German report: 20% of Germans are anti-Semitic

Islamic-based anti-Semitism present among German Muslims.

January 24, 2012 18:02
3 minute read.
Neo-Nazi activist (illustrative)

Neo Nazi 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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BERLIN - The German government released on Monday the findings of a two year inquiry into modern anti-Semitism in the Federal Republic, showing that latent anti-Semitism affects one of every five Germans.

The 202 page study, entitled "Anti-Semitism in Germany," covered a wide spectrum of German anti-Semitism, including hatred of the Jewish state as a manifestations of anti-Semitism within the Left movement and Islamic-animated loathing of Israel and Jews, especially from Iran's regime and the Turkish media.

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Anti-Semitism among Left and Right grows in Germany
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Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, a member of the ten member commission, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, that the "experts came to the conclusion that the ideology of the Iranian regime is anti-Semitic." According to the report, "The state anti-Semitism is, however, not only relevant on the propaganda level" in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The study notes that Iran's anti-Semitic ideology plays a role in Germany.

When asked what the report means by Iran's regime not limiting its anti-Semitism  to its domestic agenda, Wahdat-Hagh said, Iran supports foreign anti-Semitic entities "militarily, financially and ideologically." He cited the Lebanese group Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

In Germany the strong presence of Iran's regime is located in Hamburg. "In view of the facts that the political head of Iran is also considered a spiritual figure for many extremist thinking Muslims," wrote the commission's authors. The study says that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader in Iran, is the sponsor of the Islamic Center in Hamburg (IZH).

According to one commission member, Dr. Juliane Wetzel, hyperbolic criticism of Israel as an expression of anti-Semitism exists between 40 and 50% of the population. However, Dr. Clemens Heni, a leading German scholar of contemporary German anti-Semitism, said Wetzel plays down the widespread form of anti-Israel anti-Semitism in the Federal Republic.

He told the Post on Tuesday, "according to a 2003 poll by the European Commission 65% of Germans see Israel as the 'biggest threat' on a worldwide scale. In fact the numbers are probably even higher, over 80% at least, who have a more or less have an anti-Israel stand. The reports ignores this, as well as the term 'Islamofascism,' which is an important term to understand the pro-Nazi attitude of many Muslim and Arab anti-Semites."

Dr. Heni, who was not a member of the commission, faulted the study for "ignoring leading scholars in the field like Robert S. Wistrich, Jeffrey Herf, Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer among many others."

Though the modern anti-Semitism -hate directed toward the Jewish state- has mushroomed in Germany, there were no Israeli experts on the commission.

While the study devoted considerable treatment to extremist right-wing anti-Semitism, Dr. Wahdat-Hagh, a senior research fellow with the Brussels-based European Foundation for Democracy and expert on Islamic-fueled anti-Semitism, said the commission investigated the "anti-Semitic content of the Turkish press in Germany."

According to the inquiry, roughly 90% of documented anti-Semitic crimes come from the extreme right and neo-Nazi-based groups. Soccer matches are a frequent source of anti-Semitic diatribes. Soccer fans have chanted "Jews belong in the gas chamber" and "Bring back Auschwitz" and "Synagogues must burn."

The study revealed that the word "Jew" is used a pejorative term among German pupils to denigrate fellow students and as form of insult.

The historian Dr. Peter Longerich, a historian of the Nazi period and member of the commission, noted that  "Anti-Semitism in our society is based on widespread prejudices, cliches with deep roots and pure ignorance about everything to do with Jews and Judaism."

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