3 October 2017

Saying the unsayable about Zionist Support for the 1935 Nuremberg Laws & Nazi favouritism of German Zionism

It might be true but it’s anti-Semitic to say it!
Hitler in his famous 'Prophecy' speech promising the annihilation of the Jewish people, spoke about the Jews having the last laugh
The relationship between the Zionist movement and the Nazis is something I’ve always taken a keen interest in.  Not because I wish to dwell on the more unsavoury aspects of Zionist history for its own sake or even because of the hypocrisy of those who attack anti-Zionists today as anti-Semites. The reasons for my interest is that if Zionism collaborated with and indeed welcomed the Nazi regime in the 1930’s, then it is likely to adopt the same attitude to anti-Semitism in the future.

Of course I mean genuine anti-Semitism, not the fake anti-Semitism that the Jewish Labour Movement and Zionists wield against the Left and supporters of the Palestinians.  Today we see that Zionism has not changed its spots.  Its attitude to anti-Semitism is still the same.  Anti-Semitism rejects the idea that Jews have any place outside Palestine.  That was why in the 1930’s the favourite slogan of anti-Semites was ‘Jews to Palestine’.  Unfortunately it could also be the slogan of Zionism.
Zionism never had any problem with this because they too believed that the Jewish diaspora was unnatural and should be wound up.  Indeed if you didn’t know who the speaker was when they talked about Jews you might assume that they were died-in-the-wool anti-Semites not Zionists.  For example Israel’s first Justice Minister, Pinhas Rosenbluth described Palestine as ‘an institute for the     fumigation of Jewish vermin’.[1] 
Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and founder of the Alt-Right movement describes himself as a White Zionist
Zionism has always seen its interests as being the same as anti-Semitism.  Today we see Benjamin Netanyahu intervening to prevent Hungary’s Israeli Ambassador criticising the nakedly anti-Semitic campaign by its racist Prime Minister, Viktor Orban of George Soros.  Israel backs Hungary, says financier Soros is a threat

We have the obscene spectacle of Benjamin’s son, Yair Netanyahu producing a cartoon attacking Soros which contains all the traditional anti-Semitic features.  It was welcomed by David Duke of the KKK and Andrew Anglin of the openly neo-Nazi The Stormer.  The guest of honour at the forthcoming Gala Dinner of the Zionist Organisation of America in November is none other than Donald Trump’s anti-Semitic former advisor, Steve Bannon.

Nor is it just a couple of fruitcakes.  When the Argentinian Junta in 1976-83 took power their ideology included quite weird and strange versions of the traditional anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.  Jews such as  Jacobo Timerman were savagely tortured, because they were Jews and of the 30,000 murdered by the Junta, some 10-12% were young leftist Jews.  What was Israel doing at the time?  Supplying these monsters with weapons and engaging  in an arms trade over the dead bodies of young Jews.
Translation on Yad Vashem's site of  the welcome given by the official Zionist paper Judische Rundschau to the Nuremberg Laws
The welcome by the Zionist establishment for Donald Trump and the openly White Supremacist and anti-Semitic alt-Right should open peoples’ eyes.  A welcome, not only by Netanyahu but by Israeli Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog who sent a message of congratulation to Trump as ‘“an American leader who showed the commentators and the sceptics that we are in a new era of change”.  A welcome for Trump and Bannon

What particularly irked the Jewish Labour Movement and its Vice-Chair Mike Katz at the recent Labour Party conference was the Labour Party Marxists leaflet with an article by Moshe Machover.  Katz called Machover, a founder of Matzpen, the Israeli Socialist Organisation an ‘immoral historian.’ 

Machover’s ‘immorality’ consists of pointing out certain inconvenient episodes in Zionist history.  The pivotal turning point in Nazi Germany was the introduction of the Nuremburg Laws which stripped German Jews of their citizenship (much like Israel is beginning to strip its Bedouin inhabitants of citizenship).  Instead Jews became a separate national minority with their own flag, the Zionist Star of David. 
Steve Bannon of the anti-Semitic Alt-Right is a guest of honour at the next Zionist Organisation of America gala dinner
On 15th September at the mass Nuremburg rally, Hitler announced the introduction of the Nuremburg laws which forbade Jewish marriage or sexual relations with Aryans.  Gerald Reitlinger described the laws as the most murderous legislative instrument known to European history[2]
Two days later, on 17th September 1935 an editorial in the Zionist paper Judische Rundschau welcomed the Nuremburg Laws.

The speakers at the Zionist Congress (which had just been held in Lucerne) stated that the Jews are a separate people and once again put on record the national claims of Jewry. 
Germany has merely drawn the practical consequences from this and is meeting the demands of the International Zionist Congress when it declares the Jews now living in Germany to be a national minority. Once the Jews have been stamped a national minority it is again possible to establish normal relations between the German Nation and Jewry. …. from now on and for the future there can be no interference in questions connected with the Government of the German people, that there can be no interference in the national affairs of the German Nation.
… Germany has given the Jewish minority the opportunity to live for itself and is offering State protection for this separate life of the Jewish minority:[3]
Whilst the liberal Zionist Jewish Forward in America is worried about the alliance between Zionists and anti-semites the Labour Zionist Jewish Labour Movement complains if we talk about it!
Zionism was so taken up with its own racial idiocy, the idea that races and nations cannot live together that it justified the Nuremburg Laws as fulfilling its own demands. Of course the Zionist movement couldn’t know that the Nazis would adopt the Final Solution in 1941.  Very few people, apart from Trotsky predicted that.  However it wasn’t only the German Zionist movement which welcomed the Nuremburg laws.  The Zionist movement in Palestine did too.  It had seen the rise of the Nazis, in the words of Berl Katznelson, Ben Gurion’s deputy, as “an opportunity to build and flourish like none we have ever had or ever will have”. [4]
On 26th September Reinhardt Heydrich, Himmler’s Deputy and in charge of the RHSA (Police and SS) declared that he was‘‘in agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, Zionism, whose position is based on the recognition of the unity of Jewry throughout the world and the rejection of all ideas of mixing in.’  [5]
Nicosia describes how the ‘fiercely anti-Zionist and deutschnational Association of National German Jews (VnJ) in December, while the Jewish war veterans organization (RjF) was completely neutralised.  Additional bans on meetings and activities of other Jewish organisations, were enacted at the end of 1936 until the middle of 1937.  Again ‘these too were directed primarily at the assimilationist organizations.’  [6]
But even before the introduction of the Nuremburg Laws the policy of the Nazi state was to support the Zionists against the non and anti-Zionist German Jewish organisations.  On 28 January 1935 Heydrich issued a directive to all police officers that ‘The activity of the Zionist-oriented youth organizations that are engaged in the occupational restructuring to Palestine lies in the interest of the National Socialist state’s leadership.[7]
Try as they might the Zionist movement is finding it impossible to suppress the truth about their own record.  Cry as they might that everyone bar them is anti-Semitic, the reality of who really has most in common with anti-Semitism is catching up with them.  And no, we should not accept the idea that to speak the truth is anti-Semitic!
Tony Greenstein
Labour Party Marxists attracted hysterical attacks from the right wing at the Labour Party conference. Many of these centred around an article in the LPM no 17, by veteran Israeli-Jewish Marxist, Moshé Machover. This explored an area of “basic agreement” between the Nazi regime and the Zionist movement. The Labour right used their natural allies to attack this – the Daily Mail, The Times, The Sun, etc. We thought we should let the author himself reply
LPM: Frankly, I enjoyed your article but I didn’t anticipate it would cause so much fuss! How do you explain the vehemence of the attacks on your contribution? Why is this happening?

MM: It’s the result of a conjunction of two things. I follow the Israeli press very closely and the wider political discussions in Israel in general. Quite some time ago – and I’m talking about before anyone imagined that Corbyn would be Labour Party leader (least of all himself!) – there was a feeling in Israeli establishment circles that they were losing the propaganda war. They responded with the Hasbara campaign.1)

This was part of a decision was made to go onto the offensive: in a sense, it’s the last ditch attempt to rescue the international reputation of this state. They are losing credibility on the arena of what could be called international opinion, but – more importantly – they are losing the Jewish public outside Israel, especially those under 30. There is a clear generational shift in opinion. These people are becoming very critical of Israel and its colonisation project.

You could see a sign of this at the Labour conference on September 27, in Corbyn’s leader speech to close the event. His call for Israel to stop the oppression of the Palestinians and to end the savage oppression of these people won loud applause.2)) This was a sign of the times. It’s an indicator of what the general public has come to feel – including a large percentage of Jewish people, especially the youth.

Remember, the Israeli establishment identified this quite some time before Corbyn’s breakthrough was on the agenda. They had already decided to go on the attack internationally, using this ‘dirty bomb’ tactic of labelling any criticism of Zionism and its colonisation project as anti-Semitic.
In the UK, they found useful fools in the form of the Labour right wing. The Israeli state’s propaganda tactic of smearing all criticism of itself as anti-Jewish coincided with the Labour’s right’s need to discredit Corbyn and the left of the party.

Now Corbyn has plenty of enemies – both inside and outside the party! So this smear tactic was eagerly seized upon – including by people who care absolutely nothing about the issues of Israel-Palestine, the Jews, Zionism and all these important questions. They are totally cynical in their use of these issues. As Chris Williamson’s phrase goes, the Labour right “weaponised” the sensitive and complex issue of anti-Semitism for the sake of narrow, factional advantage against a left in the Labour Party that was growing and threatening to overwhelm them.
It’s a dirty war.

LPM: Mike Katz of the Jewish Labour Movement 3) dubbed you an “amoral historian” in conversation with one of our supporters at the Brighton Labour conference. He couldn’t really elaborate on this category when challenged to do so. He didn’t directly contest the veracity of anything you said: he simply seemed to be implying that bringing up the issue of the limited collaboration between Zionist organisations as the Nazi regime at all is outside the boundaries of social/political acceptability. But, as I say, that’s a guess! What do you think he’s talking about?

MM: Well, I’m not quite sure. I have made my views about history and morality quite clear in the past. They can be found in a book I published in 2012 and in public lectures I gave in London in 2006.4)

In these, I make it crystal clear that moral judgements of historical events are very important. But first, you need the facts. You mustn’t start with a moral, value-laden attitude to past events. In the first instance, establish what happened. The moral judgements must come later.

Everyone is entitled to their own moral assessments of the historical actions of individuals, groups, parties or social classes. We can disagree. But people are not entitled to ‘alternative facts’. The factual record I refer to in my article is there, it is available to access, the basic record of the events I write about is uncontested. (As you say, Mike Katz didn’t contest them either!) So, accept that these events took place, they are part of history and must be explained. Then let’s talk about morality!

LPM: The JLM seem to approach historical truth and investigation with parameters that set by what is sayable – what is permitted to be spoken of, regardless of whether it is an actual historical fact.

MM: Here are some historical facts, then. We are closing in on the century of the Balfour declaration.5) It’s interesting to read what the Board of Deputies of British Jews said about it at the time. During the discussions around the declaration, spokespeople of the BDBJ expressed consistent and fundamental objections to the general plan for the Zionist colonisation of Palestine and specifically to the idea that the Jews in Britain were a separate race or nationality.

They insisted that Jewishness is a religion. Take Lucien Wolf,6) a leading light in the BDBJ. In a famous letter to Lord Rothschild while the negotiations that resulted in the Balfour Declaration were taking place, he took great exception to the Zionist idea that it was “self-delusional for any Jew to believe him or herself to be English by nationality and Jewish by faith”. This is how Wolf responded:
I have spent most of my life in combating these very doctrines when presented to me in the form of anti-Semitism and I can only regard them as the more dangerous when they come to me in the guise of Zionism. They constitute a capitulation to our enemies which have absolutely no justification in history, ethnology or the facts of everyday life…

In fact, the Zionists of that time – who, it must be remembered, were a minority amongst British Jews and minorities in all western European countries – would have regarded Wolf’s stance as abominable.
Later, we have the Montefiore brothers – Alexander and Claude, who were, respectively, the presidents of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and of the Anglo-Jewish Association. These two penned a letter to The Times, published on May 24, 1917. In it, they express a similar sentiment:
“Establishment of a Jewish nationality in Palestine founded on the theory of Jewish homelessness would have the effect throughout the world of stamping the Jews as strangers in their native lands, undermining their hard-won position as citizens and nationals of those lands.”

So, what they are saying is that our nationality is British; we are Jewish by religion. In fact, they go on to reject the idea of:

a secular Jewish nationality recruited on some loose and obscure principle of race and of ethnographic peculiarity.

LPM: And isn’t this the specific feature that you point to when you reference the limited ‘commonality’ of one aspect Zionism and the Nazis. The notion of the Jews as a race; the idea that they could not live amongst gentiles without constant conflict and friction; that assimilation was an illusion and, therefore, there was the need for the Jews to separate themselves from the Gentiles and vice versa?

MM: Yes, but let’s remember something about that Heydrich7) quotation in my original article – the one that caused LPMers so much trouble from JLM activists outside the Labour conference!8) In this, Heydrich is responding to a reciprocal overture on the part of German Zionists. Let me put this in its historical context.

This context was the publication of the notorious, abominable Nuremberg Laws against German Jews – probably the foulest racist laws enacted.9)These were published in September 1935. Of course, most German Jews felt the same as Lucien Wolf and the Montefiores in Britain: they regarded themselves as Germans by nationality and Jews by religion or religious background.

But a minority amongst the community – the Zionists – welcomed the Nuremburg laws! Here is a quote from the official organ of the Zionist movement in Germany – it is available in Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. The name of this journal was Jüdische Rundschau. Specifically, it was an editorial, signed by the editor, a certain Mr Brendt, which welcome the fact that Germany had recognised the Jews not as part of the German people, but as separate nationality/race. (In Germany – and in many other places at that time – the words ‘nation’ and ‘race’ tended to be treated as synonyms). Brendt refers to the resolution recently passed by the 19th World Zionist Congress (1935), held in Lucerne in Switzerland. He says that this resolution put an end to any talk of Judaism being simply a religion. And now, he says, speaking of the Nuremberg laws:

Germany has merely drawn the practical consequences from this and is meeting the demand of the International Zionist Congress when it declares the Jews now living in Germany to be a national minority.

So, according to this leading Zionist, by enacting the Nuremburg laws, the German Reich is implicitly accepting the position of the international Zionist Congress.

Of course, we look back at this history with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. We know the end of the story as it were; where the Jews of Europe actually ended up – facing physical extermination. And, of course, you cannot be sure that Heydrich himself was guilty of dissimulation when he responded positively to this overture. He may have been lying; or, as some historians argue, that at the point in history the ‘Final Solution’ was not yet the fixed policy of the Nazi state.

In some ways, this question of intention is a secondary matter. Heydrich, writing in the SS paper Das Schwarze Korps, is responding within days of that editorial in that official Zionist organ, and he explicitly states that “the government [ie, the Nazis in power] finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, the so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry throughout the world and the rejection of all assimilationist ideas.”

It was very important for the Nazis state to insist that Jews were not simply a religion because it was not the policy – in general – of their state to persecute and discriminate in such an extreme way against religious minorities. Thus, they insisted that the Jews were a separate nation/race. In this respect, their view clearly coincided with that of the Zionist movement – which, remember, was a minority viewpoint amongst German Jews. In that sense, Heydrich was using the Zionists against the majority of the German Jews. He was using Zionism as a polemical stick against the majority viewpoint of German Jews – for assimilation and full civil rights in Germany, the country of their birth.

LPM: What’s your estimation of the Labour conference and what does the controversy around this sensitive question tell us about the current balance of forces between the left and right?
There are contradictions. One the one hand, Corbyn wins enthusiastic applause when he calls for an end of the oppressions of the Palestinians. On the other hand, we have an ongoing guerrilla war in the lower levels of the party – at the level of council votes, for example – where bad positions are being adopted, very dangerous votes taken.

So, the “weaponisation” of anti-Semitism continues, but can move into different arenas of struggle. We can make progress in the Labour Party itself, but then in local councils the rightwing Labour councillors can stop education on the issue of Israel-Palestine, they can close down actions and meetings in solidarity with the Palestinians, etc.

The fight isn’t over! This dirty war against us will continue and probably intensify as the pro-Israel apologists and rightist in the party lose ground.

Hasbara is a Hebrew word for the public relations efforts of the Israeli state to disseminate abroad positive propaganda about itself and its actions.
“…let’s give real support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and illegal settlement expansion and move to a genuine two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict” (https://www.totalpolitics.com/articles/news/jeremy-corbyn%E2%80%99s-2017-labour-conference-speech-full-transcript
Mike Katz is a leading member of the Jewish Labour Movement. A fuller biography of the man can be read here – http://www.mikekatz.org/about-me/
Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and resolution, Haymarket Books, Chicago 2012. Also see lecture http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2006-11-30/moshe-machover-israelis-and-palestinians-conflict-and-resolution/
The Balfour Declaration was a public statement in the form of a letter to Lord Rothschild, issued by the British government during WWI announcing support for the establishment of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine. The area was then an Ottoman region with an Arab population and a tiny Jewish minority.
Lucien Wolf was a British-Jewish journalist and historian of Anglo-Jewry. He was a campaigner for Jewish civil rights and an outspoken opponent of political Zionism.
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was a high-ranking Nazi SS commander during World War II, and a main architect of the Holocaust.
The Nuremberg laws (1935) institutionalised many of the racial theories of Nazi ideology. The laws excluded German Jews from Reich citizenship and prohibited them from marrying or having sexual relations with persons of “German or related blood.”

[1]              Joachim Doron, p.169.
[2]         G. Reitlinger, p.7, The Final Solution Valentines Mitchell. London, 1998.
[3]        Juedische Rundschau, No. 75, September 17, 1935. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/german-news-agency-on-the-nuremberg-laws

[4]          Nicosia, ZANG, p.91. Segev, p.28 attributes this to a report by Moshe Beilinson, a cofounder of  Davar, to Katznelson.
[5]        Francis Nicosia, Zionism and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany’ p.119, 2008, CUP.
[6]        Nicosia p. 121.
[7]        Lucy Dawidowicz, War Against the Jews, p. 119, Penguin, 1987.

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