Zeit der Verleumder, Film

22 May 2022

On the Youtube channel of Projekt Kritische Aufklärung

The Time of Slanderers (Zeit der Verleumder)

A Critical Intervention

A documentary by Dror Dayan and Susann Witt-Stahl, Germany 2021

With Moshe Zuckermann, Rolf Becker, Jackie Walker, Ali Abunimah, Moshé Machover, Judith Bernstein, Esther Bejarano et al.

»The rightward drift of the Western world manifests itself in bizarre ways. Left-wingers are vilified as ›Nazis‹, Jewish anti-fascists as ›traitors‹«, the appeal of the organisers of a conference titled »In the Time of the Slanderers« stated – in reference to a poem by the Austrian writer Erich Fried: On 10 February 2018, German, Israeli, British, and US academics, publicists, artists, and political activists met in Berlin and analysed in the presence of about 250 visitors the ideological instrumentalisation of Jews, Judaism and the Jewish catastrophe for the purpose of legitimising right-wing power politics, anti-communism, historical revisionism and (anti-Muslim) racism. The conference was hosted by the Projekt Kritische Aufklärung (Project Critical Enlightenment) – an association committed to the critique of ideology that was launched by German and Israeli Marxists in the summer of 2017.

Already in the early 1980s, Erich Fried had denounced the stigmatisation of Jewish leftists as »red antisemites« by »spokesmen of the West«. What began at that time with angry polemics has today grown into an entire complex of smear campaigns and sanctions – including against Holocaust survivors and their descendants – initiated by the established parties and the Alternative for Germany (AfD), by neoconservative »anti-Germans«, by »anti-nationals« and Christian fundamentalists, and propagated by the established media.

The majority of the German left are at best silent on these alarming developments, thus committing a betrayal that amounts to a capitulation to German great power aspirations, NATO’s bellicose regime change policy and murderous aggression against refugees and other migrants. What is more, it aids the promotion of irrational explanatory models of the world that postulate a »clash of civilisations« and antisemitism as well as Islamophobia. »Not least«, argues the Projekt Kritische Aufklärung, »the inflationary use of antisemitism accusations and the hollowing-out and reification of the categorical imperative ›Never again!‹ that accompany this are unmistakable signs of the liquidation of the left’s fundamental opposition and the gains of historical materialism.«

The film presents highlights and central theses of the conference. This is supplemented by interviews, extensive research material, photos and videos, including previously unpublished footage of a reading by Erich Fried from 1988. The film is dedicated to the musician and Auschwitz survivor Esther Bejarano, who contributed a greeting message and passed away on 10 July 2021 at the age of 96.

102 minutes, German/English with subtitles

© 2021 Dror Dayan and Susann Witt-Stahl


Dror Dayan, born in Jerusalem in 1981, is filmmaker, film scholar and activist. He teaches documentary film and media production at the John Moores University in Liverpool, has directed two documentaries and several short films and is involved in Palestine solidarity campaigns and the anti-capitalist climate movement.

Susann Witt-Stahl works as a journalist, author and cultural editor in Hamburg and Berlin. She has reported from the Middle East and other crisis areas for daily newspapers and magazines. Her main areas of work are: ideological critique of neoliberalism, the rightward drift of western societies, the culture industry and regressive tendencies within the left. She has published various books and essays on these subjects.



22 May 2022

Youtube: Projekt Kritische Aufklärung



Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mYNLAykdZM

Homepage Projekt Kritische Aufklärung: projektkritischeaufklaerung.de



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