Clemens Heni

Wissenschaft und Publizistik als Kritik

Schlagwort: suicide bombing

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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?

 

 

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.

CAM00415

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 …

 

 

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.

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