Symposium antisemitisme, reserveer nu

antisemitism_europeanOp zondag 17 mei 2009 organiseert het FORUM der Joodse Organisaties in het Antwerpse provinciehuis het “Internationaal Symposium over Jodenhaat”.

U kunt zich inschrijven vanaf heden en dit enkel en alleen op het kantoor van het FORUM der Joodse Organisaties, Lange Herentalsestraat 48 – 1ste verdieping, 2018 Antwerpen. U kunt zich inschrijven voor een halve dag, voor of namiddag of voor de hele dag. De deelname in de kosten bedraagt 10€ per halve dag per persoon.

Wie voor een hele dag reserveert, betaalt 20 euro; een broodjeslunch is inbegrepen in deze prijs. Het aantal plaatsen is beperkt; er zijn slechts 380 plaatsen beschikbaar. Reageer snel, want op is op.


De internationale sprekers zijn: Emanuele Ottolenghi, Yves Pallade, Alvin Rosenfeld, Bassam Tibi, Shmuel Trigano. De moderators zijn: Prof. dr. Julien Klener, dr. Charles Mahler

Boekbesprekingen door: André Gantman, Viviane Teitelbaum

Praktisch: Dit symposium zal plaats vinden in het Provinciehuis van Antwerpen, Koningin Elizabethlei 20-22, 2018 Antwerpen, 9u30 tot 18u00, de deuren openen vanaf 8u45.

Hieronder vindt u een tekst van Yves Pallade, één van de deelnemers aan het “Symposium over Jodenhaat”.

In most discussions about anti-Semitism what is usually meant is conventional right-wing extremist hatred of Jews. Yet, inspired by the will to combat all manifestations of anti-Semitism, the OSCE has identified also other forms of Jew-hatred and respective groups of hate mongers.


As Professor Weisskirchen has rightly pointed out in an article a little while ago, “[w]e already have the tools in order to [implement the measures set out in the 2004 Berlin Declaration]. It is therefore time to make use of them more effectively.”1 One such tool is the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, which has been endorsed both by the EUMC, ODIHR and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman in Office on Combating Antisemitism. Since best practices are about sharing experience in using the existing tools, I would like hereinafter to introduce to you four individuals with strong connections to the academic field, whom one could use to exemplify the use of this Working Definition.

Since I am well-aware that the so-called “accusation of anti-Semitism” (Antisemitismusvorwurf) constitutes probably one of the most severe verdicts that one can pass on a human being, in particular on a German one – Eckart Jesse of the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden in his defense of Jürgen Möllemann at the time called it a “killer-argument” – and that it could moreover lead to unpleasant legal disputes of the kind that some of us in this room had to endure, I will refrain from presenting any anti-Semites to you today. Instead I will content myself with naming only non-anti-Semites, though academic ones to be sure.

Example no. 1: Ludwig Watzal

He works for the Federal Agency for Civic Education and also has a lectureship at the University of Bonn.

What positions does he represent?

In a piece on an Israeli media entrepreneur, entitled “Haim Saban, the media and Israel” that was broadcast by DeutschlandRadio Berlin2, Watzal sounded the following:

“The escapades of the so-called Holocaust industry are at any rate rather bizarre and an insult to the victims of National Socialist extermination policy. The actions of Saban have, however, nothing to do with conspiracy thinking, but they are evidence of how symbiotic the relationship between power and money is. Saban’s political desire is to obtain as much control as possible over the media. Peter Chernin, the president and head of the News Corporation, has made it clear that the Hollywood mogul has not become involved in Germany for purely financial considerations, but that he regards the country as the basis for something bigger.”3

According to our colleague Juliane Wetzel from the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Technical University Berlin, who commented on this radio piece at the time, “he [Watzal] activates the typical clichés of Jewish capital and Jewish power”. This perplexes me indeed: Wouldn’t it be presumptuous to qualify Watzal’s position as an anti-Semitic one, for he is after all an employee of Germany’s most important state institution for democratic education and moreover serves as one of the co-editors of Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, the academic supplement to the Bundestag’s own newspaper Das Parlament?

Example no 2: Norman Paech

He was formerly professor for Public Law at the University for Science and Politics in Hamburg.

Let’s listen to what he has to say.

In an open letter to the German-Jewish professor Micha Brumlik in the context of a public debate on a book by the Canadian philosopher Ted Honderich, whom Brumlik had criticized for legitimizing terrorism4, Peach writes: “Has it occurred to you that such an executivistic censure of thought could give a fresh boost to anti-Semitism, which, after all, clearly exists in our society?” 5

Moreover, in an interview with the daily die tageszeitung6 on the occasion of the war in Lebanon last year Paech stated that Israel was waging “an illegal war of extermination against the militia and the population in Lebanon.7

I am trying hard to be convinced: Norman Peach could certainly not be anti-Semitic, for is he not currently Foreign Policy Spokesman of the parliamentary party of Die Linke in the Bundestag and moreover a member of the German delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly?

Example No. 3: Klaus Holz

He is a professor of sociology and head of the Lutheran Foundation for Advanced Studies in Villigst.

Together with two colleagues he wrote a lengthy piece for the weekly Jungle World in which he claimed that Israel’s then Prime Minister Sharon was aiming at the “destruction of Palestinian civil society”8 and that Palestinian terrorism was exclusively an act of desperation and a result to Israeli “state terrorism”9. Holz and his co-authors stop short of drawing a direct analogy between Israel and Nazi Germany, instead comparing Israel’s policies to those of South Africa under the apartheid regime, while leaving it to others to infuse the ‘nazification’ topos with a degree of legitimacy: The Israeli filmmaker Eyal Sivan is adduced, who had “declared that the comparison between Sharon and the Nazis was customary among Israeli pacifists…”.10 The authors go on to argue that looked at through the “Auschwitz screen”11 that is distorting the perception of contemporary left-wing defenders of Israel, “Jews are only a metonymical figure, in which the murdered of yesterday are superimposed on the oppressors of today”12 and that “the banalisation of the events in the occupied territories in the name of the remembrance of Auschwitz deserves our outrage”.13 They claim that the continuation of the occupation over decades could also “threaten the existence of the Palestinian population”.14 Moreover, Holz and his co-authors do not see a historical nexus between Nazi Germany and current Palestinian anti-Semitism – which they refer to as “anti-Zionism”.15

In his book “Die Gegenwart des Antisemitismus”16 Holz argues that “anti-Semitism among Muslim migrant groups” manifests itself “often only on the basis of their experience in the country of immigration. Its preconditions comprise their social, racist and religiously justified exclusion”.17

To me it appears yet again presumptuous to even think of the possibility that Klaus Holz could harbour some anti-Semitic notions or that he could even downplay contemporary anti-Semitism or possibly associate it with Jewish or non-Jewish behavior, for he has meanwhile become one of the most noted German academic experts on anti-Semitism and was not so long ago asked to address an academic symposium on anti-Semitism that had been organized by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz).18

Example No. 4: Alfred Grosser

He is a sociologist and political scientist, who taught at Science Po in Paris and was Research and Studies Director at the French National Foundation of Political Science.

So what does he say?

In a 10-page article in the February 2007 issue of Germany’s most renowned foreign policy journal Internationale Politik19 Grosser expressed his non-understanding “that Jews nowadays despise others and claim the right to mercilessly pursue policies in the name of self-defense. Understanding for the suffering of others – does this basic value of Europe not hold all the more for Israel?”20

At a hearing on anti-Semitism here in the German Bundestag in 2004, similar to the one today, Grosser remarked the following:21

“It’s all about understanding the suffering of others. This understanding generally does not exist on the part of Jews.”22

And in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung23 he said:

“Criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism have nothing to do with each other. It is rather Israel’s policies that promote anti-Semitism globally.”24

Grosser – an anti-Semite? Isn’t this virtually inconceivable for he is not only a noted world-class academic and laureate of the Peace Price of German Book Trade but most importantly also a Jew or at least of Jewish descent – as he never gets tired to point out. Not to forget that he was invited as a guest expert to address a hearing at the Bundestag on no other issue than -anti-Semitism.

I would like to return to the Working Definition where I read about the following contemporary examples of anti-Semitism:

I quote from the definition:

“Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective – such as, especially but not exclusively the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.” Now I am fully confused, for doesn’t Ludwig Watzal’s portrayal of Haim Saban or Alfred Grosser’s characterization of Jews in general fall into this category?

I quote from the Definition:

“Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews” and “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.” Maybe I am missing the point here, but is this not exactly what Alfred Grosser and Norman Paech are doing when blaming Israel, Jewish groups, individual Jews or even non-Jews for rising anti-Semitism? And isn’t Klaus Holz rationalizing anti-Jewish hatred among Arab-Muslim immigrants when saying that it is a result of the discrimination suffered by them?

I quote again from the Definition:

“Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” Is it my personal misperception that the term “war of extermination” that is used by Norman Paech to refer to Israeli demeanor is clearly linked to the kind of war conducted by the Nazis? Is it only my distorted impression that Klaus Holz – while not daring to draw a direct analogy between Israel and Nazi Germany – cites specifically an Israeli voice to provide such comparisons with discursive legitimacy?

I quote once more from the Definition:

“Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms … or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters during World War II …” Isn’t this actually what Klaus Holz does when he downplays the collaboration of the Arab national movement with Nazi Germany?

Now my question to you: Given that the aforementioned gentlemen cannot be anti-Semites due to their academic credentials, to their profession and to the particular group they belong to, what application can the current Working Definition still have? Is it really the case that the 56 participating states of the OSCE – after so many years of intensive discussion with the aim to clearly identify and to combat anti-Semitism – are so far off the track?

Well, during my time at the American Jewish Committee I was taught one important thing, namely that while there is anti-Semitism without Jews, there can be no anti-Semitism without anti-Semites.

Thank you.

1 Gert Weisskirchen: Combating Antisemitism ‘Best practices’ already exist – it is time to make use of them. In: Equal Voices, Issue 17, 2006

2 DeutschlandRadio Berlin, 16 September 2004, Ludwig Watzal: Haim Saban, die Medien und Israel

3 „Die Eskapaden der so genannten Holocaust-Industrie sind jedenfalls ziemlich bizarr und eine Beleidigung für die Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Vernichtungspolitik. Die Aktionen Sabans haben aber nichts mit Verschwörungsdenken zu tun, sondern sie sind ein Beleg dafür, wie symbiotisch das Verhältnis von Macht und Geld ist. Sabans politisches Anliegen ist, eine möglichst große Kontrolle über die Medien zu erlangen. Dass sich der Hollywood-Mogul nicht nur aus finanziellen Erwägungen in Deutschland engagiert hat, sondern das Land als Basis für etwas größeres ansieht, hat Peter Chernin, Präsident und Leiter der News Corporation, deutlich gemacht.”

4 Brief von Norman Paech an Micha Brumlik vom 29. Oktober 2003, zitiert nach

5 „Ist Ihnen einmal der Gedanke gekommen, dass eine derart exekutivische Gedankenzensur dem Antisemitismus, der in unserer Gesellschaft ja unleugbar besteht, neuen Auftrieb geben könnte?”

6 taz, 26.07.2006, „Deutsche Soldaten in Israel nicht denkbar”. Der Völkerrechtler Norman Paech, für die Linkspartei im Bundestag: Vorgehen Israels im Libanon unverhältnismäßig, Interview mit Norman Paech

7 „Außerdem geht Israel derzeit mit einem unzulässigen Vernichtungskrieg gegen Milizen und Bevölkerung im Libanon vor.”

8 „Die Militarisierung der israelischen Gesellschaft und die Zerschlagung der palästinensischen Zivilgesellschaft sind langfristige Ziele des Premierministers Ariel Sharon …”

9 „Die israelische Besatzung ist der Ausdruck eines Staatsterrorismus, die palästinensische Gewalt ist eine Reaktion darauf.”

10 „Der israelische Regisseur Eyal Sivan, der als Zeuge der Verteidigung während des Prozesses gegen Jolivet aufgerufen war, erklärte, dass der Vergleich Sharons mit den Nazis bei israelischen PazifistInnen gebräuchlich sei.”

11 „Sichtblende Auschwitz”

12 „In diesem verworrenen Rollenspiel sind die Juden nur noch eine metonymische Figur, in der die Ermordeten von gestern die Unterdrücker von heute überlagern.”

13 „Wenn Saramagos Worte Kritik verdienen, so verdient die Banalisierung der Geschehnisse in den besetzten Gebieten im Namen der Erinnerung an Auschwitz unsere Entrüstung.”

14 „Wenn die Besatzungspolitik des Westjordanlandes und des Gazastreifens sich über Jahrzehnte fortsetzt, wäre nicht nur die Existenz der palästinensischen Bevölkerung bedroht, sondern auch die Demokratie in Israel und die internationale Akzeptanz des Staates.”

15 „Der Antizionismus in der arabischen Welt und der vieler PalästinenserInnen wird mit dem traditionellen Antisemitismus der westlichen Welt, der die Shoah hervorbrachte, in eins gesetzt.”

16 Klaus Holz: „Die Gegenwart des Antisemitismus. Islamistische, demokratische und antizionistische Judenfeindschaft. (Hamburger Edition, 2005, Hamburg) , S. 9

17 „Vielmehr manifestiert sich der Antisemitismus in Einwanderergruppen häufig erst aufgrund ihrer Erfahrungen im Einwandererland. Zu den Voraussetzungen gehört ihre soziale, rassistisch und religiös begründete Ausgrenzung.”

18 Vgl. Klaus Holz: Neuer Antisemitismus? – Wandel und Kontinuität der Judenfeindschaft. In: Bundesministerium des Innern: Neuer Antisemitismus? Judenfeindschaft im politischen Extremismus und im öffentlichen Diskurs. Publikation der Vorträge des Symposiums des Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz am 5. Dezember 2005,

19 Alfred Grosser: Warum ich Israel kritisiere. In: Internationale Politik, February 2007

20 „Ich verstehe nicht, dass Juden heute andere verachten und sich das Rechtnehmen, im Namen der Selbstverteidgung unbarmherzig Politik zu betreiben. Verständnis für die Leiden der anderen – gilt dieser Grundwert Europas nicht erst recht für Israel?”

21 Protokoll. Öffentliches Expertengespräch zur Umsetzung der Abschlusserklärung der Berliner Antisemitismuskonferenz vom April 2004, 22. November 2004, Deutscher Bundestag

22 „Wie ich schon einmal in der Dresdner Frauenkirche sagen durfte, es geht darum, das Leiden anderer zu verstehen. Dieses Verstehen ist auf jüdischer Seite im Allgemeinen nicht vorhanden.”

23 Berliner Zeitung, 15 August 2006, “Israel Politik fördert den Antisemitismus”. Der Publizist Alfred Grosser plädiert für eine Strategie der Versöhnung gegenüber den Arabern

24 „Kritik an Israel und Antisemitismus haben nichts miteinander zu tun. Es ist vielmehr Israels Politik, die den Antisemitismus in der Welt fördert.”