“This is not imported anti-Semitism”: In a war of words with Lanz, the Iran expert sees anti-Semitism as “our problem”
Many Jews in Germany complain about increasing anti-Semitism in everyday life. At “Markus Lanz”, FDP politician Johannes Vogel made it clear how important German solidarity with Israel is. Meanwhile, historian Michael Wolffsohn doubted the idea of raison d’état.
Since Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel, global uncertainty and polarization have been growing. At “Markus Lanz” on Tuesday evening, FDP politician Johannes Vogel spoke about developments in the Middle East and initially said with dismay that the narrative that Hamas was waging a war of liberation was an “absolute derailment in view of the facts”. Vogel added sternly: “Hamas comes from Gaza as a terrorist organization and it fuels this hatred because it is shaped by the conviction that Israel must be destroyed.” According to the FDP man, this is a “barbaric primal hatred.” which threatens Israel’s existential existence.
“The goal of the Iranian regime is basically power and money”
Looking at the countless atrocities of the past few weeks, Vogel said: “Babies who were beheaded (…). This unbelievable unleashing of inhumanity. It can only get under your skin.” Historian Michael Wolffsohn nodded in agreement and added: “Jewish existence has always been an existence upon revocation.” At the same time, the journalist also made it clear that he certainly had empathy for the Palestinian people who lived under his control Terror leadership suffers. “It is a tragedy for the Palestinian people, not just the people in the Gaza Strip,” said Wolfssohn.
The fact that Wolffsohn could also show his compassion for the Palestinian side brought Iran expert Gilda Sahebi to talk about the extreme polarization of the debate. She made it clear that you are often verbally attacked if you do not take a clearly “pro-Israel” or clearly “pro-Palestinian” position. She added that there was also a battle over the narrative in which the Iranian regime played a major role.
According to Sahebi, the narrative for years has been that Israel is “the imperialist bloc in the Middle East that fights against everything that is Muslim.” Iran therefore sees itself as an “axis of resistance” that is supported by terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. “The goal is that there is (…) the great division – the great polarization between the West and the global south,” said Sahebi. She added: “The goal of the Iranian regime is basically power and money.”
When asked by Lanz, historians can only “smile mildly”
Markus Lanz then addressed the growing anti-Semitism in Germany and asked Michael Wolffsohn: “Israel is German reasons of state. What does that make you feel?” The historian promptly replied: “I can only smile mildly. Those are nice phrases.” According to Wolffsohn, the term is “used in inflationary terms” and is easy to say. “An absurdity!” raged the publicist in an interview with Lanz.
However, Johannes Vogel vehemently contradicted this and said that this was a problem that could not be tolerated: “I think it’s terrible that they say that raison d’état is an empty phrase.” Vogel then drew attention to the growing hatred of Jews in Germany explained: “We have to look, where does this swamp come from? What is the breeding ground?” The FDP politician sees the trigger as, among other things, a “terrifying lack of knowledge about the Middle East conflict”, which is fueled by propaganda and “disinformation from the private environment”. “People are not aware of the basic facts (…) and we have to get there,” promised Vogel.
“This is our anti-Semitism”
Iran expert Gilda Sahebi partly agreed with this, but at the same time noted that the many political debates in the country were also a reason for feeding false narratives. “We are once again having an ethnicized debate. A debate about ‘the’ Muslims,” complained Sahebi. According to the Iran expert, Friedrich Merz’s demand for more deportations in particular is unacceptable because: “This is not imported anti-Semitism. This is our anti-Semitism! These people are in Germany and to suggest that these people don’t belong to Germany because they have a different ethnicity is racist and promotes division.”
Lanz then countered: “I find the thesis of saying that we have no problem with anti-Semitism from immigrants here very difficult.” Sahebi, however, stuck to her opinion: “If we say we are a country of immigration and these people come here, then that’s our problem. Then we have to deal with anti-Semitism.” A thesis that the ZDF presenter couldn’t leave uncommented: “When you come to a country somewhere, there is also an obligation to bring it (…) and at some point you have to understand where you are!”