German Journalist Among Top Ten Anti-Semites of 2012
"Judeophobes never call themselves 'anti-Semitic.' They are usually indignant at the very suggestion that they have something against the Jews. Their dream, in the name of human rights, has been to deny to the Jewish people a fundamental human right they would militantly defend for non-white peoples -- above all, the Palestinians -- the right to national self-determination." — from European Anti-Semitism Reinvents Itself, by the American Jewish Committee
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based Holocaust history museum and human rights organization, has placed the German critic of Israel, Jakob Augstein, on a list of top ten anti-Semites in the world.
Augstein, a journalist who owns the left-wing weekly Der Freitag and who writes an opinion column for the German news magazine Der Spiegel, is known in Germany and elsewhere for his anti-Israel tirades.
The decision to include Augstein on the annual list of the worst anti-Semites was meant to draw attention to the growing problem of European journalists whose obsessive criticism of Israel frequently crosses the line into blatant anti-Semitism.
Rather than acknowledge that anti-Semitism often masquerades as anti-Zionism, many German media elites (particularly those on the political Left, who are not accustomed to accountability, especially from American Jews) have defaulted to attacking the messenger.
Most of Augstein's defenders insist that his criticism of Israel does not qualify as anti-Semitism and that the Wiesenthal Center was wrong to place Augstein in the same league as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which tops the list, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who comes in second.
If so, at what point does anti-Zionism become anti-Semitism?
In an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit, the associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said criticism of Israel becomes anti-Semitism when it passes the "3-D" test. According to the "3-D" formulation, which was conceived by the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, individuals meet the criteria of modern anti-Semitism when they Demonize, Delegitimize and apply Double-standards to the Jewish state. Augstein, in Cooper's view, clearly meets the "3-D" threshold.
The Wiesenthal Center bases its accusation against Augstein on five quotes, taken from various columns, in which he not only criticizes Israeli foreign policy, but also repeats conspiratorial anti-Semitic falsehoods, and defends an anti-Semitic poem by the German Nobel Prize-winning novelist Günter Grass, who has denounced Israel as a threat to world peace.
In one quote, Augstein employs the anti-Semitic fabrication of a powerful Jewish lobby that ostensibly controls the world. He writes: "With backing from the US, where the president must secure the support of Jewish lobby groups, and in Germany, where coping with history, in the meantime, has a military component, the Netanyahu government keeps the world on a leash with an ever-swelling war chant."
In another quote, Augstein accuses an "insane and unscrupulous" Israel of fomenting civil violence in many parts of the Middle East. He writes: "The fire burns in Libya, Sudan, Yemen, in countries which are among the poorest on earth. But those who set the fires live elsewhere. Furious young people burn the American, and recently, the German flag. They, too, are victims, just like the dead at Benghazi and Sanaa. Who does this all this violence benefit? Always the insane and unscrupulous. And this time it's the US Republicans and Israeli government."
Augstein also equates ultra-orthodox Jews with Islamist terrorists. He writes: "But the Jews also have their fundamentalists, the ultra-orthodox Haredim. ... They are cut from the same cloth as their Islamic fundamentalist opponents. They follow the law of revenge."
Says Cooper: "When you conjure up the image of Islamic extremists, whose major contribution to the world has been suicide bombings, extremism and hatred, and then you take an entire religious community and you stereotype them, then that has nothing to do with journalism. Thus, a limit is exceeded."
In yet another quote, Augstein writes: "Israel's nuclear power is a danger to the already fragile peace of the world. This statement has triggered an outcry because it's true. And because it was made by a German, Günter Grass, author and Nobel Prize winner. That is the key point. One must, therefore, thank him for taking it upon himself to speak for us all."
Grass, in his controversial prose poem, "What Must Be Said," engages in moral equivalence by comparing Israel to Iran, even though Israel has never threatened to wipe another country off the map, as has Iran. Grass, who in his youth was a member of the Waffen-SS, the armed wing of the German Nazi party's SS paramilitary unit, also says a military action against Iran would lead to the "annihilation" of the Iranian people -- even though it is Iran which has threatened to annihilate the Israel people.
German newspapers have jumped to Augstein's defense and have sought to deflect the blame by pillorying the Wiesenthal Center. As a consequence, the debate in Germany has focused not on Augstein's attacks on Israel, but rather on the Wiesenthal Center's "attack" on Augstein.
In the words of Alex Feuerherdt, a German journalist who has written extensively about contemporary anti-Semitism in Germany, "the issue now is not anti-Semites but those who criticize the anti-Semites."
According to Augstein's defenders, the Wiesenthal Center is to blame because while compiling its list it sought the advice of Henryk Broder, a well-known Polish-born German essayist who has long sought to hold Augstein accountable for his anti-Israel rants.
Broder, who writes a regular column for the center-right newspaper Die Welt, once wrote: "The only reason why [Augstein] did not make a career with the Gestapo is because he was born after WWII. He certainly would have had what it takes." Broder has also called Augstein a "pure anti-Semite."
Leaping to Augstein's defense, the center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: "The choice of Jakob Augstein for ninth place on the list of the 10 worst anti-Semites is a serious intellectual and strategic error made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Not only has a critical journalist been placed in a group into which he doesn't belong, the nine other people and groups who have justifiably been pilloried can now exculpate themselves by pointing to such arbitrariness."
By contrast, the Berlin-based Die Welt published an editorial, "Augstein's Defenders are Blind in the Left Eye," which says that although the Wiesenthal Center might have gone too far in placing Augstein on its list, Augstein does indeed cross the line into anti-Semitism in his criticism of Israel. Die Welt writes: "He [Augstein] attempts to discredit Israel morally, to hollow out its legitimacy and to make it a pariah among nation-states, just as Jews were a pariah among the peoples of Europe not that long ago."
In an interview with the Berlin-based German Jewish newspaper Die Jüdische Allgemeine, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, said that although he was not in total agreement with the Wiesenthal Center's decision to include Augstein on their annual list, he said Augstein has an "Israel obsession" and "spreads anti-Jewish resentments in an irresponsible manner." Graumann added that Augstein's columns are "horrible and undifferentiated" and contribute to an "anti-Israel atmosphere" in Germany.
For its part, the Wiesenthal Center is not backing down. In an interview with the German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur, Rabbi Cooper said: "Just because he is a journalist, we are not giving Mr. Augstein license to say what he wants and to hide behind journalistic integrity. His statements are incorrect and baseless."
Speaking to German Radio Deutschlandradio, Cooper says: "Augstein is a major player in German journalism who is accountable to no one. Maybe this is the problem. Augstein does not have to submit his writings to anyone before they are printed."
Not surprisingly, Augstein sees himself as the victim. On his Facebook page he writes: "The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an important, internationally recognized institution. It deserves all my respect for its work on the fight against anti-Semitism. It is all the more distressing when this struggle is weakened. This is necessarily the case when critical journalism is defamed as a racist or anti-Semitic."
A report entitled, "European Anti-Semitism Reinvents Itself," puts things in perspective. Published by the American Jewish Committee, it reads:
Left-leaning Judeophobes, unlike their predecessors of a century ago, never call themselves 'anti-Semitic.' Indeed, they are usually indignant at the very suggestion that they have something against the Jews. Such denials notwithstanding, they are usually obsessed with stigmatizing Israel. The dream of the far left has long been to dissolve the hated 'Zionist entity' and, in the name of human rights, make the world Judenstaatrein [literally, cleansed of a Jewish state]. Thus, they deny to the Jewish people a fundamental human and political right that they would militantly defend for nonwhite peoples -- above all, the Palestinians -- namely, the right to national self-determination. This anti-Zionism of the radical leftist camp, profoundly discriminatory toward Jewish nationalism, has now spread into the mainstream liberal left, whose rhetoric relentlessly seeks to undermine the moral and historic legitimacy of a Jewish state. Liberal leftists portray Israel as a state born of the "original sin" of displacing, expropriating, or expelling an "aboriginal" population.
The report continues:
Not only that, but they attribute to the Jews and Israel qualities of cruelty, brutality, bloodthirstiness, duplicity, greed, and immorality drawn straight from the arsenals of classic anti-Semitism. Such polemics transcend the question of double standards. They go far beyond the long-established media practice of singling out Israel for savage criticism never applied to any other nation-state. Indeed they constitute a clear case of negationism -- denying the humanity of Israelis in order to stigmatize, defame, and morally disintegrate the Jewish state, as a prelude to its physical destruction.
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.
by Burak Bekdil
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?
Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.
That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.
by Soeren Kern
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.