Interview of anti-Semitism in the Middle East expert and German political scientist, Dr. Matthias Küntzelby Karmel Melamed, published in the Jewish Journal August 28, 2015
Dr. Matthias Küntzel is perhaps one of the world’s leading scholars and political scientists who has extensively researched and written about the origins of anti-Semitism in the Islamic world and in particular in Iran. His work has also focused on the German involvement with Islamic nations as far as the impact on hatred for Jews in the Middle East. Recently I had the very special opportunity to interview Küntzel about the origins of the Iranian regime’s hatred for Jews, their influence of Nazi ideology on Iran’s current radical Islamic leaders and how anti-Semitism has transformed and been kept alive by the Iranian regime’s various leaders over the past 36 years.
Küntzel's views are particularly important today because he is not Iranian and not Jewish, but merely a scholar who lays out the realities of the Iranian regime’s anti-Jewish ideology based on his methodical researched facts. His newest book “Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold” takes a fascinating look at the historic influence Germany has had on Iran and those individuals in Iran who have had a vehement hatred for Jews. Today with the Iranian regime’s leadership constantly calling for Israel’s destruction, Küntzel’s background on the regime’s anti-Semitism is particularly notable. The following is a portion of my conversation with him.
In your new book “Germany and Iran”, you speak about the extensive 20th century ties between the leaders of these two countries during the years. This is a part of history that has not yet been exposed to the mainstream public, why is it a good time to look at the relationships between these two countries now?
Because today, it is not enough to just observe that Iran is capable of building nuclear weapons. Instead, we have to ask ourselves why the United States’ twenty-year-long effort to stop the Iranian nuclear program failed. Whoever wants to answer this question will have to take the 100-years-old friendship between Germany and Iran into account. Germany was a driving force to limit the possible effects of sanctions during the last 12 years. “The extension of Iranian-German relations”, explained former Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, “will sooner or later help the United States to recognize that they have to correct their policy vis-à-vis Iran.” This prediction has come true. Mr. Obama adopted Germany’s Iran policies in many respects: from dialogue with the Iranian regime and a dislike for any military option to the tacit acceptance of Iranian provocations during the dialogue and a refusal to take the written program of the Islamic Revolution seriously. My book furnishes a case study in analyzing the German approach to Iran, it provides a clear example of how not to reduce the Islamist’s threat.
You have researched, written and spoken extensively about the expansion of anti-Semitism in the Islamic world in recent years. As a German academic why is this subject of such interest to you?
Being a German social scientist I tried to figure out how Auschwitz could happen. That brought me to the topic of anti-Semitism. My interest in Jew-hatred within the Islamic world started with 9/11. The anti-Semitic motives behind that attack were confirmed by the witnesses of the first 9/11 legal case against members of Mohammed Atta’s core group here in Hamburg. The consequences of anti-Semitism during WWII are well-known. The consequences of today’s Islamic anti-Semitism, however, are underestimated. That is why I published my book on “Jihad and Jew-Hatred. Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11” that links these knots.
Can you please explain why the current Iranian regime for nearly 20 years has had such a massive public and overt obsession with the subject of Holocaust denial? Why do they keep bringing up this topic as a part of their foreign policy?
How can you wish to get rid of Israel and at the same time acknowledge the truth of the Holocaust? That is impossible. Anyone who accepts the reality of the Holocaust can’t at the same time believe that the Jews are the rulers of the world and that Israel of all countries is the root of all evil. These three items: elimination of Israel, demonization of Jews and Holocaust denial - are interwoven and belong together. They form what I call an ideological triangle. If any of the three sides of this ideological triangle is absent, the whole structure collapses. Holocaust denial is at the same time anti-Semitism at its peak. Whoever declares Auschwitz to be a “myth” implicitly portrays the Jews as the enemy of humankind, who for filthy lucre has been duping the rest of humanity for the past seventy years. Whoever talks of the “so-called” Holocaust suggests that over ninety percent of the world’s media and university professorships are controlled by Jews and thereby cut off from the “real” truth. In this way, precisely the same sort of genocidal hatred gets incited that helped prepare the way for the Shoah. Every denial of the Holocaust thus tacitly contains an appeal to repeat it. And that is what the Iranian leadership does... Read more