Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Schlagwort: anti-Zionism

How Does Modern-day Germany deal with Antisemitism? Lecture by Dr. Clemens Heni, WJC, Jerusalem

Lecture by Dr. Clemens Heni, Director, The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA, www.bicsa.org) at the World Jewish Congress Institute for Research and Policy, Jerusalem, 9a Diskin Street, Monday, May 27, 2013, 4 pm (with special thanks to Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, chief editor of the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, who organized the event, who was a great host and who is a wonderful ally!)

CAM00414On Facebook, the World Jewish Congress wrote: “On May 27, 2013, the WJC Institute for Research and Policy hosted a talk at the offices of the Institute given by Dr. Clemens Heni, director of The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA). Dr. Heni spoke on “How Does Modern-Day Germany Deal with Antisemitism?” He described the three main categories of antisemitism and how those are manifested in modern-day Germany. He stressed the widespread antisemitism in the guise of anti-Zionism that flourishes in German academia and political life. A spirited Q&A session followed his talk, in which Judge Gabriel Bach, a prosecutor at the Eichmann Trial and a native of Germany, took an active part. Institute member Dr. Nir Boms, a fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Dayan Center, moderated the event.”

 

Der World Jewish Congress und sein Institute for Research and Policy luden mich ein, am 27. Mai 2013 einen Vortrag über das heutige Deutschland und sein Verhältnis zum Antisemitismus zu halten. Unter anderem waren mehrere ehemalige Botschafter Israels anwesend. Es war eine besondere Ehre und Freude, dass sich der Staatsanwalt und stellvertretende Ankläger gegen Adolf Eichmann, Gabriel Bach (Jg. 1927), für meinen Vortrag interessierte und aktiv an der anschließenden Diskussion teilnahm. Unten stehend ist das hand-out, das ich verteilte. Der Vortrag selbst war länger und ausführlicher (13 Seiten mit 97 Fußnoten) als das Paper, das nur einige zentrale Aspekte aufführt. Vom Vortragsort in der Diskin Street hat man übrigens einen wundervollen Blick über Jerusalem und sieht vis-à-vis das israelische Parlament, die Knesset.

CAM00415

View from WJC Jerusalem to the Knesset

Gabriel Bach and Clemens Heni, Jerusalem, May 27, 2013, World Jewish Congress

How does Modern-Day Germany deal with Antisemitism?

 

What is Antisemitism and what categories of antisemitism can be analyzed?

 

Antisemitism in the 21st century is hatred of Jews, hatred of the Jewish state of Israel, and the distortion of the Holocaust.

 

There are mainly three categories of antisemitism:

 

1)      Old-style anti-Judaism and antisemitism up until 1945, which still exists today

2)      Antisemitism after the Holocaust, including Holocaust distortion or “secondary antisemitism” which is closely related to the

3)      Anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel since 1948

 

Category 1) Old-style anti-Judaism and antisemitism up until 1945, which is still existent today

 

1)                  Anti-circumcision since antiquity; anti-shechting and other anti-Judaism resentments

2)                  Jews as Christ-killer

3)                  Anti-Ahasver, the “eternal Jew” (in Germany in particular, framed Der Ewige Jude as early as 1694)

4)                  Blood Libel, Jews accused of killing innocent non-Jewish (mostly Christian and since 1840 (Damascus Blood Libel) Muslim children)

5)                  Anti-Mammonism, Jews accused of being behind capitalism and money (examples are Karl Marx 1844 or leftists in winter 2003 dancing in Davos at the World Economic Forum around a golden calf and combining anti-Americanism and antisemitism.)

6)                  Conspiracy Myths, in particular the most horrible conspiracy fraud ever, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion from the early 20th century (a Russian forgery), today disseminated throughout the Muslim and Arab worlds, and among neo-Nazis, and others. Jews being behind the “Black Death” in the Middle Ages in Europe is another conspiracy myth, for example. The same holds for talks about an “Israel lobby” controlling the US, among many other conspiracy driven myths. Jews being behind modernity and liberalism, sexual politics, the emergence of big cities and the destruction of traditions, and Jews being behind Socialism and Communism, or the French and Russian Revolutions fit conspiracy myths, too.

Me and moderator Dr. Nir Boms, World Jewish Congress, May 27, 2013, Jerusalem. You see the four books on antisemitism, Germany, the New Right, Islamic Studies and antisemitism after 9/11, I’ve written since 2002, when I was a doctoral candidate and when I first spoke at an international conference in Jerusalem at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA), Hebrew University

 

Category 2) Antisemitism after the Holocaust, including Holocaust distortion or “secondary antisemitism” (Antisemitism after and because of Auschwitz)

 

7)                  Projecting German guilt onto modernity like equating of the Holocaust with “motorized agriculture” (Martin Heidegger, 1949); bomb war against Germany framed as “bombing Holocaust” and related terms (the latter is promoted, for example, by leading boulevard daily BILD-Zeitung and its author Jörg Friedrich, who used the term “crematoria” for the city of Dresden); projecting German guilt onto the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe like Czechoslovakia, when Germans are portrayed as victims of a “Holocaust of expulsion.”

8)                  Using the term Holocaust for all kind of things, therefore universalizing the Shoah: terms like “biological Holocaust,” “atomic” or “nuclear Holocaust,” “high-tech Holocaust,” “for the animals it is like Treblinka,” “Golden Holocaust,” when talking about the tobacco industry, or “Holocaust of abortion” are examples.

9)                  Denial of the Uniqueness of the Shoah. Some post-colonialists and post-Orientalists, for example, talk about “Kaiser’s Holocaust” or talk about “From Windhuk to Auschwitz” (historian Jürgen Zimmerer, Hamburg University) and frame the mass murder of natives in German South-West Africa (today: Namibia) as a Holocaust. Others compare colonialism, imperialism or slavery with the Shoah and confuse exploitation with destruction.

10)               Red equals brown, the Prague Declaration (June 2008) and the rewriting of the Second World War have become major tropes in contemporary historiography.

11)               Talking about “Islamophobia” and comparing racist attacks against immigrants, including Muslims, in Germany and elsewhere, to genocidal antisemitism.

12)               Holocaust denial by neo-Nazis, Islamists, and others.

 

Category 3) Anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel

 

13)               Jewish anti-Zionism prior to the establishment of Israel (e.g. Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt)

14)               Soviet-style anti-Zionism after 1948

15)               Arab anti-Zionism (rejection of UN division plan 1947)

16)               Islamist anti-Zionism

17)               Liberal and left-wing anti-Zionism after 1967 in the West

18)               Right-wing anti-Zionism immediately after 1945 and even before, Nazi antisemitism was also anti-Zionist

19)               Mainstream European anti-Zionism in several countries who see Israel as a “threat to world peace,” particularly since the year 2000 and after 9/11

20)               Particularly since the Second Intifada in 2000, anti-Zionism and Islamism increased dramatically via electronic media and the Internet (take, as examples, anti-Israel pages online, including the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, leading Islamist Yusuf al-Qaradawi and his online activities)

 

Germany and Category 1) Old-style anti-Judaism and antisemitism:

Anti-circumcision court ruling in Cologne May 2012; supportive of the anti-circumcision climate in Germany: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, small and tiny pro-Israel left-winger (jungle world, Bahamas), “evolutionary humanists” (=aggressive atheists) of the Giordano Bruno Foundation; particularly the extreme right-wing Politically Incorrect (blog), and the tiny party Die Freiheit (Michael Stürzenberger)

 

Germany and Category 2) Holocaust Distortion and secondary Antisemitism:

Award in Germany in 2012 for historian Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands › Holocaust distortion, implicitly following Ernst Nolte, denial of unprecedented character of the Shoah; equating of Hitler and Stalin; pro-Snyder: Christoph Dieckmann, Michael Wildt, Jörg Baberowski; contra-Snyder: Dan Diner, Dan Michmann, Dovid Katz, Robert Rozett, Efraim Zuroff, Jürgen Zarusky, Richard Evans, for example

 

Prague Declaration (2008): red equals brown (promoted by Lithuania and other East European countries and individuals), rewriting of textbooks; support by newly elected (2012) German President Joachim Gauck

Dr. Clemens Heni, World Jewish Congress, May 27, 2013

Germany and Category 3: Anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel:

 

Journalist Jakob Augstein (Der Freitag, Spiegel Online) supports Günter Grass’ anti-Zionism

 

Awards in Germany in 2012 for anti-Israel philosopher and gender studies celebrity Judith Butler (BDS, Israel Apartheid Week Toronto 2012) and anti-nation-state, Kantian political scientist Seyla Benhabib (“Israel committed possible crimes against humanity” in the Gaza war 2008/2009)

 

Scholar in political psychology Wolfgang Kempf says: comparing Israel to Nazis might urge Jews not to “lose their high moral standard”; in his view, suicide bombing against Jews in Israel is “not necessarily antisemitic” if not followed by the denial of Israel’s right to exist

 

Leading German expert on antisemitism, Wolfgang Benz (former head, Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA), Technical University Berlin): charming interview with leading Islamist, pro-Iranian, antisemitic and anti-Israel homepage Muslim-Markt, November 2010; equation of antisemitism and Islamophobia (Dec. 2008); equation of critics of antisemitism and Islamism with “preachers of hate” (Jan. 2010);

 

Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) and its head Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (newcomer in the field) appointed Islamic Studies scholar Achim Rohde (2012); pro-pan-Arabism Rohde is a follower of antisemite Jacqueline Rose and of anti-Zionist Edward Said; Rohde is explicitly supposed to work with Said’s concept of Orientalism in relation to Islamophobia and antisemitism. The ZfA focuses on research on antisemitism seen as “research on minorities.” International research on antisemitism, though, has shown that antisemitism has close to nothing to do with the existence of Jews in a country or region (take post-Holocaust European antisemitism, Saudi-Arabian or Qatari antisemitism as examples)

 

Leading German Islamic Studies scholar Gudrun Krämer (Free University Berlin) promotes Yusuf al-Qaradawi as a “moderate.” Her former students are Rohde as well as Bettina Gräf, who embraced al-Qaradawi in her edited book Global Mufti. In Global Mufti al-Qaradawi is portrayed, for example, as a moderate because he allows females to commit suicide bombing against Jews without the allowance of their fathers or husbands, and even unveiled. That’s feminism, Islamist-style …

 

 

Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) in Germany appointed anti-Israel activist

Center for Research on
Antisemitism (ZfA) in Germany appointed anti-Israel activist

Islamic Studies scholar Achim Rohde
promotes Edward Said and
anti-Zionist antisemitism

 

By Dr. Clemens Heni, The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA), August 1, 2012 (another version of this article was published July 31, 2012, with algemeiner.com in New York City)

 

The Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at the Berlin Technical University in April 2012 appointed as a co-worker an outspoken supporter of antisemite Edward Said: Achim Rohde. A scholar in Islamic Studies, Rohde was hired because he conducts research to evaluate the similarities of “antisemitism” and “Orientalism” “in the sense of Edward Said,” as the ZfA newsletter of May 2012 declares. In addition, he will be working on the ZfA’s big project on “Islamophobia in European societies.”[1] “Islamophobia” as a research project of a Center for Research on Antisemitism? This is unscholarly in nature and politically scandalous.

The appointment of Achim Rohde is shocking for scholars on antisemitism, though a big coup for enemies of the Jewish state of Israel. Responsible for this is newly appointed head of the ZfA, historian Stefanie Schüler-Springorum. Hired in June 2011, she is a newcomer to scholarship on antisemitism. She has not published a single book on that topic – nor has Rohde.

Edward Said becomes even more mainstream
in German academia

Edward Said (1935–2003) was the leading academic anti-Zionist voice in the last decades, achieving global fame. He portrayed Arabs as the ‘new Jews’ as early as 1969.[2] He equated Israel with South-African apartheid in 1979[3] and portrayed Israel as the leading Orientalist, imperialist and racist power in his bestselling book Orientalism in 1978.[4] The chapter on Israel is the last and longest chapter in this anti-Western and antisemitic book. In an interview in 1987 Said said that Israelis had not learned the lessons from their own suffering under Nazi Germany. In his view Jews have become perpetrators now in the same way Germans or Nazis were perpetrators against the Jews.[5] In 1999 Said said that, if he could choose, he would opt for a kind of renewed Ottoman Empire. Jews could become an accepted minority, but Israel would be destroyed.[6]

Now, in 2012, Edward Said is mainstream[7] at the only German University based research center on antisemitism. They are promoting antisemitism instead of analyzing it.

Achim Rohde and the equation of antisemitism
and Orientalism

Rohde was published in 2010 by then head of the ZfA, controversial historian Wolfgang Benz.[8] Rohde promotes the fantasy that Muslims and Arabs had been victims of Germany since the 19th century, if not long before. He follows the ideology of “the Orient within.” This means: while Orientalists aim at Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East, they aim at Jews in Europe. Jews are victims of Orientalism within the homeland of the empire, Europe, so to speak, while Arabs and Muslims are victims abroad, in the Middle East and in the fantasies of artists, authors, writers, politicians, intellectuals, the public, art historians, painters etc. etc.

This equation of antisemitism and Orientalism is a denial of antisemitism, which is based on conspiracy theories, blood libels, anti-liberalism, anti-capitalism, anti-communism, anti-Westernism and many other aspects of that “longest hatred,” a term of historian Robert S. Wistrich.[9] The “lethal obsession” (Wistrich)[10] of antisemitism cannot be compared or equated with supposedly or real Orientalism and allegedly or really problematic views vis-à-vis the Arabs and Muslims. Particularly after 9/11 it has become fashionable and useful to ignore Islamism and Muslim antisemitism and to talk about Arabs, Muslims and Jews as victims of Orientalism. Anti-Zionist antisemitism is a core element of this post-Orientalist ideology, as I have shown in the work of Edward Said.

 

Rohde and many colleagues, who are obsessed with post-colonial ideology and Edward Said, ignore or deny the close friendship of German Emperor Wilhelm II, who traveled to the Ottoman Empire in 1898 and portrayed himself as friend of the Muslims. German Islamists remember this German-Muslim friendship until today.[11] In 1914, during the First World War, Wilhelm II initiated the Jihad of the Ottoman Empire, as Middle East Studies scholar and historian Wolfgang G. Schwanitz has shown.[12] Subsequently, the Arab Muslim Brotherhood developed close ties with the Nazis even before the Holocaust. During the Shoah, the Arab and Muslim leader at the time, Haj Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, collaborated with Hitler and the Germans. Nazi Germany was pro-Arab and pro-Muslim, and anti-Jewish.[13] Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal documented the close relationship of the Grandmufti of Jerusalem, al-Husseini, and the Axis (Nazi Germany and fascist Italy) in 1947.[14]

 

Nazi scholar Hans Lindemann published a work about Islam in 1941, urging the Germans to see the similarities of the Muslim world and National Socialism.[15] A leading Nazi agitator, Johann von Leers, was happy about Islamism and converted to Islam after the defeat of Nazi Germany and went to Egypt, like many former Nazis, to spread Jew-hatred and antisemitism in that leading Arab country. Egyptian President Nasser welcomed these Nazis and collaborated with them, as the American Jewish Committee documented as early as 1957.[16] Historian Robert Wistrich analyzed the antisemitism of Egypt and von Leers in 1985.[17]

During the 1950s, the Federal Republic of Germany became a hotbed for Islamism (supported by Federal agencies), thanks to anti-communist hysteria of the time, as Pulitzer Prize winner Ian Johnson[18] and historian Stefan Meining[19] have shown in recent years. Finally, 9/11 inflamed German Schadenfreude, anti-American, anti-Israel and pro-Islamist tendencies.[20]

Rohde, from the younger generation (born 1969), is equally aggressive against critics of antisemitism as is Benz. Rohde’s thesis was about the Ba’ath Party, Saddam Hussein, gender-relations in Iraq, and the ideology of pan-Arabism.[21] He submitted his work in 2006 at the Institute for Islamic Studies at Free University Berlin. His first reader was the controversial (in Germany: prize winning) scholar Gudrun Krämer, who is known for portraying the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Banna, as a nice guy with great ideas to promote Islam.[22] She is also known for her support of the leading Sunni Islamist in the world, Yusuf al-Qaradawi,[23] who praised Adolf Hitler in January 2009 in Al-Jazeera TV, aired from Qatar, where he lives.[24]

For Rohde, Iraq Ba’ath party style pan-Arabism failed. He urges the Arab world to look for a stronger and more successful way of pan-Arab ideology and action.[25] He is against the “hegemony of globalization”[26] and refers to Edward Said, Daniel Boyarin and anti-Zionist Jacqueline Rose.[27] Why did Rohde refer to anti-Zionist and antisemitic authors in a doctoral dissertation dedicated to the analysis of Iraq, gender relations and pan-Arabism?

Boyarin and Rose have been analyzed as examples of progressive Jewish antisemitism by scholar in literature and Jewish Studies Alvin H. Rosenfeld in 2006.[28] It is telling that Rohde deleted these references at the very end of his study to Boyarin,[29] Rose and Said in his published book in 2010 on the same topic.[30]

Rohde refers to German historian Jürgen Zimmerer, a leading voice in distorting the Holocaust by universalizing it and framing colonial crimes as forerunners of the Shoah. For Rohde, imperialism, racism, and Orientalism are closely related to Nazi Germany.[31] He also compares German and Nazi “sexual politics” with those of the United States and Israel in the 20th century.[32]

The ZfA, Hazem Saghiyeh and Saleh Bashir and the Universalizing of the Holocaust

Achim Rohde is not a direct Holocaust denier; instead he trivializes and distorts the Shoah by referring to Arab authors like Hazem Saghiyeh and Saleh Bashir. Saghiyeh and Bashir published an article in 1997 in which they argued against Holocaust denial, characterizing it as too stupid an argument to be useful in their fight against Zionism.[33] Indeed, even Said is against hard-core Holocaust denial, but he said in the very same article Rohde refers to that “Zionism” is based on “apartheid.”[34]

The same holds for the article Universalising the Holocaust by Hazem Saghiyeh and Saleh Bashir.[35] They accused Israel of not having learnt the lessons from history; they distorted and trivialized the Shoah completely by equating it with racism and colonialism:

“The dissociation between the acknowledgment of the Holocaust and what Israel is doing should be the starting point for the development of a discourse which says that the Holocaust does not free the Jewish state or the Jews of accountability. On the contrary, the Nazi crime compounds their moral responsibility and exposes them to greater answerability. They are the ones who have escaped the ugliest crime in history, and now they are perpetrating reprehensible deeds against another people. Modern Jewish consciousness can no longer look at the world from the exclusive perspective of the Holocaust, in spite of the magnitude of the event and its enormity. Within these parameters, it becomes pressing to (re)present the event as a trial for human suffering more than a purely and exclusively Jewish one, especially since the Jews in recent decades have started losing their long-standing “monopoly” over the tragic. The Turk in Germany, the Algerian in France, and always the black in every place, head the columns of victims of racism in the world and in them, albeit in different proportions and degrees, is the continuation of the suffering of the Jews of which the Holocaust was the culmination.”[36]

This antisemitic argumentation which universalizes the Holocaust and therefore trivializes it is a basic assumption of Islamic Studies scholar Achim Rohde. For him, like for Saghiyeh and Bashir, Turkish, Algerian or Black people are seen in a “continuation of the suffering of the Jews of which the Holocaust was the culmination.”

This is a denial of the Holocaust if we look at the situation of Turks in Germany or Arabs and Algerians in France at any time. It is unscholarly in nature to equate the situation of immigrants or citizens with an immigrant background and the Holocaust.

In an article in 2005, Rohde thanks[37] anti-Zionist authors Moshe Zuckermann from Israel and German sociologist and anti-Zionist Klaus Holz“[38] for helpful comments and support. Holz was on the short-list for the job as head of the ZfA and Zuckermann knows Schüler-Springorum, too.[39]

For Rohde Zionism is based on „central aspects of modern antisemitism;” for him it is „a kind of identification with the aggressor.”[40] He attacks Israel and remembrance of the Shoah in Israel and urges the Arab and Muslim world not to deny the Holocaust, but to attack “Shoah remembrance in Israel”[41] from a ‘higher ground.’ This ‘higher ground’ is the distortion or trivialization of the Holocaust and not hard-core denial of it.

Achim Rohde and the campaign in support of German anti-Zionist Ludwig Watzal

In December 2008 Rohde supported an Internet campaign by a German anti-Israel and antisemitic website in support of German political scientist and anti-Zionist activist Ludwig Watzal.[42] Secretary General of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan Kramer, attacked the “antisemitic clichés” of Watzal in April 2008. Then, the Central Council of Jews in Germany pleaded to dismiss Watzal as co-worker of a Federal Agency.[43] Political scientist and expert on Islamism, Iran, and antisemitism, Matthias Küntzel, criticized Watzal in 2005 as well.[44]

In his support of Watzal, Rohde was joined by Palestinian Abdallah Frangi, Ramallah, from the PLO, antisemitic author Norman Finkelstein, left-wing politician Inge Höger, who joined the terrorist Gaza flotilla in 2010 (she was on the Mavi Marmara), and over 300 other anti-Zionist activists, scholars etc. Watzal is a particularly aggressive anti-Zionist voice in Germany. Due to many of his anti-Israel articles, critics like Social Democrat Franziska Drohsel, then head of the youth organization of the Social Democrats in Germany (Jusos), supported Jewish organizations who urged the Federal Agency for Education to take a clear stand against their co-worker Watzal. German daily Die Welt reported about the anti-Israel stand of Watzal.[45] While ZfA co-worker Achim Rohde supported Ludwig Watzal in 2008, even his colleague at the ZfA, Juliane Wetzel, criticized Watzal’s writing and his fantasies about “Jewish capital” and “Jewish power,” according to an article in 2006.[46]

Rohde, Gil Anidjar and poststructuralist,
linguistic Holocaust denial:
Jews were not killed as Jews in Auschwitz…

Rohde also sides with Middle East Studies scholar Gil Anidjar from Columbia University and his study The Jew, The Arab. A History of the Enemy from 2003,[47] because Anidjar equates antisemitism with Orientalism and portrays Muslims as victims of Nazism and the Holocaust.[48] For Anidjar, Zionism is antisemitic, because it aims at Judaism, Jews, Arabs, and Islam. He applies Said’s ideology of the “Semite” and accuses “Orientalism” of being antisemitic, including being anti-Arab.[49] This is a denial of antisemitism, of its term and ideology. Islam has a legacy of antisemitism, although on another level as Christian antisemitism. Portraying Muslims and Arabs as victims of European history is beyond reality. Islam is an imperialist religion, like Christianity. For centuries, Jews have been oppressed and murdered by Christians and also by Arabs and Muslims (on a lower scale). Since 1945 and particularly since 9/11 Islamism and Arab anti-Zionism are the biggest threat to Jews and Israel. Iran seeks nuclear weapons and its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is known for his incitement to genocide; he pleads for a “World without Zionism,”[50] and is followed by the entire Iranian regime and substantial parts of Western academia and activists as well. Edward Said fought for a world without Zionism, too, decades before Ahmadinejad, and even before the Iranian revolution in 1979.

 

Anidjar makes fun of Jews and the Holocaust and equates the fate of Jews with the history of the word “Muslim.” For him, like for fashionable Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben Jews died as “Muslims” and not as Jews in Auschwitz.[51] This is linguistic antisemitism. These horrible games with language are mainstream in many poststructuralist, postmodern and antisemitic circles. It is shocking, though, that a scholar from the ZfA refers favorably to this parody of scholarship.

 

In reality Muslims were allies of the Nazis, we know of SS-Imams, Muslims in the German army, the Wehrmacht, SS-units and so on. Rohde follows Anidjar and says that both Jews and Muslims have been victims of Europe since the crusades.[52] In an interview about his book Anidjar rejects any scholarly analysis of the “new antisemitism” and equates antisemitism with racism or the situation of Muslims.[53] In 2009 Anidjar published another article and equated (and mentioned the “link” between) colonialism and the Holocaust;[54] he attacked Israel, the US and the War on Terror, in order to portray the poor and innocent Arabs (and Muslims) as victims of Israel and the US.[55] Already in his 2003 book and then in his 2009 article, Anidjar applied the grotesque distinction between “The Jew, the Arab: good Semite, bad Semite.”[56] Like Edward Said and many protagonists of post-colonial theory, he denies that antisemitism was an anti-Jewish ideology from the very beginning (and not a kind of Orientalism), starting with Wilhelm Marr’s agitation in Germany in 1879.[57] Consequently, Anidjar was a speaker in 2009 at the Israel Apartheid Week and promoted boycotting Israel and therefore Jews.[58] This is no problem and not worth mentioning for German academics like Achim Rohde or Felix Wiedemann, also a scholar from the younger generation; as quoted, Achim Rohde referred to Anidjar very positively in 2005 as well as in 2010, Wiedemann refers to Anidjar’s scandalous book from 2003 (The Jew, The Arab) in 2012, and promotes Rohde’s approach, too, embedded in esoteric, cotton-ball-style criticism.[59]

Conclusion

What is the problem with Achim Rohde’s appointment to Germany’s premier, tax-supported Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at Technical University in Berlin?

 

1) He supports antisemitic, anti-Zionist, post-colonial and post-Orientalist superstar Edward Said;

2)  He supports German anti-Zionist and highly controversial activist Ludwig Watzal;

3) He supports antisemitic, anti-Zionist authors like Daniel Boyarin and Jacqueline Rose;

4) He supports authors who make fun of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, who defame Israel as apartheid and promote the boycott of Israel like Gil Anidjar;

5) He supports the trivialization and in fact denial of the Holocaust by equating it with the situation of Turks in Germany today with reference to Hazem Saghiyeh and Saleh Bashir;

6) He equates antisemitism with “Orientalism” and denies the genocidal ideology of antisemitism;

7) He ignores or affirms the Iranian and Islamist threat;

8) He dwells on the fantasy of “Islamophobia” and is employed to do so by the ZfA.

 

The Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at the Technical University Berlin should finally change its name: it is

 

The German Edward Said Center for
Holocaust distortion
and post-colonial Antisemitism

 

 



[1] Newsletter, No. 42, Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA), Technical University Berlin, May 2012, http://zfa.kgw.tu-berlin.de/newsletter/Newsletter42.pdf (visited July 21, 2012).

[2] Edward Said (1969): The Palestinian Experience, in: Moustafa Bayoumi/Andrew Rubin (eds.) (2001), The Edward Said Reader, London: Granta Books, 14–37, 34.

[3] Edward Said (1979): Zionism from the Standpoint of its Victims, in: Bayoumi/Rubin (eds.) (2001), 114–168.

[4] Edward Said (1978): Orientalism, New York: Vintage Books.

[5] The interview reads: “[Question to Said] Given the history of the Jews and the creation of the Israeli state, because of their historical experience with persecution and suffering and holocaust [small ‚h’ in the original, CH] and death camps, should one feel that Israelis and Jews in general should be more sensitive, should be more compassionate? Is that racist? [Said] No, I don’t think it’s racist. As a Palestinian I keep telling myself that if I were in a position one day to gain political restitution for all the suffering of my people, I would, I think, be extraordinarily sensitive to the possibility that I might in the process be injuring another people“ (Edward Said (1987)/2010: The Pen and the Sword. Conversations with Edward Said. David Barsamian, introductions by Eqbal Ahmad and Nubar Hovsepian, Chicago: Haymarket Books, 42).

[6] Edward Said (1999): An Interview with Edward Said, in: Bayoumi/Rubin (eds.) (2001), 419–444, 430.

[7] In Cultural Studies, Islamic Studies, Middle East Studies, comparative literature and related fields, Said has been mainstream for a long time. See, for example, among his followers in Germany Markus Schmitz (2008): Kulturkritik ohne Zentrum. Edward W. Said und die Kontrapunkte kritischer Dekolonisation, Bielefeld: transcript (Schmitz defames the Middle East Forum’s project Campus Watch and says it is a reminder to the times of “McCarthy,” ibid., 227); Stefan Wild (2003a): Rezension von Martin Kramer, Ivory Towers on Sand. The Failure of MiddleEastern Studies in America, Washington D.C. 2001, ISBN 0-94 4029-49-3, 130 S., U.S. $ 19,95, Die Welt des Islams, Vol. 43, Nr. 2, 290–292 (this is a particularly aggressive and ironic review of Martin Kramer’s famous study Ivory Towers on Sand from 2001); Birgit Schäbler (2008): Post-koloniale Konstruktionen des Selbst als Wissenschaft: Anmerkungen einer Nahost-Historikerin zu Leben und Werk Edward Saids, in: Alf Lüdtke/Reiner Prass (Hg.) (2008): Gelehrtenleben. Wissenschaftspraxis in der Neuzeit, Köln/Weimar/Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 87–100; Schäbler is an anti-Israel author and defamed the security fence in Israel, Birgit Schäbler/Ute Behr/Stephanie Dumke (2004): The Israel-Palestinian Conflict as Result of Colonial Border-Making, Tagungsbericht, June 18, 2004, http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/tagungsberichte/id=499 (visited July 23, 2012); Stefan Weidner (2011): Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Islamkritik für das Leben, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ), Nrs. 13–14/2011, 9–15; for historian Ulrich Sieg, who was on the short-list for the job as head of the ZfA, Edward Said’s Orientalism was a „master-piece,“ Ulrich Sieg (2006): Rezension von Ian Buruma, Avishai Margali, Okzidentalismus. Der Westen in den Augen seiner Feinde, WerkstattGeschichte, Vol. 15, No. 43, 137–139, 137.

[8] Achim Rohde (2010): Unter Südländern. Zur Geschichte der Orientalistik und Judaistik in Deutschland, Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, Vol. 58, No. 7/8, 639–652. Benz edited this issue personally, in addition he is the editor of the journal, too; he introduced Rohde in his article in that issue, Wolfgang Benz (2010): Zur Genese und Tradition des Feindbildes Islam. Einleitende Bemerkungen zum Themenheft Islambilder vom Mittelalter bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg. Traditionen der Abwehr, Romantisierung, Exotisierung, Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, Vol. 58, No. 7/8, 585–590.

[9] Robert S. Wistrich (1991): Antisemitism. The Longest Hatred, London: Methuen.

[10] Robert S. Wistrich (2010): A Lethal Obsession. Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, New York: Random House.

[11] Fritz Ahmad Gross (no year of publication indicated): Kaiser Wilhelm II. – Deutschland und der Islam, Islamische Zeitung, online http://www.enfal.de/grund44.htm (visited July 22, 2012).

[12] Wolfgang G. Schwanitz (2003): Djihad „Made in Germany“: Der Streit um den Heiligen Krieg 1914–1915, Sozial.Geschichte, No. 2/2003, 7–34; Wolfgang G. Schwanitz (2004): Die Berliner Djihadisierung des Islam. Wie Max von Oppenheim die islamische Revolution schürte, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Auslandsinformationen, No. 10/2004, 17–37; Wolfgang G. Schwanitz (2004a): Max von Oppenheim und der Heilige Krieg. Zwei Denkschriften zur Revolutionierung islamischer Gebiete 1914 und 1940, Sozial.Geschichte, Vol. 19, No. 3, 28–59.

[13] Jeffrey Herf (2009): Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, New Haven: Yale University Press; Jeffrey Herf (2010): Hitlers Dschihad. Nationalsozialistische Rundfunkpropaganda für Nordafrika und den Nahen Osten, Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Vol. 58, No. 2, 259–286; Matthias Küntzel (2002): Jihad und Judenhaß. Über den neuen antijüdischen Krieg, Freiburg: ça ira; Matthias Küntzel (2003): Ein Deutsches Schweigen. Die Vorfahren der islamischen Hamas arbeiteten gern mit den Nazis zusammen. Ein Umstand, den die deutsche Linke in ihrer Nahostsolidarität gerne ausblendet, taz, April 12, 2003, http://www.taz.de/?id=archiv&dig=2003/04/12/a0225 (visited July 23, 2012); Matthias Küntzel (2004): Von Zeesen bis Beirut. Nationalsozialismus und Antisemitismus in der arabischen Welt, http://www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/von-zeesen-bis-beirut (visited July 23, 2012); Klaus-Michael Mallman/Martin Cüppers (2010): Nazi Palestine. The Plans for the Extermination of the Jews in Palestine, New York: Enigma Books.

[14] Simon Wiesenthal (1947): Großmufti – Großagent der Achse, Salzburg/Wien: Ried-Verlag.

[15] Hans Lindemann (1941): Der Islam im Aufbruch, in Abwehr und Angriff. Mit 1 Karte und 4 Kunstdrucktafeln, Leipzig: Friedrich Brandstetter.

[16] American Jewish Committee (1957): The Plight of the Jews in Egypt, New York: American Jewish Committee, online: http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Files/551.PDF (visited July 23, 2012).

[17] “The most prominent of these former collaborators of Hitler and Goebbels was the notorious antisemite Johann von Leers, invited to Cairo by Haj Amin el-Husseini. Von Leers had initially settled after the war in the Argentine where he edited the neo-Nazi monthly Der Weg. The Grand Mufti had repeatedly sent messages of encouragement to von Leers and his fellow Nazis in Buenos Aires and in August 1956 he had publicly complimented Der Weg for having ‚always championed the Arabs’ righteous cause against the powers of darkness embodied in World Jewry’’. An exalted figure in Nasser’s entourage, the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem obtained a post for von Leers as political adviser in the Egyptian Information Department, where, according to the Manchester Guardian, he exercised ‚considerable influence on the nature of the current anti-Jewish measures’. Von Leers continued to be active as an antisemitic propagandist in Cairo under his Muslim name, Omar Amin, until his death in 1965,” (Robert Wistrich (1985): Hitler’s Apocalypse. Jews and the Nazi Legacy, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 176).

[18] Ian Johnson (2005): The Beachhead. How a Mosque for Ex-Nazis became Center for Radical Islam, The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2005; Ian Johnson (2010): A Mosque in Munich. Nazis, the CIA and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, San Diego (CA): Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

[19] Stefan Meining (2011): Eine Moschee in Deutschland. Nazis, Geheimdienste und der Aufstieg des politischen Islam im Westen, Munich: C.H.Beck.

[20] For a comprehensive critique of German Islamic Studies, scholars in antisemitism and the public in Germany after 9/11 see my book Clemens Heni (2011): Schadenfreude: Islamforschung und Antisemitismus in Deutschland nach 9/11, Berlin: Edition Critic.

[21] Achim Rohde (2006): Facing Dictatorship. State-Society Relations in Ba’Thist Iraq. Zur Erlangung des Doktorgrades eingereicht am Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften der Freien Universität Berlin im April 2006, manuscript, Free University Berlin, Institute for Islamic Studies.

[22] Gudrun Krämer (2010): Hasan al-Banna, Oxford/New York: Oneworld Publications.

[23] Gudrun Krämer (2006): Drawing Boundaries. Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Apostasy, in: Gudrun Krämer/Sabine Schmidtke (eds.) (2006): Speaking for Islam. Religious Authorities in Muslim Societies, Leiden/Boston: Brill, 181–217; Gudrun Krämer (2009): Preface, in: Bettina Gräf/Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen (eds.) (2009): Global Mufti. The Phenomenon of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, London: Hurst & Company (2009), ix–xi.

[24] For an overview on many more antisemitic statements of al-Qaradawi see http://www.memri.org/report/en/print5020.htm (visited July 23, 2012).

[25] Rohde 2006, 425; see also Achim Rohde (2005): Der Innere Orient. Orientalismus, Antisemitismus und Geschlecht im Deutschland des 18. bis 20. Jahrhunderts, Die Welt des Islams, Vol. 45, Nr. 2, 370–411; Achim Rohde (2009): The Orient Within. Orientalism, Anti-Semitism and Gender in 18th to early 20th Century Germany, in: Benjamin Jokisch/Ulrich Rebstock/Lawrence I. Conrad (eds.) (2009): Fremde, Feinde und Kurioses. Innen- und Außenansichten unseres muslimischen Nachbarn, Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 147–165; Achim Rohde (2010a): State-Society Relations in Ba’Thist Iraq Facing Dictatorship, London/New York: Routledge (this is his shortened 2006 dissertation).

[26] Rohde 2006, 425.

[27] See footnote 12 (which belongs to the chapter „Conclusions“), Rohde 2006, 428: „Edward Said, Freud and the Non-European (London: Verso, 2003), 49, 53/54. See also Stephen Sheehi, ‚Failure, Modernity, and the Works of Hisham Sharabi: Towards a Post-Colonial Critique of Arab Subjectivity,’ Critique 10 (1997): 39–54; Daniel Boyarin, ‚The Colonial Drag: Zionism, Gender, and Mimikry,’ in the Pre-Occupation of Post-Colonial Studies, eds. Fawzia Afzal-Khan and Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks (Durham/London: Duke Univ. Press, 2000), 234–265; Jacqueline Rose, The Question of Zion (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2005).“ Remember: these are quotes from the end of Rohde’s doctoral dissertation, which is about Iraqi history, gender relations, dictatorship and pan-Arabism. He quotes antisemites in such a study: this indicates his hatred of Israel as a Jewish state.

[28] Alvin H. Rosenfeld (2006): „Progressive“ Jewish Thought and the new anti-Semitism, http://www.ajc.org/atf/cf/%7B42D75369-D582-4380-8395-D25925B85EAF%7D/PRO
GRESSIVE_JEWISH_THOUGHT.PDF  (visited July 22, 2012).

[29] Rohde refers to above quoted article of Daniel Boyarin; the dedication of Boyarin’s article reads like this: „To Michel Warschawsky and Tikva Parnas, tireless fighters against the Zionist occupation in all Palestine,” (Daniel Boyarin (2000): ‚The Colonial Drag: Zionism, Gender, and Mimikry,’ in: Fawzia Afzal-Khan/Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks (eds.) (2000): The Pre-Occupation of Post-Colonial Studies, Durham/London: Duke University Press, 234–265, 234). The expression „All Palestine” aims at the destruction of Israel. Furthermore one can find the close relationship of antisemites like Boyarin and post-colonial superstars like Bhabha, who share this antisemitism: „I wish to express gratitude to Homi K. Bhabha, who read a much earlier and a very recent version of this essay and whose influence is felt on every page, even where I have not been able to assimilate it completely,” (Boyarin 2000, 259).

[30] Rohde 2010a, 161.

[31] See Rohde 2005, 389, footnote 40, reference to Zimmerer. For a close analysis of the scholarly failure of Jürgen Zimmerer see Jakob Zollmann (2007): Polemics and other arguments – a German debate reviewed, Journal of Namibian Studies, [Vol. 1], No. 1, 109–130 and my forthcoming book Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon.

[32] Rohde 2010a, 209, footnote 84.

[33] Rohde 2010a, 213, footnote 4.

[34] Edward Said (1998): Der dritte Weg führt weiter. An die arabischen Unterstützer von Roger Garaudy, Le Monde Diplomatique, German version: http://www.monde-diplomatique.de/pm/1998/08/14/a0226.text.name,askOg6bPY.n,36 (visited July 23, 2012).

[35] Hazem Saghiyeh/Saleh Bashir (1997)/1998: Universalizing the Holocaust. How Arabs and Palestinians relate to the Holocaust and how the Jews relate to the Palestinian victim, Palestine-Israel Journal, Vol. 5, Nos. 3 & 4, 1998, online: http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=382 (visited July 22, 2012). The Arab original has been published in 1997.

[36] Saghiyeh/Bashir 1997.

[37] Rohde 2005, Rohde 2009.

[38] Rohde 2005, 370, footnote 1.

[39] For example, Schüler-Springorum and Zuckermann were part of a small symposium in Berlin in May 2010, http://www.jmberlin.de/main/DE/02-Veranstaltungen/veranstaltungen-2010/2010_05_22_symposium.php (visited July 22, 2012).

[40] Rohde 2005, 410.

[41] Rohde 2005, 411.

[42] http://www.arendt-art.de/deutsch/palestina/Honestly_Concerned/watzal_ludwig_aktion.htm (visited July 21, 2012): „307 Dr. Achim Rohde D Hamburg wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Georg-Eckert-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung.“

[43] „Zentralrat fordert Entlassung eines Redakteurs der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung,“ April 5, 2008,  http://www.zentralratdjuden.de/de/article/1625.html (visited July 22, 2012).

[44] http://www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/tag-watzal-darf-ich-sie-antisemit-nennen (visited July 22, 2012).

[45] Richard Herzinger (2008): Mitarbeiter schreibt israelfeindliche Texte. Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, Die Welt, April 10, 2008, http://www.welt.de/politik/article1885758/Mitarbeiter
_schreibt_israelfeindliche_Texte.html (visited July 23, 2012).

[46] Alexandra Makarova (2006): Neutrales Haus in Erklärungsnot. Bei der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung häufen sich Israel-kritische Peinlichkeiten, June 2006, http://www.j-zeit.de/archiv/artikel.361.html (visited July 22, 2012).

[47] Gil Anidjar (2003): The Jew, The Arab. A History of the Enemy, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

[48] Rohde refers several times to Anidjar, see Rohde 2010, 645 (with reference to Anidjar 2003); Rohde 2005, 385, 400f.

[49] Anidjar 2003, 192–193, endnote 51.

[50] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005): Speech at the Conference „A World Without Zionism,“ October 26, 2005, Teheran, translation by Nazila Fathi, New York Times, 30.10.2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/30/weekinreview/30iran.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1 (visited July 23, 2012).

[51] Gil Anidjar (2003a): Interview „The Jew, the Arab,” http://asiasociety.org/countries/religions-philosophies/jew-arab-interview-gil-anidjar (visited July 22, 2012).

[52] Rohde 2010, 645.

[53] Anidjar 2003.

[54] Gil Anidjar (2009): Can the walls hear?, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 43, Nos. 3/4, 251–268, 266.

[55] Anidjar 2009, 267.

[56] Anidjar 2009, 255.

[57] Wilhelm Marr (1879): Der Sieg des Judenthums über das Germanenthum. Vom nicht confessionellen Standpunkt aus betrachtet, Bern: Rudolph Costenoble; Wilhelm Marr (1879a): Vom jüdischen Kriegsschauplatz. Eine Streitschrift, Bern: Rudolph Costenoble.

[58] „At Columbia University (CU), a recently formed group called the Columbia Palestine Forum (CPF) hosted a teach-in on March 4 that featured CU professors and students that are members of CPF, a group advocating for the university to divest from Israel. Speakers compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to apartheid in South Africa and one professor, Gil Anidjar, an Assistant Professor in the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) department, advocated for a boycott as an ‚exercise of freedom‘“ (http://www.adl.org/NR/exeres/2F101AAE-F472-450F-8C13-53825A79D075,DB7611A2-02CD-43AF-8147-649E26813571,frameless.htm (04.08.2010)).

[59] It is disturbing and problematic that historian Felix Wiedemann refers to Anidjar 2003 positively, without the slightest analysis of his antisemitism. In an overview article for a online encyclopedia about Edward Said, Orientalism, and the Orientalism debate, Wiedemann also sides with Achim Rohde, Felix Wiedemann (2012): Orientalismus, Version: 1.0, in: Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte, April 19, 2012, https://docupedia.de/zg/Orientalismus?oldid=82032#cite_ref-69 (visited July 23, 2012). Wiedemann ignores one of the most updated overviews on Edward Said, a critique of Said’s antisemitism, and particularly the portrayal of Muslims and Arabs as the new Jews, an ideology of Said from the late 1960s (if not earlier): Heni 2011, 76–136. The most shocking aspect of Wiedemann’s piece, though, is his positive reference to antisemite and anti-Israel activist Gil Anidjar. Wiedemann is also not mentioning the antisemitic ideology of Said in its entirety, although he pretends to be a bit skeptical about him; he does quote a few other works of Said than Orientalism but does not mention that Said introduced the concept of Arabs as the ‘new Jews’ as early as 1969, a core element of today’s antisemitism and anti-Zionism and distortion of history. It is remarkable that a young historian like Wiedemann does not even mention that Said equated Israel with apartheid (although, in a completely other context, apartheid South Africa is mentioned in Wiedemann’s piece!), for example. Following an antisemitic author like Gil Anidjar is indicating a failure of scholarship.

The German city of Frankfurt awards the “Professor of Parody” and hatred of Israel: Judith Butler

By Clemens Heni

(updated August 28, 2012)

On June 1, 2012, it was announced that Judith Butler will be awarded the Theodor-W.-Adorno-Prize of the city of Frankfurt, Germany, on September 11, 2012. September 11 is the birthday of Adorno, though, today we associate 9/11 with that date, particularly when it comes to scholars like Butler. She is “Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature and the Co-director of the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley.”[1] The prize (50,000 Euro) is named after philosopher Theodor W. Adorno (1903–1969), a co-founder of Critical Theory in the 1930s, who fled National Socialism in 1934 and was in exile in the United States since 1938 until he returned to Frankfurt. His father was Jewish. The Adorno-Prize is awarded every three years only.[2] While Adorno fled the German boycott of Jews, Butler is known for endorsing the boycott of the Jewish state of Israel.

 

The core problem is that Israel is not accepted as a Jewish state by many leftist, Islamist, neo-Nazi and other antisemites. It is particularly important to focus on Jewish anti-Zionists because neo-Nazi, leftist and Islamist activists and authors often refer to them and Jewish anti-Zionists give hatred of Israel a kind of kosher stamp.

Many scholars are obsessed with the only diverse society in the Middle East, the only democracy and the only safe haven for Arab and Muslim homosexuals, for example: Israel.

It is important to focus on the Jewish character of Israel. Some anti-Zionists claim that they are not anti-Israel, because they like Israel but reject the Jewish character of the state. A bi-national state as envisioned by Martin Buber or Hannah Arendt is still seen as an option by those anti-Zionist activists. The exodus of almost one million Jews from Arab and Muslim countries since 1948 indicates what would happen if Jews no longer comprised the majority in their own country. Everyone can see that scholars like Judith Butler single out Israel and equate Israel with South African apartheid, while they are silent about the really violent and oppressive, antidemocratic countries in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, Iran (the Iranian threat!), Syria, Turkey, Egypt, among many others.

 

In 2009 in her book Frames of War Judith Butler equates the criticism of Adorno and Horkheimer in their Dialectics of Enlightenment with US policies in the War on Terror.

“The legal move by which the US claimed that prisoners at Camp Delta were not entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions is one that institutes the expectation that those prisoners are less than human. They are considered enemies of the state, but they are also not conceptualizable in terms of the civilizational and racial norms by which the human is constituted. In this sense, their status as less than human is not only presupposed by the torture, but reinstated by it. And here we have to see – as Adorno cautioned us – that violence in the name of civilization reveals its own barbarism, even as it ‘justifies’ its own violence by presuming the barbaric subhumanity of the other against whom that violence is waged.”[3]

Adorno and Horkheimer wrote their book in defense of the West and as an attack on Nazi Germany. They applied a Dialectic of Enlightenment, while Butler equates the West and America with National Socialism and the Holocaust when she refers to that study. Despite all their shortcomings, Adorno and Horkheimer already focused on antisemitism. They were completely shocked and paralyzed by the Holocaust; they had a specific chapter on antisemitism, along with other chapters on modern rationality, Greek mythos, and modern capitalist and technical society. A close colleague and friend of Adorno and Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) after 1943 – supporting the US in its war against Nazi Germany.

For Butler, the “Professor of Parody” as philosopher and feminist Martha Nussbaum from the University of Chicago has criticized her,[4] post-9/11-warfare of the US is the same as the war of Nazi Germany against the Jews. In this completely distorted and absurd world of fantasy, jihadists are implicitly portrayed as the Jews of today. In 2011 Butler was published in a volume alongside with Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West. Editors Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan Vanantwerpen aggressively support Butler’s stand against Harvard President Lawrence Summers and his criticism of the anti-Israel boycott and academic antisemitism.[5] Butler herself[6] attacks Israel[7] and the entire Zionist project, based on Hannah Arendt,[8] Martin Buber and Edward Said and his claim that Palestinians and Jews share a history of displacement.[9] Butler portrays herself as a girl walking in the footsteps of Arendt and Buber:

“I’d like to turn now, briefly, to thinking about Hannah Arendt, Jewish to be sure, but someone whose political views made many people doubt the authenticity of her Jewishness. Indeed, as a result of her salient criticisms of political Zionism and the state of Israel in 1944, ’48, and ’62, her claim to belong to the Jewish people was severely challenged, most famously by Gershom Scholem. Scholem quickly embraced a conception of political Zionism, whereas Martin Buber in the teens and twenties actively and publicly defended a spiritual and cultural Zionism that, in his early view, would become ‘perverted’ if it assumed the form of a political state. By the 1940s, Arendt, Buber, and Nudah Magnes argued in favor of a binational state, proposing a federation in which Jews and Arabs would maintain their respective cultural autonomy; of course, there are other versions of binationalism that do not presume the monolithic cultural integrity of ‘two peoples’ as Buber did, and I hope to gesture toward that at the end of my remarks. It is worth noting as well that Franz Rosenzweig also elaborated a diasporic opposition to Zionism in his The Star of Redemption, in which he argues that Judaism is fundamentally bound up with waiting and wandering but not with the claim of territory.”[10]

Butler prefers a “cultural Zionism” even after the Holocaust, while Buber developed that concept, how bad or mistaken it might have been, between 1910 and 1930, before the Shoah. Buber could also not anticipate genocidal threats from Iran or Arab countries; Butler knows them, but ignores or affirms Iranian, Arab and Muslim Jew-hatred.

 

It is remarkable (though not astonishing in the case of the German) that Habermas and Taylor join such an outstanding voice like that of Butler, who literally aims at organizations like “AIPAC,”[11] and Jewish support for Israel in the US and abroad.

 

In a very important statement on September 17, 2002, President of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers, criticized antisemitism among academics and said:

“I speak with you today not as President of the University but as a concerned member of our community about something that I never thought I would become seriously worried about — the issue of anti-Semitism. I am Jewish, identified but hardly devout. In my lifetime, anti-Semitism has been remote from my experience. My family all left Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. The Holocaust is for me a matter of history, not personal memory. To be sure, there were country clubs where I grew up that had few if any Jewish members, but not ones that included people I knew. My experience in college and graduate school, as a faculty member, as a government official – all involved little notice of my religion.”[12]

He was shocked about the growing antisemitism since 2001 in particular:

“Consider some of the global events of the last year: There have been synagogue burnings, physical assaults on Jews, or the painting of swastikas on Jewish memorials in every country in Europe. Observers in many countries have pointed to the worst outbreak of attacks against the Jews since the Second World War. Candidates who denied the significance of the Holocaust reached the runoff stage of elections for the nation’s highest office in France and Denmark. State-sponsored television stations in many nations of the world spew anti-Zionist propaganda. The United Nations-sponsored World Conference on Racism – while failing to mention human rights abuses in China, Rwanda, or any place in the Arab world – spoke of Israel’s policies prior to recent struggles under the Barak government as constituting ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The NGO declaration at the same conference was even more virulent.”

Summers also noted that “it would have been inconceivable a generation or two ago that Harvard could have a Jewish President.” There is a long history of antisemitism on American campuses and at the Ivy League in particular, as historian Stephen Norwood has shown.[13]

In a response to Lawrence, who did not mention specific scholars by name, Judith Butler ran riot and wrote a piece in 2003:

“When the president of Harvard University declared that to criticise Israel at this time and to call on universities to divest from Israel are ‘actions that are anti-semitic in their effect, if not their intent’, he introduced a distinction between effective and intentional anti-semitism that is controversial at best. The counter-charge has been that in making his statement, Summers has struck a blow against academic freedom, in effect, if not in intent.“[14]

Criticism of antisemitism is called “a blow against academic freedom” while in fact Judith Butler is against academic freedom, when it comes to criticism of antisemitism. One could argue with Freud that Butler projects her own lust of restricting academic freedom onto others. Butler signed an “Open Letter from American Jews” although it was not anti-Israel enough for her, because it did not call for “the end of Zionism.” Did she ever call for “the end of Saudi-Arabian Wahhabi rule”? Did she ever call for “end the misogynistic policies of the Taliban in Afghanistan”? Did she ever call for the end of airing pro-Holocaust statements on Egypt or Al-Jazeera TV from Qatar? Did she ever call to stop publishing antisemitic cartoons in Arab, state sponsored newspapers, like in Syria, Egypt, or Iraq? Did she ever call to stop the hanging of homosexuals in the Islamic Republic of Iran? Did she ever call on German firms to stop their trade with Islamofascist regimes like in Iran, or did she ever call to stop German trade with Arab dictators like Saddam Hussein, who in March 1988 killed some 5000 Kurdish Iraqis with German lethal gas in the city of Halabja? Did she ever call to halt the persecution of non-believers and critics of Islam in Muslim countries from Morocco to Indonesia?

 

In 2006 philosopher Elhanan Yakira initiated a vibrant debate in Israel about post-Zionism, anti-Zionism and antisemitic academics. His study was published in English in 2010 and is a seminal work for scholars, students and the public who want to understand how anti-Israeli propaganda works. For example, he criticizes Judith Butler and her above-quoted article from 2003, where the Californian activist wrote that some “95,000 Palestinians” will be “homeless” thanks to the anti-terror fence. Yakira gives the context:

“In fact, very few, if any, Palestinians have been made ‘homeless’ by the construction of the security barrier, and only a small part of it is actually a wall. It is true that some Arabs have lost part of their land (not their homes). However, Israelis also have lost something: an unknowable number of them have lost the privilege of being killed by infiltrating Palestinian resistance fighters. In areas where the barrier is complete, suicide bombing and other attacks on Israeli civilians – in buses, restaurants, discothèques, and shops – have virtually stopped. Given the fact that Butler’s article was written at the height of the suicide-bombing campaign, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that she is not, after all, immune to the kind of affectivity [Serge] Thion [a close ally of French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson] exhibits toward Israel and Israelis.”[15]

Judith Butler is a long-time supporter of boycotts of Israel. Before the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement was launched by Palestinians in 2005 she was already singling out the Jewish state. In March 2011 she spoke at the “Israel Apartheid Week” in Toronto.[16] While Blacks in South Africa Apartheid could not vote, for example, Arabs and Muslims can vote in Israel. The defamation of Israel as apartheid is not just antisemitic because it spreads lies about Jews and throws oil on the Arab, Muslim and Iranian hatred of Jews and Israel. It is also a distortion of South African racism and real apartheid. Germany, though, is a hotbed for anti-Zionist Jews.

There is a committee, consisting of ten members, who decided to award Butler this prize, headed by the major of Frankfurt, Petra Roth (from the conservative Christian Democratic Union, CDU). Among those who should best know about antisemitism, one might think, is Axel Honneth, himself professor at Frankfurt University and head of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, the very same institution founded by Horkheimer and others and joined by Adorno. Adorno and Horkheimer were lucky and could flee Nazi antisemitism and the Holocaust. They witnessed boycotts of Jews and Jewish firms while being in exile, out of reach of the Nazis and Germans. To award a prize to a scholar who is in favor of boycotting Jews and Israelis is a slap in the face of Adorno. Contrary to Butler, Adorno was an intellectual and a scholar who preferred theory and criticism to anti-Jewish activities like Israel Apartheid weeks.

 

German professor Micha Brumlik gives Butler his Jewish kosher stamp.[19] He is known for doing so for anti-Zionist antisemitism. He is against obvious antisemitism like that of Hamas, but he is in favor of Jewish anti-Zionism. He even equated Butler’s pro-Hezballah and pro-Hamas stand with supposedly or indeed problematic paragraphs from philosopher Adorno about jazz. Therefore criticism of music is the same as hatred of Jews and incitement to genocide from Hamas. I learned that this is mainstream in Germany; after I alerted professor Honneth to Butler’s antisemitism he replied that this is rather respectable “criticism of Israel” and he referred to Brumlik’s article.

 

It may not be true and it may not be possible that one of the leading anti-Israel voices of the world, Judith Butler, who wants to destroy the Jewish character of Israel by allowing the return of Palestinian “refugees” from 1948, and who opposes philosophically the Jewish character of Israel with reference to Hannah Arendt and Martin Buber, will be awarded the Adorno Prize of the city of Frankfurt. Butler is among the most aggressive critics of “Campus-Watch,”[20] an institution of the Middle East Forum (MEF), established in 2002.[21] As quoted, in a book of hers in 2009, Butler even equates, like another highly fashionable philosopher of our time, Italian Giorgio Agamben, US policies during the War on Terror with Nazi policies and concentration camps. “The other” is the jihadist, seen as victim of America and not as mass murderer. “The other” is the Islamist and he is seen as the Jew of today. More delusion is hardly possible.

Brumlik, though, the German professor of pedagogy, refers to above quoted article of Butler from 2011 (“Is Judaism Zionism”) and likes it very much. American scholar Russell Berman, an expert on Germany, the left, Critical Theory, antisemitism and anti-Western ideology, puts Butler’s ideology in a nutshell – this analysis fits for most liberal and left-wing anti-Zionists, worldwide:

“It is as if for Butler a concern with anti-Semitism anywhere, and, in particular, in the academy were, in her view, incompatible with any criticism of Israel. Yet that absurd presumption is undermined by Butler’s own prose: for she too, despite herself, has to come to grips with anti-Semitism in the academy and not – this would be the easy case – with Nazi flag-wavers or right-wing populists – but in the very core of her chosen political community, the academic anti-Zionist movement.”[22]

The city of Frankfurt has to rethink its decision to award Judith Butler. Antisemitism should not be rewarded in Germany again. Too many anti-Israel scholars and activists already have been honored, tenured, or given prizes. This has to stop and serious research on antisemitism, particularly on anti-Zionist antisemitism and Islamism, has to be supported.

 

In 2007 Lawrence Summers repeated his criticism of academic and mostly left-wing and liberal antisemitism in an interview he gave to the prestigious Podcast Series “Voices on Antisemitism” of the United States Holocaust Memorial:[23]

“I found it shocking and deeply troubling that a substantial group of faculty members at major universities would propose seriously, and indeed seek to pressure, for universities like Harvard to sell, to divest, any stock, any company that did any business with Israel. It seemed to me that such a boycott that singled out Israel was profoundly misguided. And so I raised the question of whether this action, because of its singling out of Israel, was antisemitic in its effect if not necessarily in its intent.“

He has probably Judith Butler’s attack on him in mind, when he concludes:

“I think the magnitude of the reaction I got was not something I fully anticipated. I had the reaction that, if people had felt so inhibited from speaking on these issues that they praised my courage, that there must be a larger problem around these issues on university campuses than I had previously supposed. I think it might have been a more difficult decision if I had known just how much attention those remarks would generate, but while it would have been a more difficult decision, I think I would have been even more convinced of the importance of speaking out in the way that I did.”

The President of the leading University of the world spoke out against academic antisemitism as early as 2002. In 2012 German academics and politicians still do not understand what anti-Zionism means or they affirm hatred of the Jewish state of Israel. It is not acceptable to call Israel an apartheid state, as Butler does, and it is not acceptable to boycott Israel, as Butler propagates. Adorno told us that antisemitism has to be fought and not to be awarded!

 

Dr. Clemens Heni is a political scientist and the founding Director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA) http://bicsa.org/ . 2008/2009 he was a Post-Doctoral researcher at Yale University. He published three books on antisemitism so far, including his study Schadenfreude. Islamic Studies and Antisemitism in Germany after 9/11 (410 pages, in German, 2011). He can be reached at c.heni@gmx.de

 



[1] http://rhetoric.berkeley.edu/people.php?page_id=1056&p=54 (visited June 6, 2012).

[2] http://www.kulturpreise.de/web/preise_info.php?preisd_id=495 (visited June 6, 2012); “Judith Butler erhält den Theodor-W.-Adorno-Preis,“ http://www.focus.de/kultur/buecher/
literatur-judith-butler-erhaelt-den-theodor-w-adorno-preis_aid_760909.html (visited June 6, 2012); “Theodor-W.-Adorno-Preis an Judith Butler,“ http://www.hr-online.de/website/
rubriken/kultur/index.jsp?rubrik=72824&key=standard_document_44944250 (visited June 6, 2012).

[3] Judith Butler (2009): Frames of War. When is Life Grievable, London/New York: Verso, 93.

[4] Martha Nussbaum (1999): Professor of Parody, February 22, 1999, The New Republic, http://www.akad.se/Nussbaum.pdf (visited June 6, 2012). Butler was awarded the “first prize in the annual Bad Writing Contest sponsored by the journal Philosophy and Literature”, for example, ibid. Nussbaum criticizes that Butler rejects feminist activism towards better laws to protect women, and that Butler stays away from the struggle for more social equality for women, too.

[5] Eduardo Mendieta/Jonathan Vanantwerpen (2011): The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, in: Eduardo Mendieta/Jonathan Vanantwerpen (eds.), The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere. With an Afterword by Craig Calhoun, New York: Columbia University Press. The book is result of an event in New York City on October 22, 2009, ibid., vii.

[6] Judith Butler (2011): Is Judaism Zionism, in: Mendieta/Vanantwerpen (eds.), 70–91.

[7] „And, of course, it makes a difference whether one is criticizing the principles of Jewish sovereignty that characterize political Zionism since 1948, or whether one’s criticism is restricted to the occupation as illegal and destructive (and so situates itself in a history that starts with 1967), or whether one is more restrictively criticizing certain military actions in isolation from both Zionism and the occupation, i.e., last year’s assault on Gaza and the war crimes committed there, the growth of settlements, or the policies of the current right-wing regime in Israel,“ Butler 2011, 75.

[8] Butler 2011, 77ff.

[9] Butler 2011, 77.

[10] Butler 2011, 77.

[11] Butler 2011, 74.

[12] Lawrence Summers (2002): Address at morning prayers, Memorial Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 17, 2002, http://www.harvard.edu/president/speeches
/summers_2002/morningprayers.php (visited June 5, 2012).

[13] Stephen H. Norwood (2009): The Third Reich in the ivory tower: complicity and conflict on American campuses, Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.

[14] Judith Butler (2003): No, it’s not anti-semitic, London Review of Books, August 21, 2003, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n16/judith-butler/no-its-not-anti-semitic (visited June 5, 2012).

[15] Elhanan Yakira (2010): Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust. Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting, and the Delegitimation of Israel, Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press, 315.

[16] http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/node/572 (visited June 5, 2012).

[17] Micha Brumlik (2012): Die Philosophin im Brunnen, June 4, 2012, http://www.taz.de/
Kolumne-Gott-und-die-Welt/!94612/ (visited June 6, 2012). Resentment against Adorno is very widespread in Germany, because he was a son of a Jew and he survived National Socialism. Adorno even came back to Germany, taught Germans about antisemitism and there is resentment against him because Adorno was a critic of right-wing newspapers and their hatred of liberals around 1968, like Axel Springer’s BILD daily. Therefore, it is remarkable that a German author equates anti-Zionist Butler with pro-Israel philosopher Adorno, Michael Kreutz (2012): Versöhnung der Differenzen, June 3, 2012, http://www.transatlantic-forum.org/index.php/archives/2012/13541/versoehnung-der-differenzen/ (visited June 8, 2012). Kreutz accuses Adorno of having been a typical German “antiliberal,” which isn’t but resentment. Adorno was a victim of German antiliberal German nationalism as early as during the First World War, he wrote about this. Kreutz is a newcomer when it comes to philosophy, history, and research on antisemitism (he studied Oriental Philology). Adorno knew about antisemitism in the US in the 1940s, too. About antisemitism in America and the Ivy League and their pro-Nazi stand see Norwood 2009. Extremely naïve and badly educated authors ignore Western antisemitism completely, they are blinded by their hatred of the left (everyone who is analyzing Western antisemitism, in addition to Islamic or left-wing antisemitism, is considered an evil left-winger or liberal from their point of view).

[18] William Brand (2002): Professors accuse Web site of witch hunt
Campus Watch.org lists critics of U.S. Mideast policy, September 30, 2002, http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/255 (visited June 6, 2012).

[19] Steven Plaut (2010): Collaborators in the War against the Jews: Judith Butler, March 9, 2010, http://frontpagemag.com/2010/03/09/collaborators-in-the-war-against-the-jews-judith-butler/ (visited June 6, 2012).

[20] Russell Berman (2008): From ‘Left-Fascism’ to Campus Anti-Semitism: Radicalism as Reaction, Democratiya, 13, 14–30, 26, http://dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/
article_pdfs/d13Berman.pdf (visited June 6, 2012).

[21] Lawrence Summers (2007): Voices on Antisemitism – A Podcast Series, United States Holocaust Memorial, http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/focus/antisemitism/voices/
transcript/?content=20070215 (visited June 6, 2012).

German Political Culture: The Relationship to Anti-Zionism and Jihad before and after 11 September 2001

This article was first published with www.hagalil.com on December 17, 2003

 

This lecture I have hold on December 18th, 2002, at the international Symposium “Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism in Western Europe Since 2000” , organised by the Hebrew University, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Jerusalem.
The words in italics were unspoken at my lecture because of lack of time.

Clemens Heni, Bremen

Dear Mr. Shafir, dear Mr. Wistrich, dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very grateful for this invitation, for having the opportunity to speak here in Jerusalem about German anti-Zionism and of course to discuss actual trends of Antisemitism and anti-Zionism or Israel-hatred in Western Europe. I also thank Mr. Wiemer and the German Embassy for giving a financial squirt. And of course I thank the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, who at short term provided financial support for my flight to Israel.

Let me start with a kind of parable by Woody Allen: Two New York Intellectuals small talking at a party: one to the other: “Listen, I’ve written an essay, against antisemitism.” – Did you ? Nice. I prefere a bat.”

My report handles with three aspects:

1) political culture as a concept – anti-Zionism, projection and refusal of holocaust memory in Germany
2) the change of political culture in Germany since 2000 focussing on Israel: results of media research
3) How do the Children and Grandchildren of Germans Willing Executioners deal with anti-Zionism and Jihad ?

Analyzing political culture is one possible way to approach German society and at the same time single out German specifics of antisemitic impact. Firstly I would like to shortly introduce to you a concept of political science to analyse political culture, in order to operationalize it in a next stept with empirical material on anti-Zionism in Germany.

According to the political scientist Karl Rohe Political Culture should for a better understandig distinguished into “political social culture” and “political culture of interpretation”. Whereas “political social culture” consists of common “self-evidence, the “political culture of interpretation” points out the manifest sphere of political culture.” (1)

“From a conceptual point of view the difference between political culture of interpretation and political social culture is merely, that the political designs of the latter have already crystallized into mentalities (…), whereas in the case of culture of interpretation they either are still placed in the folder of the political designer or are being handed to-and-fro between cultural and political system.”

By applying this analytical pattern, I would state, that since a certain time anti-Zionism is beeing shoved to-and-fro between cultural and political system. Public opinion, media reports and street demonstrations increasingly affect the federal government and the political system, while statements of prominent representatives of society or even the political class retroacitvely influence the climate in Germany. This interaction is all the stronger, as the government comes from the left and has closer relations to non-parliament movements or union activists than right wingers usually have. This might seem paradox and astonishing just at first sight – a closer view however reveals a specific German phenomenon.

Particularly and maybe even only under the auspices of a red-green government it was it possible to let resentments against the USA and Israel come to surface, which had to be sublimated in a different way under a conservative government. This unselfconsciousness might not accidently be an emanation of a ‚left‘ government. Social-Democrats (SPD) and the Greens consider themselves immune to German National Socialism. From their point of view antisemitism is a problem exclusively for Conservatives – refusal of Holocaust memory and projection of German guilt on to Israel’s existence or politics – are all phenomena which they would never think of arising from left-wingers.

The invitation of the prominent author and antisemite Walser by the Federal Chancellor Schröder at the 8th of May 2002 was a sign. He suggests to forget the Jewish victims of the Shoah. Germany has become nowadays a state like any other, he declares. Exactly this attempt to forget the Jewish victims was defined as “secondary antisemitism” by the Critical Theory of Adorno and Horkheimer, the term itself was invented by their co-worker Peter Schönbach 40 years ago (2). Built upon this social political foundation the anti-Zionist attack against Israel is not in far distance. Refused German guilt is being projected on to the Jews becoming perpetrators now, symbolized in the State of Israel. The first to introduce and to advocate the most sharply this perception of Jews as perpetrators was the radical German left in 1967. Increasingly the pattern expanded within German society as a whole – not to mention GDR-anti-Zionism.

This psychological reaction is very important in order to understand what happens in Germany. Germans do not want to talk any more about Treblinka and Sobibor. Now they are looking for Auschwitz elsewhere: in Yugoslavia, in Israel or as an aspect of modernity in general, as stated by several philosophers and social scientists – following the so called post-structural theories of Michel Foucault or even the Nazi-Philosopher Martin Heidegger for example. This emanation of Holocaust relativization instead of it’s denial has become an accepted history narration, not only of course, but especially in Germany.

  • Thus my conclusion at this point: “The German way”(Schröder), anti-Americanism and antiimperialistic tradition/positions of the SPD (unionism, the social movement attac) amalgamate with strong anti-zionist groups of the Greens/the New Left in general and are establishing new forms of antisemitism and anti-Zionism with good feelings for the creators, because they are ‘left’.
  • The political culture in Germany has dramatically changed during the last four years. Antisemitism has arrived in midst of German society expressis verbis, whereas formerly it was uttered hidden behind the hand. As the former Press Councelor of Israels Embassy in Germany, Yossef Levy told me some months ago, he cannot understand the change since the celebration of Israels 40th anniversary, which has been held in Berlin with a large fancy cake, up to today. Nowadays he feels Israel-hatred all over the streets and media in Germany. It just dashes you to the ground.

2) Let me now give you some hard facts about Israel coverage in the German press and especially TV to be followed by examples of a specific german anti-Zionism, which might illustrate the way people in Germany think about Israel and German history.

Reports on the second Intifada since end of September 2000 are clearly drawing a negative picture of Israel. Israel is perceived as a cruel state, with tanks acting against stone throwing children on German TV-Screens. Israel is the perpetrator, the Palestinians are victims. The image of the jewish children murderer, an antisemitic item of the christia middle ages, as you know, was held up several times at demonstrations since 2002 until today.

Those antisemitic stereotypes have never been broadly discussed and rejected in Germany. Some people made a graffity on a synagogue in Berlin: “Israel kills children”. There you can see the direct line from antisemitism to anti-Zionism and vice versa. This visualised anti-israelian view is accompanied by verbal pictures with a clear antisemitic connotation. The characterization of Premier minister Sharon as a “bulldozer” represents one semantic devaluation by german newspaper. This is just one result of a qualitative study carried out by an institute in Duisburg, examining the essential newspapers and journals in Germany (FAZ, FR, SZ, Tagesspiegel, taz (3), Welt und Spiegel). Besides the already mentioned labeling of Ariel Scharon as a killing machine, which might be a synonyme for “bulldozer” – the study dealt with four central events: the visit of the temple mount in Jerusalem by Sharon, the death of the palestinian child Mohammed al-Dura (see the screening of Esther Schapiras film this evening!), the lynch murder of two israelian soldiers in Ramallah by Palestinians, and a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv first of June 2001. Along with these events the image of Israel was examined (4). A similar picture provides a study of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, especially dealing with the ultimate status of Israel as perpretator (5).

I would like to point out one aspect: suicide bombings are beeing regretted by germans as actions of desperate Palestinians, who actually want the best, but whose methods are a bit rude. In Germany almost nobody mentions the aim of suicide bombings: killing as many jews as possible, destabilizing Israel and, refering to an old PFLP (Palestinian Front to Liberate Palestine) strategy of the 70s, killing Jews in times of israelian-palestinian approaches. Nobody talks about the antisemitic impact of Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad or the PLO in general. Not a word about egyptian all-day antisemitism; the only documentation originate from very few left-wingers, the jewish german community and the Israel Embassy.

Medien Tenor, which is associated with israel media watch, has examined TV reports on Israel before and after the World Trade Center massmurdering in New York. This study is first of it’s kind in the world (6). They covered the evening news of the German TV channels ZDF, ARD, RTL, Sat 1 and Pro 7. (other countries, Britain, USA, South Africa and the Czech Republikc were also examined). “A uniform method was used in all countries, providing for the first time a comparable database for objective media review in different countries. supplying TV coverage to a population of almost 500 Million people. The sudy covers quantitative aspects, topics covered and qualitative diagnosis.” (7)

Result: Israel’s importance in German TV coverage has dramatically decreased after 9 11 2001. Within the Middle East coverage there have been some 80 % of the reports about Israel compared to the Palestinian Authority before WTC. Whereas from Sept. 2001 to March 2002 the percentage is only 37 %. Even more striking is the dominance of the topic ‚Terror‘ within Israel coverage. While terror represented some 49 % of all informations about Israel broadcasted in German TV from September 2000 to August 2001, the other parts being Politics, international affairs, Religion and culture, the percentage of the topic Terror has increased up to 89 % from October 2001 to March 2002.

Even worse is the characteriziation of Israel in German Media. Already before the WTC murdering by islamic jhads, the image was rather negative, in detail: 25% negative reports, 72% neutral reports and only some 3% positive representations. After WTC the reception of Israel has enormiously deteriorated: more than 45% of the news have a clear negative pitch, 49% are neutral and just a few more than before, mere 5,5% report in a positive manner about Israel. In contrast the negative Image of the PA has even decreased after 9 11 2001, from 45 to some 25 %, while Israel is considered more negative im comparision with the PA after WTC (negative Image of Israel is 40 % after WTC). It appears very significant to me, that the antisemitic impact of suicide bombing as well as islamistic antisemitism are being denied by significant parts of German society. Along with this phenomenon comes a partial tolerance or even support of these islamic groups. No prominent representative of the political class, the establishment or the media interpreted the massacre of New York as an antisemitic action. On the contrary the islamic Jihads are more likely soft-pedalled by describing them as avengers on imperialistic USA and israelian aggression against the Palestinians. The remark of the former Federal Minister of Justice, Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SPD), comparing Bush’s policy wiht Hitler’s, seconds the popular TV anchorman of the Tagesthemen, Ulrich Wickert who supposed that Bush and Bin Laden have the same way of thinking. The german refusal of any substantial critique of Irak, along with the increasing economic relations to this antisemitic state (8), is the youngest chapter in this anti-american and also anti-israelian, german-arabic friendship.

3) Empirical examples contextualized with part one and two

Let me characterize two main ropes:
1) indifference and the refusal to fight ani-Zionism
2) the affirmation of anti-Zionism.

Both are numerous and handled in the political culture of interpretation in Germany.

1a) The Professor of Political Science Wolfgang Dressen (Fachhochschule Duesseldorf) initiated an exposition dealing with a middle age topos at first sight, but in fact with the aim of reinstalling german-arabic friendship including the jewish community. It is no accident that he set a link to an extremist islmamic homepage on the internet. The press supported his claim for a “variety of opinion” and refused to tell the public sphere anything substantial about this anti-Israeli homepage of muslim-markt. To give you an impression about this islamic group: they propose to all moslems in Germany not to buy any product of Israel, to refuse Israel a right of existence and so on.

The following passage I mentioned during the discussion about my lecture, especially focusing the ‘anti-racist’ thinking of a SPD-left wingers: In the state of Bremen, the Prime Minster of the smallest state in Germany’s north-west, Henning Scherf, gave an interview to a journal of the largest and extremist Islamic group in Germany, the Turkish organisation Milli Görüs, and supports their activities in his territory. While ignoring that at the mosques books like that of the French Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy are offered for sale, Scherf prefers the dialogue. The protestant church as well maintains contacts with these extremist Islamic groups.

1b) The step from here to the German government is not far. Federal Minister of foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer himself invited the President of Syria, Assad (the son). Despite protests of the Central Council of Jews in Germany (“Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland”) and small groups against antisemitism and anti-Zionism Fischer talked with Assad in a friendly manner. Neither did Fischer demand the delivery of the Nazi mass murder Anton Brunner, whom several Jewish and non-Jewish organizations assume living in harmony in Syria for several decades now, nor did he or Federal Chancellor Schröder substantially criticize the antisemitism of Syria’s Minister of Defence, who told the Arabic world on TV:

“If I see a Jew, I would kill him. If every Arab kills one Jew, the Problem is solved”.

Except for Fischer’s hint to Assad, to somehow change his rhetoric, you could not hear a real critism of this very aggressive antisemitism. What does it mean: Change your rhetoric, if you speek about a person like Syria’s Minister of Defence, who calls up to kill a Jew ? After this state visit, it cannot be regarded an accident that Fischer or Schröder did not react at all the day Möllemann held Sharon and Friedman responsible for rising anti-Israelian and antisemitic feelings all round the world respectively Germany, because of their behavior as Jews (!!!).

At that point I would like to return to my scientific concept of political culture. Political culture of interpretation is full of anti-zionist activities and the political class refuses to fight them – more often they affirm these anti-Jewish positions in which twisted way ever. Thus it has become a part of the political social culture not to fight Islamic groups and their anti-Jewish impact. Only a few organizations have been forbidden after WTC. And of course it is not just a question to prohibit such groups or organizations. It’s also a question of how to reflect antisemitic and anti-zionist activities.

2) Affirmation of Islamic Jihad in Germany

The most mass-effective manifestation of actual anti-Zionism showed up in spring 2002 with numerous demonstrations all over Germany for a free Palestine. Israel was accused of killing children, there were posters with a Hamburger where the meat inside was a Palestinian inscribed “made in Israel” . Or posters with “the Israeli massacre of Jenin” were held up. The truth is not important for people with such strong resentments.

Several ten thousand people from left organizations like the PDS (“Party of Democratic Socialism”) (who called the WTC attacks “something like this comes from this”) and the Greens, autonomous groups and of course Arabic, Islamic groups including Hizbollah, Hamas, PLO with their flags and many other groups or organizations like, for example, the Hizb ut-Tahrir. This group scanned “Jews are monkeys” in Arabic, anyway some hundred meters behind the Member of Federal Parliament Christian Ströbele walked with his friends. Same time, same place, same anti-Jewish impact.

Here you can see what I wanted to explain at the beginning: the specific German need to project guilt on to Israel and the Jews. The danger for Israel lies in the large variety and discoursive practice of this “new anti-Israelianism” (9). The conference in Durban in summer 2001 was a sign to the world: listen, Israel is a racist state, Zionism means hate. (Did the Jews learn anything from Auschwitz?) These anti-Zionist Internationals (10) suggest that the jews didn’t learn anything since Auschwitz.

After the WTC attacks the danger for Israel has even increased, because the Jihadists could see that European demonstrations do not call up to fight Jihad but the USA and Israel instead, the same targets of Jihad. In addition the Palestinians could see that suicide bombing gives the PA a better position in the European Community and destabilizes Israel, psychologically, politically, economically, and socially. The already mentioned muslim-markt is a strong anti-Israeli-group and is surely just one example of few. Not to forget that it was no accident that the Al-Qaida members Mohammed Atta and his friends had good circumstances to prepare the massacre in New York while living and studying in Hamburg and visiting several mosques in this city for many years.

To come to an end let me please give you a final example which shows you the convergence of left, right and the center in Germany. Since several months left groups are collecting signatures for a resolution pleading for a stop to deliver military equipment and weapons to Israel. Besides this they call for a stop of import of israel goods. At the same time, last week, President of State Katsav visited Germany and the Nazi party NPD proclaimed to a demonstration with the slogan: “Solidarity with Palestine. No more weapons for Israel”.

You might be astonished here but the reality in Germany lies in this Nazi-slogan. Although left wingers opposed this demonstration most of them didn’t realize that they are fighting for the same aim: “Free Palestine. No more weapons for Israel.” To complete this dramatic converge of left, right and now the center, some days before the NPD Peter Struck, Federal Minister of Defence told us, that Germany will not send the demanded transport tanks called ‚Fuchs‘ to Israel. The Greens did also refuse such an export at a party convent the same week-end. None of them was willing to talk about Hamas or Hizbollah, about antisemitic speeches of Presidents of State of Syria for example.

This new anti-zionist view of world has arisen since 2000 on a well-grounded fundament by leftist since 1967. They are talking about human rights, they never talk about the human duty to fight anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

Not just at night in a dream, but in everyday politics Federal Chancellor Schröder wants to install German UN-Soldiers at the Golan for example, in order to tell the Jews in Israel how to care about human rights. He and his Vice-Chancellor Fischer are convinced that they can tell Israel the truth about Auschwitz. They also know much better to talk friendly to Hizbollah, Hamas or Arafat himself in order to bring peace on earth, they believe.

I myself, according to the Philosopher Adorno, I am convinced you cannot debate pro- and contra suicide bombing with madmen. Considering the personality structure of such persons “le sort en est jeté- rien ne vas plus”.(11) To prevent such antisemitism Woody Allens bat is not enough.

The children and grandchildren of Germany’s willing executioners have become willing refusers to fight antisemitism and anti-Zionism; they are oscillating between indifference towards and affirmation of Islamic or Arabic antisemitism/anti-Zionism.

In Germany a predilection for dead Jews is maintained. There is a bad tune to support living Jews in fighting antisemitism and anti-Zionism today.

Thank you very much for your patience

Notes:

(1) Karl Rohe (1987): Politische Kultur und der kulturelle Aspekt von politischer Wirklichkeit, in: Berg-Schlosser, Dirk/Schissler, Jakob (Hg.), Politische Kultur in Deutschland. Bilanz und Perspektiven der Forschung, Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Sonderheft 18, S. 39-48, p. 42.
(2) Vgl. Lars Rensmann (1998): Kritische Theorie über den Antisemitismus. Studien zu Struktur, Erklärungspotential und Aktualität, Berlin-Hamburg, Argument, (Edition Philosophie und Sozialwissenschaften 42), p. 231f.
(3) Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). tageszeitung (taz), Frankfurter Rundschau (FR), Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).
(4) Duisburger Institut für Sprach- und Sozialforschung: Die Nahost-Berichterstattung zur Zweiten Intifada in deutschen Printmedien unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Israel-Bildes. Analyse diskursiver Ereignisse im Zeitraum von September 2000 bis August 2001, Duisburg 2002.
(5) Forschungsbereich Öffentlichkeit und Gesellschaft – fög, Universität Zürich: ISRAELI UND PALÄSTINENSER IM SPIEGEL DER MEDIEN ANALYSE DER NAHOST-BERICHTERSTATTUNG IM ZEITRAUM ENDE SEPTEMBER BIS NOVEMBER 2000 fög, CH-8008 Zürich, 5. Januar 2001
(6) Vgl. Roland Schatz (Medien-Tenor, Bonn), translated and edited by Prof Eli Pollak (israel media-watch) “The Image of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the International Media”, Bonn 2002 (see a german version: Roland Schatz: Der Blick auf Israel und Palästina, in: Tribüne. Zeitschrift zum Verständnis des Judentums, 41. Jg., Heft 162, 2. Quartal 2002, p. 93-113).
(7) See Schatz 2002.
(8) Klaus Thörner: Die Saddam AG. Trotz des Uno-Embargos vertieft die deutsche Industrie die wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zum Irak, in: jungle world, Nr. 51, 11.12.2002.
(9) Günther Jacob (2002): Israel ist unser Unglück: Anti-Israelismus nach dem 11.September, in Konkret 8/2002 and www.hagalil.com.
(10) To transfer Hannah Arendt‘s notion of the “faschistische Internationale” from 1945, see: Hannah Arendt (1945)/1989: Antisemitismus und faschistische Internationale, in: dies. Nach Auschwitz. Essays & Kommentare 1, Berlin (Edition Tiamat, ciritica diabolis 21), pp. 31–48.
(11) See Theodor W. Adorno (1962)/1998: Zur Bekämpfung des Antisemitismus heute, in: ders. Gesammelte Schriften 20–1, pp. 360–383.

hagalil.com 17-12-2003

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