by Matthias Küntzel
2007, Telos Press
Jihad and Jew-Hatred makes a major contribution to the understanding of radical Islamism by tracing the impact of European fascism on the Arab and Islamic world. Drawing extensively on German-language sources, Matthias Küntzel analyzes the close relationship that began in the 1930s between Nazi leaders and Muslim extremists, especially the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Mufti of Jerusalem. This path-breaking book provides compelling documentation of the Nazi roots of what became Islamo-fascism and jihadist terror.
This study demonstrates in historical detail how the Muslim Brotherhood has consistently placed the hatred of Jews at the center of its ideology and policies through an incendiary rhetoric that interweaves passages from the Koran hostile to Jews with elements of Nazi-style world-conspiracy theories. Ancient prejudice and modern fantasies have become a deadly combination.
Jihad and Jew-Hatred also explains how the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 led to the shift of the center of global antisemitism to the Arab world, laying the foundation for radical Islamist currents in and around the Muslim Brotherhood and more recent terrorist organizations.
Küntzel convincingly shows that antisemitism is no mere supplementary feature of modern jihadism, and certainly no afterthought but its defining ideological core. This hatred also goes far beyond questions of Zionism and Israel. For Islamism, not only is everything Jewish evil, but every evil is Jewish, as the writings of Sayyid Qutb and the Charter of Hamas clearly explain to anyone willing to read them. It was this Jew-hatred that fueled the Jihad of the 9/11 terrorists.
The German scholar Matthias Kuentzel . . . takes anti-Semitism, and in particular its most potent current strain, Muslim anti-Semitism, very seriously indeed. His bracing, even startling, book, Jihad and Jew-Hatred (translated by Colin Meade), reminds us that it is perilous to ignore idiotic ideas if these idiotic ideas are broadly, and fervently, believed. . . . Kuentzel is right to state that we are witnessing a terrible explosion of anti-Jewish hatred in the Middle East, and he is right to be shocked. His invaluable contribution, in fact, is his capacity to be shocked, by the rhetoric of hate and by its consequences. The former Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi once told me that “the question is not what the Germans did to the Jews, but what the Jews did to the Germans.” The Jews, he said, deserved their punishment. Kuentzel argues that we should see men like Rantisi for what they are: heirs to the mufti, and heirs to the Nazis.
Jeffrey Goldberg, New York Times
Kuentzel’s method is a dialectical masterpiece; he is a social scientist who pursues connections. The suicide attacks of the intifada in Israel are, for Kuentzel, inherently linked to the attacks in America on September 11. That explains his remedy for fighting anti-Semitism: “Whoever does not want to combat anti-Semitism . . . hasn’t the slightest chance of beating Islamism.” Kuentzel is in many ways the modern successor to Paul Merker, a rare voice in Germany, who, like Merker’s view of Arab princes as embodying “reactionary interests,” shifts the terms of the discussion to anti-Jewish ideology as the sine qua non of understanding radical political Islam, its destructive energy and its social and political violence.
Benjamin Weinthal, Haaretz
About the Author
Matthias Küntzel is a German author and a political scientist. He is a research associate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.