The faux anti-Semitism epidemic which has infected the UK body politic has been quite interesting. I wrote an article rebutting a widely distributed piece by a German professor professing that Ken Livingstone’s comments about the affinity between Nazism and Zionism were false. Raw Story’s editor, who published that piece, invited me to write a rebuttal, which I did. After completing it, she did what some of the less competent editors around do–she ignored me. So I published that at Mint Press News. I’ve also published another post (and this as well) about Eichmann’s role in forging alliances with the pre-war Zionist leadership and the fraudulence of the UK Israeli Lobby-Tory attack on Livingstone and Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader.
In the past few days, I’ve unearthed two other chestnuts of the genre which are worth reading. Eichmann didn’t just visit Palestine in 1937 to meet with the Zionist leadership. He didn’t just serve as the lead Nazi in implementing the Haavara Agreement. He actually endorsed Zionism and did so with fulsome praise. This New York Times review of In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy From the Women of Terezin quotes the memory of a Terezin survivor who met Eichmann:
Anny Stern was one of the lucky ones. In 1939, after months of hassle with the Nazi bureaucracy, the occupying German Army at her heels, she fled Czechoslovakia with her young son and emigrated to Palestine. At the time of Anny’s departure, Nazi policy encouraged emigration. ‘‘Are you a Zionist?” Adolph Eichmann, Hitler’s specialist on Jewish affairs, asked her. ”Jawohl,” she replied. ”Good,” he said, ”I am a Zionist, too. I want every Jew to leave for Palestine.”
As if to prove this anecdote is not an aberration, there is an even more explosive story told of Eichmann’s self-identification with Zionism,. It was published in Life Magazine in 1960 under the title, I Transported Them to the Butcher: Eichmann’s Story:
‘In the years that followed (after 1937) I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that, had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist. I could not imagine anything else. In fact, I would have been the most ardent Zionist imaginable.’
This quotation is reminiscent of one by Ehud Barak, who said:
“If I were a Palestinian, at the appropriate age I would have joined one of the terrorist organizations.”
But returning to Eichmann, the pro-Israel crowd attempts to argue that Eichmann’s views contradict those of Hitler, who was more virulent in his approach to the Jewish Question. While that may be true, there were elements like Heydrich, Eichmann and others who sought to try the route of emigration to resolve the issue. Until 1939, their approach was the prevailing one among the Nazis. The only reason this approach ended was Hitler’s invasion of Poland. After that, it no longer became very practical to pursue mass emigration as a policy.
There can be no doubt that these Nazis found willing collaborators among the highest levels of the Zionist leadership. Those same pro-Israel advocates argue that the Zionist approach to the Nazis changed after 1939, once there was a realization that the Nazis were exterminating European Jewry. That’s not entirely true. As late as 1944, the Yishuv was willing to discuss the Blood for Goods proposal of Eichmann, which would’ve traded Jewish lives for trucks for the Russian front.
The Zionist approach was one of pure expediency. It was willing to talk to virtually anyone who could help the Zionist cause. Ben Gurion didn’t care if it was the devil himself. This is a purely cynical, amoral approach. One that disturbs us now. But it’s far better to acknowledge historical truth and critique it, than deny its existence or call those who expose it liars or worse, “anti-Semites.”