Germany and Iran
Political scientist and historian Matthias Küntzel, born in 1955, held between 1992 and 2021 a tenured part-time position as a teacher of political science at a technical college in Hamburg, Germany.
In 2011, Matthias Küntzel was presented with the Anti-Defamation-League’s (ADL) Paul Ehrlich-Günther K. Schwerin Human Rights Award during the League’s National Executive Committee meeting in Palm Beach, Florida. “Matthias Küntzel has a long and distinguished record in speaking out against anti-Semitism and warning his readers in his native Germany and elsewhere about the dangers posed by this age-old virus that has no known cure,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in presenting the award. “His work has been sorely under-appreciated in this country. With this recognition, we hope to acknowledge his ongoing efforts and also let the American public know of the implications of this disturbing trend.”
Between 2004 and 2015, Küntzel was an external research associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2007, he co-founded the German chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and served as a member of its Board of Directors until 2013. Currently, he is a member of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), of the German Historians’ Association (VHD), of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) and of the Advisory Board of UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran).
Since 2001, his research and writing has focused on: Antisemitism, Antisemitism in current Islamic thinking, Islamism, Islamism and National Socialism, Iran, and German and Western policies towards the Middle East and Iran.
His essays and articles have been translated into sixteen languages and published inter alia in The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Fathom, The American Interest, Policy Review, Tablet Magazine, The Jerusalem Post, Standard, Il Foglio, Spiegel, Welt, Die Zeit, perlentaucher, mena-watch and Internationale Politik.
In 2022 he spoke at an event organized by the London Jackson Society and the Simon Wiesenthal Center on the topic 80 Years Since Wannsee: An Alarm Call to Warn of Other Genocides? and in March at a webinar by the Harif organization and the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Europe) on The Nazis And The Middle East.
In 2021 a Serbian translation of his book from 2000 The Road to War. Germany, NATO and Kosovo was published in Belgrade. In April, Russell Berman created a podcast for the Hoover Institution entitled The Iran Deal and Germany: A Discussion with Matthias Kuentzel. In September he spoke in front of the Reichstag in Berlin on the occasion of a Protest against Human Rights Violations in Iran and Afghanistan. In November he was a semifinalist in the Bernard Lewis Memorial Prize competition and presented his paper on Islamic Antisemitism at the 14th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) in Washington D.C..
In 2020, the Tablet magazine published Küntzel’s essay on Germany and Iran (“Germany Can’t Stop Loving Iran”). In February, before the corona lockdown, he served as a speaker at a conference on Contra-Dictions & Tropes of Antisemitism, organized by the University of Arizona in Tuscon. His topic: Antisemitism in the Middle East. In August, the “Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs” published his article on Islamic Antisemitism: Characteristics, Origins, and Current Effects. In November, he conducted for an international audience a webinar on the subject Islamic Antisemitism: Its Origins, Nature, and Contemporary Consequences at the invitation of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ICSA) at Indiana University, Bloomington.
In 2019 the Livorno-based Salomone Belforte Pubs published the Italian edition of “Jihad and Jew-hatred”. In spring, he was a speaker at the International Scholars Conference Contending With Antisemitism In A Rapidly Changing Political Climate, organized by Alvin Rosenfeld at Indiana University in Bloomington. In October his new book: “Nazis und der Nahe Osten. Wie der islamische Antisemitismus entstand” (Nazis and the Middle East. How Islamic anti-Semitism came into being) was published in Germany. In November he gave a lecture on Contemporary Antisemitism Among Muslims in the Ein-Gedi Oasis (Israel) on the occasion of an international seminar of Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center. His article on Nazi- Germany’s Anti-Zionist Propaganda and Its Impact on the War of 1947/48 appeared in the “European Journal Of Current Legal Issues”, his paper on Germany and Iran (Strategic Delusions: Why Germany Coddles Iran) in “The American Interest” and his essay about The British Left’s Attitudes toward Antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim World in the volume “Unity and Diversity in Contemporary Antisemitism”, published by Jonathan G. Campbell and Lesley D. Klaff, Boston 2019.
In 2018 he spoke about his book on Germany and Iran at The Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University and was a speaker at the International Conference An End To Antisemitism in Vienna. He participated in the 6. Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem and published in Antisemitism Studies (Indiana University Press) his research paper on Islamic Antisemitism: Its Genesis, Meaning, And Effect.
In 2017 he was a speaker at the International Conference on Iran-Israel-Germany: A complicated trilateral relationship in Berlin and published several papers about the Middle East’s history at Fathom, UK and MENA watch, Austria. The German online-magazine Compass published his statement about the electoral success of the AfD (“Alternative für Deutschland”).
In 2016, he participated in an International Scholars Conference on Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, And the Dynamics of Delegitimation at Indiana University in Bloomington; in the Second Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism at Sheffield Hallam University, UK, and served as a keynote speaker at a Stockholm based seminar about Global Jihad, Islamic Radicalism, and the Challenge to Europe. He was a speaker at an International Conference about Islam and Antisemitism in Vienna and published his essay about the links between the Nazi War against the Jews and the Arab War (1947/48) against the state of Israel. A Greek version of his book Jihad and Jew-Hatred was published by Tropi publisher in Agrinio, Greece, followed by a presentation of his book at the American College of Greece in Athens.
In 2015, he spoke at the Bristol-Sheffield Hallam Colloquium on Contemporary Antisemitism at Bristol University, UK. In France, Jihad and Jew-Hatred was republished by Editions du Toucan with a preface by Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal; the Arabic translation of this book was completed.
In 2014, he spoke about the Geneva Agreement with Iran at events in Austria, Germany and the USA (Harvard and Columbia University) and wrote about the United States’ diplomacy with Iran in The Israeli Journal of Foreign Affairs. He served as a speaker at Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld’s conference Deciphering the New Antisemitism at Indiana University (USA) and at Prof. Robert Wistrich’s conference on Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism, Delegitimizing Israel at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and published in November his new book Germany and Iran. From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold with Telos Press, New York.
In 2013, he became a member of the German Council on Foreign Relations. He published articles in German language on the antisemitic aspects of Richard Wagner’s operas and about the Jakob Augstein affair. Later in the year, he was invited by the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust to talk about Holocaust Denial in Iran and to serve as a Shabbat speaker at the Persian Nessah Synagogue in L.A..
In 2012, he spoke on behalf of the Henry Jackson Society at London’s House of Commons about the 70. anniversary of the Wannsee Conference and gave a talk at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Brussels on the current meaning of the Auschwitz day of remembrance. Forough publisher (Cologne) published Michael Mobasheri’s Persian translation of his book Germany and Iran. Past and Present of a Fateful Friendship. The LIT publishing house (Münster) published his book Germany, Iran and the Bomb – a reply also to Günter Grass. In November, he delivered a lecture at a conference of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists in Berlin.
In 2011, he was awarded with the ADL’s Ehrlich-Schwerin Human Rights Prize and spoke at the international scholars Conference on “Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives”, organized by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at Indiana University (founded and directed by Alvin Rosenfeld) and at a conference on “Extrémismes Ouest-Européens et Monde Arabo-Musulman”, organized by the University of Grenoble, France.
In 2010 he became a guest commentator on Germany’s main public radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur and addressed the “Second Conference of the Interparliamentary Coalition on Combating Antisemitism (ICCA)” in Ottawa, Canada.
In 2009, he spoke at the “London Conference on Combating Antisemitism”, organized by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and published his book, The Germans and Iran. The Past and Present of a Fateful Friendship (German publisher: Wolf Jobst Siedler, Berlin). He presented this book to the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University and participated in the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism at Jerusalem.
In 2008, his book Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, translated by Colin Meade, won the Gold Award for Religion at the 12th annual Independent Publisher Book Awards in Los Angeles. He presented Jihad and Jew-Hatred in the USA at numerous universities (Stanford University, Columbia University, University of California in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and Irvine, Buffalo University, University of Maine at Augusta, Cooper Union New York) and delivered lectures at conferences organized inter alia by the American Enterprise Institute, The Israel Project, The Anti-Defamation League and The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He also gave a talk at the “Global Forum For Combating Antisemitism” at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem and participated in an international academic workshop on “Antisemitism in the 21st Century: Manifestations, Implications and Consequences”, organized by the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.
In 2007, Telos Press (New York, NY) published his book Jihad and Jew-Hatred (with a foreword by Prof. Jeffrey Herf) which was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2007 London Book Festival. He gave talks at the European Parliament as well as in Vienna, London and Berlin about trade relations between Europe and Iran. He was a speaker at the Oxford Union Society and made headlines when his planned lecture about Islamic Antisemitism was abruptly cancelled by Leeds University in March 2007 because some Muslim students complained about the topic. After a wave of protests he was re-invited by the University in October 2007.
In 2006, he lectured on Islamic antisemitism at Yale University, Penn State University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and became – until 2011 – a member of the Board of Directors of the American association Scholars For Peace In The Middle East.
In 2005, he discovered antisemitic tracts at the Iranian stands at the Frankfurt Book fair – an incident he wrote about in the Wall Street Journal.
In 2004, he was appointed a research associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 2003, he delivered the Keynote Address at the Conference on “Genocide and Terrorism – Probing the Mind of the Perpetrator” at Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
In 2002 his book Djihad und Judenhass: Über den neuen antijüdischen Krieg was published in German. In 2007, it was translated into English and Hebrew (Koren, Jerusalem). It was also translated into French with a foreword by Pierre-André Taguieff in 2009 (L’Oeuvre d’Editions, Paris) into Greek in 2016 (Tropi, Agrinio) into Italian in 2019 (Salomone Belforte, Livorno) and into Arabic (no publisher, up to now.)
From 1984 to 1988, Matthias Küntzel was a senior advisor to the Federal Parliamentary Group of the German Green Party.
In 1991, he was awarded a Doctorate, cum summa laude, in Political Science at the University of Hamburg. His thesis was published in German (Bonn und die Bombe. Deutsche Atomwaffenpolitik von Adenauer bis Brandt, Frankfurt, Campus, 1992) and English (Bonn and the Bomb. German Politics and the Nuclear Option, London, Pluto Press, 1995).
In 1997, he was co-author of a book about the reaction of the German political Left to Daniel J. Goldhagen’s famous study “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” entitled, Goldhagen und die deutsche Linke oder: Die Gegenwart des Holocaust (Goldhagen and the German Left or: The Presence of the Holocaust), Berlin, Elefanten Press.
In 1999, he organized the conference Die Goldhagen-Debatte: Bilanz und Perspektiven (“The Goldhagen debate: results and perspectives”) of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, Germany, with Daniel J. Goldhagen, Andrei Markovits et al. in Potsdam, Germany.
In 2000, he published a study on the causes and meaning of the Kosovo War: Der Weg in den Krieg. Deutschland, die Nato und das Kosovo (“The Road to War. Germany, Nato and Kosovo”), Berlin, Elefanten Press. Between 1988 and 2001 he was a contributor to the German monthly konkret
Completed on April 9, 2022.
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