Study: In Germany, anti-Semitic hate mail doesn’t come from far-right

Over months, Prof. Monika Schwarz-Friesel read 14,000 letters, emails and faxes sent to the Israeli embassy in Berlin and the Central Council of Jews in Germany. She was looking for an answer to a question that had preoccupied her for some time: What does anti-Semitism look like in Germany at the start of the 21st century? “I wanted to find out how modern anti-Semites think, feel and communicate,” said Schwarz-Friesel, a linguistics professor at the Technical University of Berlin.

What they discovered is that more than 60 percent of the letters were sent by educated Germans, including university professors. The proportion sent by right-wing extremists was negligible – about 3 percent. “At first, we thought that most of the letters would be sent by right-wing extremists,” Schwarz-Friesel said. “But I was very surprised to discover that they were actually sent by people from the social mainstream – professors, Ph.Ds, lawyers, priests, university and high-school students.”

Still another surprise was the fact that there is no significant difference between the extreme right’s anti-Semitism and that of the educated mainstream. About 80 percent of the hate mail was anti-Israel. Surveying these letters led Schwarz-Friesel to an unambiguous conclusion: “Today, it’s already impossible to distinguish between anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Modern anti-Semites have turned ‘the Jewish problem’ into ‘the Israeli problem.’ They have redirected the ‘final solution’ from the Jews to the State of Israel, which they see as the embodiment of evil.”

Ce qu’on devine c’est que la gauche est devenue le porte-étendard de l’antisémitisme…