Matthias Küntzel (born 1955), is a German author and a political scientist. He is a research associate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a member of the German Council on Foreign Relations DGAP, of the German Historical Association (VHD) and of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa ASMEA.
From 1984 to 1988, Küntzel was a senior advisor of the Federal Parliamentary Fraction of Germany’s Green Party. He was member of the German Communist Union (Kommunistischer Bund) and part of the Anti-Germans movement.
In 1991, he received his doctorate, summa cum laude, in Political Science at the University of Hamburg. His thesis Bonn & the Bomb. German Politics and the Nuclear Option (London: Pluto Press) was published in English in 1995.
In 2004, he has been named a research associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2011, Matthias Küntzel was presented with the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Paul Ehrlich-Günther K. Schwerin Human Rights Award in Palm Beach, Florida. “Matthias Küntzel has a long and distinguished record in speaking out against anti-Semitism and warning his readers in his native Germany and elsewhere about the dangers posed by this age-old virus that has no known cure,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in presenting the award.
Since 2001, his main field of research and writing have been anti-Semitism in current Islamic thinking, Islamism, Islamism and National Socialism, Iran, German and Western policies towards the Middle East and Iran. His essays and articles have been translated into twelve languages and published inter alia in The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, The Weekly Standard, Telos, Policy Review, The Jerusalem Post, Der Standard, Spiegel Online, Die Welt, Die Zeit and Internationale Politik.
In 2003, he delivered the Keynote Address at the Conference on "Genocide and Terrorism – Probing the Mind of the Perpetrator" at Yale University. In 2004, he was a panelist at the "Lessons & Legacies VIII International Conference on the Holocaust: From Generation to Generation" at Brown University.
In 2005, he discovered antisemitic tracts at the Iranian stands at the Frankfurt Book Fair: an incident he wrote about in the Wall Street Journal. In 2006 he became a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association Scholars for Peace in the Middle East until 2011. He was a panelist at the 2006 Paris conference "Les démocraties face au défi islamiste" (The democracies in the face of the Islamist challenge) organised by the Center for Security Policy and L’institut pour la Défense de la Démocratie.
In 2007, Telos Press (New York, NY) published his book Jihad and Jew-Hatred. Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11. In 2008 He presented Jihad and Jew-Hatred in the USA at numerous universities (Stanford University, Columbia University, University of California in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and Irvine, Buffalo University, University of Maine at Augusta, Cooper Union New York) and delivered lectures at conferences organized inter alia by the American Enterprise Institute, The Israel Project, The Anti-Defamation League and The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He also gave a talk at the “Global Forum For Combating Antisemitism” at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem and participated in an international academic workshop on “Antisemitism in the 21st Century: Manifestations, Implications and Consequences”, organized by the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.
In 2009, he spoke at the “London Conference on Combating Antisemitism”, organized by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and published his book, The Germans and Iran. The Past and Present of a Fateful Friendship (German publisher: Wolf Jobst Siedler, Berlin). In 2010 he became a guest commentator on Germany’s main public radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur and addressed the “Second Conference of the Interparliamentary Coalition on Combating Antisemitism (ICCA)” in Ottawa, Canada. In 2011, he was awarded with the ADL’s Ehrlich-Schwerin Human Rights Prize and spoke at the international scholars Conference on “Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives”, organized by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at Indiana University (founded and directed by Alvin Rosenfeld).
In 2012, he spoke on behalf of the Henry Jackson Society at London’s House of Commons about the 70. anniversary of the Wannsee Conference and gave a talk at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Brussels on the current meaning of the Auschwitz day of remembrance. Later, he was the main speaker of a rally against the award of the Adorno Prize to Judith Butler in front of St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt/M.  Forough publisher (Cologne) published the Persian version of his book on Germany and Iran. Past and Present of a Fateful Friendship and the LIT publishing house (Münster) published his book Germany, Iran and the Bomb – a reply also to Günter Grass. In 2013 he joined Rabbi Abraham Cooper from the Simon Wiesenthal Center at a press conference in Berlin about the anti-Semitic remarks of Jacob Augstein, a popular German journalist.
Controversy over cancelled lecture at the University of Leeds, England
On March 14, 2007, Küntzel was due to address University of Leeds in England on the topic ‘Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East.’ The university's student Islamic society complained about what they called the lecture's "provocative" title and the University removed the words "Hitler" and "Islamic" with the title amended to read: "The Nazi Legacy: The Export of Anti-Semitism to the Middle East." However, several hours before the talk was due to take place, the talk was unexpectedly cancelled due to "security concerns," following protest e-mails from some of the university's Muslim students claiming the lecture was an "open racist attack".
Dr. Küntzel said he had given similar addresses (at Yale University, as well as universities in Jerusalem and Vienna) around the world and there had been no problems. "I know this is sometimes a controversial topic," he said, "but I am accustomed to that and I have the ability to calm people down. It's not a problem for me at all. My impression was that they wanted to avoid the issue in order to keep the situation calm. My feeling is that this is a kind of censorship." Dr. Küntzel also said that the contents of emails described to him did not overtly threaten violence but "they were very, very strongly worded". He added: "It's stupid, because I also talk about Christian anti-semitism." Members of the German department at Leeds accused the university of "selling-out" academic freedom.
Awards and Honors
In 2007, Küntzel’s book on Jihad and Jew-Hatred. Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2007 London Book Festival.
In 2008, Küntzel’s book on Jihad and Jew-Hatred. Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 won the Gold Award for Religion at the 12th annual Independent Publisher Book Awards in Los Angeles.
In 2011, Matthias Küntzel was presented with the Anti-Defamation-League’s (ADL) Paul Ehrlich-Günther K. Schwerin Human Rights Award.
In 2011, Matthias Küntzel was (together with Colin Meade) the recipient of the Best Book Review Award of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.
- Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, Telos Press, New York, 2007.
- Djihad und Judenhaß: über den neuen antijüdischen Krieg, Ça Ira, Freiburg, 2002
- Der Weg in den Krieg. Deutschland, die Nato und das Kosovo (The Road to War. Germany, Nato and the Kosovo), Elefanten Press, Berlin, 2000
- Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Goldhagen und die deutsche Linke oder: Die Gegenwart des Holocaust (Goldhagen and the German Left or: The Presence of the Holocaust), ed. Matthias Küntzel, Ulrike Becker, Klaus Thörner et al., Elefanten Press, Berlin, 1997
- Bonn & the Bomb: German politics and the nuclear option, Transnational Institute (TNI), Pluto Press, London; Boulder, Colorado, 1995.
- Bonn und die Bombe: deutsche Atomwaffenpolitik von Adenauer bis Brandt, Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt/Main; New York, 1992
- The Roots of Antisemitism in the Middle East. New Debates, Alvin H. Rosenfeld (Ed.), Resurgent Antisemitism. Global Perspectives, Bloomington (Indiana University Press)) 2013, pp.382-401.
- America’s Shifting “Red Lines” on Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: A Wedge Issue in US–Israeli Relations, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs VII : 1 (2013) pp 37-44.
- Berlin, The Ayatollahs, and the Bomb, The Journal of International Security Affairs, No. 18, Spring 2010.
- "Islamophobia" or "Truthophobia"?, Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2008
- Suicide Terrorism and Islam, American Foreign Policy Interests, Vol. 30, no. 4, July-August 2008.
- Anti-Semitic Hate Speech in the Name of Islam, Spiegel-SPECIAL, 2/2008, April 2008.
- Antisemitism, Messianism and the Cult of Sacrifice: The Iranian Holy War, speech presented at Columbia University New York, March 6, 2008
- Jew-Hatred and Jihad.The Nazi roots of the 9/11 attack, The Weekly Standard, September 17, 2007.
- Ahmadinejad's Demons. A Child of the Revolution Takes Over, The New Republic, April 24, 2006.
- Confronting Anti-Semitism — But How?, Telos Press, September 28, 2006
- A Sense Of Foreboding: German Reactions to Ahmadinejad, Transatlantic Intelligencer, November 7, 2005
- The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Transatlantic Intelligencer, October 24, 2005
- A Dubious Achievement: Joschka Fischer, the Road Map, and the Gaza Pullout, Transatlantic Intelligencer, 2005
- Suicide Bombing "for a Higher Ideal"?, Germany’s Central Office for Political Education on "Paradise Now", Transatlantic Intelligencer, October 10, 2005
- Are 500,000 Keys to Paradise Enough?, Germany "Confronts" Ahmadinejad, Transatlantic Intelligencer, December 27, 2005
- Antisemitism in the Middle East: Abbas and Hamas, SPME, February 2005
- European Roots of Antisemitism in Current Islamic Thinking, matthiaskuentzel.de, November 2004
- German Silence: Nazis, Jihad, and the Left, matthiaskuentzel.de, April 2003
- Germany and the Kosovo, How Germany paved the way to the Kosovo War, matthiaskuentzel.de, April 2000
- National Socialism and Anti-Semitism in the Arab World, Political Studies Review at matthiaskuentzel.de, Spring 2005
- The Booksellers of Tehran, Every book fair exhibits bestsellers. But anti-Semitic bestsellers? And in Germany, of all places?, The Wall Street Journal Online, October 28, 2005
- Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots, matthiaskuentzel.de, April 2003
- Steffen, Michael: Geschichten vom Trüffelschwein. Politik und Organisation des Kommunistischen Bundes 1971 bis 1991, Berlin/Hamburg/Göttingen 2002, S. 338 f., nach Patrick Hagen: Die Antideutschen und die Debatte der Linken über Israel, Diplomarbeit 2004 in trend onlinezeitung, Fußnote 68
- Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East, text of Küntzel's essay
- University is accused of censoring anti-Semitic Islam lecture by Sean O’Neill, Times Online, March 15, 2007
- John Steele (2007-03-15). "Freedom of speech row as talk on Islamic extremists is banned". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, Vol. 3, Issue 2, 2011, p.332
- English articles at matthiaskuentzel.de
- Interview with Matthias Kuntzel from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum