On April 30, Professor Gerald M. Steinberg was interviewed by the Berlin Spectator regarding German government funding to NGOs that engage in antisemitism.


Gerald M. Steinberg, professor emeritus of political science at Bar Ilan University and President of the Institute for NGO Research in Jerusalem, says Germany is playing a big role in keeping those organizations strong, with a lot of funding.

Imanuel Marcus spoke to him.

The Berlin Spectator: As we have seen in the past weeks, not even a global Coronavirus crisis seems to be stopping antisemitism. How creative are haters today? Is blaming “the Jews” for spreading a virus a new idea?

Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg: The Jewish people and Israel are the ultimate “other”, and the Corona virus is another excuse for suspicion, conspiracy theories and hate from both extremes of the ideological spectrum – left and right. What is particularly disturbing, in this context, is the readiness of governments that claim to oppose antisemitism to turn a blind eye when the haters come from “civil society” on the left, and avow to promote human rights, democracy, or even public health. Many groups that blame Israel for Gaza’s health disaster, for example, or are affiliated with Palestinian terror groups, continue to be funded by the U.N. and the E.U.. This is inexcusable.

The Berlin Spectator: In Germany, antisemites seem to be frustrated about the fact that they cannot bully Jews at cultural events or trade fairs anymore, because none are taking place. They are now disrupting online meetings. A few days ago, they managed to get into an online memorial event organized by the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, with Holocaust survivor Tswi Herschel. They posted photos of Hitler and antisemitic slurs. How is the Corona crisis changing the way antisemitism is being spread?

Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg: Throughout history, antisemites have used whatever means and technologies were available. When social media became popular – in the form of Facebook and Twitter – the hate moved into these platforms. So it is not surprising that, in the era of lockdowns and quarantines, they are “zoombombing” events such as Holocaust memorial ceremonies held by Israeli embassies and Jewish organizations. And the German political elites that participate in more civilized demonization of Israel, including among the political foundations, are not helping.