ADL lauds German scholar for study on anti-Semitism
The Hamburg researcher shows link between anti-Semitism of Nazis and today’s Iranian regime.
By BENJAMIN WEINTHALBERLIN – Dr. Matthias Küntzel, a Hamburg-based author and political scientist who is currently a research associate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was honored last week by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League for his work exposing the interplay between Nazi ideology and modern Iranian anti-Semitism.“In his writing on the anti- Semitism of the Iranian regime, which he terms the ‘stepchild of German National Socialism,’ Dr. Küntzel lays bare the genocidal intent of those who are striving for nuclear weapons,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director, said while presenting the ADL Paul Ehrlich-Gunther K. Schwerin Human Rights Award to Küntzel at the ADL executive committee meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.“He makes clear that the link between the anti-Semitism of the Nazis and of the Iranian regime is not just an analogy,” Foxman said.“Matthias Küntzel has a long and distinguished record in speaking out against anti-Semitism and warning his readers in his native Germany and elsewhere about the dangers posed by this age-old virus that has no known cure. His work has been sorely underappreciated in this country. With this recognition, we hope to acknowledge his ongoing efforts and also let the American public know of the implications of this disturbing trend,” Foxman said.Küntzel, speaking at the ceremony in Florida, said, “Today’s events in Tunisia and Egypt mark a watershed in the development of the Middle East. And it is precisely at such a time – a time of new beginnings – that it becomes more important than ever to publicly raise the issues of the roots and potential consequences of anti-Semitism in the Middle East.”“Islamist movements – especially the Muslim Brotherhood – are a headline issue right now. I do of course strongly support the people’s fight in Tunisia and Egypt for freedom of opinion and freedom of assembly. But I am at the same time concerned about the tendency of Western governments and media to downplay the Muslim Brotherhood’s anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. While anti-Semitism from the far Right occasions justified outrage in the USA and elsewhere, the very same anti-Semitism is again and again downplayed and minimized when expressed by Muslims,” he said.Küntzel continued, “Many are inclined to excuse these diatribes as a side effect of the Middle East conflict, and blame Israel for the anti-Semitism in the Arab world. Others – such as the London-based Prof. Gilbert Achcar [at the School of Oriental and African Studies] – even try to excuse the denial of the Holocaust.AdvertisementTo quote Prof. Achcar: “‘Are all forms of Holocaust denial the same? Should such denial when it comes from oppressors, not be distinguished from denial in the mouths of the oppressed, as the racism of ruling whites is distinguished from that of subjugated blacks?’” Küntzel is an external research associate at the Vidal Sassoon Centre for The Study of Anti- Semitism at the Hebrew University.He teaches political science at a technical college in Hamburg and co-founded the German chapter of Scholars For Peace in the Middle East.He has focused his recent academic work, including Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, on contemporary genocidal anti-Semitism in Iran, and Europe’s, particularly Germany’s, response to threats from the Islamic Republic to obliterate Israel.Küntzel argues that Iran is the first country since Nazi Germany to make lethal anti-Semitism — a second Holocaust targeting the Jewish state – a cornerstone of its foreign policy.Küntzel, an impassioned essayist and author of groundbreaking books on modern anti-Semitism , has over the years sharply criticized the Merkel administration and the Bundestag for failing to take a tough posture against genocidal Iranian anti- Semitism and Germany’s 4 billion euro annual trade relationship with the Islamic Republic.“Germany wants a special relationship with both Israel and Iran. And that’s impossible.Germany can’t have it both ways,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.Writing in The New York Times Book Review on Jihad and Jew Hatred, Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine and Israel expert, said, “The German scholar Matthias Küntzel... takes anti-Semitism, and in particular its most potent current strain, Muslim anti-Semitism, very seriously indeed. His bracing, even startling, book, Jihad and Jew-Hatred (translated by Colin Meade), reminds us that it is perilous to ignore idiotic ideas if these idiotic ideas are broadly, and fervently, believed.”According to Goldberg, “Küntzel makes a bold and consequential argument: The dissemination of European models of anti-Semitism among Muslims was not haphazard, but an actual project of the Nazi Party, meant to turn Muslims against Jews and Zionism... Küntzel is right to state that we are witnessing a terrible explosion of anti-Jewish hatred in the Middle East, and he is right to be shocked.”
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