1st Edition

Nazis, Islamic Antisemitism and the Middle East The 1948 Arab War against Israel and the Aftershocks of World War II

By Matthias Küntzel Copyright 2024
    164 Pages
    by Routledge

    164 Pages
    by Routledge

    Nazis, Islamic Antisemitism and the Middle East

    demonstrates the impact on the Arab world of Nazi ideology and propaganda in the 1930s and beyond.

    In 1937, with the brochure “Islam and Judaism,” a new form of Jew-hatred came into the world: Islamic antisemitism. The Nazis did everything they could to anchor this new message of hate through their Arabic-language radio propaganda. The book sheds light on this hitherto unknown chapter of Germany’s past. It presents new archive findings that show how the image of Jews in Islam changed between 1937 and 1948 under the influence of this propaganda and other Nazi activities. This fresh look at Middle East history allows for a more precise assessment of the present: What exactly is “Islamic antisemitism”? How is it currently manifesting itself in Germany and France? What makes it particularly dangerous? Only when we understand how strongly modern Middle East history is shaped by the aftermath of National Socialism will we be able to correctly interpret the hatred of Jews in this region and its echo among Muslims in Europe and develop adequate countermeasures.

    This volume will be of interest to those researching antisemitism, Nazi foreign policy and the political history of the Middle East.

    This book is nominated for the 2023 book prize for the best book on contemporary antisemitism, awarded annually by the London Center for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

    Foreword by Jeffrey Herf  Introduction  1. Islamic antisemitism  2. 1937: The watershed  3. 1939-1945: Goebbels in Arabic  4. 1948 –Arab-Israeli War  5. In the name of Islam


    Matthias Küntzel is a German political scientist and historian. His previous books include Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 and Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold.

    'Matthias Küntzel’s new work is a fascinating and important exploration of the influence of Nazi propaganda during a crucial period in the formation of the modern Middle East. Like all the best books, it challenges the reader to consider familiar terrain from a new perspective, with a fresh analysis rooted in archival sources and rigorous research. The story it tells is, as the title suggests, shocking in its implications.'

    Dr. Dave Rich, Director of Policy at the Community Security Trust, UK

    'This book is required reading and a treasure trove for anyone wanting to discover the antisemitic roots of the Middle East conflict and its devastating consequences.  Animated by a deep desire to counter prejudice, Küntzel deftly transcends prevailing assumptions about the region to reveal how adept the Nazis and their allies were at exporting genocidal antisemitism to the region.'

    R. Amy Elman, Kalamazoo College, USA

    'Combining original archival research with a magisterial survey of the existing scholarship, Matthias Küntzel demonstrates that Islamic anti-Semitism is not a byproduct but an originating cause of the Palestinian-Zionist conflict from at least 1937 on, helping to explain its ongoing violence and intractability.'

    Joseph S. Spoerl, Saint Anselm College, UK

    'This short and accessible book shows that a significant proportion of antisemitism in today's Middle East results from Nazi efforts to influence Islamist and Arab Nationalist thinking. The impact of Soviet antisemitism is already well documented. If antisemitism is not only an effect but also an ongoing cause of conflict between Jews and Arabs, then Matthias Küntzel's scholarship will require many people to think again. It also sheds new light on how this local conflict came to be regarded as globally significant.'

    David Hirsh, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Academic Director and CEO of the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, UK

    'With his usual depth and insight, Matthias Küntzel demonstrates in this book two points that are essential to any understanding of the Islamic antisemitism that pervades not only the Middle East but also the rest of world. First, he explains the centrality of Nazi exterminationist Jew hatred in Islamic Jihadist ideology, particularly as that ideology emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood. Second, he brings out the dangerous ways in which the hybrid of Nazi and Jihadist antisemitism continues to spread throughout the region, from Ankara to Tehran.  Making crucial connections between history and contemporary realities, this book is a must-read for anyone who seeks to fathom the complexities of today’s Middle East and what they bode for tomorrow.'

    David Patterson, Hillel H. Feinberg Distinguished Chair in Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at Dallas, USA

    'This important book sheds light on the unexplored yet crucial impact of Nazi anti-Semitism on modern Islamist movements since the 1930s and their role in mobilizing mass political hostility and military opposition to Israel. In analyzing these aspects of modern Islamist anti-Semitism, Küntzel’s book offers a major contribution both to scholarship and to the struggle for a more humane world.'

    Meir Litvak, Tel Aviv University, Israel

    'This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of antisemitism and hatred of Israel in the Middle East. Nazi propaganda introduced genocidal antisemitism to the Middle East by exploiting traditional anti-Jewish attitudes in Islam. Küntzel illustrates this with previously unseen documents, such as the Nazi pamphlet "Judaism and Islam," published in 1937 in Arabic, and evidence of the Nazi collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood.'

    Günther Jikeli, Erna B. Rosenfeld Associate Professor, Indiana University, USA

    'Matthias Küntzel, author of the pioneering work Jihad and Jew-Hatred, has offered another bold and pathbreaking study of the impact of Nazi Germany on the Middle East, on the emergence of Islamic antisemitism, and of important causes of the Arab Israeli war of 1948. He writes in the spirit of the postwar West German and then German tradition of honest reckoning with the realities and the aftermath of the crimes and hatreds of Nazi Germany. In so doing, he offers a work that synthesizes a sizable scholarly literature, offers new and important archival findings, recasts conventional periodization, and sheds light on persons and ideas that comprised the era of 'post-Nazism' in the Middle East, and should stimulate debate and fresh thinking. With clarity, boldness, and scholarly rigor, he offers us a work that anyone with an interest in these issues in the academy and among general readers, should read and ponder.'

    Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, USA

    'This magnificent documentary book illustrates the ties between the Nazis and the Muslim Brotherhood and shows how Germans launched a vast and systematic propaganda via radio broadcasting in several Middle East languages -- especially in Arabic -- to export and implement Antisemitism in the Arab world. The content of this book is inevitable for understanding Islamic-Antisemitism, its roots and how it manifests itself in our present age.'

    Excerpt from Michael MobasheriAzadi, No.7, Vol 14, p.6, August 2023.

    'Matthias Küntzel, a German political scientist and historian, has written another extremely significant book, which [...] describes how since 1937, the Germans disseminated antisemitic propaganda throughout the Middle East in the Arabic language and how this antisemitism played a “decisive factor,” leading the Arab armies to attempt to destroy the nascent Jewish state.'

    Excerpt from Alex GrobmanThe Jewish Link, August 18, 2023. https://jewishlink.news/1948-revisited/

    'Küntzel’s book is an important one. It is a clear-sighted and timely vindication of the idea that, as Küntzel puts it, it is not “Jewish settlement blocs, but Palestinian ideological blocs, that present the biggest obstacle to a peace settlement.'

    Excerpt from Lyn JuliusJewish News Syndicate, September 19, 2023. https://www.jns.org/antisemitism/israeli-palestinian-conflict/23/9/19/319945/

    'Nazis, Islamic Antisemitism and the Middle East is an important work for anyone who wants to grapple with the emergence of anti-Semitism in the Middle East. Matthias Küntzel should be particularly commended for investigating what some have deemed an illicit subject.'

    Excerpt from Daniel Ben-Ami, Fathom, 'Book Review', February 2024. https://fathomjournal.org/book-review-nazis-islamic-antisemitism-and-the-middle-east/