Comparing Israel, the Holocaust and Nazi Germany

Comparing Israel, the Holocaust and Nazi Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

How the Zionist
movement tries to have it both ways

You might think it is a no-brainer that refusing to rent Israeli state land to non-Jews was racist but in a Jewish state such logic doesn’t apply
According
to the International
Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
definition of anti-Semitism,
‘Contemporary
examples of antisemitism … could, taking into account the overall context,
include, but are not limited to: ….Drawing comparisons of contemporary
Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.’
This
definition, first proposed
by the Home Affairs Select Committee last year, was subsequently adopted
by Theresa May and, not wanting to feel left out, Jeremy Corbyn.
The IHRA
was based on the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism [WDA], which was junked
in 2013 by the Europe Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency, after vehement opposition
to its conflation of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.  The WDA has resurfaced, like the undead in a
Dracula horror movie, in the guise of the IHRA.
I decided on a bit of graffiti on the IHRA Facebook page – this definition is backed by a host of far-Right anti-Semitic governments such as that in Poland
So if were to accuse Israeli Jews who chant Death
to the Arabs’
on demonstrations of
being no different from Nazi demonstrators who chanted ‘death to the Jews’ 80
years ago, then according to the IHRA, this too is a clear example of ‘anti-Semitism’.
The Imperialist leadership of the Labour Party – Corbyn and McDonnell have, like Theresa May, supported the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ which defines anti-Zionism as anti–Semitism 
Notwithstanding this, Zionists and supporters of Israel are allowed to claim that the Holocaust
justifies Israel’s apartheid practices.  Only
last week Baroness Deech sent a letter
to the Jewish Chronicle concerning a new national Holocaust memorial and learning
centre which it is being proposed should be built next to Parliament.  Costing £50m you might think that Deech was
enthusiastic in welcoming this project? 
Not  a bit of it.  What was the point of such a centre if it had
nothing to say about Israel?  Deech
whinged that:
“We already have in this
country about 10 Holocaust memorials. None has prevented the recent rise in
antisemitism and attempts to delegitimise Israel.”

Note
how the purpose of learning about the Holocaust is not to prevent racism or anti-Semitism.  It is to prevent ‘delegitimisation’ i.e.
criticism of Israel as a Jewish state. 
Deech wondered
why some students, who have studied the
Holocaust at school, seem not to have made the connection between that event,
and Jewish people and their state today.”
 
A good question.  Perhaps the
reasons might lie in the fact that many people find it hard to reconcile the Nazi
state’s pre-1941 discrimination against German Jews with Israel’s discrimination
against Palestinians?  The good Baroness explained
that “you have to improve the
relationship between Holocaust education and attitudes to Jewish people and to
Israel.”
Netanyahu used the meeting of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj al Amin Husseini with Hitler in November 1941 to suggest that the Mufti had forced Hitler into the Final Solution – except that the Holocaust began in June 1941
In
other words Holocaust ‘education’ should concern itself not with historical
understanding of the Holocaust and why it happened but with propaganda aimed at
supporting the Israeli state.  A state
which has two separate legal systems – one for Jewish settlers and another for Palestinians
on the West Bank.  A state which seeks to
ethnically cleanse not simply Palestinians living in Jerusalem but Arabs and
Bedouin within Israel itself.  According
to Deech any Holocaust memorial should be modelled on Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust
propaganda museum which has a picture of the Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem prominently
displayed.  As Tom Segev noted, its
purpose being to ensure that ‘the visitor
is left to conclude that there is much in common between the Nazis’ plan to
destroy the Jews and the Arabs’ enmity to Israel.
’ [The
Seventh Million p.425]
The
purpose of Holocaust education is not so much to foster an understanding of the
iniquities of racism and the singling out of an ethnic group for blame or
scapegoating but rather to help bolster support for a state based upon the same
principles of ethno-religious discrimination as Nazi Germany.
The
article below was originally published
on February 10, 2017 by The Clarion, which describes itself as an unofficial magazine by
Labour Party and Momentum activists.
  It would fairer to describe Clarion as the magazine and web journal
of the Alliance for Workers Liberty, a Zionist ‘Trotskyist’ group and its sympathisers.  Its Editorial Board includes Rhea Wolfson of
the Jewish Labour Movement, who was elected to Labour’s National Executive Committee
as part of the grassroots slate of 6. 
Are Comparisons Between Israel and
the Nazis Anti-Semitic?

According
to Shami Chakrabarti in her Report on
Racism and Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party:
In day -to-day political debate , it is always incendiary to compare the
actions of Jewish people or institutions anywhere in the world to those of
Hitler or the Nazis or to the perpetration of the Holocaust. Indeed such remarks
can only be intended to be incendiary rather than persuasive.’
Shami
Chakrabarti knew nothing about Zionism or the background to comparisons between
Zionism and the Nazi era.  What has been compared
is not the treatment of the Palestinians to the Holocaust, because clearly Israel
isn’t attempting to exterminate millions of Palestinians, (though there are
powerful elements, especially amongst religious Zionists who would like to see
their physical elimination) but three things:
i.             
The ideological
congruence between Nazi attitudes to the Jews from 1933 onwards to the Jews and
Zionist attitudes to Palestinians as manifested in Israeli Apartheid today.
ii.            
The fact that sections
of the Zionist community in Israel have adopted a genocidal attitude towards
the Palestinians.  For example in 2010
Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur wrote a book ‘Torat Hameleh’  [The King’s
Torah] which explained
that:
The prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’
applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew,” write Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira
and Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. Non-Jews are
“uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them “curb their evil
inclination,” while babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed
since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”
iii.           
The repeated comparison
by Zionists of the Palestinians with the Nazis and those who perpetrated the
Holocaust.  This has been most evident in
the portrayal of the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was a Nazi collaborator and war
criminal, as representative of the Palestinians.  In his address to the World Zionist Congress
in 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu laid the blame for the Holocaust at
the feet of the Mufti not Hitler (see Rewriting
the Holocaust – Jacobin
). 
The Zionist suggestion that the Mufti
of Jerusalem was representative of the Palestinians and that opposition to
Zionism is therefore motivated by anti-Semitism, is an example of the hypocrisy
of Zionism.  The Mufti was never elected by
the Palestinians.  It was the ardently Zionist
British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel who appointed Haj al Amin Husseini as Grand
Mufti in 1920 despite him coming fourth in the elections for the position, However
this kind of double standard is perfectly acceptable to the Deeches of this
world.
As the article below explains, the IHRA definition of
anti-Semitism is worse than idiocy.  It
is based on a combination of ignorance and malevolence.  The 31 governments which agreed to this
definition include the states of Hungary, Poland, Croatia and the Baltic republics,
all of which have manifested differing degrees of anti-Semitism and racism
towards refugees.  Like most such governments
they combine anti-Semitism and support for Zionism.
The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is designed to
suppress free speech and close down debate. 
In Israel the use of the Holocaust as a metaphor and an insult are
legion, precisely because the Holocaust has helped shape, in the distorted
context of settler colonialism, Israel’s Jewish self-identity.
For example on March 10th in Ha’aretz Carolina Landsmann described how a new piece of
legislation from Israel’s Knesset, a bill which sought to ban the Muslim call
to prayer on the grounds of ‘noise’, brought to mind what the Zionist
historian, David Bankier had said
when describing how ‘Nazi propaganda
deliberately fostered a sense of collective guilt among the Germans. Starting
in 1942, the Nazis provided hints about what was happening to the Jews so that
the Germans would feel they had crossed the bounds of morality along with their
leaders.’

 What we have is
a situation where the Holocaust is repeatedly used to justify Zionist crimes
against the Palestinians but any attempt to reverse the equation and show how
the depiction and scapegoating of the Palestinian minority of Israel bears a
similarity to the treatment of the Jews of Germany is ‘anti-Semitic’.
These are the double standards of Zionism and its
Tory apologists – unfortunately Jeremy Corbyn has also signed
up
to this Establishment hypocrisy.
Tony Greenstein

By Tony
Greenstein, Brighton Momentum activist
 (This is a
reply to Michael
Chessum’s explanation
of why he voted to remove Jackie Walker as vice chair of the Momentum
steering committee. It does not reflect the view of the Clarion editors
or most of our contributors, but we publish it in the interests of debate on
the left.)
When Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the JNF could no longer bar non-Jews from state lands, it issued the above statement on its web site – its survey showed that 70% of Israeli Jews oppose allocating state and JNF land to non-Jews and 80% of Jews prefer a Jewish to a democratic state of all of its citizens 
The JNF has an openly racist constitution – it is for the benefit of Jews only (it has now changed this to the people of Israel, but still defines its purposes as Jewish in nature)

The JNF’s priorities – benefiting the ‘Land of Israel’ not the State of Israel.  The Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael) is code for a Greater Israel whose borders extend into Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.
Introduction
The
present split in Momentum can be traced back to the night of the 3rd October
when Jon Lansman moved to remove Jackie Walker from her post as Vice-Chair of
Momentum. The pretext for this were comments that she had been secretly
recorded making at a Jewish Labour Movement ‘training session’ on anti-Semitism
at the last Labour Party conference. It is clear, in hindsight, that Jackie had
been the victim of a political ‘sting’ by the Jewish Labour Movement, which is
the emanation of the Israeli state inside the Labour Party.
None of
the comments Jackie made were in the least anti-Semitic but a climate was
created in which anything she said about anti-Semitism or the Holocaust would
be twisted by the JLM into an allegation of ‘anti-Semitism’.
We saw
how this was done in the third programme of Al Jazeera’s ‘The Lobby’ when Joan
Ryan MP, Chair of Labour Friends of Israel concocted an ‘anti-Semitic’ incident
at their stall when questioned by Jean Fitzpatrick as to what their ‘support’
for 2 States in Israel/Palestine meant in practice. In practice, as she found
out, not a lot. It is mere rhetoric designed to cover up for their support for
the existing status quo and the military occupation of the Palestinian
territories.
Jackie’s
‘anti-Semitic’ statements that led to her removal as Momentum Vice-Chair were:

1.
‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Day were shared by all people who had
experienced genocide’.

2. ‘I haven’t heard any definition of anti-Semitism that I could work with’
It is
difficult to understand how either statement could be said to be anti-Semitic.
They are expressions of opinion. Whether or not they are true is immaterial. It
was as if Jackie had been urging a Pharaonic cull of the Jewish first born. The
sincerity of her main antagonist, the JLM, can be judged by its silence over
Israeli Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog’s effusive welcome for the election of
Donald Trump and the anti-Semites he has brought in his wake in the form of
Steve Bannon and the Alt-Right.(1)
Of course
the Zionist lobby and their friends in the media have an unerring ability to
create a synthetic symphony of outrage about ‘anti-Semitism’ out of nothing. All
the newspapers – from the Tory tabloids to the Guardian were eager to
damn Jackie. Instead of defending her, Jon Lansman threw her to the wolves.
Stephen Pollard of the Zionist Jewish Chronicle reported that Lansman had ‘reached the
end of his tether”. Lansman informed the Independent that “I spoke to Jeremy Newmark
of the Jewish Labour Movement this morning, he’s very upset and I can understand
that – I work closely with Jeremy…’
I can
certainly believe that Lansman works very closely with Newmark, a man who works
closely with the Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, whose previous job as
spokesperson for Benjamin Netanyahu included justifying the murder of hundreds
of children and two thousand civilians in Gaza two years ago.
One would
have expected, as a matter of course, that Jill Mountford of the AWL and Mike
Chessum, who is politically close to them, to have opposed Jackie’s removal as
Momentum Vice Chair, even if they didn’t agree with her comments. In agreeing
to the Lansman witch-hunt back in October, they opened the door to Lansman’s
support for the witch-hunt of the AWL and his coup in Momentum itself. You
cannot be on both sides of a witch-hunt.
Despite
their protestations it is obvious that both Chessum and Mountford voted to
remove Jackie Walker as Momentum’s Vice Chair because they deemed her remarks
anti-Semitic. There is no other conclusion. All the stuff about ‘losing
confidence’ is a mere circumlocution.

The
Holocaust and Israel
The
Holocaust has played a formative role in the creation of Israel’s own self
image and its ideological legitimation. Is Chessum unaware of the role the ship
the Exodus played in 1946 in opening the gates of Palestine and its use of
Jewish refugees from displaced person’s camps to open the gates of Palestine to
Jewish settler immigration?
Holocaust
imagery pervades Israeli political dialogue.(2) The Holocaust has played a key
role in the justification for a Jewish ethno-supremacist state. Where else is
there a state, which defines itself on the basis of an imagined ethnicity of
part of its population (Jewish) rather than on all those who reside there? A
fictive nation (Jewish) that crosses every national boundary and language?
We often
hear that Israel is the only Jewish state in the world. True but of
course irrelevant. Britain is a Christian state but all its citizens, Christian
and non-Christian are equal. In Israel being Jewish means that you possess privileges
that non-Jews do not have and this is justified by reference to the trauma of
the Holocaust.
Idith
Zertal, one of Israel’s revisionist historians(3), wrote about how ‘there has
not been a war in Israel, from 1948 till… October 2000, that has not been
perceived, defined and conceptualised in terms of the Holocaust…. Auschwitz is
not a past event but a threatening present and a constant option.’(4) The
Holocaust has been consciously utilised in order to defend its actions against
the Palestinians and to ward off criticism.
Examples
of how the Holocaust has been used are legion. Menachem Begin, Prime Minister
during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and siege of Beirut, compared Yassir
Arafat to Hitler in his bunker. According to Begin the alternative to Israel’s
genocidal war was ‘Auschwitz’. Israeli Labour’s Foreign Minister, Abba Eban told the UN that “I do not exaggerate
when I say that it [the June 1967 map] has for us something of a memory of
Auschwitz.” The Green Line between Israel and the West Bank is referred to in
Israel as the ‘Auschwitz border’. Netanyahu told the 2015 World Zionist Congress
that it was the Palestinian Grand Mufti who was responsible for Hitler’s Final
Solution. Netanyahu has repeatedly compared Iran to Nazi Germany.
As Tom
Segev, a critical Israeli historian explained, the only image of a Palestinian
in Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum ‘(is) a photo featured prominently on
a wall depicting the Mufti sieg heiling a group of Nazi storm troopers’. Its
purpose being to ensure that ‘the visitor is left to conclude that there is
much in common between the Nazis’ plan to destroy the Jews and the Arabs’
enmity to Israel.’(5) Effigies of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, were
dressed in Nazi uniform by his political opponents as a prelude to his
assassination.
As Zertal
persuasively argues, the Israeli state has effectively nationalised the memory
of the Holocaust and in the process ‘it directly excluded the direct bearers of
this memory – some quarter of a million Holocaust survivors who had immigrated
to Israel.’(6) This is why you have the terrible phenomenon of Israel, a rich
and prosperous state, bristling with state of the art weaponry including
nuclear weapons, condemning the actual survivors of the Holocaust to live out
their life in penury as it keeps them in dire poverty despite having received
reparations to provide them with a comfortable old age.(7)
Zionism
has defined the Holocaust as something exclusive and unique to the Jews because
of its ideological usefulness in Israel’s propaganda wars. Elie Wiesel held
that to compare the Holocaust with the sufferings of others was a “betrayal of
Jewish history”.(8) In a debate with Sybil Milton, the Senior Resident
Historian at the US Holocaust Museum, Yehuda Bauer, Professor of Holocaust
Studies at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem argued that the Nazis only attempted
to annihilate one people, the Jews: “Roma were not Jews, therefore there was no
need to murder all of them.”(9) To this day the US Holocaust Museum refuses to
include the Roma victims of the Holocaust.
If you go
to the Holocaust Memorial Day site and click on Holocaust you will be taken to a page that says ‘Between
1941 and 1945, the Nazis attempted to annihilate all of Europe’s Jews.’ There
is no mention that the Holocaust began in 1939 with the extermination of the
Disabled, the T4 Euthanasia program. The Roma and Gypsies are not mentioned
either. If you click Nazi Persecution you will come to a page which begins ‘Singling out
Jews for complete annihilation in the Holocaust was not the full extent of Nazi persecution.’
Although it goes on to mention other groups, they do this in the context of the
‘persecution of disabled people and gay people’. They do not mention that they
too were exterminated. There is no mention of the extermination of 10 million
Africans in the Belgian Congo or the estimated 14 million Africans in the slave
trade.
This is
why when Jackie Walker made criticisms of how the Holocaust is presented and
used or how anti-Semitism is defined it has a direct bearing on how, in this
country, Israel’s propaganda war is conducted.

Notes

3. That group of historians in the 1980’s onwards who began to challenge the
foundational myths of Israel, most notably about the flight of the refugees in
1948. Until then it had been the consensus that they had voluntarily left at
the urging of the Arab leaders whereas it is now accepted that they left forcibly
and as a result of massacres

4. Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood, p.4, Idith Zertal,
Cambridge University Press, 2011.

5. Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, p.425,Hill and Wang, 1991, USA

6. Zertal, p.5

7. See for example Israel is Waiting for Its Holocaust Survivors to Die,
Ha’aretz 6.2.13. Ironically my quoting of this article formed part of my
investigation hearing as the Labour Party Compliance Unit assumed that this
must be some wicked invention by anti-Zionists seeking to libel the Israeli
state.

8. Wiesel, Against Silence, p.146, Schocken Books, 1988

9. The History Teacher, Vol. 25, No. 4., August 1992 pp. 513-521

 

 

 

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