29 December 2010

WikiLeaks & their Fascist Representative in Russia - Israel Shamir

Julian Assange Should Dump Shamir Forthwith

It was probably the letter from Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish that first alerted me to the character of Israel Shamir. (see below) He is a man who is so thoroughly racist and anti-Semitic that he even criticised the BNP for being too pro-Jewish.

Shamir has worked with David Duke, the KKK Grand Wizard in the United States before berating him for not being anti-Semitic enough! (see Blind eye to anti-semitism).

Shamir advocates an alliance in support of the Palestinians with the far-Right (most of whom support Israel!).

‘For as long as Richard Perle sits in the Pentagon, Elie Wiesel brandishes his Nobel Prize, Mort Zuckerman owns the USA Today, Gusinsky bosses over Russian TV, Soros commands multi-billions of funds and Dershowitz teaches at Harvard, we need the voices of Duke, Sobran, Raimondo, Buchanan, Mahler, Griffin and of other anti-bourgeois nationalists.’

(see also The Irony of Israel Shamir

In ‘Who Needs Holocaust’ he described Auschwitz as ‘an internment facility’ as opposed to the death camp it was. In February 2008, I wrote an article for Weekly Worker entitled ‘Israel Shamir - The ‘Unique & Advanced Thinker’ Behind Gilad Atzmon’. Atzmon is an ex-Israeli jazz player who is also anti-Semitic and politically close to Shamir. Shamir has had a baleful influence over a small number of Palestine Solidarity activists.

In Israel where Shamir spends at least part of his life, he was and is involved with an organisation called Deir Yassin Remembered. When other Jewish anti-Zionists like Jeff Halper, Michael Warshawski and Lea Tsemel, found out they resigned from the organisation.

In their joint letter Tsemel and Warschawski wrote, regarding the decision to appoint Israel Shamir to the advisory board of DYR:

“There is no room for a racist in an institution aimed to fight for the memory of the Deir Yassin victims of ethnic cleansing and massacre. We therefore ask you to clarify whether or not Israel Shamir is indeed part of DYR.”
Jeff Halper explained that Shamir
“deflects the discussion from the essentials of Deir Yassin onto the supposed characteristics of the perpetrators. To cast all ‘Jews’ as perpetrators of such heinous crimes … is racist, absolutely unacceptable and deflects entirely from the issue of Deir Yassin itself … Has Deir Yassin been hijacked by a cult more intent on pursuing hate campaigns against the fictive ‘Jews’ than in searching for the humanistic, universal, critical and truly relevant elements of the Deir Yassin story?
Shamir is, in short, the last person that Wikileaks, under attack from the United States needs. He is, in short, a liability as well as being a fascist with about 6 different names. He spends part of his time in Sweden and originally came from the Soviet Union as a Jewish immigrant to Israel. He is the ‘content aggregator’ for Russia and has already faked at least one cable relating to the walkout at the UN when Ahmedinajad of Iran spoke. The article below, Assange's Extremist Employees is therefore extremely worrying to those of us who support what Wikileaks is doing. There is no doubt that it has seriously annoyed US imperialism by spilling the beans on what they actually think and do. But to employ or use an open fascist and anti-Semite, a conspiracy theorist who has his own agenda entirely, is to play into the hands of the Hilary Clintons and Congressmen like Peter King.

For the sake of his own credibility, Julian Assange should pick up the phone today and tell Shamir that he is cutting all links with him.

See also WikiLeaks and Israel Shamir by Andrew Brown and and Assange's Extremist Employees

Why is WikiLeaks employing a well-known Holocaust denier and his disgraced son?
Michael C. Moynihan | December 14, 2010

Last week, I wrote that the widely-linked article positing that the CIA was behind a Swedish woman’s accusation of rape against Julian Assange was authored by a Russian-born, Swedish-domiciled, multi-aliased anti-Semite and Holocaust denier currently writing under the name “Israel Shamir,” a.k.a. Adam Ermash or Jöran Jermas. The broader point had little to do with the efficacy or morality of WikiLeaks—there are plenty of debates available on the narrower issue of government transparency; this isn’t intended to be one of them—but was concerned with how ideology and confirmation bias (WikiLeaks is a good thing, therefore Assange must be defended, and the CIA has done bad stuff in the past so—cui bono?—Assange’s accuser must be a Langley asset) can lead mainstream media figures into the fever swamps of Internet conspiracy theory.

It is worrying enough when journalists, either by accident or design, consort with vulgar figures like Shamir. But it has now been revealed that Israel Shamir, when he is not accusing Assange’s accusers of setting CIA honey traps, works with WikiLeaks in an official capacity.

According to reports in the Swedish and Russian media, the broad strokes of which have been confirmed by a WikiLeaks spokesman, Shamir serves as the group’s content aggregator in Russia, the man who “selects and distributes” the cables to Russian news organizations, according to an investigation by Swedish public radio. In the newspaper Expressen, Magnus Ljunggren, an emeritus professor of Russian literature at Gothenburg University, outlined Shamir’s close ties to WikiLeaks and his position “spreading the documents in Russia.” (The article is illustrated with a picture of Assange and Shamir in an unidentified office.)

During an appearance on Echo Moskvy radio, Yulia Latynina, a reporter at the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, wondered “What does it mean that Assange is allowing himself to be represented by an extremist?” Latynina also found that the Kremlin-friendly paper working with Shamir to promote the WikiLeaks material had already published “outright lies” Shamir claimed were supported by leaks. According to Latynina, Shamir faked a cable related to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations, which supposedly showed collusion amongst those who walked out of the talk in protest. That he would invent such a cable is perhaps unsurprising, considering Shamir has previously written an encomium to the “brave and charismatic leader” of Iran.

So let us quickly recap the foulness of Shamir’s political views. As I noted last week, he has called the Auschwitz concentration camp “an internment facility, attended by the Red Cross (as opposed to the US internment centre in Guantanamo),” not a place of extermination. He told a Swedish journalist (and fellow Holocaust denier) that “it’s every Muslim and Christian’s duty to deny the Holocaust.” The Jews, he says, are a “virus in human form” and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is real.

But wait, there’s more!

The Swedish media has identified Shamir’s son, a disgraced journalist named Johannes Wahlström, himself accused of anti-Semitism and falsifying quotes, as a WikiLeaks spokesman in Sweden. Indeed, Wahlström has authored stories based on the WikiLeaks material for the newspaper Aftonbladet and is credited as a producer on a recent Swedish public television documentary about the group.

But while being the son of a famous Holocaust denier is perhaps only suggestive—Wahlström is surely not responsible for his father’s many sins—his celebrations of his father’s work in print and his contributions to Shamir’s website suggest ideological affinity.* Indeed, in 2005 Wahlström wrote a story for the leftist magazine Ordfront arguing that Swedish media, not known for being friendly to the Jewish state, was in fact being manipulated by Jewish interests on behalf of the Israeli government.

Three of the journalists interviewed for the story—Cecilia Uddén, Lotta Schüllerqvist, and Peter Löfgren—claimed that Wahlström falsified quotes, leading the magazine to withdraw the story and issue an apology. Heléne Lööw, a historian of fascism and European neo-Nazism, commented that the Wahlström story contained all the “elements that one would find in a classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.”

A member of Ordfront’s editorial board, writing in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, lamented that the piece was ever published, citing Wahlström’s “close working relationship with Israel Shamir,” without pointing out just how close the two were.

Wahlström and Shamir, father and son, are the WikiLeaks representatives for two rather large geographic areas. According to Swedish Radio’s investigation, Wahlström is the gatekeeper of the cables in Scandinavia, and “has the power to decide” which newspapers are provided access and what leaks they are allowed to see. (At the time of filing, Wahlström had yet to respond to an email request for comment.)

In Russia, the magazine Russian Reporter says that it has “privileged access” to the material through Shamir, who told a Moscow newspaper that he was “accredited” to work on behalf of WikiLeaks in Russia. But Shamir has a rather large credibility problem, so Swedish Radio put the question directly to WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.

Swedish Radio: Israel Shamir…Are you aware of him? Do you know him?

Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks spokesman: Yes. Yes, he is associated with us.

SR: So what is his role?

Hrafnsson: Well, I mean, we have a lot of journalists that are working with us all around the world. And they have different roles in working on this project. I won’t go into specifics into what each and everybody’s role is.

SR: Are you aware of how controversial Israel Shamir is in an international context?

Hrafnsson: There are a lot of controversial people around the world that are associated with us. I don’t really see the point of the question.

SR: Are you aware of the allegations that he is an anti-Semite?

Hrafnsson: I have heard those allegations…yes, yes. [Pause] What is the question really there?

SR: The question is, do you that that would [sic] be a problem?

Hrafnsson: No, I’m not going to comment on that.

Strip away the caginess and the obfuscation—remember, no one is allowed secrets but WikiLeaks—and Hrafnsson, who took over spokesman duties when Assange was jailed last week, confirms that WikiLeaks chose Shamir to work with their Russian media partners. After its investigation, the Swedish Radio program Medierna concluded flatly that "Israel Shamir represents WikiLeaks in Russia."

The forthcoming splinter group, OpenLeaks, led by WikiLeaks veterans tired of Assange's dictatorial style and obsession with being the organization's public face, claims to not be motivated by a particular set of political beliefs and promises to be transparent about its own operations and finances, something which WikiLeaks has been consistently—and credibly—attacked over. For those who think that leaking is, generally speaking, a positive thing, they should welcome an organization divorced from the ridiculous and amateur figure of Assange.

It's necessary for an organization like WikiLeaks, which claims to be creating new types of journalism (we do "scientific journalism," Assange declared triumphantly), to adhere to the basic principles of journalism. When asked about Shamir, Hrafnsson ducks and weaves, pretending that he is, like Assange, just a “controversial” figure, not an anti-Semite and semi-literate Holocaust denier with ties to both the extreme right and left and a well-documented penchant for lying.

So let’s treat the WikiLeaks organization like the journalists they insist they are, and ask the question put forward by Novaya Gazeta reporter Yulia Latynina: Out of all the competent journalists who are sympathetic to the WikiLeaks mission, why have Wahlström and Shamir—one a disgraced journalist, the other an extreme racist—been trusted with the largest intelligence leak in history?

  • Soon after this piece was published, Wahlström told Swedish public radio that his "father is what I would call the Swedish equivalent to Salman Rushdie," noting that he is a "very polemical" person, which must contain both the most profane comparison and biggest understatement of the year.
Michael C. Moynihan is a senior editor of Reason magazine.

Memo Accusing the BNP of not being Anti-Semitic Enough

From: Robert Edwards, England

Dear Mr Shamir,

Your true words are so statesmanlike. President Saddam Hussein will not be forgotten.
Bless you,
Robert Edwards

After Robert Edwards posted my mail and his response on a British Far Right list, he was rebuked by a Jewish overseer (yes, Victoria, not only in the Left, - even in the British National Party, the heir to Mosley’s fascists, there ARE Jewish overseers, and they head their legal department and fight antisemitism):

Ø ----- Original Message -----
From: "lj barnes" He was replied by Robert Edwards:

To the Head of the Legal Department of the BNP: Lee, "Twat" is not the first description that springs to mind, mainly because your occasional use of the word tells us nothing. On the other hand, I have always found Israel Shamir to be a singularly strange anomaly ... the idea that a Jew can shed his Jewishness, as he claims, and become a devotee of the Orthodox Christian church. This implies that he was a religious Jew as opposed to being a secular Jew, as is the nature of Zionism

On the other hand, most converts to Islam are originally Christian believers. Very rarely do you find atheists or agnostics converting ... and very few Jews. The non-religious remain in the dark throughout their lives only screaming for their mothers in the last minutes of their empty lives

I can not see how Shamir can be a "self-hating Jew" (an epithet invented by Jewish extremists) if he has shed his Jewishness. You can not hate something that no longer exists ... a bit like punching the air or banging your head against a wailing wall. I have always said that being a Jew is a state of mind, usually within a cultural ghetto. That is why Jews huddle together away from the unclean goyim. Jewishness is a permanent state of cultural siege, a mentality that does not allow any form of give and take with the non-Jew. Love them as much as your stomach can take it but you will always be an unclean goy to them

I like this bit about "those whites who are so eaten up by anti-semitism" which is a mirror image of your own (and your leader's) tormented obsession with Islam and the way that you blame that religion for every ill on the planet. Anti-Islamism is indeed the new anti-Semitism (more correctly anti-Jewishness) and you all seem to be wallowing in this new-found hatred. Just as you see those "eaten up by anti-semitism" prostrating themselves before the Islamic invader, so do you fawn and lick the feet of the big Jews you now admire so much. We all know why you do this. Can you not see that you are no different to the "Judaeophobes" that people like you, Nick Griffin and John Bean now go on about these days ... you just interchange the words Muslim and Jew. The mindset is exactly the same ... the fanaticism as intense and the morality highly questionable

I responded to Israel Shamir and joined him in his dignified message of condolence. He responded in his usual sincere and polite way

Nowhere were there crocodile tears or any other kind of tears. You do not do that for one as courageous as President Saddam Hussein. The way he carried himself to the gallows ennobled him for all time and that is something you can not take away from the man. Those who recorded those last scenes did him the greatest honour whether they realised this or not. In fact, if you are a sincerely religious person you would be pleased for the man, knowing that the true warrior would enter Paradise without any problem at all. If you are not religious then you only see the same empty blackness that awaits yourself one day
In his twenty-odd years of rule he certainly handled many people roughly but perhaps he felt this was necessary in order to keep Iraq together. Without him, Iraq is in meltdown with the foreign invader tearing it apart

I shall be honouring the great man in the next editorial of European Action, out in a couple of weeks

Regards, Robert ---

From LJ Barnes, BNP:

Mr. Shamir,

I saw your comments to my private e mail on the response page to your article after Robert Edwards posted up my private and confidential internal e mail on a private e mail list without my permission on your site.

You wrote ;

After Robert Edwards posted my mail and his response on a British Far Right list, he was rebuked by a Jewish overseer (yes, Victoria, not only in the Left, - even in the British National Party, the heir to Mosley's fascists, there ARE Jewish overseers, and they head their legal department and fight antisemitism) :

The fact is ;

1) The BNP is NOT the heir to Oswald Mosleys fascists. The BNP is nationalist and not fascist. There is no ideological connection to the BUF or any fascist organisation in any way. Therefore it is not incumbent on us to defend any historical fascist parties or fascist ideological policies.

2) I am not Jewish, and calling me Jewish is just another exmple of the nationalist variant of the Marxist Leninist 'Terrorism of the Word' used by the Left and those who have to resort to infantile invectives to avoid debating like a rational human being. Calling someone on the Right a ' Jew ' in a debate is actually a highly efficient way of saying 'I am an idiot and cannot win the debate with logic or argument, so therefore I will resort to mere abuse to cover up my intellectual vapidity '. It merely reinforces the fact you are either a twat or an idiot. Usually both.

3) I dont fight ' anti-semitism ' I fight idiocy and irrationalism regardless of whether it arises on the Left or the Right. I support free speech and if that means those on the Right talk nonsense then I will tell them that they are talking nonsense. The fact is that the left do not hold the monopoly on stupidity, as is so often demonstrated by those that embrace facile conspiracy theories and reject logic for hatred.

4) The fact is that eulogising Saddam Hussein is idiotic. For decades he was a stooge of the US and USSR and was more than happy to be the puppet either of Moscow or Washington whenever it suited him. How that makes him some ' defender ' of Arab nationalism is beyond me. Allowing yourself to be pimped by the international forces of capitalism or communism is the anti-thesis of nationalism. He also embraced the same policies of attacking and invading other sovereign nation states, such as Kuwait, and pillaging their resources such as that currently followed by Bush and Blair in Iraq and around the world. He was nothing more than an evil opportunist with the political acumen of a capone era gangster. He died bravely and that alone should be his epitaph.
I hope that you publish this e mail on your website as this one I have agreed to allow to go online as expressing my own personal opinion.

L.J. Barnes

Shamir replied:

Mr Barnes,

your reference to "private emails" bewilders me. I could not find anything "private" in the email exchamge you had with Mr Edwards. It was as public as they made it. In no way the emails referred to your private life, to your - or mine - wives, children, mistresses, vices or virtues. A public person - and undoubtedly you are a public person - should be aware of Mark 4:22 and should not indulge in small-time insinuations he does not want to stand behind.

As for your second point, you say "I am not Jewish, and calling me Jewish is just another exmple of etc". In my view, Jewish is as Jewish does. I am not interested and I was not referring to your DNA or bloodline. You use such expressions as "antisemitism", "self-hating jew" and promote Jewish war against Muslims. It is more than enough to consider you as a Jew - if you insist, an aspiring Jew, or a shabbesgoy if you prefer to stress your gentile origins.

As for your first point saying "The BNP is NOT the heir to Oswald Mosleys fascists"; there are many things for good and for bad to be said about the movements of 1930s, and it is not the place to do it. However, the far right of 1930s stood against what they considered 'Jewish onslaught', while you, Sir, join in it. Your joining forces with Zionism is a full betrayal of the English ideals whose best features were exemplified by Chesterton and Eliot. By your parroting of Jewish nonsense of "Islamic threat" you are supporting their drive on the Middle East though this step brings in the immigration you object to.

I do not feel at ease accusing you and your comrades of betraying the Britons and joining with the Jews, but if I'd keep mum, stones won't. I'd publish your response, and I hope you'll spread mine among your readers and members.

Israel Adam Shamir

Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 13:53:12 -0500
From Ali Abunimah & Hussein Ibish (acting solely in his private capacity)

Dear Friends:

In recent months, many people have been reading the writings of Israel Shamir, who describes himself as a Russian-Israeli journalist. Many have been impressed by these writings, and Shamir has been embraced in many places in the US on his current speaking tour. From early on, some of Shamir's writings struck us as straying beyond criticism of Israel and Zionism, and crossing into the territory of implicit anti-Semitism. We have discussed this with many people privately, but now feel compelled to raise some of these objections publicly. While there are many passages in Shamir's rhetoric that cause serious concern, it is sufficient to cite these three:

1) Yesterday we received an "Easter Message" from Shamir in which he repeats the most odious characterizations of Jews as "Christ killers," the staple of classic European Christian anti-Semitism. In the message, which originates from Shamir's own email address, he writes:

"Jesus taught, love your neighbour as yourself, even if he is a traditional enemy of Jews, a Samaritan. That is why he was hated by the Jewish supremacists of his time. He said: you can not worship God and Mammon, the god of greed, you have to choose. That is why he was hated by supply-side economists and bankers of his day. They sentenced him to death and the Empire obliged and carried out the execution, in order to keep peace with these all-important forces. Our fathers did not dare to speak against their leaders. The spirit of domination scored a victory, but the spirit of brotherhood did not vanish."

Shamir continues: "The Jewish supremacy forces and the greed worshippers united again to crucify Christ. The US, this New Rome, again gives hand and agrees to become the executioner. Now it is our turn to decide."

Palestinians, Shamir argues, are today's Christ, and history has given the Jews a "second chance" i.e. a chance to redeem their earlier crucifixion of Jesus by not crucifying the Palestinians. "If we keep our mouth shut," Shamir writes, "we deserve to be called 'Christ killers.' If we stop it, we shall change history. The scarlet as blood sins of past will become white as snow. [sic]"

We cannot agree that Jews "deserve" to be called "Christ killers," or that this kind of rhetoric has anything whatever to offer of value to the movement for Palestinian liberation and human rights. All this sort of rhetoric does, no matter who it comes from, is paint the Palestinian movement as one which includes, requires, or embraces a discourse which vilifies, or threatens to vilify, Jews as "Christ killers." What could be more counterproductive to building the community of conscience, the powerful moral stance, which is and must be the goal of those of us in the United States who support Palestinian rights, than the introduction of this kind of rhetoric into our conversation? How could we do more to discredit ourselves than by allowing such ideas to proliferate in behalf of a movement that has no need whatever to stoop to vilifying others to justify itself?

2) Shamir recently gave a speech at Tufts University. He is quoted as saying at that speech: "Palestinians are perfect mammals; their life is deeply rooted in the ground...Israeli people represent a virus form of a human being because they can live anywhere." ("Israel at fault for Middle East violence, Jewish journalist says," The Tufts Daily, April 10, 2001) The quote appears to be verified and accurate.

This is, if anything, even worse than the "Christ killers" language drawn from traditional European Christian anti-Semitism. The "Jew-as-parasite" analysis recalls the even more vicious political and racial, rather than folkloric and religious, anti-Semitism which emerged during the 19th century in Europe and culminated in the Nazi genocide of World War II. This description of Jews as 'parasites' or "viruses" cast them as immutably alien to all societies in which they lived, and contrasted the 'international Jew' with the supposedly 'authentic' volkish people, who have deep connections to the land of the nation and who are the creators of social and economic value. The 'inauthentic' Jews were always 'foreigners' and "viruses" because, as Shamir puts it, "they can live anywhere," and are not rooted to the land as the non-Jewish population supposedly is. They are cast as parasites and diseases that feed off of the productivity and creativity of the authentic people, without ever contributing anything themselves.

It is disturbing to see the Palestinian people cast as the 'honest volkish people' of what is, in effect, racist rhetoric about why Jews are a fundamentally different and dangerous type of human being. Palestinians are not "perfect mammals," they are human beings like everyone else. No better, and no worse. Israeli Jews are not "a virus form of a human being," they are a human form of a human being, whose government and state is engaged in a brutal oppression and dispossession of another group of human beings. Our battle is for human rights and human dignity, and against racism, colonialism and oppression. It should be obvious to everyone that this statement by Shamir crosses all lines of decency, and could not be better designed to damage, denigrate and bring into disrepute the movement for Palestinian human rights.

3) On March 30, the Jerusalem Post published an op/ed that reported: "Two weeks ago, Russian-language journalist Israel Shamir told a largely Jewish audience: 'Jews only exist to drip the blood of Palestinian children into their matzas.'" ("The Jewish student - a minnow among sharks," March 30, 2001)

If this is an accurate quote, it is another example of the repetition of the worst kind of anti-Semitism. Shamir has privately denied saying this, but does not appear to have taken any action to correct the record publicly or to be in any way upset about the attribution. Obviously, we have no trouble believing that the Jerusalem Post might have mischaracterized someone's words. However, if the report is not accurate, one has to ask why Shamir has allowed such a gross misquotation to stand unchallenged. If he is indeed working in the interests of Palestinian liberation, surely he has an obligation not to let such a mischaracterization go uncorrected. Moreover, given the "Christ-killers" and "Jews-as-viruses" statements, the Jerusalem Post quote seems increasingly less out of character.
Many people have welcomed the contributions of Israel Shamir in good faith, but we feel they may not be paying close enough attention to what he is saying. Perhaps this is because many of us welcome criticism of Israel from someone who appears to be an "insider," that our hunger for validation from Jewish Israelis sometimes allows us to proceed without the requisite skepticism or overlook excesses we otherwise would not tolerate. Perhaps some are ready to overlook statements that appeal to anti-Semitic sentiments because the person making them identifies himself as a Jew. But the identity of the speaker makes such statements no less odious and harmful. We do not have any need for some of what Israel Shamir is introducing into the discourse on behalf of Palestinian rights, which increasingly includes elements of traditional European anti-Semitic rhetoric. Such sentiments will harm, not help, the cause. We urge all our friends in the movement for Palestinian rights to seriously consider the long-term effects this rhetoric will have on the cause, and act accordingly.

Ali Abunimah
Hussein Ibish (acting solely in his private capacity)
April 16, 2001

Jonathan Pollak Gets 3 Months for Riding a Bicycle!

Jonathan Pollak was sentenced to three months imprisonment on December 29th at the Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court for his participation on January 31, 2008 in a bicycle ride in protest of the siege on Gaza. He will begin serving his sentence on January 11th. In ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ that is a crime, even for Jewish opponents. (see),

Jonathan appeared in Court on 27th December and received 3 months in prison and his previous suspended sentence of 3 months is to run concurrently with that sentence.

It is little wonder that Amira Hass in Ha'aretz asks how much influence a pro-Palestinian Israeli have. However it’s the wrong question. Within Israel very little. Just as within South Africa, white opponents of Apartheid had little clout. But outside the country they have far more influence because they show the settler claims that the Palestinians/Blacks are motivated by racial hatred and anti-Semitism is odious nonsense.

On the contrary, the ludicrous nature of the accusations and conviction of Jonathan Pollak show what Israeli justice isn’t worth a row of beans. That if an Israeli Jew receives such a sentence, just what must justice be like for Palestinians or Arabs in Israel?

Adv. Gaby Lasky, Pollak's lawyer stated: "The police not only singled out Pollak from a crowd of people who all did exactly as he did, but also singled out the entire protest for no reason other than its political alignment. Similar events regularly take place in Tel Aviv without police intervention, let alone arrests and indictments.”

Below we print the statement that Jonathan made to the Court:

Pollak's sentencing argument:
Your Honor, once found guilty, it is then customary for the accused to ask the court for leniency, and express remorse for having committed the offence. However, I find myself unable to do so. From its very beginning, this trial contained practically no disagreements over the facts. As the indictment states, I indeed rode my bicycle, alongside others, through the streets of Tel Aviv, to protest the siege on Gaza. And indeed, while riding our bicycles, which are legally vehicles belonging on the road, we may have slightly slowed down traffic. The sole and trivial disagreement in this entire case revolves around testimonies heard from police detectives, who claimed I played a leading role throughout the protest bicycle ride, something I, as well as the rest of the Defense witnesses, deny.

As said earlier, it is customary at this point of the proceedings to sound remorseful, and I would indeed like to voice my regrets regarding one particular aspect of that day's events: if there is remorse in my heart, it is that, just as I argued during the trial, I did not play a prominent role in the protest that day, and thus did not fulfill my duty to do everything within my power to change the unbearable situation of Gaza's inhabitants, and bring to an end Israel's control over the Palestinians.

His Honor has stated during the court case, and will most likely state again in the future, that a trial is not a matter of politics, but of law. To this I reply that there is hardly anything to this trial except political disagreement. This Court may have impeded the mounting of an appropriate defense when it refused to hear arguments regarding political selectiveness in the Police's conduct, but even from the testimonies which were admitted, it became clear such a selectiveness exists.

The subject of my alleged offense, as well as the motivation behind it were political. This is something that cannot be sidestepped. The State of Israel maintains an illegitimate, inhuman and illegal siege on the Gaza Strip, which still is occupied territory according to international law. This siege, carried out in my name and in yours as well, sir, in fact in all of our names, is a cruel collective punishment inflicted on ordinary citizens, residents of the Gaza strip, subjects-without-rights under Israeli occupation.

In the face of this reality, and as a stance against it, we chose on January 31st, 2008, to exercise the freedom of speech afforded to Jewish citizens of Israel. However, it appears that here in our one-of-many-faux-democracies in the Middle East, even this freedom is no longer freely granted, even to society's privileged sons.

I am not surprised by the Court's decision to convict me despite having no doubt in my mind that our actions on that day correspond to the most basic, elementary definitions of a person's right to protest.

Indeed, as the Prosecution pointed out, a suspended prison sentence hung over my head at the time of the bicycle protest, having been convicted before under an identical article of law. And, although I still maintain I did not commit any offense whatsoever, I was aware of the possibility that under Israeli justice, my suspended sentence would be imposed.

I must add that, if His Honor decides to go ahead and impose my suspended prison sentence, I will go to prison wholeheartedly and with my head held high. It will be the justice system itself, I believe, that ought to lower its eyes in the face of the suffering inflicted on Gaza's inhabitants, just like it lowers its eyes and averts its vision each and every day when faced with the realities of the occupation.

For more details: Jonathan Pollak +972-54-632-7736

Jonathan Hoffman Excuses 'Christ Killer's Remark'

Yes, it’s the same Jonathan Hoffman, co-chair of the Zionist Federation, who claimed he was the victim of sustained anti-Semitic chanting at a UCU meeting at SOAS in 2009. On that occasion he only realised that he had been the victim of anti-Semitism after two weeks. By that time everyone else had got wise to his claims and the BBC pulled a report of the meeting and the Jewish Chronicle, which refused to change its report, was found guilty of misleading reporting in a rare adverse decision by the Press Complaints Commission.

A Jewish protester outside the Ahava shop in Covent Garden, which sells stolen ‘beauty’ products from the Dead Sea was accused just before Christmas by a member of staff of being a Christ-Killer.

The conversation, not of all of it recorded, for the obvious reason that it’s not everyday that you expect to be the subject of one of the worst anti-Semitic canards in the book, i.e. it takes time to switch the recorder on, went thus:

‘Bruce Levy: “Why did you say I killed Jesus?”
Shop Assistant: “Because you’re Jewish”

There is no doubt, nor can there be, about the meaning of the above remarks and she actually confirms them on tape.

One would imagine, given the repetitious accusations of anti-Semitism when Muslims are held to have slipped up, to say nothing when support for the Palestinians is on the agenda, that our intrepid Zionists would have no problem in condemning this anti-Semitism forthrightly. I’m afraid you’d be wrong This is not the kind of anti-Semitism that gets them worked up. After all the shopkeeper is on their side!

Under the curious title ‘Ahava’s female staff suffer continued bullying’ Richard Millett in this blog defends the person in question:

Her apparent remark about Jews killing Jesus (although, no where in the footage do we actually hear her say that) is a remark to a male, Jewish activist who spends large proportions of his sad life hanging around outside the Ahava shop.

I don’t blame her for an off-the-cuff remark when confronted by a group of bullies.’

Well that’s clear then. In a response I wrote that

This is surrealistic. A staff member of an Israeli shop, comes out with one of the worst anti-Semitic libels in the book, and he is excused by posters on this blog, and Jonathan Hoffman, fresh from cavorting with the EDL pretends it hasn’t occurred. Imagine if an anti-Zionist had said half as much.’

To which Jonathan Hoffman responds, in his usual polite fashion:

I didn’t ‘pretend it didn’t happen’ , Trot Moron.
As always you lie.’

No he didn't pretend it didn't happen. He merely ignored it! I thought, wrongly as it turned out, under instructions from those with a wiser head but obviously not. Eventually he rises to the occasion to proclaim, in that unerringly modest manner of his:

Listen Greenstein, you mendacious Trot scum She and the other shop workers have been harassed mercilessly for months by Chief Renegade Jew Bruce and his henchmen. Her first language is not English. She is a shopworker – not a sad manipulative Trot blogger like you. Her livelihood is being threatened. Seymour spends his life videoing us in order to get shots which he then takes out of context.’

So on the one hand Hoffman excuses the remark, falsely alleging that the woman had been ‘harassed mercilessly for months’ by 'the Chief Renegade Jew Bruce' (no this isn’t some parody of Julius Streicher in Der Sturmer or even Gilad Atzmon) and on the other hand he suggests the problem is that English is not her first language (she seemed strangely fluent to me!), that she is a shopworker (presumably this kind of thing is rife among these sort of people) and her livelihood is being threatened (which was what anti-Semites through the centuries have said).

So the next time Jonathan Hoffman, Co-Chairman of the Zionist Federation, decides to speak out against ‘anti-Semitism’ we will know exactly what he is talking about and it won’t be anti-Semitism.

28 December 2010

Zionist Collaboration with the Nazism & Ha'avara

When the Zionist Movement Decided to agree a Trade Agreement with Nazi Germany

This is a reprint of a long article that Lenni Brenner, the foremost historian of Zionist attitudes to Fascism, including National Socialism, has written. I don't always agree with Lenni on all his conclusions but his work and his books are invaluable sources of information. His courage and determination, despite being 70+ are themselves a wonder! As is his ideological combativeness.

Whilst Zionist historians like Martin Gilbert and Yehuda Bauer agonise and deliberate, and whilst they excuse inaction and the behaviour of the Jewish and Zionist elites, Lenni shows how almost everywhere Zionist organisations believed in passivity and inactivity. Worse, outside Nazi-occupied Europe they played down the holocaust, refused to publicise what was happening, kept information to themselves, doubted that own information publicly and whenever any proposal for saving Jews was made they counterposed the building of a Jewish State to rescue in the here and now.

Lenni's first article is on Ha'avara, an economic agreement between the Zionist Organisation and Nazi Germany. Lenni slates Edwin Black for his conclusions but I think he's too hard on him. The information Black has dug up, not least concerning the anti-Nazi Boycott that Ha'avara undermined, is in itself worthy of the closest attention. Of course, being a Zionist, Black has to tailor his conclusions to fit his ideology rather than his facts. Just as Benny Morris, in respect to the Palestinian Nakba came upon evidence of massacre after massacre which belied his conclusions that there was no overall plan of expulsion.

Lenni's second article is in respect of the events in Hungary where, under the leadership of Rudolf Kasztner, Hungarian Zionism agreed a deal with Eichmann which boiled down to a Train of the Prominents, which carried approximately 1,680 Jews to first Belsen and then Switzerland, in exchange not merely for silence but active collaboration in the round up of Jews to the brickyards pending deportation to Auschwitz.

Unsurprisingly the Zionist movement was not happy about the Kasztner episode, which had been the subject of a major trial in Israel from 1954-8, being aired again. Unfortunately they decided to have it censored as the Royal Court Theatre cancelled its production. The result was far more publicity than it would otherwise have garnered for the Zionist betrayal during the Holocaust.

Tony Greenstein

The Transfer Agreement - Ha'avara

Educated folks are fond of the cynical saying that 'the only thing we learn from history is that people don't learn from history.' Unfortunately some of the worst offenders are professional historians and film documentarians, who cook up singular interpretations of events and serve them up again and again to their followers.

Two such mock scholars are Edwin Black, author of "The Transfer Agreement," which deals with the 1933 Ha'avara (Hebrew for transfer) Nazi-Zionist trade agreement, and Gaylen Ross, director of "Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt With The Nazis." As republished books don't get reviews, Black had to announce, in the 9/23/09 Jerusalem Post, that he put out a new edition, while Ross is more fortunate, with the 10/24 New York Times giving her new documentary a favorable review. Now, Black hopes, a new generation of gullible Zionists will rush out and buy it, unaware of the across- the-political-spectrum critical disdain for his 1983 original, while Ross relies on the ignorance of present reviewers as to how serious critics dealt with previous attempts to defend Rezso Kasztner’s collaboration with Adolf Eichmann,


Black's father was a pre-WW II member of the Betar Zionist-Revisionist youth movement in Poland, when Menachem Begin was its Warsaw leader, and in 1983 Black was himself a member of the American branch of Herut, then the party of Prime Ministers Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, now subsumed in Bibi Netanyahu's Revisionist Likud. Nevertheless, his 1983 edition Zionist critics were either extremely wary of the book, or intensely hostile.

When he first heard of the Ha'avara pact with the archenemy of his people, it was a nightmare: "The possibility of a Zionist-Nazi arrangement for the sake of Israel was inconceivable."

He was correct to be shocked. In 1933, any German, Jew or gentile, who wanted to take money out of the country lost about 25% as it went out the door. But under the Ha'avara, a Jew turned over his money to a German bank and Germany shipped goods, steel pipes, etc. to Palestine, where they were sold by the World Zionist Organization. Later the WZO extended sales of these Nazi goods to the rest of the Middle East. The Nazis still deducted money from the transaction, and the WZO did likewise, but the cuts were less than the percentage a Jew had to pay to send money elsewhere.

Even after he collected his wits, and decided to write about it, Black understood that he was walking straight into a political minefield:

"My greatest worry is that the revelations of the book might be used by enemies of the Jewish people. For those who seek to besmirch the Zionist movement as racist and Nazi-like, this agreement might seem to be perfect ammunition."
Black's Zionist reviewers were almost all hostile to him because he brazenly cheered the fact that the WZO didn't fight Hitler. Arnost Lustig, writing in the 5/84 issue of the B'nai B'rith organ, The Jewish Monthly, said that "sometimes he gets into dangerous, carefree formulations that the critics will return to him like a boomerang." A. J. Sherman reviewed Black's book for the NY Times. He was out of sorts with Black for asking, rhetorically,

"whether the Jewish architects of the agreement were men of madness or of genius. They were of course neither... they left to others the self-indulgence of ringing denunciations and posturings for the press, delivered in. the heady atmosphere of a crowded Madison Square Garden."
Henry Feingold told us in the 9/84 issue of the American Jewish Congress journal, Congress Monthly, that "both Nazis and Zionists had something in common. Neither believed that Jewish life in the Diaspora was desirable. They were both dissimilationists. It was that shared belief which made the Transfer Agreement possible.... For a propagandist who seeks to strike at the very core of Jewish sensibility, awareness of the Transfer Agreement is like a dream come true." Black's book "plays into the hands of those who seek to destroy the state of Israel."

Eric Breindel took on Black in the 2/18/85 New Republic: "Black cannot evade responsibility for the uses to which his book is now being put by simply asserting, in his text, that suggestions of Zionist complicity in the Holocaust are 'absurd.'"

Black responded to Breindel in the 4/29/85 New Republic:
"Breindel links me with the anti-Zionist efforts of Arab propagandists, Soviet anti-Semites, and the anti-Zionist work of Lenni Brenner. That is so far from the truth, it is laughable. Indeed, Jewish leaders have felt that my book provided the precise document-by-document rebuttal to Brenner’s distortions, and encouraged the distribution of my book overseas."
I sent the NR a response to Black but, knowing they wouldn't run it, I also sent it to him via his publisher, with a challenge:

"If you... believe that my books... are in need of refutation, the best way to try to do that is in debate." By now it should come as no surprise that he didn't accept my offer.

One can imagine Black's dismay when he read a 6/84 speech by Louis Farrakhan:
this transfer agreement let 60,000 German Jews into Palestine and $100 million of their money into Palestine, where they began to take land away from the Palestinian people and little by little they gained strength and power and with the backing of the nations, they claimed that land to be theirs and they called it Israel. I say to the Jewish people and to the Government of the United States: the present state called Israel is an outlaw act.... and she will never have any peace, because there can be no peace structured on injustice, thievery, lying and deceit and using the name of God to shield your gutter religion under his holy name."

Black, his Zionist critics and Farrakhan were correct on one level or another. It is instinctual for post-civil rights movement Americans to suspect any group of oppressed who try to make a deal with their oppressor. Nevertheless, Black, well aware of what they did, tried to vindicate the Ha'avara:
"The Zionists believed that they should get a homeland for the Jews and maintain that homeland, but they wanted to fulfil the vision without fulfilling the preconditions. So Zionists made a deal with Adolf Hitler. These are the same people that condemn me for saying Hitler was a great man, but a wicked man.... So for me to say that Hitler was great, I've made no mistake at all. He was great, but wickedly great, and the Zionists made a deal with Adolf Hitler according to a book called The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black, one of their own kind....
"It was one thing for the Zionists to subvert the anti-Nazi boycott.... but soon Zionist leaders understood that the success of the future Jewish Palestinian economy would be inextricably bound up with the survival of the Nazi economy.... If the Hitler economy fell both sides would be ruined."
However, he is so fanatically committed to Israel that he was driven to deceive himself with a totally false after-the-fact explanation for the traitorous pact:
"As many Jews as possible had to be brought over from Germany as fast as possible - not to save their culture, not to save their wealth, but to save their lives.... The only way to continue the transfer and rescue was to bring over large groups of so-called capitalist emigrants."
In a subsequent article in the 5/84 Jewish Monthly, Black tried his own rescue operation - on the Ha'avara. Everyone knows that modern liberation movements are not supposed to be concerned only with saving capitalists, so he told us that the wealth of these German Jews "opened the gates to hundreds of thousands of working class Polish and Eastern European immigrants."

Black claims he hired 50 people to help him research the period. He is completely familiar with the standard Holocaust literature. Yet he knowingly omitted anything from other scholars which would contradict his rescue fable. In 1983 this writer discovered that Black was working on his book, and inasmuch as my own Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators was about to be published, I wrote his editor, who put me in contact with Black. He presented me with his rescue theory. I asked if he was familiar with Abraham Margaliot's article "The Problems Of The Rescue Of German Jewry During The Years 1933-1939: The Reasons For The Delay In Their Emigration From The Third Reich," found in Rescue Attempts During The Holocaust, a tome issued by the Yad Vashem Institute, Israel’s Holocaust study center. Of course he had read it, but he was quick to tell me that he was "the person who knows more about the transfer than any person alive."

Margaliot had described a 1935 speech by Chaim Weizmann, later Israel’s first President:
"He declared that the Zionist movement would have to choose between the immediate rescue of Jews and the establishment of a national project which would ensure lasting redemption for the Jewish people. Under the circumstances, the movement, according to Weizmann, must choose the later course."
Margaliot quoted Labor Zionist leader Berl Katznelson's 1933 statement that "we know that we are not able to transfer all of German Jewry and will have to choose on the basis of the cruel criterion of Zionism." Two-thirds of the German Jews who applied to the World Zionist Organization for immigration certificates in 1933-35 were rejected while no less than 6,307 Zionist cadre were brought to Palestine from Britain, South Africa, Turkey and the Western Hemisphere.

Rescue was never the WZO's priority. Black knew of a 12/7/38 speech by David Ben-Gurion, quoted by Yoav Gelber in Yad Vashem Studies, vol. XII. In the wake of the dreadful Kristalnacht pogrom, the British, hoping to ease pressure on them to admit more immigrants to Palestine, offered to take in thousands of Jewish children directly into Britain, But Ben-Gurion, later Israel's first Prime Minister, solemnly declared that

"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."

Black wouldn't debate me in the 1980s, but I'm going to challenge him again, via his publisher, Dialog Press: If Black thinks that the WZO did the right thing re Hitler in the 1930s and that I falsely accused them of collaborating with Nazism, lets debate it now, in 2009, over the internet and let the world public decide!


Gaylen Ross's film is three documentaries rolled into one. Labor Zionist Rezso Kasztner negotiated with Adolf Eichmann in Hungary in 1944. In 1953, Israel prosecuted pamphleteer Malchiel Gruenwald for libeling Kasztner as a collaborator.

On 4/25/44, Eichmann summoned Laborite Joel Brand, and sent him to negotiate with the WZO and the Allies. The SS would allow a million Jews to leave for Spain in exchange for 10,000 trucks, soap, coffee and other supplies. The trucks were to be used exclusively on the eastern front. As a token of good faith, Eichmann authorized Kasztner to organise a preliminary convoy of 600 Jews to Palestine. Brand never thought that the Western Allies would accept the proposition. He believed that worried SS officers wanted to invest in their futures. Live Jews were negotiable currency. Brand hoped to decoy the Nazis into thinking a deal could be made. Possibly extermination would slow down or stop while an accord was worked out. But Britain notified Stalin and publicly denounced the offer as a trick to divide the Allies.

While historians complain about how the WZO and Britain handled the Brand affair, the central issue is Kasztner’s role in Hungary. Eichmann allowed him to organise the convoy, ultimately a train to Switzerland, and place family and friends on it. Gruenwald denounced Kasztner for silence re German lies that Hungary’s Jews were only being resettled at Kenyermezo, then part of Hungary, now in Rumania.

The Labor Party got more than it bargained for. Shmuel Tamir, a brilliant cross-examiner, appeared for Gruenwald. On 6/21/55, Judge Benyamin Halevi found there had been no libel, apart from the fact that Kasztner hadn’t been motivated by monetary gain. His collaboration crucially aided the Nazis in murdering 450,000 Jews and, after the war, he compounded his offence by going to the defence of SS murderer Kurt Becher.

On 3/3/57 Kasztner was assassinated. Zeev Eckstein confessed to killing him, claiming that he was a government agent who had infiltrated a right-wing Zionist terrorist group. However, on 1/17/58 the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Kasztner-Gruenwald case. It ruled, 5 to 0, that Kasztner perjured himself on behalf of Becher. It then concluded, 3 to 2, that what he did during the war couldn’t be legally considered collaboration. Judge Shlomo Chesin argued that
“He didn’t warn Hungarian Jewry of the danger facing it because he didn’t think it would be useful, and because he thought that any deeds resulting from information given them would damage more than help .... The question is not whether a man is allowed to kill many in order to save a few, or vice-versa. The question is altogether in another sphere and should be defined as follows: a man is aware that a whole community is awaiting its doom. He is allowed to make efforts to save a few, although part of his efforts involve concealment of truth from the many; or should he disclose the truth to many though it is his best opinion that this way everybody will perish. I think the answer is clear. What good will the blood of the few bring if everyone is to perish?”
Ross filmed Eckstein apologizing to Kasztner’s daughter, Zsuzsi, who defends her father’s deeds. Killing Kasztner is at its worst dealing with the collaborator, but the parts about the assassin and the daughter are new and automatically interesting, regardless of what they think.

Many Israelis refused to accept the verdict. Had Kasztner lived, Labor would have been in difficulty. Between the trial and the Supreme Court decision, Tamir uncovered evidence that Kasztner also intervened for SS Colonel Hermann Krumey. He sent the court at Nuremberg an affidavit: “Krumey performed his duties in a laudable spirit of good will, at a time when the life and death of many depended on him.”

During Eichmann’s 1961 trial, Brand’s cousin, André Biss, who worked with Kasztner and supported his policy, offered to testify. He had more contact with Eichmann than any other witness. An appearance was set, but Prosecutor Gideon Hausner discovered that Biss would defend Kasztner’s activities. He knew that there would be immense outcry. He also knew that Eichmann, in Argentina, followed the libel trial and described his relationship with Kasztner in interviews taped by a Dutch Nazi in 1955. Parts were later published in the 11/28 and 12/5/60 issues of Life magazine after his capture in 1960. The tapes showed how Eichmann might implicate Kasztner. And Halevi was one of the trial judges.

Israel gained prestige from Eichmann’s capture. The Labor government didn’t want the focus of the trial to shift away from him to a re-examination of Labor’s Holocaust record. According to Biss’s book, A Million Jews to Save, Hausner asked him “to omit from my evidence any mention of our action in Budapest, and especially to pass over in silence what was then in Israel called the ‘Kasztner affair’.” Biss refused and was dropped as a witness.

Eichmann had described “Kastner” [Life’s anglicised Kasztner] as
“a young man about my age, an ice-cold lawyer and a fanatical Zionist. He agreed to help keep the Jews from resisting deportation – and even keep order in the collection camps – if I would close my eyes and let a few hundred or a few thousand young Jews emigrate illegally to Palestine. It was a good bargain. For keeping order in the camps, the price of 15,000 or 20,000 Jews – in the end there may have been more – was not too high for me. Except perhaps for the first few sessions, Kastner never came to me fearful of the Gestapo strong man. We negotiated entirely as equals. People forget that. We were political opponents trying to arrive at a settlement, and we trusted each other perfectly. When he was with me, Kastner smoked cigarettes as though he were in a coffee-house. While we talked he would smoke one aromatic cigarette after another, taking them from a silver case and lighting them with a little silver lighter. With his great polish and reserve he would have made an ideal Gestapo officer himself.

Dr Kastner’s main concern was to make it possible for a select group of Hungarian Jews to emigrate to Israel.... As a matter of fact, there was a very strong similarity between our attitudes in the SS and the viewpoint of these immensely idealistic Zionist leaders who were fighting what might be their last battle. As I told Kastner: ‘We, too, are idealists and we, too, had to sacrifice our own blood before we came to power.’

I believe that Kastner would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal. He was not interested in old Jews or those who had become assimilated into Hungarian society. But he was incredibly persistent in trying to save biologically valuable Jewish blood – that is, human material that was capable of reproduction and hard work. ‘You can have the others’ he would say, ‘but let me have this group here.’ And because Kastner rendered us a great service by helping keep the deportation camps peaceful, I would let his groups escape. After all, I was not concerned with small groups of a thousand or so Jews.”

In 1961, Ben Hecht, a celebrity American Zionist journalist, wrote Perfidy, an expose of the Kasztner scandal, presenting pages of Tamir’s demolition of Kasztner’s defense.

Tamir - How do you account for the fact that more people were selected from Kluj [Kasztner’s home town] to be rescued than from any other Hungarian town? Kastner - That had nothing to do with me. Tamir - I put it to you that you specifically requested favoritism for your people in Kluj from Eichmann. Kastner - Yes, I asked for it specifically.

Kasztner made things up on the witness stand:

Kastner - All the local Rescue Committees were under my jurisdiction. Tamir - Committees! You speak in the plural. Kastner - Yes – wherever they existed. Tamir - Where else except in Kluj was there such a committee? Kastner - Well, I think the committee in Kluj was the only one in Hungary.

After Eichmann’s execution, Zionist-Nazi relations were debated in Israel but, excepting articles by East German Klaus Polkehn and Faris Glubb’s PLO pamphlet, Zionist Relations With Nazi Germany, the issue dropped out of international concern until the 1980s, with Zionism in the Age of the Dictators and Black’s book. My text was reviewed by London Time’s editor Edward Mortimer, who hailed it as “short, crisp and carefully documented.” This attracted the attention of Jim Allen, a leading British TV playwright, who wrote a 1987 stage play, Perdition, titled after Hecht’s Perfidy, based on my Hungarian Holocaust chapter. Two days before its opening, the Royal Court Upstairs cancelled it under Zionist pressure.

It turned into a Zionist disaster. Jim had no trouble getting nationwide prime time Diverse Reports to set up a debate. He, Marion Woolfson and I took on Zionist Martin Gilbert, the Churchill family’s appointed historian, Hungarian-born Stephen Roth, chair of the local Zionist Federation, who worked with Kasztner, and Holocaust surviver Rabbi Hugo Gryn.

Our side met with Perdition’s director, Ken Loach. He gave us our debate roles:

“Marion, you defend the public’s right to see the play and make up their own minds re Kasztner. Jim, you defend the additions and subtractions you were making in the run up to opening night. Lenni, you back him up with documents.”

I returned to the US the morning after the debate. I took the Underground to Heathrow, getting into a car via an end door. In little time I realized that many folks were looking at me. As others got on and saw people looking in one direction, they did likewise. A packed car arrived at the airport, looking at me with smiles on every face. Finally, one guy said “You won.” “I think we won. But I’d like to know why you think we won?” “We had the right to see the play and make up our own minds, Jim was making last minute changes, as playwrights do, and you backed him up with solid documentation.”

Readers understand my ego-boost as a historian and debater. But Ken was the star of that show. David Lan wrote up the debate in the 4/2/87 London Review of Books. He explained why those Brits looked at me:
“The High Court of Justice in London, 1967. Dr. Miklos Yaron, a Hungarian gynaecologist, is suing his former assistant Ruth Kaplan for libel. Kaplan has published a pamphlet accusing Yaron of collaboration with Nazi leaders in 1944....

Is there anyone in Britain interested in the theatre, in civil liberties or in Jews who can't identify this as a scene in Jim Allen's play Perdition? The successful lobbying by Jews in Britain to have its production cancelled has made it one of the most famous plays of the decade."

Zionist Holocaust historian David Cesarani, involved in the Royal Court purge, confessed, in London's 3 July 1987 Jewish Chronicle, that the public thought the theatre "had been bullied into censoring the play."

Fanatics don’t know when to quit. In 1943, Nathan Schwalb, Labor’s Swiss representative, had written a letter to party comrades in Slovakia:
“About the cries coming from your country, we should know that all the Allied nations are spilling much of their blood, and if we do not sacrifice any blood, by what right shall we merit coming before the bargaining table when they divide nations and lands at the war’s end? Therefore it is silly, even impudent, on our part to ask these nations who are spilling their blood to permit their money into enemy countries in order to protect our blood – for only with blood shall we get the land. But in respect to you, my friends, atem taylu, and for this purpose I am sending you money illegally with this messenger.”
Schwalb sued Allen, who found his letter in my book and put it in Perdition. Allen had to publish Perdition with blank space where a character quoted it. But there was a judicial day of reckoning. London’s 27/11/92 Jewish Chronicle lamented: “The collapse of a libel action has allowed... Perdition to be published in full.... The action... collapsed due to lack of evidence.”

Kasztner’s libel trial lies about his post-war efforts on Becher’s behalf, denounced even by the Supreme Court, were the bedrock of Israeli hatred of Kasztner:

Tamir - And how did it happen that Kurt Becher, a high-ranking SS leader and war criminal, was acquitted at Nuremberg as a result of your intervention and testimony?

Kasztner - That’s a lie! I never testified for him!

Zionist Holocaust scholar Walter Laqueur described the after effects in the 12/55 Commentary:

“With that, he had fallen into Tamir’s trap.... For Kastner had testified at Nuremberg, on August 4, 1947, asking that Becher’s services be accorded the ‘fullest possible consideration’.... worse was to follow... Kastner had stated that the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization had authorized him to give his testimony in Becher’s behalf.” Laqueur insisted that “this turned out not to be so,” but a 1997 article in The Journal of Israeli History by Shoshona Barri (Ishoni) documented that this was true.

She traced the evolution of Kasztner's statements re Eichman's crew:

"In September 1945, he made two statements before the American Committee for the Investigation of War Crimes.... The first described the destruction of the Jews... mentioning Krumey as the one who had headed the implementation of Eichmann's murderous program... The second statement described Becher and Wisliceny as war criminals whose only reason for benevolent activity during the final months of the war (including the preservation of Kastner's own life) had been to provide themselves with alibis; they sensed the impending defeat of the Nazis and the subsequent end of the war"
Eliahu Dobkin of the Jewish Agency, the WZO’s Palestine executive body, testified at the 1954 trial. Barri (Ishoni) tells us that
“when Dobkin was called to the witness stand, he denied ever having heard Becher’s name.... Kastner sent a letter to Justice Halevi in which he attempted to prove that....Dobkin had been scheduled during the war to meet Becher in Lisbon as part of the rescue attempts. He had also been party to the Jewish Agency’s rescue work and was therefore familiar with all reports issued on rescue activities, including Kastner’s own report (which had been written in 1946).... Kastner claimed that it was impossible that this man should not be familiar with Becher’s name. This claim of Kastner’s sounds quite plausible. Dobkin was indeed about to meet Becher during the war.... Becher’s name appeared innumerable times in Kastner’s own report.”
She explains that the WZO was trying to get its hands on the 'Becher deposit,' "money and valuables taken from the Jews of Hungary and later turned over by Becher to [Moshe] Schweiger acting on behalf of the Rescue Committee” run by Kasztner. “This treasure was then taken from Schweiger by the American forces.” Barri (Ishoni) discovered that
“there was a total of seven interventions by Kastner on behalf of Nazi war criminals.... Certainly the Jewish Agency knew of some of them.... archival sources suggest the probability that the Jewish Agency was aware of them all.”
She explained that
“Members of the Jewish Agency... were concerned that... the Jewish people. lacking a state, was not represented in the Nuremberg court.... Kastner, as one who was acquainted with top ranking Nazis, could testify as to their activities, and could at the same time report on the trials’ proceedings. These were the reasons for his employment at Nuremberg. It is therefore difficult to accept the picture painted during the 1954 trial and thereafter, that Kastner’s sojourn in Nuremberg was entirely on his own initiative.”
Ever since the 1954 trial, Israeli historians and dramatists have tried to explain Kasztner's Becher intervention. Barri (Ishoni) said that
"This article does support the view that Kastner underwent psychological processes that influenced his testimonies.... Psychologists use the term 'cognitive dissonance' to describe what happens to someone who has performed an act in the past that is difficult to live with."
Among Barri (Ishoni)'s major contributions to the discussion is detailing Jewish Agency use of Kasztner in their chase after the Becher deposit and adding that as a factor explaining his obviously morbid character development. Gaylen Ross certainly knows Barri (Ishoni)'s development of the JA's role, but the documentary focused on Kasztner, not the JA's role, which is not an artistic sin. Therefore this discussion follows her line of thought and doesn't develop the JA's involvement in this morbid tale. Readers interested in that should go directly to her excellent article.

New York's 10/23 Jewish Week says that "Ross became inspired several years ago when... she heard sociologist Egon Mayer, who was one of the "Kasztner Jews," say that the train represented 'the single largest successful rescue of Jews by Jews during the Holocaust.'" The NY Times review focuses on his mother, Hedy Mayer, "several months pregnant when she boarded Mr. Kasztner's train." As I edited 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With The Nazis, published in 2002, I discovered Mayer's website devoted to defending Kasztner. It quoted his 1946 German Bericht or Report, unpublished in English, so I went to him and asked for a copy:
"I want to read it because I don't want to be blindsided, unaware of evidence exonerating him. If I find any such, I'll run it."
I meant it, but I expected to get a big no, given my condemnation of Mayer's hero. When Egon realized that I was a serious scholar, he not only gave me the Bericht, he gave me a translation he had privately made for him. Ultimately I showed Egon the 33 pages of excerpts that I wanted to put in the book. "Was it fair to Kasztner?" "Run it." Total co-operation with someone who opposes your politics is otherworldly saintliness. Later yet, he told me that he was "a demographer, not a historian. What I don't understand is how Zionism evolved from a basically secular movement into one overrun with religious fanatics." I told him that I'd contact him and we would set a time for such a serious discussion. Days later he got sick, was hospitalized and died.

An obituary cited his open co-operative character. Indeed I've met people of many different politics including my own. But few of their deaths upset me as much as Egon's. In his memory, I donated a copy of the yet unpublished Report to the Jewish Room of New York's 42nd Street Public Library. And now memory of him makes me declare that Zsuzsi Kasztner may think her father was a hero and still be a nice person. He collaborated with Eichmann, not her. Defending her father is a very human mistake. But he was the collaborator that Hecht and Allen and I say he was.

Lenni Brenner is the author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. His writings presently on the Internet are listed at www.smithbowen.net/linfame/brenner He can be reached at brennerl21@aol.com