Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Schlagwort: Jewish Museum Berlin

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?

 

 

Ignoramus et ignorabimus: German sociologist Peter Ullrich will never know if left-wing antisemitism really exists

The Times of Israel, October 16, 2013

The Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at Technical University in Berlin has generated a long list of controversies in recent years, take the views of its former head Wolfgang Benz for example. In 2011 he was followed by historian Stefanie Schueler-Springorum, a newcomer in the field of research on antisemitism.

  • On November 8–9, 2013, Schueler-Springorum, the Jewish Museum Berlin, and the foundation Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future (EVZ) will hold an international conference dedicated to antisemitism in Europe today.
  • Among many very troubling speakers at this event, one new German voice will be heard: Peter Ullrich.
  • Ullrich, born 1976, is a sociologist, and recently employed as a co-worker in a project of the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA).
  • In October 2013, he published a book (in German) by well-known publishing house Wallstein dedicated to the analysis of left-wing antisemitism, Germans, Israel, Palestine, and remembrance of the Holocaust.
  • In his book, Peter Ullrich attacks political scientist Samuel Salzborn (born 1977), who is a professor at Goettingen University, and historian Sebastian Voigt, for their criticism of left-wing antisemitism.
  • In 2011, Salzborn and Voigt published an article about troubling tendencies in the party of the Left in Germany, Die Linke. For example, two Members of Parliament and one former Member of Parliament, Inge Höger, Annette Groth, and Norman Paech, respectively, were on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010. This terror vessel was part of the so-called Gaza Flotilla, dedicated to ending the blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip and to destabilizing Israel.
  • Salzborn and Voigt analyzed the failure of the party Die Linke to fight antisemitism, including anti-Zionist antisemitism.
  • In his small book, Ullrich defames all kind of institutions, authors and scholars against antisemitism in Germany, including political scientist Matthias Kuentzel, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, headed by Anetta Kahane, and historian Wolfgang Kraushaar, known for his criticism of left-wing antisemitism.
  • Scholars like Ullrich no longer deny any debate about antisemitism and the left. On the contrary, and what is even worse, they use this topic to deny the real existence of antisemitic incidents like the Mavi Marmara. He says maybe some people “tolerated” antisemitism on that ship, but at the end of the day it is all “grey” (he loves “grey zones”).
  • Ullrich even joined several panels with Annette Groth, MP of Die Linke, who was on the Mavi Marmara.
  • People like Ullrich deal with troubling topics like the left and antisemitism in order to silence critics of anti-Zionism and Jihad.
  • In his book he mentions several antisemitic incidents, but then trivializes the dimension of each of these incidents in the next sentence or paragraph.
  • Even the participation of MPs of Die Linke in the Gaza Flotilla is not proof for him that antisemitism is prevalent among the members and representatives of that very party (both Groth and Höger were re-elected MPs in September 2013!).
  • The EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism, adopted in 2005, states: “Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include: Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination”.
  • German sociologist Peter Ullrich rejects this statement. As his book is promoted by the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA), they seem to share his scandalous view.
  • By the end of his book, on page 184, Peter Ullrich and his co-author in that chapter, Alban Werner, argue that the EUMC working definition on antisemitism cannot be used in each case the EUMC lists. For example, and crucially, Ullrich points to the following: to frame “denying Israel’s right to exist” as antisemitic, as the EUMC working definition does, is “without substance,” or meaningless. Why? Ullrich says that too many groups of people are denying Israel’s right to exist, including Hamas, right-wing extremists, ultra-orthodox Jews, and distinguished scholars and authors (probably like Ullrich himself) who deny Israel’s right to exist due to their “universalist” philosophy, based on the rejection of any nation-state.
  • According to Ullrich’s unscholarly and biased view, it might be antisemitic to deny Israel’s right to exist if such a statement is accompanied by antisemitic conspiracy myths (Hamas), or racial Jew-hatred (neo-Nazis) etc.
  • To deny Israel’s right to exist in our times is not antisemitic as such, in Ullrich’s (and the ZfA’s) view.
  • In fact the denial of Israel’s right to exist as such is a core element of today’s antisemitism.
  • It is unscholarly in nature to reject the statement that the denial of Israel’s right to exist is antisemitic. As Israel is the Jewish state, it is antisemitic to reject Israel as a Jewish state.
  • There is a connection between Hamas, right-wing extremists, and left-wing or liberal cosmopolitan anti-Zionists in particular.
  • This is the red-green-brown alliance.
  • Why is Ullrich saying that there is no substance in that part of the EUMC definition? Because he does not want cosmopolitan anti-Zionists to be put in the same box as Hamas or right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis.
  • Ullrich is but the latest example of hijacking serious scholarship on antisemitism, including anti-Zionism.
  • He will be on a panel at the November 8–9, 2013, conference of the ZfA, the EVZ Foundation and the Jewish Museum Berlin, dealing with “Criticism of Israel or Antisemitism?”
  • As shown, denying Israel’s right to exist is not antisemitic in Ullrich’s view.
  • Therefore he himself, supported by the institutions involved, promotes antisemitism, according to the EUMC working definition of antisemitism.
  • Let me use the famous bon mot of 19th century German physiologist Emil Heinrich du Bois-Reymond, adopting it ironically for today’s analysis of antisemitism: “Ignoramus et ignorabimus” (“we do not know and will not know”, aiming at the limits of scientific knowledge) – German sociologist Peter Ullrich will never know if left-wing antisemitism really exists…

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