kippah. Chancellor Merkel deplored the attacks, but her migration policy made them inevitable. Consequently, a small group of German Jews joined the AfD, arguing that the greatest threat of anti-Semitism comes overwhelmingly from Muslim migrants and their supporters on the left.”

This is exactly the ideology of the Pegida (“Patriots against the Islamization of the Occident”) movement and of all right-wing extremist circles. Not a word about the shocking situation with hundreds and hundreds of deaths in the Mediterranean Sea during the “refugee” crisis in 2015 alone. In fact, we have a Nazi crisis and Tablet now is part of the problem. They promote fake news, lies, distortions and right-wing propaganda. June 25, 2018, a nasty crowd of Pegida people shouted enthusiastically “perish by drowning!,” when a speaker talked about refugees.

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However, this is not at all about an attack of an unprofessional writer and online magazine against my person. The problem goes much deeper. It is about Jews who support the enemies of the Jewish people. I already wrote about this in 2017 at the Times of Israel (TOI). Since then, the situation has even worsened.

Remembrance of the Holocaust is a crucial issue in our times. Eastern Europe is a case in point. Many politicians there distort the history, praise their own nationalist and pro-Nazi leaders and call them “anti-communist heroes.” It is mainstream in Eastern Europe to equate Nazi Germany to Stalinism and to distort the Holocaust. The Red-equals-Brown-ideology is a main aspect of today’s antisemitism. The Prague Declaration from 2008 and their European attempt to have a common European Memorial day, August 23, 1939, instead of Holocaust Memorial Day, speaks volumes about anti-communist and Holocaust distorting antisemitism. For newcomers, check out the scholarly articles by Professor Dovid Katz on the Holocaust, antisemitism and the Red-equals-Brown or Double-Genocide ideology.

Holocaust distortion and the Red-equals-Brown ideology is not at all an East European invention. Take the “Black Book of Communism” from 1997 in France, where the Holocaust looks harmless and tiny compared to the supposedly “100 million victims of Communism.” As if horrible regimes like Stalinism killed an entire people. They did not. The killing in the Soviet Union was not based on ethnicity like Nazi Germany’s eliminationist antisemitism. The antisemitic title “Red Holocaust” was used by German historian Horst Möller in 1998, when he edited a book with articles who are in support of the “Black Book of Communism,” including a piece by Joachim Gauck, who signed the Holocaust distorting Prague Declaration and became German President (2012–2017).

The same dangerous ideology can be found in the US, like at the “Victims of Communism” monument in Washington, D.C., erected in 2007 under George W. Bush. In their initial statement, the organizers wrote that “the Bolshevik Revolution gave birth to the deadliest ideology of mankind”. That is an antisemitic denial of the worst ideology of mankind, Nazi Germany’s. The trope that Nazi Germany was not capitalist, but socialist in nature, is common among neo-Nazis and right-wing extremist scholars and authors. AfD politician Marc Jongen invoked that ideology just two days after Broder spoke at the AfD in the German Bundestag, and attacked Holocaust remembrance.

The fact, that Goldman is a colleague of Jongen and knows him in person, is no surprise at all. Still, Goldman is unable and unwilling to decode the dog whistle of Jongen’s and the AfD’s antisemitism. Framing Nazi Germany as “socialist” is antisemitic, as it denies that Nazi Germany was both capitalist and antisemitic. Jongen and many right-wingers depend on the word “socialist.” That allows them to deny the uniqueness of the Shoah (despite claptrap in Jongen’s speech that there might be something special about the Holocaust, but all other parties in the German parliament understand his right-wing extremist and Holocaust distorting agenda) and to put Nazism in the very same box as Stalinism and Communism. Neo-Nazis understand that dog whistle and Ernst Nolte would have been proud of Jongen.

Jongen has been first criticized in the field of Art, Design and Architecture for his far right politics by professor in architecture Stephan Trüby in 2015. The journal in architecture Baumeister published an open letter criticizing the pupil of German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, Marc Jongen. Several professors in architecture and related fields signed an open letter against Jongen, who at the time was editor of a book series. They criticize his nationalist approach and activism for the AfD. The list includes Prof. Ruedi Baur (Haute école d’art et de design, Genf),Prof. Dr. Friedrich von Borries (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Alexander Gutzmer (Architekturmagazin Baumeister; Quadriga University Berlin), Prof. Dr. Anke Haarmann (Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Lars Koch (Technische Universität Dresden), Prof. Dr. Cornelia Ortlieb (Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg), Prof. Dr. Michaela Ott (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Stephan Trüby (Technische Universität München), Prof. Dr. Elisabeth von Samsonow (Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien), Prof. Dr. Kathrin Wildner (HafenCity Universität Hamburg).

Trüby is also a critic of „reconstructionist architecture“ like in Frankfurt, where the old-town has been rebuilt – and the voids of the past have been destroyed, no one should remember why Frankfurt was bombed and what happened during Nazi Germany in that town. Trüby found out that far right activists and local politicians were initiative for that kind of architecture, before the mainstream parties joined the project.

In September 2017, during a hearing on racism at the Parliament of the State of Thuringia in Erfurt, Jongen was among the “experts,” and showed his racist thinking, as the other experts analyzed. For example, he bases his thinking on the category of “race” and believes that there is something pure “German” which can be passed on from generation to generation. The denial of the fact, that everyone can become a German when it comes to refugees or immigrants is a common trope among today’s Far Right. On a Facebook post after the hearing, Jongen referred to Gilad Atzmon, a musician from the UK, a self-declared ex-Jew and antisemite who detests Israel.

Then, Jongen’s ally Goldman even accuses the party of the Greens, which is a mainstream, centrist and not left-wing party:

“Jongen reproached the German Left for ignoring the crimes of Communism and for its belief that ‘the Germans are evil, Germany is a criminal nation, and it would be best if Germany were to disappear.’ That is a view often expressed by leaders of Germany’s Green Party.”

That is fake news and no serious homepage or magazine would ever have published it. Tablet Magazine and its editor Jacob Siegel did. That is such absurd a statement, not fact based but ideology driven. It is nationalist and antisemitic. Why? Germans are portrayed as victims of those who remember the German crimes. Scholarship calls that kind of rejection of Holocaust remembrance “secondary antisemitism.” Secondary antisemitism is a form of antisemitism after the Shoah. It is a scholarly term not many Americans, for example, know (but that is not the fault of the term).

The term “secondary antisemitism” was coined by Peter Schönbach, a co-worker of Theodor W. Adorno, around 1960. For example, they had those Germans (West-Germans at the time) in mind, who equated or compared the Holocaust and German crimes to the allies and the bombing of Dresden. That is a typical neo-Nazi trope ever since, many right-wingers call it “Bomb holocaust” to equate the situation of ordinary Germans during the war to the Jews during the Shoah. Secondary antisemitism is a crucial term and scholarly tool to analyze antisemitism.

Writer Martin Walser used that antisemitic language and ideology in his acceptance speech for the Book Prize of the German Book Trade in October 1998. He portrayed the poor Germans as victims of a “moral cudgel Auschwitz.” Standing ovations in Frankfurt’s St. Paul Cathedral followed, with the exception of three people, among them the then head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Ignatz Bubis and his wife Ida.

Political scientist Lars Rensmann helped introducing the term “secondary antisemitism” in the German and international debate since 1998, when he first published a book (in German) on “Critical Theory about Antisemitism,” including the concept of “secondary antisemitism.”

In an interview of Jongen with New Right leader Götz Kubitschek in the New Right journal “Sezession” in June 2016, Jongen attacks Merkel because of her pro-Israel stance. Merkel used the term “reason of state” to emphasize her very strong commitment to defend the Jewish state, a term German President Joachim Gauck did not use when he visited Israel, as journalist Alan Posener pointed out in his critique of Jongen and Kubitschek. In the very same interview, Kubitschek promotes a typical right-wing extremist and antisemitic trope: he says that he might go to Auschwitz one day and on his way back he will then stop in Dresden. This is the exact secondary antisemitic position by millions of Germans, not only by neo-Nazis. They know that the denial of the Holocaust is a crime in Germany, therefore they distort history and trivialize the Holocaust.

Journalist Tuvia Tenenbom once visited Kubitschek and found him and his neo-Nazi like folks rather lovely.

Like Kubitschek Broder says in his typical vulgar tone, that “it is bad manners to put your feet on the table, to burp when you eat or to call the 12 worst years in German history a piece of shit of a bird.” This ridiculous list speaks volumes about Broder himself. For him, antisemitism is a kind of distaste like burping. He himself did a book “Forget about Auschwitz.”

The statement by Goldman is right-wing extremist in its own right and obviously based on the talks he has with extremist politicians in Germany from the Far Right, mainly the AfD.

Why? Well, the two leaders of the Greens are Robert Habeck, who is rather a popstar and proud of Germany. The co-head of the party of the Greens is Annalena Baerbock, also a mainstream politician who would never ever make such remarks (“and it would be best if Germany were to disappear”). They are both anti-Nazi, of course, but part of the right-of-center wing of their Party. Another leading politician of the Greens is Cem Özdemir, who is also part of the more conservative wing of the Greens and not at all “anti-German.” That accusation, though, is part of the hardcore racist agenda of the AfD against politicians such as Özdemir, who is an anti-Nazi and anti-AfD.

This is proof, again, that Tablet’s Goldman has no idea about German society, let alone the leadership of the party of the Greens. Even the party of the Left is very much pro-German and nationalist, take Sahra Wagenknecht, head of the fraction of the party of the Left in the Bundestag, as an example.

Goldman’s ally Jongen frames Nazi Germany as “socialist”. In reality, Nazi Germany was based on “German Socialism,” which is not socialist at all, but based on the capitalist nature of bourgeois society, with a specific volkish, antisemitic and German touch. Good historians or political scientists and other scholars in the humanities and social sciences know that of course. Agitators like the AfD put Communism and Nazism in one box. That absolves them for the German crimes and gives anti-left-wing neo-Nazis a free ride. Anti-urbanism, anti-individualism and the search for a new community of the people (“Volksgemeinschaft”) that both excludes foreigners as well as German Jews, was the ideological fundament of “German socialism.” Ernst Niekisch was among the propagandists of that concept, as political scientist Michael Pittwald has shown. Spengler wanted a German way of “democracy” and rejected any kind of universal human rights or universalist ideas of statehood.

For those interested in a serious analysis of the origins of National Socialism I’d like to remind you to the concept of “German Socialism.” “German Socialism” was based on capitalism, private property and small business (and big German business as well) and a strong state, and antisemitic resentment against the international big trusts and ‘finance capital’ while embracing the “German worker” and in particular the German middle class and the German peasants of course.

National Socialism was about capitalism, German way, based on anti-Marxism as Klaus Fritzsche has shown in 1976 in his study of the “Tat-Kreis” around Hans Zehrer. One could also analyze the völkisch concept of socialism and anti-Roman thinking by Ernst Niekisch and his German-Protestant national revolutionaries, whose main enemy was ‘the Jew’ and the working class likewise. Look at Joseph Goebbels’ and his Nazi pamphlet Der Nazi-Sozi from 1926, which was a major antisemitic booklet and portrayed Jews as “flea.” Nazi-Sozi meant “National Socialist” and translated into pro-capitalist and anti-Jewish. Of course, the Right does not want to face reality, therefore they proclaim Nazis were socialists like “real” socialists were.

Prussian authoritarianism was a core element for the Nazi movement. Combined with a German form of “socialism” that was anti-Marxist in nature, it was the ideology of nationalists such as Oswald Spengler. Without joining the Nazi movement himself, he paved the way for Nazi Germany. No surprise, that Goldman’s acronym is “Spengler.” As political scientist Kurt Sontheimer has shown in the 1960s, Spengler was a leading voice in destroying the Weimar democracy. Spengler’s “Prussia and Sozialismus” (“Preußentum und Sozialismus”) was anti-liberal, and based on his racist idea that every people has its own way of statehood. Spengler detested big cities and a heterogeneous, diverse society. Anti-universalism was a core component of all racist and nationalist thinkers in Weimar Germany. “German Socialism” was then framed “National Socialism” and became the name for Nazi Germany. Anti-Liberalism, anti-Marxism and antisemitism were the elements of “German Socialism.” Anti-individualism and a strong, authoritarian state, the need for a “Führer” were part of it.

Alice Weidel, co-chair of the AfD in the German Bundestag, invited members of her party from her electoral district. July 10, the day after that group had visited Weidel, they went to a tour through the Memorial Site of the former concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, north of Berlin. The group made antisemitic comments, a person denied the existence of gas chambers and the Holocaust and the tour was then stopped by the shocked guide. These are the fans of Alice Weidel. After Weidel had made her foto with Broder, the star author for German right-wing extremists was greeted by Martin Renner, MP in the Bundestag of the AfD. Renner praised Broder for his “courage” and emphasized that he always has a look at the homepage of Broder’s “Axis of the Good” (“Achse des Guten” or “Achgut”), when he is angry about our world. Like other antisemites, Renner distorts the capitalist and bourgeois as well as antisemitic character of Nazi Germany by framing them as “collectivists and socialists” during a debate in the Bundestag in February 2018.

For beginners: from a political scientist point of view, we can explain why the Far Right is right-wing extremist. At a typical AfD rally with Weidel and others in the frontline, they held a poster that read “Freedom instead of Socialism,” many AfD groups share that trope. It is an old parole of the conservative movement in Germany like the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party Christian-Social Union (CSU) during the election campaign of 1976 and before. “Freedom” translates into the denial of criticism of the capitalist system, for example. The AfD is just the latest, most extreme and most dangerous development of this anti-Left agenda of vast parts of the mainstream in Germany. They are on the edge of the right wing. That does of course not ignore the fact, that equally vast parts of the left are anti-Zionist, or distort the Holocaust via post-colonial universalization of the unprecedented crimes committed by Germans against the Jews.

Left-wing radicals, though, as I explained in an interview journalist Katja Thorwarth made with me in December 2017 in the daily Frankfurter Rundschau, is the opposite of the bourgeois society. Left-wing radicalism is not the extreme of the left-of-center Social Democrats, but something that goes beyond the dominant political, cultural and economic systems we know from history. Left-wing radicalism is in search for a place where no one has ever been.

Zionist Gershom Scholem had sympathies for anarchism and such a left-wing radical utopia.

That kind of radical left-wingers were against Stalinism and the East European regimes during the Cold War, but also against the existing regimes in the West, from America and West-Germany, let alone Thatcherism and other forms of bourgeois society.

On the other side, right-wing extremism is a place we already know: Sobibor, Auschwitz, Treblinka, this is the culmination of German antisemitic history, the most extreme form of an already bourgeois and antisemitic German Empire and even before, if we look at antisemitism among German romantics, for example. However, even the most extremist far right people before and even after 1933 could not anticipate Auschwitz and the destruction of European Jewry. They wanted it, but no one could anticipate how and when the Germans would succeed in their eliminations plan to kill European Jewry. For example, they could not anticipate the help of many thousands of local killers like in the Baltics, Ukraine or Croatia and many other places, including Hungary.

Today, anti-left politics go hand in hand with Holocaust distortion. Several examples from the US alone, make this crystal clear: Take, for example, TV programs like Glenn Beck on Fox News in January 2010, when he published his first documentary and spoke about the fantasy of a “Revolutionary Holocaust,” aiming at the Left and communism, again. That is nothing but a form of antisemitism, equating the specific crime against a specific people, the Jews, with totally unspecific (that was at the core of Stalinism) crimes against political enemies. Jews were not political enemies of anyone. Germans had the fanatical fear of being “Jewish inside,” as one leading Nazi agitator, who later converted to Islam and went to the Middle East, Johann von Leers, called it.

Then, take the Bill O’Reilly Show on FoxNews in America on October 21, 2016. In it, O’Reilly talks to the young director of the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington DC, Marion Smith. They speak about “100 million victims of Communism,” a number that makes six million Jews and the Shoah a tiny part and nothing special. And indeed, O’Reilly literally went on to call Hitler and Stalin “the same thing.” He equated those who built Auschwitz to those who liberated it.

Anti-communism still sells and is at the core of all conservative, far right and right-wing extremist people. At the end of the day, they share a common goal: defeat “the” Jew and the Left, including the “Jewish-Bolshevik” coalition, as the Nazis and other antisemites long before and after 1933 framed it.

When a regional legislature in Ukraine calls 2019 the “Stepan Bandera Year” things become clear. On January 30, 2019, the Washington Post puts it like this:

“Bandera’s forces fought alongside the Nazis and were implicated in the murder of thousands of Jews. As Poroshenko was visiting Israel, another memorial was being erected in Kiev for Symon Petliura, whose troops are linked to pogroms that killed as many as 50,000 Jews after World War I. Netanyahu’s outreach in eastern Europe is part of his larger strategy of forging alliances to counter the criticism Israel faces in the United Nations and other international forums over its treatment of the Palestinians. (…) ‘It’s a specific maneuver that legitimizes anti-Semitism and borders on Holocaust denial,’ said Tamar Zandberg, leader of the dovish Meretz party.”

Broder ironically made fun of those who frame the AfD a Nazi like party, because he defames former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor. When she spoke in January at the Bavarian Parliament about the threat of the far right, most MPs of the AfD left the room.

In his talk, Broder’s main enemy was 16-year-old pupil Greta Thunberg from Sweden, the eco-activist who attacks the capitalist and industrialist world and urges politicians to take action against climate change. Like the AfD, Broder is in denial about man-made climate change. In just a few days, Lundberg has become an enemy of the Far Right in Germany, as journalist Katja Thorwarth analyzes in the Frankfurter Rundschau.

As I wrote in my Tablet piece, Broder gave his speech just days after the German Federal Agency for Protection of the Constitution decided to investigate if the AfD is a serious threat to the German constitution and to German society. Goldman is in denial about these findings of the Germany Agency for the Protection of the Constitution. Perhaps he knows much better about German and AfD antisemitism and extremism, as he is a champion in using Google translate?

The worst antisemitic massacre in America took place in a Pittsburgh Synagogue on October 27, 2018. Eleven people were shot by a neo-Nazi who followed the agitation of Trump against liberal Jews who support Latino refugees from America’s southern neighbors.

Neo-Nazis are also champions of the science of dog whistles, like the word “globalists,” aiming at Jews running the economy at Wall Street. As said, in Germany the AfD plays the dog whistle alongside openly racist, vulgar and antisemitic remarks about the purported need to end Holocaust remembrance.

Islamists and jihads share the same authoritarian character with AfD politicians and their huge fan base. Both have an antidemocratic, family based, homophobic, anti-feminist and anti-individual as well as anti-Holocaust remembrance ideology.

One of the most dangerous agitators of the AfD is Goebbels-wannabee Björn Höcke. He is in favor of a volkish Germany with only Germans or “German Germans” while immigrants whose parents came from somewhere else could not count as “real” Germans. As a political scientist, I dealt in my 2006 doctorate with the New Right and political culture in Germany. The term “German Germany” is from Henning Eichberg (1942–2017), who had been the leading New Right agitator in Germany from the late 1960s onwards.

Broder himself immigrated with his parents, Holocaust survivors from Poland, to the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1950s. He now openly supports the party who would have rejected him and his parents in the first place.

Conservatives, the New Right (or Alt Right), and the AfD agitate against the Left and gender mainstreaming. They deny climate change, defame Islam as such (and do not fight Islamism).

Broder knows all this. For him it is nothing but fun to speak to “Nazis” or “Krypto-Nazis” etc. He intentionally supports the AfD because it fits his own extreme right-wing agenda. In 2007, I had criticized his far-right positions, when he supported TV moderator Eva Herman who publicly flaunted her positive feelings about Hitler’s Autobahn and about family politics. In many other pieces, I also argued against the fanatic right-wing activism of Broder, who is, at the same time, the best-known pro-Israel agitator in Germany. Israel deserves better.

Broder’s flirt with the AfD is at least as bad as Netanyahu doing photo-ops with Hungary’s Orbán, as the invitation of the fascism and antisemitism prone Steve Bannon by the Zionist Organization of America, as the prayer for Donald S. Trump in January 2017 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

While many in the Antifa in Germany fight both left-wing pro-BDS people, and all neo-Nazis like the AfD, those like Broder now take sides, again and again, with antisemites, racists and right-wing extremist agitators like the AfD. Many in the German pro-Israel camp defend Broder.

Broder, Goldman and Tablet Magazine obviously want a kosher neo-Nazi like Party in the German Parliament. In addition, Goldman is in love with Helmut Kohl, the former (1982–1998) conservative chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), who honored Nazi SS soldiers at a cemetery in Bitburg with US President Ronald Reagan in May 1985. Kohl also financially supported an organization dedicated to support former Nazis and SS men, the HIAG. In 1984, during his first visit to Israel, Kohl invited former Nazi party member (NSDAP) Kurt Ziesel to join him. Ziesel became a member of the Nazi party already during the Weimar Republic in 1931. He helped to destroy the first German democracy and paved the way for Nazi Germany and the Shoah.

Broder’s tone was like: “Give me some latkes before you kill me”. And they will serve those latkes never fear.

Tablet might think it is a pro-Jewish magazine. Tablet is not a pro-Jewish magazine as long as it take sides with the most anti-Jewish party in German society and Parliament. Goldman is a long time Tablet author, music critic and he is friends with Jongen who defames Merkel’s pro-Israel position and promotes racism, nationalism and vulgar hatred of the left, gender mainstreaming and defames necessary criticism of German nationalism, including criticism of his anti-intellectual, anti-humanist teacher and superstar, Peter Sloterdijk, one of the uncounted Heidegger followers of our times.

I was among the co-founders of what could be called the unofficial pro-Israel NGO camp in Germany in 2002 and even before. In January 2001, during the second Intifada, before 9/11, we did a brochure about left-wing antisemitism and Palestinian terrorism in Entebbe in 1976 and the repercussions among a specific anti-Zionist wing of the radical left in Germany at the time. I was editor-in-chief of the monthly Jüdische Rundschau in summer and fall 2014. After I realized the right-wing position (also misogynism) of the publisher, Rafael Korenzecher, I left the paper. I was a co-founder of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) in 2007. In 2017, this tiny group suspended me du to my antifascist position and stance against the pro-Trump position of SPME in the US. These developments as well as the collaboration of Netanyahu with right-wing extremist politicians in Europe as well as his posing as Israeli’s Trump in the current electoral campaign indicates a decline in decency in the pro-Israel camp.

American support for the Jewish state was always based on bipartisanship. Trump, his ilk and Netanyahu are destroying or already have destroyed this bipartisanship. Without Communist help in 1947/48, Israel would not have won the War of Independence, let alone the UN vote on November 29, 1947. Today, the pro-Israel camp believes that only the most hardcore capitalist, the most sexist, racist, anti-Muslim and Holocaust distorting wing of the Western world will be their ally. On the contrary, this predilection will be part of the decline of bipartisan support for the Jewish state. Just listen to an ardent Zionist, head of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder:

“But the greatest threat is to the future of the Jewish people. For over 200 years, modern Judaism has aligned itself with enlightenment. The Jews of the new era have fused our national pride and religious affiliation with a dedication to human progress, worldly culture and morality. Conservatives and liberals, we all believe in a just Zionism and a pluralistic Judaism that respects every human being. So when members of Israel’s current government unintentionally undermine the covenant between Judaism and enlightenment, they crush the core of contemporary Jewish existence.”

Lauder as well as left-wing Zionists and critics of anti-liberalism, antisemitism and the Far Right know: Zionism deserves much better and David Ben-Gurion and Theodor Herzl would be ashamed of the current situation, I am sure.

***

January 29, 2019, Henryk M. Broder spoke at an event of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and they celebrated him as their hero. He was proud and happy, because not even his “own family honors” him like Martin Renner from the AfD did in his inauguration of Broder’s talk. David Goldman and Tablet celebrate Broder and the Far Right, they promote lies about the Greens in Germany and base Goldman’s piece on Google translate and the agitation of Jongen and other AfD politicians. Let us have a final look at some activities of AfD politicians. The faction of the AfD in the city of Potsdam posted a picture of NGO activist Anetta Kahane, showing her with a big nose and big lips, a typical antisemitic caricature.

At a rally in Chemnitz – after the above mentioned attack on a Jewish restaurant and Nazi salutes by many neo-Nazis – AfD politicians and MPs in the Bundestag, marched alongside with criminal and convicted Hitler-fan Lutz Bachmann, right-wing publisher Götz Kubitschek as well as several former leaders of neo-Nazi groups like “National Socialists Chemnitz,” “Wiking Youth,” or “Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend” (“Homeland proud German Youth”) as well as far-right political activist Michael Stürzenberger. The latter is of particular interest, as he is known for his agitation against the circumcision. In 2012, Stürzenberger wrote that Jews like Muslims, if they keep on practicing the circumcision, have “no place in this country” (Germany), as journalist Jörg Lau from the weekly Die Zeit documented with disgust.

Broder knows very well that neo-Nazis would destroy him as a Jew after they took power and “cleaned the Augean stables”.

But he might hope like Tablet or Goldman that he will just be shot some days or even a few weeks after his female neighbor – the journalist with her tender anarcho-communist, pro-immigrant, eco-socialist, anticapitalist and antifascist, left-wing Zionist ideas, her punk-rock style hair, her “Refugees Welcome” T-Shirt and her button “No one is illegal” – would be raped, tortured and killed (based on what AfD followers or neo-Nazis post all the time on social media).

©ClemensHeni

Why is Germany’s Best Known Jewish Journalist Giving Speeches to Its Holocaust-Downplaying, Far-Right Party?

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Dr. Clemens Heni, 4. Februar 2019

Tablet Magazine

At 72, Henryk M. Broder has spent many decades establishing himself as one of Germany’s premier political troublemakers. The influential columnist, gadfly, and media provocateur is almost certainly the country’s best known Jewish journalist and has devoted himself to the cause of defending Israel. On the surface, it would have seemed quite strange and alarming, then, when a photo appeared last week showing Broder being hugged by a smiling Alice Weidel, co-chair of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the closest thing contemporary Germany has to a Nazi party. And yet for those in Germany who have followed Broder’s career, this was not a surprise but the sad and predictable outcome of a sordid decline.

The photo was not the result of an ambush or unfortunate mishap. On Jan. 29, Broder accepted an invitation to address the AfD in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament. It was the first time the distinguished writer had ever been invited to address a party of the Bundestag and, as is clear in the transcripts of his speech published in the following days, he relished the opportunity to, in his own words, provoke a “shitstorm.” Broder has now openly embraced the AfD and just days after the German Federal Agency for Protection of the Constitution began an investigation into whether the party poses a serious threat to the German constitution and society.

How has it come to this, one must ask, that the son of Holocaust survivors appears in photo ops with Nazi heirs? The answer is that Broder is a virulent case of what we might call Trumpism avant la lettre. This includes vulgarism, denial of the right-wing extremist threat (Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville) demonization of immigrants, Muslims, the left in general, and other “enemies of the people.” It is a form of derangement operative in Germany as well as in the U.S. It seizes the mind and convinces people who ought to know better—even those who, like Broder, claim to be champions of the Jewish people—that the existence of anti-Semitism on the left means that one need not take it seriously on the right. It convinces such people that all the explicitly fascistic and anti-Semitic outbursts can be written off as anomalies or performative excesses and needn’t be considered a genuine threat.

When he made the decision to speak in the Bundestag, Broder must have known what the German government agency’s recent investigation makes clear—that the AfD are not just right-wing “populists” but a party deliberately constructed in the mold of its fascist predecessors. The party traffics in neo-Nazi slogans like “Germany for Germans” (“Deutschland den Deutschen”). A particularly dangerous AfD member is the Goebbels-wannabee Björn Höcke from the far-right wing of the far-right party, an ultra-extremist faction known in Germany as “The Wing” (“Der Flügel”). Höcke campaigns for a volkish Germany reserved for “German Germans” and in which immigrants whose parents were born elsewhere would be purged from the country.

Broder surely knew about the attacks against immigrants, Muslims, and left wingers in which the AfD is implicated—including firebombs at refugee homes. And, of course, he must have known as well about the increase in anti-Semitic violence in Germany and about the AfD’s public efforts to suppress historical memory and deny German guilt for the Holocaust.

The evolution for Broder from young left-wing radical to his current position entertaining neo-Nazis in the Bundestag has been a strange one. In a 2013 profile in Tablet, David Mikics called him “Germany’s Most Annoying Jew,” and compared Broder to the deceased gadfly Christopher Hitchens—another writer with a penchant for provocation and whiplash-inducing swerves in his public positions. In 1986, Broder published a book, The Eternal Anti-Semite, that took aim at all kind of anti-Semites, from conventional right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis to the far left in all its esoteric varieties. At the heart of the book, there is an argument, as Mikics wrote, that “there’s a link between the obsessive thinking about the Holocaust in Germany and what he sees as an increasing German tendency to condemn Israel.”

Yet the members of the AfD for whom Broder offered his recent friendly address exhibit a different disturbing tendency regarding the Holocaust. Rather than obsessing over it as a vehicle for condemning Israel they suggest that it wasn’t really so bad and thus not worth the fuss, let alone an historical obsession. Notoriously, AfD chapter leader Björn Höcke has called the German Holocaust Memorial a “memorial of shame.”

The younger Broder could be bold and insightful. He was correct in 1976 when he condemned the anti-Semites of the German left for joining forces with Palestinian anti-Semites in Entebbe. He was also correct in documenting the spread of anti-Americanism and pro-Islamism across vast parts of the German mainstream immediately after 9/11.

Indeed, there was a time when Broder demonstrated a degree of intellectual consistency in his condemnations of anti-Semitism; attacks on targets of both the left and the right. In 2007, he mocked Jewish journalist Michel Friedman, former deputy president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, for the foolhardy idea of interviewing Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi Horst Mahler. The incident prompted Broder to write in the leading weekly political magazine Der Spiegel, that some Jews have “no dignity” at all in their willingness to speak to Jew haters. He argued, as well, against the pro-Iranian ultra-Orthodox Vienna “Chief Rabbi” Moshe Arye Friedman who went to Tehran’s infamous Holocaust denial conference.

But a staunch opposition to Islamism and the “Red-Green Axis” of the left and political Islam, along with his fervent support for Israel made him hostile toward the values of political correctness and German immigration policies and increasingly sympathetic to the far right.

After a long drift into far-right circles, Broder’s final break with reality seems to have occurred in 2014, a few years earlier than the rise of Trumpism in the U.S., with the right-wing nationalist Pegida movement, “Patriots against the Islamization of the Occident.”

In October 2014, Pegida “anti-Islamization” rallies in the city of Dresden drew more than 15,000 people. Pegida founder Lutz Bachmann, infamous for posing with Hitler-style hair and mustache, was charged in 2016 with inciting racial hatred for referring to refugees as “cattle” and “scumbags” and later convicted by German authorities. After Pegida supporters demonstrated on German Unification Day in 2016 in Dresden—a rally that included a neo-Nazi holding up a poster featuring a Goebbels quote—Broder was asked for his reaction and told a German TV station that he was happy with the outcome of the event.

Pegida was a step on the path of Broder’s conversion that has culminated with his embrace of the AfD. Thus, in the curious logic of the day, out of concern for the protection of the Jews from Islamist violence in Germany and the defense of the state of Israel, Broder now aligns himself with political parties that promote explicit anti-Semitism. In a depressing sign of the times, most of the pro-Israel circles and activists in Germany have either supported Broder or remained publicly silent about his radicalization, despite a growing disgust with his actions expressed in private conversations and communications. Truly, Germany’s Zionists deserve better.

Rather than honestly confront the AfD’s beliefs, Broder has attempted to laugh them off with a weak, sanitizing irony, as when he reflected to his audience in the Bundestag, “when does a Jew get the opportunity to perform in a room full of Nazis, neo-Nazis, crypto-Nazis and para-Nazis?” Or when he quipped: “Some of you may never have seen a real Jew in nature and are now waiting for the room to fill with the smell of garlic and sulfur.”

But here is the simple, unironic truth: Almost 6 million Germans voted for the AfD in the last election on September 24, 2017. At no time since the Allies defeated the Nazis in 1945, has a party so actively involved in promoting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial had as many deputies in the German parliament as the AfD has now or as much power in the country. Leading AfD politicians like Frauke Petry and Beatrix von Storch have publicly discussed whether they want to use weaponry to greet incoming refugees. AfD member Wolfgang Gedeon openly endorses the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his 2012 book, The Green Communism and the Dictatorship of Minorities, a book that was displayed at several party conventions of the AfD. AfD MP Markus Frohnmaier, meanwhile, employs neo-Nazis like Manuel Ochsenreiter, a supporter of the Iranian regime. The entire AfD party opposes the freedom of religious observance for Jewish laws like circumcision, and shechita, part of the kosher dietary regulations. One party MP in Saxony made an official inquiry about the “number of people who are circumcised in Saxony.”

Just two days after the photograph surfaced of the “Jewish-Nazi coalition” in the Bundestag, a member of the AfD, Marc Jongen, spoke there. He took the opportunity to aggressively reject commemoration of the Holocaust as a German crime, instead framing Nazi Germany as just another form of “Socialism” like Stalinism or Communism.

The accusation that Broder once flung at another journalist has landed back on him. Today, it is he who poses for an embrace with a grinning leader of his country’s most antisemitic party, who has no dignity.

P.S.: See also: “Please give me some latkes before you kill me”: Jews and neo-Nazis in Germany

©ClemensHeni

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