Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Schlagwort: circumcision

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

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

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

 

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

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View from WJC Jerusalem to the Knesset

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

How does Modern-Day Germany deal with Antisemitism?

 

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

 

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

 

There are mainly three categories of antisemitism:

 

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

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

3)      Anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel since 1948

 

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

 

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

2)                  Jews as Christ-killer

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Category 3) Anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel

 

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

14)               Soviet-style anti-Zionism after 1948

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

16)               Islamist anti-Zionism

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Germany and Category 2) Holocaust Distortion and secondary Antisemitism:

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Pro-Circumcision Rally Held in Berlin, German Activists Seek a “Fantasy Israel with no Judaism”

Algemeiner.com, September 12, 2012

On Sunday, September 9, 2012, the first ever pro-circumcision and Jewish (and Muslim) life rally in Germany, was held in Berlin. In May 2012 a Cologne court ruled against a Muslim circumcision and generalized that the rights of children are threatened by every single circumcision, regardless at what age it is made.

This is probably the most hardcore attack by a first world country against the practice of Brit Milah and Jewish life in recent decades. Jews and Muslims are extremely irritated, sad, and frightened.

At the event, in downtown Berlin, one of the rabbis openly said that circumcision, the Brit Milah, is seen by Jews as a connection with god, and is among the observances that almost all Jews, regardless if they are true believers, orthodox, liberal, agnostic, non-believing, atheist or whatever, practice. At the rally he said that over 90% of Israeli male Jews are circumcised and that it is an essential part of Israeli and Jewish identity.
Interestingly, the German activists behind the anti-circumcision fervor, actually believe they are being seen as pro-Israel, but their Israel is a fantasy Israel with no Judaism.

Some 300 people joined the rally, orthodox rabbi Yitzchak Ehrenberg as well as liberal Rabbi Tovia Ben-Chorin spoke, united on the podium. The event was organized by the Berlin based Forum for Democracy and against Antisemitism (JFDA), lead by former head of the Jewish Community of Berlin, Lala Süsskind, and her colleague Levi Salomon. They are both known for their tireless efforts to fight against all forms of anti-Semitism.

A few weeks ago, they organized another rally against the anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic al-Quds day, an Iranian propaganda event to denounce Israel and its capital, Jerusalem. At the rally to protect circumcision, the head of the (liberal) Turkish Community in Germany, Kenan Kolat, spoke as well in support of the Jewish fight against the anti-circumcision climate in Germany. A young German-Turkish actor gave his first speech ever, because he was so upset about the discussion in Germany.
Earlier, organizations like the Giordano-Bruno Foundation (known for their work against Islamism, too) announced that they are going to launch a campaign later this month to attack circumcision and to fight for the “rights of children,” and against the decision-making of parents vis-à-vis the Brit Milah. Jews are accused of abusing children, in effect, if not intent. This is a new form of blood libel, framed in nice German words, always suggesting that Germans love children. In fact many Germans hate Jews and Judaism and some do not like children either. These worrying developments provided the backdrop for the important rally.

Several Israeli flags were displayed at the event, too. However, compared with a rally just a week ago prompted by an anti-Semitic attack against a rabbi on the streets of Berlin by (according to eye-witnesses) German-Arab-Muslim youngsters, where some 1500 people, many Christians among them, showed up, the 300 people were a small group.

The very same Christians and liberal Germans who always love to pretend to be open-minded and pro-Jewish, dislike Judaism as soon as it comes to circumcision. The political elite in Germany did not show up at the event, with the exception of one social democratic Member of Parliament, who did not join the rally in his political function as vice President of the German Bundestag, rather as an individual. This speaks volumes.

In recent weeks there has been a huge debate over circumcision in many parts of German society. Right-wing extremists like those writing for the website Politically Incorrect (known for its support of groups like the party Die Freiheit, the Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa, the so called Pro-Germany movement and the campaign “Stop the left” or “Linkstrend stoppen”) said that Jews will not have a place in Germany if they keep on practicing circumcision. 600 mainstream doctors and others published a letter in leading conservative daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, arguing against circumcision. Others, like marginal left-winger and NGO-activist (in Iraq and the Middle East) Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, equated Brith Milah more or less with female genital mutilation (FGM). They’ve lost perspective and run riot.

It is also interesting to note that the very same people who have opposed the anti-Zionist Judith Butler, who will be awarded the prestigious Adorno-Prize on September 11, 2012, in the city of Frankfurt, now attack Judaism and the Brit Milah. Their opposition to anti-Zionism contradicts their anti-Jewish feelings (framed as pro-child ideology).

A tiny journal in Berlin, called Bahamas, closely related to the publishing house Ça ira, has pretended to be pro-Israel in recent years. They publish articles against Islamism, anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel. However, they urged their readers and followers in a short statement on September 4 not to join the pro-circumcision rally because they detest “religious traditions.”

They support Israel but have an Israel in mind without circumcised Jews. Maybe they just want a female Israel with a few un-circumcised gentiles?

The Bahamas journal is not favored by Anti-Zionist Germans and the German state. However, self-declared friends of Israel seem to like the publication, despite its urging of its followers not to join a Jewish (and Muslim) rally to protect Judaism, Jewish tradition and circumcision. Bahamas was not just silent about the pro-circumcision rally. They were so outraged about this Jewish practice that they urged their “friends of Israel” not to participate in the event. Non-Jewish Germans explaining what it really means to be pro-Israel. That’s fun.

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