(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The prominent German-Syrian Islam expert Bassam Tibi warned Austria’s Parliament on Friday that the Islamic Republic of Iran may carry out a second Holocaust against Jews in Israel.
During a memorial for the victims of Nazism, Tibi said: “When an atomic bomb is planned from Iran in the direction of Israel, that is a Holocaust. And who denies that must be penalized like every Holocaust denier.”
Tibi told Austria’s political class, including Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, “If there is going to be a repeat of the Holocaust, it will not be in Europe – here people have matured – but in the Middle East.”
Tibi, who was born in Damascus in 1944, relocated to Germany in 1962, and studied in Frankfurt with two leading German-Jewish philosophers, Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, he said in his speech “Adorno and Horkheimer changed my life.” He said later he had to flee the brutal Hafez al-Assad dictatorship in Syria.
A political scientist, Tibi has taught at Harvard University, Cornell University and the University of Göttingen.
He told the audience that whoever is against antisemitism must be “against all forms of antisemtism,” and that “today’s antisemitism not only comes from the Nazi corner but also comes much more from the Arab region as immigrant antisemitism in European Islamic communities.”
Tibi said contemporary antisemitism “often appears as criticism of Israel, which is personified as the ‘world Jew’ that needs to be wiped out.”
“We must fight Islamic antisemitism,” he continued. Tibi criticized the parallel between Islamophobia and antisemitism, declaring it “pure ideology,” and lamented that if one speaks about Islamic antisemitism, “You run risk of being labeled an Islamophobe.”
Tibi, who has written extensively about modern antisemitism, said “Jewish life is in danger in Europe,” adding “Many Jews are leaving France because they say it is more secure in Israel.”
In addition to highlighting the rise of Islamic antisemitism, Tibi noted growing left-wing antisemitism, citing the ongoing Jew-hatred scandals within Britain’s Labour Party.
Tibi also said the Muslim Brotherhood is a highly dangerous organization, noting that its Egyptian founder “Hassan al-Banna was calling for the destruction of the Jews in the 1930s. That is terrorism.”
Tibi stressed that one must differentiate between Islam and Islamism.
On a side note, Tibi mentioned that in the US he met the late Middle East historian Bernard Lewis, commenting that “the Jewish historian was my mentor and friend,” and terming Lewis the “greatest historian of Islam.”
He credited Lewis’s book “The Jews of Islam” as a critical work for his knowledge about the Middle East. While in the US, he said he felt most at home with the American Jewish community.
Austria along with the European Union has refused to join US sanctions against Iran’s regime. The United States government classifies the Islamic Republic of Iran as the top state-sponsor of terrorism. Austria has also refused to outlaw the terrorist entity Hezbollah’s military wing. Hezbollah’s aim is the destruction of Israel.
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