Hajo Meyer, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz compared Israel to the Nazis - Corbyn should have applauded him not appeased his critics
First it was a 6 year old mural. Today it is an 8 year old meeting on Holocaust Memorial Day at which Hajo Meyer, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz spoke. Tomorrow it will be another meeting because clearly there are scores of people researching everything Corbyn attended in the hope of a new scandal.
The outrage of the Yellow Press and the Zionists is utterly synthetic. Where is their outrage about the Saudi atrocities in Yemen or Israel's continuous murder of Palestinians living under occupation? That Corbyn does not call out this hypocrisy demonstrates just how weak the man has become.
Corbyn did nothing wrong 8 years ago in chairing a meeting pointing out the hypocrisy of Israel using the slogan ‘Never Again’ whilst massacring Palestinians. Corbyn should stop apologising to a bunch of racists.
It is baffling that Corbyn still does not understand the nature of the campaign against him? It is blindingly obvious that the Right are out to get him for everything he did in the past. Instead of forever hoisting the white flag Corbyn should have the political courage to stand up and defend what he once believed in.
I was at the meeting in Portcullis House when Hajo Meyer spoke, as did the representatives of other groups who suffered holocausts such as the Roma. The Guardianreports that Corbyn has said that he appeared with people “whose views I completely reject” when he hosted a Holocaust Memorial Day event in 2010, while he was a backbench MP.
This is a stupid lie. I remember very clearly the warm words Corbyn and others had for Hajo. Corbyn was right then andwrong now. Hajo knew about Auschwitz and anti-Semitism first hand, unlike Corbyn’s malevolent detractors in the Tory press. He had every right to compare what Israel was doing in Gaza to the Nazis.
Note the word ‘compare’. Hajo didn’t say that Israel and Nazi Germany were the same he compared the actions of a state, which imprisons people in what David Cameron called a concentration camp, and then bombards them with high tech missiles and explosives, to Germany’s attacks on civilians.
There are numerous examples of Israelis comparing their own state to Nazi Germany just as there are numerous examples of Israel comparing the Palestinians to the Nazis. Two years ago Israel’s own Deputy Chief of Staff, Yair Golan compared Israel to pre-Holocaust Nazi Germany. Hebrew University lecturer Dr. Ofer Cassif described Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked as ‘Neo-Nazi scum’ and said that “I think it’s fair to compare Israel to Germany in the 1930s, and not to the years of genocide.”
The system of racial separation in Israel, the barring of Arabs from nearly a thousand Jewish villages and communities is no different to the barring of Jews from German towns and villages. If the comparison hurts racist Zionists then so much the better.
It is the defenders of Israel who describe the creation of Israel as compensation to the Jewish people for the Holocaust. Holocaust analogies are to Israel what butter is to bread!
Israeli Labour Foreign Minister Abba Eban described the Green Line separating Israel from the Occupied Territories as the 'Auschwitz Borders'? Prime Minister Menachem Begin described Yassir Arafat under siege in Beirut as Hitler in his Berlin bunker. Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnaithreatened a 'bigger Shoah' (Holocaust) against the Palestinians of Gaza and Netanyahu stated that 'it is 1938 and Iran is Germany.' Arab leaders like Egypt’s Nasser were routinely talked about as the ‘Hitler on the Nile’.
There are also many right-wing Israelis who see their actions as comparable to the Nazis. One group of soldierscompared themselves to Dr Mengele, the notorious SS doctor in Auschwitz. Religious philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the winner of the Israel Prize, called the settlers on the West Bank ‘Judeo-Nazis.’:
Tom Segev, an Israeli historian and journalist wroteconcerning the picture of a Palestinian, the Mufti of Jerusalem at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel that its purpose was to ‘‘conclude that there is much in common between the Nazis’ plan to destroy the Jews and the Arabs’ enmity to Israel.’ (The Seventh Million p.425).
Israeli Professor of History, Edit Zertal noted there hasn’t been a war involving Israel ‘that has not been perceived, defined, and conceptualized in terms of the Holocaust.’ Israel has mobilised the Holocaust ‘in the service of Israeli politics.’ Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood.
Just last week Hungary’s anti-Semitic Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, visited Israel and, as is the case with all official visitors to Israel, Orban stopped off to shed a few tears at Yad Vashem. Outside a group of Israelis, including Holocaust survivors, held a protest at the visit of a man who has sought to rehabilitate Hungary’s pro-Nazi war time leader, Admiral Horthy. Orban called him an ‘exceptional statesman’ and is waging a campaign in Hungary for his rehabilitation. This is the man Netanyahu calls his friend.
Veronika Cohen, one of the demonstrators and a Holocaust survivor explained ‘I don’t think that you have to be a Holocaust survivor or a Hungarian to be here to say that Orban has no business coming here,”. Yael Weiss-Reind, whose family was murdered in Hungary during the Holocaust, said that Yad Vashem was granting legitimacy to these regimes when it “accepts leaders who carry out policies and ideologies that are very similar to what we saw decades ago.”
Perhaps Veronika Cohen and Yael Weiss-Reind are also anti-Semites according to the vipers of the British press, John Mann MP and all the other anti-intellectuals who believe that any attempt to draw parallels between Israel today and Nazi Germany is ‘anti-Semitic’.
In Israel comparisons with the Nazis are run of the mill. Assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin wasdressed up by his opponents in SS uniform. Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who won the Israel prize, described the Jewish settlers on the West Bank as Judeo Nazis.Menachem Begin compared Yassir Arafat in the Beirut siege to Hitler in his final days in a Berlin bunker.
Hebrew University Professor Ofer Cassif compared Israel to Nazi Germany as did another Hebrew university academic, Daniel Blatman, a Holocaust researcher, who comparedIsrael to both South Africa and Nazi Germany.
At the meeting 8 years ago, entitled ‘Never Again for Anyone – Auschwitz to Gaza’ Hajo Meyer compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to the killing of Jewish people in the Holocaust. Corbyn response: “ ‘Views were expressed at the meeting which I do not accept or condone.’ is truly pathetic.
Corbyn warmly supported Hajo at the time and was visibly moved that a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz should compare what he underwent with what Gaza’s population were suffering. Nor was Hajo the only Jewish victim of the Nazis who has made such a comparison. The leader of the Warsaw ghetto resistance, Marek Edelman, also comparedhis own resistance in 1943 to that of the Palestinian resistance.
Instead of retreating and cowering before the vicious pygmies of the British press whose aim is to demonise any attempt at understanding the situation in Palestine, people whose ability to distort and traduce match the skills of Goebbels, Corbyn should have come out fighting and said that yes, mass murder is always comparable.
Is it seriously suggested that because Israel only kills in the thousands and Hitler killed in the millions that comparisons are not in order? We are not comparing quantities but a similar mindset.
When Israeli rabbis use the Torah to argue that it is allowed to murder even children and infants in time of war is not a comparison with the Nazis permissible? In 2009 a book Torat HaMelech by two prominent rabbis, Yitzhak Shapir and Yosef Elitzur was written which gave a Jewish Orthodox guide to killing non-Jews. It argued that “the life of a Jew is worth more than the life of a non-Jew, and permited the killing of innocent people including children.”
Or perhaps the statement of Rabbi Dov Lior, the Chief Rabbi of the West Bank settlers that
“There is no such thing as enemy civilians in war time. The law of our Torah is to have mercy on our soldiers and to save them … A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.”
Is this not worthy of a Nazi?
Let us be quite clear why comparisons between Israel and the Nazis are valid. The Holocaust didn’t come out of nowhere. It came out of the existing society. When proposing, in Mein Kampf that the disabled be eliminated, Hitler took as his model the American programme of Eugenics. How American Racism Influenced Hitler. In Mein Kampf Hitler wrote:
‘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."
Is it wrong therefore to compare America’s eugenics programme with that in Nazi Germany?
There is nothing whatsoever offensive about comparing what happened in Nazi Germany to Israel today. It is precisely because Israel uses what happened in Germany as its moral foundation stone that it is right to ask why it treats Palestinians as racially inferior. How is the separation of Jews from Aryans different from Palestinians from Israeli Jews? The Jewish Nation State Bill has been rightly compared to the Nazis’ Nuremburg Laws.
Corbyn’s apology is not only wrong and unnecessary but it drives another nail in his coffin. The reason for these attacks is not genuine outrage but to make Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party untenable. It is an attempt to sanitise Britain’s murderous foreign policy and its uncritical support for Israel. Corbyn is his own worst enemy.
As for John McDonnell, his vapid utterances about how he could weep over what is happening, displays suggest he still doesn’t have a clue about the nature of the attack on Corbyn. It suggests that if he ever becomes Chancellor he will be putty in the hands of the City. He is quoted in The Independent as saying that: ‘the Labour Party has failed to get to grips with antisemitism among some of its members and vowed to “get this sorted out”.
For someone who supported the Republicans in Ireland this is truly pathetic. McDonnell has abandoned any form of anti-imperialism under the weight of the Zionists’ ‘anti-Semitism’ attack. The suggestions that he is positioning himself to replace Corbyn are interesting as he clearly is trying to woo the Labour Right. Clearly McDonnell sees himself as Labour’s new Stafford Cripps.
Tony GreensteinSee my tribute to Hajo Meyer on his death in 2015