Matthias Küntzel

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Matthias Küntzel (born 1955), is a German author and a political scientist best known for his belief that Islamists movements are essentially fascistic and anti-Semitic and thus comparable with the Third Reich. He is an expert at the London based organisation Réalité EU.


According to his official website ( Küntzel was a ‘senior advisor of the Federal Parliamentary Fraktion of Germany’s Green Party’ from 1984 to 1988. In 1991, he received his Doctorate, cum summa laude, in Political Science at the University of Hamburg. His thesis was published in German (‘Bonn und die Bombe. Deutsche Atomwaffenpolitik von Adenauer bis Brandt’, Frankfurt: Campus, 1992) as well as in English (‘Bonn & the Bomb. German Politics and the Nuclear Option’, London: Pluto Press, 1995). He currently holds a tenured part-time position as a teacher of political science at a technical college in Hamburg/Germany.

Political views and writings

Like many neoconservatives Küntzel claims to have a background on the liberal left. In an interview with Alan Johnson of Democratiya, Küntzel said that he was once a ‘young idealist’ politicised by the mass movements of the late 1960s. He remembers being ‘particularly affected’ by the Munich Olympics massacre of 1972 but said that at that time he was sympathetic to the Palestinians because of his ‘naïve belief that mass movements are intrinsically progressive’. Küntzel goes on to describe a growing dissatisfaction with the German left, based predominantly on his belief that it had been unable to provide ‘an even halfway adequate response to the continuing impact of the crimes against the Jews’. He came to believe that the German left had ‘refused to take on board the reality of Auschwitz and National Socialism at either the personal or intellectual levels.’ [1]

In the interview Küntzel identifies several significant episodes which pushed him to the right. The third, and perhaps the most significant, was the publishing in 1996 of Hitler’s Willing Executioners by the American author Daniel Goldhagen. [2] In 1997 he and several other authors including Ulrike Becker, Frank Behn, Clara Fall and Klaus Thörner published Goldhagen und die deutsche Linke oder: Die Gegenwart des Holocaust (Goldhagen and the German Left: The Presence of the Holocaust), a book which criticised the leftwing response to Goldhagen’s book. [3] On 11 September 2001 he was at a meeting with this group and they agreed that the attacks that day in New York and Washington were an anti-Semitic phenomenon:

The little group which had produced Goldhagen and the German Left met that very day, by accident. At this meeting it was clear to us that this attack had an antisemitic connotation. There was the symbolism of New York as a so-called centre of Jewry and of modernity and the wave of suicide attacks in Israel during that summer. On 9/12 I began my research for the book Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11. [4]

Jihad and Jew-Hatred was originally published in German in 2002 and was translated into English and published by Telos Press in 2007. It received positive reviews in the neoconservative Weekly Standard and the right wing Washington Times. An extract from the book was also published in the New York Times [5] which was also positive about the book, albeit with minor criticisms:

In his effort to blame Germany for Muslim anti-Semitism, he overreaches. “While Khomeini was certainly not an acolyte of Hitler, it is not unreasonable to suppose that his anti-Jewish outlook ... had been shaped during the 1930s,” Küntzel says, citing, in a footnote, an article he himself wrote. He also oversimplifies the Israeli-Arab conflict. Jews today have actual power in the Middle East, and Israel is not innocent of excess and cruelty. [6]

Leeds University Controversy

In March 2007 Küntzel had been scheduled to give a lecture at the University of Leeds which was cancelled by the university.

The university issued the following statement:

15 March 2007

Dr Matthias Küntzel

The decision to cancel a public lecture by Dr Küntzel has nothing to do with academic freedom, freedom of speech, anti-semitism or Islamophobia, and those claiming that is the case are making mischief. Nor is the University bowing to protests or threats from interest groups or individuals.

The lecture has been cancelled on safety grounds alone and because - contrary to our rules and protocols - no assessment of risk to people or property was carried out, no stewarding arrangements were in place and the University was not given sufficient notice to ensure safety and public order (the lecture came to our attention less than 36 hours before it was due to take place).

Our campus has hosted talks in recent months by controversial speakers from both sides of the Middle East conflict. On Tuesday (March 13), the director of public affairs for the Israeli embassy in London, Ronit Ben Dor, gave a talk organised by the student Jewish Society, following a full risk assessment and with appropriate stewarding and security (around 30 people in all). We received more advance complaints about this meeting than Dr Küntzel’s.

We value academic freedom and remain committed to promoting and positively encouraging free debate, enquiry and, indeed, protest. We tolerate a wide range of views, political as well as academic, even when they are unpopular, controversial or provocative.

Where meetings are potentially controversial, we have a duty to protect the safety of participants in the event, and other people within the vicinity, and to ensure that public order is maintained. The University cannot allow an event to take place without the necessary arrangements in place.

Dr Küntzel is due to give two seminars for undergraduate and postgraduate students on the subject of his lecture in the department of German today and tomorrow. These are internal events.

University Secretary


Matthias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the roots of 9/11 (Telos Press Publishing, 2007)



  1. Alan Johnson, ‘Islamism, Antisemitism, and the political left. A Democratiya Interview with Matthias Küntzel’, Democratiya no. 13, 25 May 2008
  2. Alan Johnson, ‘Islamism, Antisemitism, and the political left. A Democratiya Interview with Matthias Küntzel’, Democratiya no. 13, 25 May 2008
  3. Matthias Küntzel et al., Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Goldhagen und die deutsche Linke oder: Die Gegenwart des Holocaust (Elefanten Press, Berlin, 1997)
  4. Alan Johnson, ‘Islamism, Antisemitism, and the political left. A Democratiya Interview with Matthias Küntzel’, Democratiya no. 13, 25 May 2008
  5. ‘First Chapter: ‘Jihad and Jew-Hatred’ by Matthias Küntzel’, New York Times, 5 January 2008
  6. Jeffrey Goldberg, ‘Seeds of Hate’, New York Times, 6 January 2009