Anti-Semitism among Left and Right grows in Germany

Dismissal of "Holocaust-denying" DJ illustrates new hybrid of Jew-hatred; "Ken was speaking to hearts of majority of listeners - a scary thought," media expert says.

Radio host Ken Jebsen 311 (photo credit: Radio Fritz)
Radio host Ken Jebsen 311
(photo credit: Radio Fritz)
BERLIN - The German publicly funded radio station RBB's decision in late November to dismiss Ken Jebsen, a well-known leftist radio host who denied the Holocaust occurred and bashed Israel, has brought to the fore a growing expression of hybrid anti-Semitism in the Federal Republic.
A telling example of where the intersection of right-wing, left-wing and Islamic anti-Semitism unfolds is the annual pro-al-Quds day rally in Berlin.
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Jochen Feilcke, the head of the German- Israeli Friendship Society in Berlin and Potsdam, has remarked about the al-Quds demonstration that “Once again, the participation of neo-Nazis and other sympathizers of the mullah regime is expected and their goal is clear: Expressions of solidarity with the Palestinians will be used as agitation against Israel, the only free democracy in the Middle East.”
The al-Quds demonstration has been an annual event in Berlin since 1996 and advocates the destruction of the Jewish state. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established al-Quds Day in 1979 and it is now marked in the Islamic Republic and throughout the Arab world by calling for the abolition of Israel.
The neo-Nazi German People’s Party (DVU) – a sister party of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) – pushed its supporters to attend the al- Quds event. Jürgen Elsässer, a leftist journalist, urged German leftists to march with the pro-Iran regime activists.
German experts in the field of contemporary anti-Semitism define the phenomenon as “Querfront” anti-Semitism, which roughly translates as “crossover.”
The fusion of hate ideologies coalesces the radical left and extreme right with fanatical Islamism.
Jebsen declared in an e-mail in November that “I know who invented the Holocaust as PR” and has said that there should be a Yad Vashem “in Palestine” to “commemorate the Palestinian victims who were murdered through Israel’s occupation.”
Jebsen termed the September 11 attacks in the US to be a “terror-lie” and chalked up the Islamic-animated terror acts to an American-based conspiracy.
Germany, for Jebsen, is a “vassal” of the United States.
Alex Feuerherdt, a German author and journalist who has written extensively about cross-over anti-Semitism, told The Jerusalem Post that “primarily over the last years a milieu has steadily developed in Germany, in which authors and activists, who position themselves as left, represent multiple views, which are expressed by right-wing extremists as well as by Islamists. One could define as ‘Querfront’ the various connections between the different political camps – which at first glance appear to be more separate than connected.”
He continued that “the positions of the Querfront-activists” revolve around “statements toward Israel and the Middle East conflict as well the topics of anti-Semitism, Islamism and the United States.”
Feuerherdt, one of the sharpest critics of modern anti-Semitism in Germany, cited a 2010 manifestation of the interplay between neo-Nazism and left-wing anti-Semitism. A telling example for Feuerherdt is the Left Party deputy Sahra Wagenknecht, who remained seated after Israeli President Shimon Peres gave a speech in the German Bundestag while the mainstream democratic parties stood up and applauded Peres after his speech.
“The NPD praised her,” said Feuerherdt, referring to comments made by the neo-Nazi party’s ideological head and National Democratic Party politician in the State of Saxony, Jürgen Gansel. Gansel said Wagenknecht, following her refusal to applaud Peres, “as an exception... deserves a thanks, despite being a communist.”
Dr. Clemens Heni, an academic expert on German anti-Semitism, told the Post “Ken Jebsen... is a typical example of cross-front. Besides his anti-Semitic remarks about Nazi Germany, the Holocaust and ‘PR,’ he also promotes the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that 9/11 was an ‘inside job.’” Heni, the author of a new book, Schadenfreude: Islamic Studies and Anti-Semitism in Germany after 9/11, said it is “hard to decide whether this kind of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism or the predilection for conspiracy theories is left or right. Jebsen, though, has a list of books and other media on his homepage where he portrays himself as rather left than right.
“Jebsen is also supported online by neo-Nazis like ‘Deutsches Reich,’ [a blogger] who also promotes anti- Semitism, anti-Americanism and lies about 9/11. The same holds true for the rather left-wing daily Neues Deutschland, formerly the leading newspaper in the German Democratic Republic, which supports Jebsen.”
In comments to the Post, Heni and Feuerherdt both cite the anti-Israeli and anti-American Elsässer as an example of the fusion of extreme right-wing Nazistyle thinking and radical leftism.
Elsässer, who wrote for a series of left-wing newspapers, including the junge Welt and Neues Deutschland founded a “people’s front against financial capitalism” in which a mixture of right and left-wing conspiracy theorists and anti- Semites flourish, said Feuerherdt.
According to Heni, “politician Holger Apfel, from the NPD, the most important legal party for Neo-Nazism in Germany, welcomed this step from Elsässer towards a new German ‘national unity.’” Sacha Stawski, the head of the media watchdog organization Honestly Concerned in Frankfurt, told the Post that “Ken Jebsen has been fired. What is so shocking about this affair is that this popular madman was on the air for 10 long years spreading his conspiracy theories and anti-American and anti-Israel hatred, intermingled with anti-Semitic connotations in a popular youth program, without being taken off the air.
“All systems failed. Are we really to believe that this popular state-funded radio station – not some little no name radio station from the middle of nowhere – did not know what kind of programs Ken was putting on the air and [on] YouTube?” Stawski, a leading media critic of reporting biases against Israel and Jews, asked “Where were the supervisory boards of the RBB or of the state, when it came to protesting against 9/11 being described as the ‘terror lie’ and where were the responsible parents, when it came to protesting against Israel and the USA being described as war mongers, whenever Iran was mentioned in Ken’s show? “Ultimately, we have to conclude that Ken was speaking to the hearts and minds of the majority of his listeners – a scary thought, particularly when keeping in mind that it is the youngsters who were listening to his show, who may one day be running this country.”
He recommended that “new mechanisms are needed to keep track not of only of the print and online media, but also of TV and radio, much more so than we have done in the past; a challenge which will require new partnerships and resources.”
Dr. Charles Small, director of the Institute for the Study of Global anti-Semitism and Policy (ISGAP) in the US, told the Post, “This irrational discourse leads some groups, like Code Pink, some scholars and policy makers, who claim to be on the so-called left – to actually support radical Islamists, like Hamas which is backed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
“It is only irrationality that can explain how westerners on the left, which claim to hold as a central belief – democratic principles, strong notions of citizenship, religious pluralism and equality for all, would support regimes that are committed to the marginalization of women and the persecution of gay people themselves; setting aside their clear and stated intention of inciting to genocide against Jewish people based on the most pernicious forms of anti-Semitism known.”