Why we should not hesitate to compare Zionism and the Israeli state with the Nazis

Why we should not hesitate to compare Zionism and the Israeli state with the Nazis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Challenging the Zionist & its Abuse of the Holocaust

‘Write
and Record’
were the last words of Jewish historian Simon Dubnow as he
was murdered by the Nazis in the Riga ghetto on December 8th
1941.  It is an injunction we should take
to heart and add a third imperative – we should Write, Record and Compare.

If there
is one thing that Zionists hate, it is when analogies are made between
Israel, Zionism and the Nazis or conclusions are drawn from the Holocaust.  It is a cast iron rule that only the Zionist movement is entitled
to compare or equate its opponents with the Nazis.
This
Zionist attitude is backed up by the International Holocaust Remembrance
Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which was adopted by the governments of 31
countries, including the anti-Semitic governments of Poland and Hungary, in May
2016. According to the IHRA, anti-Semitism ‘could,
taking into account the overall context, include… drawing comparisons of
contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.’
  The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is
almost identical to the EUMC Working Definition on Anti-Semitism which was dropped by the EU’s Fundamental Rights
Agency in 2013.
The report in Der Angriff, Goebbel’s paper, about the 1933 trip to Palestine at the guest of the Kibbutzim, of Baron von Mildenstein, the of the Jewish section of the Gestapo
Following
the recommendation of the Anti-Semitism in the UK Report of the Home Affairs Select
Committee in October 2016, Theresa May adopted, this ‘non-legally binding definition’ of anti-Semitism in December
2016.  Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party
subsequently adopted the IHRA but without its 11 examples as was confirmed
in the Party’s Race and Faith Manifesto.
The IHRA
definition was severely criticised by Hugh Tomlinson QC for being  ‘unclear and
confusing’
.  Sir Stephen Sedley, a Jewish former Court of Appeal Judge was scathing about the definition
in Defining Anti-Semitism.  It ‘fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite.’  Sedley characterised the purpose of the
IHRA as being to ‘permit perceptions of
Jews which fall short of expressions of racial hostility to be stigmatised as
anti-Semitic.’
The coin the Nazis struck in celebration of Baron von Mildenstein and his wife’s travel to Palestine in 1933
In the spring of 2016 Jeremy
Corbyn commissioned a Report by the former Director of Liberty, Shami
Chakrabarti. In the wake of Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party the
Guardian, the tabloids and various Zionist organisations launched a
campaign whose premise was that anti-Semitism was endemic in the Labour Party.
Ruth Smeeth MPs ‘anti-semitic’ tantrum

The Chakrabarti Report was published on 30 June 2016. At its press
conference Ruth Smeeth MP gave an excellent demonstration of how to manufacture
a fake incident of anti-Semitism when she accused Marc Wadsworth, a Black anti-racist activist, of
anti-Semitism. A cursory look at the film shows that there were no tears and no anti-Semitism.
What we had was a Zionist MP, who was challenged for exchanging notes with a
Telegraph journalist, shrieking ‘how dare you’. Marc didn’t didn’t even know even know she was Jewish. His primary offence was one of lèse-majesté but it was a good example of
how the media can create fake news, distorting and changing reality until it
accords with an establishment narrative..

Chakrabarti was a mixed
bag.  Its sections dealing with Labour
Party procedure, natural justice and
the right of the accused to be accorded due
process were good. Where Chakrabarti fell down was
on the question of racism. It substituted the subjective for the objective, the
personal for the political. Chakrabarti treated Zionism as a manifestation of
Jewish identity rather than a racist and reactionary colonial ideology which
led to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. [Chakrabarti
– A Missed Opportunity to Develop an Anti-Racist Policy for Labour
] The
Labour Party has now removed
the Report
from the Internet but I have restored
it!
dozens of Israeli Police are used to ensure the demolition of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran – one Palestinian school teacher was murdered by the Police

Despite knowing nothing about
Zionism or the Holocaust Chakrabarti proceeded to give her opinions on the use
of Holocaust comparisons or metaphors in a section entitled ‘Insensitive and
incendiary language, metaphors, distortions and comparisons’: 


‘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. Why? Because the Shoah is still in people’s living family
experience and because, if every human rights atrocity is described as a
Holocaust, Hitler’s attempted obliteration of the Jewish people is diminished
or de-recognised in our history as is the history of a global minority that has
had cause to feel, at worst, persecuted and, at best, vulnerable for thousands
of years. Other hideous human rights atrocities from African slavery to the
killing fields of Cambodia, the Armenian and Rwandan genocides are all of
course to be remembered and described, but diluting their particularity or
comparing degrees of victimhood and evil does no service to anyone.

The American-Jewish comedian Jon Stewart
Apart from conflating criticism
of Israel with ‘the actions of Jewish
people’
Chakrabarti was oblivious to the fact that it is the Israeli state
and its supporters who routinely compare their opponents with the Nazis. Chakrabarti also assumed that the Holocaust was a Jewish only affair and she subscribed to the
myth of the Jew as the eternal victim (‘vulnerable
for thousands of years
’).  A myth whose counterpart was Goebbel’s
Eternal Jew.

Even the Jewish Chronicle opposed the Zionists Transfer Agreement with the Nazis
The Holocaust in the service of Israel

The Holocaust has been employed
shamelessly by Israel. The extermination of European Jewry is the principal
argument that is used to justify the creation of the State of Israel. If it
were not for the Holocaust how would it be possible to justify a situation
where Israel has ruled over 5 million Palestinians for half a century, without
according them either political or civil rights?  In ‘Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of
Nationhood’
Idith Zertal wrote that

There
has not been a war in Israel from 1948 till the present ongoing burst of
violence which began in October 2000, that has not been perceived , defined and
conceptualised in terms of the Holocaust.’ (p.4)

In every war Israel imagines
itself as the collective Holocaust victim facing annihilation, even though it has always
possessed a vast military superiority. 
Even in its blitzkrieg on Gaza in 2014, with a kill ratio of 30-1,
nearly all of whom were civilians, Israel portrayed itself as fighting a war of
‘self-defence.’ The Holocaust has enabled a nuclear state, armed to the teeth
to create an image of itself as the perpetual victim.

It is Israelis themselves who
have compared their behaviour to that of the Nazis. In order to create a Jewish
state Zionist militias, the Labour Zionist Haganah and Palmach in
particular, ethnically cleansed Palestine of ¾ million inhabitants. This
involved a series of massacres, the most famous of which was Deir Yassin in
April 1948. 

A Jewish-Nazi settler in Hebron attacks a Palestinian woman as troops look on with approval
In November 1948, Eliezer Peri,
the editor of Mapam’s paper Al Hamishmar,
received a letter describing a massacre at al-Dawayima. Benny Morris estimated that ‘hundreds’
were killed. Agriculture
Minister, Aharon Cisling referred to a letter he had received about the
atrocities declaring: ‘I couldn’t sleep
all night … This is something that determines the character of the nation …
Jews too have committed Nazi acts.
’ [The Birth of the Palestine Refugee
Problem Revisited, p.488., Benny Morris, Cambridge University Press,
2004]. 

Similar comments were made by
Yosef Nahmani, a senior officer of Haganah. He was stunned by the cruelty of
Israeli troops towards Arab villagers. He described how in Safsaf, the
villagers raised the white flag but 60-70 men and women were massacred and
asked: ‘where did they learn cruel
conduct such as that of the Nazis?
’ According to one officer, ‘the most eager were those who had come from
the [concentration] camps…
’ [Zertal,
p.171].

Thousands turned out for the Jewish War Veteran’s demonstration against the Nazis

70 years ago at least some
Zionists were capable of appreciating the depths to which they had sunk in
their desire to achieve a racially pure state. 
When, in 2016, an Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shot
in cold blood
a severely wounded Palestinian, 57% of Israelis
supported his actions compared to just 20% who opposed him.  At a 
large Tel Aviv demonstration in his support,
which mobilised under a banner ‘Kill them all’ the mob began chanting that favourite slogan of
Israel’s Right – ‘Death to the Arabs’ – Ma’avet La’aravim.  There was also a poster bearing the slogan
‘My honour is my loyalty’, the slogan of the SS.

When thousands of
settler youth run rampage through the Arab section of Jerusalem on Jerusalem
Day, under the protection of the Police, chanting ‘Death to the Arabs’ you
would have to be blind to the fact that similar chants were heard in Germany and
Poland 80 years ago – except that then they were chanting ‘Death to the Jews’.

As Zertal noted whilst Zionism
nationalised the Holocaust harnessing it to the chariot of racism ‘it excluded the direct bearers of this
memory – some quarter of a million Holocaust survivors who had immigrated to
Israel.
’  (p.5) The impoverishment of
the actual Holocaust survivors in Israel, despite the billions Israel received
by way of reparations is a scandal.  Israel
Is Waiting for Its Holocaust Survivors to Die
.

Zionism assimilates the
Holocaust as part of its seamless narrative of victimisation yet Chakrabarti held
that if the critics or victims of Zionism respond in kind then that is
anti-Semitic. For example:

The term ‘kapos’ is wielded by
Zionists against critics of Israel (not even anti-Zionists). It was popularised by
Trump’s appointment of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel who used it
against the liberal Zionists of J-Street. It is a particularly obnoxious accusation.
Kapos were people who were themselves concentration camp prisoners.  They had no choice but to act as the Nazis’
foremen. Their life expectancy was little more than those they supervised.  Some behaved decently whilst others were
without doubt cruel but no kapo had any choice about their role.  To have refused the role meant instant
death. 

Contrasts this with the
voluntary and willing collaboration of the Zionist movement with the Nazis. No
one forced the Jewish Agency to conclude Ha’avara, a trading agreement with the
Nazi government, whose effect was to stave off a German economic crisis that
threatened to bring down the Nazi regime in its infancy.  Edwin Black  noted that ‘the Jewish-led , world-wide anti-Nazi
boycott was indeed the one weapon that Hitler feared.’
[The Transfer Agreement, 1999 p.21] At
the same time as Jews were enthusiastically building the Boycott, the Zionists’
concern was that German Jewish ‘wealth
had to be saved.’ [Black p. 226]  What mattered was the millions of frozen
Reichmarks that belonged to Germany’s Jews. The result was that ‘the Nazi party and the Zionist Organisation
shared a common stake in the recovery of Germany.  If the Hitler economy fell, both sides would
be ruined.’
Black, p. 253]
The Sephardic Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef who supported the genocide of Palestinians

The examples
are legion of Zionist weaponisation of the Holocaust. Prime Minister Menachem
Begin compared Yasser Arafat in Beirut to Adolf Hitler in his bunker. Ha’aretz observed
that Calling your political rival a Nazi is a time-hallowed tradition in Israel


In 2008 Israeli
Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai warned Palestinians living in Gaza that
they were bringing ‘a bigger Shoah’
on themselves.  Israeli minister warns of Holocaust for Gaza if violence continues.  It was
‘moderate’ Zionist Abba Eban who talked of the 1967 Green Line as the
Auschwitz border’.

Within the Jewish community in Israel the
Holocaust and the Nazis function as a political metaphor. At times of conflict Secular Jews daub
swastikas on the walls of synagogues and defile prayer books, religious scrolls etc. Orthodox Jews do likewise to their secular counterparts and religious fascists paint swastikas on Christian churches.
Oriental Jews, for whom the Holocaust
was a European affair, paint slogans
such as “Ashkenazim – Back to
Auschwitz
” on the latters’ cars and buildings. [Jewish Chronicle,
‘Swastikas in Jerusalem’, 19.3.82, ‘Swastikas on Cars’, 31.12.82, ‘Israel
mourns sacrilege’, 20.6.86., Guardian 18.6.86, ‘Synagogues burned in revenge’,
Socialist Organiser ‘Why Zionists are daubing Swastikas in Tel-Aviv’, 20.1.82]. 
It is not simply a question of our right to
respond to the Zionists’ weaponisation of the Holocaust. There are good reasons
in themselves for why we should compare Zionism to the Nazis. This is not in
order to hurt or insult but to enable self-reflection. It is precisely because
Zionism uses the Nazis and the Holocaust as the ultimate evil that we are duty
bound to point out the similarity between the Nazis’ methods and those of the
Zionists.

Contrasting dead Jewish children under Hitler with dead Palestinian children under Netanyahu
What
Chakrabarti was effectively saying was that the Nazi era should be isolated
from history. Part of this is sheer ignorance. Hitler and the Nazis ruled for
over 12 years, the last four of which, from June 1941 onwards were the years of
the Holocaust.  Chakrabarti
conflated the Holocaust and Nazi domination whereas the Third Reich began in
1933 and the Holocaust started with the invasion of Russia in June 1941.

It may be a terrible thing to have to point
out the similarities between the Zionism and Nazism ideologically but it wasn’t
us but the Zionists who first drew such comparisons. On June 21st
1933 the German Zionist Federation sent a long memo to Hitler ‘outlining those Zionist tenets that were
consistent with National Socialist ideology.
’ [Black p. 175] The whole memo
can be read in Lucy Dawidowicz’s, A
Holocaust Reader,
p.150-153.
Chakrabarti is also wrong to suggest that
comparisons between Israel and the Nazis minimises or obliterates Jewish
peoples’ experience of the Holocaust. On the contrary it seeks to draw lessons from
that experience and to warn against any repetition. Holocaust analogies are the
common currency of political debate in Israel. Zionism uses the slogan of
‘Never Again’. For anti-racists and anti-fascists this means never again for
everyone, not just Jews. Is the lesson of the Holocaust going to be a racist or an anti-racist one?

Graffitti in Irael – Rivlin (Israel’s President) is a Nazi
If we are to do justice to the memory of the
victims of the Holocaust, Jewish and non-Jewish then far from refraining from
drawing comparison with the Nazis we should be making them whenever Nazi-like
behaviour surfaces. The Nazis were not an exception to but very much a part of
history. They didn’t arise from nowhere.
The
Nazi Metaphor
Taunts of ‘appeasement’ have been repeatedly
made against those who oppose imperialism’s attacks on third world countries.
Third world dictators have consistently been equated with Hitler. Those who
opposed the invasion of Iraq were ‘appeasing’ a new Hitler. [The
opponents of war on Iraq are not the appeasers
,
Seamus Milne, Guardian 13.2.03.]  A generation before, opponents of the
Suez War were equated to those who appeased Hitler.  Nasser was the ‘Hitler of the Nile.’ 

There are clearly similarities
between Israel today and Nazi Germany. This is not to say the two states are
identical or that Israel is fascist or planning to exterminate the Palestinians
(although genocidal ideas are common in Zionism today). Israel is a settler
colonial state, the most racist state in the world. Israel calls itself a
Jewish Democratic state, but in practice Israel is democratic for Jews and
Jewish for Arabs.

In Israel a variety
of legal devices such as the Reception Committees Act bars Arabs from 93% of
Israeli land. Jews in Nazi Germany were also barred from ‘Aryan’ land. 
Israel boasts that it calculates the calorific value of food allowed to enter
Gaza. [Israel
used ‘calorie count’ to limit Gaza food during blockade, critics claim
]  Hans Frank, Governor General of the Generalgouvernment
in Poland also strictly limited the number of calories allowed to the
inhabitants of the Warsaw ghetto.  Granted
the Israeli level is higher than that in Warsaw where over 80,000 Jews starved
to death but the principle is the same.
US actors including Edward G Robinson supporting a Boycott of Nazi Germany

It is equally right
to compare the sealing off of Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto. Marek Edelman,
the last Commander of the Jewish Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto compared the
Palestinian fighters to the Jewish resistance fighters. [Letter
to ‘Palestinian Partisans’ Raises International Storm
, Ha’aretz 9.8.02, bringing on his head a storm of Zionist
outrage. 



Transfer

Ideologically
there are many similarities between the attempt to make the German Reich Judenrein, free of Jews and the repeated
attempts by Israel to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its Arab and non-Jewish
inhabitants.  The Nazis pursued a goal of
racial purification, of making Germany purely Aryan. It was blood and soil
ethno-nationalism. How is this different from the Koenig
Memorandum
aimed at Judaifying the
Galilee, or the Prawer Plan
to Judaify the Negev? How is Zionism’s concern with the ‘demographic
problem
’, i.e. too many non-Jews in the Jewish state, different from Nazi
racial ideas?

Zionism from its inception debated and pursued
the ‘transfer’ of the Palestinians and non-Jews from Palestine and then Israel.
Transfer did not begin in 1947-8, it was inherent in the very concept of a
Jewish settler state in a land occupied by non-Jews.
In 1919 the King Crane Commission,
which was appointed by Woodrow Wilson, reported that ‘The fact came out repeatedly in the Commission’s conference with
Jewish representatives that the Zionists looked forward to a practically
complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine.’

[Tom Suarez, p.44 State of Terror] Transfer is still as relevant today as it
was a hundred years ago. Transfer is Zionism’s ‘ideal’ solution to the ‘problem’
of 4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. How is this different to the
Nazi plans to settle ethnic Germans in an ’empty’ Wartheland (Warthegau)?
The
Holocaust
Henry Friedlander [The Origins of Nazi Genocide – from Euthenasia
to the Final Solution, 1995] argued that
the Holocaust began in 1939 in Hartheim Castle and the other five killing
‘hospitals’ of Germany. Hitler’s obsession with Eugenics, the ‘science’ of
selective breeding resulted in the T-4 ‘Euthenasia’ Programme which murdered up
to ¾ million disabled Germans. T-4 came from the example of the United States where forced
sterilisations of women considered to be unfit to breed was the policy of many
states. Hitler told his
fellow Nazis that ‘I have
studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention
of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no
value or be injurious to the racial stock’
.
During
the Reich’s first 10 years, eugenicists in America welcomed
Hitler’s plans. Indeed ‘they were envious
as Hitler rapidly began sterilising hundreds of thousands and systematically
eliminating non-Aryans from German society…. Ten years after Virginia passed
its 1924 sterilisation act, Joseph Dejarnette, superintendent of Virginia’s
Western State Hospital, complained in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “The
Germans are beating us at our own game.”
Edwin Black, Hitler’s
debt to America
, Guardian 6 February 2004,
The Nazis’ forced
sterilization program was partly inspired by that of California.  In 1927 in Buck v Bell, the US Supreme Court permitted the compulsory
sterilisation of handicapped patients. Oliver Wendell Holmes, speaking for the
8-1 majority ‘presaged the arguments used
later to justify eugenic killings in Nazi Germany.
’  [Friedlander, p.8]  According to Chakrabarti’s ‘logic’ it
would be ‘incendiary’ and cause offence to criticise supporters of eugenics and
selective breeding by reference to the Nazis.
Professor
Amos Funkenstein, former Head of the Faculty of History at Tel Aviv University,
when referring to the controversy over the refusal of soldiers to serve in the
Occupied Territories, compared them with soldiers in the German army who
refused to serve in concentration or extermination camps. [Tony Greenstein, Holocaust
Analogies – Repaying the Mortgage
Return 2 March
1990] To those who asked how it was possible to compare the actions of Nazi
soldiers with Israelis, Funkenstein replied

“As a historian I know that every comparison
is limited. On the other hand, without comparisons, no historiography is
possible. Understanding a historical event is a kind of translation into the
language of our time. If we would leave every phenomenon in its peculiarity, we
could not make this translation. Every translation is an interpretation and
every interpretation is also a comparison.”

Funkenstein
reminded his critics that the leaflets and publications of the Zionist terror
groups, Etzel, Lehi and Haganah, talked of the Nazi-British occupation.” [Tony
Greenstein, Holocaust Analogies, citing Ha’aretz 9 December 1988, Ronit
Matalon].


The
Holocaust was the tipping point in the Jewish community world wide.  Before World War II Zionism was in a minority
amongst Jews worldwide.  The Zionist idea
that Jews did not belong in the countries of their birth, that they formed a
separate nation from those they lived amongst was rejected by Jews as a form of anti-Semitism.  Lucien Wolfe, one
of the leaders of the Board of Deputies of British Jews declared that:

I
have spent most of my life in combating these very doctrines, when presented to
me in the form of anti-Semitism, and I can only regard them as the more
dangerous when they come to me in the guise of Zionism. They constitute a
capitulation to our enemies. [B Destani (ed) The Zionist movement and the
foundation of Israel 1839-1972 Cambridge 2004, Vol 1, p727].

It was Hitler who rescued the
Zionist movement from obscurity.  It was
the murder of 6 million Jews and the refusal of the Western powers to take in the
Jewish refugees that made the Zionist argument that Jews could only rely on
Jews seem plausible.  The creation of the
Israeli state represented the posthumous triumph of the Nazis.

The leadership of the Jewish
Agency understood this very well. From the outset of the war the Zionists took
a conscious decision that their priority was the building of a Jewish state, not the rescue of Jews from Europe. They
actively opposed Jews going anywhere but Palestine. When Britain agreed to the Kindertransport,
the admission of 10,000 Jewish children from Germany after the Krystallnacht
pogrom, David Ben Gurion was furious:

If I knew that it
would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to
England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I
would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of
these children, but also the history of the People of Israel. [Yoav Gelber,
‘Zionist policy and the fate of European Jewry 1939-42, p.199, Yad Vashem
Studies,, Vol. 12].

Christopher Sykes, a pro-Zionist
historian wrote that ‘“From the very beginning of the Nazi disaster, the
Zionist leadership determined to wrest political advantage from the tragedy.” [Crossroads
to Israel, p.137]

Even Shabtai Teveth, Ben
Gurion’s official biographer concluded that 
‘‘If there was a line in
Ben-Gurion’s mind between the beneficial disaster and an all-destroying
catastrophe, it must have been a very fine one.’
[Shabtai Teveth, The
Burning Ground, p.851]
The chapter in Ben Gurion’s
biography on the Holocaust was titled ‘Disaster Means Strength’. Teveth described
how  

In spite of the certainty that genocide was
being carried out, the Jewish Agency Executive did not deviate appreciably from
its routine… Two facts can be definitively stated:  Ben Gurion did not put the rescue effort
above Zionist politics and he did not regard it as a principle task demanding
his personal leadership.’
  [p. 848]

Ben Gurion was clear that in the
event of “a conflict of interest between saving
individual Jews and the good of the Zionist enterprise, we shall say the
enterprise comes first.’
[p. 855]

The
Zionist movement understood how the Holocaust could be exploited to serve
Zionist purposes. As early as September 1942, when most of Europe’s Jews were
still alive, the Zionists were thinking of creating a memorial to them. Mordechai
Shenhavi of Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emek proposed the creation of Yad Vashem which
was seen as ‘the very last opportunity to
score any financial success.
’ [Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, p.430] At
this time the JA had not even acknowledged that there was a Holocaust. Segev
wrote:

There was no
clearer, more grotesque, even macabre expression of the tendency to think of
the Holocaust in the past tense: while the Yishuv discussed the most
appropriate way to memorialise them, most of the victims were still alive.’
[The Seventh Million, p.141]

Gerhard Riegner, the World
Jewish Congress representative in Geneva during the War articulated how the
Zionist movement saw the Holocaust.  He
believed that ‘Auschwitz was not only a
national memory belonging to the Jewish people… it was also an important
political asset. Among other things it served the diplomatic efforts of both
the WJC and Israel.’
[Segev p.474]

For Zionism the proposed Jewish State
was eternal. The Jews who died in the Holocaust would have died anyway.  This is not dissimilar to the fascist idea
that the State is everything, the individual is nothing.  When they tell us we should not compare
Zionism and Israel with the Holocaust we should ask, ‘why not, what have they
got to fear’?

 

 

 

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