German intel agency probes anti-Israel magazine for ‘right-wing extremism’

Editor-in-chief welcomed by former antisemitic Iranian president Ahmadinejad

Flag of Germany (photo credit: FDECOMITE/FLICKR)
Flag of Germany
(photo credit: FDECOMITE/FLICKR)
BERLIN -- Germany’s federal intelligence agency last month announced it launched a probe into the magazine Compact because it allegedly spreads xenophobia and conspiracy theories.
“We have also declared Compact-Magazin GmbH a suspected case,” Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution President Thomas Haldenwang said. “The magazine uses revisionist conspiracy theory and xenophobic motives.”
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is roughly equivalent to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
Haldenwang’s remarks about Compact took place at a press conference on Germany’s current “fight against right-wing extremism.”
Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomed the editor-in-chief of Compact, Jürgen Elsässer, during a 2012 formal state visit in Tehran.
Elsässer issued a “congratulatory” wish to Ahmadinejad on his reelection in 2009. Iranian democrats protested the result of the election at the time because it was reportedly marred with widespread fraud and misconduct.
That same year, Elsässer expressed support for the annual Iranian-regime sponsored Al-Quds Day rally in Germany, which calls for the destruction of Israel and is attended by Hezbollah activists, supporters of Iran’s mullah regime and neo-Nazis.
Compact is a monthly magazine that started in 2010. Elsässer said the magazine has a circulation of 40,000, according to a Spiegel report.  
Two Germans authors, Kevin Culina and Jonas Fedders, analyzed the level of antisemitism in Compact between 2010 and March 2015. Conspiratorial thinking plays a central role in Compact, including the use of the term “Israel-Lobby” in an antisemitic way to explain what happens behind the curtains of power politics, according to an article in the German Social Democratic Party publication Vorwärts.
The Vorwärts article said even if Jews are not explicitly mentioned, Compact repeatedly takes up thought patterns that are “structurally similar to the logic of antisemitism in its specific reasoning,” according to Culina and Fedders. Anti-Americanism is just as much a part of this as “personalizing and moralizing criticism of capitalism,” which is a basis for Nazi ideology.
Compact’s editorial team, according to Culina and Fedders, employ such alleged antisemitic codes: “East Coast Establishment,” “British-American Capital” and “Financial Vampirism.”
Culian and Fedders wrote that in nearly every edition of Compact “the mere existence of the Jewish state is attacked.”
Vorwärts journalist Paul Starzmann wrote that the two authors assess that Compact’s articles are not about “objective criticism of Israel’s government policy.
"The line with antisemitism was far crossed: The State of Israel was demonized, its right to exist questioned, and the country was often equated with the Third Reich.”
Academics Marc Grimm and  Bodo Kahmann arrived at a similar conclusion in a 2017 study. They termed Compact a “right-wing extremist” magazine and the “journalistic flagship of antisemitic Israel-hatred and Anti-Americanism in Germany.”
Compact launched a campaign to free convicted neo-Nazi Beate Zschäpe, a  member of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a neo-Nazi terrorist organization, who in 2018 was sentenced to life in prison.
She was part of the NSU’s murder spree involving in the killing of nine immigrants of Turkish, Greek and Kurdish descent and a German policewoman. The murders took place between 2000 and 2006.
Elsässer declined to respond to Jerusalem Post queries.