Islamic Antisemitism

Islamic Antisemitism and the Failure of Western Academia

Experiences from YALE, America and the Western world

A few ideas about a tremendously important topic in the 21st century

Lecture, held at YALE University, Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA), “A YIISA Symposium:  Understanding Facets of Contemporary Antisemitism”, April 3, 2009, Davies Auditorium

Dr. Clemens Heni, Yale University, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA)

Dedicated to Leslie Lebl, Connecticut[1]


1) Introduction

In a time when people prefer to write or read twitter, facebook, or just use their cell phone 24/7, writing and reading long or longer articles, let alone books, is not fashionable. This is a problem in so far as some topics – if not most – need deep intellectual research for the important aspects to surface.[2] The following text tries to shed at least some light on the biggest threat of our times to Jews, Israel and the entire Western world: Islamic Antisemitism, an essential component of the project of Islamic Jihad.

The failure of Western Academia in addressing the threat, deriving from Islamic Jihad in general and Islamic anti-Semitism in particular, is worrying. As faculty respective Post-Doc at YALE I experienced both silence and ignorance on an unprecedented level the last nine months. After having lived before in post-Holocaust Germany, I was very happy to live in America, the free world, and conduct research on anti-Semitism at the only university-based institution dealing especially with anti-Semitism on an American campus. But this was overshadowed by an event at that very campus on my first official day early in September 2008. The Yale political union, an undergraduate organization, invited John Mearsheimer, infamous co-author of the anti-Zionist bestseller “The Israel Lobby” and voted to agree with him “to end the special relations of the US with Israel”. Of course, those undergraduates have no power now, but they will likely occupy influential positions in the US and abroad in the future personal. The academic establishment is already on the road to cultural relativism, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, no doubt. And this is the reason why Islamic antisemitism has not become a topic of Middle East Studies, in political science, not even among those very few institutions who deal with anti-Semitism like the Berlin center for research on Antisemitism (ZfA).

I witnessed scholars at Yale/YIISA who reject publicly the term “emergency” if someone mentions the existential threat of the Iranian regime for Israel or the danger of Islamic Jihad in general. “Emergency can lead to anti-democratic action” they claim. Ah, really? Isn’t the everyday environment of a Muslim country like Iran threatening enough? Or at least the fact that women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive cars, because an accident could create the ‘danger’ that such a female driver gets in contact with a male mechanic etc.?  Or the ongoing performance, on a daily basis, of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Arab and Muslim world, isn’t this an emergency for every single Muslim girl which should lead the free world to act and protect those female children? And of course: The launching of rockets from Gaza into Israeli territory, the denial of the Holocaust during the Munich security conference in early February 2009 by Ali Larijani backing his president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, isn’t this an emergency for the free world, the West, and Israel and the Jews?[3] Isn’t it an emergency if this same president Ahmadinejad gets a visa and can speak at the United Nations in New York City, as he did on September 23, 2008? I was among some 10,000 protesters the day before in New York City, part of an angry but powerful crowd of friends of Israel, including Irvin Cotler, Professor of Law in Canada, Dalia Itzik, former speaker of the Knesset, and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. This is such a pathetic event, as Charles Small, director at the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) used to say, to hear Wiesel urging the world to act against a “second Holocaust”. Meanwhile, where are all those famous and well-paid professors, doctors, who speak out against anti-Semitism?

Ahmadinejad’s speech the following day was one of the nastiest anti-Semitic speeches ever held at the UN. “Zionists” are his enemies when he defames them as “Zionist murderers,” when he sees Russia’s aggression in Georgia as actually stemming from NATO and the “Zionists” behind it, and of course, the “Zionists” are accused of their imagined role as “dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US.”  Finally, he agitates against a “Zionist network” and a “Zionist regime.” To Ahmadinejad as for the Germans during National Socialism – here, the comparison obviously holds – Jews are Zionists and vice versa. Every Jew a Zionist = enemy, everywhere.

That makes Iran’s attacks against Israel so typical: Israel stands for Jewry in total; however, Iran’s anti-Semitism is fueled not only by repression of memory and Holocaust denial, derealization and projection of guilt; time-honored primary patterns of hatred of Jews such as the “Jewish world conspiracy,” “the Jewish capitalist” and the small, but influential group of “the Jews” in general can be discerned as well. For this reason, this speech must be taken seriously and recognized as an icon for the delusional ideology which aims to kill Jews, promoted by present-day Iran, which is also echoed by other regimes and movements. Anti-Zionism is the core of Ahmadinejad’s ideology, and – ever since Auschwitz, which he does not acknowledge – this anti-Zionism has only been code for “the Jew”!

Not only against this background do all the refined differentiations between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism burst asunder. The anti-Semitism of the 21st century is first and foremost anti-Zionist, with the clearest of consciences and with the European  mainstream in its wake. Mullah-fascism has been allowed to show its ugly face again in New York City, and the world looks on, applauds, laughs, smiles, grins or plays it down.

Is such a speech of Iranian president not a case of emergency, especially if we take into consideration that the very same regime denies the Holocaust and prepares another one, as they repeatedly said they fight for a “world without Zionism” and want to “wipe Israel of the map”? Not an emergency?

Well, I know well the theoretical background of such people: fashionable Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. He is one of the most quoted philosophers of our time (and I saw his books on the bookshelves of these Ivy League scholars), walking in the footsteps of Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger, probably the most quoted philosopher of the 20st century. Agamben wrote in 2003 the following lines:

„The USA Patriot Act issued by the U.S. Senate on October 26, 2001, already allowed the attorney general to ‘take into custody’ any alien suspected of activities that endangered ‘the national security of the United States,’ but within seven days the alien had to be either released or charged with the violation of immigration laws or some other criminal offense. What is new about President Bush’s order is that it radically erases any legal status of the individual, thus producing a legally unnamable and unclassifiable being. Not only do the Taliban captured in Afghanistan not enjoy the status of POW’s as defined by the Geneva Convention, they do not even have the status of persons charged with a crime according to American laws. (…) The only thing to which it could possibly be compared is the legal situation of the Jews in the Nazi Lager [camps], who, along with their citizenship, had lost every legal identity, but at least retained their identity as Jews”[4].

There are a lot of things to criticize here, including Agamben’s view on law, democracy (which he, coming from the “radical left”, detests like his godfather from the radical right, Carl Schmitt), but for that, this essay is too short. Most important is the following: Such a comparison is anti-Semitic, because it banalizes the Holocaust. Jews were killed by Germans, intentionally. To compare the policies of an American government with those unprecedented crimes against humanity is just unbelievable. That kind of anti-Semitism sells and becomes mainstream in academia. If Agamben ever had spoken with Holocaust survivors or with empathy  listened to witnesses of Holocaust survivors (he could use the first video archive of Holocaust testimonies at YALE library, for example, including videos from the late 1970s) he could not make such comparisons. But the European anti-Bush climate after 9/11 allowed anti-Western hatred to surface in an unprecedented way.

The fact, that Agamben nevertheless is taken seriously in the Western world, especially in “intellectual circles” who prefer “the latest thing” in philosophy, is a sign of decay in serious scholarly and intellectual research in the 21st century.[5] The “universalization” of National Socialism, the Holocaust, and concentration camps, is part of my criticism of new antisemitism.[6]

Recently, on April 2, 2009, Yossi Klein Halevi from Jerusalem based Shalem Center gave a very impressive and important lecture at YIISA declaring that there is our fight against “Islamic Jihad” and nothing else. This has to be the focus and not old-school right-wing extremism, etc.

I myself gave a lecture at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Hebrew University in December 2002, ending with the following:

“In Germany a predilection for dead Jews is maintained. There is no way to support living Jews in fighting antisemitism and anti-Zionism today.”

Since then Islamic antisemitism has increased and research is stuck in old-school approaches, mostly stopping the analysis of anti-Semitism in 1945, or, worse, sympathizing with Islamic anti-Semitism (framed as “criticism of Israel” or “Human Rights policies”) of today, in which twisted way ever.

I want to address at least some important elements of Islamic anti-Semitism. Let’s begin with the city of Berlin, capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.

1) Some weeks ago in Berlin, there were rallies against the military response of the IDF in Gaza to several years’ of launching rockets toward Israel territory, into the city of Sderot and elsewhere. A video of one of these rallies shows the antisemitism of the 9,000-strong crowd, mostly Muslims living in Berlin.[7] This is a new development even in Berlin. In other cities, like Duisburg, some 10,000 also mostly Muslim demonstrators urged the police to take away two Israeli flags which were set in the angle of a bedroom window and on a balcony of two German students.[8] The woman and the man living in that apartment wanted to show their solidarity with Israel. The police illegally entered their apartment to calm the anti-Semitic crowd in front of the building.

2) The same day, on January 10, 2009, a big rally took place in San Francisco, California. Posters read “Gaza = Auschwitz”. This is what I called in an article I published last November in Jewish Political Studies Review “soft-core denial of the Holocaust”.[9] It trivializes the Holocaust on the one hand and demonizes Israel and the Jews on the other. I would note that according to the working definition of the EUMC in Europe, this is anti-Semitic.[10]

What are scholars on anti-Semitism saying to these events in Germany? Professor Werner Bergmann, one of two Professors of the only university-based institution which deals with anti-Semitism in Germany, the above mentioned Center for research on anti-Semitism at the Technical University in Berlin (ZfA), said in an interview with the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung on February 9, 2009, that it is something different if Muslims are “articulating their anger and fear for relatives living in Gaza”, compared with (other) Germans from the extreme left or right, who probably just have an anti-Semitic intention to join such rallies.[11] Well: why does a Palestinian, probably born in Berlin, say “Olmert is a son of a dog” or “Zionist are fascist”. What is the difference for a Jew if a left-wing German or a radical Muslim German says “Kill the Jews”? Is the latter an expression of fear for relatives in Gaza?

It is blatantly anti-Semitic, as it also threatens Jews in Berlin.  Bergmann’s approach shows how even sympathetic mainstream academics have been addressing Muslim anti-Semitism: they are in denial.

3) President Obama gave most recently a video address to Iran on the Newroz new year. Without accusing Iran of denying the Holocaust or making conferences à la “A World without Zionism” he pleaded for good relations among “civilizations”. In what sense is Iran under the Mullahs since 1979 still civilized – this is a question Obama does not raise. The response, though, of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was very prompt and interesting[12]:

“My advice to the American officials – to the president and to the others – is to think carefully about these things. Give it to someone to translate it for you – but don’t give it to the Zionists to translate…“[13]

We can decode the anti-Semitism of that speech if we look at the word “Zionists” – Khamenei imagines that those people working in radio-stations, at TV channels and the press, those who will translate his Farsi speech into English, German, Spanish or French, are all “Zionists”. He imagines a world conspiracy, e.g. that media and all translators are run by the Jews (read “Zionists”).

American writer and Iranian born Amil Imani urged President Obama to be less naïve about the attempt of the US Administration to discuss with the Iranian regime. Imani urges the American president not to betray the Iranian people another time:

“President Obama said, ‘The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations.’ But, Mr. President, the Iranian nation does not wish to be associated with this occupying regime, whatsoever. In fact, they want the Islamic Republic to be thrown into the dustbin of history as quickly as possible. Mr. President, today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the greatest threats to the stability of the civilized world and humanity at large. It continues to impose its horrendous ideology on the Iranian population.“[14]

Another scholar, Philip Carl Salzman, Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, is critical about Obama’s attempt to „engage” with regimes like Iran:

“The President’s emphasis on the commonalities of Americans and Iranians reflects the major cultural frame of “progressive” American culture, a frame which emphasizes and celebrates “diversity” and “inclusion.” In this frame, Iranians and Americans should be able to get along just the way Iranian-Americans get along with Spanish-, Jewish-, African-, Italian-, and other hyphenated-Americans. We are all human, the President seems to say, and we all want the same things, which, if we work together, we can all gain. This is another assumption of the “progressive” American frame: all can be winners; there need be no losers; life is not a zero-sum game. And, if we are all winners, we can all be equal, a third element of the frame.[15]

2) The biggest Threat of the 21st century so far: Islamic Jihad

On September 11, 2001, the Islamist movement started its war against the United States, the West, and the Jews by killing 3,000 people by flying hijacked aircraft into the twin towers of World Trade Center, and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Literally they declared war even before in 1998 and the Arab world has been at war with Israel since 1948, but 9/11 is the murderous symbol of the ongoing war of Islamic Jihad against the West. The concept of Islamic Jihad goes beyond anti-Semitism. Though for Israel and the Jews, Islamic antisemitism has already become an existential threat. On October 26, 2005, at the Conference “A World without Zionism”, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared:

“Our dear Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine.”[16]

The nuclear ambitions of Iran clearly show the realistic threat which derives from Islamic antisemitism. Worse, the statement was backed up by a Holocaust denial conference in December 2006 in Teheran.  The collaboration with Neonazis and European or Western Holocaust deniers underlines the radical and dangerous profile of today’s Iran.

By the way, for those who are interested in the history of Western anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism: as early as 1969, a Dutch court clearly stated that to be “anti-Israel” is “anti-Semitic”.[17]

Bin Laden, the head behind the massacre of 9/11, states that Jews stand behind all evil, a point on which Sunni and Shi’i Islam coincide. This is another aspect of the danger of Islamic antisemitism which goes far beyond the Arab world or the Israeli-Arab conflict. Gabriel Schoenfeld states in his book “The return of antisemitism:

“But in bin Laden’s conception, the United States is not the prime mover in this relationship; rather, its leaders have ‘fallen victim to Jewish Zionist blackmail’.”[18]

Historian Robert Wistrich from the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Hebrew University, wrote in 2003 about the continuity of Arabic and Islamic anti-Semitism from National Socialism to our times:

“It was surely no accident that Haj Amin al-Husseini, the foremost Palestinian Arab leader {whose Nazi biography is still whitewashed by the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C., see the criticism of the recently renewed Homepage of the Memorial by “Holocaust Museum Watch”[19]}, who spent much of the war years in Berlin, found such strong ideological similarities between Islam and National Socialism, especially in their authoritarianism, anti-communism and hatred of the Jews. His speeches often began with anti-Jewish quotations from the Qur’an. In March 1944, speaking on Radio Berlin, he called on the Arabs to rise up: ‘Kill the Jews, wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion.’”[20]

3) Islamic anti-Semitism and the Qur’an

Let me now go back in history to look for other roots of Islamic anti-Semitism. The Quran contains several clearly anti-Jewish suras, like Jews have to be humiliated “because they had disbelieved the signs of God and slain the prophets unrightfully” (Sura 2:61/58)[21] “O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them. God guides not the people of the evildoers” (Sura 5:51).[22] “And well you know there were those among you that transgressed the Sabbath, and We said to them, Be you apes, miserably slinking!” (Sura 2:65).[23] I cannot go into details of the emergence of Islam, but one central aspect has to be mentioned. Some scholars have criticized the attempt to define the relationship of Muslims and Jews as somehow a “golden time”.  Professor Ronald L. Nettler published for the Vidal Sassoon Center already in 1986 an important piece about Islam and anti-Semitism by criticizing that attempt including a criticism of the renowned Bernard Lewis. He says:

“Muhhammad’s Emigration (hijrah) to Medina marked the beginning of Islamic history. Islam’s calendar started with the Hijarah, because it was through Muhammad’s enhanced role as a political leader in Medina that Islam first fulfilled its destiny as a polity. It was as though Islam had not yet fully existed in Mecca, where the nascent ideal ummah, political community, could never have been realized. (…) Muslims’ views emerging from Medina consequently reflected the worst possible attitudes toward the Jews. Islam’s earlier ambivalence, desiring its own confirmation from the people of the Jewish Book while at the same time remaining condescending toward this same People and Book, had here almost vanished. Now there was absolute confidence in Islam’s superiority and finality, with the notion of the Jews and polytheists being ‘the worst enemies of the Believers.’ The element of contradiction and confrontation became paramount. The earlier possibility of accommodation had disappeared. Here in the heat of bad relations, the foundation of continuing theological antipathy toward the Jews was irrevocably laid.”[24]

Psychologist Neil Kressel writes in 2007: In the early years of Islam the

“caliph Umar expelled the Jews from Khaibar and all Arabia, relying on a provision of the surrender that said that the terms could be revoked, if the Muslims so desired. When Hezbollah named their missile Khaibar-1, therefore, it portrayed its battle against Jews and Israel as a continuation of one started in Muhammad’s day. (…) The Palestinian Sunni militant organization Hamas, similarly, has employed the Khaibar name in its slogan: ‘Khaibar, Khaibar, O Jews, [Muhammad’s] Army will return.’”[25]

This foundation of Islam has to be kept in mind, if we read about today’s hatred of Islamist Jihadists, or prayers in mosques with Islamicist Imams.[26]

Another story of the theological source of the Islam is of interest: In 1833 German-Jewish Rabbi Abraham Geiger, one of the most important Reform oriented Jews of his time, published his PhD about “Judaism and Islam”.[27] The core of his analysis is the assumption that Mohammed borrowed a lot of ideas for Islam from the Jews and Judaism. At the end of his study he refers to several anti-Jewish quotes in the Qur’an, claiming that it was necessary for Mohammed to set some opposite rules or ideas in regard to Judaism, to veil his borrowing from Jewish sources.

There is of course a big scholarly debate about the history of the Jews in Islam, to which I cannot refer here. The concept of being Dhimmi has been analyzed for example by Bat Ye’or in 1980.[28] Although the history of Christianity was worse for the Jews than Islam, Islam was nonetheless a threat for the Jews. Jews were (like Christians) not allowed to ride horses or camels and were subject to all the other restrictions of dhimmi status[29].

The fact is that pogroms occurred in Muslim societies against the Jews like in Marocco’s Fez in 1465, in Granada in 1066, and in other places.[30] Muslim leaders introduced special insignia for Jews to wear as early as 717, hundreds of years before Christianity – which was nonetheless worse than Islam in regard to Jew-hatred, pogroms and anti-Semitism – invented a kind of yellow star in 1215 during the second Lateran council.

A crucial moment for the Islamic antisemitism of today was a conference in 1968 held at the Egyptian Al-Azhar mosque and university (the “Yale of the Islamic world”).  It was the “fourth conference of the Academy of Islamic Research”[31]. Islamic leaders and scholars from twenty-four countries produced a ”quasi-official position of Islam to the Jews”, defining the Jews as “the worst enemies of Islam” or “the best friends of Satan”. Avi Beker concludes:

“This Al-Azhar document made the Jews not just the humiliated dhimmis of the past, but rather a challenge to the primacy of Islam.”[32]

Professor Emmanuel Sivan presented a lecture in Jerusalem in 1985, claiming that 1977/78 was a “watershed”[33] for the radicalization of Islam and the Arabs. He meant the Egypt-Israeli peace process and the Iranian Revolution, which took place in early 1979. These “watershed” years and the fight against “’Westoxication’ (as Khomeini called it)”[34] together are crucial for our understanding of Islamic anti-Semitism. Taken into account that Sivan or Nettler dealt with these topics in the mid 1980s we see very clearly the failure up until today of Western academics outside Israel to understand the underlying dynamic, both in the Mideast conflict and more generally in the clash between radical Islam and the Western world. One of the few early Western scholars who analyzed Islam’s impact on politics is Daniel Pipes. He wrote in the early 1980s “In the Path of God”, and one of his points is to focus on the Western blindness to understand the importance of religion in the Islamic world.[35]

4) Import and Islamization of Christian anti-Semitism: Blood Libel (1840 until today)

The old Christian accusation that Jews killed a gentile boy in order to make matzah out of his blood was probably first used in the Muslim world on a large scale in 1840 during the Damascus affair. A Catholic priest, Father Thomas, and his servant, had disappeared and the Jews were accused of Blood Libel. Several other accusations of that kind followed in the Muslim world thereafter. Today the Blood Libel is still an important part of Muslim anti-Semitism, see for example the Egyptian TV series “Rider without a horse”.[36]

5) Import of modern anti-Semitism: World conspiracy, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

This TV Series is also based on the infamous “Protocols”. One of the most dangerous imports from European anti-Semitism is definitely the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian secret service forgery first published in 1905. Hermann Goedsche (better known as Sir John Retcliffe) set a milestone for the ‘Anti-Semitic International’ as early as 1868 in his novel Biarritz. In a decisive scene of this novel, which is set by the grave of a rabbi in the Prague cemetery, Jews from all twelve tribes gather every hundred years to consult on their power and domination over the world:

“After each participant has spoken, everyone swears an oath to the Golden Calf which rises from the rabbi’s grave in a ghostlike blue glow.[37]

When this fantasy was transmitted internationally, the Jews’ consultations as set down by Goedsche are finally transformed into the speech of one rabbi, as Hadassa Ben-Itto reports:

“’The Rabbi’s Speech’ was soon distributed in Russia and other countries, as if it were an authentic document; it was a precursor of the later Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which were more detailed and sophisticated.”[38]

One of the most influential Muslim ‘scholars’ in the 20th century was Sayyid Qutb. He is best known for his piece “Our Struggle with the Jews”, written in 1950. The core is the accusation of a Jewish conspiracy against Islam, based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Saudi editors of the first widely used edition of Qutb’s text in 1970 added some quotes from the Protocols to the text.[39] The importance of the Protocols for the Charter of Hamas, for example, cannot be overestimated. This Charter from 1988 says, for example, that “the enemy” (the Jews or Zionists) are behind the “French Revolution”, the “Communist Revolution”, “World War II”, the “Rotary Clubs” and the “Freemasons”.[40]

However, scholars like Christopher Partridge and Ron Geaves, both full professors, and critical of the Protocols, deny this Islamic anti-Semitic framework:

“The accusations of ‘antisemitism’ directed toward the Muslim world are a significant strategy within the struggle for world opinion.”[41]

The kind of scholarship Partridge and Geaves are conducting is a strategy to deny the threat posed by Islamic anti-Semitism.

6) Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas: Death Industry, suicide killing

In 1928, Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood. Up to today this is an extremist organization, based in Egypt, spreading Islamicist ideology and anti-Semitism. He invented an “industry of death” in an article in 1938, which has been analyzed by scholar Matthias Küntzel.[42] Compare this with German philosopher Martin Heidegger and his “Vorlaufen zum Tode” (forerunning for death”) without saying that al-Banna was just importing that antihuman Islamist and suicidal and genocidal ideology. The specific Islamist and anti-hedonist word of “you love life, we love death” derives from such anti-human ideology. Suicide killing is part of the strategy especially of organizations like Hamas or Islamic Jihad. To become a “shahid”, a martyr in Islamicist thinking, has become an aim for generations of children in the Muslim and Arab world.

Efraim Karsh in his important study of “Islamic Imperialism” refers to some early Islamic sources of that “we-love-death”-ideology in Islam:

“’We have seen a people who love death more than life, and to whom this world holds not the slightest attraction,” a group of Byzantine officials in Egypt said of the invading Arabs. The great Muslim historian and sociologist Abdel Rahman Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) expressed the same idea in a somewhat more elaborate form: ‘When people possess the [right] insight into their affairs, nothing can withstand them, because their outlook is one and they share a unity of purpose for which they are willing to die.’”[43]

It would very interesting for further studies to analyze this Islamic ideology of “willing to die,” for the sake of their own religion.

7) Failure of Western Academia in addressing the problem

The fact that there have been very few conferences of scholars of Middle East studies on the topic of anti-Semitism and the special case of Islamic and Muslim antisemitism indicates the failure of these studies again and again, proving the accusation by Martin Kramer. Neil Kressel proved the same failure of psychologists and sociologists to address the topic of anti-Semitism adequately.[44] The failure of postcolonial theory, anthropology and especially those following Edward Said’s theory of Orientalism has in recent years become more and more an issue in research, though the mainstream in literature, sociology, anthropology, political science and several other involved fields remains uncritical and still is a main obstacle to fight anti-Semitism.[45]

Finally what about the parallelization of anti-Semitism with “Islamophobia”? To equate anti-Semitism as a whole with racism or prejudice has become fashionable. At the United Nations and in the Muslim world, Islamophobia is an important weapon to reject criticism of Islamic Jihad, including Islamic and Muslim anti-Semitism. Even in serious research centers like the Berlin center for research on anti-Semitism, headed by Prof. Wolfgang Benz, which organized a conference on that false equivalence equation in December 2008, Islamophobia has become an important part of their work. I criticized this conference in the Jerusalem Post –  “Antisemitism is not the same as Islamophobia”[46] – and since then, there has been a debate in both German and English speaking blogs in the Internet, as well as in newspapers like Haaretz, Jerusalem Post or the Wall Street Journal. Benz and his colleagues declared that we “know” the stigmatization of Muslims today from “the history of anti-Semitism”. This is not true, rather it trivializes the history of anti-Semitism in an unprecedented way for an institute supposed to be expert regarding antisemitism. Contrary to the failure of the Berlin Institute ZfA historian Walter Laqueur analyzes why “Islamophobia” is a completely wrong term:

“If there was growing animosity toward Muslims in Europe in recent years, it was not in response to their religion per se but due to the fact that most terrorist attacks were carried out by Muslims; ‘terrorphobia’ would have been a more accurate term, and if those involved in terrorism had been Eskimos, dread and fear would have been directed against them, even though the overwhelming majority of Eskimos had not been involved in the violence. If the condemnation of a few is transferred to a whole group this is of course unfair but probably inevitable, especially if a significant part of the whole group does not clearly distance itself from the ‘activists’ among them or discourage violence but, on the contrary, expresses support or at least understanding for the terrorists. According to public opinion polls in 2005, a majority of Muslims in countries such as Jordan and Nigeria and 38 percent in Pakistan made it known that they had at least some confidence in Al Quaeda, and so did significant minorities in European Muslim communities. Violent anti-Western rhetoric and emphasis on the necessity of jihad (holy war) certainly did not help matters.”[47]

The invention of the term “Islamophobia” is also part of the  struggle for victimhood, and the Palestinians, the “Third World”, or the Muslims (and even other groups like the left) want to be victims like the Jews, an argument advanced by Professor Dina Porat from the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, given at the above mentioned Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in February 2008 at the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. Porat criticized such attempts to trivialize the Shoah. In her view such “struggle of victimhood” is based on to anti-Semitism. Trivialization of the Holocaust is a new form of anti-Semitism. Some scholars also compare all crimes or ‘genocides’ with the Holocaust. French Philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy analyzes very precisely why the Holocaust was unique.[48] Today I just leave this as a remark, though the importance of understanding the uniqueness of the Holocaust is crucial for the study of antisemitism.

A lot of people, scholars, politicians, and activists, still believe most problems on earth, including Islamic anti-Semitism, which is mostly not framed as such, are the direct result of lack of education, poverty or being an outsider. The case of anti-Semitism clearly shows that this is not the fact. Political psychologist Neil Kressel says:

“We must recognize that anti-Semitism is no mere by-product of poverty, lack of education, or lack of access to power. As we have seen, Islamic universities and power centers are the source of much Jew-hatred.”[49]

Kressel points to the individual as well as to the societal situation in order to better understand what happens if a person becomes an anti-Semite.[50] To look on the personal level is also essential part of classical psychoanalytical theory, as point out by Sigmund Freud, and his followers Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and others.

There are also differences between antisemitism in Muslim countries and Muslim anti-Semitism in Western countries, especially Europe. We all know that some of the 9/11 terrorists like Mohammed Atta were well educated at the university in the city of Hamburg.

One disturbing anti-Semitic event happened at York University in Toronto, Canada, in February 2009. After a student meeting several Jewish students were attacked and taken hostage in their Hillel, until the police (after an hour) escorted them out of the building. The well organized and established crowd consisted of both left-wing and Muslim anti-Zionists; perhaps other groups were also involved. For the Jewish students this was a deep shock – being confronted with a crowd screaming “Intifada” or chanting, “Die, bitch, go back to Israel,” and “Die, Jew, get the hell off campus.”[51] The faculty kept silent. No outrage, no “emergency”.

Some weeks later, during a lecture Charles Small gave at Brown University, several dozen Muslim students made noise and created a disruption every time Charles mentioned the Holocaust. Such Holocaust denial or trivialization at an American campus is difficult for the liberal mind to tolerate. Most frightening is the following: after such actions, whether in Toronto, Providence or elsewhere, you cannot expect faculty to stand up and fight for Jewish students or at least to speak out against Israel-hatred and anti-Semitism. No way.

To the contrary, outstanding academics like feminist Judith Butler, known for her anti-Israel attitude, linguist Noam Chomsky, – and you find several of his books in every university bookstore in the US and abroad – infamous for his anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism and his soft-core denial of the Holocaust by saying the US needs some “denazification” and his support for hard-core Holocaust deniers like Robert Faurisson[52], are demonizing Israel. Hundreds of people attend events on Campus with anti-Zionist anti-Semites like Norman Finkelstein – compare this with the numbers of people who are interested in fighting anti-Semitism on campus, even in the United States![53]

Also Frenchmen Pierre Bourdieu or Jacques Derrida, or those dozens of academics, mostly British, who called for a boycott of Israel in the midst of the Gaza war, including people like Eric Hobsbawn, Ted Honderich, Etienne Balibar, Ilan Pappé, Slavoj Zizek. [54] They indicate what I call a decay in political awareness. The do not care about the genocidal ideology of Hamas, they do not care about the anti-Semitic hate speeches of Hamas, and of course they do not care about children and kindergartens in the south of Israel, like in Sderot, where people have been terrorized by rockets from the Gaza strip for several years now. The withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza strip encouraged, obviously, Hamas and its friends to be even more aggressive against Israel and the Jews. The decay of such intellectuals and scholars like Hobsbawn, Balibar or Zizek is described very well in one the most important books of our time: Bernard-Henri Lévy’s “Left in Dark Times. A stand against the new barbarism”.[55] Lévy is engaged, he does not keep silent, and he attacks people by naming them, if necessary, to indicate the unbelievable failure of Western academia in general and the Left in particular. Lévy is probably the loudest Left European anti-fascist voice of today’s world. He reminds us that antifascism was about National Socialism. And today we have to deal with “Fascislamism”, the Islamic version of fascism, a term he has created. He recalls his intellectual and political development since the 1960s.

“…what I do know for sure is that we still had some reflexes, and when that hatred became visible to the naked eye in the organizations that embraced al-Husseini, when his legacy was embraced by people for whom he remained, until his death and beyond, the true master thinker, when, in other words, commands from Fatah killed eleven Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics, a shiver of horror went through everyone who had anything to do with the Left.”[56]

And today? Suicide bombers in Iraq or in Israel, or in Islamabad, or in Tunisia, or in London, or in Madrid, or, of course, 9/11, or Mumbai, India’s 11/26 as they call it, WHO speaks out against these acts of Islamic Jihad? Obama and the US Administration now even denies the “War on Terror”. They prefer to talk about “Overseas contingency operations”. And a suicide bombing is now called a “man-caused disaster”. It sounds like I am exaggerating or kidding you. No, this is the reality.

It is the same political culture in the US: ignoring Islamic Antisemitism and blaming Israel instead: Again, Bernard-Henri Lévy:

“And I am thinking of a tiny event, almost ignored by the press but immensely powerful symbolically: a declaration by Cindy Sheehan, America’s antiwar mother, the mother of all the mothers whose children had been killed in Iraq and who had to be shown respect because the anti-Bush climate demanded it; I am thinking of the terrible thing she said, which accused the Jewish state of the worst crime a state can be accused of: ‘My son joined the army to protect America, not Israel’; she had had enough of these ‘lies,’, these ‘treasons,’ ‘which we mothers know well are for the sole profit of Israel’ – Jewish state, sacrificial idol: the innocent flesh of American children burnt before the altar of Israel; once again, it’s all there…”[57]

Professor Ruth R. Wisse wrote an important article, most recently, in Commentary: “Forgetting Zion”. Her article expresses her deep concern about the future of support for the Jewish State of Israel, especially in North America, where most Jews outside Israel are living.

“A Jewish child growing up as I did in Montreal during the 1940’s absorbed Zionism as naturally as Canadian ground did the snow in springtime.”[58]

She is sad that this is no longer the fact. Zionism has become an obstacle to becoming part of the establishment in the Western world, thanks to left-wing and Muslim anti-Semitism, spread over the decades. A cultural relativism which denounces universalism also undermines the struggle against bigotry and Islamic antisemitism.

Absorbing Zionism and supporting Israel for a lot of different other reasons, should be part of academic research, intellectual debate, political culture and politics likewise. Radical Muslims like neither intellectual debate, nor sex and Rock n’ Roll, nor core Western values like  freedom, democracy and universal secular law. The late Peter Viereck, founding father of conservatism in the US, wrote in a foreword for a new edition (first edition 1941!) of his famous “Metapolitics” in 2004, that the threat of Islamic Jihad is comparable with that of Nazi Germany.[59]

Referring to the title of Lévy’s book (“Left in dark times”) I state: A time when the Left – and not just the Left — but of course all of us — may become  lost in the dark winter of Islamic anti-Semitism and Islamic Jihad may not be far off.


[1] Leslie Lebl did not just help me getting invited to my first Thanksgiving, she was not just the first to invite me to her American Super Bowl Party (including one of the most impressive runs and touch-downs in the history of American Football and Super Bowl, a 100-yard interception), she was not just showing me lovely places in New England’s countryside and helped me improving my English, no: she was a lighthouse of enlightenment in the darkness of Obamania, in so difficult times for the United States, the West, Israel, and the world. She always sheds light on dangerous developments in the US, Europe, and the Muslim world. Finally without her help it would have been even more difficult to resist ‘strange’ (to use a nice word) elements of the Ivy League. Thanks, Leslie!

[2] John Podhoretz (2009): A Magazine and Its Mission, in: commentary, February 2009, pp. 3-4, here p. 3.

[3] Benjamin Weinthal (2009): ‚For us, it’s an honor to support Hamas‘, in: Jerusalem Post, 02/07/2009.

[4] Giorgio Agamben (2005): State of Exception, Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, pp. 3-4.

[5] A journalist in 2003 described Agamben splendidly: “Because Agamben must be taken seriously. That at least is the claim he has successfully defended until now. He benefits from the perfume of the radical. The Agambenian critique of democracy could not be more trenchant: today’s constitutional states are in essence nothing more than huge concentration camps. This is what he attempts to demonstrate in „Homo Sacer“, originally published in 1995, with an eclectic overview of the legal history of the West. The modern state is nothing other than a totalitarian organisation for the efficient administration of bare biological life“ (Daniel Binswanger (2005): Preacher of the profane. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben is a beacon for an entire generation of young intellectuals across Europe – and a flighty eclectic, in: http://www.signandsight.com/features/399.html (01.18.2008), first published in German in Die Weltwoche, October 13, 2005).

[6] Clemens Heni (2008): Secondary Anti-Semitism. From Hard-core to soft-core denial of the Shoah, in: Jewish Political Studies Review, 20:3-4 (Fall 2008), pp. 73-92.

[7] See the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2zWIo8GcIw (03.26.2009). At minute 0:26 they scream „Zionisten sind Faschisten – töten Kinder und Zivilisten“ (Zionists are fascists – they kill children and civilians).

[8] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNZrSSlDlz0&feature=related (03.26.2009). At the beginning of this video you also see pictures of the Berlin rally on January 17, 2009, screaming at minute 0.25 „Tod, Tod Israel“ (Death, death to Israel), 0:32 „Massenmörder Israel“ (mass murderer Israel), 0:41 “Tötet Juden” (Kill the Jews), 0:45 “Jude, Jude, feiges Schwein” (Jew, Jew, coward of a pig).

[9] Cf. Heni 2008.

[10] “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis“, EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism, see: http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/material/pub/AS/AS-WorkingDefinition-draft.pdf (03.26.2009). The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) was the predecessor of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) which was established in March 2007.

[11] The German reads like this: “Bergmann: Man muss sich vor allem davor hüten, den Antisemitismusvorwurf zu nutzen, um ein Unbehagen über die Zuwanderung zu legitimieren, indem man Muslime pauschal zu Antisemiten und Frauenfeinden macht. [Question]: Sie verharmlosen den Hass der Demonstranten. [Answer of Prof. Bergmann]: Keineswegs. Aber wenn Palästinenser, die um ihre Angehörigen und Freunde im Gazastreifen fürchten und vielleicht Familienmitglieder im Konflikt mit Israel verloren haben, ihre Wut und Angst artikulieren, dann ist das erst einmal eine Reaktion auf einen aktuellen Konflikt. Man muss das anders bewerten, als wenn deutsche Rechte oder Linke aus ideologischen Gründen so etwas tun. Akzeptabel ist es in keinem Fall, hat aber einen jeweils anderen Hintergrund“ (Judenfeindliche Haltungen nehmen kaum zu, wohl aber Straftaten. Judenfeindliche Haltungen nehmen kaum zu, wohl aber Straftaten. Wie misst man Antisemitismus? – Ein Gespräch mit Prof. Werner Bergmann, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, February 9, 2009). This interview was published (and probably made) several weeks after the documented rallies, which took place e.g. on January 10 or 17, 2009.

[12] See a video of that speech at the Homepage of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2059.htm (03.26.2009).

[13] http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=iran&ID=SP229709#_edn1 (03.26.2009). See also: ““Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? Even the language remains unchanged,“ Khamenei said. Khamenei, wearing a black turban and dark robes, said America was hated around the world for its arrogance, as the crowd chanted „Death to America.“ http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/03/20/international/i053637D69.DTL&tsp=1 (03.26.2009).

[14] Amil Imani (2009): Obama and Khamenei, in: American Thinker, March 27, 2009, http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/03/obama_and_khamenei.html (03.28.2009).

[15] Philip Carl Salzman (2009): President Obama speaks to Iran, in: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mesh/2009/03/president-obama-speaks-to-iran/ (04.01.2009).

[16] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: The World without Zionism Conference (October 26, 2005), in: Walter Laqueur/Barry Rubin (ed.) (2008): The Israel-Arab Reader. A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict. Seventh Revised and Updated Edition, New York etc.: Penguin Books, pp. 601-602, here p. 601.

[17] “On November 8, 1969 a Durch court ruled that ‘anti-Israel’ meant the samt thing as ‘anti-Semitic.’ President U.W.H. Stheeman of the court found that ‘the situation of the Jews and their common fate in the world’ were intimately linked with the existence and survival of Israel. The ruling came in an action against the newspaper De Volkskrant, the plaintiff alleging that the paper was anti-Semitic, the paper responding that it was only ‘anti-Israel.’ Judge Stheeman rejected the defendant’s plea” (Arnold Forster/Benjamin R. Epstein (1974): The New Antisemitism, New York etc.: McGra-Hill Book Company, p. 158). This is, by the way, one of the first monographs dealing with “new anti-Semitism”, in 1974.

[18] Gabriel Schoenfeld (2004): The Return of Anti-Semitism, San Francisco: Encounter books, p. 53.

[19] Is the US Holocaust Memorial Museum whitewashing the biography of the Holocaust-era mufti of Jerusalem – a notorious Nazi collaborator? So says Holocaust Museum Watch, an American group that seeks to expose Arab anti-Semitism, and which has a years-old dispute with the Holocaust Museum in Washington on the matter. At issue now is the biographical entry for the mufti, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, on the museum’s Web site. „The museum’s biography undercuts documented facts about the mufti, and, in an effort to be politically correct, seeks to exonerate him from actually murdering Jews and falsifies the historic record,“ Carol Greenwald, chairwoman of Holocaust Museum Watch, said on Tuesday” (Etgar Lefkovits (2009): US museum blasted for pro-Nazi mufti bio, in: Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2009).

[20] Robert Wistrich (2003): Totalitarian Antisemitism: A Global Menace, in: Antisemitism International. An Annual Research Journal of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. Special Issue, editor Robert Wistrich, Jerusalem: Hebrew University, pp. 13-22, here pp. 20-21; see also Matthias Küntzel (2007): Jihad and Jew-Hatred. Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, New York: Telos.

[21] See Robert Wistrich (2002): Muslim Anti-Semitism. A clear and present danger, New York: The American Jewish Committee, p. 8.

[22] Quoted in Andrew G. Bostom (ed.) (2008): The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. From Sacred Texts to Solemn History, Foreword by Ibn Warraq, Amherst: Prometheus Books, p. 218.

[23] Ibid.: 219.

[24] Ronald L. Nettler (1987): Past Trials and Present Tribulations. A Muslim Fundamentalists’s View of the Jews, Published for the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Oxford etc.: Pergamon Press (Studies in Antisemitism, Series Editor: Yehuda Bauer), p. 4.

[25] Neil J. Kressel (2007a): Bad Faith. The Danger of Religious Extremism, Amherst: Prometheus Books, p. 166.

[26] John Kelsay recently gives some more important insight in Islamic sources, based on German sociologist Max Weber and his analysis of religion as „order“, see: John Kelsay (2008): Antisemitism in Classical Islamic Sources, in: Michael Berenbaum (ed.) (2008): Not Your Father’s Antisemitism. Hatred of the Jews in the Twenty-first Century, St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House, pp. 101-117.

[27] Abraham Geiger (1833)/1896: Judaism and Islám. A Price Essay. Translated From the German by a Member of the Ladies’ League in Aid of the Delhi Mission, Madras: M.D.C.S.P.C.K. Press. The original thesis at the University of Bonn was entiteled: “Inquirator in fonts Alcorani seu legis Mohammedicae eas, qui ex Judaismo derivandi sunt”, ibid., p. v. Cf. Avi Beker (2008): The Chosen. The History of an Idea, the Anatomy of an Obsession, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 53-56; “However, before entering the enterprise of Reform Judaism, Geiger published a book on Islam under a title that strikes a dissonant chord in today’s liberal circles and would be termed as insensitive and definitely not ‘politically correct’. (…) Geiger’s concept of borrowing is alien and even dangerous in today’s clash with Islamists” (ibid., p. 54). “Geiger claims, and this sounds logical, that several religious practices of Islam were made deliberately in direct opposition of the Jews in order to widen the gulf between the religions and to please the Arabs with some compromises. That is why, unlike Judaism, supper precedes prayer and why cohabitation with the wife on the night of the fats is permitted, as well as other changes removing Jewish dietary laws (besides the prohibition of swine). In today’s intellectual environment, a scholarly work such as this written by Abraham Geiger can hardly survive, though ironically Geiger was a liberal Jew and a reformer of the Jewish religion. (…) Geiger’s thoughts on Islam from 1833 are more relevant and critical than many volumes of contemporary Middle East studies for our understanding of the most sensitive agenda the world faces today in the ‘clash of civilizations’”(ibid.: 55f.).

[28] Bat Ye’or (1980)/1985: The Dhimmi. Jews and Christians under Islam. With a Preface by Jacques Ellul. Translated from the French by David Maisel (author’s text), Paul Fenton (document section) and David Littman, Rutherford/Madison/Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; London/Toronto: Associated University Press.

[29] This is part of the ‘peaceful’ dhimmi-status. As a remark to those ‘scholars’ who want to compare “Islamophobia” of today with anti-Semitism, think about the following: which society does Muslim not allow to drive a car or a bicycle, today?

[30] Walter Laqueur (2006): The Changing Face of Antisemitism. From Ancient Times to the Present Day, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 193.

[31] Bernard Lewis (1986): Semites and Anti-Semites. An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice, New York/London: W.W. Norton & Company, p. 197.

[32] Beker 2008, p. 59.

[33] Emmanuel Sivan (1985): Islamic Fundamentalism and Antisemitism, Jerusalem: Study Circle on World Jewry in the Home of the President of Israel; Shazar Library, The Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, pp. 18-24.

[34] Sivan 1985, p. 10.

[35] Daniel Pipes (1983)/2002: In the Path of God. Islam and Political Power. With a new preface by the author, New Brunswick/London: Transaction Publishers. Pipes interestingly points to the fact that “Allah” is not a real word, instead: “In one special case, however, a well-known Arabic word is translated regularly into English: Allah. Calling the Lord of Islam Allah seems to imply that Muslims direct their prayers to a divinity who differs from that of the Jews and Christians, whereas, in fact, Muslims worship the same Lord” (p. 21).

[36] The US State Departments reported about this: „In the Middle East, our embassies have protested to host governments against practices that have allowed their institutions to promote anti-Semitism, such as the heavily watched television series Rider Without a Horse and Diaspora that respectively promoted the canard of the blood libel, and „The Protocols of Elders of Zion.“ Report on Global Anti-Semitism. January 5, 2005, July 1, 2003 – December 15, 2004, submitted by the Department of State to the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on International Relations in accordance with Section 4 of PL 108-332, December 30, 2004, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/40258.htm (03.26.2009).

[37] Hadassa Ben-Itto (1998)/2001: »Die Protokolle der Weisen von Zion« – Anatomie einer Fälschung, Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 54f.

[38] Ibid.: 55.

[39] Sayyid Qutb (1950)/1987: Our Struggle with the Jews, reprinted/documented in Nettler 1987, op. cit., pp. 72-89. An interesting aspect is the use of the word “heroes”, see the remarks of Nettler: “In many contemporary Muslim writings, particularly those of the fundamentalists, the term ‘heroes’ (abṭāl) is used ironically to refer to the secularized and Westernized leaders and intelligentsia who, in fundamentalist opinion, are often agents of the Jewish-Zionist cabal against Islam”(ibid., p. 88, footnote 8). As President Obama described George J. Mitchell, an expert in European conflicts like in Northern Ireland, as “expert” in the Middle East, this indicates clearly that he has no knowledge about the importance of language and behavior in Islam, let alone Mitchell’s ability to deal critically with anti-Semitism as a specific threat deriving for example out of political Islam today. For the importance of language and gests etc. see a work of Bernard Lewis (1988): The Political Language of Islam, Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press. Lewis begins his book – with the importance of the Islamic ‘Revolution’ in Iran in 1979, just a few years before he wrote that book. Now we have 30 years Islamic Republic Iran and the Western world still does not speak their language and fail to understand the impact of Islamic anti-Semitism in particular and Islamic language of a regime like that of Iran in general.

[40] See the analysis provided by Raphael Israeli (2000): Arab and Islamic Anti-Semitism, Shaarei Tikva: The Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR), ACPR Policy Paper NO. 104, p. 17.

[41] Christopher Partridge/Ron Geaves (2007): Antisemitism, conspiracy culture, Christianity, and Islam: the history and contemporary religious significance of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, in: James R. Lewis/Olav Hammer (ed.) (2007): The Invention of Sacred Tradition, Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press, pp. 75-95, here p. 92. The downplaying of the anti-Semitism of the Protocols as part of Islamic anti-Semitism is obvious here: “Any analysis of the reemergence of the Protocols in the Muslim world along with other historic manifestations need to take into account the propaganda struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs.” In this logic both sides are evildoers and societies which make propaganda. The fact that Israel has no “Protocols of the Elders of Gaza” is not worthy to be mentioned here.

[42] Küntzel 2007, p. 14.

[43] Efraim Karsh (2007): Islamic Imperialism. A History, New Haven/London: Yale University Pres, p. 25.

[44] Martin Kramer (2001): Ivory Towers on Sand. The failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America, Washington: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The study is now also online: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/pubPDFs/IvoryTowers.pdf (03.27.2009).

[45] See Philip Carl Salzman/Donna Robinson Divine (2008): Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israel Conflict, London/New York: Routledge.

[46] Clemens Heni (2008a): Antisemitism is not the same as Islamophobia, in: Jerusalem Post, December 3, 2008, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1236676912135 (05/06/2009).

[47] Walter Laqueur (2007): The Last Days of Europe. Epitaph for an Old Continent, New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, pp. 80-81.

[48] “And you could take the time, with those who wonder, sometimes in good faith, about the uniqueness of the Holocaust, you could take the time to explain that this uniqueness has nothing to do with body count but with a whole range of characteristics that, strange as it may seem, coincide nowhere else in all the crimes human memory recalls. The industrialization of death is one such: the gas chamber. The irrationality, the absolute madness of the project, is the second: the Turks had the feeling, well founded or not, and mostly, of course, unfounded, that they were killing, in the Armenians, a fifth column that was weakening them in their war against the Russians – there was no point in killing the Jews; none of the Nazis took the trouble to claim that there was any point to it at all; and such was the irrationality, I almost said gratuitousness, of the process that when, by chance, the need to exterminate coincided with another imperative that actually did have a point, when, in the last months of the war, when all the railways had been bombed by the Allies, the Nazis could choose between letting through a train full of fresh troops for the eastern front or a trainload of Jews bound to be transformed into Polish smoke in Auschwitz, it was the second train that had priority, since nothing was more absurd or more urgent, crazier or more vital, than killing the greatest number of Jews. And the third characteristic that, finally, makes the Holocaust unique: the project of killing the Jews down to the last one, to wipe out any trace of them on this earth where they had made the mistake of being born, to proceed to an extermination that left no survivors. A Cambodian could, theoretically at least, flee Cambodia; a Tutsi could flee Rwanda, and outside Rwanda, at least ideally, would be out of range of the machetes; the Armenians who managed to escape the forces of the Young Turk government were only rarely chased all the way to Paris, Budapest, Rome, or Warsaw (…)” (Bernard-Henri Lévy (2008): Left in Dark Times. A stand against the new barbarism. Translated by Benjamin Moser, New York: Random House, p. 159).

[49] Neil Kressel (2007): Mass hatred in the Muslim and Arab World: The Neglected Problem of Anti-Semitism, in: International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, Vol. 4, Issue 3, pp 197-215, here p. 207.

[50] „Moreover, hateful behavior is generally best understood as an interaction between personal dispositions and situational pressures“ (Kressel 2007, p. 211). “It would also be useful to explore the psychological functions of anti-Semitism in the Muslim and Arab world, perhaps constructing a social psychological typology of anti-Semites. For some, presumably, religious and ideological commitment is vitally important to the organization of their personality. For others, Jew-hatred is more social, grounded in a desire to get along in their community” (ibid.). We have to look on the “psychodynamic underpinnings of Muslim anti-Semitism” (ibid.).

[51] Tori Cheifetz (2009): Jewish students ‚held hostage‘ in Toronto Hillel, in: Jerusalem Post, February 15, 2009.

[52] Denis MacShane (2008): Globalising Hatred. The New Antisemitism, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pp. 16-19. “The US media, far from being controlled by the elders of an Israel lobby, cannot stop publishing books denouncing Israel and the machinations of its friends. Noam Chomsky was voted the most important intellectual in the world by readers of Prospect, Britain’s main intellectual monthly, in 2005. Was that an account of his writings on linguistics? Or because of his lifelong animosity to Israel and his defence of Europe’s most notorious antisemite, Roger Faurisson, who wrote ‘the alleged Hitlerite gas chambers and the alleged genocide of the Jews form one and the same historical lie’?”(ibid., p. 18).

[53] This is a remark especially for those Europeans who have little insight in the situation on Campuses in the USA in particular and the political culture of anti-Semitism in America in general. There are many differences between the US and Europe on these issues. But there are also several similarities and it is a myth that anti-Semitism is not an issue in America. It is an issue and it has been an issue since 1654, the landing of the first Jews in America. I will work and publish on this topic.

[54] Open letter, Growing outrage at the killings in Gaza, in: The Guardian, January 16, 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/16/gaza-israel-petitions (03.27.2009).

[55] Lévy 2008.

[56] Lévy 2008, pp. 170-171.

[57] Ibid., p. 164.

[58] Ruth R. Wisse (2008): Forgetting Zion, in: Commentary, October 2008, pp. 30-35.

[59] Peter Viereck 1941/(2004): Metapolitics. From Wagner and the German Romantics to Hitler. Expanded edition. With a new introduction by the author, New Brunswick/London: Transaction Publishers.

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