Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Schlagwort: Germany

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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.

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”.

 

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