Israel’s Alliance with Europe’s Neo-Nazi and Far-Right Parties
Israel’s Alliance with Europe’s Neo-Nazi and Far-Right Parties
Zionism’s Collaboration with Nazi Germany is not just a matter of history
When you mention the fact that the Zionist movement collaborated with
the Nazis and even welcomed them to power in the 1930’s, accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’
come thick and fast. According to them,
this is a calumny against all Jews even though before WW2 the Zionists
comprised only a small percentage of world Jewry
Yet today, as the three following articles from Ha’aretz and Electronic
Intifada show, there is a symbiosis between Zionism and far-Right and neo-Nazi parties. The condemnation of the new German Alternative for Germany party by Israeli
leaders has been conspicuous by its absence.
Not only Likud but the Israeli Labour Party has remained silent, thus
demonstrating that all wings of Zionism are complicit.
As Anshel Pfeffer explains, whereas in 2000 when the far-Right Freedom
Party entered the Austrian government the Israeli Ambassador was withdrawn from
Vienna, today it merits barely a ripple.
The leader of the FP, Herr Strache is welcomed to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Propaganda
Museum. If there was ever an insult to
the dead of the Holocaust it is in the tribute that neo-Nazis pay at a supposed
Institute to commemorate the Holocaust dead.
Of course the diaspora Jewish communities realise, however hesitatingly
that Israel’s courting of their own far-Right and anti-Semitic parties bodes
ill for them. Unfortunately the grip of Zionism
is such that relatively few in these communities come to the conclusion that Zionism
and anti-Semitism are twins in kind and that a fight against anti-Semitism includes
a fight against Zionism.
But once again we see how Zionism and the Far-Right have much in common
because the neo-Nazis see Israel as a model state. Israel is an ethno-nationalist state in which
Arabs are barely tolerated guests in the State of Israel. That is exactly the situation that these
parties desire in respect of their own Muslim populations. That is why Richard Spencer, leader of the
Alt-Right in the USA can declare that he is a White Zionist. What after all is there not to like, if you
are a neo-Nazi in Israel?
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the opening of the winter session of the Knesset in Jerusalem. October 23, 2017 RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
In February 2000, there was no
The center-right Austrian
People’s Party (ÖVP) had just formed a new coalition government with Jörg
Haider’s Freedom Party (FPÖ). For the first time since World War II, a
far-right political party, whose members commemorated and respected its Nazi
roots, was to be a member of a European government.
Haider himself wasn’t a member of
the new government, and the chancellor was the moderate Wolfgang Schüssel,
but there was simply no question: Israel would not engage with such a
government. The Israeli ambassador was withdrawn from Vienna and diplomatic relations
with Austria remained at their lowest level for the next five years, until a
new government was formed – without the Freedom Party.
Fast-forward to this month, and
the election victory of 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, the
current ÖVP leader and soon-to-be chancellor. Kurz is almost certainly going to
form his new coalition
with the Freedom Party. Major Jewish organizations,
including the World Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League, have called
on Kurz to reconsider.
Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, at an anti-Muslim demonstration in Vienna. 14 May 2009Wikimedia
not convinced the Freedom Party has fully outgrown its Nazi roots. We join the
Austrian Jewish community in asking Sebastian Kurz to keep the Freedom Party
out of government,” said the ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt. The
Jewish community in Austria expressed its own concern in strong terms, urging
Kurz to drop the Freedom Party. One prominent Jewish leader said Kurz’s party
was “deceiving itself” if
it thought it would tame the “nationalist
wolf” of the FPO.
But despite the concerns of
Austrian Jewry, one, prominent Jewish leader has already given Kurz carte
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
didn’t wait to find out with whom Kurz will decide to form his coalition. The
day after the Austrian election, he was already on the phone to Kurz to
He succeeded in surprising even
Israel’s long-suffering diplomats. “Standard
procedure in such a case would have been to wait to see who is going to be in
the coalition before calling to congratulate,” said one veteran at
Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Not only was Netanyahu
broadcasting a message that Israel didn’t mind who Kurz appoints to his new government,
he effectively ‘kosher certified’ even current FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian
Strache who – before becoming a ‘respectable’ politician – took part
enthusiastically in neo-Nazi activities.
Neo-Nazi leader of Austrian Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache at Yad Vashem. Olivier Fitoussi
True, Strache has tried to clean
up his act, even visiting
Israel last year and promising that his
party has no links to Austria’s Nazi past. But he has yet to convince Austria’s
Jews and still remains completely off-bounds.
In the past, Israel has always
adhered to a clear policy that it will not engage with political parties
ostracized by the local Jewish community. The government of the Jewish state
does not undermine Jews in their own countries and will not give any politician
or party its stamp of approval unless they do so.
Netanyahu, however, has abandoned
this policy. And Austria’s Jewish community is not the first he has betrayed.
Three months ago he did the same
to Hungarian Jews. The leadership of the community in Budapest launched an international protest against
the anti-Semitic nature of the Hungarian government’s campaign against Jewish
financier George Soros. Israel’s
ambassador, in line with long-standing policy, backed up the Hungarian
Jews, sending a letter of protest to
Prime Minister Viktor Orban. A day later, Netanyahu publicly and humiliatingly
slapped down the ambassador, ordering
him to retract his letter.
File photo: Hungarian government poster portraying financier George Soros and saying “Don’t let George Soros have the last laugh” is seen at an underground stop in Budapest, Hungary July 11, 2017. LASZLO BALOGH/REUTERS
Netanyahu’s policy is pragmatic.
Orban and Kurz are representatives of the wave of populist right-wing politics
sweeping Europe, with which Likud feel comfortable. The leaders themselves are
not suspected of anti-Semitism, quite the opposite. They have promised
“zero tolerance” and profess staunch support for Israel.
Netanyahu sees them as his key
allies in the European Union, a bulwark against the more critical voices coming
from Scandinavia and western Europe. Some of their political allies may be
unsavory, but Bibi is prepared to swallow them for his own diplomatic purposes.
The local Jewish communities don’t have a say.
Not only is it pragmatic.
Netanyahu’s policy is easily justified. He is the elected leader of Israel and
must put its interests first. If he believes that Israel needs the friendship
of Orban and Kurz so badly that it overrules the concerns of Hungarian and
Austrian Jews, he has every right to make that call.
The only problem is, Netanyahu
has insisted in the past that he is not only Israel’s prime minister, but that
he represents all Jews around the world.
In February 2015, shortly after
returning from Paris, where he took part in events in memory of Jews killed in
terror attacks there, and just before he was about to fly off to address
Congress, against Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, Netanyahu declared: “I
went to Paris not just as the prime minister of Israel but as a representative
of the entire Jewish people.”
The elected leader of a country
in which less than half the Jews of the world live (and only a quarter of them
actually voted for him in the last election) wants the right to address the
world as the representative of all Jews. And he won’t even check with them
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015. In a speech that stirred political intrigue in two countries,AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
number of Jews voted for Barack Obama in 2012 than voted for Netanyahu’s Likud
in 2015. That doesn’t mean for one moment that Netanyahu had to accept Obama’s
policies. But he certainly had no right to speak “in the name of the
entire Jewish people” when confronting Obama, who received more Jewish
votes than any politician, anywhere, in history.
Maltz revealed this week in Haaretz, Netanyahu
will not be addressing the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North American next
month. Not in person, and probably not even over satellite link.
various explanations being given for Netanyahu’s highly irregular absence. He
doesn’t want to share the limelight with this bitter rival President Reuven
Rivlin, who will be in attendance. There are fears he may be booed by some of
the delegates, angry at the way Netanyahu’s government has capitulated to the
ultra-Orthodox parties at the expense of Reform and Conservative Jews.
One thing is
clear, he is not very welcome there. And it’s not just a matter of political
nuances between the leader of Israel’s right-wing and the liberal mainstream of
American Jewry. Those have always existed in the past and have been papered
over. The rift that Netanyahu has opened up with the Jews is much deeper than
In an era
when Netanyahu wakes up with every morning with a feeling of relief that he no
longer has to deal with the hostile Obama, while the great majority of
American Jews are sinking in to ever-deepening despair at the forces of racism
and bigotry being unleashed by Donald Trump, the president Netanyahu so eagerly
embraces, it is impossible to talk of a joint destiny for Israelis and Diaspora
Jews while he’s in power.
first time in Israel’s history, its prime minister is visibly closer to the
president of the United States than he is to American Jews. Over the past year,
he has demonstrated time and again that his personal relationships with the
Trumps and Orbans and Kurzs of this world are more precious to him than
Israel’s ties to the Jews.
Israel and its supporters have made alliances with racists, anti-Semites and Islamophobes all over Europe. (via Flickr)
our worst fears have come true,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central
Council of Jews in Germany, said
of the electoral success in Sunday’s general election of Alternative for
Known by its German initials AfD, the extreme nationalist
party won almost 100 seats in Germany’s lower house.
“A party that
tolerates far-right views in its ranks and incites hate against minorities in
our country is today not only in almost all state parliaments but also
represented in the Bundestag,” Schuster said.
The party is notorious for harboring all manner of racists
and extremists, including apologists for Germany’s war record and Holocaust
It was a disaster that Germany’s mainstream politicians saw
Sigmar Gabriel, the country’s foreign minister, warned
earlier this month that if AfD scored well at the ballot box, “then we will have real Nazis in the German
Reichstag for the first time since the end of World War II.”
Pro-Israel funder backs new Nazis
While Germany needs no lessons in how to be racist, this
catastrophe can in part be attributed to leaders in Israel and their fanatical
supporters: for years they have made common cause with Europe’s far right,
demonizing Muslims as alien invaders who must be rejected and even expelled to
maintain a mythical European purity.
It can also be attributed to German leaders who for decades
have strengthened this racist Israel by financing Israel’s military occupation
and oppression of Palestinians.
Meanwhile, as Lee Fang reported
for The Intercept,
Institute, the think tank of major Islamophobia industry funder Nina
Rosenwald, was flooding German social media with “a steady flow of inflammatory
content about the German election, focused on stoking fears about immigrants
The Gatestone Institute is chaired by John Bolton, the
neoconservative former US diplomat notorious for his hawkish support of the
invasion of Iraq.
Gatestone articles making claims about Christianity
becoming “extinct” and warning about the construction of mosques in Germany
were regularly translated into German and posted by AfD politicians and
Story after story claimed that migrants and refugees were
raping German women and bringing dangerous diseases to the country, classic
themes of the Nazi propaganda once used to incite genocidal hatred of Jews.
In a tragic irony, Rosenwald’s father, an heir to the Sears
department store fortune, used his
wealth to help Jewish refugees flee persecution in Europe.
His daughter took a different path. Journalist Max
Blumenthal has called Nina Rosenwald the “sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate.”
in 2012 that Rosenwald “used her millions to cement the alliance between
the pro-Israel lobby and the Islamophobic fringe.”
In addition to funding a host of the most notorious
anti-Muslim demagogues, Blumenthal reported that Rosenwald “served on the board
of AIPAC, the central arm of America’s Israel lobby, and holds leadership roles
in a host of mainstream pro-Israel organizations.”
The party of Anders Breivik
In a profile
the day after the election, The Jerusalem Report, published by
the right-wing Jerusalem Post, gave AfD deputy
leader Beatrix von Storch a platform to set out the party’s anti-Muslim
The Jerusalem Report also quotes German political scientist Marcel Lewandowsky
explaining that “AfD members view the European Union as a traitor to Europe’s
Christian heritage because they let in the Muslims. The view is that the
Islamization of Europe was caused by the EU.”
Muslims, Lewandowsky explained, “is the
core of the fear of AfD voters.”
This means that the core ideology of the party is
indistinguishable from that of Anders
Breivik, the Norwegian who murdered 77 of his fellow citizens, mostly
teenagers at a Labor Party youth camp, in July 2011, in the name of stopping
the “Islamization” of Europe.
One of the biggest benefactors of Rosenwald’s largesse,
according to Blumenthal, has been Daniel Pipes, the
influential pro-Israel, anti-Muslim demagogue who Breivik cited 18 times in his
Admiration for Israel
AfD deputy leader von Storch, who sits in the European
Parliament, also uses The Jerusalem Report interview to
lay out her party’s pro-Israel stance, comparing its German nationalism to
Israel’s Zionist ideology.
According to the The Jerusalem Report,
von Storch is a founder of “Friends of
Judea and Samaria,” a far-right European Parliament grouping that supports
Israel’s illegal colonization of occupied Palestinian land.
Bizarrely, that group lists as one of its contact
persons the head of the “Shomron Regional Council,” a settler organization in
the occupied West Bank.
“Israel could be a
role model for Germany,” von Storch told The
Jerusalem Report. “Israel is
a democracy that has a free and pluralistic society. Israel also makes efforts
to preserve its unique culture and traditions. The same should be possible for
Germany and any other nation.”
Von Storch’s identification with Israel echoes that of US
Nazi demagogue Richard
Spencer, who has described his vision of an Aryan “ethno-state” as “white
AfD chair Frauke Petry has also expressed support for
Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. In February, she told
the right-wing Jewish publication Tablet that her only visit to
Israel gave her a positive view of the country.
“Suddenly the picture
you get is somewhat different than what you got when you live far away,” she said.
These views, again, echo those of Anders Breivik. He was a strong
admirer of Zionism, and advocated an alliance with Israel to fight against
Muslims and their “culturalMarxists /multiculturalists”
Israel’s settler leaders have taken note of AfD’s support.
As the world reeled from AfD’s electoral success, Yehuda Glick, a
lawmaker in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, tweeted
that all those who were “in a panic”
about AfD should rest assured that Petry was working “intensively” to expel any anti-Semitic elements.
Glick with Heinz Christian Strache of Austria’s Freedom Party
There is a clear logic for AfD leaders to join the newly
invigorated alliance between far-right, traditionally anti-Semitic forces on
the one hand, and Israel and Zionists on the other.
Party chair Petry has argued that Jews should should be
willing to talk to AfD over supposedly common interests, explaining, according
to Tablet, that “it is the left wing in Germany and new
Muslim immigrants who are leading her country’s anti-Israel movement.”
and anti-Zionism are strongest in the Islamic community, as well as the left,” von Storch said. “They reject
the fact that the Judeo-Christian foundations of European civilization are
instrumental to its success. We recognize the threat they pose to both Israel
and Germany’s Jewish community and their safety is a high priority for us.”
This is of course the most brazen revisionism: for
centuries Europe’s Christian authorities not only did not consider Jews as a
foundational part of their “civilization,” but persecuted them mercilessly,
eventually attempting genocide.
But such facts are glossed over in the interests of a
present-day anti-Muslim alliance that is prepared to torch the increasingly
frayed fabric of pluralistic societies for the sake of Israel and German
Israel’s support for fascists
Critically, as Glick’s tweets indicate, this
has not been a one-way affair. It has been encouraged by Israel and its lobby
The notion that Israel is the spearhead of a
Western civilizational battlefront against Islam has been a key claim of
While the brazenness of this alliance may be
shocking, it dates back to the early years of both the Zionist and Nazi
movements. As Columbia University professor Joseph Massad has
pointed out, Zionists and European anti-Semites historically shared
the same analysis: that Jews were alien to Europe and had to be moved
And it continues: Israeli commentators are noting that
Israel has not rushed to condemn AfD.
Netanyahu – always quick to pounce on the
alleged anti-Semitism of Israel’s critics – took to Twitter
to congratulate Chancellor Angela Merkel on her victory, but has so far remained
silent about the subject that everyone else is talking about.
Despite its electoral success, AfD is riven by splits: its
chair Frauke Petry made the surprise
announcement on Monday that she won’t join her party’s parliamentary
One strategy party leaders are deploying to make AfD more
palatable is to try to assuage
the fears of the Jewish community.
Undoubtedly, it will continue to attempt to do so by
expressing admiration and support for Israel – the same
approach as France’s historically anti-Semitic Front National.
We can expect to see AfD double down on its support of
Israel, including its colonial settlements in “Judea and Samaria.”
But this is indeed a mark of its mainstreaming.
Historically, Germany’s postwar establishment, including the governments led by
Merkel, has “atoned” for the country’s genocide of Jews by supporting Israel to
commit crimes against Palestinians.
For Palestinians, then, Merkel’s “moderate” centrism and
AfD’s overt bigotry and racism, are little different in effect.
Just as Donald Trump presents the unvarnished face of the
American militarism and imperialism that has victimized people around the world
for decades, AfD is in some ways a more honest voice of a Germany that speaks of
“human rights,” while unconditionally supporting an Israel whose main export is
extremism and Islamophobia.
Europe’s nativist racism joined with this ill-wind from
Israel produces a toxic mix.
Addressing the Zionist
Organization of America, Bannon explains: ‘We’re a nation at war, Trump needs
Shachar Peled Nov 13, 2017
President Donald Trump’s
former chief strategist on Sunday called on American Jews to join his war on
the Republican establishment.
Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Donald Trump, speaks during an event in Manchester, N.H., Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. Mary Schwalm/AP
Steve Bannon appealed to the Zionist Organization of
America to “work as partners” in his crusade against GOP leaders he
blames for blocking Trump’s agenda. Bannon delivered the fiery address at the
organization’s annual awards dinner in New York at what ZOA President Morton
Klein dubbed “the Academy Awards of the Jewish World” with several
current and former Trump staffers in attendance.
Bannon seized the opportunity to punch back at the
GOP. “We’re leading an insurgency movement against the Republican
establishment,” Bannon charged, blaming his adversaries in the
establishment for playing games.
Steven Bannon delivered an address at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual awards dinner in New York on November 12, 2017.
Steven Bannon delivered an address at the Zionist
Organization of America’s annual awards dinner in New York on November 12,
He blamed the Republicans for “playing games” and lowering
the bar, which resulted in what he considers a bad nuclear deal with Iran. “That’s how you get the Iran deal,” he continued. “That’s how we
still allow the American government to finance people that have blood on their
hands of innocent Jewish civilians.”
Bannon’s participation in the event has raised
criticism from many Jewish leaders, some seeing the political figure as tacitly
encouraging alt-right and neo-Nazi supporters. The outlet he heads, Breitbart
News, is popular among some white supremacists, anti-Semites and others who
identify with the so-called alt-right movement.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs of human rights group T’ruah told
Haaretz that Bannon had “brought white supremacy to the White house, and
promoting that agenda even though he is no longer there, which is dangerous to
Israel and Jews.”
The Zionist Organization of America has largely
embraced Bannon. In attendance at the group’s gala of over 1,000 participants
was former press secretary Sean Spicer and former deputy assistant to the
president Sebastian Gorka. Other controversial figures were present in the
audience including pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec and alt-light
provocateur Laura Loomer.
Retired Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman was presented
with an award, as was serving American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. “We came into office on the heels of perhaps
the greatest betrayal of Israel by a sitting president in American history,”
Friedman said to applause from the crowd.
Outside the event, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in
midtown Manhattan, some 200 activists of the left-wing American Jewish group
IfNotNow held a loud protest. “ZOA has decided to abandon the Jewish people in
favor of Steve Bannon,” protestor Eliana Fishman said.
going to let the Jewish community be the launching platform for Steven Bannon’s
second career,” protestor Sarah Lerman-Sinkoff added. “In a post
Charlottesville world, it shows that Jews forming alliances with the alt-right
is not good for us and is horrible to our moral core of standing up for all
targeted people, including Palestinians.”
ZOA President Morton Klein insisted that such
accusations serve as “a horrific character assassination of a good man,” citing
Bannon’s inability to control his more extreme supporters. “Reagan had Nazis
supporting him, so what?” Klein said.
Bannon was expected in last year’s ZOA gala, and some
had attributed the then-large demonstration to his no-show. But this time,
Klein told reporters, Bannon himself requested an invitation with a wish to
introduce business magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson was expected but did not
attend the gala.
Bannon nonetheless praised the billionare in his
speech, for his “guidance, counsel and wisdom” that helped the Trump team “get
Bannon, who left the White House in August, is now
trying to raise money to defeat several sitting Republican senators he says are
blocking Trump’s agenda in Washington.
“President Trump needs our back,” he
declared. “We’re a nation at war. This war is only going to be won if we
bind together and work as partners.”
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, in his own
speech, called for centrism and warned of extremism, particuarly pointing to
the far-left. “I think today the hard left is far more dangerous to Israel’s
existence and to the safety of the Jewish community,” Dershowitz told Haaretz. “The right has no influence today on college campuses, which are the future
leaders of America.”