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Antisemitism, anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel in Germany

Ullrich, Peter

Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung

Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft (ZTG)

The author describes instances of antisemitism in the German discourse, which variously relate to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians or neighbouring Arab states. He shows the presence of a clear link and a significant problem, predominantly among the political right but also among other political spectra that identify themselves nationally or as patriots as well as in radicalised Islamist milieus. Among the (left-wing) solidarity movements Ullrich discovers what he calls a grey zone of ambiguities, where criticism of Israel may resonate with a fragmented antisemitic discourse that may not necessarily be traced back to antisemitic intentions of the respective speakers. He also outlines the developments and learning processes that have taken place within the left. Years of criticism of the left’s harsh anti-Zionism resulted in the establishment of countermovements, parts of which even developed into a militant identification with the Israeli political right. Both antagonist positions are shaping the ongoing political debate (and often harsh controversy).