Archive for September, 2013
Times of Israel| The Obsession to fight the Jewish state – The binational option, from Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt to Micha Brumlik and Judith Butler
On September 9 and 10, 2013, the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at Berlin’s Technical University, together with the huge German Foundation on “Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future”, which spends up to seven million Euros a year for events (and spent over 70 million Euros since its inception in the year 2000), the group “Berlin-Kreuzberg Initiative against Antisemitism (Kiga)” and several other organizations as well as a German ministry of the Federal Government, will held a conference in Nuremberg on the Middle East conflict and its perception among immigrants in Germany.
The ZfA and its former head Wolfgang Benz have been criticized in recent years for promoting research on “Islamophobia” instead of Muslim antisemitism. In addition, Benz has been questioned about his silence about the Nazi legacy of his PhD advisor Karl Bosl, who awarded Benz a doctorate in 1968. In 1964, Bosl had compared the Holocaust to the expulsion of Germans from the East, and during Nazi Germany Bosl was on the payroll of the SS, an active historian in Nazi circles, and a member of the Nazi party NSDAP. Wolfgang Benz even collaborated with hardcore Islamist activists from the German online project Muslim Market and gave those pro-Iranian antisemites a very friendly interview in November 2010. Muslim Market is among those groups that organize the pro-Iran, pro-Hezballah and anti-Israel al-Quds rallies every year at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan. On their homepage Muslim Market promotes the boycott of Israel with a scratched-out Star of David. Is this an appropriate place for the best known German scholar on antisemitism to be interviewed?
Then, in 2012, the new Center head since summer 2011, historian Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, appointed Edward Said follower and anti-Zionist Islamic studies scholar Achim Rohde. I analyzed the problematic tropes of Rohde’s scholarly approach and he left (or had to leave) the ZfA in 2013. Schüler-Springorum, though, is far from being an expert on research on antisemitism, let alone Israel, the Middle East, or the history of anti-Zionism. She has not published a single book on antisemitism so far, which is remarkable for the head of the leading European institute for research on that topic.
A speaker at the event in Nuremberg will be Islamic studies scholar and journalist Alexandra Senfft. In November 2012 she interviewed Wolfgang Benz and welcomed his new book on “How fear of Muslims threatens our democracies” – a strange topic for a scholar on antisemitism who is silent on jihadism and Islamist Jew-hatred. Senfft even mentioned that Benz frequently is interviewed by Muslims and Muslim journals in Germany but she had no problem and did not mention Benz’ interview with the hardcore Islamist and antisemitic Muslim Market. Senfft argues against critics of antisemitism like Holocaust survivor Ralph Giordano and journalist Henryk M. Broder because they are critics of “Islam,” in fact they are critics of Islamist antisemitism in particular and Islamism in general.