A German neo-Nazi at a rally in Remagen 311 (R).
(photo credit: Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters)
BERLIN – Latent anti-Semitism affects one in five Germans, according to the
findings, announced on Monday, of a two-year inquiry in to modern anti-Semitism
commissioned by the German government.
The 202-page study, titled
“Anti-Semitism in Germany,” covered a wide spectrum of behavior, including
hatred of the Jewish state within the Left movement, as well as Islamic loathing
of Israel and Jews, particularly by Iran’s regime and the Turkish
Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, a senior research fellow with the
Brussels-based European Foundation for Democracy and an expert on Islamicfueled
anti-Semitism, was part of the 10-member commission. He told The
on Tuesday that “the experts came to the conclusion that the
ideology of the Iranian regime is anti- Semitic.”
According to the
report, Iran’s anti-Semitic ideology not only manifests itself in propaganda
within the country, but also influences Germany.
The political head of
Iran is a spiritual figure for many extremist Muslims, the report continues, and
Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader in Iran, is cited as the sponsor of the Islamic
Center in Hamburg.
Wahdat-Hagh backs this up, saying that Iran supports
foreign anti-Semitic entities “militarily, financially and ideologically.” He
cited the examples of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
one commission member, Dr. Juliane Wetzel, hyperbolic criticism of Israel – an
expression of anti-Semitism – exists among 40 to 50 percent of the German
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
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, [of those] who have more or less [of]
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.”
Heni, who was not a member of the
commission, faulted the study for ignoring leading scholars in the field such as
Robert S. Wistrich, Jeffrey Herf, Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Daniel Pipes and
Though hatred directed toward the Jewish state has
mushroomed in Germany, no Israeli experts were included in the
While considerable space was devoted to extremist right-wing
anti-Semitism, Wahdat-Hagh said the commission also investigated the
“anti-Semitic content of the Turkish press in Germany.” According to the
report, roughly 90% of documented anti-Semitic crimes originate from the extreme
Right and neo-Nazi groups.
Soccer matches are also a frequent source of
anti-Semitic diatribes. Fans have chanted “Jews belong in the gas chamber,”
“Bring back Auschwitz,” and “Synagogues must burn,” at sporting
Additionally, the study revealed that the word “Jew” is used as a
pejorative term among German pupils to denigrate fellow students.
Peter Longerich, a historian of the Nazi period and a member of the commission,
said, “anti-Semitism in our society is based on widespread prejudices, cliches
with deep roots and pure ignorance about everything to do with Jews and
Results of a poll released on Wednesday by Stern magazine
showed that one in five young Germans has no idea that Auschwitz was a Nazi
death camp, AFP reported.
Although 90 percent of those asked did know it
was a concentration camp, the poll for Thursday’s edition of Stern revealed that
Auschwitz meant nothing to 21 percent of 18-29 year olds.