January 28, 2020

The Enduring Myth of Jewish Control

“The hallucination of an evil Jewish conspiracy that controls not only world politics, but also cultural affairs and even dictates opinion is one of the most quintessential antisemitic stereotypes. And as if the Holocaust would have never happened, its popularity is unbroken until the present day. A recent report in the German weekly Der Spiegel and an op-ed in last Sunday’s Haaretz by Ilana Hammerman (which had already been published a week earlier in Hebrew) are the most recent expressions of the delusional idea that some kind of conspiracy pulls the strings behind the scene to manipulate society on behalf of Israel and the Jews.

The article in Der Spiegel titled “Lobbyism in the Bundestag” was published on July 12 and alleges that two associations, acting on behalf of Israel and the Jews, have disproportionate influence on German politics. The recent decision of Germany’s federal parliament, the “Bundestag,” to condemn the BDS movement would be a result of the suspicious manipulation by these organizations. The two associations that are targeted in the Spiegel piece are the “Initiative for Values” (Werteinitiave), a German Jewish civil society group and the “Middle East Peace Forum,” an NGO that, according to unsubstantiated Spiegel allegations, acts on behalf of the Netanyahu government. Indeed, both groups have spoken out openly for the Bundestag’s recent anti-BDS motion. Yet, in the Spiegel article, this actually desirable act of democratic participation by civil society actors is portrayed as sinister and illegitimate manipulation on behalf of an alien country: Israel. This is antisemitism in its purest form.

The same kind of conspiratorial delusions plagues Haaretz writer Hammerman. The title of her recently published op-ed reads: “The evil new apparition that is stalking Germany today: Criticism of Israeli policy has been banned and persecuted as antisemitism, and those pulling the strings sit in Israel.” The quintessence of her piece is that the Israeli government would be active in Germany to incite against Muslims and to silence criticism of Israel. In order to corroborate her point, she slanders a recent presentation by German-Israeli author Arye Shalicar at Berlin’s Humboldt University as “arrogant, toxic and racist incitement, mostly against Muslims,” on behalf of the Israeli government. In fact, in her almost 2,000-words-long op-ed, Hammerman does not produce one single quotation that would substantiate her charge that Shalicar’s talk was racist or anti-Muslim. The allegation has also been dismissed by other participants of that event. “There was absolutely nothing racist and nothing anti-Islamic in Shalicar’s talk,” says Soraya Mentiply, a young German Muslim who was present at the event. Tabea Krause, who was in the audience as well, confirms Mentiply’s rejection of Hammerman’s racism charges against Shalicar.”

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