"Anti-Semitism as we have never seen it before," quotes German magazine founded in 1947

Originally published at: "Anti-Semitism as we have never seen it before," quotes German magazine founded in 1947 | Boing Boing


I’m all for calling out Useful Idiots (of any age) supporting terrorist thugs like Hamas or using simple-minded slogans that imply the elimination of one nationality or another. I see none of that in the photo of Thunberg and her associates.


This applies here nicely. Palestinians deserve as many rights as Israelis.

We keep hearing how amazing the Israeli army is; this should have been a surgical strike to the heart of Hamas, not a shotgun blast with extensive collateral damage.


One critical aspect of the middle-east glue-trap is constantly reasserting and clarifying for oneself the complex political/social Venn diagrams. For instance: anti-Netanyahu’s government is not anti-Israel, and anti-Zionism is not antisemitism, anti-Hamas is not anti-Palestinian, etc. And while this is generally known it is so often mistaken in anger. It’s part of the long sad human agony of that region. Protests must be oh so careful about their targets that it would be far more helpful if they were mainly efforts to converse than merely shout.


So let’s start out with the pull-quote you single out for ridicule: “We are currently seeing anti-Semitism as we have never seen it before.” This is not an assertion by the authors, but a quote attributed to Anti-Semitism researcher Christer Mattsson of the University of Gothenburg. And if you read the quote in context, it is obvious that what he meant is that we have never seen this kind of antisemitism, not this degree.

“They say Zionism, but it’s against Jews. We are currently seeing anti-Semitism as we have never seen it before,” says Mattsson. He and his colleagues describe it as structural anti-Semitism, because although it is not consciously expressed, it is still nonetheless clearly anti-Jewish at its core.

There is a context to this article, maybe it’s not so apparent to you wherever you live, but it’s pretty obvious to me here, living in Berlin, where a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Jewish center not far from where I live, and where many Jews across the country are expressing fear that they haven’t felt in decades. The fact is, the political left here is saturated with barely-masked antisemitism. This has been clearly evident since the RAF days, and it’s just as true today.

It’s complicated, Rob, especially in Germany, for obvious reasons, and if the Spiegel article is a hit piece, then your takedown here is a John Wick style assassination. I mean, tell me you read this article carefully.

The ambient dissonance in Germany is enormous, and it’s not particularly helpful when people like Greta characterize this issue in monolithic terms. I actually strongly agree that it’s not okay for Greta, whom I have long admired, to declare solidarity on behalf of the movement with the Palestinians on her own authority and without any attempt to gather input or weigh the consensus. Instead, she expressed a one-sided support for the people of Gaza without even acknowledging that Israel was attacked in a horrific and monstrous manner which was, according to the Hamas leadership’s own statements, specifically calculated to provoke the strongest-possible response.

The tens of thousands of people who have organized around Fridays for Future have given Greta a mandate to speak for sane policy to combat climate change. She doesn’t have the right to speak for us on other issues at her own discretion.

I’m speaking here as someone who supports Greta’s climate work, and who strongly opposes Israel’s disproportionate response to the attack.


IIRC, we used to get Der Spiegel in German class in HS. It isn’t a New Yorker or The Atlantic, it’s more of People crossed with Newsweek. Not exactly the paramount of deep thought.

That quote might have worked if they had said “since WWII”. But while Germans like to flagellate themselves, they also like to forget anything ever happened. Like it was a completely different part of the multiverse. :confused:

I know the world is all hyperbolic now, but, I mean, come on.


Oh my god.

John Wick indeed.


thanks a lot @Gendun for this very qualified and detailed reply/comment.
“…as part of the nation’s “special responsibility” to atone for the Holocaust” - this is the same argument many “left” expats living in Germany accuse Germans and their stand against antisemitism of. This “free Palestine from German guilt” is basically the same argument the far-right and neo-nazis are using here in Germany to try Germans forget their history and make them finally act as all the other powerful (rich) countries. Germany has worked through its recent history (and guilt) so much better (though of course far from perfectly) than many other countries and nations. This is also one of the reasons the majority here stands with Israel. But even mainstream media does not forget to criticise Israel’s right-wing government and e.g. the actions of the settlers in the West-Bank.
So I would like it would be great to hear a more diversified tone from you, Rob, about this topic. But maybe you have just read this on article of what’s going on here and this sets your tone?

It’s a conversation that needs and deserves nuance, and sadly, so long as people see benefit to the most reductive arguments, it won’t get it.

For instance, with your examples, there are folks (me among them) who would take issue with the anti-Zionism =/= antisemitism argument at face value, the same way that I get edgy when I hear people doing the “river to the sea” chant. I’m certainly not going to argue that the creation of the state was all sunshine and roses, but it does exist, and I’m not entirely comfortable with the “how” of folks who think it shouldn’t.

That said, I also feel there’s an important distinction between anti-Zionism and being against the expansion of settlements. One is a belief that there shouldn’t be a homeland for Jews, the other is saying that maybe we shouldn’t be shitty neighbors.
Comparatively, if the Proud Boys started putting up housing developments in the Navajo Nation, we can all generally understand that it would be bad, without necessarily saying that the US shouldn’t exist.


Good on Greta.

I see her standing up for the oppressed, as per ush.

Spinning it that she can’t criticize Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks without being antisemitic is a logical fallacy.


If I have any issue with her actions, it’s not so much the content (which can be interpreted without being over-generous as a call for a peaceful and equitable two-state solution of the kind both Hamas and Likud opposed) and more that she’s shifting her formerly laser-sharp focus on the climate emergency by bringing in an issue that’s tangentially related to it (at least in the context of a public demonstration on climate change).

This kind of dilution is an unfortunately common occurrence in progressive protests, rendering them less effective and opening the door for the larger protest and main issue to be mischaracterised and smeared by association by the mainstream press. I’m actually a bit surprised that Thunberg, who’s usually more savvy about these matters, fell into this snare.


Most important is that you’re extolling thoughtfulness over anger - well done!

But you’re not suggesting that asserting an anti-Zionist attitude is the same as hating Jewish people the world over; that is, antisemitism…? (i have Jewish relatives who are decidedly anti-Zionist). Perhaps a bit of etymology might serve a small amount (or not)?: “Zion” refers to the land area (specifically a hill in Jerusalem) and not the people.


oh. thats an almost perfect german freudscher versprecher. nicely done, rob.*

oh, and…the good days of Der Speigel are looooong gone. decades, in fact. so, no wondering there on my side.

*(“spei” is bavarian/austrian for “puke/puking”)


First, keep in mind this: On the topic of the Israel - Palestine conflict

Second: antisemitism on the left is a very serious issue. Antisemitism in supporters of Palestinians is also a serious issue.

Which Der Spiegel chose to approach by publishing a hit piece on someone without attempting to interview them or anyone close to them. At least, none I could find. No “we attempted to contact Greta Thunberg for comment.”

Yuck. All the “is Great just lonely?!” “She was so unhappy as a child!” This article is very judgemental and condescending. The article is also all over the place. You can really tell 6 different people wrote it. Jumping from condescending judgement of Thunberg to discussion of antisemitism on the left to random climate activists and then back to picking up the “Greta is so lonely and unhappy!”

I really hope this was a translation issue. Because the the use of the phrase “Palestinian question” is pretty gross.

“When Greta Thunberg or other leading activists constantly speak about the Palestinian question, it creates disunity.”

Erjan Dam of the Netherlands, who tried to grab the microphone from Thunberg at a climate demonstration last Sunday in Amsterdam

I’m done reading this crap article.


seriously?!? wow, thats low, even for them. (no, Im not gonna read it!)


well yeah… not like we should take the political views of young women seriously… /s

Seth Meyers Idk GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers

People are not “questions”… we all deserve respect, dignity, safety, etc…


Anti-Semitism is resurgent all over the West, including in countries that don’t see themselves having a special responsibility for fighting it. I doubt Rob is unaware of the gravity of the situation.

Meanwhile, Thunberg has been aggressive in clarifying her stance when she saw it was being misinterpreted (sometimes deliberately):

We are of course against every type of discrimination, and condemn antisemitism in all forms and shapes.


I wouldn’t recommend it. There are far more thoughtful, nuanced, and less biased takes on the problem of rising antisemitism and Islamophobia as a result of the conflict.
This thing reads like the authors wanted to take a dump on Greta Thunberg and decided accusing her of antisemitism was the best way to get clicks.


Meme Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon


Do you really suppose that people outside Germany don’t understand these complications? We are all living them. I can’t count the times I’ve been called a “self-hating Jew” because I oppose the settlements & support the rights of indigenous people to live on their homelands. I have lived in Berlin, in the Bronx, in the Southern US, in the Bay Area, & it is chilling to see anti-Semitism rising in all those places. But opposing war & genocide by militaristic nation-states is not anti-Semitic, any more than opposing racism is anti-white. We’re asking people to be better. And asking journalists to be better too.