BERLIN – Dr. Moshe Kantor, the head of the European Jewish Congress (EJC),
accused Der Spiegel journalist Jakob Augstein of using his columns to stoke
hatred against Israel and Jews.
In a statement given to The Jerusalem
Post on Tuesday, Kantor wrote, “Certain journalists and other opinion-shapers,
among them Jakob Augstein, over the last few years have used their columns to
promote hate and fear of the Jewish state and the Jewish
“Obviously they are not the same thing, but when the age-old
canards that were used against Jews for hundreds of years appear to be directly
replicated against the Jewish state, this should tell us something about the
dangerous lines that these people are treading,” Kantor, who is widely
considered a leading authority on contemporary anti-Semitism,
“If these people are using the same unoriginal attacks against
the Jewish state as were used against the Jewish people, then we have a right to
defend ourselves in exactly the same way and call this hatred for what it
The EJC represents more than 2.5 million Jews throughout Europe,
covering 42 national Jewish communities.
Kantor’s remarks differed
sharply from Salomon Korn, the vice president of Germany’s Jewish community, who
argued that Augstein’s writings are not anti-Semitic.
Korn, along with
some German Jewish leaders, was in the minority on the issue among prominent
European and American Jewish figures.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center
included Augstein in its 2012 list of top ten anti-Semites and haters of Israel
because of a steady stream of writings hostile to Jews and Israel.
Anti-Defamation League told the Post
that one of Augstein’s statements – when he
wrote, “With backing from the US, where the president must secure the support of
Jewish lobby groups, and in Germany, where coping with history, in the meantime,
has a military component, the Netanyahu government keeps the world on a leash
with an ever-swelling war chant” – falls into the category of conspiratorial
anti- Semitic thinking.
In another piece, Augstein equated Israeli
haredim to Islamic terrorists following the “law of revenge.” The left-wing
writer said the attacks against him were “defaming critical journalism.”