German university teaches anti-Semitic theory

Lecturer says Israeli athletes massacred at Munich Olympics "committed suicide for the cause of Israel."

munich terrorist 88 (photo credit: )
munich terrorist 88
(photo credit: )
Mounting pressure from non-Jewish groups and the Israeli Embassy in Berlin has led the German Sports Science Association and the University of Göttingen to convene special sessions to address an anti-Semitic theory propagated by Göttingen Prof. Arnd Krüger. At an academic conference on June 20 in Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Krüger argued in his lecture on "Hebron and Munich: How do we communicate sports history without getting caught in [the] snare of anti-Semitism?" that the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who died at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich essentially committed suicide "for the cause of Israel." According to a report in the mass-circulation daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, Krüger contends the sportsmen sacrificed themselves to prolong financial restitution from Germany, and to preserve guilt among Germans due to the Holocaust. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post from his office at the University of Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia, Michael Krüger, a sports historian (unrelated to Arnd Krüger) who was present at the controversial lecture, said Arnd Krüger had asserted that the Israelis wanted to "strengthen the victim status of Israel" and thereby allow the Jewish state to use their deaths as an "instrument against the Palestinians." Arnd Krüger also said Israel had a high abortion rate compared with other industrialized nations, and that the Jewish state went to great lengths to prevent "living with disabilities." In an e-mail to the Post he wrote, "I hoped to explain a phenomenon of cultural history, not because I intended to discredit anyone with it." Ilan Mor, the chargé d'affairs at the Israeli Embassy, told the Post: "What does that have to do with" the Palestinian Black September terror raid against Israel's Olympic squad? Mor said whether or not Krüger "steps down is a matter for the decision-makers" at the university and the German Federation of Science of Sports. Mor reiterated his statement from Saturday: "This is the worst form of dehumanizing the State of Israel." Dr. Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch, a spokeswoman for the University of Göttingen, told the Post an ombudsman committee would meet this week to review the matter. When asked whether anti-Semitism experts would be involved, she said no, but that faculty members from the law, medicine and agricultural departments would be. "We Germans are all anti-Semitism experts," Furhmann-Koch said. The university's press statement, while condemning racism and anti-Semitism, did not reject the content of Krüger's speech. Fuhrmann-Koch said the university's leadership would wait for the ombudsman committee's review. Critics charge the university with tolerating Krüger's unsavory theory. The Post received a copy of a strongly worded letter from the German chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, issued to the president of the university, Dr. Kurt von Figura, saying that "this is not the first time" Krüger has posited anti-Israel views. The college sports magazine Seitenwechsel published an interview with Krüger in April during which he disseminated his martyr theory. "They had volunteered and knew the Palestinians would come," said Krüger, referring to the Israeli athletes, who were "only secret servicemen, reserve officers and volunteers," and who "didn't want" to flee. Experts assert that holding Jews culpable for their own murder - whether during the Holocaust or in Munich in 1972 - is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. Fuhrmann-Koch said the university had received no complaints about the content of the interview. Frederick Borkenhagen, director of the German Federation of Science of Sports, told the Post that an ethics committee would meet on July 3 and 4 to examine whether Krüger's "work is clean," and to deliberate over his possible "expulsion from the DVS [German Federation of Science of Sports]." Michael Krüger, who is also a DVS member, said that "most of those present at Krüger's lecture" categorized his "pattern of thought as anti-Semitic." Sacha Stawski, the editor-in-chief of Honestly Concerned, a media watchdog outlet in Germany monitoring anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, told the Post, "Although [Arnd] Krüger has Jewish friends," Stawski said he was "not surprised" that "ritual murder anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in his thinking." Christians manufactured the myth of Jews committing a "ritual murder of gentile children," Stawski said. "Anti-Semitism has nothing to do with the degree of education," said Stawski. He said he was less worried by right-wing neo-Nazi anti-Semitism; rather, he thinks anti-Semitism from the middle and upper classes, in people like Dr. Ludwig Watzal of Germany's Federal Agency for Civic Education and Arnd Krüger, represented the more disturbing trend in Germany. Academic anti-Semitism had become respectable, according to Stawski. Honestly Concerned and other organizations combating anti-Semitism and racism are seeking the dismissal of Watzal, who is a top-level employee at the Agency for Civic Education and has written articles - during his leisure time - for the Web site Campo Antiimperialista, which passionately supports Hamas and Hizbullah. The agency works to prevent and end anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Germany. The most popular pro-Israel blogger in Germany, Lizas Welt, named Watzal a "free-time anti-Semite." The Post broke the story about Watzal's anti-Israel diatribes in March. Agency for Civic Education press spokesman Raul Gersson told the Post that Watzal had a new assignment and no longer was editor for their publication Apuz. The daily Tagesspiegel reported in June that Watzal had been demoted. An ongoing disciplinary process is currently unfolding at the agency, and Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has intervened because of Watzal's anti-Israel positions.