Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld (Ph.D. Amsterdam University) is former Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He specializes in Israeli-Western Europe relations, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism. Email: [email protected]

The Failed Halle Synagogue Massacre Reveals the Dysfunction of German Law

| November 7, 2019

The failed attack on the synagogue in the German town of Halle on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, once again exposed the dysfunction of the law in the German liberal democracy. Efforts were made to draw attention away from the shortcomings of the police and authorities by blaming the German right-wing party, AfD. This backfired when an AfD parliamentarian exposed huge government shortcomings in the battle against extremists as well as anti-Israelism in mainstream German society.

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Antisemitism Is Woven into Western Culture

| October 24, 2019

It is not difficult to prove that antisemitism is an integral part of Western culture. To be clear: this is radically different from saying that all Europeans are antisemites. Yet Western politicians and leaders almost never admit this evident reality about their societies’ cultures.

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Berlin: Capital of European Antisemitism

| October 3, 2019

Berlin has surpassed Malmö as Europe’s antisemitism capital, with a wide variety of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel attitudes on display. They include dozens of cases of physical aggression against Jews, including rabbis. Jewish pupils have had to leave public schools. Thirty-five percent of Berliners view Israelis as analogous to Nazis. An Al-Quds Day march takes place annually that calls for the destruction of Israel. Both the municipality and the federal government are two-faced  about the problem of antisemitism.

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“Smokescreening” – Anti-Israel Sentiment Expressed Through False Friendship

| September 24, 2019

Smokescreening, the false pretense of friendship toward Israel, is a common practice. Practitioners include US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, former US president Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and German FM Heiko Maas. There is also a mirror phenomenon in which Israeli leaders identify smokescreeners as friends, as when Israeli president Reuven Rivlin called German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier a “true friend of Israel.”

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Omar, Tlaib, and Israel’s Nonexistent Anti-Propaganda Agency

| September 9, 2019

The clumsy manner in which the Israeli government handled the non-visit to Israel of US Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar was not a mere mishap. It resulted from a structural problem. The government’s refusal to establish an anti-propaganda agency has led to repeated public relations failures against vile verbal aggression.

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Israel Must Remain Vigilant in Its Relations with Poland

| September 1, 2019

In view of Poland’s historical treatment of Jews, Israel must remain ever-vigilant that there be no falsification of history as Polish-Israeli relations develop. There is a strong desire in Poland to whitewash or otherwise minimize horrible events. Provided the Israeli authorities calibrate their statements and stick to the facts, they will maintain the moral high ground in the relationship.  

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Contemporary Jewish Academics and the Masochist Tradition

| August 20, 2019

There is a strong trend of masochism in the contemporary Jewish world, the origins of which can be found in the Tanach [the Hebrew Bible]. The tradition of Jewish masochism continues through Talmudic expression and into later Jewish literature, and can also be found in the prayer book. One of many recent examples is a letter by 240 Israeli and Jewish scholars to the German government rejecting the parliamentary motion equating BDS with antisemitism.

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Dissent in Labour Rises Following BBC Revelations

| August 7, 2019

Dissent inside the British Labour Party has increased following the recent broadcast of a BBC Panorama documentary on antisemitism within the party’s ranks. One-third of Labour members of the House of Lords published an advertisement attacking Corbyn’s position on antisemitism. A great majority of Labour staff members accepted a motion against the party leadership’s attitude toward employees. As many of Corbyn’s opponents prefer to fight the ineffectiveness of Labour leadership on the antisemitism problem rather than leave the party, this internal battle is unlikely to go away any time soon.

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The BBC Revelations: Holocaust Promoters Inside the Labour Party

| July 24, 2019

One of the most sensational revelations of the recently screened BBC Panorama documentary on antisemitism within the British Labour Party is the presence there of actual Holocaust promoters. The documentary did not address every element of Labour antisemitism, but did provide much new information on “smokescreening” by the leadership: the practice of falsely claiming that it took determined action against antisemitism when in fact it took only partial, lukewarm action.

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The Berlin Jewish Museum Scandal

| July 14, 2019

The recent resignation of Peter Schäfer, Director of the Berlin Jewish Museum, follows a series of missteps by the museum that have led the German Jewish umbrella organization to declare that the museum has lost the trust of the community. Schäfer, a respected scholar, resigned from a position that requires an experienced manager with profound political understanding and instincts who is able to operate in what is for German Jews a highly problematic reality.

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