Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Schlagwort: Antisemitism

Trump, Zionism and Antisemitism

First published with the Times of Israel, February 22, 2017

Several Jewish and non-Jewish NGOs, scholars, activists, bloggers and authors believe, the Trump administration will fight antisemitism and will be helpful both for Jews and Israel.

Their derealization of sexism is shocking enough. But no surprise either.

Let’s have a look at Trump, antisemitism and Zionism alone.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) argues that Trump might consider strong anti-BDS legislation. The Simon Wiesenthal Center prayed for Trump at the inauguration and the Louis D. Brandeis Center  is hopeful that Trump will be fighting antisemitism, too.

Journalist Benjamin Weinthal (Jerusalem Post) and his colleague from SPME, Asaf Romirowsky, claim:

In late December, with just weeks left in his administration, former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a shot in the arm to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, or BDS. Obama instructed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, to abstain instead of vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution rebuking Israeli settlement activity.

Resolution 2334 deems Israel’s presence in disputed territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be illicit. Combined five days later with a didactic anti-Israel speech from Secretary of State John Kerry, the resolution administered a body blow to Israel’s brand.

The Middle East Forum’s (MEF) director Greg Roman attacks the resolution 2334, which is no surprise, but still lacks a scholarly analysis of the resolution. The Simon Wiesenthal Center puts the Obama Administration on place one of their “Top-Ten worst global antisemitic and anti-Israel incidents 2016”:

The most stunning 2016 UN attack on Israel was facilitated by President Obama when the US abstained on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction.

What says United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 from December 2016?

Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.

That is not antisemitic. On the contrary, the UNSC again reaffirms the very existence of Israel!

John Kerry’s speech was even clearer and very pro-Zionist:

This is an issue which I’ve worked on intensely during my time as Secretary of State for one simple reason: because the two state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors.

This is exactly the position of leading Zionist scholars in the field, such as Fania Oz-Salzberger, Yedidia Z. Stern, Gadi Taub, Ruth Gavison or Anita Shapira, at least in my reading of their book “The Israeli Nation-State” from 2014, which I just translated into German (with my colleague Dr. Michael Kreutz) and published the book (456 pages) this week.

John Kerry wanted to “ensure” that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Period.

However, the self-declared pro-Israel establishment in the US or Germany, runs riot against resolution 2334 and the Obama administration. Now they embrace Trump, more or less.

Even Kenneth Marcus from the Louis D. Brandeis Center, known for thoughtful analysis and scholarship in antisemitism, rejects any analysis of the very specific way Trump fueled antisemitism in the last 15 months or longer. Marcus rather obfuscates the very new climate in the US after the election of Trump and says:

“In today’s heated political climate Marcus said anti-Semitism is rampant in both pro-Trump supporters and anti-Trump groups, among others, and should not be attributed to one source.“

It is not news that leftists are anti-Zionist, for example, but it is news that the neo-Nazi Alt Right is now sitting in the White House (Steve Bannon, Breitbart). And the unbelievable increase of antisemitic incidents in the US has very close connection to the extrem right and not to the left. Neo-Nazis have been emboldened by Trump, no doubt about this.

Marcus concludes (this is from a report about a talk he gave) and even sees Trump as a possible ally:

“The Trump Administration could be another factor in the battle against anti-Semitism. (…) Marcus credited the Trump campaign for issuing a statement expressing concern about campus anti-Semitism, and for comments indicating that the Department of Justice would address university suppression of Jewish pro-Israel speech. Marcus doesn’t know if any of this will translate into policy, but he’s hopeful.“

Crediting Trump – unbelievable.

Then, those in the pro-Israel camp who defame Kerry should listen to a single speech by Iranian President Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in order to learn how an anti-Israel speech sounds like. Then, they should listen to John Kerry’s speech about resolution 2334 and rethink their unprofessional remarks that Kerry‘s speech was a “didactic anti-Israel speech” as Weinthal and Romirowsky frame it.

If it is anti-Israel to support the Jewish and democratic state of Israel and to be against religious and nationalist fanaticism and the settlements, read: to be for a two-state solution, than most Israelis and Jews in the US and worldwide are anti-Israel.

Palestinian rejectionism is a huge problem, of course, ever since 1947 and before.

But Israeli fanaticism is also a huge problem, just listen to the six Shin Bet directors between 1980 and 2011, who are interviewed in the Oscar nominated film “The Gatekeepers” by Dror Moreh in 2012, featuring Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter, Yuval Diskin, Carmi Gillon, Yaakov Peri, Avraham Shalom. They emphasize that the Palestinians are not just terrorists. They are political subjects and need political acceptance by Israel (and of course, vice versa, but that is NOT news).

We need a political solution, not a military solution, that is their message – and thesse former Shin Bet directors from 1980 through 2011 might know more about the Palestinians and how to fight terrorism and how not and what is good or bad for Israel than American or European activists.

But there are also those Israeli fanatics in the 1990s, including Benjamin Netanyahu, to be sure, who agitated against Yitzhak Rabin, as the film shows, until Rabin was killed, November 4, 1995. How does Israel look like today?

A Question to all those American and other Trump supporters: Is it a sign of a particular pro-Jewish approach to omit the mentioning of Jews as the only victims of the Shoah on Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2017? Historian Deborah Lipstadt called Trump’s statement a “softcore Holocaust denial.”

Finally, and most importantly, if it is pro-Israel to destroy the Jewish state and to invoke or mention (as a result of stupidity, thoughtlessness or by intention) the “one-state solution” as President Trump did during his shocking and embarrassing press conference with Netanyahu on February 15, 2017, then things are turned upside down. Trump and his folks will call it “alternative facts.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.  (Laughter.)  I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.  I can live with either one.“

No problem for the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) or the Louis D. Brandeis Center and their allies?

David Horowitz from the Times of Israel concludes:

“And yet, by allowing Trump’s talk of a possible single entity between river and sea to pass without contradiction, Netanyahu himself dealt a stinging, public blow to the Israel we are living in today. For if our prime minister is unwilling to speak up, loudly and clearly, in defense of a Jewish, democratic Israel within internationally recognized borders, who else will? Certainly not President Donald Trump.”

 

Does Germany need just another Islamist, anti-Israel and antisemitic infusion by John L. Esposito?

By Clemens Heni

75 year old John L. Esposito, Georgetown University’s Director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., will be the keynote speaker of a big conference in Germany, Jan 14–16, 2016, about „anti-Muslim racism and hostility towards Islam in Germany and Europe.“

The conference will take place at the University of Osnabrück in the North-West of Germany, over forty speakers are invited to speak. The event is organized by the “Center for Islamic Theology,” and supported by the German Federal Government and its Ministry of Education and Research, Lower Saxony’s Ministry for Research and Culture, and the Post Graduate Program Islamic Theology.

This Center for Islamic Theology is headed by Bülent Ucar, who is the main organizer of the event alongside with his co-worker, Nina Mühe, an anthropologist and Islamic studies scholar known for her attack on Berlin’s Anti-Hijab Law in classroom. Mühe is a former fellow at a German branch of George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

Obviously, attacks like the Charlie Hebdo and Kosher supermarket massacre in Paris in January 2015 are a “reason” for many academics in the humanities and social sciences to focus on an alleged “anti-Muslim racism‟ and not on Jihad, Islamism, Muslim anti-Semitism and Muslim terrorists. This is mainstream in Europe and the Western world ever since 9/11. We are facing in part a racist and nationalist climate in Germany, indeed. But this has nothing to do with the rejection of most academics in the field of Islamic Studies to deal, let alone fight Islamism in all its forms. The true antifascism of the 21st century deals with both the neo-Nazi and Islamist threats.

In his book “Who Speaks for Islam?” (2007, together with Dalia Mogahed), Esposito used the equivalence of anti-Semitism and “Islamophobia.” In his distorted view, Jews aren’t but a “religion” and just one of two “religions with Semitic origins.” In fact, hatred of Jews is a worldwide ideology, while “Islamophobia” is rather an invention by some specific circles, namely Iran and Islamist organizations and their followers.

More recently, Esposito also started to defame Egypts’s anti-Muslim-Brotherhood stance and started his “Brigde Initiative,” dedicated to the analysis of “Islamophobia” and the defamation of all critics of jihad and Islamism.

Esposito is fascinated by the “Iranian Revolution” from 1979, as can be seen in his edited volume “The Iranian Revolution. Its Global Impact” (1990) and his chapter “The Iranian Revolution. A Ten-Year Perspective,” where he also emphasized the outreach of Iranian style Islamism to Muslims outside Iran. In 2010, he co-edited the volume “Islam and Peacebuilding. Gülen Movements Initiates,” where he promotes the Islamist approach of Fethullah Gülen and frames him as a kind of Islamic version of German philosopher Jürgen Habermas. Both share a “similar belief in mutual understanding, dialogue and optimism,” murmurs Esposito.

This “optimism” (a nice word for the spread of Islamism, no?) can also be seen in the work of leading Sunni cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, another protagonist of Esposito. In his book “The Future of Islam” (2010), the Saudi (Prince Alwaleed) funded scholar says, al-Qaradawi “claims that everything is acceptable (halal) unless proven forbidden (haram).” This makes him a moderate according to Esposito and his German colleagues Gudrun Krämer and Bettina Gräf. Gräf co-edited a book, “The Global Mufti,” with pieces by another Georgetown academic, Barbara Freyer-Stowasser (1935–2012), about “gender equality” in a fatwa about female suiciding bombing against Israel by al-Qaradawi.

In “The Future of Islam,” Esposito also invokes an equivalence between Islamic and Western “fundamentalism,” taking Ronald Reagan and the Iranian Revolution as examples, he also compares George W. Bush to Osama Bin Laden. This cultural relativist approach is well known. But jihad and the rule of religion (Islamism) is not the same as whatever democratic government in the US, Britain or Germany and France etc. does. Mustafa Ceric, former Grand Mufti of Sarajevo, is another Islamist portrayed as kosher, by Esposito. Ceric once went to the Auschwitz Memorial site, not to remember the Shoah but rather to invoke the Muslims-are-the-new-Jews-analogy. Ceric has also been criticized for his ties to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, among other Islamist aspects of his approach.

Finally, Esposito refers to German security expert and former head (1996–2000) of the “Federal Agency for the Protection of the Constitution,” Peter Frisch. In his 2010 book (finished in 2009), Esposito writes about Frisch as if he was head of that important institution in 2009, which is a minor problem compared to the lie, the Georgetown scholar spreads about Frisch. Esposito writes: “In Germany, Peter Frisch, head of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution), has repeatedly asserted, ‘Muslims want to rule the world.’” He does not quote form a single article by Frisch. In 2001, after 9/11, Frisch argued against the defamation of all Muslims. In 1997, Frisch argued against the rise of Islamism and the reluctance in Germany to even deal with that problem. To my knowledge, he never said that all Muslims want to rule the world. This reproach is rather a lie, invented by Esposito – who runs short to substantiate his claim. But Esposito is obviously not interested in research and quotes.

August 5, 2014, during the latest Gaza War, John L. Esposito tweeted the following: “Elie Wiesel plays the Holocaust trump card in Gaza” and links to an antisemitic homepage – “Mondoweiss.” Wiesel had said, that Jews stopped using children as sacrifices some 3500 years ago, Hamas should stop it now, too. Truly a correct statement, taken the fact that Hamas is verifiably known for abusing children and others as human shields. For Esposito this was just another reason to defame Israel and make fun of the Shoah and a Holocaust survivor.

Esposito compares Israel to Nazis, uses even more antisemitic language, promotes Islamists as possible allies and defames German officials, who headed federal offices in the fight against Jihad and Islamism.

Are these enough reasons for the Jewish Museum Berlin’s Yasemin Shooman, the mainstream weekly “Die Zeit” and its author Yassin Musharbash, the left-green-wing daily “taz” and its Daniel Bax, scholars like Andreas Zick from Bielefeld University, who even sits on Board of the US based “Journal for the Study of Antisemitism” (JSA), or historian Wolfgang Benz, former head of the “Center for Research on Antisemitism” at Technical University Berlin, dozens of other scholars, activists and authors, the Government of Lower Saxony and the German Federal Government to support and join such an event?

 

 

Distorting the first and preventing a second Holocaust?

Troubling invitations spark controversies about the Global Forum in Jerusalem, to be held end of May 2013

by Dr. Clemens Heni

 

The Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism is a very important international conference. The first one was held in 2007, followed by two more events in 2008 and 2009. May 28-30, 2013, the fourth Global Forum will take place in Jerusalem. Fighting antisemitism, hatred of Israel, Islamism, anti-Zionism, and the distortion of the Shoah are tremendously timely and important topics.

Israel is a tiny country and the only one facing genocidal threats. Anti-Zionism is a religion in Europe and particularly in the Arab world, and parts of the Muslim world. Iran denies the Holocaust and agitates in a Nazi-style against Israel. Islamism is a huge threat on a worldwide level, but particularly in the Middle East, just look at Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey with the more veiled but influential, equally legal form of Islamism and Jihad (remember the Mavi Marmara) or Saudi-Arabia with its decades long spread of Islamist ideology via funding of extremist groups, mosques, cultural centers and the like. Qatar is home of one of the world’s leading Sunni Islamists, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who urges the Muslim world to fight Israel, who supports suicide bombing by unveiled females and who thanked Hitler for having punished the Jews. No one is criticizing or isolating Qatar for being host of that influential antisemite and his world-wide media network, including al-Jazeera.

Therefore, the Global Forum will be a very important gathering of those dedicated to fight Islamism, Muslim antisemitism, anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel in all its forms.

However, is it a good idea to invite someone to an event dedicated to fight antisemitism and a possible ‘second Holocaust’ who is known for distorting, veiling or even affirming the Holocaust? Are politicians or representatives of countries known for their efforts to whitewash their own pro-Nazi legacy allies in the fight against Holocaust denial and distortion of history? Is it a reflection and sign of a change in public relations to invite the very same country to the very same event four years later, again?

Some tiny and not powerful countries have learnt to pay lip-service to Israel while promoting the above mentioned Holocaust distortion in their own countries. This is the case in Hungary and Lithuania.

In December 2009 I was part of a struggle against Lithuanian antisemitism at the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, organized by the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. In a working group, Professor of Yiddish Dovid Katz and I, supported by British MP John Mann, criticized Lithuanian antisemitism and Holocaust distortion!

Now, in May 2013, the very same Lithuanian government will be invited to the fourth Global Forum. Are the representatives at the MfA just lazy and have no other countries in mind when it comes to Israel and antisemitism? Was our criticism in December 2009 completely useless?

Now, facing the next Global Forum end of May 2013 in Jerusalem, Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, said senior government officials from Lithuania, Greece, Hungary and Ireland should not be allowed to attend — and speak at — the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism. “The opportunity to address the conference by visiting dignitaries should be a prize given to people who are leading the fight against anti-Semitism, and not to individuals representing countries in which the problem is among the worst in Europe, if not the worst,”.

In December 2009 Zuroff already criticized the invitation of the then Lithuanian Foreign Minister:

“I am referring primarily to the invitation to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas to participate as a special guest of the forum, but also to the presence there of two right-wing Hungarian politicians, Zsolt Semjen and Zoltan Balog, both of whom have made very negative comments about Hungarian Jews.“

Isn’t it predictable and also shocking, that these two countries, Lithuania and Hungary, are again supposed to deliver ridiculous speeches at the very same Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism? They will of course not deal with the failures of their own countries since 2009. They will not apologize for a reburial of a Nazi puppet minister in 2012 in Lithuania (with military honors). Nor will they change their radical nationalist policies, including antisemitism in both countries like the equation of red and brown (“Prague Declaration”) or the toleration if not support of antisemitic and far-right parties like Jobbik in Hungary. The same holds for Greece. Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn was supported by Prime Minister Samaras and a member of that antisemitic party was elected by the Greek Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). A Hungarian extreme right politician from Jobbik was elected to that very EU body, too. In March 2013 antisemitic and anti-Roma, racist journalist Ferenc Szaniszlo was awarded a state sponsored and most important Hungarian award for journalists, the Táncsics prize, given under the auspices of Minister of “human resources.”

Why should Israel honor such countries and governments at an event exclusively dedicated to the fight of antisemitism?

Nevertheless, computer expert and NGO activist Andre Oboler from Australia rejects Zuroff’s criticism and  recently attacked the leading Nazi-hunter, historian and activist from the Simon Wiesenthal Center on his JPost blog for his criticism of this year’s Global Forum.

In addition, Oboler is the author of a brochure about antisemitism on Facebook. Of course it is important to deal with antisemitism, neo-Nazis, Holocaust denial and related issues on the leading social network. However, Oboler bases his text on British scholar, very influential book author and activist Richard Dawkins. Dawkins insists that there is no-free-will, everything is determined, biologically and/or culturally. For example, Dawkins created the term “Meme,” which in layman’s speak is a means for ideas to be transmitted via ‘cultural’ genes from one generation to the next.

If one takes this idea one step further the notion of free will can no longer exist in such a Dawkensian world. One can only wonder what Dawkins would say about the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and their active and self chosen involvement in the killing of Jews during the Shoah. Dawkins has sparked controversies about his aggressive new atheism, too and his friendship with animal rights activist Peter Singer, who endorses euthanasia, and says that a handicapped baby could be seen as a “non-person” and be killed, is highly troubling.  Dawkins has talked about the (in his view: huge and dangerous) Jewish influence in American foreign policy, for example, and has agitated against Judaism.

The Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, organized by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and probably the biggest gathering of scholars, activists, politicians, philanthropists, citizens, bloggers, journalists and others in the pro-Israel and anti-antisemitism tent, should be a place to analyze and fight all forms of antisemitism.

Inviting countries who are known for their contribution to the distortion of history, for the antisemitic rewriting of the history of the Second World War, Nazi Germany and the Shoah, was a bad idea in 2009 and is a bad idea in 2013.

Of course Israeli diplomats are happy if a European or Western colleague is rather friendly and not outspokenly hostile to the Jewish state. However, we have to think twice. We cannot criticize one form of antisemitism (like anti-Zionism or Muslim antisemitism) while endorsing another form of antisemitism like Holocaust distortion, the equation of red and brown, the trivialization of the Holocaust and the promotion of the swastika as “cultural heritage” as is the case in Lithuania. No one who trivializes the Shoah can be considered a true friend of Israel and the Jews, regardless of his or her lip-service to the Jewish state.

Does the steering committee of the Global Forum, including Oboler, and the Israeli government really think that countries who distort the Shoah are among the best allies to prevent a ‘second Holocaust?’

 

 

Did Quentin Tarantino Promote Antisemitic Ideology?

Algemeiner.com, January 24, 2013

January 24, 2013

Antisemitism is a very flexible ideology. We know of Islamist antisemitism, the Iranian threat, Arab antisemitism, left-wing, right-wing and mainstream anti-Zionist European antisemitism. We also know of anti-Judaism—the hatred of circumcision and of ritual slaughter, for example.

A short while ago, American film director Spike Lee accused his colleague, film director, screen writer and actor Quentin Tarantino of distorting American history and slavery in his new film “Django Unchained.” For Lee the film is racist, and portrays slavery in a mild light. Lee says he will not watch the film.

Promoting his film in Berlin, Tarantino responded indirectly to Spike Lee by saying: “America is responsible for two Holocausts: for the destruction of native Americans and for the slavery of African Americans.”

Leading German daily, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, known for promoting the anti-Zionist antisemitism of Nobel Prize Laureate Günter Grass earlier this year, happily quoted Tarantino accusing America of “two Holocausts.” The Austrian actor Christoph Waltz who appeared in Tarantino’s latest film was just awarded a Golden Globe for his role in Django Unchained and Waltz is not known as a critic of Holocaust distortion Tarantino-style.

Accusing America of genocide is among the best known anti-American tropes worldwide. In Germany (FRG), there was a remarkable increase in this trope right after the screening of the TV series “Holocaust” in January, 1979. Blaming the West and America for another genocide or Holocaust was most welcome by many Germans. Psychoanalytic theory calls this a projection of guilt.

As we know, the Holocaust was an unprecedented crime. Many historians of the Holocaust emphasize the unprecedented character of it, including historian and Jewish studies scholar Steven T.  Katz from Boston University.

The Holocaust is unique. Never before was there the intent and the policy to kill an entire people. Germans wanted to kill the Jews – and they destroyed European Jewry by killing six million Jews. For the first time in history, gas chambers were part of an industry of destruction.

The German railway system was used for the deportation of Jews from far away countries like Greece. Since the late 19th century in particular (in fact, even before), Germans developed a specific form of German antisemitism aimed at the destruction of Jews. Jews were seen as the “eternal Jews,” as working on a world conspiracy, as being behind capitalism (“Mammon,” the supposedly Jewish god of money!) and of communism, liberalism, modernity, urban cities, free forms of sexuality and the like.

The Russian forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, first distributed around 1905, became crucial to Hitler’s antisemitic ideology, too. Since the Middle Ages, blood Libels have been a typical Christian tool and, since 1840 and the Damascus Affair, an increasingly Christian Arab, as well as Muslim and Islamist tool to spread Jew-hatred. Today Jews are accused of killing innocent Christian or Muslim children for religious purposes.

All these genocidal features are missing when we look at colonialism, slavery, and racism. Jews were seen as superior, not as inferior like Native Americans, Blacks, or slaves. Jews were seen as a dangerous force behind all kinds of evil. Africans were subject to horrible crimes in modern times, but those crimes were far from genocide. The Arab-Islamic slave trade and the European-American slave trade used Africans as a cheap labor. Exploitation was the reason behind slavery and racism, and the allegedly superior Arabs or Whites were behind it.

On the other hand, exploitation was neither the reason nor the result of the Holocaust. The (German) will to destroy Jewry was behind the Shoah. Destruction ruled, not exploitation or racist rule over a group of people. German did not just want to rule over Jews, they wanted to kill them and they did kill them.

Not so in slavery, colonialism, or racism. The history of Native Americans was also horrible, but far from genocide. There was never the intention of European settlers to kill the entire native population. Rather, disease caused much of the destruction of the native peoples. Historian, theorist and critic of capitalism, Karl Marx, called this “primitive accumulation.” Primitive accumulation is based on violence, direct violence and murder. The Holocaust, though, is completely distinct from that. There was no cui bono in the Shoah.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung mentions historian David Stannard as a “serious” source to back Tarantino’s claim about America having committed Holocausts. However, Stannard is not a serious historian. I deal with him in my new book, Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon. Holocaust Trivialization – Islamism – Post-colonial and Cosmopolitian anti-Zionism. Stannard promotes the anti-American and antisemitic Holocaust-distorting trope of the Holocaust of native Americans in the US.

Stannard is also a friend of author and agitator Ward Churchill, infamous for framing the entire history of the US as an ongoing genocide or “Holocaust” (since 1492) and for referring to the 9/11 victims “little Eichmanns.” (The two notorious studies from these two ‘historians’ are David E. Stannard (1992): American holocaust: Columbus and the conquest of the New World, New York: Oxford University Press and Ward Churchill (1997): A Little Matter of Genocide. Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present, San Francisco: City Lights Books.)

American journalist and columnist for the German weekly Die Zeit, Tuvia Tenenbom, reported in his book I Sleep in Hitler’s Room (which became a German bestseller, Allein unter Deutschen) about traveling to Germany and finding antisemitism. He meets the gardener of a lovely and very trendy restaurant vis-à-vis the house of the Wannsee-Conference in Berlin. When Tenenbom asked about the strange people who love to marry and to have lunches at the House Sanssouci Restaurant, the gardener responded: “And you killed the Indians!”

Tarantino promotes the very same antisemitic ideology. He distorts the Holocaust by framing American history as even worse than German history. Two holocausts for the US, and just one for Germany in this antisemitic, though very fashionable view.

Hurting Jewish Holocaust survivors, their relatives, and all other people who remember the worst crime of mankind ever, is the result, if not the intent, of Quentin Tarantino’s words. He praises the Germans for their kind of Holocaust remembrance while accusing America of being unable and unwilling to confront their own history.

There was and there is racism in the US, yes, even after the end of slavery and segregation. This has to be confronted on a daily basis. But there were not two holocausts in American history. Neither Native Americans nor African Americans were killed intentionally on a genocidal level. Rather, exploitation, the spread of diseases, and European-American chauvinism and racism were prevalent.

The obsession to downplay, obfuscate, distort and even universalize the Holocaust has to stop. Quentin Tarantino is just another candidate, one of the first in 2013, for the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Top Ten Antisemitic/anti-Israel Slurs. Holocaust distortion and Holocaust universalization are very widespread and serious forms of antisemitism.

Those who forget or distort the past won’t support the Jewish state of Israel in the future. Quentin Tarantino is not a ground-breaker in this regard; he merely echoes the German and European (as well as American) anti-Americanism and antisemitism of the cultural elite.

Dr. Clemens Heni is the author of Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon. Holocaust Trivialization – Islamism – Post-colonial and cosmopolitan anti-Zionism

 

Is Quentin Tarantino an Antisemite?

By Dr. Clemens Heni, author of Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon. Holocaust Trivialization – Islamism – Post-colonial and cosmopolitan anti-Zionism

 

Antisemitism is a very flexible ideology. We know of Islamist antisemitism, the Iranian threat, Arab antisemitism, left-wing, right-wing and mainstream anti-Zionist European antisemitism. We also know of anti-Judaism and hatred of the circumcision and of ritual slaughter, for example.

A couple of days ago, American film director Spike Lee accused his colleague, film director, screen writer and actor Quentin Tarantino of distorting American history and slavery in his new film “Django Unchained.” For Lee the film is rather racist, or portrays slavery in a mild light. Lee will not watch the film, he says. Tarantino thinks of himself as the leading American film producer of our time.

Promoting his film in Berlin, Tarantino responded indirectly to Spike Lee and said: “America is responsible for two Holocausts: for the destruction of native Americans and for the slavery of African Americans.”

Leading German daily, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, known for promoting the anti-Zionist antisemitism of Nobel Prize Laureate Günter Grass earlier this year, happily quoted Tarantino accusing America of “two Holocausts.” Tarantino’s Austrian actor Christoph Waltz just was awarded a Golden Globe for his role in Django Unchained and Waltz is not known as a critic of Holocaust distortion Tarantinostyle.

Accusing America of genocide is among the best known anti-American tropes worldwide. In Germany (FRG), there was a remarkable increase in promoting this trope right after the screening of TV series Holocaust in January 1979. Blaming the West and America for just another genocide or Holocaust was most welcome by many Germans. Psychoanalytic theory calls this a projection of guilt.

As we know, the Holocaust was an unprecedented crime. Many historians of the Holocaust emphasize the unprecedented character of it, including historian and Jewish studies scholar Steven T.  Katz from Boston University.

The Holocaust is unique. Never before were there the intent and the policies to kill an entire people. Germans wanted to kill the Jews – and they destroyed European Jewry by killing six million Jews. For the first time in history gas chambers were part of an industry of destruction. The German railway system was used for deportations of Jews from far away countries like Greece. Since the late 19th century in particular (in fact, even before), Germans developed a specific form of German  antisemitism aimed at the destruction of Jews. Jews were seen as the “eternal Jew,” Ahasver, as working on a world conspiracy, as being behind capitalism (“Mammon,” the supposedly Jewish god of money!) and communism, liberalism, modernity, urban cities, free forms of sexuality and the like. The Russian forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, first distributed around 1905, became crucial for Hitler’s antisemitic ideology, too. Since the Middle Ages blood Libels have been a typical Christian tool and, since 1840 and the Damascus Affair, an increasingly Christian Arab, as well as Muslim and Islamist tool to spread Jew-hatred. Today Jews are accused of killing innocent Christian or Muslim children for religious purposes.

All these genocidal features are missing when we look at colonialism, slavery, and racism. Jews are seen as superior, not as inferior like native Americans, Blacks, or slaves. Jews were seen as a dangerous force behind all kinds of evil. Africans were subject to horrible crimes in modern times, but those crimes were far from genocide. The Arab-Islamic slave trade and the European-American slave trade used Africans as a cheap labor. Exploitation was the reason behind slavery and racism, and the allegedly superior Arabs or Whites were behind it.

On the other side, exploitation was neither the reason nor the result of the Holocaust. The (German) will to destroy Jewry was behind the Shoah. Destruction ruled, not exploitation or racist rule over a group of people. German did not just want to rule over Jews, they wanted to kill them and they did kill them. Not so in slavery, colonialism, or racism. The history of native Americans was also horrible, but far from genocide. There was never the intention of European settlers to kill the entire native population. Rather diseases caused much of the destruction of native peoples. Historian, theorist and critic of capitalism, Karl Marx, called this “primitive accumulation.” Primitive accumulation is based on violence, direct violence and murder. The Holocaust, though, is completely distinct from that. There was no cui bono in the Shoah.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung mentions historian David Stannard as a “serious” source to back Tarantino’s claim about America having committed Holocausts. However, Stannard, is not a serious historian. I deal with him my new book, Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon. Holocaust Trivialization – Islamism – Post-colonial and Cosmopolitian anti-Zionism. Stannard promotes the anti-American and antisemitic Holocaust-distorting trope of the Holocaust of native Americans in the US. Stannard is also a friend of author and agitator Ward Churchill, infamous for framing the entire history of the US as an ongoing genocide or “Holocaust” (since 1492) and for calling of the 9/11 victims “little Eichmanns.” (The two notorious studies from these two ‘historians’ are David E. Stannard (1992): American holocaust: Columbus and the conquest of the New World, New York: Oxford University Press and Ward Churchill (1997): A Little Matter of Genocide. Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present, San Francisco: City Lights Books.)

American journalist and columnist for the German weekly Die Zeit, Tuvia Tenenbom, reported in his book I Sleep in Hitler’s Room (which became a German bestseller, Allein unter Deutschen) about a brother-in-mind of Tarantino, the gardener of a lovely and very trendy restaurant vis-à-vis the house of the Wannsee-Conference in Berlin. When Tenenbom asked about the strange people who love to marry and to have lunches at the House Sanssouci Restaurant, the gardener responded: “And you killed the Indians!”

Tarantino promotes the very same antisemitic ideology. He distorts the Holocaust by framing American history as even worse than German history. Two holocausts for the US, and just one for Germany in this antisemitic, though very fashionable view.

Hurting Jewish Holocaust survivors and their relatives and all other people who remember the worst crime of mankind ever, the Shoah, is the result if not the intent of Quentin Tarantino. He praises the Germans for their kind of Holocaust remembrance while accusing America of being unable and unwilling to confront their own history.

There was and there is racism in the US, yes, even after the end of slavery and segregation. This has to be confronted on a daily basis. But there were not two holocausts in American history. Neither native Americans nor African Americans were killed intentionally on a genocidal level. Rather, exploitation, the spread of diseases, and European-American chauvinism and racism were prevalent.

The obsession to downplay, obfuscate, distort and even universalize the Holocaust has to stop. Quentin Tarantino is just another candidate, one of the first one in 2013, for the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Top Ten Antisemitic/anti-Israel Slurs. Holocaust distortion and Holocaust universalization are very widespread and serious forms of antisemitism. Those who forget or distort the past won’t support the Jewish state of Israel in the future. Quentin Tarantino is not a ground-breaker in this regard; he merely echoes the German and European (as well as American) anti-Americanism and antisemitism of the cultural elite.

 

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.

Grass and the Sueddeutsche

Algemeiner.com, April 11, 2012

Anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, anti-Semitism is the new form of well-respected, mainstream hatred of Jews. On April 4, 2012, the leading German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung published a poem by 1999 Nobel Prize Laureate, Günter Grass, entitled “What Must Be Said.”

At the very beginning of his text Grass portrays himself and all of “us” as possible “survivors” of a hypothetical future war. Intentionally or not, Grass uses a term reserved for Jewish survivors of the Shoah. He is portraying himself as a possible victim of Jews, projecting his own guilt onto the victims. In 1944, at the age of 17, Grass became a member of the Waffen SS, and he lied to the public until 2006 when he revealed his Nazi past. Grass writes in his poem that Iranian President Ahmadinejad is nothing but a “loudmouth,” Israel seeks to “annihilate the Iranian people,” and that he is sick of hypocrisy and wants to speak out. The crucial sentence in the poem reads: “Israel’s atomic power endangers an already fragile world peace?” This is quite possibly the most anti-Semitic sentence written by an internationally acclaimed and respected German author since the unconditional surrender of National Socialism on May 8, 1945. It may be even worse than the phrase “The Jews are our misfortune” from German historian Heinrich von Treitschke in 1879, who became infamous for the Berlin Antisemitism Dispute (Berliner Antisemitismusstreit), because Grass writes in the post-Auschwitz time. He knows the consequences of Treitschke – and repeats his singling out of Jews, though framed as anti-Netanyahu and anti-Israel resentment.

Some might argue that Jews and the state of Israel are living in a pre-Holocaust time due to the fact that Iranian President Ahmadinejad said on October 26, 2005, at a conference in Teheran about “A World without Zionism,” that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” We know of many other genocidal anti-Semitic statements from Islamist leaders, including former Iranian president Rafsanjani, leading Sunni Islamist Yusuf al-Qaradawi and al-Jazeera TV from Qatar, or Egypt TV, where preachers have praised the Holocaust.

Grass dismisses those genocidal threats and portrays Israel as the bad boy which threatens Iran with a so-called “first strike” with atomic weapons dedicated to erase the population. This is a lie and Grass well knows that it is a lie. However, he knows from his own experience during Nazi Germany that people get to love, embrace and believe lies if they are repeated, repeated, and repeated. This was the tactic of Joseph Goebbels – the big lie method.

What is not much discussed, though, is the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. This is the leading German daily with some 410,000 copies a day, only the boulevard daily Bild-Zeitung sells more copies. The Sueddeutsche has a record of anti-Israel agitation. In December 2009 it published an article by British historian Tony Judt, declaring that Jews are not a people, and have no real connection to the land of Israel. In his article Judt used many antisemitic tropes. Finally he predicted that there might be “ethnic cleansing,” perpetrated by Israel, in the future on an unprecedented level since 1945.

In January 2010 historian Wolfgang Benz published a widely discussed article, entitled “Preachers of hate with parallels” (“Hetzer mit Parallelen”). He equated Islamists and preachers of hate in the Muslim world with critics of antisemitism and Islamism. Even if we take into account that Germans share the racist views of Muslims, which is horrible and has to be fought on a daily basis, there is nothing which can be compared with state-funded terrorism from Iran, with genocidal threats from the Iranian regime since 1979, and there is nothing which can be compared with Holocaust praise on Egypt TV.

Journalists spoke out against Grass, but those supposed experts on antisemitism, like the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at the Technical University of Berlin, are ignoring the new “Anti-Semitism Dispute” in 2012.

Dr. Clemens Heni is head of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA). 2008/2009 he was a Post-Doc at the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA), Yale University, in 2011 he published his book “Schadenfreude. Islamic Studies and antisemitism in Germany after 9/11” (in German). In 2009 he spoke at Hadassah Book Club and the Congregation Beth Israel in Hartford, in 2010 he spoke at the Congregation Beth-El in Edison, New Jersey. In summer 2012 he will publish his first book in English: “Antisemitism – A specific Phenomenon. An introduction in research on antisemitism – from Ahasver, Mammon, and Moloch to Holocaust distortion, anti-Zionism and Islamic Jihad”.

 

Suicide bombing is “not necessarily antisemitic”…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kempf goes on, next quote:

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

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

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

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

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

Kempf is arguing in a hardly scholarly way:

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

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

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

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

That’s not all. He goes on to say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anti-Semitism is not the same as Islamophobia

This article was first published with the Jerusalem Post, December 3, 2008

The Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) of the Technical University in Berlin has scheduled a conference on December 8 titled “The concept of the enemy Muslim – concept of the enemy Jew.” In publicity for this conference the ZfA writes that the “paradigm” of accusations against Muslims is known from “the history of anti-Semitism.”

It seems that the organizers feel there is a moral equivalence between garden-variety prejudice (portrayed as “Islamophobia”) and anti-Semitism. This is a dangerous course, particularly in Germany, which saw the quintessential manifestation of anti-Semitism in modern times.

Quite aside from the fact that Judaism embraces both a race and a religion, whereas Islam is strictly a religion, anti-Semitism is different than other forms of prejudice or racism. Whereas the racist view of blacks, for example, holds that they are “below” whites, anti-Semites think Jews are planning to rule the world. The Israel Lobby by American academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt is just one example of this viewpoint. Anti-Semitism was the motif for the Holocaust.

Those unprecedented crimes combined religious Jew-hatred, quasi-scientific racial theories, and modern anti-Semitism in all its forms, including a comprehensive worldview. It is the anti-Semitic worldview that distinguishes anti-Semitism from racism. This irrationality on a global scale is hardly new. As early as 1543, Martin Luther blamed the Jews for almost every evil on earth. Later, during the early 20th century, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion appeared. This poor Russian forgery had a significant impact on German and European thought, and is now a hot item in the Muslim world. In it, Jews are not portrayed as second-class human beings, as in other racist thinking. On the contrary, they are seen as would-be lords of the world – an evil, unseen power behind everything.

The Protocols contend that Jews run the media, organize wars and establish or control national financial systems. One of its more overtly bizarre claims is that Jews organize the construction of subways (which were novelties in New York or London at that time) in order to literally undermine societies. No other group of people has ever been blamed for such a welter of “evils” – capitalism, communism, liberalism and humanism. None of these anti-Semitic accusations are used against Muslims today. In fact, Islamic terrorists use these very canards in an attempt to justify their anti-Jewish actions.

RACISM HAS a rational dimension; its use to justify exploitation is one central purpose. Anti-Semitism, with its irrational, implacably genocidal dimension, is totally different. Furthermore, there are some Islamicists who openly advocate the takeover of Europe, the West and the world. The nonsense in the Protocols notwithstanding, the Jews have never had or claimed such a goal.

To equate anti-Semitism with racism, let alone to try and draw a parallel with the term Islamophobia (a word invented by the Islamic Republic of Iran), is therefore dangerous. It has nothing to do with scholarly research, nor with an accurate examination of the real and significant threats posed by Islamic Jihad. A center for the study of anti-Semitism should be aware of these facts, and not equate anti-Semitism with Islamophobia or other forms of prejudice.

That kind of postmodern relativist philosophy is just another way of refusing to research anti-Semitism as a phenomenon sui generis. The Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) and its director Prof. Wolfgang Benz, if they really believe Muslims in contemporary Germany are threatened like the Jews were, are badly misinformed. If the ZfA equates anti-Semitism with criticism of Islamic Jihad, this would signal the end of serious research on either subject at that center.

The writer is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism.

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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