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!)
On 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.
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.
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
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 …