Are we going back in time when Nazi propaganda dehumanized Jews by depicting them as animals? A recently published cartoon by the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung portraying Israel as a monster "Moloch" devouring weaponry is just another confirmation that anti-Semitism is still in vogue, but with a new more dangerous twist.
Before the creation of the State of Israel, anti-Semitic attacks, including the use of bigoted tropes such as blood libels, theological accusations, and racist depictions, were directed at the Jewish people. “New anti-Semitism,” a more recent phenomenon, substitutes hatred of the Jew with demonization of Israel.
This new expression of modern anti-Semitism is well illustrated by a cartoon that recently appeared in the largest German daily broadsheet reviving images of the dark Nazi times. It depicted Israel as a wild, hungry, monster, being served by a woman with a text under the cartoon stating, “Germany is serving. Israel has been given weapons for decades – and partly free of charge. Israel’s enemies think it is a ravenous Moloch…” Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the Bavarian daily publishes “incitement articles against Israel.”
Israel as 'Moloch' in German daily
Also Palestinian NGOs, funded by German taxpayer money, claim to promote democracy and human rights, while simultaneously employing both "new antisemitism," as well as classical antisemitism.
According to a report entitled "Blood Libels & BDS," published recently by Jerusalem based research organization NGO Monitor, a network of NGOs that claim to promote human rights and humanitarian agendas in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, often resort to anti-Semitic themes and imagery. These organizations employ classical and theological anti-Semitism, at times also using rhetoric that constitutes anti-Semitism “with regard to the State of Israel,” as appears in the EU definition of anti-Semitism.
For example Miftah, a Palestinian non-governmental organization (NGO), recently published an article by Nawaf al-Zaru that revived the ancient anti-Semitic blood libel against Jews. He wrote, “Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’…?! Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals...?! Much of the historical stories and tales about Jewish blood rituals in Europe are based on real rituals and are not false as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover ...”
Miftah is funded directly by Germany (via Konrad-Adenauer Foundation in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories) as well as by other European governments. Because these foundations do not have evaluation or monitoring mechanisms in place to control the implementation of projects and ensure that funding is not misappropriated, the governments are often uninformed of how taxpayer money is being used. In private correspondence with the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, they explained that their “cooperation is limited to the implementation of joint workshops in the field of promoting good governance” and that they do not grant “institutional funding.” These rationales are insufficient and allow funders to distance themselves from the anti-Semitic activities of radical organizations like Miftah.
Anti-Semitic cartoons, brochures, claims, whether published in Germany or supported by German tax-payer money, endanger Jews and undermine the special German-Israeli relations. Promoting hate-filled ideologies, systematically demonizing Jews, and denying Israel’s right to exist, runs counter to stated missions of organizations like Miftah, which claim to encourage peace and promote conflict resolution.
Despite the extensive evidence of NGO anti-Semitism, governments nonetheless continue to fund these groups. Officials justify the funding under the pretense that it is intended for distinct “projects” unrelated to the grantee’s wider agenda and expressions of anti-Semitism. However, funders are enablers, and share full responsibility for the activities of their grantees – including promoting hate and intolerance.
The author is a 2012-2013 Israel Research Fellow at NGO-Monitor and a guide at Yad Vashem