The Times of Israel (Blogs) | April 18, 2023 | Clemens Heni
Antisemitism seen by ADL/Tel Aviv University…
The new Antisemitism Worldwide Report by the ADL and Tel Aviv University has many shortcomings.
The new Antisemitism Worldwide report by the Anti-Defamation League and Tel Aviv University has been published yesterday, April 17, a day before Holocaust Memorial day in Israel.
In the following, I am just focusing on three major shortcomings, including antisemitic distortions.
The report has become a hot topic for the current Israeli government, as right-wing extremist members of Netanyahu’s sixth coalition like Itamar Ben Gvir take aim at the report. Without calling him by name, the report compares former or contemporary followers of racist and pro-terrorist right-wing extremist Meir Kahane to Nazis:
This year saw the former disciples of the late racist Rabbi Meir Kahane, who introduced Nazilike legislation to the Knesset, enter government.
Kahane was a convicted racist, an anti-Arab and wanted to expel Israeli Arabs. Ben Gvir is also harboring racism against Arabs in Israel and against Palestinians as well, in addition to his sexism, his homophobia and ultra-nationalist ideology. But comparing such a disciples of Kahane and Kahane himself to Nazis, to Germans who finally killed six millions Jews in the Shoah, based on their ideology every since the Nazi party was founded in 1920 and then after the introduction of antisemitic laws since Hitler was given power and became chancellor on January 30, 1933?
Where does this Israeli obsession to frame the political enemy as Nazi come from?
That is a shocking trivialization of the Holocaust and Nazi ideology? In framing a political enemy as Nazi, is even similar to Palestinian, Muslim or secular anti-Zionist antisemitism.
2) Russia / Ukraine
Next, the report runs riot about Russia. The authors write:
As Russian troops in Ukraine faced one humiliating defeat after another in 2022, members and associates of Putin’s fascist regime resorted to Holocaust distortion and vicious antisemitic slander.
This fake news in the first place, as ever since September 2022 at the latest there is a static warfare with thousands of killed soldiers on both sides.If the West at least discussed a peace plan from the Russian Federation from December 2021, perhaps the war would never have occured. But that would have meant to discuss NATO imperialism and to stop it. NATO is as dangerous as Russian aggression.
This demonization of Russia in the above quote is not criticism of an autocratic regime, but that is Holocaust distorting itself. Putin is an autocrat, an illiberal warmonger, Russian ultranationalist, anti-feminist and he has right-wing extremist advisers as well. But he has no political charisma, nor a huge mass base of support – but both are core ingredients of fascism. But to state that Russia is “fascist”, one has to know something about the history of fascism, which the report does not. Putin sits alone at the end of his six meter long Italian luxury table – there are not millions who cheer him on the streets like they did in Italy in the 1920s, after the working class organizations had been defeated by the fascists, and even more so in Nazi Germany, where Germans were enthusiastic about Hitler.
Even Radio Liberty, for sure not known for sympathy with Russia, writes:
‘Alone At The End Of The Table’
Another key difference between Putin’s Russia and classical fascism is the lack of mass mobilization. Fascist regimes “came to power on the basis of a very large mass movement, a political party, a large number of associated — what we would call today — civil society organizations,” said Barnard’s Berman. “And that is just not the way that Putin came to power.”
“This is not a mass regime that came to power or operates on the basis of mass mobilization,” she explained. “Like most dictatorships, Putin would rather his people be demobilized.”
As a scholar in antisemitism and Holocaust distortion, I was a speaker and participant at conferences of the World Congress of Russian Jewry in Riga and Kiev in 2010. Like my colleague and friend, Professor Dovid Katz from Vilnius, we both did not support the rather pro-Putin narrative at the Kiev conference. I myself saw Ukrainian neo-Nazis on the streets in Kiev who threatened left-wingers who wanted to defend a memorial for Lenin.
Take the following reaction by Israeli politicians after a speech by an East European politician in March 2022:
Beginning his speech to Knesset members,
[this East European speaker]
said Ukraine and Israel face the same threat from their respective enemies — “the total destruction of our people, our state, our people, our state, our culture, even the name: Ukraine, Israel.”
[The speaker] noted February 24 — the date of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — was also the date on which the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the Nazi party, was founded in Germany in 1920. “It destroyed entire states and tried to carry out genocide.”
Again on February 24, “102 years after the Nazis, the order was given to begin the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has already killed thousands of people and left millions without a home,” he said. “They’ve become refugees… in dozens of countries.
How did Israeli politicians react?
Likud MK Yuval Steinitz said it “borders on Holocaust denial.”
“War is always a terrible thing… but every comparison between a regular war, as difficult as it is, and the extermination of millions of Jews in gas chambers in the framework of the Final Solution is a complete distortion of history,” he said in a statement.
But who was that speaker? Putin? Putin’s foreign minister Lavrov, who said in a shockingly antisemitic manner, that Hitler supposedly had “Jewish blood” in his veins?
No, the speaker was Wolodymyr Selenskyi, the Ukrainian President.
So, Zelensky used antisemitic language, “bordering to Holocaust denial,” when he compared the creation of the German Nazi Party to the invasion of Ukraine, which accidentally happened also on February 24.
Why does the report omit that kind of hardcore antisemitic Holocaust distortion? Because the speaker is Ukrainian? Because he is Jewish?
For sure, Selenskyi is not “liberal”, as the Antisemitism Worldwide report falsely claims. He forbade all opposition parties in Ukraine. A few years before, as a clown (!), he played piano with his supposedly erected penis… You can see this on YouTube and even nationalistic Ukrainians are ashamed of the poor personality Selenskyi has.
So we have antisemitism on both sides, Lavrov and Russia, Zelensky and Ukraine. But the report is silent on Ukraine, which isn’t but portrayed as nothing but a victim of the Russian aggression. Of course, the war should never have happened and it must end immediately. But that is not what the ADL and Tel Aviv University want:
As the fascist Russian regime continues committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine, remaining silent is unacceptable. For the free world to survive, Russia must be defeated, and Putin must face justice.
Again, this is a distortion of the Holocaust. Because nothing remotely happens in Ukraine, no “crimes against humanity” like Baby Yar and the Shoah. In the war in Ukraine from April 2014 until the end of 2021. It is fake news, that the “free world” is threatened by Russia. Russia is an aggressor against Ukraine. However, there has been a war in Ukraine since 2014, as the United Nations realizes, if we look at their way of counting civilian casualties.
The report on Antisemitism Worldwide 2022 correctly and shockingly states, that antisemitism in the US in particular is on the rise. But these important findings are overshadowed mainly by the fake news about a fascist Russia and the silence about streets in Ukraine, which are named after anti-Semites who collaborated with Nazi Germany and urged Ukraine to exterminate all Jews. Take Yaroslav Stetsko as an example, her wrote in 1941:
‚I insist on the extermination of the Jews and the need to adapt German methods of exterminating Jews in Ukraine.‘
A report in the Jewish Forward from January 2021 by Lev Golinkin stated:
Five days prior to the Nazi invasion, Stetsko assured OUN-B leader Stepan Bandera: “We will organize a Ukrainian militia that will help us to remove the Jews.”
There is not a single word about Ukrainian antisemitism in that ridiculous and unscholarly report by the ADL and Tel Aviv University. Not one word! We have to criticize antisemitism whereever it occurs, be it Russia, the Gaza strip, Germany, Ukraine, the US or any other part of the world.
There are many factors to be dealt with, when it comes to the war in Ukraine. A ceasefire is number one. Diplomatic compromise is number two. Neither a victory for Ukraine nor for Russia is an option. NATO has a huge responsibility in recent decades for the worsening of relations of Russia and the West. In the year 2000 Putin asked US-President Bill Clinton if Russia could become member of NATO. Clinton said no. US Foreign Minister James Baker lied to Michail Gorbatchev in February 1990, when he said to him that NATO would not move “one inch” eastward if West-Germany and East-Germany would reunite. Since then, almost all countries in Eastern Europe have become hardcore NATO member states, including a nasty racist rhetoric against Russia.
Russia is a threat to democracy and it’s war in Ukraine has to stop immediately. Diplomatic compromise, like then Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett tried as early as March 2022, when both Putin and Selenskyi in general agreed to end the war, Russia deploys all its troop on their lines before February 24, 2022, and Ukraine declares to never ever become member of NATO. But Boris Johnson, the UK and the US rejected Bennett’s diplomatic success.
Finally, how do we frame a country like Ukraine, which names its streets about people, who are considers heroes, who wrote
‚I insist on the extermination of the Jews and the need to adapt German methods of exterminating Jews in Ukraine.‘ ?
The report analyzes a fringe group of right-wing extremist anti-democratic followers of a Prince Reuß, who wants to reestablish the German Reich (called Reichsbürger or citizens of a German Reich), whether in its borders of 1937 or otherwise. These people often harbor antisemitic conspiracy myths, some are violent, but research in antisemitism in Germany does not really believe that these fringe group is a serious threat to Jews or democracy, compared with Jihadists, legal Islamists, for example.
If the report really dealt with antisemitism in Germany in 2022, they would have found the selection of Jews at Frankfurt Airport in May 2022, when a diverse group of over 100 Jews from the US was treated like war criminals.
Why were they treated that way and ‘welcomed’ at the airport by police with automatic machine guns? Because one or a few passengers of the flight with Lufthansa did not follow the irrational and totalitarian mask mandate on board. Masks because of a virus, called SARS-CoV-2, which can result in the malady called Covid-19. Only Jews who were recognizable as Jews because of their orthodox or ultraorthodox clothing were selected by the German police. One can easily imagine what the grandfathers of these police women and men did during Nazi Germany…
Germany followed hardcore irrational Corona policies, with mask mandates until 2023, while democracies like Sweden never hat any mask mandate. According to the World Health Organization, Sweden has less than 50 percent excess deaths in 2020 and 2021 alone, compared to countries like the UK and Germany. While there were some sort of Holocaust distortion and antisemitic conspiracy thinking among protesters against Germany’s Covid policies, there have also been Israeli flags displayed at major rallies like at a famous anti-Covid-policy rally in the city of Kassel in March 2021.
On the other side, a leading German sociologists such as Heinz Bude in December 2021 duriing a podcast with a mainstream journalist mentioned the island Madagascar, where one might have shipped the 10 million non-vaccinated German adults, but that idea was unrealistic, as he himself realized.
But the very idea, to mention Madagascar, the island where the Nazis for some time in 1940 fantasized to deport German Jews, is a shocking sign how far the irrational and brutal Corona discourse in Germany went. Scholars at universities of memorial sites of conentration camps such as Buchenwald or the House of the Wannsee Conference, implemented the apartheid against the unvaccinated. From fall 2021 until spring 2022, and in some cases even longer, over 10 million people were not allowed to enter these memorial sites of former concentration camps, because these 10 million people rejected the gene therapy which the mRNA vaccines are, according to Big Pharma Bayer at the World Health Summit 2021 in October in Berlin.
We know from scholarship and from Pfizer, that the mRNA vaccines neither stop the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, nor do they give vaccinated people immunity. The selection of the non vaccinated as it is still the case for those who want to enter the United States, is irrational and totalitarian in nature. These vaccines to not stop the spread of the virus and Pfizer itself knew about it from the very beginning, just read the documents.
The tradition of authoritarian and even totalitarian policies in Germany during the time of Corona is obvious. In Australia, some hospital interns went so far and said to “sent Jews to gas chambers”, because a group of Australian Jews broke the irrational lockdown rules and celebrated. That is antisemitism!