‘After Auschwitz’, said the German philosopher and social critic Theodor Adorno, we should embrace a new categorical imperative: ‘arrange your thoughts and actions so that Auschwitz will not repeat itself, so that nothing similar will happen’. But what is the meaning of that imperative today? In a lengthy essay, Stephan Grigat makes the case that ‘If we want to be serious about Adorno’s categorical imperative, then we should do everything to prevent the Iranian regime from realising its murderous ideology.’ The essay was written in Summer 2020.
Part 1: Understanding Antisemitism
It is often said that antisemitism is a result of a lack of knowledge about Jews, Judaism or the Jewish state. I think that this idea is not only wrong, but also underestimates the problem. Were it correct, the situation would not be nearly so bad and could be easily addressed, for example, through meetings between Jewish and non-Jewish young people, synagogue open days and study trips to Israel. Of course, all these things should be done; however, they will not banish antisemitism, because it is a comprehensive worldview of a delusional-projective kind. Instead of downplaying antisemitism as mere prejudice, we have to decipher it through a critique of the ‘antisemitic society’, as Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer put it in Dialectic of Enlightenment. Antisemitism is best understood not as an anthropological constant but as an ever-changing, always delusional reaction of some non-Jews to their experience of an always-evolving society.
From this point of view, the antisemitism of the 20th and 21st century can be seen as the epitome of anti-emancipatory ideology, in which hatred of enlightenment, self-awareness and freedom are combined. Because capitalist society is uncomprehended, fetishistic and self-mystifying, it contains a tremendous urge towards the delusional concretisation of abstraction (i.e. to put a tangible name and face on the source of distress). To simplify, this need to scapegoat, which seems to me to be one of the decisive elements of anti-Semitism, is, then, inherent to modern capitalist society. The task of any materialist critique of antisemitism is to make visible the connection between the antisemites and the society that produces them. In a delusional projection onto the ‘Jewish principle’ and its supposed physical embodiments, antisemites are fighting against social and individual ambivalences, and against individual and social contradictions and crises. This seems to me to be the constant factor in the different manifestations of antisemitism.
At the same time, however, we must make it clear that this connection exculpates neither the antisemite nor the society. Even in such an unfree society, individuals who decide to engage in hatred and violence against Jews are responsible for their decisions and must be held to account for them.
Antisemitism is a regressive revolt against the global principle of subject-less rule and the experience of alienation or loss of control in the face of an abstract economy and a political system perceived as a burden and a threat. Understood in this way, antisemitism is a basic ideology of a capitalist society that produces its own negation, both positively and negatively. The critique of the fetishism and mystification of capitalist society developed in Karl Marx’s critique of political economy is of decisive importance for the critique of this ideological worldview. The conceptual sharpness of the developed critique of political economy is necessary in order to prevent or at least decisively impede the mutation of economic criticism into persecutory resentment.
A critique of antisemitism must show that it is not simply a form of racism directed against Jews. This does not mean that it must be fought more than racism. But it does mean keeping in mind the different modes of operation of racism and antisemitism in order to be able to combat both more effectively. Racism expresses a demarcation from ‘those of lesser worth’. The victims of racism are reproached not for their superiority but for their inferiority. Racism is directed at the powerlessness of the racially classified.
Antisemites have always been aware of the vulnerability of the Jews, which enabled a one-sided onslaught on them – at least prior to the establishment of Israel. However, they imagine their prospective victims, in sharp contrast to the victims of racism, not as powerless, but as all-powerful. In the eyes of the antisemites, Jews, as the embodiment of abstraction, as the tangible face they give to their anxiety, the cause of their otherwise causeless troubles, rule the whole world. This is something which, in the minds of racists, would be beyond the capacities of the victims of racism. To put it another way: nobody fantasises about an ‘African world conspiracy’. Antisemites fantasise about their destruction by a superior intellect, by the ‘masters of money’ or, more recently, by a Jewish statehood that is deemed illegitimate. They see themselves as forestalling this imagined threat through the destruction of this abstraction in the form of the Jews, whether individually or as a sovereign political entity.
It is of the essence of antisemitism that Jews are placed in a no-win situation. Rich Jews are faulted for their success and the poor are derided as scroungers. The assimilated Jew is deemed a treacherous subverter of the people, the traditionalist an incorrigible misfit. The sexually active Jew is considered a corrupter of youth, the abstinent an impotent weakling. Anything Jews do will be used by antisemites as new material for their delusions. Should a behaviour not fit into the projective imagery of an antisemite, the unexpected action will be construed as a particularly devious means of hiding the Jew’s true intentions.
The critique of anti-Semitism, then, must be concerned not with the objects, but the subjects of antisemitism: so, not with the Jews, Judaism or the Jewish state, but with the psychic needs and the sometimes conscious and sometimes unconscious motives of the Jew-hater.
Part 2: Three modes of combating antisemitism: education, social change, coercion
In the face of the antisemitic agitation that is required to produce and sustain the persecutory mentality, we are not powerless. The aim must be to counteract the antisemitic delusions that antisemites allow themselves to be terrified by, promoting self-understanding and encouraging self-criticism.
First, we may use education, so that individuals learn to deal with these individual and social ambivalences, contradictions and crises in a mature and responsible way. However, one must keep in mind the ‘limits of enlightenment’, a phrase that not by chance was used by Adorno and Horkheimer as a sub-title for their famous essay ‘Elements of antisemitism’. Every action, whether political, police, judicial or even military that is directed towards the prevention of antisemitic practice and propaganda is proof that genuinely effectively resistance to antisemitism is possible. However, these urgently necessary defensive measures cannot put a definitive ‘end to antisemitism’.
So, second, we should also seek to establish new social relations that promote an essential minimum of individual and social reflection and the formation of an effective maturity. Antisemitism can, in the last analysis, only be made to disappear through the abolition of its social foundations. ‘An end to antisemitism’ would therefore ultimately mean the establishment of a society free from domination and exploitation in which everyone could be different without fear or pressure. However, even in this society, the ‘arm of criticism and the criticism of arms’, to paraphrase the young Marx, are also effective against antisemitic agitation and practice.
Third, – as the impact of education is necessarily limited, and the establishment of new social relations is a distant horizon – the antisemites must be prevented from pursuing their goals, the culmination of which is mass murder, by coercion. Adorno was right to say that in the face of blatant antisemitism, the ‘available means of coercion’ should be used ‘without sentimentality.’ This is true both within the framework of the nation-state and in the confrontation with antisemitic actors on the international stage.
We need to observe not only Marx’s categorical imperative but also Adorno’s. Yes, we need Marx’s – overturn all relations in which man is a humiliated, enslaved, forsaken and contemptible being’ – in order to maintain at least the theoretical possibility of envisaging a final end to antisemitism. But Adorno’s post-Auschwitz categorical imperative is for now: the need for ‘unfree mankind to arrange their thoughts and actions so that Auschwitz will not repeat itself, so that nothing similar will happen’.
Part 3: Islamic antisemitism is a clear and present danger
The analysis of the geopolitical reproduction of antisemitism in the form of anti-Zionism is now a central task for a critical theory of antisemitism. When, at demonstrations in Europe, Hamas and Hezbollah flags are quite openly displayed, and in Germany phrases such as ‘Jew, Jew cowardly pig, come out and fight alone’ are shouted by hundreds without any intervention from the police, and when a leader of a NATO member country, Turkey, states that the defensive measures taken by Israel against Hamas and Islamic Jihad surpass the barbarism of Nazis without this having any consequences, we get an idea of the isolation of the Jewish state.
In discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one constantly comes up against the assertion that antisemitism in the Arab and Islamic countries is a result of the Middle East conflict. Against this, educational efforts at all levels must explain the extent to which Arab and Islamic antisemitism are a central cause of this conflict, whose course they have decisively influenced both in the past and the present. In the academic sphere, we need institutes devoted to the criticism of antisemitism that do not restrict themselves to historical research into European Jew-hatred, but make a priority of the study of contemporary Israel-fixated antisemitism.
3.1 Roots: The Muslim Brotherhood
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who, as a preacher on Al Jazeera and head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, is one of Sunni Islam’s most influential intellectuals, has gone beyond denying the Holocaust and now presents it as an example to be followed. According to him, Hitler was the ‘ultimate punishment’ for the Jews, inflicted on them by Allah for their depravity. In the future, he believes, the Muslims must take on the task. In 2009, he stated that, ‘God willing, the next time this punishment will be inflicted by the hand of the Faithful.’ The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, in which Al-Qaradawi has his roots, shaped all the later currents of radical Islam, including the Iranian regime and Hezbollah. While these latter are, of course, in some respects in competition with Brotherhood groups and parties, they can also cooperate with them, especially when it comes to fighting Israel and with respect to a shared hostility to the rulers of Saudi Arabia, considered by some supporters of the Iranian regime to be descendants of Jews.
The prototypical Islamist organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood, was founded in 1928, in the same period as the rise of the fascist mass organisations in Europe. It also drew inspiration from the writings of the Iranian Islamists of the 19th century. The Nazis actively supported the establishment of the Brotherhood materially and ideologically. After 1945, it became the ‘biggest antisemitic organisation in the world’, with around a million members. The rapid rise in its membership at the beginning of the 1930s resulted – like the support for European fascism and Nazism, but in a different religious context – from a massive and delusional projective reaction to the crisis-ridden onslaught of capitalist modernity. This reaction against the ambivalences and emancipatory potential of modernity was also one of the main grounds for the mass support for Khomeini from the 1960s onwards in Iran.
While the political programme of the Muslim Brotherhood was legitimated by reference to the religious texts of Islam, resulting in clear differences from fascism and Nazism in spheres such as sexual morality and gender politics, it closely resembled and still closely resembles that of the radical right in Europe in crucial politico-economic respects: rejection of parliamentarianism and multi-party democracy, struggle against liberalism and Marxism, demonisation of interest and proclamation of a community of interest between capital and labour, which has to be defended against the allegedly destructive forces of an abstraction identified as Jewish.
In their advocacy of sacrifice, their death cult and their antisemitism, texts such as Industry of Death, issued by the Brotherhood’s founder Hassan al-Banna in 1938, or Sayyid Qutb’s 1950 tract, Our Struggle with the Jews, recall Nazism, despite their Islamic orientation. And these pamphlets are still disseminated in millions of copies in some Islamic countries. Before the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Sayyid Qutb’s writings were translated into Farsi by Iran’s current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and continue to form one of the central ideological reference points of the Iranian Islamists.
Just like the Nazis, even if less successfully, the Sunni jihadists and Iranian Islamists are concerned not only with the enlistment of a people for the purposes of exploitation and domination, but with the formation of a society of martyrs, in which the individual sacrifices himself for the umma, the community of all Muslims. Despite all the real and significant differences in historic context, legitimating references, economic and political structures and military capability, the hate objects of the Islamic Jihadists resemble those of Nazism: communism and materialism, liberalism and Western ‘plutocracy’, individualism, emancipation and Zionism.
After 1946, Hassan al-Banna showered praise on Amin el-Husseini, the rabidly antisemitic Mufti of Jerusalem, who had collaborated with the Nazis and resided in Berlin after 1941. He managed to evade prosecution by the Allies after the Second World War by fleeing to Cairo, where, in 1946, al-Banna, today still a revered figure, declared of him: ‘What a hero, what a miracle of a man […] who defied an empire with the help of Hitler and Germany and fought against Zionism. Germany and Hitler are no more, but Amin Al-Husseini will pursue the struggle.’
Recently, the German-Egyptian writer Hamed Abdel-Samad has brought the term ‘Islamic fascism’ back into the discussion, emphasising the links between Islamism in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular with fascism and Nazism. Unfortunately, he does so resting on a dubious exegesis of Islamic theology rather than on an ideological-critical understanding of antisemitism in which modern Islamic Jew-hatred is decoded as a projective repudiation of a new, ambivalent and potentially emancipatory form of society: as a form of modern anti-modernism. The specific quality of the Islamic antisemitism characteristic of the Brotherhood and Iranian regime is missed. As Kuntzel has put it, ‘only here do we find the degrading anti-Judaism of early Islam fused with modern conspiracy-theorising antisemitism.’
Today, use of the term ‘Islamic fascism’ excites kneejerk reactions, particularly in parts of the Left. However, it is virtually unavoidable when it comes to dealing with authoritarian antisemitic mass movements with a leader cult and martyrdom ideology, that wage permanent campaigns against groups deemed threatening to the unity of the umma, use unrestrained brute force against political opponents and advocate a ‘third way’ between capitalism and socialism, East and West.
A more serious question is whether the fixation on the term ‘fascism’ does not tend to underplay the antisemitic dimension, since the centrality of antisemitism in all variants of the Islamist discourse make it far closer to Nazism, despite all the differences in other spheres, than to classical fascism of the Italian variety. This centrality is especially clear in the case of the Islamist ideology of the regime that has ruled Iran since 1979 and its allies such as Hezbollah, which today present one of the main threats to Israel.
3.2 Fruits: The Iranian Regime
The Iranian regime’s antisemitism has taken three forms: the traditional Jew-hatred that is especially apparent in, but not confined to its founder, Khomeini, who is still revered by the regime’s supporters; the denial and relativisation of the Holocaust; the explicit commitment to destroy Israel and the regional policies that results from that commitment. I will discuss these three forms in more detail below, but first it is necessary to establish in some detail the unique character of the Iranian regime and its ‘Islamic Revolution’ for that character is often misunderstood by western politician and policy-makers.
The Character of the Iranian Regime
What distinguishes the Iranian regime from other despotisms conditioned by Islam, and makes it especially dangerous is the combination of a revolutionary-activist Islamism centred on belief in the Mahdi, the state-driven effort to obtain the technology for weapons of mass destruction and a radical anti-Zionism shared by all currents within the regime. The Mahdi is the hidden Twelfth Shiite Imam who, it is believed, will one day return. Under the Iranian Constitution, it is he, rather than the Supreme Leader, who is the head of state in Iran. Vilayat-e Faqih, the ‘guardianship of the Islamic Jurists’, is intended, through puritanical terror within and the export of the Islamic revolution abroad, to pave the way for his return. The regime that has ruled Iran since 1979 openly proclaims its religious-ideological goal of world rule. Proving the existence of this claim does not require sophisticated critical techniques. A brief look at the explicit content of the writings of the regime’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is quite enough. Moreover, Ali Khamenei, who has described Israel as a ‘cancerous tumour that should be cut and will be cut’, has also made clear statements in this respect.
The antisemitic and conspiracy-theorising worldview and the threats of destruction against Israel, shared by all factions of the regime, play a decisive and indeed necessary role in integrating the hostile gangs of the Iranian regime, and the factional fight is not only over who is to get the biggest share of the pie, but also over who can best advance the program of eliminatory anti-Zionism. In the original and for a long time operational conception of the Islamic Republic, the Supreme Leader ruled over the factions and mediated between them. The ‘Prince of the Believers’ – as one of the many titles held by the Leader describes him – embodies the awareness that, as Khomeini once put it, the regime needs two wings in order to achieve its goals and would be in danger of falling if one of them were simply to be cut off.
This conception was called into question by Khamenei’s clear and early support for Ahmadinejad during the 2009 electoral farce. Since Rouhani’s election in 2013, it has once again become operational. One expression of this restoration has been the composition of Rouhani’s first government. In choosing his ministers, Rouhani took into account the wishes of almost all the factions to create a kind of grand coalition in order to broaden the base of the regime and so strengthen it for the prospective annihilation effort. Admittedly, supporters of Ahmadinejad and his longstanding spiritual mentor and political promoter Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who has declared that ‘the Jews are the most corrupt in the world, […] the most seditious group among all human beings and they will not leave Muslims alone until they destroy Islam’, were not represented in Rouhani’s first cabinet. However, the fact that Khamenei has appointed Ahmadinejad a member of the influential Expediency Council shows that even this faction, which stands for an especially radical interpretation of the Mahdi doctrine, continues to play a role. That still holds true after Ahmadinejad was disqualified from the presidential race in 2017 by the Guardian Council. In October 2019, during the second term of President Rouhani, Iranian cleric Ebad Mohammabtabar declared, ‘God willing, when the Hidden Imam arrives, all us Muslims will, under his leadership, confront the biggest enemy of Islam – the Jews. According to a Quaranic verse, the Jews are the greatest enemy of Islam.’
The struggle for official positions and influence between the spiritual, political and military leaderships, the Revolutionary Guards, secret services and economic elites, and the Larijani brothers, the Khamenei circle and the Rafsanjani clan has calmed down a bit under Rouhani. Since 2013, the various factions must pay somewhat more heed to the overall interests of the regime. However, the interest groups have not disappeared and further such conflicts are inevitable, particularly in relation to efforts to contain the power of the Revolutionary Guards.
Khamenei himself was clearly determined to reign in the Pasdaran’s power somewhat, following speculation during Ahmadinejad’s term of office about whether the Guards, who had been extending their control over ever widening spheres of economic and political life, really needed the clergy anymore and whether the theocracy might turn into an open military dictatorship. As a result, there were only three Pasdaran ministers in Rouhani’s first government whereas over half of the members of Ahmadinejad’s first cabinet were recruited from either the Revolutionary Guards or Basiji. However, this shift has nothing to do with some kind of wind of moderation. It represents merely a shift between power centres, in this case towards the traditional security apparatus, which is in competition with the Pasdaran, and in particular in favour of the VEVAK security service, which was more strongly represented in Rouhani’s first government than in any since 1979.
The Iranian regime’s aggressive foreign policy, which is characterised simultaneously by pragmatism and a mania for annihilation, corresponds domestically with a social form of organisation that is characterised by the rule of competing gangs or ‘rackets.’ Drawing on Max Horkheimer’s theory of a racket and Franz Neumann’s study Behemoth, Gerhard Scheit analysed the Islamic Republic as a ‘non-state.’ According to his analysis, the Islamist revolution of 1979 represents ‘the opposite of the bourgeois revolution, which triumphed in France. Both revolutions lifted the state’s monopoly on the use of force and replaced it with the power of terrorist groups. However, in one case, the terror results in the rule of law that is guaranteed for the sake of capital’s realisation by a new monopoly on violence. And in the other case, terror continues undiminished in the different forms of Sharia and sees itself shielded by the name of Allah and oil revenues.’
Since Khomeini’s accession, the Iranian regime has been characterised by a rivalry of rackets hostile to each other while the supreme religious leader reigns above all. In this way, the whole Iranian constitution cannot be understood as a form of bourgeois law: ‘The complex structure of the constitution is merely there to provide room for the disparate activities of these rackets, who declaredly prefer the state of emergency.’ Since 1979, parallel to the state’s organs, additional institutions have been formed in Iran. The influence of the regular courts of justice is restricted through the existence of numerous special courts. Beyond those military tribunals that are common in other countries, there exist so called ‘Revolutionary Courts,’ the ‘Court for the Justice of Bureaucracy,’ the ‘Special Court for the Clergy,’ and ‘Press Courts.’ Besides the national army, the Pasdaran has been established as an alternative revolutionary military force, which today is one of the most influential and probably the most dangerous racket within the regime’s power structure. The Revolutionary Guards not only represent the regime’s military elite unit, but also one of the most important economic conglomerates in Iran, which provides its members with economic and social gains. For several years now, the Pasdaran have used their military power to gain control of crucial branches of Iran’s economy, particularly in the realm of foreign trade.
Similar to German National Socialism, but in a different way, the Islamic ‘non-state’ of Iran is capitalist and anti-capitalist at the same time: ‘Its position on ownership of the means of production is different in the respect that in the form of an industrialised mode of production this kind of ownership only exists to a minimal extent. Universal law and contract have disappeared here as well, replaced by the rackets’ arbitrary course of actions.’
A central difference to National Socialism, however, is its position on labour. The affiliation with the Islamist collective, different from Nazi Germany, has almost nothing to do with labour as a commodity: ‘In such a collective, even somebody, who does not have any prospect for a job, can feel useful and not superfluous, even when he does not expect the umma to provide him with one. Everything beyond the racket system that threatens and exposes the individual to superfluousness, the individual projects on a total enemy, the Gegen-Volk (‘counter-nation’).’ These projections culminate in a suicidal desire for annihilation that concentrates on the State of Israel, that includes self-sacrifice, and that is virtually invoked by the Iranian Islamists’ ideology of martyrdom.
The Iranian Regime’s Three Forms of Antisemitism
(i) The Iranian Regime’s Jew-Hatred
Explicit Jew-hatred is especially marked in Khomeini’s pre-revolutionary writings, but even after 1979 it continually breaks through and today determines, alongside traditional Islamic laws, discriminatory practices against Iran’s Jewish minority.
In the latter part of the 1930s, the future revolutionary leader Khomeini was a regular listener to the National Socialist shortwave radio station, Radio Zeesen, which disseminated antisemitic Nazi propaganda in the Middle East. This does not mean that Khomeini identified totally with Hitler’s ideology, about which he is said sometimes to have made disparaging remarks. Other religious notables, such as Ayatollah Abu al-Qasem Kashani, among whose pupils Khomeini must be reckoned and who in the 1940s was interned in Iran because of his ‘pro-fascist’ attitude , however, took an explicitly positive stance towards Nazism. In relation to antisemitism, the current Iranian regime is a classic example of the continued impact of Nazism after its military defeat.
Khomeini’s ideology was not directed solely against the Israeli state, but, particularly pre-1979, was open about its antagonism to the Jews. In this respect, the future revolutionary leader could draw on the tradition of 19th century Persian-Islamic antisemitism. On several occasions, Khomeini attacked his main political target, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as a ‘Jew’ who took his orders from Israel  The linkage of his fantasies about a ‘Jewish world-state’ that had to be fought, through which he projected his own megalomania onto its prospective Jewish victims, with traditional anti-Jewish attitudes is a classic example of the fusion of Islamic anti-Judaism and modern antisemitism that characterises Islamic antisemitism.
The continuing presence of Jewish communities in Iran is often used to call into question the antisemitic character of the regime. It is indeed true that at present Jews in Iran are not persecuted to the same extent as other religious minorities such as the Baha’i that are not recognised as ‘religions of the book.’ However, this argument overlooks the fact that Iran’s Jews do not enjoy equal civil rights. The Jewish minority faces systematic discrimination and is obliged constantly to distance itself from Israel. Even authors who otherwise downplay Khomeini’s explicitly anti-Jewish statements as ‘polemic’ admit that Jews are considered dhimmis, who are subject to many special rules and disabilities and have to accept Islamic domination. Jews – like most of the other ‘recognised’ minorities – cannot be, e.g., ministers, judges or teachers in regular schools. All the recognised minorities are subject to discriminatory rules for example regarding inheritance, giving evidence in court and in the operation of the ‘blood money’ system – the financial compensation paid to the family of someone who has been killed or to the victim who has been injured through negligence – which discriminates between Muslims and non-Muslims and between men and women. In the circumstances, it is not surprising that about 90 per cent of the estimated 100-150,000 Jews who lived in the country before the Islamic Revolution of 1979 have since departed.
Despite the fact that, since the revolution, Khomeini, Khamenei and other leading figures in the regime have publicly stated on several occasions that their policy and ideology is not directed against Jews, as long as they distance themselves from Zionism and accept Islamic rule, there have also been explicitly anti-Jewish statements from by no means marginal figures that pay no heed to this rhetorical distinction. It is common to find the terms Jew and Zionist or Jewry and Zionism used interchangeably in Iranian official propaganda.
(ii) The Iranian Regime’s Holocaust Denial
The heyday of Holocaust denial came during the presidency of Ahmadinejad, who placed it at the centre of his policy and rhetoric, but both his predecessors, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani und Mohammed Khatami, were also Holocaust deniers, as is the current Supreme Guide, Ali Khamenei. Since 2013, the current president and his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have toned the Holocaust denial down somewhat, but even under Hassan Rouhani Iranian official bodies have been involved in Holocaust denial events.
The relativisation of Nazi crimes has been promoted by the Rouhani administration itself – an example being Zarif’s statement that, ‘we condemn the Nazis’ massacre of the Jews. And we also condemn the massacres of Palestinians committed by the Zionists’. Here he not only downgrades the Shoah to a massacre, but also declares the Israelis to be the Nazis of today. Many international observers chose to interpret this statement as a clear break with Holocaust denial. In fact, it represents a modernisation of antisemitism by adapting it to international anti-Israel custom and practice.
Finally, it must be remembered that the official line on such matters is set not by the President or Foreign Minister, but by the clerical Supreme Leader whose powers include the right of appointment to over 100 leading positions in the political, judicial, administrative, military, media and religious institutions. ‘Holocaust denial is the official position of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and no Iranian official can do anything against it.’
Iran’s recent history of Holocaust denial competitions, conferences and films is revealing, if we would but look. The first international competition for ‘Holocaust cartoons’ took place in 2005 shortly after Ahmadinejad became President. The competition, in which ‘artists’ from 63 countries took part, was organised by the Hamshahri Institute which produces the popular magazine of the same name on behalf of the Tehran city authorities. A selection from the almost 1,200 entries went on public display in August 2006.
In December 2006, under the title, ‘Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision,’ the most representative Holocaust denial conference to date took place in Iran, organised by the Institute for Political and International Studies, which is attached to the Iranian Foreign Ministry. It was opened by the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouschehr Mottaki and President Ahmadinejad attended the closing ceremony.
The event brought together the Who’s Who of the international Holocaust denial scene. Among those present were the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, Bradley Smith from the ‘Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust,’ the German-Australian right-wing extremist Frederick Toeben, Georges Theil and Robert Faurisson from France and Herbert Schaller und Wolfgang Fröhlich from Austria. In the years following this conference, the Iranian official media played a crucial role in the discussions among and networking within the international Holocaust denial movement.
In 2012 the Iranian regime stepped up its antisemitic agitation when, on 19 April, the Israeli day of commemoration of the Shoah, the state broadcaster showed ten animated films that denied the Holocaust in a form otherwise found only among declared old and neo-Nazis. All the animations are based on the book Holocartoons, illustrated by Maziar Bijani and written by Omid Mehdinejad, which was presented by the Iranian Minister of Education, Aliresa al-Ahmadi, in 2008 and was in subsequent years globally disseminated over the Internet in several languages. To get an impression of the nauseating character of this explicitly antisemitic effort, it is sufficient to describe the opening scene, which appears in all ten of the films:
‘We see a Nazi – recognisable from the swastika on his armband – holding a large spraycan with ‘gas’ written on it. He activates it. As soon as the screen is totally obscured by the gas, a hook-nosed worm, giggling loudly and marked as Jewish by a kippah, appears and eagerly sucks in the Nazi gas with relish. Finally, he loudly belches out two little clouds of gas that form the word ‘Holocaust’’. The episodes that follow this introduction are on the same level. ‘One of the films concerns a strange steel contraption displaying the words ‘gas chamber’. The same ten Jews enter from the front and exit from the back of the chamber, while a meter counts the number of through-passages and at the number ‘six million’ rings loudly. Then the ten Jews fall laughing hysterically into one another’s arms, having perfectly simulated the murder of six million, although not a single one has died.’
Matthias Küntzel notes that these films reveal the global significance of the Iranian regime’s Holocaust denial: the use of animation in itself indicates that they are aimed at a global audience. Whatever speech and text there is, is in English. And indeed these pieces were disseminated worldwide, including on YouTube.
In 2014 – after Rouhani had become President – the Iranian regime once again provided a platform in Tehran for the International of Conspiracy Theorists and Antisemites with the ‘2nd New Horizon Conference of Independent Thinkers’. This time, alongside the traditional Holocaust deniers, the bulk of the guests were ‘9/11 Truthers’. The left-liberal Israeli daily Haaretz has described the New Horizon conferences as networking meetings for ‘Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Russian imperialists, Ukrainian fascists, Chinese spies, Qaddafi devotees, Corbyn fans, Assad apologists, neo-Nazis, Trump devotees, French Holocaust deniers, Western anti-war feminists, African American separatists, Venezuelan socialists and anti-Semites of every conceivable form and type’.
In 2015, the second international Holocaust cartoons competition took place under the auspices of the Iran House of Cartoon and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex with participants from over 50 countries. In May 2016 a selection of cartoons went on show at the 11th International Cartoon Biennial and in the Palestine Contemporary Art Museum in Tehran.
In the West, Foreign Minister Zarif claimed that such events were organised by bodies without ties to the State. According to Majid Mohammadi, however, there is no doubt about the responsibility of Rouhani’s government for the Holocaust cartoon contest and similar events: ‘The expenses of these activities are totally paid by governmental institutions, whether military, cultural, municipal, or religious. These institutions, their pseudo branches, and seemingly private affiliates […] may have misleading titles, but they are all organised, financed, and managed under the Supreme Guide’s office, his appointed bodies, and the executive branch headed by the President.’
On leader.ir, Khamenei’s official English-language website, it has continued to be possible, under Rouhani’s Presidency, to read about the ‘myth’ of the Holocaust. Moreover, other prominent figures in the regime have repeatedly spoken in the same vein. Thus Rafsanjani declared on Iranian state radio that his personal researches had led him to the conclusion that Hitler murdered no more than 20,000 Jews. The former President, who, until his death in 2017 was Chairman of the influential Expediency Council, stated, during a visit by the Minister-President of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, that before the Second World War, the Zionists had destabilised Europe with money and media. Germany had wished to take revenge and ‘send these people to Palestine’, leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. In contrast to his earlier statements, in this case Rafsanjani was ready to admit to at least the possibility that six million Jews might have died in the war. However, according to him, this was nothing in comparison with his delusional claim of 20 million deaths and 8 million refugees after the foundation of Israel. His successor, Khatami, meanwhile, who to this day is often presented as the model of a ‘reformist Islamist’, became one of the most passionate defenders of the French Holocaust denier, Roger Garaudy and arranged for him to have an audience with Khamenei. At the end of 2019 Khamenei on Twitter praised Garaudy’s ‘bravery and tirelessness’.
In an interview on CNN in 2013, when asked a direct question about the Holocaust, Rouhani answered that he was a politician and not a historian and could not therefore say anything about the ‘dimensions of historical events.’ In May 2019, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Interior Minister under Ahmadinejad, then Justice Minister in Rouhani’s first cabinet and now an advisor to the Head of the Iranian judiciary, aggressively challenged the reality of the ‘so-called Holocaust’, declaring, that, ‘If we are fighting the Jews – Zionism – then we are fighting the contemporary invasive civilisation of arrogance.’
Majid Mohammadi succinctly summarises the different approaches to Holocaust denial of the Iranian regime’s various factions – which differ not about the basic aims of the Islamic Republic, but how to achieve them: ‘The only difference between the reformists […] and nonreformists […] is their tactics: reformists believe that denying the Holocaust is not a priority […], while the nonreformists believe that hatred against Israel and Jews will increase the Islamic Republic’s influence in the region. They believe that exhibitions of Holocaust cartoons help the Islamic Republic to promote its objectives and strategies to be a force in global issues.’
(iii) The Iranian regime’s commitment to the destruction of Israel
Verbal attacks on Israel and the support for anti-Israel terrorist groups have been a constant feature of the Iranian regime’s ideology and practice and have been voiced and translated into action since 1979 by all factions of the regime. Hatred of the Jewish state is one of the core elements of the Islamist ideology and is by no means only a ‘means to an end’.
The purpose of the Iranian regime’s Holocaust denial and relativisation is, firstly, the retrospective delegitimation of the foundation of Israel and, secondly, the prospective legitimation of its destruction. In Iran, the relativisation and denial of Nazi crimes serve the regime’s eliminatory anti-Zionism.
On the anniversary of so-called ‘Kristallnacht’ in 2014, Khamenei published a detailed Q&A, headed ‘Why should & how can Israel be eliminated’. In 2015 Khamenei re-published his 400 page-book ‘Palestine’, in which he again called Israel ‘a cancerous tumour’ and demanded its annihilation. In 2016 the regime in clear violation of UNSC resolutions tested ballistic missiles carrying the message ‘Israel must be wiped out’ in Farsi – and Hebrew.
In 2017, according to Iran’s Press TV, Rouhani repeated one of Khamenei’s catchphrases, when he assailed Israel as a ‘cancerous tumour’, having previously described the Jewish state as ‘an old wound that has been sitting on the body of the Islamic world’, and, a year after his election, as a ‘festering tumour’. In 2017 Khamenei proclaimed Western liberal ideas about equality of the sexes to be a ‘Zionist plot’, thus demonstrating that the intimate connection between antisemitism and sexism is not the exclusive property of the European far right. Referring to Israel, he reiterated his view that, ‘there is no cure for the problem that this savage and wolfish regime […] has created except its destruction and annihilation.’
Faced with statements of such crystal clarity even an advocate of closer relations between the European and Iran like German-Iranian author Adnan Tabatabai had to admit, ‘that Holocaust denial remains a permanent feature of the Iranian regime’ and that, in relation to Israel and Palestine, the current Iranian regime ‘clearly opposes a two-state solution.’
Time and again, the question arises as to what role the antisemitic ideology and hatred of Israel play in the Iranian regime’s political decision-making. The Islamic Republic’s foreign policy has from the outset been characterised by equal measures of pragmatism and destructive irrationality, and this has enabled Western observers to continually downplay the significance of the latter — the destructive fantasies towards Israel — by reference to the former. In fact, however, as Menashri puts it, ‘Iran’s attitude to Israel [has been] one of the rare examples of adherence to dogma.’
Representatives of the Realist school of International Relations refer to the concept of Realpolitik and conclude that it should be possible to pragmatically integrate the Iranian regime into an international or at least regional security architecture. Such conclusions overlook the fact that the Ayatollahs have seized every opportunity to expand their sphere of influence, and they also ignore the fact that, as regards the threat to Israel, pragmatism can have no meaning for Tehran other than waiting for the right moment to go on the offensive.
When Khomeini took power in 1979 in Iran, he took a purist view of foreign policy, the thrust of which was documented by one of his first prominent visitors, Yasser Arafat, who, in a festive ceremony, was given the keys to the former Israeli Embassy in Tehran after many future Pasdaran officers had received their initial military training in PLO camps in southern Lebanon. If Khomeini had had his wish, his credo that his Islamic revolution was neither ‘western nor eastern’, e.g. neither capitalist nor socialist but some kind of an Islamic ‘third way’, would have been applied to the foreign policy of the newly established Islamic Republic. However, even a fanatic like Khomeini had to yield to the facts of the situation facing the regime in the first decade of its existence.
In the current situation, many observers are once again pondering the question of how far political pragmatism might affect the revolutionary goal and whether maslahat – expediency over and above ideological principles or goals – a principle that the Iranian Islamists have always recognised, will ever entail a renunciation of eliminatory anti-Zionism as part of the basic core of the regime’s ideology. Even a mainstream German-Austrian Iran expert such as Walter Posch accepts that there is no chance of this. When it comes to Israel, maslahat only means that the Islamic republic is currently not looking for an all-out war with the Jewish state but prefers to support its proxies, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the West-Bank, with weapons and billions of Dollars and tries to build up a military infrastructure in Syria. Maslahat means ‘not defeating ideology, but at most restricting its scope.’ Moreover, Posch clearly explains what the core of this ideology is: a ‘strategic vision’ based on the ‘paradigm of the illegitimacy of the state of Israel.’
However, this understanding has not prevented Posch from proposing that the West work with the very same figures who have presented the ‘end of Israel’ as a strategic goal. In particular, he advocates the establishment of relations with that very ‘Iranian think-tank scene’ in which such strategic visions of destruction are expressed in the sober language of international relations analysis. So, the acceptance by the West of the ‘moderate, constructive foreign policy’ that Posch thinks the Iranian regime could adopt would also mean the acceptance of the ‘strategic vision’ of the destruction of Israel and ‘paradigm of the illegitimacy of the Jewish state’ as legitimate positions in international politics.
As regards the conspiracy-theorising and projective worldview, Holocaust denial and relativisation, and the Iranian regime’s threats to destroy Israel, nothing substantial has changed under Rouhani. In early 2018, during his second term, the Iranian regime issued an invitation to the ‘First International Hourglass Festival’, whose website israelhourglass.com attacks the ‘fake regime’ named Israel. The Festival’s symbol was a Star of David dissolving through an hourglass. The Festival organiser, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, is an aide to the President of the Iranian pseudo-Parliament, Ali Larijani, and General Secretary of the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada. He served as a Deputy Foreign Minister under both Ahmadinejad and Rouhani.
For several months, submissions were accepted that illustrated the hoped-for end of Israel in the next 25 years and the malicious, ‘bestial’ and ‘inhuman’ character of Zionism and its supporters. The motto of the Festival refers to speeches by Khamenei from 2015 and 2016 in which he proclaimed that the ‘Zionist regime’ would be wiped out by 2040 at the latest. In 2017 the ruling Ayatollahs had a large digital clock erected in Tehran that is counting down the days until the final victory over the Jewish state.
3.3 Hezbollah: Iran’s Proxy in Lebanon
All factions of the Iranian regime are also at one when it comes to supporting the antisemitic terrorist organisations on Israel’s borders. At the beginning of 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif, considered a ‘moderate’ in Europe, met with Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine in Beirut to discuss future common action, while in Tehran Rouhani held a high-profile meeting with Ziad al-Nakhala, the new General Secretary of Islamic Jihad. Al-Nakhala has significantly stepped up IJ’s cooperation with Tehran in comparison with his predecessor, Ramadan Shalah, so that it has overtaken Hamas as Iran’s main ally in Gaza.
The alliance with the Lebanese terrorist militia Hezbollah has also been maintained under Rouhani, gaining crucial importance in relation to the war in Syria. Moreover, support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen has also been stepped up in recent years. The Houthi rebels has long had close contacts with Hezbollah and the Pasdaran and has drawn ideologically closer to the Iranian regime since 2015. The slogans of Tehran’s Yemeni allies leave no doubt as to their ideological priorities: ‘God is great!’, ‘Death to the USA!’ ‘Death to Israel!’ ‘Curse on the Jews’ and ‘Victory to Islam’.
In 2015, Qassem Soleimani, whose influence within the Iranian power structure has grown enormously as a consequence of the Pasdaran’s involvement in Iraq and Syria, and who was killed in an US-airstrike in 2019, declared that Iran might soon control Jordan in the same way as it now does Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
Soleimani was the Commander of the Pasdaran’s Quds Force, which is responsible for extraterritorial interventions. The name of this force – Al-Quds is the Arabic for Jerusalem – indicate the goal of all their efforts. At the end of 2018 Mohammed Reza Naqdi, Deputy Commander of the Pasdaran and Commander of the Basiji militia, announced that Israel ‘must be destroyed and wiped out’ and ‘Zionists must be annihilated’. Major General Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said in September 2019 that destroying Israel has become an ‘achievable goal’ thanks to his country’s technological advances: ‘This sinister regime must be wiped off the map’ and ‘this is no longer a dream […]. We have managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the imposter Zionist regime.’
Deeds have matched words so that now Israel faces on its borders not only the Iranian regime’s allies, but the regime itself. The incursion by an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace in February 2018 represented a dangerous escalation of the situation as did the Iranian rocket attacks on the Golan Heights in May 2018. In particular, Hezbollah’s massive military build-up in Lebanon and the Iranian presence in Syria present Israel with huge problems. Hezbollah, Tehran’s most important and powerful ally in the region, today possesses over 130,000 rockets aimed exclusively at the Jewish state. How seriously the threat from a Hezbollah armed to the teeth by Tehran is taken in Israel can be seen inter alia from the fact that the liberal daily Haaretz has criticised the right-wing Natanyahu government for not intervening to destroy the Lebanese terrorist militia’s arsenal.
The Lebanese Shiite militia has been involved in many attacks such as the bombing of the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people. Its General Secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, echoes Khamenei and Rouhani in calling Israel a ‘cancerous, tyrannical entity’ and has described Zionist Jews in classically dehumanising antisemitic terms as ‘the descendants of apes and pigs’. Back in the early 1990s, the movement’s longstanding spiritual leader, Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, declared the ‘struggle against the Jewish state’ as the ‘continuation of the struggle of the Muslims against the Jews’ conspiracy against Islam.’
Nasrallah more or less exalts over the fact that Jews come from all over the world to Israel, where the ‘axis of resistance’ of Iran and Hezbollah can more easily fight them: ‘the Jews from the entire world will come to occupied Palestine. But this will not be done for their antichrist to rule. God Almighty wanted to save you the trouble of finding them all over the world.’
In 1997 he stated in a speech that ‘If we search the entire globe for a more cowardly, lowly, weak and frail individual in his spirit, mind, ideology, and religion, we will never find anyone like the Jew – and I am not saying the Israeli: we have to know the enemy we are fighting.’
According to the Hezbollah TV station Al-Manar: ‘Judaism is a project against all humanity. It’s about time the world understands this. Those who are fighting Israel are not just defending themselves; they are defending the whole world […] There is no such thing as Zionism […] There is only Judaism’. Nasrallah’s deputy, Naim Qasim has declared: ‘The history of Jews has proven that, regardless of the Zionist proposal, they are people who are evil in their ideas.’ In the same way as the Iranian regime, Hezbollah denies or relativises the Holocaust and defends Holocaust deniers such as Roger Garaudy. In 2000 Al-Manar proclaimed that, ‘The Jews have invented the fairy tale of the Nazi massacre against the Jews […].’
In 2003 Al-Manar broadcast a 26-part series that, it explained, would show how ‘Jews do not shrink from committing the worst crimes in order to realise their Jewish dream.’ The whole series, in which Jews are accused of responsibility for both the First and Second World Wars, must be seen as a modernised dramatisation and illustration of the antisemitic classic, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Remko Leemhuis, Director of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin and today one of Germany’s leading experts on Hezbollah, has succinctly summed up the central role of antisemitism for the Lebanese Shiite militia. It is ‘not only a basic reference point in Hezbollah’s ideology, it is its core.’ An analysis of the movement’s antisemitic propaganda shows that the conflict with Israel ‘again and again serves as the vehicle for the various antisemitic lines of argument.’ The battle with the Jewish state ‘is, therefore, only a catalyst that provides imagery that constantly serves to revitalise and update antisemitic ideologemes.’
Part 4: End European Appeasement of the Iranian Regime
The Iranian regime is today one of the main promoters of global antisemitism. And with its ongoing effort to obtain the technology of mass destruction and its pursuit of the related missile programme, its regional expansion to the borders of Israel and the massive arming of its equally antisemitic allies such as Hezbollah, it currently presents the main danger to the security of the Jewish state. This is reflected in the official military strategy of the Israeli defence forces. It is hard to over-estimate the contribution that the fall of the regime of the Ayatollahs and Pasdaran would make to the fight against global antisemitism and for the defence of Israel.
In these circumstances, it is necessary to break a taboo in the European discussion of Iran and envisage as a both realistic and desirable prospect that scenario that the German Social Democratic Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, can imagine only as a nightmare: a future for Iran beyond the rule of the Ayatollahs and Revolutionary Guards.
To help bring this about, the EU must abandon its cooperation and appeasement policy towards Tehran. The nuclear agreement of 2015 to which the EU still clings did not lead to the end of the Iranian nuclear and missile programmes, but to their institutionalisation. The Ayatollahs’ missile programme, which is an essential component of its bid for a nuclear weapons capability, was excluded from the agreement. The entire infrastructure of the nuclear programme remains intact: while the nuclear facilities have been modified and subjected to conditions, the structures themselves are still there. The permanent and unrestricted monitoring that supporters of the agreement for a long time considered essential has not happened, especially with respect to the military structures that the IAEA suspects of having being used for testing nuclear warheads. It is, therefore, not surprising that the regime has been found to have broadly adhered to the agreement. With the expiry of the in any case absolutely inadequate restrictions in a few years’ time, the JCPOA will have paved the way to the bomb, instead of blocking it.
The deal was a gamble on the future. The agreement’s supporters hoped to persuade the Iranian regime to moderate its behaviour. Developments over the past few years, however, have been in the opposite direction. The regime has been encouraged by the deal to pursue an extremely aggressive foreign policy financed by the billions that have flowed in as a result of the deal itself.
The 700 rockets that were fired at Israel from Gaza in May 2019 once again showed that cooperation with the Iranian regime has not brought about the stability the EU hoped for, but fostered war and terror. When Iranian-backed terrorist groups attack Israel, more than merely verbal solidarity is required from Europe. If the commitment to Israel’s security is to be more than empty words, then the European countries and above all Germany, as the successor state to National Socialism, must immediately impose stringent sanctions on the Holocaust-denier regime in Tehran that facilitates the attacks of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the state of the Shoah’s survivors.
However, to this end, the EU must also free itself from the blackmail to which it exposed itself as a result of the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear programme. The idea of moderating the regime through integrating it into international trade has proved totally illusory. A 180-degree turn in German and European policy towards Iran is urgently needed. There must be no more support for the antisemitic regime and full support for the democratic and secular opposition in Iran and in exile.
Part 5: Towards a Universal, not Selective, Anti-Fascism
For Iran’s government, every success in forging business links means progress in its jihad against emancipation and enlightenment. Its pursuit of nuclear bomb technology has to be understood in relation to its political program of annihilation. If liberal and radical leftists want to be serious about Adorno’s categorical imperative, then they should do everything to prevent the Iranian regime from realising its murderous ideology and facilitate its overthrow.
In his collection of aphorisms, Minima Moralia, Adorno quoted F. H. Bradley, ‘Where everything is bad, it must be good to know the worst.’ The confrontation between Iran and the liberal West, and Israel in particular, represents an existential, and therefore non-negotiable conflict. Iran considers the destruction of Israel merely a prelude for turning the rest of the world into a jihadistically ‘liberated’ hell. For that reason, and not for bellicosity, a materialist critique in the tradition of Marx and Critical Theory must defy any kind of appeasement towards those protagonists of a barbarism that originates in enlightenment and the process of civilisation, but is by no means identical with it. The fight against the Iranian regime and its allies deserves the support of anybody who is not indifferent to the ideas of enlightenment and universal emancipation as envisioned by Marx and Adorno.
We need an anti-fascism that opposes every form of counter-enlightenment. The currently dominant left and liberal anti-fascisms which focus on the European far right parties have to confront the question of why several thousand people rightly demonstrate regularly in Vienna against the FPÖ’s Academic Ball, viewed as one of the European far right’s most important networking events, but only a handful turn out when representatives of the Iranian Holocaust denier regime are welcomed by the highest officials of state with full pomp and ceremony. And why can tens of thousands be mobilised for marches against the AfD, but barely a hundred when supporters of the openly antisemitic Hamas movement hold large-scale events in Berlin? We need a cosmopolitan critique of political Islam that adopts the slogan of the tens of thousands of women who demonstrated day after day in 1979 against the imposition of the headscarf in Iran: ‘Emancipation is not Western or Eastern, but universal’.
 T. W. Adorno and M. Horkheimer, Dialektik der Aufklärung. Philosophische Fragmente (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1997), 209.
 See M. Postone, Anti-Semitism and National Socialism (London: Chronos, 2000).
 See G. Scheit, Suicide Attack. Zur Kritik der politischen Gewalt (Freiburg: çaira, 2004), 14.
 See S. Grigat, Fetisch und Freiheit. Über die Rezeption der Marxschen Fetischkritik, die Emanzipation von Staat und Kapital und die Kritik des Antisemitismus (Freiburg: ça ira, 2007), 273-281.
 See J. Bruhn, Was deutsch ist. Zur kritischen Theorie der Nation (Freiburg: ça ira, 1994), 77-110.
 See T. W. Adorno, Erziehung zur Mündigkeit (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1971).
 Adorno and Horkheimer Dialektik der Aufklärung, 177.
 See T. W. Adorno, Minima Moralia. Reflexionen aus dem beschädigten Leben (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1993), 131.
 K. Marx, ‘Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie. Einleitung,’ in Marx-Engels-Werke, Vol. 1 (Berlin: Dietz 1988), 385.
 T. W. Adorno, ‘Zur Bekämpfung des Antisemitismus heute,’ in T. W. Adorno Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. 20.1, ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1997), 364.
 Marx, Kritik, 385.
 T. W. Adorno, Negative Dialektik (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1994), 358.
 See ReDoc – Research & Documentation, Antisemitische Parolen bei pro-palästinensischer Demonstration am 17. Juli 2014, April 27, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAHuw0tBGvo.
 See L. Jacobsen, ‘Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mit Obama redet er nicht mehr,’ in Zeit Online, 23 July 2014, http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2014-07/recep-tayyip-erdogan-tuerkei-israel-nahost-gaza-usa.
 See S. Grigat, Die Einsamkeit Israel. Zionismus, die israelische Linke und die iranische Bedrohung (Hamburg: Konkret, 2014), 7-11.
 J. Cáceres, ‘An den Teufel verkauft’, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 22 December 2010, https://www.sueddeutsche.de/sport/neuer-sponsor-beim-fc-barcelona-an-den-teufel-verkauft-1.1039090-0#seite-2.
 See J. Risen, ‘A secret summit. Iran’s Quds Force and the Muslim Brotherhood Considered an Alliance Against Saudi Arabia’, The Intercept, 18 November 2019, https://theintercept.com/2019/11/18/iran-muslim-brotherhood-quds-force/.
 M. Küntzel, Nazis und der Nahe Osten. Wie der islamische Antisemitismus entstand (Leipzig: Hentrich & Hentrich, 2019), 120.
 See Y. Ünal, ‘Sayyid Qutb in Iran: Translating the Islamist Ideologue in the Islamic Republic’, Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies Vol. 1, No. 2 (November 2016): 35-60.
 J. Herf, ‘Hitlers Deutschland. Nationalsozialistische Rundfunkpropaganda für Nordafrika und den Nahen Osten’, Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 58, Heft 2 (2010): 285.
 H. Abdel-Samad, Der islamische Faschismus. Eine Analyse (München: Droemer, 2014).
 Küntzel, Nazis, 34.
 See Y. Özoguz, ed., Verfassung der Islamischen Republik Iran. Erläuterte Übersetzung (Bremen: m-haditec, 2007), 5.
 See R. Chomeini, ‘Reden des Ayatollah Chomeini und Staatspräsidenten Bani Sadr,’ in Teheran. Eine Revolution wird hingerichtet. Dokumente und Reportagen aus DIE ZEIT, ed. M. Naumann and J. Joffe (Hamburg: Heyne, 1980), 242.
 ‘Iranian MP Lauds Hezbollah’s Anti-Israel Stance,’ 20 May 2012, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13920502000466.
 See A. Khamenei, ‘Grundzüge der islamischen Ideologie dargestellt in zehn Punkten,’ in Der islamische Fundamentalismus. Grundzüge der islamischen Ideologie im Iran, ed. M. Djassemi, (Sylt: Djassemi 2001), 17.
 Quoted by M. Litvak, ‘Anti-Semitism in Iran: Continuities and Changes,’ 2010, https://haitiholocaustsurvivors.wordpress.com/anti-semitism/yale-anti-semitism-conference-papers/anti-semitism-in-iran-continuities-and-changes-by-meir-litvak-2/.
 Memri TV, Clip #7517, 7 October 2019, https://www.memri.org/tv/iranian-cleric-mohammadtabar-hidden-imam-jews-world-convert-defeat-confront-zionism.
 See A. Alfoneh, ‘President Rohani’s Cabinett: MOIS vs. IRGC?’ FDD Policy Brief, 7 August 2013, http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/president-rouhanis-cabinet-mois-vs-irgc/.
 G. Scheit, ‘Der neue Vernichtungswahn und seine internationalen Voraussetzungen: Wodurch sich Ahmadinejads Islamische Republik von Hitlerdeutschland unterscheidet,’ in Der Iran. Analyse einer islamischen Republik und ihrer europäischen Förderer, ed. S. Grigat and S.D. Hartmann (Innsbruck: Studienverlag, 2008), 60.
 Scheit, ‘Vernichtungswahn,’ 63.
 Scheit, ‘Vernichtungswahn,’ 68.
 Scheit, ‘Vernichtungswahn,’ 70.
 See Küntzel, Nazis, 108.
 D. Motadel, Für Prophet und Führer. Die Islamische Welt und das Dritte Reich (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2017), 136.
 H.-G. Ebert, H. Fürtig and H.-G. Müller, Die islamische Republik Iran. Historische Herkunft – ökonomische Grundlagen – staatsrechtlich Struktur (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1987), 42.
 See R. Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession. Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (New York: Random House, 2010), 830-37 and N. Weinstock, Der zerissene Faden. Wie die arabische Welt ihre Juden verlor. 1947-1967 (Freiburg: ça ira, 2019), 52-70.
 M. Küntzel, ‘Tehran’s Efforts to Mobilize Antisemitism. The Global Impact’, in Deciphering the New Antisemitism, ed. A. Rosenfeld (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015), 509.
 See Küntzel, Nazis, 108.
 K. Amirpur, ’Licht und Schatten. Antisemitismus im Iran,’ in: Neuer Antisemitismus? Fortsetzung einer globalen Debatte, ed. C. Heilbronn, D. Rabinovici and N. Sznaider (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2019), 229.
 See H. Fürtig, Großmacht Iran. Der Gottesstaat wird Global Player (Köln: Quadriga, 2016), 157.
 See W. Posch, ’Juden im Iran. Anmerkungen zu einem antizionistischen Brief an Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Teil I’, David. Jüdische Kulturzeitschrift 83 (2010): 30.
 See R. Hakakian, ’Juden im Iran und die iranische Linke. Persönliche Reflexionen, die notgedrungen politisch sind’, in Iran – Israel – Deutschland. Antisemitismus, Außenhandel und Atomprogramm ed. S. Grigat (Berlin: Hentrich & Hentrich, 2017), 149.
 See R. Jaspal, ‘Delegitimizing Jews and Israel in Iran’s International Holocaust Cartoon Contest’, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 13 (2014, 2): 168.
 ’Irans Außenminister verurteilt ‚Massaker an Juden‘, Der Standard, 6 September 2013, https://www.derstandard.at/story/1378248269034/ashton-trifft-iranischen-aussenminister-ende-september.
 See M. Boroujerdi and K. Rahimkhani, Postrevolutionary Iran. A Political Handbook (Syracuse: Syacuse University Press 2018), 46-49.
 M. Mohammadi, Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Competitions and Exhibitions: Goals, Sponsors, and Themes (Washington: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016), 12.
 H. Schiedel, ’Heiliger Hass. Zur rechtsextrem-iranischen Freundschaft’, in Iran im Weltsystem. Bündnisse des Regimes und Perspektiven der Freiheitsbewegung, ed. S. Grigat and S. D. Hartmann (Innsbruck: Studienverlag, 2010), 168.
 M. Küntzel, ’Iranische Holocaust-Leugnung und das Internet’, Tribüne. Zeitschrift zum Verständnis des Judentums 202, (2012, Vol. 51): 151.
 A. Reid Ross, ‘The anti-Semitism Fest Where Russian Spies, Code Pink, David Duke and the Nation of Islam Make Friends and Influence People’, Haaretz, 14 March 2019, https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-russia-s-role-in-an-anti-semitism-fest-for-fascists-feminists-spies-and-neo-nazi-1.7003563.
 Mohammadi, Holocaust, 4.
 Anti Defamation League, Holocaust Denial in the Middle East. The Latest Anti-Israel Propaganda Theme (New York: ADL, 2001), 8.
 A. Will, ’Iran-Besuch von Stephan Weil. Herzlicher Empfang mit abruptem Ende’, NWZ Online, April 18, 2016, http://mobil.nwzonline.de/politik/niedersachsen/herzlicher-empfang-mit-abruptem-ende_a_6,1,2390575300.html.
 D. Menashri, Post-Revolutionary Politics in Iran. Religion, Society and Power (New York: Routledge, 2001), 279.
 https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/1206615232451403777, December 16, 2019.
 Memri, Special Dispatch No. 8253, 29 August 2019, https://www.memri.org/reports/kerman-friday-sermon-former-iranian-minister-mostafa-pourmohammadi-narrative-so-called.
 Mohammadi, Holocaust, 13.
 G. Schweizer: Iran verstehen. Geschichte, Gesellschaft, Religion (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2017), 613.
 Abundant quotations by leading representatives and religious figures of the Iranian regime regarding the destruction of Israel and Holocaust denial can be found at S. Grigat, ‘The fight against antisemitism & the Iranian threat: challenges & contradictions in the light of Adorno’s categorical imperative’, in Comprehending and Confronting Antisemitism. A Multi-Faceted Approach, ed. A. Lange et al. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2019), 448-454.
 ‘Why Should & How Can #Israel Be Eliminated? Ayatollah Khamenei’s Answer to 9 Key Questions,’ 11 November 2014, https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/531366667377717248/photo/1.
 ‘Palästina aus der Sicht Ajatollah Khameneis’, 9 July 2016, http://german.irib.ir/nachrichten/revolutionsoberhaupt/item/285966-palästina-aus-der-sicht-ajatollah-khameneis.
 ‘Iran needs no permission to manufacture missiles, jets: Rouhani’, 15 April 2017, http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/15/518139/Iran-President-Hassan-Rouhani-missile-planes-defense-achievements. IRIB News, 2 August 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF2BBFduswQ&feature=youtu.be. ‘Takfiris, Zionists two tumors with same roots: Rouhani’, 31 July 2014, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/07/29/373257/zionists-takfiris-festering-region-tumors/.
 L. Dearden, ‘Iran’s Supreme Leader claims gender equality is “Zionist plot” aiming to corrupt role of women in society,’ 21 March 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-supreme-leader-ayatollah-khamenei-gender-equality-women-zionist-plot-society-role-islamic-a7641041.html.
 A. Khamenei, ‘The Israeli entity must be eliminated, human logic rules,’ 18 March 2017, http://english.khamenei.ir/news/4712/The-Israeli-entity-must-be-eliminated-human-logic-rules-Ayatollah.
 A. Tabatabai, Morgen in Iran. Die Islamische Republik im Aufbruch (Hamburg: edition Körber Stiftung, 2016) 123.
 Menashri, Iran, 281.
 W. Posch, ‘Dritte Welt, globaler Islam und Pragmatismus. Wie die Außenpolitik Irans gemacht wird,’ SWP-Studien S 04 (2013), 18. For further discussion of the doctrine of maslahat, that includes the possibility for the Supreme Leader to overrule Islamic law when such action is considered necessary for the survival of the Islamic Republic, see M. Eisenstadt and M. Khalaji, ‘Nuclear Fatwa. Religion and Politics in Iran’s Proliferation Strategy,’ Washington Institute, 27 September 2011, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/nuclear- fatwa-religion-and-politics-in-irans-proliferation-strategy3.
 Posch, ‘Dritte Welt’, 26.
 W. Posch, ‘Mäßigung statt Neuanfang. Iran nach den Präsidentschaftswahlen 2013,’ SWP-Aktuell 39 (2013) 1.
 A. Khamenei, ‘There will be no such thing as Israel in 25 years’, 7 July 2016, http://english.khamenei.ir/news/3969/There-will-be-no-such-thing-as-Israel-in-25-years-Ayatollah.
 See M. Shehada, ‘Iran Is Declaring War on Israel – From Gaza’, Haaretz, 29 May 2019, https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-iran-is-declaring-war-on-israel-from-gaza-1.7065348.
 See E. Karmon, ‘Yemen’s Houthis: New Members of Iran’s Anti-Israeli/Anti-American Axis’, 25 May 2017, https://www.ict.org.il/Article/2017/yemens-houthis-new-members-of-irans-anti-israeli-anti-american-axis.
 Quoted by A. Taylor, ‘The history of “Death to America”’, Washington Post, 18 February 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/02/18/the-history-of-death-to-america/?utm_term=.0937e5ff77d7.
 See J. Khoury, ‘Iranian Commander: Today Iraq and Lebanon, Tomorrow Jordan’, 23 March 2015, https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-today-iraq-and-lebanon-tomorrow-jordan-1.5341518.
 Memri TV, Clip #6917, 28 December 2018, https://www.memri.org/tv/irgc-deputy-commander-reza-naqdi-israel-must-annihilated-destroy-saudi-arabia-american-bases.
 AFP, ‘Top Iran general says destroying Israel “achievable goal”‘, 30 September 2019, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2019/10/iran-israel-military-diplomacy.html#ixzz61B8LVycz.
 I. Harel, ‘A War of No Choice for Israel in Lebanon’, Haaretz, 1 February 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/a-war-of-no-choice-for-israel-in-lebanon-1.5784461.
 Quoted by E. Webman, ‘Die Rhetorik der Hisbollah: die Weiterführung eines antisemitischen Diskurses’, Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung 12 (2003): 44.
 N. Noe, Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (London: Verso, 2007), 187.
 Quoted by H. Meyer, Hamas und Hizbollah. Eine Analyse ihres Politischen Denkens (Zürich: LIT, 2010), 187. Regarding Fadlallah’s relationship to Hezbollah, of which he was not officially a member, see J. Sankari, Fadlallah, The Making of a Radical Shi’ite Leader (London: Saqi Books, 2005).
 N. Noe, ‘[CORRECTION to:] PM Netanyahu used a quote from Nasrallah that was likely fabricated’, March 3, 2015, https://mideastwire.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/pm-netanyahu-used-a-quote-from-nasrallah-that-was-likely-fabricated.
 Noe, Voice, 171.
 Quoted by Wistrich, Lethal obsession, 775.
 A. Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah. Politics and Religion (London/New York: Pluto Press 2002), 174.
 See Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah, 184-85.
 G. Ben-Ari, Die Saat des Hasses. Juden und Israel in den arabischen Medien (Holzgerlingen: Hänssler, 2002), 29.
 Quoted by C. Bruck, ‘Hitler war in Ordnung‘, DIE WELT, 18 November 2003.
 R. Leemhuis, Antisemitismus in der arabisch-islamischen Welt unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der schiitisch-libanesischen Hisbollah (Bachelorarbeit Politikwissenschaft: Universität Marburg, 2009), 51-52.
 N. Fuhrig and K. Kälker, Israel und das Szenario eines Präventivschlags gegen den Iran (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2017), 12.
 See AFP, ‘Heiko Maas warnt vor Versuchen zur Destabilisierung des Iran’, Der Tagesspiegel, 8 August 2018, https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/bundesaussenminister-heiko-maas-warnt-vor-versuchen-zur-destabilisierung-des-iran/22892416.html.
 Adorno, Minima Moralia, 103.