The International Network of Genocide Scholars will host its fifth annual conference in Israel at the Hebrew University next month. The title of the event will be Intersections: Holocaust Scholarship, Genocide Research, And Histories of Mass Violence. On the one hand, Israel is a natural choice to host a conference on the Holocaust since it arose in part out of the ashes of the Nazi genocide against Jews. Israel’s Yad Vashem Museum is a primary international depository for, and commemoration of the Holocaust.
But on the other hand, such a choice raises a host of unsettling questions: first among them is: how do you deal with the question of Israeli “mass violence” against Palestinians and, for that matter, all of the front-line states Israel has attacked repeatedly in the decades following the 1948 War? Though most scholars agree that Israel’s Occupation regime hasn’t risen to the level of genocide, the seeds of a future catastrophe of that magnitude have been planted. Will they germinate? Anyone’s guess. But why should genocide scholars sit in solemn deliberation in such a country where violence smites Palestinian victims every day?
Second, how do you deal with the attempts at collaboration between the pre-1948 Zionist leadership–including figures like David Ben Gurion–and the Nazis? I wouldn’t mind if I knew this question would be debated at the conference. But I strongly doubt it will.
Third, how do you deal with the problematic relationship between Diaspora Jewry, which suffered overwhelmingly during the Holocaust, and Israel, which only reached out to help Jews in any numbers after the catastrophe ended? Remember Ben Gurion, who said:
”If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.”
He can gussy this sentiment up in ponderous concepts like “the historical reckoning of the people of Israel,” but the truth is that it is precisely such choices that mark a decisive break, a profound alienation between the Zionism of Ben Gurion and the Diaspora. Under such a philosophical concept, the two must be at war with each other. The truth is that there is no actual war. But there is a constant, simmering Cold War between them which neither side fully acknowledges or attempts to repair, which only makes things worse.
Fourth, how do you deal with the problem of Israel and Zionism which view the Holocaust as the result of the lack of sovereignty of the Jewish people, and hence see that catastrophe as an inexorable result of Jewish vulnerability in the Diaspora?
Though I’m not a genocide scholar, I’d be interested to know how such a field deals with relations between genocide survivors and those within their ethnic community after they return from from the Killing Fields. In the case of Israel, the relationship is exceedingly ambivalent. As many readers know, Israel has let many of the remaining survivors live in destitution (50,000 by last count), offering them very limited financial support. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is the Zionist attitude toward Holocaust and Diaspora. It is something many would rather forget. Israelis see themselves as apart from and superior to the Diaspora. The Holocaust survivors are a constant reminder that they are not, that their fate is inextricably bound up in those of European Jewry.
The final problematic aspect of hosting a genocide conference in Israel is that it has refused for decades to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Until recently, this was due to Israel’s close alliance with Turkey, which itself was the lead denier of the Armenian Holocaust. But even after the relationship with Turkey soured in 2010, Israel has continued to refuse to recognize any other genocide than the extermination of European Jewry. This is profoundly troubling and a violation of historical truth. Why should the validity of one’s own national suffering be diminished in any way by the recognition of the suffering of another nation?
Who’s going to tackle this–or any of the other troublesome subjects I raised above–at this conference? The lack of discussion means to me that the organizers either were short-sighted or too frightened to delve into such troubling questions concerning their host nation, Israel.
Several hundreds scholars are releasing a protest statement criticizing the international organization for agreeing to host the scholarly meeting in Israel. This is the text of the letter:
As a group of scholars, we are deeply concerned that the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS) is lending its name and reputation to Israel’s occupation and ongoing colonization of Palestine by holding its annual conference, scheduled for June 26-29, at the Mt. Scopus campus of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people – from the Nakba to the ongoing displacement of Palestinians from their lands, and from repeated military offensives against Gaza to the ongoing blockade – are increasingly being viewed through lenses of ethnic cleansing and genocide linked to settler colonialism. It is therefore shocking that INoGS plans to hold its 2016 Global Conference at the Mt. Scopus campus of the Hebrew University that is partially built on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem. Additionally, the conference is sponsored by five Israeli academic institutions, including the Hebrew University, which have been deeply complicit in Israel’s decades-long oppression of Palestinians.
Billing the conference as held in ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ demonstrates that INoGS is turning a blind eye to Israel’s illegal annexation of the city, condemned unanimously by the international community, and to the ongoing campaign of dispossession against indigenous Palestinians as Israel seeks to erase their historic and diverse presence in the city through plunder and expulsion.
The significance of all this cannot be lost on genocide scholars.
The call for this conference has been issued while Israel’s state terrorism is being exposed to the world. Israeli police, military and fundamentalist settler lynch mobs have been savagely attacking Palestinian protestors and committing crimes with impunity.
New repressive and discriminatory Israeli laws and a dominant culture of racism and intolerance have created a culture of impunity, with Israel’s occupation forces now adopting a shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinian child and youth protesters in situations where they pose no serious threat…
We urgently call on InoGS to act in a principled way by cancelling the Jerusalem venue for their conference and transferring it to a location in another country.
We furthermore urge scholars and professionals to reflect upon the ethical and legal implications of participating in a conference organized by complicit institutions and taking place…on occupied land–and to boycott this event should it go ahead under these circumstances.
‘Never again’ means never again for everyone.
The Call for Papers from the Network does indicate an effort to acknowledge ongoing mass violence against Palestinians in language like this:
…Bringing the INoGS conference to Jerusalem, a city in which foundational collective traumas intersect and are experienced in everyday life, offers an opportunity to engage with the main theme of the conference: Intersections: Holocaust Scholarship, Genocide Research, and Histories of Mass Violence.
The meeting will include two roundtable panels that delve into this subject as well:
Collective Traumas and National Identities will include papers on Jews, Palestinians, as well as other cases
Studying Genocide in a Site of Conflict and Violence will address the challenges of researching and teaching the Holocaust, genocide, and mass violence in Israel in the midst of the ongoing conflict between Jews and Palestinians
But one has to wonder what sort of balance the event program will offer when only two members of the academic steering committee for the conference are Israeli Palestinian. The remainder are Israeli Jews.
The scholars’ letter makes clear that the principles of BDS are involved in the signatories decision to denounce Israel’s hosting of the conference. On this note, a number of the Israeli institutions serving as sponsors are deeply implicated in the Occupation. Their scientific and social science research serves as a bulwark of the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus. How about the secret research conducted at some of these institutions which develop Israel’s weapons of mass destruction? One wonders if anyone will deliver a paper at this conference offering a critique of the role of Israeli academia in facilitating the violence against, and oppression of the Palestinian people.
I e mailed and tweeted INoGS’ president and its Twitter account for a comment or statement of their position in this matter. As of publication, no one had replied.
Mt. Scopus was actually an Israeli exclave (administered by Israel) between 1949 and 1967. Status-wise it is more similar to west Jerusalem and particularly the sections of west Jerusalem which weren’t conquered in 1948 (the land itself was purchased in Ottoman times pre-WWI. The campus itself was built from 1918 onwards).
Richard Silverstein says
@ lepxii: Not exactly. Mt. Scopus straddles the armistice line. It has been expanded considerably from the 1918-1948 period. Some is now on the Israeli side and some is not.
” But why should genocide scholars sit in solemn deliberation in such a country where violence smites Palestinian victims every day? ”
People have been smiting each other since Cain and Abel.
Where would a more suitable venue have been? The United States?
Speeches will be made. Resolutions will be put forward. Genocide will continue around the world. Cynic? Not really.
Kyle Renner says
And it seems that in Israel, they’re some of the only people on the planet who demand to be seen as the “victims” despite their being the perpetrators of land theft and ethnic cleansing.
Who, otherwise? Some morally reprehensible types in sub-Saharan Africa? Bosniak and Croat-hating Serbian ultranationalists?
What lovely bed-fellows!
In America? Why not?
In America, at least, they’ve acknowledged that what they did to the Aboriginals was a heinous thing. At least at the official level, and they’ve at least attempted to make reparations.
So let it be in America.
Gaby Miliki says
I never read that quote from Ben-Gurion so I googled it. This link appeared first explains the quote and giving context to this 1938 statement made before the war even started.
Interestingly, it says “This quote is frequently used by anti-semites on the internet. You can see what the quote aims at. It wants to create the impression that the zionists in Palestine did not care about the victims of the Holocaust.”
Richard Silverstein says
@ Gaby: Your comment is irrelevant. Ben Gurion knew in 1938 what was coming down the pike just as you & I know what’s coming down the road for Israel in the coming decades unless there is a massive change in direction. It may not be another Holocuast, but it’s gonna be ugly & rivers of blood will flow. It’s just a question of how it plays out & how bad it gets. But it ain’t gonna get better, that’s for sure.
Ben Gurion’s attitude toward the Diaspora was one of derision. It was useful to him to raise funds to build nuclear weapons. It was useful to negotiate with Nazis to raise funds & draw immigrants in the form of the Haavara Agreement. But the Diaspora was intrinsically a competitor to the Zionist project & hence an absolute negative as far as he was concerned.
As for anti-Semites, give me a break. I don’t write for anti-Semites, nor do I censor myself just because an anti-Semite did or said something.
Another interesting aspect of the site you quote is that the headline calls the quotation “fake.” But if you read the actual article you see it wasn’t fake at all. That Ben Gurion actually said these specific words. The article says this specifically. The argument revolves around what the quote meant, whether it was clarified by someone else, whether Ben Gurion said other things at a later time that contradict the quote. But those are irrelevant. There is no question that he said this & meant it when he said it.
In short, though your source raises interesting peripheral historical issues about the quotation, it’s biases are evident and make it suspect.
Gaby Miliki says
Ben Gurion knew in 1938 what was coming? Four years before the Wannsee Conference? A year before the Nazis marched through Czechoslovakia? In fact until the end of 1941 Jews in Germany were free to leave and were encouraged to leave, which is how half of the German Jews survived the holocaust. So NO, when Ben Gurion made that statement neither him nor anyone knew what was coming. Your intent in including that quote without any context was exactly that, to give the impression that Zionists did not care about the fate of the Jews, a most horrible and shameful accusation.
As your suggestion that “you and I know what’s coming” down the road for Israel unless there is a massive change in direction, “rivers of blood” etc., I couldn’t disagree more. I believe that even with Hamas the tunnels, the knives, Hezbollah, Isis, the crazy Iranians threatening to wipe out Israel in 8 minutes, etc, Israel is stronger than ever and will withstand it all through force and by continue to arm itself to the teeth, and the “rivers of blood” will mostly flow through those that continue to dream, salivate and wish Israel’s demise. So no, you can continue dreaming about “massive change of directions” but it will not happen as the direction Israel has taken since 1948 it has served Israel very well indeed. But again, that’s just my opinion, and I give it only to correct the words you put in my mouth.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Gaby: Ben Gurion would have to be a fool not to have a pretty good idea of what was coming. He knew about Mein Kampf. He knew Hitler’s general plan. He’s seen Kritallnacht. He’d witnessed the Nuremburg Laws put into effect. Are you saying that one of the shrewdest politicians in the history of the State was blind & stupid when it came to the situation for Jews in Nazi Germany? Frankly, despite my serious disagreements with him, I give him more credit than you.
Ben Gurion did not care about the fate of the Diaspora except insofar as it advanced the interests of the State. He saw the Diaspora as destined for extinction either through assimilation or anti-Semitic mass violence (or the Holocaust as it turned out). So no, Ben Gurion saw Diaspora Jews as the Walking Dead.
I am not talking about Israel’s military might, which you mistakenly confuse with Israel’s ability to survive. Israel could have 400 or 1,000 nuclear bombs and a million man strong army. That will not protect it from the same fate that befell the Soviet Union, East Germany, etc. They imploded from the weight of their own internal contradictions and dysfunction. No general or weapon can save Israel from such an implosion. It will likely be spurred by external forces. But its the internal collapse & ceaseless murder of Palestinians & Arabs which will lead to outside intervention, when it comes.
You are done in this thread. Do not comment further here.
“מיום שחרב בית המקדש ניטלה הנבואה וניתנה לשוטים ולתינוקות”
מסכת בבא בתרא (דף י”ב ע”א – ב )
Richard Silverstein says
@Israel: So are you the fool or the infant?
I’m not the one who tries to predict the future. You are!
So many thing to say but lets touch on two first –
“Billing the conference as held in ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ demonstrates…” – I can’t find in on the website or the conference brouchure. It says “Jerusalem” only.
“Mt. Scopus campus of the Hebrew University that is partially built on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem” – ??? The campus in with Israel 1948 border. PERIOD. I tried to find a source that support the ‘stolen’ claim but couldn’t. Whatever scholars who sign that statement aren’t trustworthy for facts! why would anyone care about their opinion?
Richard Silverstein says
@ Israel: The Mt. Scopus campus was built directly on the 1948 armistice line & some of it is within the Line and some is in occupied East Jerusalem.
Why would anyone care about your opinion? You’re more of a hack than they are.
A small part of the campus is outside the 1949 Armistice Agrement line – the sports complex, the Idelson dorms, the student village, a third of the Resnick dorms, and a slice of the massive building that houses the synagogue and the library – although the synagogue is outside the lines and the library is inside the lines. Also within the lines? The entire village of Isawya. I think that the Oslo accords gave Israel everything west of Mt. Scopus and the Palestinians got all the villages east of the campus.
Richard Silverstein says
@pea: thanks for confirming my earlier contention about the campus lying on Occupied Palestinian land. Further, all the buildings you mention are NOT a “small part” but a rather significant part of the campus. Perhaps not the majority. But any portion that lies on conquered land is not Israeli under international law.
Mt. Scopus is a complex case (although all pre-1967 are all inside the lines) – as Mt. Scopus was an -exclave- (the only one actually between Israel and Jordan) – there are -specific- lines to Mt. Scopus and the actual lines of the Scopus exclave were under dispute between 1950-1967 (leading to numerous incidents – this was one of the major border dispute flashpoints pre-1967). You can see -one- version of the map here –
And a more detailed one here –
[there was even territory (small) that both sides claimed wasn’t their own there]
Add to this that some territory around Mt. Scopus was demilitarized and that there was a buffer zone…. It is quite complex to delineate an actual border line. There are a few competing lines (or rather circles) around this small exclave.
The actual line between -most- of east and west Jerusalem is better defined, though there are issues there too (area that no-man’s land, buffer zones, UN controlled zone, etc.).
Richard Silverstein says
@ lepxii: The issue isn’t what the campus was like pre-67. The issue is what it’s like now. Now, as pea (explicitly) and even you (tacitly) concede significant portions of the Hebrew University campus sit on occupied Palestinian land.
What I find really interesting is the attempt to obfuscate the basic moral facts in heaps and heaps of irrelevant detail that is actually irrelevant. This makes the situation seem ‘complex’ when in fact it is not complex. But, one has to unravel all the irrelevant detail so that one can counter the argument that one is ‘simplifying’ things and many people just aren’t willing to wade through all the numerous clauses, and so the Zionist typically scores points. So thanks to Richard and Pea for bothering to unravel all the artificially constructed knots here. It’s a tiresome and ongoing task.
@pea – Can you please provide a link to a source that supports these claims? I don’t dispute them but I wasn’t able to find anything. As you know, Richard demands support for such factual claims.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Israel: From Yuri Keller at Middle East Monitor:
And can there be any better source than ardent settler leader, Yisrael Medad, who supports this claim here.
Just look at Google Maps – it clearly delineates the 1949 Armistice lines. While you’re at it, look up the word “Armistice.” I studied at Hebrew U and even lived in Resnick (within the lines, phew!) so I am intimately familiar with the campus. Most of the campus’s expansion in the last 20 years happened west of the lines while none that I know of happened East in Issawiya – which would be hard because it’s at the bottom of a slope. Hope that helps. And keep in mind, all I am talking about are the 1949 Armistice lines. You are correct in stating that much of that exclave’s borders are up for debate.
Nothing about the fact the conference is said to be in “Jerusalem” and not “Jerusalem, Israel”?
Richard Silverstein says
@ Israel: I don’t represent the signatories nor did I write the statement. I suggest you take it up with them.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Elaine: Indeed you are right. At the very top of the page in big bold text:
It should of course say, “Occupied Jerusalem”
Elaine Bradley says
@ Israel. Here is the link to the conference website where it is billed as Jerusalem, Israel. http://www.inogs2016.org/
@Richard – “how do you deal with the attempts at collaboration between the pre-1948 Zionist leadership–including figures like David Ben Gurion–and the Nazis?”
Enough with this joke. Is Ismail Haniyeh a collaborator b/c he negotiated with Israel for the release of Gilad Shalit? Your cynicism has no limit.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Israel: Are you saying that Bibi Netanyahu is Hitler and Haniyeh is Ben Gurion in this historical analogy? Because if you were that would be RICH!
As for the substance of your analogy, I doubt you’d argue that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians. So the analogy doesn’t hold. However, if you were claiming genocide, then Haniyeh could perhaps be called a collaborator. Another distinction is that Adolf Hitler didn’t hold the key to creating an Israeli state, while Israel is a key player who must either approve voluntarily or be forced to approve a Palestinian state.
As for “cynicism,” I’m afraid that distinction is reserved for yer pal, Bibi. He’s the master of bitter jokes and cynicism.
Richard – the analogy isn’t in the small details.
The questions is – you claim Zionists collaborated with Hitler which means they helped killing Jews when the talks were about getting Jews out of harm ways. the is cynicism and distortion of history.
Arie Brand says
The trouble with johnnies- come- lately like you is that things that have been extensively discussed on this blog, such as the collaboration between certain zionist factions and the Nazis, have to be broached all over again just because of your failure to inform yourself.
The main spadework in this matter was done by Lenni Brenner. He published his results inter alia in his books “Zionism in the Age of the Dictators” and “51 Documents”. These used to be freely available on the internet but now you have to pay for them.
I bet you won’t bother. From the height of your ignorance you will go on accusing others of “cynicism” and making ridiculous comparisons with negotiations about Shalit
Here is one of the most incriminating documents. It is not the only one.
From an article in Counterpunch by Lenni Brenner:
“Zionist factions competed for the honor of allying to Hitler. By 1940-41, the “Stern Gang,” among them Yitzhak Shamir, later Prime Minister of Israel, presented the Nazis with the “Fundamental Features of the Proposal of the National Military Organization in Palestine (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the Side of Germany.”
Avraham Stern and his followers announced that
“The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:
1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.
2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed folkish-national Hebraium would be possible and,
3. The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side.”
They hanged people all over Europe after WW II for notes to the Nazis like these.”
Arie Brand says
To help you informing yourself without paying a cent here is a reprint of one of Brenner’s articles on Tony Greenstein’s blog:
What I find intriguing is that, as far as I know, Einstein, Arendt and others knew nothing about these matters when they published that 1948-letter in the NYT warning against fascist tendencies in Israel ( now they might have found a co-signatory in the Israeli Deputy Chief of Staff).
I read part of the blog entry you post and I don’t see how it changes what I’ve wrote earlier. If anything, it proves it!! The talks with the Germans were about getting Jews safely out of Europe. Simply characterizing these actions as “collaboration with the Nazis” is propaganda or even a lie.
As for Avraham Stern –
1st – according to Wikipedia “offering to “actively take part in the war on Germany’s side” in return for German support for Jewish immigration to Palestine and the establishment of a Jewish state”. It took time in January 1941 before the massive killing started.
2st – he represented the Lehi, the smallest of the 3 organization which at its glory had 200 people (saw the number somewhere awhile ago).
Arie – you strike me as an intelligent person who isn’t afraid to read and think but in this case it seems you like too much the idea of some Zionist-Nazi collaboration.
All there is here is “Zionist-Nazi negotiations” with the aim of saving Jewish life. Using that in the way it is described here, to blackwash Zionism is cynical.
Arie Brand says
You wrote about the Stern Gang’s offer to join the war on the side of Nazi Germany and on that gang’s recognition of the similarities with Nazi ideology in the emphasis on racial purity and a totalitarian political order:
“It took time in January 1941 before the massive killing started.”
Well let us look at some other dates:
1925. Hitler’s Mein Kampf published. It contained inter alia this passage:
“If at the beginning of the War and during the War twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifices of millions at the front would not have been in vain.”
1933. First concentration camp (Dachau) opened.
1935. Nuremberg Laws
1938 “Kristallnacht” pogrom
Are you telling me that by 1941 the Sternists weren’t aware iwhat way the wind was blowing?
You also wrote:
“he represented the Lehi, the smallest of the 3 organization which at its glory had 200 people (saw the number somewhere awhile ago)”
Well here is more of Brenner:
“Indeed the Stern Gang weren’t the only Zionist collaborators. On June 21, 1933 the Zionistische Vereinigung fur Deutschland, the German Zionist Federation, appealed to the Nazis:
“May we therefore be permitted to present our views, which, in our opinion, make possible a solution in keeping with the principles of the new German State of National Awakening…. because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group….
For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration even of a government fundamentally hostile to Jews…. Boycott propaganda – such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways – is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build.”
“The WZO made the Ha’ Avara (Transfer) agreement in 1933. The Nazis ‘taxed’ money leaving Germany, but the rate was lowest for German Zionists buying Nazi goods which the WZO sold in Palestine and the Middle East. In 1935 Weizmann explained that the WZO “should concern ourselves with the constructive solution of the German question through the transfer of the Jewish youth from Germany to Palestine, rather than with the question of equal rights of Jews in Germany.”
“The WZO opposed anti-Nazi boycott movements. Fritz Reichart, the Gestapo’s Palestine agent, wrote to his headquarters:
“The London Boycott Conference was torpedoed from Tel Aviv be- cause the head of the Transfer in Palestine, in close contact with the consulate in Jerusalem, sent cables to London. Our main function here is to prevent, from Palestine, the unification of world Jewry on a basis hostile to Germany.”
“The ZVfD asked Baron von Mildenstein of the Nazi SS elite corp to write pro-Zionist articles in the Nazi press. He visited Palestine for six months as the ZVfD’s guest and wrote 12 articles forDer Angriff (The Assault), the leading Nazi propaganda organ, about how Jewish soil under a Jew’s feet “reformed him and his kind in a decade. This new Jew will be a new people.”
“To commemorate the Baron’s expedition, Propaganda Minister Goebbels had a medal struck: the Zionist star and EIN NAZI FÄHRT NACH PALÄSTINA — A Nazi Travels to Palestine — on one side, the swastika UND ERZÄHLT DAVON IM Angriff — And tells about it in Angriff — on the other.
The medal is on the front cover of the new edition of my book.
“The WZO tried to extend its relationship with Nazism. On February 26, 1937, Feival Polkes of the Haganah Labor Zionist militia, met with Adolf Eichmann in Berlin. The report on their negotiations was in SS files found after the war:
“Polkes…. noted that the Haganah’s goal is to reach, as soon as possible, a Jewish majority in Palestine…. he declared himself willing to work for Germany in the form of providing intelligence as long as this does not oppose his own political goals. Among other things he would support German foreign policy in the Near East. He would try to find oil sources for the German Reich without affecting British spheres of interest if the German monetary regulations were eased for Jewish emigrants to Palestine.”
“Eichmann and another SS man went to Palestine on October 2nd. Polkes took them to a kibbutz, a Labor Zionist co-op farm. Two days later the British realized that the visitors also contacted Reichart, known to be a Gestapo agent, and they expelled them to Egypt.”
So the Nazis were anti-Jewish and pro-Zionists.
There is a weird detail that I found in a comment on Brenner’s book:
“To encourage Zionists, the Nuremberg laws in 1935 allowed only two flags to be flown in Germany, the Swastika and the blue and white Zionist banner. Rabbis were ordered to conduct their sermons in Hebrew – the language Zionism had recreated for Israel – rather than Yiddish.”
Arie – really not sure what you are trying to prove??
So the Nazis were pro-Zionist aka take the Jews wherever but here but later changed their mind and decided to kill them. Simply presenting that as Zionist collaborated with the Nazis is so out of context that one can choose to call it a lie or at least a strong distortion of the facts.
Arie Brand says
You claim that you don’t know what I am driving at. None so blind as those who don’t want to see. There was an undertone not of sympathy but of real mutual understanding between the Nazis and the Zionists. The similarity in their ideology could be found in its racial-territorial exclusivism – its “blood and soil” (“Blut und Boden”) character. Prominent Jewish intellectuals, such as Arendt, Einstein, Sidney Hook and others,didn’t fail to see that at an early stage, probably even without knowing about these transactions between the Nazis and the Zionists. When the founder of the Herut/Likud parties, Menachem Begin, visited the US in 1948 they wrote a letter about it to the New York Times that at that time didn’t suffer yet of its present self censorship. This is what Wikipedia says about it in its biographical sketch of Begin:
“In November 1948, Begin visited the US on a campaigning trip. During his visit, a letter signed by Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook, Hannah Arendt, and other prominent Americans and several rabbis was published which described Begin’s Herut party as “terrorist, right-wing chauvinist organization in Palestine,” closely akin in its organization, methods, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties” and accused his group (along with the smaller, militant, Stern Gang) of preaching “racial superiority” and having “inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community”.”
Here is the letter (it was published earlier on this blog but you probably missed it):
New Palestine Party. Visit of Menachen Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed. A letter to The New York Times. Saturday December 4, 1948 by Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook, et.al.
by Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook, et.al.
Source: Text from original microfilm
TO THE EDITORS OF NEW YORK TIMES:
Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.
Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin’s behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.
The public avowals of Begin’s party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.
Attack on Arab Village
A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants (240 men, women, and children) and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.
The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.
During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.
The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a “Leader State” is the goal.
In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin’s efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.
The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.”
RABBI JESSURUN CARDOZO,
HERMAN EISEN, M.D.,
HAYIM FINEMAN, M. GALLEN, M.D.,
ZELIG S. HARRIS,
IRMA L. LINDHEIM,
MYER D. MENDELSON, M.D.,
HARRY M. OSLINSKY,
LOUIS P. ROCKER,
New York, Dec. 2, 1948
Arie – repeating a bunch of anti-Zionist propaganda won’t make you right b/c you repeated it one more time.
At the end the fact still remain. Simplifying the conversation between Yishuv and Germany as Nazi-Zionist collaboration is horseshit.
Richard Silverstein says
@Israel: pointing out that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis between 1933-39 is historical truth, not horseshit. Simply stating a false opinion as fact without any supporting evidence–that’s the definition of “horseshit.”