Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Schlagwort: Antisemitism Seite 1 von 2

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

The Times of Israel (Blogs), February 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ignoring reality and joining the AfD ideology, Goldman writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

About the Author
Dr Clemens Heni is director of The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA)

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.

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