Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11

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Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 traces the impact of European fascism and Nazism on Arab and Islamic activists. As Kuentzel investigates the shift of global antisemitism from Nazi Germany to parts of the Arab world during and after World War II, he argues that antisemitism is not merely a supplementary feature of modern jihadism, but lies instead at its ideological core. This fascinating study lays bare the antecedents of the antisemitism that runs rampant in our world today.

For anyone interested in exploring the mindset of hatred that led to the crimes in New York and Washington on September 11th, 2001, this book is a must-read. For readers interested in the history of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, this book is a challenge to think outside of a narrowly European context. For everyone, this book provides crucial insight into the roots of terror that continue to threaten all of us.

2007 London Book Festival - Grand Prize Winner.
Independent Publisher Book Awards - Gold Medal.

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About the Author:

Matthias Kuentzel, born in 1955, is a political scientist in Hamburg, Germany. He has served as senior advisor for the German Green Party caucus in the Bundestag, and is currently a Research Associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Kuentzel's essays about Islamism and Antisemitism have been published in The New Republic, Policy Review, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, and Telos, and they have been translated into ten languages.


"Kuentzel's method is a dialectical masterpiece; he is a social scientist who pursues connections. The suicide attacks of the intifada in Israel are, for Kuentzel, inherently linked to the attacks in America on September 11. That explains his remedy for fighting anti-Semitism: 'Whoever does not want to combat anti-Semitism . . . hasn't the slightest chance of beating Islamism.' Kuentzel is in many ways the modern successor to Paul Merker, a rare voice in Germany, who, like Merker's view of Arab princes as embodying 'reactionary interests,' shifts the terms of the discussion to anti-Jewish ideology as the sine qua non of understanding radical political Islam, its destructive energy and its social and political violence." --Benjamin Weinthal, Haaretz

"The pundits in particular would benefit immensely from reading Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 by Matthias Kuentzel.... The book definitely dispels the myth that Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism is purely a consequence of the current Middle East conflict with its recounting of the career of Amin al-Husseini, the British appointed grand mufti of Jerusalem.... Kuentzel's book makes a powerful case that irrespective of whatever anger might be justifiable provoked by any specific Israeli (or American) action, it is not the particular instance of 'escalation' that gives rise to anti-Semitism but a preexistent, virulent anti-Semitic ideology that repeatedly escalates the conflict.... Kuentzel's Jihad and Jew-Hatred is a salutary reminder that policymakers and analysts alike would do well to discard any illusions they may have that, by themselves, the right mix of political concessions negotiated by presumably rational statesmen will extinguish the fires of anti-Semitism that have been stoked for so long in certain quarters of the Arab-Muslim world. Only when the full implications of the ideological dimensions of Islamism, including its congenital anti-Semitism, are acknowledged and confronted can one even begin to sketch out a 'road map for peace' that would be realistic in any meaningful way." --J. Peter Pham, American Foreign Policy Interests

"The small, independent Telos Press deserves kudos for publishing this book by a German historian little known in America. Kuentzel takes Islamic theology seriously, which is why his book is so deeply informative. His Jihad and Jew-Hatred is a compelling historical accound of how modern Islamic extremism has been informed by the anti-Semitism of the Third Reich. Better than anyone before him, Kuentzel makes sense the deep and entangling historical ties between European National Socialism and the Muslim Brotherhood." --Fred Siegel, City Journal

"The German scholar Matthias Kuentzel . . . takes anti-Semitism, and in particular its most potent current strain, Muslim anti-Semitism, very seriously indeed. His bracing, even startling, book, Jihad and Jew-Hatred (translated by Colin Meade), reminds us that it is perilous to ignore idiotic ideas if these idiotic ideas are broadly, and fervently, believed. . . . Kuentzel is right to state that we are witnessing a terrible explosion of anti-Jewish hatred in the Middle East, and he is right to be shocked. His invaluable contribution, in fact, is his capacity to be shocked, by the rhetoric of hate and by its consequences. The former Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi once told me that 'the question is not what the Germans did to the Jews, but what the Jews did to the Germans.' The Jews, he said, deserved their punishment. Kuentzel argues that we should see men like Rantisi for what they are: heirs to the mufti, and heirs to the Nazis." --Jeffrey Goldberg, New York Times

"Heir to the tradition of Critical Theory...Kuentzel's forcefully argued presentation stretches from the origins of twentieth-century Islamism, with the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, to the worldwide wave of anti-Semitism that followed the 9/11 attacks....Reading jihadist anti-Semitism through the lens of German history and intellectual traditions, Kuentzel sheds important light on the category of 'Islamofacism.' While he does not dwell on the terminological debate, his treatment is a compelling response to politically correct efforts to prohibit the term....Jihad and Jew-Hatred adds enormously to our understanding of the roots of contemporary terrorism and challenges us to think through the political substance of the contemporary discourse on terror, the war on terror, and the Middle East." --Russell Berman, Telos

"Matthew Kuentzel, a German researcher, tries in Jihad and Jew-Hatred to trace the lineage of current Muslim anti-Semitism and to assess its place in the weltanschauung of contemporary global jihadists. And while a bit thin and sloppy in his research, Kuentzel is grimly illuminating. What he argues is this: To the pristine layer of Muslim anti-Semitism that sprang from the rejection of Muhammad by the Jewish tribes in 7th century Arabia...was added, during the 1930s and the 1940s, a new layer of Jew-hatred rooted in Nazism....Subsequently, there was anti-Semitic cross-fertilization between the Islamists and nationalists.... Israel has for years been at pains to dismiss the 'Palestine' (and anti-Semitic) motivations of global jihadists. But Kuentzel argues that al-Qaida's assault on the West, first announced in 1998, was and is primarily driven by anti-Semitism. Bin Laden identifies the West/America with 'the Jews' and postulates that ,the Jews are determined to achieve world domination'." --Benny Morris, Il Sole 24 Ore

"Kuentzel presents an interpretation of events that differs from the conventional wisdom. His view seems to be the correct one. As opposed to the illusion of the Israeli establishment, which maintains that the 9/11 attack brought about greater understanding of Israel's problems and raised international awareness of terrorism, Kuentzel argues that 9/11 fostered a tsunami of Jew-hatred....Jihad and Jew-Hatred is perhaps the most important work written in the wake of 9/11. One would have expected similar books to appear in Israel, but this did not happen. Therefore, it is imperative that Kuentzel's book be translated into Hebrew and widely distributed as soon as possible so as to extricate Israelis from the collective amnesia regarding both Egypt since the signing of the peace treaties nearly thirty years ago and the PLO and the Palestinians since the Oslo accords of 1993....Whoever wishes to know the future should learn about the past the Kuentzel exposes in Jihad and Jew-Hatred. This book challenges the views of the Western and Israeli elites who are in charge of thought control and molding public opinion." --Amnon Lord, Jewish Political Studies Review

"What animates Mr. Kuentzel's understandable fury is that although Nazi ideology was stamped out in Europe after 1945, it has continued to work its poisonous mission in the Muslim world. He cites Nazi influence on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which transformed that nation from one where Jews were respected and influential to on where they had no place.... Mr. Kuentzel draws a clear line from Nazi Berlin to September 11. If there is any comfort to be gained from this book, it is in its author's righteous indignation, informed as it is by what he has learned from his own nation's ability to reject and try to atone for its terrible past." --Martin Rubin, The Washington Times

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