Projections of National Guilt as a form of Antisemitism in German and British centre-left Milieus: An analysis of readers' comments in Die Zeit and The Guardian as a setting for antisemitism and historical relativisation

Matthias J. Becker


The phenomenon of antisemitism has always been expressed in various forms. Nowadays, an obsessive hatred of Israel as the "Jew among nations" is the most prevalent form. On the Internet, especially, antisemitism in the shape of fundamental hostility toward Israel is spreading on a large scale. In this article, I present how Israel-related antisemitism is expressed in readers' comments on British and German news websites. The Guardian and Die Zeit - two left-liberal newspapers - provide the data for my study. On the basis of a qualitative content analysis, the many implicit forms of antisemitic hate speech are hereby taken into account. Readers of the examined journals tend to align themselves with the position taken by the newspapers. Despite their apparently left-wing oriented, democratic and humanistic positions, antisemitic stereotypes could be identified within many readers' comments. Next to the reproduction of stereotypes, my research reveals a discourse wherein commenters, when covering the Middle East conflict, tend to project onto Israel their own country's guilt over historical injustices committed. In Germany, even in the politically moderate discourse of Die Zeit, it is common for commenters to draw comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany. Through the discursive construction of a Nazi-like regime in the Middle East, the uniqueness of that period of German history (which represents the biggest obstacle to expressing national pride) can be more easily overlooked. In the left-liberal discourse of The Guardian, commenters frequently present Israel's policies as reminiscent of British colonial atrocities. Against the background of a negative evaluation of the British Empire's policies in related milieus, similar functions of relativisation as well as unburdening of guilt from the writer's own national community can be found. By projecting these guilt-laden historical chapters of one's own country onto Israel, commenters can (re-)establish the legitimacy of identifying with their national in-group.

Keywords: antisemitism, nationalism, content analysis, discourse analysis, analogies

1 Forms and functions of anti-Israel statements among the German and British Left

Within society and public discourse, antisemitism is still perceived as emanating predominantly from the extreme right, despite its historical presence in wide and established parts of European society. [1] Especially reactions to the Six-Day War in 1967 demonstrated that overt antisemitic attitudes can also be found (again) in left and mainstream discourses. [2] This article addresses the question of how Israel-related antisemitism is linguistically expressed in current left-liberal milieus in Germany and Great Britain and which functions regarding national self-image they potentially meet in respective discourses.

With the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) which has been formally adopted by the British and German governments, antisemitism can be described as a "certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews". [3] Today, Israel has become "the most important and weighty symbol worldwide of Jewish life and survival, for which reason it serves as the preferred target for anti-Jewish attacks" [4] as well as for antisemitic hate speech as such. The IHRA definition recognises this and provides that "[m]anifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity"; among others, "[u]sing the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis" and "claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor". Such perspectives lead to the denial of the Jewish state's right to exist. [5] The left, however, attempts to distance itself from antisemitism. The nonetheless discernible reproduction of antisemitic stereotypes (e.g. the greedy state of Israel, which perpetuates the medieval association of Jews with avarice) and the use of antisemitic metaphors (e.g. Israeli cancer, which involves the same equation of Jews with cancer seen in Nazi propaganda) has ever since been justified through associating the reference object with ideologies the left clearly rejects: colonialism and imperialism, oppression, militarism, racism, and chauvinism. [6] The left has always positioned itself on the side of the weak fighting the mighty. In the context of the Mideast conflict, this means showing solidarity with the Palestinians. Based on such a dichotomisation [7] , Israel has been continuously blamed as the cruel and mighty oppressor that needs to disappear for the sake of the oppressed and world peace.

Another striking phenomenon in both German and British leftist discourses is comparing references to the respective national past in the Mideast discourse. In the German left (but not at all limited to related milieus), analogies are drawn between contemporary Israel and the period of National Socialism. In British left discourses, one focus is on the era of British colonialism. The presence of such historical analogies can be explained by referring to guilt and shame in relation to atrocities the national in-group once committed. However, also in academic contexts, the question is raised whether such equivalences between Israel's actions and historical injustices can be clearly regarded as antisemitic - and not only considered as forms of engaged expression of opinion, even if

they are controversial, drastic and rather rich with certain associations. In order to answer this question, the underlying communicative functions [8] of such equivalences need to be explicated:

One, in drawing Nazi as well as colonialism analogies, the state of Israel gets demonised. In the before-mentioned IHRA definition of antisemitism, comparisons between Israel's actions and the monstrous Nazi crimes are given as a specific example of antisemitism, since 1) the Nazi analogy equates Israel with sublime evil and 2) it amounts to soft-core Holocaust denial because it trivialises the crimes of the Nazis and inflates the so-called crimes of the Israelis (representing an extreme form of a so-called perpetrator-victim-reversal).

The perspective that regards Israel as an expansionist colonial state that claims to rule over other peoples with a set of racist values also relies on a manifest distortion regarding Israel and the Middle East Conflict. Comparisons between Israel and colonial states ignore the reasons why Israel was founded as well as the specifics of the current conflict. In the 19th century, after being confronted with increasing antisemitism in the context of nationalist movements throughout Europe, the declared aim of Zionism was the reconstitution of a Jewish national state in the region where Judaism originated. [9] The idea of a Jewish state that represents a secure homeland for Jewish people was rejected right from the beginning of its existence by its Arab neighbouring countries - and this has continued until today. [10] Hence, the Middle East conflict is a religious and political conflict. Israel's ideological foundation [11] is not one of an expansionist state that founds colonies to exploit indigenous people and other resources in the third world. [12]

In both cases, Israel is presented as immoral, reactionary, and anachronistic in a way that repeats the crimes of European history - a misrepresentation that expels Israel from the community of Western states who have already distanced themselves from their historical crimes. [13]

The second function that such comparisons perform is the relativisation of the previously mentioned crimes. Indeed, these historical chapters are (in accordance with milieu-related convictions) problematised on the Left. However, after doing so, writers focus on claiming that Israel commits crimes comparable to those which have been historically committed by their own state. In this representation, Nazi acts of terror as well as colonial rule and exploitation become links in a chain of crimes against humanity that would continue in today's actions in the Middle East. [14]

Both demonisation and relativisation perform functions that are present and observable in international discourses on the Middle East - independent of the national origin of the writer. The third function, however, is linked to the writer's belonging to a national community. Alongside the function of relativisation, there is an accompanying unburdening of guilt from the writer's own national community. [15] Such an unburdening of guilt allows for a discursive overcoming of a historical bad conscience that prevents individuals from identifying with their national identity. Hence, Israel serves as a projection surface for characteristics that are opposed to a positive collective self-image (e.g. the Holocaust is, for many Germans, the largest impediment to this sort of affinity with national identity [16] ).

At this point, it is important to emphasise that the negative evaluation of the colonial past in left-liberal and left-wing milieus in Great Britain is essential for the performance of all three functions in the context of colonialism (and specifically Empire) analogies. This evaluation considerably differs from the British mainstream. In British society, there is a strong sense of patriotism and pride. [17] The British Empire can be considered as an important marker of identity for British society - national pride, therefore, is to a large extent linked to Britain's colonial past. [18] Looking at mainstream attitudes (and in contrast to the German discourse surrounding the National Socialist past), it may at first appear that the question of historical relativisation and unburdening of guilt in the context of British national identity is not at all an issue in the UK. However, the left-liberal Guardian, which discourse I examined in my study, is known for its focus on Britain's historical injustices (including an inherent critique of uninhibited national pride). [19] Historians who engage in research on the colonial consequences of British influence in Asia, Africa, and North America are often given a forum. [20] In this context, the readership of The Guardian is often exposed to lesser known and in some cases even repressed perspectives on their own country's history. Presuming an agreement on political positions between the publication and its readership, we can assume that Guardian readers at the least accept this negative, if not critical, perspective on Britain's colonial past. As stated, while problematising British colonialism, Guardian readers also connect their history with the nature and actions of the state of Israel. In this context, we can speak of a form of guilt projection and unburdening in connection with Israel-related antisemitism that, if not present throughout British society, is at the least present within the Guardian discourse. [21] Eventually, parallel functions - demonisation, relativisation, and unburdening of guilt - occur in relation to historical analogies in the Middle East discourses in the United Kingdom and Germany. Observing the analogies' common functions and their projective nature (which represents a core element of antisemitic worldviews) [22] as well as taking into account the fact that antisemitism has been constantly changing ever since it came into existence and has always adapted to current communication patterns and ideologies, it can be argued that we can speak of a socially acceptable form of antisemitism that is linked to a distinct need for exoneration in the context of diverging national narratives. This discussion, however, needs to be continued elsewhere, since my study focuses on the linguistic nature of such collective tendencies.

The reconstruction of a potential need for the unburdening of guilt of the national in-group that accompanies such historical comparisons is rather striking in the context of leftist groups. Left internationalism initially took nationhood as an anachronistic identity promoting concept. As a result, leftist groups think of themselves as being free of national sentiment and, thus, of needs for exoneration and national self-identification. The frequent, almost obsessive presence of historical analogies in the examined discourses demonstrates, however, overlaps between different political camps in both countries in relation to their thinking and needs for constructing national identity groups. [23]

2 Linguistic Approach

The way in which such distorted perspectives on Israel and the Mideast conflict are uttered depends to a large extent on the motives and the background of the speakers. Whilst the far-left explicitly depicts Israel and Jews as Nazis, colonialists and imperialists and express their wish for the destruction of the Zionist entity, centre-left milieus see themselves as advocates for human rights, eloquently advising the secularisation of Israel and the abandonment of Zionism. Both groups however charge Israel with backward and immoral behaviour and assign it the status of a pariah. Hence, despite the linguistic differences, the conceptual basis in both cases is identical. Its "rhetorical flexibility" [24] makes the latter form so attractive to mainstream society. Speakers distance themselves from conventional forms of antisemitic hate speech, emphasising - with a nod to their ideological position - that it is impossible for them to hold prejudices against Jews. Antisemitism in this form is presented as legitimate criticism of Israel while at the same time the supposed taboo against criticising the Jewish state (another antisemitic stereotype) is emphasised. [24] When claiming that the Mideast conflict resembles past atrocities, writers tend to highlight their sensitivity regarding their own history and, as a result, feel morally superior. Such "honorable antisemitism" [26] in combination with elegant and/or implicit forms of defamation and exclusion is much more dangerous than the limited appeal of traditional and/or explicit forms of Jew-hatred, because it is embraced by mainstream society.

In my research, I decided to understand in detail the linguistic nature of such implicit antisemitic hate speech in the German and British left. [27] What are their main conceptual and linguistic characteristics? In order to analyse such language use, I examined web discourses. Currently, the Internet has become a very important place for political debate. I have chosen readers' comments from Die Zeit and The Guardian as my sources for this study in order to examine the nature of verbal antisemitism within a left-liberal milieu. [28] The political position that these two publications occupy is of relevance when analysing readers' commentaries as the publication and its readership share a certain implied discourse common understanding or mutual agreement with regards to certain political positions. [29] When readers position themselves accordingly, yet at the same time convey antisemitic ways of thinking, the crucial question is how such expressions are linguistically constructed so as not to contradict the values upon which the is based.

Denigration and exclusion can be expressed both with vulgar speech as well as implicitly. By utilising indirect speech acts (e.g. rhetorical questions), writers can communicate the same information that is typically formulated through language that is explicitly offensive. [30] Analysing implicit speech is especially vital for understanding current forms of antisemitism in Germany. [31] In German society, expressions of hostility toward Jews have been widely considered taboo since 1945. This has formed what historians and linguists refer to as a communicative latency: an avoidance of openly antisemitic hate speech. [32] These communicative conditions create a specific spoken repertoire, [33] with which antisemitism can be expressed in an implicit and elaborate way (and consequently free from sanctions). Such a repertoire is subtle enough that it can locate itself in mainstream discourse. However, readers of such comments that on the surface seem socially acceptable can infer the antisemitic attitudes behind them and possibly imbibe related attitudes. [34] If expressed in left-liberal, politically moderate contexts, antisemitism can exhibit the same characteristics also in other countries.

In order to analyse implicit antisemitic hate speech, I have chosen the method of qualitative content analysis. [35] For a concise picture of the specifics of language use, I examined more than 6.000 comments that refer to the Israeli military operations Pillar of Defence (Nov. 14th- 22nd, 2012) and Protective Edge (July 8th - August 26th, 2014). Some of the main results of my content analysis will be presented in the following two sections. The second part of my study is to be located in the field of discourse analysis, since I am interested in the functions of language practices in comparable milieus. The overview of historical analogies I provide in sections 3 and 4 represents the most important results of my discourse analysis. [36] My qualitative studies on language use represent the foundation for my discourse analytical approach.

As indicated earlier, in my analysis of readers' comments in Die Zeit and The Guardian, my most conspicuous finding was - alongside the implicit reproduction of antisemitic stereotypes - the frequent use of historical analogies which aim at characterising and evaluating the Middle East conflict using the terms directly related to the commenter's own national history. [37] It needs to be mentioned that analogies are linguistically established through comparisons. A writer assumes that Israel is the last existing colonial power (= analogy) and expresses this idea (through a comparison); recipients understand this idea, i.e. the colonialism analogy gets generated mentally. With regard to the levels of clarity, I distinguished between explicit and implicit comparisons. Explicit Nazi comparisons ( X is like Y) occurred when writers used a connective ("like") between 'Israel' (the present perpetrator concept) and 'Nazi Germany' on the one hand or the 'United Kingdom during the Empire era' on the other (the two historical perpetrator concepts). [38] In readers' comments in Zeit and Guardian, however, historical comparisons were generally conveyed implicitly, which might be related to the fact that writers tend to sideline the relativising nature of such comparisons regarding past atrocities. Implicit expressions were realised when commenters did not explicitly name the perpetrator concepts (e.g. through exclusively referring to the victim concepts) or when they used a connective substitute (such as Israel reminds me of Nazi Germany). Additionally, they drew implicit comparisons regarding singular actions in the present and the historical scenario [39] (that finally served as evidence that an allegedly general comparability of the perpetrator concepts was justified (= paralogism [40] )); or they used references to individual aspects of Nazi crimes that appeared to function as a synecdoche for Nazism as a whole (in solely using words like "ghetto", "concentration camp", etc.). Similar characteristics could be found in the Guardian discourse, when it came to comparing references to British colonialism. As elucidated in the first section, all such analogies were highly problematic. In the following two sections, I will present readers' comments of Die Zeit and The Guardian, showing how close readings can help to identify the problematic equation in the Mideast discourse.

3 The Nazi Analogy in Zeit Readers' Comments

One of the rare explicit comparisons between the perpetrator concepts 'Israel' and 'Nazi Germany' in the comment section of Die Zeit is the following example. The commenter refers to the abduction of three Israeli minors that triggered the Israeli military operation Protective Edge in summer 2014:

    1. It's a fact that Netanyahu instrumentalised the death of those three Israeli settlers in a similar way the Nazis did when Hershel Grünspan killed the diplomat v. Rath in Paris. ( Die Zeit, reader's comment, 3rd of August 2014)

In 1938, Herschel Grynszpan shot Nazi diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris. The attack gave the Nazi regime the pretence to execute the so-called Kristallnacht pogroms on November 9th, 1938. The comparison refers to the instrumentalisation of certain events to the benefit of predefined political goals. According to the commenter, the political actions of the Israeli minister also mentioned by name resemble those of the Nazis. Readers can infer that the subsequent military operation in summer 2014 exhibited similarity to the pogroms and that Israelis were only looking for a trigger to attack on such a large scale.

As mentioned before, implicit comparisons however exist to a much larger extent in the readers' commentaries of Die Zeit, and are much more difficult to classify, since writers only imply comparability between Nazi Germany and Israel, e.g. by listing various actions and/or conditions. Readers can conclude that Israel and Nazi Germany resemble one another beyond the mentioned arguments and therefore both states possess a general proximity which in turn defines a paralogism:

    2. Israel delivers food to Gaza. [...] Hitler's henchmen also brought food into the concentration camps. Putting up fences was done back then, as Israel does it today, people smuggled back then and do it today. Back then it was also about racist motives as well as today… What is the only difference? Today, the victims are blamed for the murder of people - and not the perpetrators. This makes a big difference that does, however, not improve the situation. (Die Zeit, reader's comment, 25th of July 2014)

Even though the commenter does not at any point explicitly compare Israel and Nazi Germany, the juxtaposition of arguments establishes the Nazi analogy. Additionally, the alleged parallelism is reinforced through the repeated use of the adverb "also". By eventually asking the rhetorical question "What is the only difference?", the writer implies an absolute comparability between Israel and the Nazi state - except for one exemption: the implied disapproval of Israel on the grounds that it has special status, because despite its alleged role as perpetrator, it is not blamed. The idea of a taboo of criticism is a current form of antisemitic stereotype, to be found throughout German society. [41]

Another frequently used means of establishing the Nazi analogy is through allusions. [42] Commenters use references to persons, places, or actions associated with the Nazi era, however, without explicitly mentioning the Nazi period or formally drawing an analogy. An example would be Israel once again bombs the Gaza ghetto (other frequent examples are "KZ", "extermination war", "Sondereinheiten" (= special forces) and even unambiguous names such as "Goebbels"). In the context of the Middle East discourse, this kind of reference might irritate readers. Yet, anticipating that the commenter acts cooperatively, [43] they can assume the legitimacy of such a word use and therefore infer the existence of an actual ghetto in the Middle East. Allusions that indirectly convey the Nazi analogy (despite the absence of perpetrator concepts and/or a connective) reduce the risk of sanctions compared to expressing formal analogies.

The recourse to using Nazi vocabulary as a sub form of allusion demonstrates these characteristics, too - yet with another meaningful component that needs to be noted: commenters do no longer refer to the Nazi era by means of neutral, conventional lexis that is accepted in historical scientific contexts. Instead, they refer back to a parlance that takes a euphemistic and affirmative perspective with regard to the Nazi terror. Each of those references assumes that Israel follows an ideology that is comparable to National Socialism. Readers' commentaries of Die Zeit express euphemistic compounds such as "final solution" and "Palestinian question" that have been taken from National Socialist propaganda as well as slogans such as "People and Motherland" or "People without Space":

    3. the Jews [...] also strive for the total annihilation of the Palestinian terror. Then they would certainly have more living space in the east … well … northwest. ( Die Zeit, reader's comment, 9th of August 2014)

The Nazi euphemism "living space" refers to the General Plan East and is a popular trigger for the Nazi analogy. Commenters compare political actions of Israel with the expansionist policy of the Nazis. Next to the illegitimate (and revealing) equalisation of Jews and Israelis in the comment, the slogan "living space in the east" is stated in full length (and intentionally corrected), thus drawing the attention of the readers towards the alleged comparison.

Writers can also point to the Nazi period via clichéd, partly standardised formulations, i.e. without verbalising any relevant reference to it:

    4. It resembles a case of our history. (Die Zeit, reader's comment, 2nd of August 2014)

    5. it seems that no one here wants to learn from the dark times. ( Die Zeit, reader's comment, 21st of July 2014)

It can be argued that some of the presented Nazi allusions can refer to different historical eras (this applies also for some of the aforementioned, more unambiguous words such as ghetto, camp, Jewish question, special units, etc.). However, through the frequent use of such words in the Nazi context as well as the presence of Nazi atrocities in the collective memory, German readers primarily decode such expressions as allusions to Nazi crimes.

The examples presented here are only a small excerpt of how readers of Die Zeit established the Nazi analogy. The much larger part consists of the use of juxtaposed arguments (that can lead to a paralogism) as well as allusions. The apparent prominence of implicit comparisons through allusions in the Zeit corpus demonstrates the brisance of the Nazi analogy. Despite its implicit nature, readers can easily infer the historical scenario: Nazi Germany and its emanating atrocities. The frequency of such comparisons in left-liberal discourses demonstrates a habitualisation in terms of Israel-related exonerative antisemitism.

4 Empire and Colonialism Analogies in Guardian Readers' Comments

Guardian readers establish Empire and colonialism analogies through both explicit as well as implicit comparisons. In the first example the commenter draws a comparison between the current ('Palestinian') and the historical victim concept ('Boers'):

    6. The oppressed Palestinians are detained in Gaza like the Boers in the old times.. After the wars the Brits controlled all of South Africa - for decades.... you see, violence always pays off! (The Guardian, reader's comment, 15th of November 2012)

The example demonstrates an implicit comparison as the commenter solely refers to both victim concepts as well as to the historical perpetrator concept ('British Empire'). Next to the mentioned historical concepts, they use the verb "detained" that - together with the word "Boers" - alludes to the Second Boer War. During this conflict, which ended with the incorporation of the Boer republics into the British Empire, more than 100,000 people were imprisoned in detention camps. [44] Hence, through activating general knowledge, readers can deduce the corresponding historical era and the scope of human rights abuses. They can infer the current perpetrator concept ('Israel') through the reference to the victim concept, the word "Gaza" as well as the context. According to the commenter, Israel controls Gaza, which is portrayed as the prison of a colonialist power. Additionally, readers can infer that Israel plans to incorporate the whole region.

In the following comment, the writer establishes a comparison between Israeli military operations and the actions executed by the Empire. The comparison is of implicit nature, since it is weakened by a connective substitute (= "sounds like"):

    7. The current military action [of Israel] sounds like something the British Empire would shamelessly do in 19th century. (The Guardian, reader's comment, 18th of November 2012)

In addition, the commenter evaluates British actions with the adverb "shamelessly". Through the comparison, this evaluation is transferred onto Israel as well. By using the formulation "in 19th century" at the end of the comment, the writer describes Israel as backward - in their eyes, the state is using political actions that were characteristic of the United Kingdom in the 19th century.

The writer of the next comment refers to the British in-group and gives a negative evaluation in the context of colonialist actions. Those actions are listed in order to give a possible explanation as to why the U.K. supports Israel today:

    8. We have an enormous amount of experience stealing land from natives and are highly skilled at destroying the culture, language and spirit of the same. Some people here have told me that we invented the detention camp. [...] Maybe that's why my government supports Israel. (The Guardian, reader's comment, 15th of August 2014)

Together with the reference to the in-group, aspects of British history are mentioned: colonialist practices ("stealing land from natives", "destroying the culture, language and spirit") as well as expressions such as "we invented the detention camp" that can be understood as an allusion to the aforementioned Second Boer War. At the end, the writer reinforces the Empire analogy by stating "Maybe that's why my government supports Israel". When one state supports another, readers can infer that there are corresponding (e.g. political, ideological) outlooks. Hence, Israel is depicted as a country that allegedly performs colonial actions that are reminiscent of the Empire.

The subsequent comment compares the riots in British India and the terror of Hamas, on the one hand, and the way the resistance was dealt with, coming from the perpetrator concept, on the other:

    9. In the years after the Amritsar massacre many of us were killed in anti-colonial riots. We had to understand that this was just the beginning..... IMHO these attacks at that time are just like the anger Israel faces today. they label it 'terrorism', just like we did.. [sic] colonial arrogance will never ever create any peace. Take a breath and learn from history! (The Guardian, reader's comment, 15th July 2012)

The writer refers to the historical perpetrator concept 'British Empire' through mentioning the in-group ("our ancestors", "we"), through the attributive adjective in "colonial arrogance" as well as through the allusion to the "Amritsar massacre". The latter refers to a massacre committed by the British crown power in 1919 against 380 Indians, who protested in favour of India's independence. [45] The phrase "the anger Israel faces today" equates the subsequent outbreak of riots all across British India with Hamas terror. In contrast to the historical perpetrator concept, the present one is explicitly stated. In accordance with the suggested equivalency, readers can infer that the writer perceives the actions of Israel as "colonial arrogance" leading to such riots. The second comparison refers to classifying those riots according to the perpetrator concept: through putting the term "terrorism" in quotation marks, the commenter suggests that using this word to describe Hamas actions is as problematic as corresponding designations that served to delegitimise the Indian independence movement during the Empire era. Through such a classification, this comment exhibits an implicit questioning of Palestinian terrorism. Thereby, the not explicitly mentioned Hamas is characterised as an anti-colonial resistance movement - hence, in accord with the right of self-determination, its terror is justified.

As seen in the previous example, the corpus of the Guardian demonstrates that historically related analogies are established through allusions that contain references to actions and ideologies (e.g. colonialism, colonial power, land grab, expansionism), to places (e.g. British Kenya, British India), but also specifically to people(s) and their resistance movements (e.g. Mau Mau) and well-known actors that fought colonialism. Certain allusions refer to colonialism as such, however, the context refers to the British Empire. In addition, British readers can infer the scenario of British colonialism because of the already mentioned presence of the British Empire era in the collective memory. [46] Based on the perspective that Israel is an anachronistic colonial power, its right to exist is questioned:

    10. It's the last surviving European colonial project in the Third World founded on the expropriation of the land of the indigenous inhabitants. Like all other such projects it too will die. The sooner, the better. (The Guardian, reader's comment, 1st of December 2012)

Within the frame of turning the Middle East conflict into a dichotomised black-and-white scenario, Palestinians are portrayed as "indigenous" and thus presumed to be the legitimate inhabitants of the Middle East:

    11. The European Jewish colonists are the foreigners here. And they do not have the right to self-detemination [sic] at the expense of the indigenous (not 'foreign') Arab population. (The Guardian, reader's comment, 18 th of November 2012)

Furthermore, moral authorities such as the Indian resistance fighter Mahatma Gandhi are mentioned. Thereby, the terrorist organisation Hamas gets reclassified once again, as an anti-colonialist freedom movement. The writer of the subsequent comment indicates that the perception of the mainstream and its assessments regarding the roles in the Middle East conflict will shift:

    12. Mahatma Gandhi was once declared a terrorist by the British Parliament. Nelson Mandela was once denounced as a communist terrorist by his critics. [...] Draw your own conclusions. (The Guardian, reader's comment, 10th of August 2014)

Interestingly, commenters keep mentioning Gandhi even if they do not problematise the alleged colonial status of Israel (and therefore do not explicitly demonise the state). On the contrary, they suggest Palestinians distance themselves from any use of violence:

    13. Can someone explain (without swear words or abusing me) why Hamas won't try non violent [sic] resistance to achieve their aims? It worked for Ghandi [sic]. [...] Why does it have to be rockets rockets rockets at civilians all the time ? (The Guardian, reader's comment, 15th of November 2012)

However, despite criticising Hamas terror, the commenter alludes to the Empire by mentioning the name of Gandhi. On the basis of this allusion, readers can activate the era of the Indian resistance movement against the superior British colonialist power. Consequently, this comment exemplifies an implicit comparison between Israel today and the Empire during times of decolonisation.

My analysis demonstrates that the comparisons drawn by Guardian commenters between the perpetrator concepts 'Israel' and the 'British Empire' refer to both their intrinsic nature as well as to their oppressive actions. Where the Empire is not explicitly named, writers refer to the British in-group and/or to its colonialist actions in the past. Through allusions, they refer to places of colonialist rule (specifically India and parts of Africa) as well as to freedom movements and their representatives. The perception of Israel as a colonialist state remains even when commenters problematise Palestinian terror and the antisemitic desire to destroy Israel. This study and analysis emphasises the deep foundations that support the perception of the Jewish state as a colonial power. It also exhibits how exonerative argumentation within the Mideast discourse persists despite apparent discrepancies.

5 Conclusion

This analysis examined the question as to how Zeit and Guardian commenters use language patterns that can be categorised first, as antisemitic and second, as reinforcing respective national self-images. The comparisons identified are to a noticeably high degree of an implicit nature. Hence, the probability that the writers are confronted with sanctions within their milieu-specific discourse is low. This can be explained by the fact that, in both countries, writers from left-liberal milieus generally strive to distance themselves from antisemitism, racism and nationalism.

Analysing historical analogies brought up the hypothesis that by looking at the functioning of projective equations in the milieus studied, new forms of antisemitism can be observed that apparently do not conflict with the political-moral positions of its writers. According to this hypothesis, the conventional repertoire for demonising Israel only widens by such analogies. Unlike the reproduction of antisemitic stereotypes, historical analogies can stand for an alleged expression of historical sensitivity, moral integrity, and humanistic convictions. As soon as German commenters refer to the Nazi era when participating in the Middle East discourse, they frequently emphasise that the German in-group has learned from its past. Nowadays, Germans would be able to apply this acquired sensitivity to a critical handling of (allegedly corresponding) forms of current injustices. Left-oriented British writers problematise the historical injustice of the British Empire. By distancing themselves from the colonialist era as well as from its glorification (as is currently happening in British right-wing populist and parts of mainstream discourse), they express the same values and sensitivity as German writers.

When looking at potential risks that may arise from such language use, I specifically consider the analysis of the frequently used colonialism analogies in the Guardian readers' commentaries as an indispensable area for research. Its increasing presence and acceptance within the left-liberal and mainstream discourse demonstrates its potential to become a catalyst for establishing moral equivalencies - based on a simulated concern for human rights and disapproval of racism and exploitation - within the overall decidedly anti-Israeli discourse.

Nazi atrocities constitute a chapter of German history that the post-Nazi society seeks to distance itself from in the public discourse. The highly negative evaluation of that historical chapter usually forbids any recourse through comparisons. At the same time, it seems that nowadays the once highly-charged status of Nazi references in the German mainstream discourse is diminishing. This might be because of an apparent desire to come to terms with this period in German history.

Contrary to that, writers who convey colonialist analogies claim to problematise current human rights abuses, oppression and racism. For this reason, they tap into scenarios that have relevance in the present day and are well-known. These scenarios are, moreover, closely interwoven with current discourses on human rights and exhibit a highly-persuasive and emotional potential. With respect to the content, colonialism (and segregation/apartheid) analogies can gain a hegemonic, universally compatible status within a socially acceptable discourse which is hostile toward Israel and Jews.

Especially in the context of apparent re-nationalisation tendencies, it is only a matter of time before images of the Jew (and the Jewish state) as the enemy become strengthened. The so-called centre of society is not exempt from such developments, and questions of national identity, as well as the corresponding collective need for exoneration, will play a crucial driving force - particularly when historical injustices are today's subject of forensic examination and interest. Through continuous detailed analyses of language use, especially online as the Internet represents the most important platform for political debate, forms of antisemitism and nationalism in mainstream society can be anticipated and scientifically, politically, as well as educationally addressed in good time.

[1] See A. Julius, Trials of the Diaspora. A History of Anti-Semitism in England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); R. S. Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (New York: Random House, 2010).

[2] In recent years, left antisemitism has been subject to various studies in both countries. For left-wing antisemitism in Great Britain see C. Shindler, Israel and the European Left. Between Solidarity and Delegitimization (London: Continuum, 2011); D. Rich, The Left's Jewish Problem. Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism (London: Biteback Publishing, 2016); R. Fine and P. Spencer, The Antisemitism and the Left. On the Return of the Jewish Question (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017); D. Hirsh, Contemporary Left Antisemitism (London: Routledge, 2017). For its equivalent in Germany see T. Haury, Die ideologischen Grundlagen des Antizionismus in der Linken (D-A-S-H, 2005); S. Voigt, "Antisemitic Anti-Zionism Within the German Left - Die Linke," Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity, ed. C. A. Small (New York: ISGAP, 2013); D. Ionescu and S. Salzborn (ed.), Antisemitismus in deutschen Parteien (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2014); M. W. Kloke, "Kein Frieden mit Israel: Antizionismus in der 'gebildeten' Linken," Gebildeter Antisemitismus: Eine Herausforderung für Politik und Zivilgesellschaft, ed. M. Schwarz-Friesel (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2015); J. Herf, Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016). The strong rejection of the idea that antisemitism may be a part of a left worldview, is surprising in light of research on left antisemitism that had occurred even before Israel was founded in 1948 (see i.a. E. Silberner, Sozialisten zur Judenfrage: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Sozialismus vom Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts bis 1914 (Berlin: Colloquium, 1962), 286.

[3] See IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance), Working Definition of Antisemitism (2016), available at: . Accessed August 28, 2018.

[4] See M. Schwarz-Friesel and J. Reinharz, Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft im 21. Jahrhundert (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2013), 172.

[5] For the separation of Israel-related antisemitism from criticism of Israel see T. Stein, Zwischen Antisemitismus und Israelkritik: Antizionismus in der deutschen Linken? (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2011); Schwarz-Friesel and Reinharz, Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft im 21. Jahrhundert, 194p. Through the loop of anti-Zionism, antisemitic stereotypes and other forms of Israel-related antisemitism can be justified and finally reach the status of what is permissible to say.

[6] See M. W. Kloke, "Kein Frieden mit Israel: Antizionismus in der 'gebildeten' Linken," Gebildeter Antisemitismus: Eine Herausforderung für Politik und Zivilgesellschaft .

[7] See T. Haury, Die ideologischen Grundlagen des Antizionismus in der Linken .

[8] When I use the term (communicative) function( s), I do not refer to the writer's intentions, but to the effects or the consequences of such statements for understanding and interpreting the compared entities. In drawing historical analogies, deductions that can be inferred out of the given information regarding the proportion of the two correlated issues. Readers can, but they don't have to be able to infer these potential deductions. This means that the actual understanding of analogies can diverge subjectively. Questions such as, whether the writer utters a comparison intentionally, or if readers can entirely understand the comparison, do not, however, affect the functions of analogies in that context.

[9] See T. Stein, Zwischen Antisemitismus und Israelkritik: Antizionismus in der deutschen Linken?, 28; see also R. S. Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad .

[10] See R. S. Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad .

[11] Security and anti-terror policies in the West Bank have been frequently described with the word "colonial". However, the historian J. Osterhammel underlines: „[The rule of] Israel in the 1967 occupied territories with major Palestinian population shows characteristics of colonialism without that one could talk about a completely established system of colonialist rule" (J. Osterhammel, Kolonialismus: Geschichte, Formen, Folgen (München: C. H. Beck, 2009), 123). Osterhammel, hereby, accentuates that similarities regarding real-world phenomena should not lead to the conclusion that the underlying ideologies correspond.

[12] See also IHRA definition: "claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor". Since the beginning of the Middle East conflict, human rights violations have been undoubtedly happening on both sides. Regarding the differences between Israel and a colonial state see Y. Gelber, The Disease of „Post-Zionism": Some Basic Issues of the Zionist/Post-Zionist Controversy. Post-Zionism and Anti Zionism (Zioncon Blogspot, 08.07.2007); C. Shindler, Israel and the European Left. Between Solidarity and Delegitimization ; J. Edthofer, "Israel as Neo-Colonial Signifier? Challenging De-Colonial Anti-Zionism," Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, Vol. 7 (2) (2015); D. Rich, The Left's Jewish Problem. Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism ; D. Hirsh, Contemporary Left Antisemitism; T. Friling, "What Do Those Who Claim Zionism Is Colonialism Overlook?," Handbook of Israel: Major Debates, ed. E. Ben-Rafael et al. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016), and Y. Sternberg, "The Colonialism/Colonization Perspective on Zionism/Israel," Handbook of Israel: Major Debates, ed. E. Ben-Rafael (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016).

[13] See R. Fine, "Fighting with Phantoms: A Contribution to the Debate on Antisemitism in Europe," Patterns of Prejudice, 43 (5) (2009).

[14] Clearly, atrocities during the Nazi era can under no circumstances be equated with the crimes stemming from colonialism. When I speak of common functions in German and British leftist discourses, I solely refer to those chapters in the history of the commenter's own country that he/she has a negative perspective on, i.e. he/she rejects as a source of self-identification. Through their constant references to those historic stages within the frame of the Mideast discourse, commenters, they (whether intentionally or not) trivialise historical crimes that themselves had different causes and structures.

[15] In my analyses, I do not focus on questions of identity of web users, since, first, related questions cannot be sufficiently answered in studies on widely anonymous online discussions; and second, my studies are of linguistic nature. Hence, I am primarily interested in linguistic phenomena and their presence in different discourses as an expression of hegemonic attitudes in related milieus. However, the question whether the authors of the examined readers' comments are of British origin, could be widely confirmed after considering the explicit and implicit information these web users provided in their comment history on the website of The Guardian.

[16] For further information on the current climate of re-emerging national pride and the related revaluation of the Nazi past in Germany see P. Sadigh, Studie zur Identität: 60 Prozent der Deutschen zeigen Nationalstolz (Tagesspiegel, 29.04.2009); E. Buß, Deutsch-Sein - Ein neuer Stolz auf die Nation im Einklang mit dem Herzen. Die Identität der Deutschen (Identity Foundation, Bielefeld: Kamphausen, 2009); U. Schmidt-Denter, Die Deutschen und ihre Migranten: Ergebnisse der europäischen Identitätsstudie (Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Juventa, 2011); See Bertelsmann, Deutschland und Israel heute: Verbindende Vergangenheit, trennende Gegenwart? (2015); K. Witsch, Studie zum Holocaust: Die Deutschen wollen vergessen (Huffington Post, 26.01.2015); J. Gerhards, L. Breuer and A. Delius, Kollektive Erinnerungen der europäischen Bürger im Kontext von Transnationalisierungsprozessen: Deutschland, Großbritannien, Polen und Spanien im Vergleich (Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2017), 188pp.

[17] According to a poll conducted by the British market and opinion research institute YouGov in early 2014, a majority of British citizens expressed patriotic feelings toward their own nation and its history (32 percent claimed to be very patriotic, 35 percent relatively patriotic), which - as mentioned by the author of the article - stands in sharp contrast to Germany: "But in comparison to Germany, where history has weakened the appeal of national pride and patriotism has become associated with the far-right [...], Britain seems positively patriotic. In Germany, only 9% say they are very patriotic" (W. Dahlgreen, Patriotism in Britain reduces with each Generation (YouGov, 14.07.2015).

[18] A YouGov poll from 2016 found that 44 percent of respondents were proud of the colonial history of the United Kingdom - 43 percent believed that the empire had been a positive thing (see J. Stone, British people are proud of colonialism and the British Empire, poll finds: The Empire's history is not widely taught in detail in British schools, The Independent, 19.06.2016). An even higher percentage associated colonialism with a model of government that produced benefits to both colonists and the colonised (see W. Dahlgreen, Rhodes must not fall, YouGov, 18.01.2016).

[19] Debates about the colonialist past and national identity in Great Britain are ongoing as the Guardian article „Empire 2.0 is dangerous nostalgia for something that never existed" by D. Olusoga (2017) illustrates, in which the author examines the relation between Empire nostalgia and requirements after Brexit; see also The Guardian, Empire state of mind - why do so many people think colonialism was a good thing? (The Guardian, 20.01.2016), D. Olusoga, Wake up, Britain: Should the empire really be a source of pride? (The Guardian, 23.01.2016), K. Andrews, Colonial nostalgia is back in fashion, blinding us to the horrors of empire (The Guardian, 24.08.2016) and H. Wismayer, Empire 2.0: Great Britain was never truly post-colonial - and Brexit proves it (Quartz, 14.03.2017).

[20] Here, research conducted by Caroline Elkins shall be highlighted where she examines colonialist crimes in British Kenya and evokes several debates on the matter (see C. Elkins, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya (New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2005) and Britain has said sorry to the Mau Mau: The rest of the empire is still waiting (The Guardian, 07.06.2013); for British India see S. Tharoor, „But what about the railways ...?" The myth of Britain's gifts to India (The Guardian, 08.03.2017) and Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India (London: C. Hurst, 2017).

[21] See H. Embacher, "Neuer Antisemitismus und Antiamerikanismus in Europa: Historisch vergleichende Überlegungen," PaRDeS, Vol. 10 (2005), 35p.

[22] Antisemitism has always been characterised by projective attributions (see L. Rensmann, Demokratie und Judenbild: Antisemitismus in der politischen Kultur der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2004) and "Zion als Chiffre: Modernisierter Antisemitismus in aktuellen Diskursen der deutschen politischen Öffentlichkeit," Gebildeter Antisemitismus: Eine Herausforderung für Politik und Zivilgesellschaft, ed. M. Schwarz-Friesel (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2015); M. Horkheimer and T. W. Adorno, Dialektik der Aufklärung. Gesammelte Schriften (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2006), 196p.; K. Holz, Nationaler Antisemitismus: Wissenssoziologie einer Weltanschauung (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2010).

[23] See T. Stein, Zwischen Antisemitismus und Israelkritik: Antizionismus in der deutschen Linken? 76p.; J. Köck, "Eine Renaissance völkischen Denkens?," Zeitschrift für kritische Sozialtheorie und Philosophie, Vol. 5, ed. I. Elbe et al. (De Gruyter: Berlin/Boston, 2018).

[24] M. W. Kloke, "Kein Frieden mit Israel: Antizionismus in der 'gebildeten' Linken," Gebildeter Antisemitismus: Eine Herausforderung für Politik und Zivilgesellschaft, 160.

[25] The "argument that complaints of antisemitism are made in bad faith to protect Israel and/or attack the Left" (D. Allington, "'Hitler had a valid argument against some Jews': repertoires for the denial of antisemitism in online responses to a survey of attitudes to Jews and Israel," Discourse, Context & Media (2018), that in British antisemitism research is widely called the "Livingstone Formulation" (D. Hirsh, Contemporary Left Antisemitism, 2017), represents common antisemitic stereotypes - the supposed taboo against criticising Jews as well as the instrumentalisation of antisemitism - in both Germany and Great Britain.

[26] J. Améry, "Der ehrbare Antisemitismus," Werke: Aufsätze zur Politik und Zeitgeschichte, ed. S. Steiner (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2005 [1969]), 131.

[27] In this article, I present the conclusions of my doctoral thesis, which I submitted to the Technische Universität Berlin in 2017. For further information see M. Becker, Analogien der "Vergangenheitsbewältigung": Antiisraelische Projektionen in Leserkommentaren der "Zeit" und des "Guardian" (Baden-Baden: Nomos, in print).

[28] Applying my linguistic approach, I was able to observe the reproduction of antisemitic stereotypes in articles of the Guardian related to the Mideast conflict - contrary to the Zeit. This is remarkable as antisemitism is classified as a form of racism in the British discourse. In that sense, antisemitic stereotypes would need to be sanctioned in a medium that positions itself as anti-racist. Based on the presence of stereotypes within the British Middle East discourse, it can be assumed however that the fine line between hate speech and freedom of expression varies extensively from its German counterpart.

[29] In reference to the effects of the Internet on our thinking and communication behaviour, two phenomena are addressed: One, the term echo chambers signifies the tendency to be surrounded with like-minded people and to mutually encourage the respective standpoint. Two, the phenomenon of the so-called filter bubbles describes the selection, the exclusion of such information and/or sources by web users that contradict the own standpoint (see E. Pariser, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you (New York: The Penguin Press, 2011), 22; see also S. Habscheid, "Das Internet - ein Massenmedium?," Sprache und Kommunikation im Internet, ed. T. Siever, P. Schlobinski, and J. Runkehl (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2005). For political discourse see R. Schmitt-Beck, "Wähler unter Einfluss: Massenkommunikation, interpersonale Kommunikation und Parteipräferenz," Politikvermittlung und Demokratie in der Mediengesellschaft: Beiträge zur politischen Kommunikationskultur, ed. U. Sarcinelli (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1998); P. Winterhoff-Spurk, Medienpsychologie: Eine Einführung (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2004).

[30] See F. Wagner, Implizite sprachliche Diskriminierung als Sprechakt: Lexikalische Indikatoren implizierter Diskriminierung in Medientexten (Tübingen: Narr, 2001); J. Meibauer (ed.), Hassrede/Hate speech: Interdisziplinäre Beiträge zu einer aktuellen Diskussion (Gießen: Gießener Elektronische Bibliothek, 2013).

[31] See Schwarz-Friesel and Reinharz, Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft im 21. Jahrhundert.

[32] See W. Bergmann and R. Erb, "Kommunikationslatenz, Moral und öffentliche Meinung: Theoretische Überlegungen zum Antisemitismus in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland," ed. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie (Köln, 1986), 223p.

[33] Allington uses the term repertoire in his study on antisemitic parlance on Facebook for pointing out argumentative patterns through which speakers/writers deny and/or relativise antisemitism (see D. Allington, "'Hitler had a valid argument against some Jews': repertoires for the denial of antisemitism in online responses to a survey of attitudes to Jews and Israel"). I use the term repertoire in a wider sense, referring to all forms of language use that exhibit antisemitic attitudes as their conceptual basis, i.e. word use, speech acts as well as argumentative patterns.

[34] See N. Hortzitz, "Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft," Antisemitismus: Vorurteile und Mythen, ed. J. H. Schoeps and J. Schlör (München: Piper, 1996); N. Hortzitz, Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft in der frühen Neuzeit (1450-1700): Untersuchungen zu Wortschatz, Text und Argumentation (Heidelberg: Winter, 2005); T. Eitz and G. Stötzel, Wörterbuch der „Vergangenheitsbewältigung": Die NS-Vergangenheit im öffentlichen Sprachgebrauch, Vol. 1 and 2 (Hildesheim: Olms, 2007 and 2009).

[35] Qualitative content analysis represents a bundle of techniques to systematically and consistently analyse texts of all kind (e.g. web sources, transcripts of interviews, etc.). It is not limited to the manifest content of the material, but involves also latent, i.e. context information (see P. Mayring, Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlagen und Techniken (Weinheim: Beltz, 2010). Especially in the discipline of pragma-linguistics, not the manifest meaning of words, but what we mean when we say something, represents the research focus (see J. Meibauer (ed.), Hassrede/Hate speech: Interdisziplinäre Beiträge zu einer aktuellen Diskussion ). The way implicit hate speech is conveyed is constantly changing - not only in relation to antisemitism. Therefore, the detailed, i.e. qualitative analysis of predefined data is necessary to be able to make reliable statements concerning the nature of antisemitic hate speech in the examined discourse. Quantitative analyses can follow in a second step when an overview about the different coding variations exists.

[36] Indeed, Nazi analogies in the Middle East discourse were already in previous research classified as exonerative antisemitism, fulfilling the need for relief and exculpation from the Nazi crimes (see E. Schapira and G. M. Hafner, "Entlastungsantisemitismus in Deutschland," Neu-alter Judenhass: Antisemitismus, arabisch-israelischer Konflikt und europäische Politik, ed. K. Faber, J. H. Schoeps and S. Stawski (Berlin: Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, 2007); M.-H. Pérennec, "Nazi-Vergleiche im heutigen politischen Diskurs: Von den Gefahren falscher Analogien," LYLIA, Vol. 16 (2008)), also to be found in left discourses (see S. Voigt, "Antisemitic Anti-Zionism Within the German Left - Die Linke," Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity, ed. C. A. Small (New York: ISGAP, 2013)). However, there was no differentiation so far between the second and third function of relativisation and unburdening of guilt. Furthermore, the question whether colonialism analogies in the British left are not only distortive claims, but also represent an equivalent to the German exonerative antisemitism was never answered in the frame of a discourse analysis based on extensive language data.

[37] The linguistic expressions of both forms - stereotypes as well as analogies - can be described as topoi. Edthofer defines the term topos as "vaguely formulated imaginations" (J. Edthofer, "Israel as Neo-Colonial Signifier? Challenging De-Colonial Anti-Zionism," 34). Hence, she hereby identifies phenomena on the conceptual/mental level. Analogies and stereotypes are conceptual entities. Edthofer also uses the term trope for indicating "metaphors that objectify antisemitic imaginations" (ibid.). Metaphors are to be located on the linguistic level and because of their nature of linking two entities, they have certain similarities to analogies. The use of both of them helps understanding abstract and/or complex entities through transferring features/imagery. However, the linguistic structure of both categories differs (metaphor: X is Y, standard analogy: X is like Y). Furthermore, metaphors - through the creative transfer of features from X to Y - create new conceptual entities (which in linguistics is called the phenomenon of emergence, see H. Skirl, Emergenz als Phänomen der Semantik am Beispiel des Metaphernverstehens. Emergente konzeptuelle Merkmale an der Schnittstelle von Semantik und Pragmatik (Tübingen: Narr, 2009). Historical analogies, however, do not create a new conceptual entity, but characterise and evaluate the compared entity (= Israel) through references to well-known past atrocities.

[38] The term "perpetrator concept" shall not infer that Nazi Germany and the British Empire are comparable entities. It is rather about an operationalisation of corresponding attribution carried out verbally (partly implied) by commenters. The use of the term "victim concept" ('Jews' and 'Palestinians') is to be understood in the same way (for a linguistic overview on different forms of comparisons see M. Thurmair, Vergleiche und Vergleichen: Eine Studie zu Form und Funktion der Vergleichsstrukturen im Deutschen (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 2001)).

[39] The term scenario refers to the historical (or present) era, its circumstances, policies, social processes as well as living conditions. In relation to the subject matter, this can be the Mideast/Israel, Nazi Germany as well as the British Empire.

[40] A paralogism is a false conclusion that imitates the form of a real consequence (see M.-H. Pérennec, "Nazi-Vergleiche im heutigen politischen Diskurs: Von den Gefahren falscher Analogien," 7­p.; Schwarz-Friesel and Reinharz, Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft im 21. Jahrhundert, 285).

[41] See M. Schwarz-Friesel and J. Reinharz, Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft im 21. Jahrhundert (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2013), 159.

[42] See P. Lennon, "Die Rolle von Anspielungen in britischen Zeitungstexten," ZfAL, Vol. 34 (2001).

[43] See H. P. Grice, 1975, "Logic and Conversation," Syntax and Semantics. Vol. 3. Speech Acts, ed. P. Cole and J. L. Morgan (New York: Academic Press, 1975).

[44] See E. van Heyningen, The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War: A Social History (Auckland Park: Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd., 2013).

[45] See M. Mann, Geschichte Indiens: Vom 18. bis zum 21. Jahrhundert (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2005); G. Dharampal-Frick and M. Ludwig, "Die Kolonialisierung Indiens und der Weg in die Unabhängigkeit" Indien ( = Der Bürger im Staat), ed. Landeszentrale für politische Bildung, Baden-Württemberg (Filderstadt: Weinmann, 2009).

[46] In connection with my analyses of the Guardian comment sections, I conducted an interview project with native speakers from Great Britain in which I used samples of the examined readers' comments. Here, it became clear that the respondents - confronted with words like "European colonial power" and "subjugating people of other continents" - primarily associated the role of Great Britain during the era of 19th century colonialism (and not the one of e.g. Spain or France). Hence, allusions that refer to different historical events in different national contexts evoke the historical role of one's own country, as soon as the implied scenarios are activated. Therefore, such general allusions cause associations in the same way as "ghetto" or "Jewish question" that in the German context primarily evoke the Nazi era (even if they refer to phenomena before 1933).