BICSA

The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism

Schlagwort: antisemitism

“Please give me some latkes before you kill me”: Jews and neo-Nazis in Germany

The Times of Israel (Blogs), February 11, 2019

Our climate is in trouble. Both the climate and climate change as well as the political climate, the political cultures of our societies. My piece about journalist Henryk M. Broder on Tablet Magazine on Monday, February 4, has created some noise among the Far Right. That is no surprise and indicates the importance of the article.

Tablet’s David P. Goldman used “Google translate” to read the German article by Broder in the daily Die Welt. Goldman’s core sentence is the following: “Neither Clemens Heni nor anyone else has the right to scold Henryk Broder for speaking to the AfD, however.”

We have sympathy for a Western naive who doesn’t understand that parties that idolize German history are not to be “negotiated with” and that such legitimization is one of the greatest dangers facing both central and eastern Europe in different ways.

Goldman pleads for an end of Holocaust memory: “My advice to Germans: stop obsessing about the past.” He wants to forget the dead Jews of the Shoah and has no idea about the relationship of forgetting and antisemitism, or he loves the idea that European nations are more than happy to have such a Jewish voice to stop commemorating their crimes. He has no conception about contemporary Europe, Germany and the Western world or likes the  movement underway in Europe and other parts of the world to promote nationalism and Trumpism, to downplay, ignore, forget, obfuscate or deny the uniqueness of the Shoah, the unprecedented character of the Holocaust and the fact that Jews were killed because they were Jews.

According to a CNN poll, 40% of Germans between age 18 and 34 have “no” or “little” knowledge about the Holocaust. In other European countries this shocking percentage is smaller, but still depressing (33%). According to the CNN survey some 25% of Hungarians believe the entire world is to 20% Jewish. 20% of British and Polish young people believe the same. Many more antisemitic myths exist among the European youth.

In January 2018, Lev Golinkin puts it splendidly in the New York Times. A Jew from the Soviet Union, who left the USSR in the 1980s, he knows about the denial or just not mentioning of the Shoah under communist (or state socialist) regimes. Today, though, he sees the threat of forgetting in the Western world and those parts of the former Soviet Union where antisemitism and forgetting are on the rise:

“Today, however, the American Jewish community — including Jewish lawmakers in Washington — is largely silent about the widespread Holocaust distortion being carried out by Eastern European allies. Breaking that silence is imperative, especially given the current global rise of anti-Semitism and the disturbing correlation between Holocaust revisionism and violence against living Jews.”

Perhaps the Goldmans of this world want even more percent of young people in Germany who do not know what their grandparents did during Nazi Germany, the Second World War and the Holocaust? Forgetting the killed Jews is antisemitic in itself, but it also fuels today’s antisemitism, just look at the grotesque numbers of Jews Hungarian, Polish or British young people believe to live on this planet.

Do we need Jewish kosher stamps for forgetting the past and embracing the Far Right? These kind of authors have no problem with antidemocratic regimes and developments, as long as they do not come from the Muslim world. This hypocrisy is well documented in political science and other parts of scholarship and on blogs, Op-Ed pieces, conferences etc. Another aspect is the fact that such authors as Goldman harm both the Jews in the diaspora as well as Israel. For them, Zionism translates into bigotry, and the love for extreme right-wing movements all over Europe, despite the fact that Jewish communities all over Europe know of the threat of the Far Right as well as the danger of Jihad and post-colonial or left-wing anti-Zionism.

In his Tablet piece, Goldman absolves Italian Salvini from his right-wing extremist agenda and praises him alongside with the equally far right government in Austria under Kurz, with (former?) neo-Nazi Strache from the Freedom Party (FPÖ) as main representative of Austria’s most antisemitic party.

Contrary to the fantasies of Tablet’s David P. Goldman, the biggest threat for Jews in Germany are still those almost six million voters for the AfD and their fans, who chanted, “We will build an underground to Auschwitz”.

Contrary to Tablet and Goldman, the Central Council of Jews in Germany is well aware of the antisemitic threat deriving from the AfD. The Jewish Community Berlin held a memorial event at the 80th anniversary of the nights of pogroms in 1938 in November 2018. During the event in the Synagogue at Ryke Street in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (in the former East-Berlin of the German Democratic Republic until 1990) the head of the Central Council Josef Schuster emphasized the following: They invited all parties in the German Parliament, but not the right-wing extremist and antisemitic AfD. Schuster said, “It would have been unbearable for our community to have representatives of that party [AfD] among us tonight when we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the night of pogroms.”

In a representative poll in summer 2018, the result was no surprise. Asked, if “Jews have too much influence,” some 17% to 20% of supporters of the mainstream parties like the Social Democrats, the Greens or the Libertarians responded with “yes.” That is already a shocking number. Even much worse, 55 percent of followers of the AfD said “yes.”

August 27, 2018, neo-Nazis attacked a Jewish restaurant in the city of Chemnitz. October 6, 2018, far right people attacked a Persian restaurant as well and injured the owner severely.

German Jews and the Antifa in Germany know much better than Tablet or Goldman about the threat of neo-Nazis and right-wing antisemitism.

Muslim antisemitism is a topic, we deal with as well – contrary to Goldman, I wrote the entry about Germany in the World Almanac of Islamism (last update in 2018), published by the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C. In 2011, I did a study (410 pages) about Islamic studies and antisemitism in Germany after 9/11. My PhD was about the political culture in the Federal Republik of Germany from 1970 through 2005, nationalism, antisemitism, racism and anti-Americanism during that period. I do not need right-wing extremist American authors (non-Jewish and Jewish) and media outlets to tell me about the wide range of antisemitism in Germany, to be sure. The first time, we publicly attacked Muslim antisemitism was in 2002 with the German “Muslim-Market,” an online page that promoted a form of BDS before BDS was founded, for example. Goldman is part of the racist tent that insinuates that all refugees are antisemites and dangerous and he ignores that most Muslim antisemitic attacks come from homegrown Islamists and Muslims. Someone who knows Germany should know these facts.

Ignoring reality and joining the AfD ideology, Goldman writes:

“Merkel has put German Jews in a dilemma. After street attacks by young Muslims, the Central Council of Jews in Germany warned Jews not to walk in public with a kippah. Chancellor Merkel deplored the attacks, but her migration policy made them inevitable. Consequently, a small group of German Jews joined the AfD, arguing that the greatest threat of anti-Semitism comes overwhelmingly from Muslim migrants and their supporters on the left.”

This is exactly the ideology of the Pegida (“Patriots against the Islamization of the Occident”) movement and of all right-wing extremist circles. Not a word about the shocking situation with hundreds and hundreds of deaths in the Mediterranean Sea during the “refugee” crisis in 2015 alone. In fact, we have a Nazi crisis and Tablet now is part of the problem. They promote fake news, lies, distortions and right-wing propaganda. June 25, 2018, a nasty crowd of Pegida people shouted enthusiastically “perish by drowning!,” when a speaker talked about refugees.

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However, this is not at all about an attack of an unprofessional writer and online magazine against my person. The problem goes much deeper. It is about Jews who support the enemies of the Jewish people. I already wrote about this in 2017 at the Times of Israel (TOI). Since then, the situation has even worsened.

Remembrance of the Holocaust is a crucial issue in our times. Eastern Europe is a case in point. Many politicians there distort the history, praise their own nationalist and pro-Nazi leaders and call them “anti-communist heroes.” It is mainstream in Eastern Europe to equate Nazi Germany to Stalinism and to distort the Holocaust. The Red-equals-Brown-ideology is a main aspect of today’s antisemitism. The Prague Declaration from 2008 and their European attempt to have a common European Memorial day, August 23, 1939, instead of Holocaust Memorial Day, speaks volumes about anti-communist and Holocaust distorting antisemitism. For newcomers, check out the scholarly articles by Professor Dovid Katz on the Holocaust, antisemitism and the Red-equals-Brown or Double-Genocide ideology.

Holocaust distortion and the Red-equals-Brown ideology is not at all an East European invention. Take the “Black Book of Communism” from 1997 in France, where the Holocaust looks harmless and tiny compared to the supposedly “100 million victims of Communism.” As if horrible regimes like Stalinism killed an entire people. They did not. The killing in the Soviet Union was not based on ethnicity like Nazi Germany’s eliminationist antisemitism. The antisemitic title “Red Holocaust” was used by German historian Horst Möller in 1998, when he edited a book with articles who are in support of the “Black Book of Communism,” including a piece by Joachim Gauck, who signed the Holocaust distorting Prague Declaration and became German President (2012–2017).

The same dangerous ideology can be found in the US, like at the “Victims of Communism” monument in Washington, D.C., erected in 2007 under George W. Bush. In their initial statement, the organizers wrote that “the Bolshevik Revolution gave birth to the deadliest ideology of mankind”. That is an antisemitic denial of the worst ideology of mankind, Nazi Germany’s. The trope that Nazi Germany was not capitalist, but socialist in nature, is common among neo-Nazis and right-wing extremist scholars and authors. AfD politician Marc Jongen invoked that ideology just two days after Broder spoke at the AfD in the German Bundestag, and attacked Holocaust remembrance.

The fact, that Goldman is a colleague of Jongen and knows him in person, is no surprise at all. Still, Goldman is unable and unwilling to decode the dog whistle of Jongen’s and the AfD’s antisemitism. Framing Nazi Germany as “socialist” is antisemitic, as it denies that Nazi Germany was both capitalist and antisemitic. Jongen and many right-wingers depend on the word “socialist.” That allows them to deny the uniqueness of the Shoah (despite claptrap in Jongen’s speech that there might be something special about the Holocaust, but all other parties in the German parliament understand his right-wing extremist and Holocaust distorting agenda) and to put Nazism in the very same box as Stalinism and Communism. Neo-Nazis understand that dog whistle and Ernst Nolte would have been proud of Jongen.

Jongen has been first criticized in the field of Art, Design and Architecture for his far right politics by professor in architecture Stephan Trüby in 2015. The journal in architecture Baumeister published an open letter criticizing the pupil of German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, Marc Jongen. Several professors in architecture and related fields signed an open letter against Jongen, who at the time was editor of a book series. They criticize his nationalist approach and activism for the AfD. The list includes Prof. Ruedi Baur (Haute école d’art et de design, Genf),Prof. Dr. Friedrich von Borries (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Alexander Gutzmer (Architekturmagazin Baumeister; Quadriga University Berlin), Prof. Dr. Anke Haarmann (Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Lars Koch (Technische Universität Dresden), Prof. Dr. Cornelia Ortlieb (Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg), Prof. Dr. Michaela Ott (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Stephan Trüby (Technische Universität München), Prof. Dr. Elisabeth von Samsonow (Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien), Prof. Dr. Kathrin Wildner (HafenCity Universität Hamburg).

Trüby is also a critic of „reconstructionist architecture“ like in Frankfurt, where the old-town has been rebuilt – and the voids of the past have been destroyed, no one should remember why Frankfurt was bombed and what happened during Nazi Germany in that town. Trüby found out that far right activists and local politicians were initiative for that kind of architecture, before the mainstream parties joined the project.

In September 2017, during a hearing on racism at the Parliament of the State of Thuringia in Erfurt, Jongen was among the “experts,” and showed his racist thinking, as the other experts analyzed. For example, he bases his thinking on the category of “race” and believes that there is something pure “German” which can be passed on from generation to generation. The denial of the fact, that everyone can become a German when it comes to refugees or immigrants is a common trope among today’s Far Right. On a Facebook post after the hearing, Jongen referred to Gilad Atzmon, a musician from the UK, a self-declared ex-Jew and antisemite who detests Israel.

Then, Jongen’s ally Goldman even accuses the party of the Greens, which is a mainstream, centrist and not left-wing party:

“Jongen reproached the German Left for ignoring the crimes of Communism and for its belief that ‘the Germans are evil, Germany is a criminal nation, and it would be best if Germany were to disappear.’ That is a view often expressed by leaders of Germany’s Green Party.”

That is fake news and no serious homepage or magazine would ever have published it. Tablet Magazine and its editor Jacob Siegel did. That is such absurd a statement, not fact based but ideology driven. It is nationalist and antisemitic. Why? Germans are portrayed as victims of those who remember the German crimes. Scholarship calls that kind of rejection of Holocaust remembrance “secondary antisemitism.” Secondary antisemitism is a form of antisemitism after the Shoah. It is a scholarly term not many Americans, for example, know (but that is not the fault of the term).

The term “secondary antisemitism” was coined by Peter Schönbach, a co-worker of Theodor W. Adorno, around 1960. For example, they had those Germans (West-Germans at the time) in mind, who equated or compared the Holocaust and German crimes to the allies and the bombing of Dresden. That is a typical neo-Nazi trope ever since, many right-wingers call it “Bomb holocaust” to equate the situation of ordinary Germans during the war to the Jews during the Shoah. Secondary antisemitism is a crucial term and scholarly tool to analyze antisemitism.

Writer Martin Walser used that antisemitic language and ideology in his acceptance speech for the Book Prize of the German Book Trade in October 1998. He portrayed the poor Germans as victims of a “moral cudgel Auschwitz.” Standing ovations in Frankfurt’s St. Paul Cathedral followed, with the exception of three people, among them the then head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Ignatz Bubis and his wife Ida.

Political scientist Lars Rensmann helped introducing the term “secondary antisemitism” in the German and international debate since 1998, when he first published a book (in German) on “Critical Theory about Antisemitism,” including the concept of “secondary antisemitism.”

In an interview of Jongen with New Right leader Götz Kubitschek in the New Right journal “Sezession” in June 2016, Jongen attacks Merkel because of her pro-Israel stance. Merkel used the term “reason of state” to emphasize her very strong commitment to defend the Jewish state, a term German President Joachim Gauck did not use when he visited Israel, as journalist Alan Posener pointed out in his critique of Jongen and Kubitschek. In the very same interview, Kubitschek promotes a typical right-wing extremist and antisemitic trope: he says that he might go to Auschwitz one day and on his way back he will then stop in Dresden. This is the exact secondary antisemitic position by millions of Germans, not only by neo-Nazis. They know that the denial of the Holocaust is a crime in Germany, therefore they distort history and trivialize the Holocaust.

Journalist Tuvia Tenenbom once visited Kubitschek and found him and his neo-Nazi like folks rather lovely.

Like Kubitschek Broder says in his typical vulgar tone, that “it is bad manners to put your feet on the table, to burp when you eat or to call the 12 worst years in German history a piece of shit of a bird.” This ridiculous list speaks volumes about Broder himself. For him, antisemitism is a kind of distaste like burping. He himself did a book “Forget about Auschwitz.”

The statement by Goldman is right-wing extremist in its own right and obviously based on the talks he has with extremist politicians in Germany from the Far Right, mainly the AfD.

Why? Well, the two leaders of the Greens are Robert Habeck, who is rather a popstar and proud of Germany. The co-head of the party of the Greens is Annalena Baerbock, also a mainstream politician who would never ever make such remarks (“and it would be best if Germany were to disappear”). They are both anti-Nazi, of course, but part of the right-of-center wing of their Party. Another leading politician of the Greens is Cem Özdemir, who is also part of the more conservative wing of the Greens and not at all “anti-German.” That accusation, though, is part of the hardcore racist agenda of the AfD against politicians such as Özdemir, who is an anti-Nazi and anti-AfD.

This is proof, again, that Tablet’s Goldman has no idea about German society, let alone the leadership of the party of the Greens. Even the party of the Left is very much pro-German and nationalist, take Sahra Wagenknecht, head of the fraction of the party of the Left in the Bundestag, as an example.

Goldman’s ally Jongen frames Nazi Germany as “socialist”. In reality, Nazi Germany was based on “German Socialism,” which is not socialist at all, but based on the capitalist nature of bourgeois society, with a specific volkish, antisemitic and German touch. Good historians or political scientists and other scholars in the humanities and social sciences know that of course. Agitators like the AfD put Communism and Nazism in one box. That absolves them for the German crimes and gives anti-left-wing neo-Nazis a free ride. Anti-urbanism, anti-individualism and the search for a new community of the people (“Volksgemeinschaft”) that both excludes foreigners as well as German Jews, was the ideological fundament of “German socialism.” Ernst Niekisch was among the propagandists of that concept, as political scientist Michael Pittwald has shown. Spengler wanted a German way of “democracy” and rejected any kind of universal human rights or universalist ideas of statehood.

For those interested in a serious analysis of the origins of National Socialism I’d like to remind you to the concept of “German Socialism.” “German Socialism” was based on capitalism, private property and small business (and big German business as well) and a strong state, and antisemitic resentment against the international big trusts and ‘finance capital’ while embracing the “German worker” and in particular the German middle class and the German peasants of course.

National Socialism was about capitalism, German way, based on anti-Marxism as Klaus Fritzsche has shown in 1976 in his study of the “Tat-Kreis” around Hans Zehrer. One could also analyze the völkisch concept of socialism and anti-Roman thinking by Ernst Niekisch and his German-Protestant national revolutionaries, whose main enemy was ‘the Jew’ and the working class likewise. Look at Joseph Goebbels’ and his Nazi pamphlet Der Nazi-Sozi from 1926, which was a major antisemitic booklet and portrayed Jews as “flea.” Nazi-Sozi meant “National Socialist” and translated into pro-capitalist and anti-Jewish. Of course, the Right does not want to face reality, therefore they proclaim Nazis were socialists like “real” socialists were.

Prussian authoritarianism was a core element for the Nazi movement. Combined with a German form of “socialism” that was anti-Marxist in nature, it was the ideology of nationalists such as Oswald Spengler. Without joining the Nazi movement himself, he paved the way for Nazi Germany. No surprise, that Goldman’s acronym is “Spengler.” As political scientist Kurt Sontheimer has shown in the 1960s, Spengler was a leading voice in destroying the Weimar democracy. Spengler’s “Prussia and Sozialismus” (“Preußentum und Sozialismus”) was anti-liberal, and based on his racist idea that every people has its own way of statehood. Spengler detested big cities and a heterogeneous, diverse society. Anti-universalism was a core component of all racist and nationalist thinkers in Weimar Germany. “German Socialism” was then framed “National Socialism” and became the name for Nazi Germany. Anti-Liberalism, anti-Marxism and antisemitism were the elements of “German Socialism.” Anti-individualism and a strong, authoritarian state, the need for a “Führer” were part of it.

Alice Weidel, co-chair of the AfD in the German Bundestag, invited members of her party from her electoral district. July 10, the day after that group had visited Weidel, they went to a tour through the Memorial Site of the former concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, north of Berlin. The group made antisemitic comments, a person denied the existence of gas chambers and the Holocaust and the tour was then stopped by the shocked guide. These are the fans of Alice Weidel. After Weidel had made her foto with Broder, the star author for German right-wing extremists was greeted by Martin Renner, MP in the Bundestag of the AfD. Renner praised Broder for his “courage” and emphasized that he always has a look at the homepage of Broder’s “Axis of the Good” (“Achse des Guten” or “Achgut”), when he is angry about our world. Like other antisemites, Renner distorts the capitalist and bourgeois as well as antisemitic character of Nazi Germany by framing them as “collectivists and socialists” during a debate in the Bundestag in February 2018.

For beginners: from a political scientist point of view, we can explain why the Far Right is right-wing extremist. At a typical AfD rally with Weidel and others in the frontline, they held a poster that read “Freedom instead of Socialism,” many AfD groups share that trope. It is an old parole of the conservative movement in Germany like the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party Christian-Social Union (CSU) during the election campaign of 1976 and before. “Freedom” translates into the denial of criticism of the capitalist system, for example. The AfD is just the latest, most extreme and most dangerous development of this anti-Left agenda of vast parts of the mainstream in Germany. They are on the edge of the right wing. That does of course not ignore the fact, that equally vast parts of the left are anti-Zionist, or distort the Holocaust via post-colonial universalization of the unprecedented crimes committed by Germans against the Jews.

Left-wing radicals, though, as I explained in an interview journalist Katja Thorwarth made with me in December 2017 in the daily Frankfurter Rundschau, is the opposite of the bourgeois society. Left-wing radicalism is not the extreme of the left-of-center Social Democrats, but something that goes beyond the dominant political, cultural and economic systems we know from history. Left-wing radicalism is in search for a place where no one has ever been.

Zionist Gershom Scholem had sympathies for anarchism and such a left-wing radical utopia.

That kind of radical left-wingers were against Stalinism and the East European regimes during the Cold War, but also against the existing regimes in the West, from America and West-Germany, let alone Thatcherism and other forms of bourgeois society.

On the other side, right-wing extremism is a place we already know: Sobibor, Auschwitz, Treblinka, this is the culmination of German antisemitic history, the most extreme form of an already bourgeois and antisemitic German Empire and even before, if we look at antisemitism among German romantics, for example. However, even the most extremist far right people before and even after 1933 could not anticipate Auschwitz and the destruction of European Jewry. They wanted it, but no one could anticipate how and when the Germans would succeed in their eliminations plan to kill European Jewry. For example, they could not anticipate the help of many thousands of local killers like in the Baltics, Ukraine or Croatia and many other places, including Hungary.

Today, anti-left politics go hand in hand with Holocaust distortion. Several examples from the US alone, make this crystal clear: Take, for example, TV programs like Glenn Beck on Fox News in January 2010, when he published his first documentary and spoke about the fantasy of a “Revolutionary Holocaust,” aiming at the Left and communism, again. That is nothing but a form of antisemitism, equating the specific crime against a specific people, the Jews, with totally unspecific (that was at the core of Stalinism) crimes against political enemies. Jews were not political enemies of anyone. Germans had the fanatical fear of being “Jewish inside,” as one leading Nazi agitator, who later converted to Islam and went to the Middle East, Johann von Leers, called it.

Then, take the Bill O’Reilly Show on FoxNews in America on October 21, 2016. In it, O’Reilly talks to the young director of the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington DC, Marion Smith. They speak about “100 million victims of Communism,” a number that makes six million Jews and the Shoah a tiny part and nothing special. And indeed, O’Reilly literally went on to call Hitler and Stalin “the same thing.” He equated those who built Auschwitz to those who liberated it.

Anti-communism still sells and is at the core of all conservative, far right and right-wing extremist people. At the end of the day, they share a common goal: defeat “the” Jew and the Left, including the “Jewish-Bolshevik” coalition, as the Nazis and other antisemites long before and after 1933 framed it.

When a regional legislature in Ukraine calls 2019 the “Stepan Bandera Year” things become clear. On January 30, 2019, the Washington Post puts it like this:

“Bandera’s forces fought alongside the Nazis and were implicated in the murder of thousands of Jews. As Poroshenko was visiting Israel, another memorial was being erected in Kiev for Symon Petliura, whose troops are linked to pogroms that killed as many as 50,000 Jews after World War I. Netanyahu’s outreach in eastern Europe is part of his larger strategy of forging alliances to counter the criticism Israel faces in the United Nations and other international forums over its treatment of the Palestinians. (…) ‘It’s a specific maneuver that legitimizes anti-Semitism and borders on Holocaust denial,’ said Tamar Zandberg, leader of the dovish Meretz party.”

Broder ironically made fun of those who frame the AfD a Nazi like party, because he defames former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor. When she spoke in January at the Bavarian Parliament about the threat of the far right, most MPs of the AfD left the room.

In his talk, Broder’s main enemy was 16-year-old pupil Greta Thunberg from Sweden, the eco-activist who attacks the capitalist and industrialist world and urges politicians to take action against climate change. Like the AfD, Broder is in denial about man-made climate change. In just a few days, Lundberg has become an enemy of the Far Right in Germany, as journalist Katja Thorwarth analyzes in the Frankfurter Rundschau.

As I wrote in my Tablet piece, Broder gave his speech just days after the German Federal Agency for Protection of the Constitution decided to investigate if the AfD is a serious threat to the German constitution and to German society. Goldman is in denial about these findings of the Germany Agency for the Protection of the Constitution. Perhaps he knows much better about German and AfD antisemitism and extremism, as he is a champion in using Google translate?

The worst antisemitic massacre in America took place in a Pittsburgh Synagogue on October 27, 2018. Eleven people were shot by a neo-Nazi who followed the agitation of Trump against liberal Jews who support Latino refugees from America’s southern neighbors.

Neo-Nazis are also champions of the science of dog whistles, like the word “globalists,” aiming at Jews running the economy at Wall Street. As said, in Germany the AfD plays the dog whistle alongside openly racist, vulgar and antisemitic remarks about the purported need to end Holocaust remembrance.

Islamists and jihads share the same authoritarian character with AfD politicians and their huge fan base. Both have an antidemocratic, family based, homophobic, anti-feminist and anti-individual as well as anti-Holocaust remembrance ideology.

One of the most dangerous agitators of the AfD is Goebbels-wannabee Björn Höcke. He is in favor of a volkish Germany with only Germans or “German Germans” while immigrants whose parents came from somewhere else could not count as “real” Germans. As a political scientist, I dealt in my 2006 doctorate with the New Right and political culture in Germany. The term “German Germany” is from Henning Eichberg (1942–2017), who had been the leading New Right agitator in Germany from the late 1960s onwards.

Broder himself immigrated with his parents, Holocaust survivors from Poland, to the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1950s. He now openly supports the party who would have rejected him and his parents in the first place.

Conservatives, the New Right (or Alt Right), and the AfD agitate against the Left and gender mainstreaming. They deny climate change, defame Islam as such (and do not fight Islamism).

Broder knows all this. For him it is nothing but fun to speak to “Nazis” or “Krypto-Nazis” etc. He intentionally supports the AfD because it fits his own extreme right-wing agenda. In 2007, I had criticized his far-right positions, when he supported TV moderator Eva Herman who publicly flaunted her positive feelings about Hitler’s Autobahn and about family politics. In many other pieces, I also argued against the fanatic right-wing activism of Broder, who is, at the same time, the best-known pro-Israel agitator in Germany. Israel deserves better.

Broder’s flirt with the AfD is at least as bad as Netanyahu doing photo-ops with Hungary’s Orbán, as the invitation of the fascism and antisemitism prone Steve Bannon by the Zionist Organization of America, as the prayer for Donald S. Trump in January 2017 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

While many in the Antifa in Germany fight both left-wing pro-BDS people, and all neo-Nazis like the AfD, those like Broder now take sides, again and again, with antisemites, racists and right-wing extremist agitators like the AfD. Many in the German pro-Israel camp defend Broder.

Broder, Goldman and Tablet Magazine obviously want a kosher neo-Nazi like Party in the German Parliament. In addition, Goldman is in love with Helmut Kohl, the former (1982–1998) conservative chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), who honored Nazi SS soldiers at a cemetery in Bitburg with US President Ronald Reagan in May 1985. Kohl also financially supported an organization dedicated to support former Nazis and SS men, the HIAG. In 1984, during his first visit to Israel, Kohl invited former Nazi party member (NSDAP) Kurt Ziesel to join him. Ziesel became a member of the Nazi party already during the Weimar Republic in 1931. He helped to destroy the first German democracy and paved the way for Nazi Germany and the Shoah.

Broder’s tone was like: “Give me some latkes before you kill me”. And they will serve those latkes never fear.

Tablet might think it is a pro-Jewish magazine. Tablet is not a pro-Jewish magazine as long as it take sides with the most anti-Jewish party in German society and Parliament. Goldman is a long time Tablet author, music critic and he is friends with Jongen who defames Merkel’s pro-Israel position and promotes racism, nationalism and vulgar hatred of the left, gender mainstreaming and defames necessary criticism of German nationalism, including criticism of his anti-intellectual, anti-humanist teacher and superstar, Peter Sloterdijk, one of the uncounted Heidegger followers of our times.

I was among the co-founders of what could be called the unofficial pro-Israel NGO camp in Germany in 2002 and even before. In January 2001, during the second Intifada, before 9/11, we did a brochure about left-wing antisemitism and Palestinian terrorism in Entebbe in 1976 and the repercussions among a specific anti-Zionist wing of the radical left in Germany at the time. I was editor-in-chief of the monthly Jüdische Rundschau in summer and fall 2014. After I realized the right-wing position (also misogynism) of the publisher, Rafael Korenzecher, I left the paper. I was a co-founder of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) in 2007. In 2017, this tiny group suspended me du to my antifascist position and stance against the pro-Trump position of SPME in the US. These developments as well as the collaboration of Netanyahu with right-wing extremist politicians in Europe as well as his posing as Israeli’s Trump in the current electoral campaign indicates a decline in decency in the pro-Israel camp.

American support for the Jewish state was always based on bipartisanship. Trump, his ilk and Netanyahu are destroying or already have destroyed this bipartisanship. Without Communist help in 1947/48, Israel would not have won the War of Independence, let alone the UN vote on November 29, 1947. Today, the pro-Israel camp believes that only the most hardcore capitalist, the most sexist, racist, anti-Muslim and Holocaust distorting wing of the Western world will be their ally. On the contrary, this predilection will be part of the decline of bipartisan support for the Jewish state. Just listen to an ardent Zionist, head of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder:

“But the greatest threat is to the future of the Jewish people. For over 200 years, modern Judaism has aligned itself with enlightenment. The Jews of the new era have fused our national pride and religious affiliation with a dedication to human progress, worldly culture and morality. Conservatives and liberals, we all believe in a just Zionism and a pluralistic Judaism that respects every human being. So when members of Israel’s current government unintentionally undermine the covenant between Judaism and enlightenment, they crush the core of contemporary Jewish existence.”

Lauder as well as left-wing Zionists and critics of anti-liberalism, antisemitism and the Far Right know: Zionism deserves much better and David Ben-Gurion and Theodor Herzl would be ashamed of the current situation, I am sure.

***

January 29, 2019, Henryk M. Broder spoke at an event of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and they celebrated him as their hero. He was proud and happy, because not even his “own family honors” him like Martin Renner from the AfD did in his inauguration of Broder’s talk. David Goldman and Tablet celebrate Broder and the Far Right, they promote lies about the Greens in Germany and base Goldman’s piece on Google translate and the agitation of Jongen and other AfD politicians. Let us have a final look at some activities of AfD politicians. The faction of the AfD in the city of Potsdam posted a picture of NGO activist Anetta Kahane, showing her with a big nose and big lips, a typical antisemitic caricature.

At a rally in Chemnitz – after the above mentioned attack on a Jewish restaurant and Nazi salutes by many neo-Nazis – AfD politicians and MPs in the Bundestag, marched alongside with criminal and convicted Hitler-fan Lutz Bachmann, right-wing publisher Götz Kubitschek as well as several former leaders of neo-Nazi groups like “National Socialists Chemnitz,” “Wiking Youth,” or “Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend” (“Homeland proud German Youth”) as well as far-right political activist Michael Stürzenberger. The latter is of particular interest, as he is known for his agitation against the circumcision. In 2012, Stürzenberger wrote that Jews like Muslims, if they keep on practicing the circumcision, have “no place in this country” (Germany), as journalist Jörg Lau from the weekly Die Zeit documented with disgust.

Broder knows very well that neo-Nazis would destroy him as a Jew after they took power and “cleaned the Augean stables”.

But he might hope like Tablet or Goldman that he will just be shot some days or even a few weeks after his female neighbor – the journalist with her tender anarcho-communist, pro-immigrant, eco-socialist, anticapitalist and antifascist, left-wing Zionist ideas, her punk-rock style hair, her “Refugees Welcome” T-Shirt and her button “No one is illegal” – would be raped, tortured and killed (based on what AfD followers or neo-Nazis post all the time on social media).

About the Author
Dr Clemens Heni is director of The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA)

Jews should stop supporting the Alt-Right and the enemies of the Jewish people

Times of Israel, November 22, 2017

In these troubled days there is no inclination for a flowery introduction. No time for the flowers when 60,000 neo-Nazis march through the streets of Warsaw, flaunting Nazi salutes and promoting a “white” Poland while the minister of the interior applauds, when American neo-Nazis scream “Jews will not replace us” and a US President finds “fine people” among them, in a time when the first neo-Nazi party ever was elected to the postwar German Parliament, the Bundestag. All this in 2017.

Medias in res: Let’s be crystal clear – the pro-Israel camp in the US, Europe and Israel has a huge problem with right-wing extremism, racism, antisemitism and bigotry. Plain and simple.

During my time as a post-doctoral associate at Yale University in 2008-2009, I joined the chairperson of my center, the eminent scholar and dauntless campaigner for an academic response to resurgent antisemitism, Dr. Charles Small, founder of the Institute for the Global Study of Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), and another colleague for an event at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. There was an interesting debate going on with about “Radical Islam and the Nuclear Bomb.” Later, we had a vibrant discussion with Bret Stephens in a smaller circle. Now, Stephens works as a journalist for the New York Times and in a groundbreaking piece on November 16, 2017, he boldly critiqued the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA):

“The Zionist Organization of America feted Stephen K. Bannon at a gala dinner in New York on Sunday night. What a disgrace.

What a mistake, too. It’s a disgrace because no organization that purports to represent the interests of the Jewish people should ever embrace anyone who embraces anti-Semites. Jews have enemies enough.”

Stephens compares the Zionist Organization of America to the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace, and he does so quite rightly:

“But just as there are anti-Zionist Jews, there are also anti-Semitic Zionists.”

While the Zionist Organization of America hosts and praises the far-right’s hero of the decade, Steve Bannon, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), headquartered in Los Angeles, even prayed publicly in a PR extravaganza for a new president who is sexist, racist and a follower of antisemitic conspiracy myths.

The Middle East Forum’s (MEF) president Daniel Pipes left the Republican Party (GOP) after 44 years, due to the nomination of Trump. His statement, explaining why he left the GOP is truly important and much to the point:

“The Republican Party nominated Donald Trump as its candidate for president of the United States – and I responded by ending my 44-year GOP membership. Here’s why I bailed, quit, and jumped ship: First, Trump’s boorish, selfish, puerile, and repulsive character, combined with his prideful ignorance, his off-the-cuff policy making, and his neo-fascistic tendencies make him the most divisive and scary of any serious presidential candidate in American history.”

Pipes stands for an anti-Islamist position, distinguishing between Islam as a religion and Islamism as an ideology. Islamism and jihad are main threats to the Western world, to America, and the Jewish state of Israel. Supporting moderate Muslims is also important to the MEF and Pipes.

While Jewish anti-Zionists are very troubling these days, including their support for BDS, pro-Zionist Jewish bodies are of course not attacked by think tanks such as the MEF. However, that same Middle East Forum now goes ahead and supports an extreme right-wing German online page called “Journalistenwatch,” which is a trumpet for the Alternative for Germany (AfD), who’s then chairwoman Frauke Petry was very happy after the election of Trump. It was a big win for the extreme Right.

On November 9, 2017, the anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass in 1938, Journalistenwatch published an article by Max Erdinger (the article is signed by “ME”, which stands for Max Erdinger). It attacks Jews in Germany, namely former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany (2006–2010) and former Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Charlotte Knobloch, for her stance against neo-Nazis in general and the extreme right-wing party “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) in particular.

The article blames the Central Council of Jews in Germany for their policies of remembrance for the Shoah. Charlotte Knobloch (85 years old), a Holocaust survivor, also works with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on issues related to Holocaust remembrance. Journalistenwatch writes that Knobloch “agitates” against those who fight immigration and non-Germans.

They blame Knobloch for doing so while in Paris jihadist murder was going on. The accusation that she was silent on Muslim antisemitism, while Knobloch is among the best known critics of Muslim antisemitism, is part of the fake news plague of our time of Trumpism and right-wing extremist conspiracy myths.

Readers will soon learn just how active Knobloch and the Central Council of Jews in Germany are in fighting Islamist antisemitism.

Journalistenwatch says in Erdinger’s piece on November 9, 2017 that there must be “calculation” behind the behavior of Jews such as Knobloch and the Central Council of Jews in Germany in order to succeed in urging Germans to commemorate the Holocaust. What calculation? A Jewish conspiracy? That is an antisemitic resentment, aimed at Jews who urge non-Jews to remember the crimes of their forefathers and foremothers.

Journalistenwatch goes on to bemoan that it is

“not enough to visit concentration camp memorial sites. Then, we also need to talk about communism and socialism, about Stalin, Mao, PolPot, South Africa and the North Korean leader”.

That kind of Holocaust distortion is well-known in the field of research of antisemitism. When asked about Auschwitz, one  answers with Stalin, and that is a clear case of antisemitism –

Why? Because the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, while the Germans had built it and killed and gassed some 1.5 million people there, among them 1.2 million Jews. Stalin’s own crimes have nothing to do with Holocaust remembrance. Yet, this typical reaction by ordinary Germans and their allies is part of today’s Holocaust distortion or “double genocide” ideology. The infamous Prague Declaration and the critique by eminent scholar and defender of history, Professor Dovid Katz from Lithuania, is a case in point.

At the end of the November 9 article by Journalistenwatch we find:

“Therefore, Central Council of Jews in Germany: finally, become honest or shut up your impertinent mouth.”

Jews who urge Germans to visit concentration camps, have an “impertinent mouth”? If that is not antisemitism, what is?

Does the Middle East Forum (MEF) and Daniel Pipes truly want to support a group like Journalistenwatch that is defaming the leading Jewish, Zionist and anti-Islamist body in Germany, the Central Council of Jews in Germany? The Central Council of Jews in Germany is the best-known Jewish voice in Germany when it comes to defending the Jewish state of Israel, to remembering the Holocaust, to protecting German Jews, and combating Muslim antisemitism, and right-wing, left-wing as well as mainstream antisemitism in all its forms.

Journalistenwatch obviously fights against the Jewish community in Germany, which is represented by the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Of course, they might find two or three extremist Jews, who share their resentment against the Central Council. We also have left-wing anti-Zionist Jews in Germany who like to defame the Zionist Central Council of Jews. There are diverse views, and highly fringe views, among all groups, but that is not the point.

For non-Jews in Germany, the Central Council of Jews in Germany is the core concept of “the enemy.” In 2002, extreme right-wing politician Jürgen Möllemann from the Libertarian Party (FDP) accused Ariel Sharon for killing children with tanks, and he attacked Michel Friedman for defending Israel and the Jews. At the time, Friedman was Vice President of the Central Council (May 2002), Möllemann had said on TV (Channel 2, ZDF), on May 16, 2002, that “Jews,” such as “Ariel Sharon or Michel Friedman,” “are responsible for growing antisemitism.” Today, Friedman, who is a public intellectual and journalist, is also anti-Nazi and anti-AfD, to be sure. Hatred of Friedman, and nowadays Charlotte Knobloch or today’s head of the Central Council, Josef Schuster, indicates hatred of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and this has not stopped, but only increased in the years to 2017. Journalistenwatch is a case in point.

Linguist and scholar of antisemitism, Professor Monika Schwarz-Friesel of the Technical University Berlin, in 2013 published a book, co-written with Jehuda Reinharz (former President of Brandeis University, from 1994–2010), dealing with 14,000 antisemitic letters to the Central Council of Jews in Germany and to the Israeli Embassy in Germany between 2002 and 2012. They underline that the Central Council of Jews is a core target for antisemites in Germany, including and most importantly, from the mainstream. Journalistenwatch clearly promotes that kind of hatred towards the Central Council.

The Central Council very often gives interviews or statements against different forms of antisemitism. On July 23, 2017, for example, Josef Schuster, gave an interview to the leading newspaper BILD, urging Muslim organizations to be more active against Muslim antisemitism. In an interview with RP online, May 15, 2017, Schuster argued against Muslim antisemitism as well as neo-Nazi antisemitism and he rejects the fantasy, that the AfD is pro-Jewish. On August 5, 2014, then head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, says the Jewish world in Germany feels “shock waves” after aggressive antisemitic rallies during the Gaza war, mainly from Islamists and Muslim antisemites.

After the jihadist attacks in Paris against the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in January 2015, in an interview with the Berlin based daily Tagesspiegel, January 24, 2015, Schuster argued vehemently against Muslim and Islamist antisemitism. On January 14, 2015, Charlotte Knobloch was quoted as saying she “fears Islamist terrorism”. After the jihadist massacre in Paris on November 13, 2015, where 130 civilians were killed by jihadists, including 89 people at a rock concert in the Bataclan club in downtown Paris, Knobloch, as head of the Israelite Community of Munich [Israelitische Kultusgemeinde München und Oberbayern], issued a statement the following day calling the outrage a “terror of a new dimension.” On November 18, 2017, Knobloch published an article in the mainstream Focus journal, urging Muslims and immigrants to stop preaching anti-Western ideology, including antisemitism and hatred of democracy and a Western way of life.

So much for the blatant untruths of Journalistenwatch that the Central Council of Jews in Germany and Charlotte Knobloch are unable or reluctant to deal with Muslim antisemitism or jihad. It’s just fake news, period.

Islamism, Muslim antisemitism and jihad are at the core of the work of the Central Council. But Journalistenwatch intentionally agitates against Jews such as Knobloch, because she does not share their extreme right-wing agenda.

Journalistenwatch can’t stand Charlotte Knobloch and the Central Council of Jews in Germany, because they stand for a pro-Israel agenda, for genuine Holocaust remembrance, and for a clear stance against neo-Nazism, right-wing extremism and the far-right AfD party.

This extremist agenda of the Far Right in Germany can be seen ever so clearly this month. In November alone, Journalistenwatch agitated against an anti-Nazi congress in Munich, to be held at the Munich chapter of the huge German Trade Union [Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB], which has more than six million members. At that left-wing Antifa congress, the AfD and the right-wing extremist Pegida-movement (Patriots against Islamiziation of the Occident) joined forces and some 50-60 activists protested outside the 600 Antifa people who were a part of the congress.

One of the Pegida-counter protesters, who also joined the AfD event against the Antifa, was a certain Karl-Heinz Statzberger, as the Bavarian chapter of the German first TV channel, Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), reports. Statzberger is a convicted neo-Nazi. He wanted to blow up the Jewish Community Center of Munich and was convicted for that crime; his sentence was four years and four months in jail, alongside with his fellow neo-Nazis, including Martin Wiese (seven years) and others.

Today, according to the German daily tageszeitung (taz), Statzberger supports the neo-Nazis of the “National Socialist Underground” [Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund, NSU], who since May 2013 face trial in Munich. The NSU killed at least 10 people between 2000 and 2006, among them nine immigrants and one police officer.

So much for the hapless pretense by Journalistenwatch that the AfD is not connected to neo-Nazis. Journalistenwatch reported about the events against the Antifa congress in Munich without mentioning the participation of a convicted neo-Nazi among the Pegida and AfD “protesters”. Instead, Journalistenwatch posted a video online by a speaker at the Anti-Antifa event, an AfD MP in the Bundestag, Wolfgang Wiehle, who spoke there on Nov. 4, 2017.

German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said prior to the election, that “real Nazis” will be standing at the speakers desk in Parliament, if the AfD is elected, and Minister of Justice Heiko Maas emphasized, that the party program of the AfD is “in part against the German constitution.”

AfD politician Beatrix von Storch claims that “Islam as such is a political ideology and not compatible with the German constitution.” That contradicts the distinction between Islam as a religion and Islamism as an ideology, made by Pipes and the MEF. The Huffington Post reported on May 27, 2013, about an event with Daniel Pipes about Islamism and Islam and the crucial distinction between Islam and Islamism. If all of Islam is Islamism, we would have lost. Israel would be lost, liberal Muslims couldn’t exist. But they do exist, as the event in Mississauga, a town near Toronto in Canada, where Pipes spoke, indicates. He was invited by a Muslim Committee against Antisemitism. The AfD rejects the core difference between Islam and Islamism.

In their party program of June 2016, the AfD rejects “minarets” in general, which violates freedom of religion and stands against the principles of the Middle East Forum, because, we assume, the MEF supports moderate Muslims, who might be among those who go into mosques with minarets.

In their program for the federal elections to the German Parliament, the Bundestag, on September 24, 2017, from April 2017, the AfD again rejected “minarets” as such. That, again, violates the German constitution and is set against the freedom of religion. Then, the AfD party program rejected also shechita (traditional Jewish slaughtering according to the laws of kosherness) in all its forms (see point 13.4 of their program). In particular they aim at “religious communities” and want to forbid shechita for them as well (nowadays, Germany allows shechtia for religious communities). Is the Middle East Forum against the freedom of religion?

Leading AfD politician Alexander Gauland said on September 2, 2017 at a meeting at the German nationalist symbol, the mountain Kyffhäuser in Thuringia, we should be “proud of two German armies in two World Wars” — including, in other words, the role of the German Wehrmacht in the Holocaust and the destruction of Poland, Belarus, the western Soviet Union and vast parts of Europe. Being proud of the German Army in the Second World War also includes pride for having killed American soldiers.

We are dealing here (most probably) with American donors to the Middle East Forum (MEF) that supported the page Journalistenwatch, which promotes and embraces the AfD, and Gauland is No.1 of the AfD in the German Bundestag, alongside with Alice Weidel. Giving money to an online news page that promotes and supports a political party, which is proud of German soldiers who participated in the Holocaust and also killed American and Allied soldiers who saved Europe from Hitler? Really? Journalistenwatch defends Gaulands pride in the German army of the Second World War!

Former head of the party Frauke Petry has reintroduced the Nazi word “völkisch” (“of the People” in a nationalist-racist conceptual framework) into the mainstream. It was a prime antisemitic term in Nazi Germany.

Other AfD politicians used Nazi slogans such as “Deutschland Erwache,” a slogan of the Storm Troopers (SA, Sturmabteilung), the SS (Schutzstaffel) and the Nazi Party (NSDAP). It is nowadays used on Twitter by Cologne AfD member Hendrik Rottmann, according to a report by the daily Die Welt. That slogan is illegal in Germany, as it resembles Nazi ideology (§86, 4 of the German Criminal Code, see report of the Saxonian chapter of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, report 2015, page 9). Journalistenwatch defends Rottmann.

Many AfD politicians share violent fantasies about hurting, hunting, torturing or killing left-wingers, the Antifa, Muslims, Jews, pro-abortion women etc. Journalistenwatch is promoting the AfD. Prior to his AfD membership Holger Arppe, an MP of the AfD in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, according to leading news site in Germany, Spiegel Online, wrote in a chat on March 17, 2012: “Perhaps we should kidnap [name’s] mother, brutally rape her on a daily basis by a chimp and then send [an acquaintance] a finger, day by day.”

Journalistenwatch trivializes the sick and violent fantasies of AfD-Arppe and equate this politician to Erdogan’s hostage in jail, German journalist Deniz Yücel, and his editor-in-chief of the daily Die Welt, Ulf Poschardt. For Journalistenwatch neo-Nazi-style Arppe, anti-Islamist Yücel, who is also critical of German nationalism, and his ally Poschardt are equally horrible. This kind of comparison is nothing but an insidious trivialization of violent fantasies of the Alternative for Germany’s personal (Arppe) and their loudspeakers (Journalistenwatch).

AfD MP in the Bundestag, Markus Frohnmaier, is working at a “German Centre for Eurasian Studies.” He is collaborating with right-wing extremist Manuel Ochsenreiter, editor of the journal “Zuerst.” Ochsenreiter wrote an anti-Israel book about “The Power of the Zionist lobby in Germany”, that was translated into Farsi with help of the Iranian Ministry of Culture, according to an article by exile Iranian, anti-Islamist and pro-Israel activist Kazem Moussavi. Frohnmaier is a spokesperson for AfD MP Alice Weidel, number one of the party in Parliament, together with Alexander Gauland. Journalistenwatch promotes Frohnmaier.

Journalist Esther Scheiner from Switzerland, who made aliyah to Israel several years ago, urges the Middle East Forum (MEF) to immediately stop supporting antisemitic and extreme right-wing groups such as “Journalistenwatch”, as she writes on a German language Israeli news site.

In 2015, for the first time, a German minister, Heiko Maas, Minister of Justice, spoke at the Israeli government sponsored Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism. Maas is a leading voice against neo-Nazism, right-wing extremism as well as the “Alternative for Germany (AfD).”

Support for Israel must be right in the mainstream, not a partisan project of neo-Nazis, who want a Jew-free Germany (and America).

American NGOs and think tanks, such as the Middle East Forum (MEF), might have reasonable concern about the failure of scholarship and activism when it comes to Israel and jihad, as the pro-Edward Said post-colonial mainstream would seem to indicate. Therefore, support for serious anti-Islamist scholarship and activism, as well as support for Zionist scholarship and activism is essential – but not support for those, who join Germany’s far-right antisemitic establishment in defaming German Jews like Charlotte Knobloch or the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

If NGOs or think tanks support such extreme right-wing groups, they do not just harm Israel and Jews in Germany, they even work against their own commitment to protect American values and interests. Since when has it been an American interest to support German neo-Nazi style agitators who endorse a party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is “proud of German soldiers in two World Wars,” including the Wehrmacht in the Second World War and the Holocaust, and the killing of American soldiers? Since when do donors or members of boards of governors support such German neo-Nazi type groups?

They would do better to listen to Bret Stephens in the New York Times:

“If Israel is going to retain mainstream political support, it cannot allow itself to become the pet cause of right-wing bigots and conspiracy theorists. That requires putting serious distance between Bannon and every pro-Israel organization, to say nothing of the Israeli government itself, by refusing to provide a platform for him and his ilk. Personal and national reputations alike always depend on the company one keeps. Not every would-be supporter deserves consideration as a friend.”

The very same far-right people in the pro-Israel camp also should listen to historian Martin Kramer from the Shalem College in Israel: in an article in Mosaic Magazine, November 6, 2017, he emphasizes the pro-Zionist role of Stalin, Gromyko and other Soviet politicians and diplomats in the years 1947–1949. Without Gromyko, Israel might not have had a diplomatic chance, as US President Truman was not at all as Zionist as many American Jews still like to believe. Stalin was much more pro-Israel at that time, and Stalin was the one who defeated the Germans and who liberated Auschwitz. Without Czech weaponry and Soviet help, Israel would probably not have survived the War of Independence.

Why remember that? Because bipartisanship is at the core of Zionism. Jews and Zionists depended on capitalists and communists to make Israel happen. In Germany, many of the often-defamed Antifa are anti-Nazi and pro-Israel, while the self-declared pro-Israel far right is antisemitic.

Zionists and Jews do not depend on neo-Nazis to defend them, to be sure.

At the end of the day, neo-Nazis want to kill the Jews. However, too many well-meaning pro-Israel Jews, many quiet naive, still don’t get it.

Today, many people in the pro-Israel camp defame Zionist left-wingers and defame every kind of reasonable criticism of Israeli policies or poor pro-Israel advocacy in Germany or other countries. Many simply deny that there are troubling tendencies in Israeli political culture. We do not ignore Arab, Palestinian and Islamist antisemitism, of course. The Arab rejection of the UN partition plan from November 1947 was a historical mistake. It is not the one and only problem, though. The occupation after 1967 is a problem, too, no doubt about this. Just ask David Ben-Gurion.

Some rightwing Zionists in countries such as Germany and America defame Israeli liberals while lionizing pro-fascists such as Bannon. Some would like to forget that President Trump did not mention Jews in his special message for Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2017, an omission that is not “accidental” in the current state of discourse.

Bret Stephens continues in the New York Times:

“The second reason is that political support for Israel is too important to tarnish through association with the likes of Bannon or European kindred spirits such as Holland’s Geert Wilders or Hungary’s Viktor Orban. Israel is not a latter-day Crusader kingdom holding out against a 21st-century Mahometan horde. It is a small democracy trying to uphold a set of liberal values against autocrats and religious fanatics sworn to its destruction. Zionists love Israel because of the way in which it brings together the values of individual freedom and Jewish civilization, not because of some blood and soil nationalism.“

Therefore, we strongly urge the Middle East Forum (MEF) to stop supporting extreme right-wing groups such as “Journalistenwatch” in Germany, and all other groups that harm the Jewish state of Israel, defame left-of-center Zionism, or Jewish bodies such as the Central Council of Jews in Germany. They must stop supporting groups that agitate against all immigrants and Muslims and reject any distinction between Islam and Islamism, reject Holocaust remembrance and praise the German (or Lithuanian or Hungarian, or Ukrainian etc.) armies and units who were involved in perpetrating the Holocaust.

It is all common sense. We need to step back and soberly assess the unique and disturbing combinations and juxtapositions of 2017.

 

An earlier, much shorter version of this article was published in The Times of Israel (TOI) blogs on November 18, 2017. The German online news blog “Journalistenwatch” complained and told TOI that their author McMahon was not quoted correctly from an October 2017 article. In fact, I did not at all refer to that article. I referred rather to an article from November 9, 2017, as indicated in the text. In any event, TOI deleted my article and sent it back (without asking me if I had quoted that October 2017 article, which I had not). Falsification of fact to undermine honest discourse is alas a hallmark of “Journalistenwatch” and hopefully major international Jewish journals and portals will stand their ground firmly.

The author, Clemens Heni, Ph.D., wrote a M.A. thesis in 1999 (at Bremen University) about the relationship of Germany, antisemitism and the Holocaust, comparing Daniel J. Goldhagen’s (Harvard) study “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” (1996) to Critical Theory’s masterpiece “Dialectic of Enlightenment” by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno (1944/47); in January 2001 (during the second Intifada), he was a co-author of a brochure about left-wing anti-Zionism in Germany, based on the antisemitic hijacking by left-wing Germans of the Revolutionäre Zellen (RZ) and Palestinians of an airplane in June/July 1976 to Entebbe (Uganda), where Benjamin Netanyahu’s elder brother Yoni was killed; in 2006 he received his Ph.D. at the University of Innsbruck (Austria, “summa cum laude”) with a study (509 pages) about political culture and the New Right in German political mainstream from 1970–2005; in 2008/09 he was a Post-Doc Associate at Yale University (Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, YIISA), doing a study about German antisemitism, including the Nazi time and post-Holocaust antisemitism (332 pages); in 2011 he published a study about Islamic Studies and Antisemitism in Germany after 9/11 (410 pages, in German, supported by the Middle East Forum, MEF); in 2013 he published his study “Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon Holocaust Trivialization – Islamism – Post-colonial and Cosmopolitan anti-Zionism” (648 pages; review in the Middle East Quarterly by the MEF in 2017); in 2014 he did a book (177 pages, in German) about “Critical Theory and Israel. Max Horkheimer and Judith Butler, Judaism, binationalism and Zionism” (lecture at ISGAP in April 2014); 2017 he published a collection of essays (in German, 262 pages) about German nationalism, racism and antisemitism, entitled “An Alternative towards Germany” (also as an E-Book); Heni is director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA), founded in 2011; since 2016 BICSA organizes the Robert S. Wistrich (1945–2015) Memorial lectures (on May 19); 2011 BICSA published Wistrich’s brochure “Muslim Antisemitism” (American Jewish Committee, 2002) in a German translation, 2015 BICSA published a second edition of Wistrich’s groundbreaking “Hitler’s Apocalypse” from 1985, including his analysis of the Islamist threat; 2017, BICSA translated (Clemens Heni and Michael Kreutz, 456 pages) the book “The Israeli Nation-State,” co-edited by Fania Oz-Salzberger and Yedidia Z. Stern, into German; Since May 2016, Heni is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism (JCA) by Academic Studies Press, Boston, MA.

 

Interview with J.J. Goldberg: From the Radical Zionist Alliance to Criticism of Trump and the American Jewish Establishment (audio file)

An Interview with J.J. Goldberg from New York City, editor-at-large of the Forward, by Clemens Heni, Director of The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA) – January 5, 2017 (audio file)

Listen to the Interview

:

List of contents:

0:51  Radical Zionist Alliance

2:20  Middle East Forum, Daniel Pipes

4:00  Refugees are also human beings

6:30  Trump might start a war because he is thoughtless

9:15  ADL, SWC & Jewish Establishment

9:45  Alvin Rosenfeld

11:10 ADL and Donors in the American-Jewish Community

11:55 Is protesting Trump useless?

13:00 Demonstrations in a divided country only anger the general public…

14:00 The more principled, the less influence?

16:10 UNSC Resolution 2334 against settlements, but pro-Israel

17:05 For the political Right there is no difference between Israel + the settlements

20:00 Theodore Sasson: The New American Zionism (2014)

22:00 Left-wing pro-Israel groups have not much influence in the US

25:00 American Jewish Community + the influence of the Right (Miami)

30:40 Antisemitism Research: just right-wingers?

31:30 One-state solution as anti-Zionism (Islamism, Butler, settlers)

32:00 Liberals are studying issues between the Jews (like treatment of minorities)

33:15 Conservative Newspapers look what Foreign Countries do to America

33:30 YIISA shut down by Yale – too much pro-Israel

34:30 Is opposing Israel antisemitic?

36:03 Antisemitism is hating Jews for no reason

38:00 Today’s antisemitism is closely related to hostility to the Jewish state

38:30 Gershom Scholem from cultural Zionism to political Zionism (1923–1936/48)

39:50 20% Arabs in Israel

41:10 Own villages for Muslims in Germany?

42:20 Danger of ethno or ethnic pluralism, right-wing ideology of Henning Eichberg

43:00 No Western democracy can exist with segregation on the long run

45:58 Haifa as an example of Jewish-Arab inclusion, not separation

52:57 One-state solution: End of Jewish Sovereignty

53:22 Arab and Muslim antisemitism will not disappear soon

57:00 Sincereness of Arab Peace Plan

1:03:00 Trump remains an earthquake / Divide in American Jewry

 

 

 

The Robert S. Wistrich Memorial Lecture 2016 by BICSA (VIDEO)

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A response to Bernard-Henri Lévy

By Leslie S. Lebl, Connecticut, USA

On November 16, 2015, French public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy published a commentary in which he urges the West to acknowledge that it is at war and must call things by their right names. He subsequently argues that we must battle Islamic jihad while understanding the difference between those Muslims who worship death and those who support a peaceful, tolerant form of Islam.

It is difficult to quarrel with this concept, especially when one remembers that by far the largest number of people who have died fighting various jihadist groups have been Muslims. But, as in so many other cases, “the devil is in the detail.” Lévy’s argument suffers by failing to acknowledge or understand some of the “details.”

Distinguishing ‘moderate’ from ‘radical’ Muslims sounds easy, until you try it. For example, Lévy includes former Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović among the moderates. Yet Izetbegović’s famous Islamic Declaration (1970) presents a vision of Islamic triumph completely consistent with the Islamist goal of imposing traditional Islamic law, or sharia, in Western countries. It argues that Muslims living in a non-Muslim ma­jority country should play by the rules of that coun­try—until they are strong enough to overthrow the system and install an Islamic government. The Declaration has been dismissed as a youthful folly, yet Izetbegović distributed it to Bosniac troops during the 1990s war, suggesting that it still reflected his thinking – as did other actions promoting Islamism and jihad taken while he was in office.[i]

A number of people, including Adolf Hitler, perceived similarities between Islam and Nazism, but it does not help to charge that Nazism is a form of Islamism, as does Lévy while citing French poet, dramatist and diplomat Paul Claudel, a well known Catholic at the time. This trivializes Nazism as just another form of Islamism. From a historical perspective, this is an extremely difficult argument to make, in view of all the other sources of Nazism much closer to home. Nor does it help promote understanding in today’s world, where the word “fascism” is tossed about with abandon. Applying it to the terrorist groups attacking the West does little to focus our thinking. Nor does Levy’s explanation address the much more pressing and painful fact that Islamism has, since World War II, poisoned the Muslim world with its genocidal hatred of Jews, the Jewish state of Israel and the Western way of life. Today, Arabic translations of Mein Kampf and Protocols of the Elders of Zion are available in just about any bookstore, and stories like those told by Robert Satloff of Arabs saving Jews during World War II appear hopelessly remote.[ii] Yes, Arabs in the Middle East can argue that they had nothing to do with the Holocaust, but they cannot simultaneously proclaim their admiration for Nazism while claiming moral superiority.

Lévy is also wrong when he states that the “real source of this flood of horror” is the Islamic State. Islamic State may have carried out the latest attacks, and be our most significant threat right now, but it is only following in the well-established tradition of other groups like Al Qaeda and the Algerian GIS. Nor is it the bloodiest or most murderous group today: that honor belongs rather to Boko Haram.

The problem is not the group but the ideology, which all these terrorist organizations share with the so-called “nonviolent” Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, whom Lévy seems to ignore. All of them want to establish a global Caliphate under sharia, but the “nonviolent” groups believe it is easier and more efficacious to do so without violence. Former U.S. President George W. Bush was indeed wrong to declare a “War on Terror” when what threatens the West is not a tactic but an ideology. Banning hate preachers is fine but will achieve little as long as groups like the Brotherhood, posing as friends of Western democracy, laws and values, in fact act as a Fifth Column (as did Nazi groups, as Lévy notes). Recent events in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere have revealed the Brotherhood’s true face, but Lévy seems to ignore these revelations. Unfortunately, however, the Brotherhood’s presence throughout Western Muslim communities, and its ability to poison traditional Islam, make the problem of isolating our true enemies much more difficult than Lévy imagines.

[i] For more details, see Leslie S. Lebl, Islamism and Security in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Strategic Studies Institute, May 2014, pp. 20–26.

[ii] Robert Satloff, Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands (New York: Public Affairs, 2006).

 

Leslie S. Lebl, a former US diplomat, is an independent scholar writing on Islamism in Europe. She is currently working on a book about the EU, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

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