Comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany are NOT anti-Semitic – Israelis do it all the time!
Comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany are NOT anti-Semitic – Israelis do it all the time!
What is the
difference between Israelis who chant ‘Death
to the Arabs’ and Nazis who shouted ‘Death to the Jews?’
definition of anti-Semitism states that ‘Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that
of the Nazis’ could be anti-Semitic. But the strange
thing is that anti-racist Israelis are the first to draw such comparisons. Are
they also anti-Semitic under this dumb definition of anti-Semitism?
Perhaps Professor Zeev Sternhell who is
emeritus head of the department of political science at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem and one of the world’s leading experts on fascism is
also anti-Semitic? Perhaps Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion or
Daniel Yates, New Labour Head of Brighton and Hove Council, both of whom
support the IHRA, can tell us?
they do I should tell them that Zeev Sternhell is a child survivor of the Holocaust.
At the age of 7 he was smuggled out of the Przemyśl ghetto
in Poland into Lwow. He was cared for by a Polish Catholic family and baptised.
He is one of the few Zionists who isn’t
a racist which is perhaps why in September 2008 he was the victim of a pipe
bomb attack by Zionist terrorists.
poses a rhetorical question. How will future historians judge when it was that
the Israeli state had devolved into a ‘true monstrosity for its non-Jewish inhabitants’. Sternhell is, as
I said a Zionist who has illusions in a period when Israel was not a racist
entity. Nonetheless it is to his credit that he now accepts that racism in Israel
today is akin to that in pre-Holocaust Germany. I would go further. All the evidence is that racism in Israel today
is far higher than ever anti-Semitism
was in Nazi Germany.
Kershaw described how in Bavaria, the state-sponsored Kristallnacht pogrom on November
2nd 1938 not only met with little sympathy but that it was ‘condemned deep into the ranks of the Party.’
Just 5% of the population approved as opposed to 63% who displayed disgust and
anger. It was in rural Catholic Bavaria
that the most vociferous condemnation of the pogrom was heard. Kershaw notes,
another, more appealing, side of the popular reaction
to the pogrom was its rejection on grounds of Christian compassion and common
humanity. Jewish eye-witness accounts
abound with references to the kindness of ‘Aryan’ and ‘Christian’ neighbours
who are anxious to point out the overwhelming rejection of the pogrom by the
vast majority of the population.
in Munich ‘were lavish in their praise of
the sympathetic response they encountered among non-Jewish people.’[Ian
Kershaw, Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich, pp.257-277].
This despite living in a police state
unprecedented in its viciousness.
Isaac Herzog, Israeli Labour leader explains why he doesn’t want a Palestinian Prime Minister of Israel
Compare this with the
Israelis who set up armchairs and coffee machines on a hilltop in order that
they could get a better view and cheer on the ongoing destruction taking place
in Gaza. [‘Israelis gather on hillsides
to watch and cheer as military drops bombs on Gaza, People drink, snack and
pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll
mounts in ongoing offensive.’http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/israelis-cheer-gaza-bombing
Harriet Sharwood, The Guardian, 20.7.14].
The only effect of the holocaust
has been to reinforce the self-righteousness and moral turpitude of Israel’s
Jews and to enable them to justify their own vicious racism.
had to try very hard to instil anti-Semitism in the German population. The Nazis
came to power not because of but despite their anti-Semitism.
speaks of ‘the toxic ultra-nationalism
that has evolved here, the kind whose European strain almost wiped out a
majority of the Jewish people.’ Anyone familiar with Israeli society will
know that the levels of racism in it are far higher than any equivalent Western
have, in the Labour Party, group like the Jewish Labour Movement going on about
anti-Semitism whilst saying nothing about the horrific levels of racism in Israeli
society, then we can accuse them of complicity. The JLM describe themselves as
the ‘sister’ party of the Israeli Labour Party yet not once have they called out the
visceral racism of the ILP. Israel claims to be the nation state of Jews, all Jews,
yet the JLM and their supporters keep
silent, apart from smearing their Jewish opponents.
quite correctly says, the Jewish Nation State Law which explicitly denies Israeli
Palestinians any right to be considered part of the same nation as Israeli Jews,
because there is no Israeli nationality, is no different in principle from the Nuremburg
Laws which changed the status of German Jews from citizens and nationals into
Blatman whose book The Death Marches: The Final Phase of Nazi Genocide
won the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research in 2011is
a Holocaust researcher at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Blatman wrote an
article earlier this year International
Holocaust Remembrance Day: An Israeli Hypocrisy. Moshe
Machover in Why
Israel is a Racist State quotes Blatman as saying that “Deputy Speaker Bezalel
Smotrich’s admiration for the biblical genocidaire Joshua bin Nun leads
him to adopt values that resemble those of the German SS.”
Blatman, the blueprint of the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Bezalel Smotrich
and Miki Zohar, a Likud MK, for the Palestinians, both inside and outside Israel,
would be akin to Jews under the Nuremburg Laws.
observes, Smotrich and Zohar don’t wish to harm Palestinians, as long as they
do what they are told of course, merely to ‘deprive
them of their basic human rights, such as self-rule in their own state and
freedom from oppression’.
The late Professor Amos
Funkenstein, 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 to soldiers in the German army who refused to serve
in concentration or extermination camps. [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.”
It is not
only anti-Zionists and anti-racists who make the comparison between Israel and Nazi
Germany. The racists also make the
The liberal left are often reticent about comparing Zionism to Nazism.
Gilbert Achcar for example found it a ‘terrible
comparison’ [Arabs and the Holocaust, pp.228. 234] and Shami Chakrabarti,
in her report on racism in the Labour Party, argued that ‘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.’[The Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry, http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/party-documents/ChakrabartiInquiry.pdf
] By this logic one should not compare
the settlers of Hebron, who daub the walls of Palestinians with the slogan ‘Arabs to the gas chambers’ with the
Nazis. [See for example Donald Macintyre, Breaking silence over the horrors of
Hebron, 22.6.04. The Independent, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/breaking-silence-over-the-horrors-of-hebron-5355569.html]
Only Zionists should be allowed to make
If the Holocaust
is to serve any purpose it is as a warning against the repetition of such
horrors. Even Israel’s Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan recognised this when he said,
at the 2016 Holocaust Remembrance Day, that
there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it’s the
recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and
particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding
signs of them here among us today in 2016.”
Israeli rabbis talk about the justified murder of children and infants in war
time, as Rabbis Yitzhak Shapiro and Josef Elitzur did in Torat HaMelech, a 2011
book which was a guide to how Jews could legally kill non Jews, they are laying
the basis for a future genocide. As
American journalist Max Blumenthall observed, Torat HaMelech is:
manual for Jewish extremist terror designed to justify the mass slaughter of
civilians. And in that respect, it is not entirely different from the Israeli
Doctrine, or Asa Kasher and Amos Yadlin’s concept
of “asymmetrical warfare.” The key difference seems to be the crude, almost
childlike logic the book’s author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, marshals to justify
the killing of non-Jewish civilians.
didn’t come from nowhere. In Mein Kampf Hitler cites, with approval,
the American practice of eugenics. Nazism wasn’t an aberration. It was
supported by many of the West’s leaders, Churchill included, when it first took
power. The destruction of the German Labour Movement met with approval by these
people. It was only when Nazi Germany turned against British interests that the
British ruling class opposed Hitler.
the racism of the British Empire was not altogether different from the racism
of the Nazis which is why the Colonial Office vetoed propaganda aimed at
Africans which condemned the racism of the Nazis. [see Smyth, Rosaleen; Britain’s
African Colonies and British Propaganda during the Second World War,
Journal of Imperial & Commonwealth History 14,1 October 1985]
Isaac Herzog, Israeli Labour Party leader denies the party is ‘Arab loving’
There can be
little doubt that the edict of the Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, endorsed
by dozens of other rabbis, to ban the renting of rooms or apartments by Jews to
Arabs, bore a distinct resemblance to similar measures in pre-Holocaust Germany. Safed Rabbi Boasts That anti-Arab
Or the mobs who in ‘liberal’ Tel Aviv chanted,
during the attack on Gaza in 2014 that ‘‘There is no school tomorrow; there are no children left in Gaza’
resembled similar mobs in Berlin.
who seek to deflect from these comparisons by raising the bogey of ‘anti-Semitism’
are actively colluding in Israel’s Nazi like racism. We only have to look at
the Pew Research Centre’s Survey Israel’s
Religiously Divided Society which found that a plurality of Israeli Jews want
to physically deport Israel’s Palestinian citizens.
Well expulsion of the Jews was the programme of the Nazis until 1941.
wish to physically harm Palestinians. They only wish to deprive them of their
basic human rights, such as self-rule in their own state and freedom from
border police arrest a Palestinian in the West Bank, December 22, 2017Nasser
I frequently ask myself how a historian in 50 or 100 years will
interpret our period. When, he will ask, did people in Israel start to realize
that the state that was established in the War of Independence, on the ruins of
European Jewry and at the cost of the blood of combatants some of whom were
Holocaust survivors, had devolved into a true monstrosity for its non-Jewish
inhabitants. When did some Israelis understand that their cruelty and ability to
bully others, Palestinians
or Africans, began eroding the moral legitimacy of their existence as a
The answer, that historian might say, was embedded in the actions of
Knesset members such as Miki Zohar and Bezalel Smotrich and the bills proposed
by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. The nation-state law, which looks like it
was formulated by the worst of Europe’s ultra-nationalists, was only the
beginning. Since the left did not protest against it in its Rothschild
Boulevard demonstrations, it served as a first nail in the coffin of the old
Israel, the one whose Declaration of Independence will remain as a museum
showpiece. This archaeological relic will teach people what Israel could have
become if its society hadn’t disintegrated from the moral devastation brought
on by the occupation and apartheid in the territories.
The left is no longer capable of overcoming the toxic ultra-nationalism
that has evolved here, the kind whose European strain almost wiped out a
majority of the Jewish people. The interviews Haaretz’s Ravit Hecht held with
Zohar (December 3, 2016 and October 28, 2017) should be widely
disseminated on all media outlets in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. In
both of them we see not just a growing Israeli fascism but racism akin to
Nazism in its early stages.
Israeli Labour Party leader Herzog welcomes Trump to power
Like every ideology, the Nazi race theory developed over the years. At
first it only deprived Jews of their civil and human rights. It’s possible that
without World War II the “Jewish problem” would have ended only with the
“voluntary” expulsion of Jews from Reich lands. After all, most of Austria and
Germany’s Jews made it out in time. It’s possible that this is the future
Indeed, Smotrich and Zohar don’t wish to physically harm Palestinians,
on condition that they don’t rise against their Jewish masters. They only wish
them of their basic human rights, such as self-rule in their own state
and freedom from oppression, or equal rights in case the territories are officially
annexed to Israel. For these two representatives of the Knesset majority, the
Palestinians are doomed to remain under occupation forever. It’s likely that
the Likud’s Central Committee also thinks this way. The reasoning is simple:
The Arabs aren’t Jews, so they cannot demand ownership over any part of the
land that was promised to the Jewish people.
According to the concepts of Smotrich, Zohar and Shaked, a Jew from
Brooklyn who has never set foot in this country is the legitimate owner of this
land, while a Palestinian whose family has lived here for generations is a
stranger, living here only by the grace of the Jews. “A Palestinian,” Zohar
tells Hecht, “has no right to national self-determination since he doesn’t own
the land in this country. Out of decency I want him here as a resident, since
he was born here and lives here – I won’t tell him to leave. I’m sorry to say
this but they have one major disadvantage – they weren’t born as Jews.”
From this one may assume that even if they all converted, grew
side-curls and studied Torah, it would not help. This is the situation with
regard to Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers and their children, who are
Israeli for all intents and purposes. This is how it was with the Nazis. Later
comes apartheid, which could apply under certain circumstances to Arabs who are
citizens of Israel. Most Israelis don’t seem worried.
As happens every year, a few days before International Holocaust Remembrance
Day (January 27), the Diaspora Affairs Ministry releases a report on the state
in the world. This is a fixed ritual.
The report details the number of cases in which gravestones in some remote
Jewish cemetery in Ukraine or Germany were vandalized and how many
hooligans spat in the faces of Jews wearing kippot in London or Munich, as if
they were a threat to Jewish existence, almost like an SS unit operating in
Lithuania in 1942.
On Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, wearing his other hat as diaspora
affairs minister, presented the report, whose data – as Ofer Aderet showed
in this paper – answer the accepted description of fake news, to say
the very least. Worried, Bennett pointed out the rise in the number of
anti-Semitic incidents in Britain – 30 percent more than last year! – and
stated, based on the figures from the French police, that one out of every
crimes in France targeted Jews. The other two out of three of course
targeted Muslims and blacks, but that is less important.
“Anti-Semitism is the dangerous fuel that has inflamed our enemies
forever,” said Bennett. “We must ensure that every Jew
everywhere in the world can live their lives in safety and pride. We must act
in every way we can to fight modern anti-Semitism in order to guarantee the
safety of the Jewish people, in Israel and in the Diaspora.”
Since the UN General Assembly unanimously passed Resolution 60/7 in
2005, which designates January 27 – the date the Auschwitz-Birkenau
concentration and death camp was liberated – as International Holocaust
Remembrance Day, it provides another opportunity for the chorus of hypocrites
and the self-righteous in Israel, who get another day to spread their regular
messages on anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and the security of the Jewish people.
The winter Holocaust Remembrance Day has been added to the one in the
spring – Israel’s “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day” – as an occasion to
blather on and cover up the injustice Israel is carrying out here and now.
Israel opens its commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018
with a breathtaking campaign of racist expulsion
of African refugees.
It would be appropriate to go back to the wording of the resolution and
examine how much of the General Assembly’s decision is upheld in Israel. In its
very first section, Resolution 60/7 mentions the connection between the
resolution and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “which proclaims
that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein,
without distinction of any kind, such as race, religion or other status.”
Resolution 60/7 continues: “Recalling article 3 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to life,
liberty and security of person; Recalling also article 18 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and article 18 of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, which state that everyone has the right to
freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
“Bearing in mind that the founding principle of the Charter of
the United Nations, ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,’
is testimony to the indelible link between the United Nations and the unique
tragedy of the Second World War.”
The resolution mentions explicitly, in this context, the Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was adopted in
1948 “in order to avoid repetition of genocides such as those committed by the
Later, Resolution 60/7 mentions the Jewish tragedy, but here too the
distance is great between the resolution and Israel’s manipulation of what it
says: “Reaffirming that the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one
third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities,
will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry,
racism and prejudice.”
The resolution then calls on the UN member countries to “develop
educational programs that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of
the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide;
rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full
or part; condemns without reserve all manifestations of religious intolerance,
incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on
ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur.”
An endless number of examples prove that the debate in Israel is based
on hypocrisy, ignorance and evil, and completely contradicts the principles set
down in Resolution 60/7. Remember, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev
described the Sudanese refugees as “a cancer in the body of the nation.” This
is explicit incitement on an ethnic basis, the type that the UN resolution
explicitly comes out against.
Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) presented
his phased plan, according to which the Palestinians in the occupied
territories (and possibly Israeli citizens, too) would become, in the best
without rights with a status that reminds us of German Jews after the
passage of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. To the extent that they do not agree to
the plan, they will simply be cleansed from here. If they refuse to leave, they
will be uprooted violently, which would lead to genocide.
Another elected official from the ruling coalition, Likud’s Miki Zohar,
did not hesitate to state that the Arabs have a problem that has no solution –
they are not Jews and therefore their fate in this land cannot be the same as
that of the Jews. Where is Resolution 60/7 and where are Smotrich and Zohar?
Prof. Zeev Sternhell wrote in this paper earlier this month that this racism is
to Nazism in its early stages.” I think it is Nazism in every way and
fashion, even if comes from the school of the victims of historical Nazism.
But this is not just a dialogue between minor political figures. When
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dehumanizes his own citizens and treats them
as if they are the “huge quantities” flocking to the polls to bring down the
right-wing government, he loses the right to speak in the name of Resolution
60/7. Of course, we must not forget the statements and comments of the
religious leadership, which are a symbol and example for large parts of the
national religious community in Israel.
This community has turned the Holocaust into one of the central
components of its identity, but its treatment of its lessons is the most
hypocritical and disgusting. There are hundreds of examples of this, if not
thousands. One is Rabbi David Batzri, who in 2006 came out against the
establishment of an Arab-Jewish school, saying the “establishment of such a
school is an act of impurity and contamination. It is impossible to mix the
impure with the pure. They are a blight, an evil Satan, a plague. The Arabs are
donkeys so the question must be asked as to why God did not create them walking
on four legs? So the answer is they must build and clean.”
Rabbi Dov Lior, one of the most important rabbis of religious Zionism,
whose racist teachings are followed by thousands, said in 2013 that he did “not
know how to get rid of [the Arabs]. We believe the day is not far off when we
will achieve the cleaning of our entire land from the terrorists and their
supporters, and they should go to Saudi Arabia.”
Books and pamphlets praising the murderers of Arabs or permitting the
shedding of their blood, such as “Baruch Hagever” and “Torat Hamelech,” are
legitimate literature among a number of those who wear knitted kippot. Many
other Jews agree with the opinions appearing in these books, even if they have
not read them or do not even know of their existence.
More than anything else, the thundering silence of the Yad Vashem
World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem is disappointing and embarrassing.
Precisely now, in the face of the beginning of the deportation campaign for
asylum seekers, the institution entrusted with preserving the lessons of the
Holocaust should have come out loudly in the name of the principles of
It should stand at the head of the campaign being organized in various
circles in an attempt to revoke the decree, which casts a great stain on
Israel’s right to speak in the name of the victims of the terrible disaster
that befell the Jewish people and the human race in general. But it seems this
is not going to happen. Yad Vashem is known for its silence on moral questions,
unless they touch on what happened during the Holocaust.
And this is how Israel has become the Western country in which the most
extreme, racist discourse is being conducted against ethnic minorities, whether
they are refugees from Africa or Arabs. If a racism survey was conducted in the
West, similar to the report on anti-Semitism that the local chorus of
hypocrites bandies about every January 27, Israel would find itself near the
top of the list.
Daniel Blatman is a professor of history at the Hebrew University of