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Germany’s Top Anti-Semite?

Journalist Jakob Augstein appears alongside Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a top 10 list of the world’s worst bigots

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Left to right: Louis Farrakhan, Mohamed Morsi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Jakob Augstein. (Left to right: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images, Mario Tama/Getty Images, Atta Kenare/AFP/GettyImages, and re:publica 2012/Flickr)

A list of the world’s top 10 anti-Semites would no doubt include Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan. Few, however, would think to include a relatively unknown German publisher and political columnist among the dubious honorees. Yet that’s just what the Simon Wiesenthal Center did when, late last month, it named Jakob Augstein, proprietor of the far-left weekly newspaper Der Freitag and a columnist for the website of the venerable magazine Der Spiegel, on a list of individuals and groups responsible for the “Top 10 Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs” of 2012. Augstein appeared as No. 9—after the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party, yet before Farrakhan.

For Augstein, his inclusion on the list only confirmed his own previously stated claim that Jews tend to use the label promiscuously, as a smear against legitimate criticism of the Jewish state. Last April, when Günther Grass published his now infamous poem “What Must Be Said,” alleging that a “general silence” had descended over Germans on the subject of Israel because “the verdict ‘Anti-semitism’ falls easily,” Augstein was, aside from neo-Nazis, one of his few defenders in the country. “Grass knew that he would be chided as an anti-Semite, a risk taken by any German critic of Israel,” Augstein wrote at the time.

Is Augstein right? While most of Germany’s intellectual class and commentariat—along with a slew of prominent politicians—sided forcefully against Grass nine months ago, this latest episode has produced almost exactly the opposite reaction. As Spiegel characterized Augstein’s presence on the list: “It seemed like a completely unexpected stab in the back—a startling assault from someone who is generally considered to be harmless.”

The list, thanks to the Wiesenthal Center’s overzealous approach, has ignited the most contentious debate about anti-Semitism that the country has witnessed in more than a decade. (Perhaps fittingly, the last such contretemps was caused by Augstein’s biological father, the writer Martin Walser, who in 1998 delivered a speech condemning the supposed use of Auschwitz as a “routine threat,” “tool of intimidation” and “moral cudgel” against Germans.) And in siding with Augstein, most German media voices are lending credence to the contentious claim that was the conceit of Grass’ poem so many of them denounced last year: that Jews bully Germans (and others) with unfair accusations of anti-Semitism in response to legitimate criticism of Israel. That claim is almost always false, cynically employed by obstreperous critics of Israel to portray themselves as brave dissidents addressing a taboo subject all the while risking “McCarthyist” smears. In reality, they are echoing a conventional wisdom that is neither courageous nor bold to express.

Consider the evidence. To prove its case against Augstein, the Wiesenthal Center highlighted five excerpts from his articles over the past year. In one April column, Augstein alleged that “the president [of the United States] must secure the support of Jewish lobby groups” in order to stay in office. In the same column, he wrote that “the Netanyahu government keeps the world on a leash with an ever-swelling war chant.” In another column from November, Augstein wrote that, “the Jews also have their fundamentalists, the ultra-orthodox Haredim,” who are “cut from the same cloth as their Islamic fundamentalist opponents. They follow the law of revenge.” In that same piece he referred to the Gaza Strip as a “lager,” a German word meaning “prison camp” which is redolent of the Nazi era. And then, in a piece endorsing Grass, he wrote that “Israel’s nuclear power is a danger to the already fragile peace of the world.”

All of these statements are unoriginal in the world of anti-Israel polemicism. But arguably the worst of Augstein’s columns was one from September that initially garnered the Center’s attention. The subject was the riots that erupted in response to the crude video lampooning the prophet Muhammed:

The fire is burning in Libya, Sudan, Yemen, in countries that are among the poorest in the world. But the arsonists sit elsewhere. The angry young men, who burn the American—and more recently, German—flags are as much victims as the dead of Benghazi and Sana’a. Who benefits from such violence? Only the madmen and the unscrupulous. And this time also—as an aside—the U.S. Republicans and the Israeli government.

Arguments resorting to “Cui bono?” usually have a conspiratorial odor, and this one was no exception. Once again, the lazy moral equivalence characteristic of Augstein’s writing was apparent in his comparing the murdered American Ambassador Chris Stephens with the rent-a-mobs, who regularly ignite American flags at an imam’s whim, as analogous “victims.” Augstein’s rant also displayed an astonishing unfamiliarity with regional politics, for if he knew the first thing about the Israeli government he so despises, he would be aware that it is hardly made up of people enthusiastic about the changes the so-called Arab Spring has wrought.

In any case, it was this column that led Henryk Broder, a sui generis German-Jewish polemicist who is the most confrontational and controversial voice in German media, to label Augstein a “little Streicher,” after the Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher. “Jakob Augstein is not a salon anti-Semite, he’s a pure anti-Semite,” wrote Broder, going on to allege that Augstein is “an offender by conviction who only missed the opportunity to make his career with the Gestapo because he was born after the war. He certainly would have had what it takes.”

Broder’s position was unique among German commentators. In an article for Berlin’s Tagesspiegel titled, “I also want to be on the anti-Semitism list!” the journalist Harald Martenstein concluded, “If Jakob Augstein were Germany’s worst anti-Semite, then this means that in Germany there is no more really dangerous anti-Semitism.” The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung chimed in by stating, “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.” And Dieter Graumann, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, acknowledged that while Augstein’s writings about Israel were “horrible” and “hideous,” naming him alongside the likes of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the entire “Iranian Regime” belittled the effort of naming and shaming anti-Semites.

The Wiesenthal Center’s list so perplexed the editors of Spiegel that they asked the organization’s associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, if he would sit for a public conversation with Augstein on the topic of anti-Semitism. Cooper said he would accept the invitation only on the condition that the German apologize first. (Ultimately, the magazine hosted a contentious debate between Graumann and Augstein.) But these petty demands from the Wiesenthal Center fed perfectly into the victimization narrative offered last year by Grass and endorsed by Augstein and lent some validity to the narrative that Jews—and American ones in particular—enjoy bullying well-intentioned Germans with hysterical allegations of anti-Semitism.

“Just because he is a journalist, we are not giving Mr. Augstein license to say what he wants and to hide behind journalistic integrity,” Cooper said in an interview with the German news agency DPA. “His statements are incorrect and baseless.” Cooper is indeed correct that Augstein’s writings about Israel are “incorrect and baseless.” But are they anti-Semitic? Claiming that Israel’s nuclear capability poses a threat to world peace—while ignoring its crucial function as a long-time deterrent against an array of Arab states that have been openly committed to its destruction, not to mention the nuclear-weapons-seeking regime in Tehran that denies the Holocaust while promising another—is naïve and idiotic. And to single out Israel’s nuclear capacity, which threatens no one, while ignoring Pakistan’s, which hangs precariously close to the hands of messianic extremists, reveals a fixation with Israel that is unhealthy, to say the least. But it is not necessarily anti-Semitic.

Yet add up all of Augstein’s writings, and one finds an obsession with Jews and their country that render the outraged responses on the part of his defenders, who portray him as a martyr, over the top. Augstein’s critics point out that he hardly ever writes about foreign affairs, yet when he does, it is usually to condemn Israel. Augstein’s use of Nazi terminology to describe Gaza would be considered anti-Semitic in any context (including by the European Union’s working definition of anti-Semitism), and all the more so in Germany. (Augstein later acknowledged that the phrase was “an unfortunate choice of words.”) Drawing a parallel between the Haredim, (who, while ultra-religious, are not pledging genocide against Muslims), and the Iranian mullahs, (who have a military wing responsible for the deaths of many innocents) is worse than sloppy. His attempt to blame Israel for the “Innocence of Muslims” demonstrates a knowing willingness to validate the blatantly anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that originally tried to pin the video on “100 Jewish businessmen” when it was, in actuality, the work of a single Coptic Christian.

That said, the Wiesenthal Center’s sensationalist approach—in the first place, even publishing a Letterman-style list, and then inserting a middling European magazine writer alongside a slew of individuals with actual political power—was cartoonish and self-defeating. Its categorization of the offending remarks as “Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel,” rather than just anti-Semitic unnecessarily conflated the two and played right into the hands of those who, like Augstein, deliberately try to blur the two. While Augstein’s obnoxious Israel-obsession might have been intended as a stand-in for a continent-wide problem afflicting much of the European left, his “slurs,” anti-Semitic or not, hardly rise to the level of those other groups and individuals on the list, which include Hungary’s neo-fascist Jobbik Party.

But just because Augstein does not deserve to be on a list of the world’s top 10 anti-Semites does not render him innocent of the charge. Nor does it make him worthy of the righteous defense he is receiving from so many prominent figures in German media, who are ignoring the content of what he wrote in favor of lampooning how silly it is to list him alongside the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Indeed, perhaps the most problematic aspect of the German debate illuminated by the Augstein affair—and one that Broder unwittingly played into by likening Augstein to Julius Streicher—is the tendency to view anti-Semitism as the exclusive province of the extreme right. Contrary to Broder (who ended up apologizing for the Streicher remark, but nothing else), one can be a “salon anti-Semite” and express views that are little different from those of a goose-stepping brown-shirt, even if said views are articulated in a more subtle or erudite manner. This phenomenon, dubbed by my Tablet colleague Lee Smith as “The Hitler Test,” artificially raises the threshold of what constitutes bigotry to a level that simply does not apply to any other minority group. “According to this standard, if someone wants to eliminate the Jewish state, then they’re just an anti-Zionist,” Smith wrote. “It’s only when that sentiment comes from someone wearing a swastika and who has the resources to slaughter Jews wholesale that they’ve crossed the threshold into ‘real’ anti-Semitism.”

A recent article in Spiegel about the aftermath of the Augstein affair illustrates the double standard that adheres to anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. “Is someone an anti-Semite if they say Jews have too much influence in Germany?” the authors ask with genuine curiosity. “Or if they express agreement with the opinion that Jews never look after anyone but themselves and their own?” The mere fact that the authors would question whether such statements are prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism proves the double standard. As Malte Lehming, the opinion editor of the Tagesspiegel and one of the few German writers to publicly place himself more or less on the side of Broder, wrote, “resentments change, usually from crude to subtle.”

As for Augstein, he has responded in the wounded, “Who, me?” manner typical of many virulent Israel critics, who knowingly dance precariously close to the line of what constitutes outright anti-Semitism only to raise their voices in high dudgeon the minute someone criticizes them for going too far. This self-defense is then invariably followed by the accusation that the person lodging the claim of anti-Semitism is “cheapening” the fight against “real” anti-Semitism. Writing on his Facebook wall that he has nothing but “respect” for the Wiesenthal Center, Augstein complained that “the struggle” against anti-Jewish bigotry is “weakened when critical journalism is defamed as racist or anti-Semitic,” as if a man who uses Nazi imagery to describe the Jewish state, endorses Günther Grass, and suggests that Jews were behind the offensive video that set the Muslim world aflame was genuinely concerned about combating anti-Semitism. Calling out these statements collectively for what they are isn’t “chiding,” and critics of Israel— German or otherwise—hardly “risk” being called anti-Semites merely for criticizing the Jewish state. If there is something that “needs to be said” in Germany right now, it is this.


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Considering Germany’s recent history regarding the Jewish question perhaps their best position is to remain silent on the subject of Jews say until 2100. And as for a list a major anti- Semites Im sure the list is much longer and includes many more characters.

    Actually, you would prefer the the world to remain silent on Jewish activity so that you may go about your business without distraction.

      fred capio says:

      No one asks the world to remain silent on Jewish activities, we only ask the world to be equally critical of the activities of Muslim/Islamist activities. Maybe a concept, too complicated for you too comprehend.

        oaklandj says:

        Why limit it to Muslims/Islamists? If the same standard were applied to everyone, then Jews would still criticized, but not nearly as much. Sounds fair to me.

        So, as long as there is injustice in the world Israel should not be criticized?

        Cretin, the US with the UN made Israel possible and the US continues supporting its survival. Without US support Israel would be long gone. That is the reason we feel free to criticize.

      Pip Power says:

      The Laws Concerning Moshiach

      Chapters 11 & 12 of Hilchos Melachim from the Mishneh Torah of the Rambam


      “Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Moshiach and was executed by the court was also spoken of in Daniel’s prophecies [Daniel 11:14], “The renegades among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble.”

      “Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Christianity]? All the prophets spoke of Moshiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior, who would gather their dispersed ones and strengthen their [observance of] the mitzvos. In contrast [the founder of Christianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the L-rd.”

      “Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for [to paraphrase Yeshayahu 55:8] His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. [Ultimately,] all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite [i.e. Mohammed] who arose after him will only serve to pave the way for the coming of Moshiach and for the improvement of the entire world, [motivating the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah 3:9], “I will make the peoples pure of
      speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.”

      “How will this come about? The entire world has already become filled with talk of [the supposed] Messiah, as well as of the Torah and the mitzvos. These matters have been spread among many spiritually insensitive nations, who discuss these matters as well as the mitzvos of the Torah. Some of them [i.e. the Christians] say: “These commandments were true, but are not in force in the present age; they are not applicable for all time.” Others [i.e. the Moslems] say: “Implied in the commandments are hidden concepts that cannot be understood simply; the Messiah has already come and revealed them.”

      “When the true Messiah king will arise and prove successful, his [position becoming] exalted and uplifted, they will all return and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage; their prophets and ancestors cause them to err.”

      The name of the prophet is occasionally spelled, as in this verse, without the final letter vav.

      Sichos In English

      788 Eastern Parkway

      Brooklyn, New
      York 11213

      (718)778-5436; FAX: (718)735-413

        Plumbline says:

        Israel will behold Jesus the Son of God, in the end times once again as fortold long ago…….

        ……..Zechariah 12:8-10………

        8 In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem……..

        Mourning for the Pierced One…….

        ……10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

brian2907 says:

Who was it who said “the Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz?”

There was something “back-handed” about this offering; a somewhat muddled analysis of German (& others) anti-semitism today by the well-connected Mr. Kirchick. Too well connected unfortunately to offer his two cents on such a sensitive and important topic for Jews ( because who else cares?) His sponsors at the FD of D must be very proud and the unfortunately named Simon Wiesenthal “center” gets some more ill-earned publicity. And the Likud marches on. Alice Walker didn’t make the list?

fred capio says:

I read the Spiegel. Augstein is a dangerous, extreme left-wing low-info anti-Semite and demagouge, and reading the comments to his articles one can see how contagious his poison is. Especially to the young with their low-context view of history.

I will posit and invite others to confirm or refute: Louis Farakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, has never promoted the killing of Jews nor the destruction of the Jewish People. I have met many of his adherants here in Minneapolis, at street level, and I have never encountered any hate speech nor even a dirty look nor anything negative or even unfriendly from them, at all. I have read hateful articles in The Final Call newspaper (their rag). Again though, no cry to ‘kill the Jews’, or etc. I mention this as the List puts him in the company of individuals who promote the destruction of Jews. I think there is a difference.

    fred capio says:

    Farakhan does not have to call for the destruction of the Jews. His holy book, the Qur’an, does it for him.,

        Jim Potter says:

        God made the promise that Israel would last forever, long before Exodus 32:7-17. Read closely and also read the events leading up to this conversation. God was looking for someone to “stand in the gap” and pray for His people. Moses was being challenged to just that move. Reading elsewhere in Scripture God repeats this action. So many people miss the whole message by jumping to conclusions as yours Fred. God want’s people to pray, stand in the gap between good and evil. He will use whatever tactic is required to find that one person that can be called as “a man of God.” When Moses did what was desired of from him, he became one of the most powerful and blessed men of God in history. It’s also nice to know that God today, is still the God of then. He doesn’t change but mankind just keep getting further and further away from Him.

          Pip Power says:

          What’s the difference between Harry Potter & the Jewish Bible?

          Both are based on myths, but Harry Potter is up to date!


          Jim Potter says:

          Pip Power – I know you don’t want it, but I really feel sorry for you and to a point, pity, you read but don’t understand, see but so blind you cannot comprehend. I will pray for you however.

          Pip Power says:

          YO Jim,

          You MUST be related to Harry Potter! Have you fallen out with each other?

          Now open the Mickey Mouse Jewish Bible at Leviticus 25:44-46 and read:

          Leviticus 25:44-46

          44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

          THIS is the beginning of the JEWISH SLAVE TRADE, which enslaved millions of its victims and created havoc down through the centuries.

          JEWS have been the longest SLAVERS in the history of the world & they are STILL practicing it in ISRAEL TODAY, bringing women to Israel on pretense of work, only to be drugged & put to work as prostitutes.

          There is a Mother of ALL Holocausts coming on Israel & Jews and I for one will not shed a tear for them, when it happens. They are just like their cousins, the Mohammedans – PARASITES on the GOYIM body.

          The Talmud teaches that Jesus was illegitimate and was conceived during menstruation; that he had the soul of Esau; that he was a fool, a conjurer, a seducer; that he was crucified, buried in hell and set up as an idol ever since by his followers.


          The following is narrated in the Tract Kallah, 1b:

          “Once when the Elders were seated at the Gate, two young men passed by, one of whom had his covered, the other with his head bare. Rabbi Eliezer remarked that the one in his bare head was illegitimate, a mamzer. Rabbi Jehoschua said that he was conceived during menstruation, ben niddah. Rabbi Akibah, however, said that he was both. Whereupon the others asked Rabbi Akibah why he
          dared to contradict his colleagues. He answered that he could prove what he said. He went therefore to the boy’s mother whom he saw sitting in the market place selling vegetables and said to her: “My daughter, if you will answer truthfully what I am going to ask you, I promise that you will be saved in the next life.” She demanded that he would swear to keep his promise, and Rabbi Akibah did so – but with his lips only, for in his heart he invalidated his oath. Then he said: “Tell me, what kind of son is this of yours”? To which she replied: “The day I was married I was having menstruation, and because of this my husband left me.

          But an evil spirit came and slept with me and from this intercourse my son was born to me.” Thus it was proved that this young man was not only illegitimate but also conceived during the menstruation of his mother. And when his questioners heard this they declared: “Great indeed was Rabbi Akibah when he corrected his Elders”! And they exclaimed:

          “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who revealed his secret to Rabbi Akibah the son of Joseph”!

          That the Jews understand this story to refer to Jesus and his mother, Mary, is clearly demonstrated in their book Toldath Jeschu – “The Generations of Jesus” – where the birth of our Savior is narrated in almost the same words.

          Natan79 says:

          Your savior is Hitler, not Jesus. That’s who you pray to.

          Natan79 says:

          What’s the difference between Pip Power and a rabid dog? The dog is nicer.

      Pip Power says:

      But Farakhan quotes the Jewish Bible also. He said I am in good company when I call for the destruction of the Jews, for it was YHWH who told Moses to go down from the mountain while YHWH contemplated DESTROYING the Israelites (see Exodus 32:7-17)

      Exodus 32:7-14

      7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn awayfrom what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

      9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

      11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Rememberyour servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

      Was YHWH the first anti-Semite?

        fred capio says:

        How good you people are to find or engineer reasons to justify the killing of Jews. Why don’t you quote Genesis 12:1,2 ? And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
        I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse;
        and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.

          There are hundreds of millions of Arabs, descended from Abraham’s first son, Ishmael. Maybe that’s who God was talking about.

          fred capio says:

          G-d made his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and not with Ishmael. Genesis 17:19,21; Exodus 6:8; 2Kings 13:23. Maybe a little homework before posting would be nice?

          Pip Power says:

          WHO GOT THE OIL?

          Pip Power says:

          YO Freddy,

          Exodus follows Genesis. YHWH changed his mind! He had a bellyful of them Jews always screwing up & never doing what he told them to do! The Torah is one long tale of STIFF NECKED PEOPLE, doing their own thing and pretending to be YHWH’s Chosen People.

          Before you go to bed, read Deuteronomy ch 27 and ch 28 and realize who put the “hit” on the Jews.


          Hershl says:

          This creature is beneath contempt. Let him alone. Do not waste prayers on him. He is suffering enough having to be what he is.

      Pip Power says:

      Now, now!

      Arabs & Jews are cousins!

      Its just a family quarrel.

PhillipNagle says:

I would put Al Sharpton high on any list of anti-Semites. He is an evil man with blood on his hands. Of course his lies are not limited to Jews but he is a truly disgusting individual. NBC should be ashamed to give him an hour show on their cable channel.

DRT Goodman says:

Including Farrakhan is laughable, the NOI doesn’t even have 50k members.

Leonard Seelow says:

This article is fucking ridiculous. Nothing that was actually cited proves in any way that Augstein is an alleged ‘anti-Semite’–whatever this overwrought, overdetermined, and almost empty word means today–but that he takes a critical stance toward Israeli politics, as any good leftist should and must, and the obsequiousness of the American government that cowers at the powerful Israel lobby in this country, which consists of both right-wing gentiles and Jews. The very fact that we can still, today, conflate the terms ‘anti-Israel’ with ‘anti-Semite’ shows just how far we actually are from being able to have a serious dialogue about the problem that the Middle East conflict poses to the world. I am a Jew and I am proud of my religion and heritage, and equally ashamed that many people in the name of this religion would still be so paranoid as to flinch in such a reactionary manner at any outspoken critic of Israeli politics. What Israel does daily to the Palestinian people is near-barbaric; the whole world except America and Israel know that this is the case. And the evidence is overwhelming. Stop writing such bullshit on your website, it’s beginning to reek.

    oaklandj says:

    I understand your sentiments, and I do like to read *Jewish* criticism of Israel (there is plenty of it). It does strike me as strange, though, when a Gentile has a singular obsession with Israel at the exclusion of many other countries and regimes that act much, much worse. Jewish obsession with Israel is understandable – it’s our people and our religion is predicated on the belief that we’re supposed to behave better. But how do you explain a Gentile obsession with Israel?

      Leonard Seelow says:

      I think that part of the problem is that we can’t have it both ways: we can’t suggest that Israel is exclusively a ‘Jewish’ affair and thus the sole concern of Jews around the world AND try to argue that Israel is simply another country like any other. If we–and I think we should–treat it like any other flawed and problematic democracy, modeled after the European nation-state and formed during a time when nationalisms of all kinds were thriving, then we need to be willing to accept the legitimate critiques of any rational thinker whose interests are geared toward trying to realize a more peaceful world, Jew or Gentile. I haven’t read all of Augstein’s articles, but I imagine if one did, he or she would find that he is an outspoken critic of all abuses of power that have been committed around the world, including the ones perpetrated by his own country…It just strikes me as a dangerous activity to try to spot an antisemite at every corner, and it’s becoming an increasingly suspicious tactic for defenders of Israel. I happily accept criticism of America from anyone around the world as long as it is being leveled in the name of reason and ethics; one should not have to be a member of the group to partake in a discussion that has serious consequences for those who are not members of this group, namely Palestinians…

        oaklandj says:

        I agree. I was sharing my experience. With Jews, at least I understand that no matter how vociferous the criticism of Israel is, there is a fundamental understanding that Israel should have a right to exist and its inhabitants shouldn’t “go home” or be pushed into the sea. I have had a startling number of conversations with seemingly reasonable Gentiles about Israel only to have the “Jews don’t belong there anyway” or much more malevolent comments about Jews tossed in.
        I totally agree that “reasonable and ethical” people of all religious/ethnic persuasions can have and should have a discussion about Israel and other topics. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Israel seems to be the one topic that pushes otherwise reasonable and ethical people off the deep end.
        And this is not just a matter of my own tribal oversensitivity. I’m a convert to Judaism, and noticed this well before my conversion (my feelings about Israel did not change much at all after I converted; I’ve always considered myself a balanced supporter but open to reasonable/ethical criticism. Sadly, I’ve almost always heard reasonable/ethical criticism only from Jews.)

          Pip Power says:

          YO OAKY,



        herbcaen says:

        I have read much of Augsteins work and he has an obsession with Israel. No state is above reproach, but Augstein’s ratio of criticism is Israel 90%, the US 5%, the rest of the world 5% in my opinion. I suspect that if you gave Augstein a couple of beers, he would confess to you that “Die Juden sind unser unglick”- the Jews are our misfortune

        Natan79 says:

        You’re real bastard, Seelow. The only national stte that bothers you is that of the Jews. You’re also an imbecile – by your own admission yu haven’t read even one Augstein article yet you comment. I bet you would like them – any contemporary killer of Jews you can name, he endorses them.

    I agree with your comment Leonard Seelow. Very well worded and expressed.

    Pip Power says:

    Jews Must Live

    by Samuel Roth

    Chapter IV


    But what sort of speech is this for a Jew, you are probably asking yourself, by this time? I can see the question half-glimmering in your eyes. My answer must be steel set in granite. The dew of compassion has entirely dried up in my bowels. I am myself a Jew, I know it. But I am a Jew who has been brought to the point where he so loathes his people that he thinks in terms of their destruction. No, it has not escaped me that the destruction of Israel would mean my own end, too. I would not want to survive in a world without Jews. Yet, by God, I don’t know how I shall ever again contentedly live with them: I pray for my own effacement as fervently as I pray for theirs. This is a work of terror, and I am trying to make a terribly good job of it. I have taken out the old Jewish carcass to expose it in the sun. I shall rub it till every sore on it shines like a planet of light.

    I know how well the Jews have earned the hatred which is in my heart towards them. I do not doubt that they have earned in equally good measure the hatred which the nations entertained towards them since records of such international courtesies have been made. Anti-Semitism is a natural effect of a social cause. I cannot understand why such a deep mystery is made of this simple cause.

    The causes of anti-Semitism lie in the very deepest recesses of human nature. They are like pebbles at the bottom of a very deep stream. But the waters of the stream are clear and I have no difficulty making them out.

    The first cause of Jew-hatred goes back to the nature of Jewish leadership, a black veil on the conscience of the race. The second goes back to the nature of the people itself, and it is an evil no less foul. The first appears to be an evil without remedy. But the second does not seem to me impossible to deal with.

    Beginning with the Lord God of Israel himself, it was the successive leaders of Israel who one by one foregathered and guided the tragic career of the Jews – tragic to the Jews and no less tragic to the neighbouring nations who have suffered them. But we must have been a pretty horrible people to start with. Our major vice of old, as of today, is parasitism.

    We are a people of vultures living on the labor and the good nature of the rest
    of the world.

      Luiting says:

      My hatred lies with the Orthodox Jews. They are the most hypocrite

        Natan79 says:

        I don’t like Orthodox Jews much, but since you wish them evil, here’s my very personal wish to you, Luiting: if there’s another Holocaust, YOU should be the victim.

    Natan79 says:

    You’re a demented fuck. What does Israel do to the Palestinians? Is that they can’t throw enough rockets to kill Jews for your taste? Go to your cave with Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky, stupid jerk.

Lynne51 says:

How about adding Heirich Heine (at the age of Jakob Augstein he was ferociously anti-Semetic)? Or Karl Marx?

    Pip Power says:

    How about Barak Hussain Obama?

      oaklandj says:

      Get over it; your candidate lost and all of the supposed anti-Semitic allegations against Obama have been proved over and over and over again to be complete bunk. If you wish to convert to the religion of GOPism, then go ahead already.

        Pip Power says:





herbcaen says:

Compare and constrast
Speech by Adolf Hitler, January 31, 1939.
“Today I will once more be a prophet: If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world
war, then the result will not be the bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe”

Jakob Augstein
“the Netanyahu government keeps the world on a leash with an ever-swelling war chant.”

    I’m not sure of your point. To me, talking about “international Jewish financiers” is a lot different than talking about teh Netanyahu government. I will certainly acknowledge that the statement is overwrought but unless you assume that the Netanyahu government is the same as Jews, it is hardly anti-semitic. Frankly, I think the problem is more the overzealous supporters of Israel that conflate Zionism with Judaism and assume that everyone that criticizes Israel wants to kill all the Jews. I certainly don’t agree with some of the extreme criticism of Israel, but there is enough reason to criticize Israeli policy without having to assume that being anti-Israel is thereby being anti-semitic. Much of the anti-Israeli criticism is overwrought just as much criticism of US policy in various area is too; and I would argue that many left-wingers are extremists, but that doesn’t make them anti-semites.

      herbcaen says:

      My point in comparing these similar statements is that both Hitler and Augstein blame Jews for lack of peace. Once these statements are widely believed, nuance about which Jews are responsible goes out the window. Both poor Chassidim and highly assimilated Jewish financiers were murdered without distinction by the Germans. Similarly, Hamas or Iran wouldnt distinguish between you or me if they were trying violence against Jews. I believe it is Augsteins goal for Germany to reawaken from guilt over the Holocaust “Deutschland erwache” so Germans can pursue anti-Jewish sentiments without a second thought

The krauts are the krauts. National character doesn’t change

    oaklandj says:

    There are 80 million Germans and exactly 1 Jakob Augstein. Or are you ascribing Augstein’s views to the entirety of the German people because it confirms a stereotype?

      fred capio says:

      There is one Augstein and millions who openly agree with him. With your logic you could also say there was only one Hitler.

        oaklandj says:

        Was Augstein elected by a democratic majority to government? Must have missed that.
        How are you counting the number of Germans who sympathize with Augstein’s singular obsession with Israel?

      Umish Katani says:

      the circumcision issue was what….. judeophillic…. think not

        oaklandj says:

        Wasn’t aware that the circumcision (and kosher butcher) issue were matters for national referendum.
        I’m not arguing that anti-Semitic Germans don’t exist. They probably exist in large numbers. But I’m not going to paint the entire German nation that way.

      herbcaen says:

      Lets assume 20% of Germans are in full agreement with Augstein that Jews are a threat to world peace. Thats still a lot of Germans

        oaklandj says:

        I’m sure you would find 20% of every country except Israel would agree with Augstein’s statement. Why single out Germans?

          herbcaen says:

          Why single out Germans?
          1) They committed the Holocaust. Many European countries were/are more antisemitic than Germany, ie Russia, Poland, France, but only Germany could have accomplished the Holocaust

          2) They are Europe’s leading power and major trading partner with Iran

          oaklandj says:

          Well, I agree that Germans should spend more time thinking through what they’re saying about Jews than other nationalities that didn’t plan and execute a genocide against Jews.

          At any rate, these recent poll stats are eye-opening (and stomach-turning):

          Pip Power says:


          Natan79 says:

          Communist regimes were not pro-Jewish. I am a Jew who grew up in a Communist country. May you Pip Power and all those you hold dear suffer what we did. Shall I start with my grandfather murdered by the Communists? May it all happen to you, Jew-hater.

FifthHorseman says:

Let us see!
President (Fury) Obama gives Hamas 900 million to help the poor people.
Gives the Muslim Brotherhood 1.5 billion dollars for what ever reason.
Plans to give the Muslim Brotherhood military equipment.
Should not Fury Obama also be on that list?

We all know that many of the worst notorious Anti Semites have had Jewish Backgrounds,such as theorized about Hitler,Richard Wagner was known to have had an illegitimate Jewish father.Louis Farakan illustrated here admitted to having had Jewish father.Kadafi was known by Libyan Jews to have had a Jewish mother.

It was discovered by the Evening Standard of London that Ahmedinijad descends from Jews who converted to Islam. Francoise Hollande is said by some to be unsupportive of Israel and Jewish causes and he is an admitted secular Jew of France..

Judah Benjamin,Secretary of State of the American Confederacy was a Jew converted to Christianity. What about Jakob Augstein? is he of Jewish background? Like Gunther Grass his appearance would never have been supportive evidence for the old Nazi Aryan Race Theory,in other words Augstein looks Jewish.

On the other hand is one an anti semite for being critical of Israeli policy ?

To contemplate what Torah Judaism is all about,is that the Jewish Kingdom or State cannot be a state or society normalized like others ,the dream of Both Herzl and Ben Gurion .Are we to maintain our tyranny of thought and expression backed by Torah every time a Non Jew or even a Jew is cirtical of either Israel or Jewish Community policies and politics? Yes this does resemble McCArthyism,a movement also undertoned and overtoned with anti semitism.

To place such anti semites as Nixon as lovers of Israel,please ,oy vey!!

The Evangelical Churches of the USA as friends of the Jewish People? Oy Vey!

the Political Right of the USA as friends of the Jewish People? Oy Vey!!!!

and many more examples.

What are we becoming as Jews in America? An ethnic group with its own Machiavellian ruthless self interested agenda at the expense of all others.?

Real Politik is Un Torah

The Black Coat and Modern Haredi and Hasidic communities in the USA with their embrace of American Racism,chavinism and yes Anti Semitism.

The insane claims that Barack Obama is a leading sly subversive Anti Semite .

Please my beloved Jewish People ,we are going off the deep end a bit.

When the Frum Community in Southern Ca supported Arnold Schvarzenegger ,a known Anti Semite of the Hitler Nazi variety who came to LA in his youth openly praising Hitler as the greatest man who ever lived.

Orange Co. Ca demonstrations where Orthodox Jews marched together with Skin Heads and other severe racist hatemonger groups protesting the presence of Muslims and Arabs residing in Orange Co.

Please folks ,myDear Fellow Yidden,its time for aserious reevaluation of our behavior right now in thiws perilous time

Good Shabus to all

    Pip Power says:


    Maimonides, known as the Rambam( 1135-1204), the greatest Rabbi taught:

    “Gentiles with whom we are not at war: One must not directly cause their death, but it is forbidden to save them if they are about to die. For example, if one sees a Gentile falling into the sea, it is forbidden to pull him out, for in Leviticus 19:16 it says, ‘You shall not stand by the blood of your neighbor’, and that Gentile is not considered your neighbor.” – Yad ha-chazaka, the Laws of Murder and Protection of Life.

    Incidentally, Maimonides, the man who wrote this, was a medical doctor. The same word for ‘neighbor’ is used in Leviticus 19:18 in the famous phrase which says, “Love your neighbor as yourself”; but what this is telling Jews is that since a Gentile is not really a neighbor, they must be left to die.

    Joseph Caro, who compiled the Shulchan Aruch, which is the basic “set table” or codification of chalakik Jewish law, said this:

    “A woman in birth is considered like a sick person whose life is in danger, for whom the Sabbath may be violated for any of her needs in giving birth to her child, such as lighting a candle; but one must not assist a non-Jewish woman in giving birth on the Sabbath.” Shulchan Aruch, Or Hayim, Law of the Sabbath
    330:1, 2.

    Hafetz Hayim, (also known as Israel Meir Ha Cohen) 1838-1933, founder of the Avodat Israel, and a 20th-century chalakik authority on chalakah – which is Jewish law – elaborates on the preceding item in his commentary Mishnah Berurah, which means ‘the clarification of the Mishnah’, said:

    “One must not assist a Gentile woman in birth, not even for payment; for in the week-days one assists them in birth only to avoid hostility, and the Magen Abraham (the Shield of Abraham, which is a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch) has written that even where there is concern for hostility, one is only permitted to do activities that do not entail a violation of the Sabbath; and I want you to know that the more acceptable (literally, more kosher) Jewish doctors do not observe this at all, for every Sabbath they travel many miles to heal Gentiles and they write a prescription personally or prepare medication; but they have no chalakik Jewish law, upon which to base such actions as treating or writing a prescription for a sick Gentile. For even if one is permitted to violate a Rabbinic prohibition in order to prevent Gentile hostility, one is certainly not permitted to violate a Rabbinic prohibition, and they are considered intentional violators of the Sabbath – God spare them.”

    In a parallel column entitled ha or chalaka, the author of the Mishnah Berurah adds,

    “The same law also applies to Moslems (literally Ishmaelites) and even to Karites (Jews who do not accept torah b’al pei- the oral law ). Everyone agrees that one may not violate a Rabbinic prohibition of the Sabbath in order to save their life.”

Augstein is a lefty idiot, of which there are a dime a dozen, but to label him an anti-Semite, and a top 10 one at that, cheapens the term, elevates him in the public sphere and embarrasses the people making the accusation. It’s telling that the case against him requires “experts” to “interpret” his words in order to ascertain what he “really” meant.

tobyAxel says:

Dear Mr. Kirchik, the SWC list is not of the “world’s worst bigots,” but
of the 10 worst ant-Semitic statements of 2012. There’s a subtle difference – being called an “anti-Semite” in Germany can have major (career) consequences, while being blamed for making anti-Semitic statements is serious but a different story. The SWC has denied being prompted directly by renowned journalist Henryk Broder, but they do cite translations of Broder’s comments about Augstein on their “top ten” list. Clearly, the SWC did become aware of Mr. Broder’s views on Augstein (probably through someone who had been following Mr. Broder’s arguments with Augstein over his support for Gunther Grass, after the later wrote a “poem” villifying Israel). Augstein’s comments are (sadly) not that unusual in Germany / Europe; but his position of influence certainly gives him more clout, and putting him on the top ten list probably gave him an even bigger audience than before. Finally, I don’t think this SWC list ignited discussion on anti-Semitism in the center of German society, as it’s an ongoing discussion – a constant theme, sometimes more in the foreground, as now. And definitely well worth examining! One might wonder, though, why Gunther Grass did not make the list.
Toby Axelrod
JTA correspondent (based in Berlin)

Ed Murad says:

I wish you would not the euphemism “anti-Semite”. He is a Jew Hater pure and simple.

Jim Potter says:

Gotta give Farrakhan credit – he tries awful hard to be pious. Must be a trait of his religion; or maybe that’s the problem, he’s religious rather than a believer.

Pip Power says:


All the good comments are down the page!

The crap at the top is all Politically correct!


“Allied Military Police HQ.

1.10.1948 MEMO NR: 31/48

The Allied Committee of inquiry has to date proven that no poison gas was ever used to kill prisoners in the following concentration camps Berger-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau Flossenburg, Gross-Rosen, Mauthausen and satellite camps Natzweiler, Neuengamme Niederhagen (Wewelsburg), Ravensbruck, Sachsenhausen,
Stutthof, Theresienstandt.

In all cases where gassings were alleged, it could be proven that torture had been used to extract confessions and witnesses have lied.

Any former inmate who, during their debriefing continues to allege that poison gas was used to murder people (in particular Jews), are to be reported to this office and if they insist on lying further, they are to be charged with perjury.

signed Major Miller

Commanding Officer

Allied Military Police Vienna:

witnessed by Lieutenant Lachout MP”

I can’t argue with him about the East Bank, nor about his comparisons between ‘pot stirring’ Imams and our own Right Wing Fundamentalist Religious Jews. They would deny me a place in a Jewish state, because I’m not Jewish enough – whatever that means. They display a level of insensitivity beyond compare by building settlements in disputed territories and then, refuse Jewish women their right to pray at the wall in contentious religious garb, because it’s disruptive! This sounds too much like an Imam refusing to permit Moslem men to listen to a female Imam as her voice might inflame his passions.

If there is to be debate, we cannot play the victim card over and over again – it’s worn and brittle and ready to fall apart. We should be able to stand up, take our critics head on and admit when we behave badly, as much as we like to remind the world and ourselves when we do well. Otherwise, how can we ever be a member of world at large and not simply lodgers in someone else’s land?

ajweberman says:

A lot of gay writers hate Israel because they were persecuted for being born a certain way by the Orthodox abominators. Glenn Greenwald went as far a sneaking out messages for Matt Hale and had to retire from law for doing that. Norman Finkelstein is another gay Jewish Nazi collaborator. No need for Jimmy to try to second guess the W foundation. When this stuff comes from a kraut it is more dangerous – look back at the past. But tablet wants to intellecualize a return to the death camps by over-intellectualizing the obvious with words.


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Germany’s Top Anti-Semite?

Journalist Jakob Augstein appears alongside Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a top 10 list of the world’s worst bigots