Reviews for "Jihad and Jew-Hatred"

Daniel Pipes in: Commentary, April 2010:

The impact of National Socialism in the Middle East used to appear brief and superficial. Unlike with Communism, whose local parties and outside influence through the Soviet bloc lasted over many decades, the Nazis’ moment lasted about six years, 1939-45, and they had little regional presence beyond Rommel’s armies in North Africa and a fleeting pro-Nazi regime in Iraq.

But two powerful, important books have set the record straight. Djihad und Judenhass (2002) by Matthias Küntzel, translated into English in 2007 as Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, shows the continuing influence of Nazi ideas on Islamists. Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World by Jeffrey Herf focuses on an earlier time, the 1930s-40s, and the major effort by Hitler and his minions to transmit their ideas to the Middle East. After reading Küntzel and Herf, I realize that my education about the modern Middle East was lacking a vital ingredient, the Nazi one. (...)

N E W: Stephen Schwartz in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, April 28, 2008

“The German historian Matthias Küntzel’s Jihad and Jew-Hatred is an important contribution to the analysis of radical Islam. Like Paul Berman’s Terror and Liberalism (2003), but with greater attention to historical detail, Jihad and Jew-Hatred argues that present-day Islamist extremism is, in great part, directly imitiative of Nazism and other European fascist movements. Also like Berman, Küntzel appears to have crafted his discourse to appeal to Western liberals and leftists for whom fascism was anathema. ... Küntzel … correctly assumes that, in the longer scheme of Islamic history, radical interpretations are newer rather than older, and modern rather than ancient. Islamist extremism is also utopian rather than conservative, and reformist or “purificationist,” rather than traditional. All these insights should be implicit in any serious discussion of Islamofascism. ... Küntzel makes several important points that will be unfamiliar to many Western readers. One is that the Muslim Brotherhood’s hostility to Jews was novel in Egypt, which had a history of good relations among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Another point is that, notwithstanding broad Palestinian Arab opposition to Zionism, many village sheikhs in today’s West Bank opposed anti-Jewish campaigns in the 1920s and signed petitions favoring increasing Jewish immigration.”

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Fred Siegel in CITY JOURNAL ,New York (19 October 2007):

“The small, independent Telos Press deserves kudos for publishing this book by a German historian little known in America. Kuentzel takes Islamic theology seriously, which is why his book is so deeply informative. His Jihad and Jew-Hatred is a compelling historical accound of how modern Islamic extremism has been informed by the anti-Semitism of the Third Reich. Better than anyone before him, Kuentzel makes sense the deep and entangling historical ties between European National Socialism and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
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Matthias Kuentzel wins London Book Festival” (December 9, 2007)

The 2007 London Book Festival has namend Matthias Kuntzel’s Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 as the grand prize winner of its annual competition honoring books worthy of greater attention from the publishing community. Kuntzel’s work, released through New York-based Telos Press Publishing, traces the alleged impact of European fascism on the Arab and Islamic world, drawing parallels between ancient prejudice and modern radicalism. Now translated to English and updated from its German publication in 2002, Kuntzel’s examination of the roots of current strife between cultures and religions and its impact on world affairs has earned him the festival’s grand prize.

Jeffrey Goldberg in The NEW YORK TIMES Sunday Book Review (6 January 2008) and The INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE (9 January 2008):

“The German scholar Matthias Küntzel . . . 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. . . . Küntzel makes a bold and consequential argument: the disseminiation of European models of anti-Semitism among Muslims was not haphazard, but an actual project of the Nazi Party, meant to turn Muslims against Jews and Zionism. ... Küntzel 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. Küntzel argues that we should see men like Rantisi for what they are: heirs to the mufti, and heirs to the Nazis.”
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Benjamin Weinthal in The HAARETZ Books Supplement (21 January 2008):

“Kuentzel applies his intellectual tool kit to his thesis, which was disturbingly ignored and marginalized by the German intellectual establishment following the attacks on the Twin Towers; namely, the interplay between radical political Islam – with its handmaiden jihad – and Nazism in the pre-Holocaust Middle East. His groundbreaking book has been translated into superb English by Colin Meade, with updated sections on the 9/11 Commission Report and Iran unter Ahmadinejad. ... Kuentzel’s analysis will surely upset many policy makers and academics in the West, for he challanges their premise ‘that Islamism first arose in response to current American and Western policies.’ ... 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.’ Küntzel 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.”
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Russell A. Berman in TELOS No. 141, Winter 2007:

“Heir to the tradition of Critical Theory … Küntzel’s forcefully argued presentation stretches from the origins of twentieth-century Islamism, with the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, to the worldwide wave of anti-Semitism that followed the 9/11 attacks. ... Reading jihadist anti-Semitism through the lens of German history and intellectual traditions, Küntzel sheds important light on the category of ,Islamofacism.’ While he does not dwell on the terminological debate, his treatment is a compelling response to politically correct efforts to prohibit the term. ... Jihad and Jew-Hatred adds enormously to our understanding of the roots of contemporary terrorism and challenges us to think through the political substance of the contemporary discourse on terror, the war on terror, and the Middle East.”

Benny Morris in: IL SOLE 24 ORE, Italy, January 2008:

“Matthew Kuentzel, a German researcher, tries in Jihad and Jew-hatred to trace the lineage of current Muslim anti-Semitism and to assess its place in the weltanschauung of contemporary global jihadists. And while a bit thin and sloppy in his research, Kuentzel is grimly illuminating. What he argues is this: To the pristine layer of Muslim anti-Semitism that sprang from the rejection of Muhammad by the Jewish tribes in 7th century Arabia … was added, during the 1930s and the 1940s, a new layer of Jew-hatred rooted in Nazism. ... Subsequently, there was anti-Semitic cross-fertilization between the Islamists and nationalists. ... Israel has for years been at pains to dismiss the ,Palestine’ (and anti-Semitic) motivations of global jihadists. But Kuentzel argues that al-Qaida’s assault on the West, first announced in 1998, was and is primarily driven by anti-Semitism. Bin Laden identifies the West/America with ,the Jews’ and postulates that ,the Jews are determined to achieve world domination’.”
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Amnon Lord in the Spring Issue 2008 of JEWISH POLITICAL STUDIES REVIEW and in MAKOR RISHON (Hebrew), 17 February, 2008

“Küntzel presents an interpretation of events that differs from the conventional wisdom. His view seems to be the correct one. As opposed to the illusion of the Israeli establishment, which maintains that the 9/11 attack brought about greater unterstanding of Israel’s problems and raised international awareness of terrorism, Küntzel argues that 9/11 forstered a tsunami of Jew-hatred. ... Jihad and Jew-Hatred is perhaps the most important work written in the wake of 9/11. One would have expected similar books to appear in Israel, but this did not happen. Therefore, it is imperative that Küntzel’s book be translated into Hebrew and widely distributed as soon as possible so as to extricate Israelis from the collective amnesia regarding both Egypt since the signing of the peace treaties nearly thirty years ago and the PLO and the Palestinians since the Oslo accords of 1993. ... Whoever wishes to know the future should learn about the past the Küntzel exposes in Jihad and Jew-Hatred. This book challenges the views of the Western and Israeli elites who are in charge of thought control and molding public opinion.”

Martin Rubin in The WASHINGTON TIMES, 24 February, 2008

“What animtates Mr. Kuentzel’s understandable fury is that although Nazi ideology was stamped out in Europe after 1945, it has continued to work its poisonous mission in the Muslim world. He cites Nazi influence on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which transformed that nation from one where Jews were respected and influential to on where they had no place. ... Mr. Kuentzel draws a clear line from Nazi Berlin to September 11. He is almost as outraged by the indifference of Western societies to the transfer of this poisonous ideology as he is to the phenomenon itself. ... He cites German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in 2004 arguing that antisemitim was a European problem, ‘not one for other countries and cultures.’ If there is any comfort to be gained from this book, it is in its author’s righteous indignation, informed as it is by what he has learned from his own nation’s ability to reject and try to atone for its terrible past.”
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J. Peter Pham in AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY INTERESTS, Vol. 30, Number 1, January-February 2008, pp.45-49:

“The pundits in particular would benefit immensely from reading Jihad and Jew-Hatred, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 by Matthias Küntzel. ... The book definitely dispels the myth that Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism is purely a consequence of the current Middle East conflict with its recounting of the career of Amin al-Husseini, the British appointed grand mufti of Jerusalem … Küntzel’s book makes a powerful case that irrespective of whatever anger might be justifiable provoked by any specific Israeli (or American) action, it is not the particular instance of ,escalation’ that gives rise to anti-Semitism but a preexistent, virulent anti-Semitic ideology that repeatedly escalates the conflict. ... Küntzel’s Jihad and Jew-Hatred is a salutary reminder that policymakers and analysts alike would do well to discard any illusions they may have that, by themselves, the right mix of political concessions negotiated by presumably rational statesmen will extinguish the fires of anti-Semitism that have been stoked for so long in certain quarters of the Arab-Muslim world. Only when the full implications of the ideological dimensions of Islamism, including its congential anti-Semitism, are acknowledged and confronted can one even begin to sketch out a ,road map for peace’ that would be realistic in any meaningful way.”

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder and President of THE ISRAEL PROJECT

“Just as Hitler’s hatred of Jews was used as a scapegoat to focus and fuel the Nazi regime, Küntzel shows that Islamic extremists are using antisemitism today as a way to galvanize support behind dangerous ideologies and actions. This book is a wake-up call to those who want peace and security.”

Prof. Dr. Bassam Tibi:

Jihad and Jew-Hatred examines a new variety of antisemitism, the Islamist jihadism that preaches anti-Jewish hatred. Matthias Küntzel provides a well-grounded analysis of this Islamism as an ideology. Its new antisemitism is a variety of both racism and totalitarianism, and 9/11 shifted this Islamist antisemitism to a global level. Küntzel’s book is a most welcome contribution to understanding this subject.”

Prof. Dr. Walter Laqueur:

“Muslim judeophobia has a variety of roots. Some are connected with the existence of the State of Israel, others go much further back into history. The impact of Nazi ideology on Muslim judeophobia is often considered politically incorrect and has therefore been suppressed. In Jihad and Jew-Hatred Matthias Küntzel provides a well informed and dispassionate discussion of a phenomenon that for political reasons is frequently ignored.”

Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Herf:

“In this short, powerful, passionate and thoughtful book, Matthias Küntzel explores how and why radical Islam emerged as the most important political and ideological movement in world politics to place hatred of the Jews at the center of its ideology and policy following the defeat of the Nazi regime in 1945. While Nazism as a major movement or state did not persist, disturbing elements of its views about the Jews found a positive reception in the different language and cadences of radical Islam in the Muslim Brotherhood in postwar Cairo in particular. Küntzel’s reconstruction impels us to rethink the issue of continuity and break before and after 1945 and expand our horizons beyond Europe to encompass the trans-national diffusion and impact of Nazism and fascism on the Arab and Islamic world.”