12 November 2017

On Both Sides of the Witch-hunt – The Alliance for Workers Liberty's Political Schizophrenia

It is not anti-Semitic to quote the mutual praise of Nazis and Zionists – just truthful

A member of the Hitler youth expressing his joy at the attacks on Jews and in Israel a small girl writing a message on a missile destined for the people of Gaza
If there is one thing that the Zionist movement hates it is being reminded of the time, 80 years ago when leading Nazis not only praised the German Zionist movement but also favoured it in preference to their ‘assimilationist’ opponents.

Whey then do I mention it?  Is it calculated cruelty? Have the Zionists changed their spots?  No the Zionist movement today is still willing to collaborate with fascists, Nazis and assorted anti-Semites. Whether it is the Zionist Organisation of America inviting Steve Bannon, the editor of Breitbart News, house magazine of the Alt-Right to their annual gala or the visit in July by Netanyahu to see his good friend the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.  
The AWL's article attacking Moshe Machover
Orban is the most racist leader in Europe and the competition is quite strong.  I wrote that Far from Netanyahu criticising him [Orban] for his anti-Semitism, quite the opposite took place and Israel’s Ambassador in Hungary Yossi Amrani was forced to withdraw his mild criticisms.’ 

Shortly before Netanyahu landed in Hungary Orban had launched a nasty anti-Semitic campaign against George Soros, a survivor of the Nazi occupation of Hungary who Netanyahu also hates, because he finances Israeli human rights groups.   I wrote of Orban:
Admiral Horthy, who Netanyahu's friend Viktor Orban is seeking to rehabilitate
‘His real crime has been the campaign by Orban and his Fidesz party to rehabilitate Admiral Horthy, Hungary’s ruler between 1920 and 1944 and the author of Hungary’s war-time alliance with Nazi Germany.’  
Horthy presided over the deportation of nearly ½ million Jews to Auschwitz but that little fact didn’t get in the way of Netanyahu’s love-in with him.  

According to the misnamed Alliance for Workers Liberty [Quoting Nazis to damn “the Zionists”] we are ‘left anti-Semites’ for raising such matters.  On the contrary, it is the AWL who are demonstrating that they are a bunch of social chauvinists and apologists for the racist crimes of imperialism and Zionism. 
Edwin Black, a devoted Zionist has written the most comprehensive book on the Nazi-Zionist trade agreement [Ha'avara] that helped destroy the Jewish and international boycott of Nazi Germany. [The Transfer Agreement, 1999, Brookline Books, London] Black describes how on March 25th 1933 Goering, panicked by the success of the Boycott summoned the leaders of German Jewry to his offices. At the last moment the Zionists secured an invitation. The 3 non-Zionist Jewish leaders denied that they had any influence over the Boycott campaign in America because, although they couldn’t say it, they welcomed the pressure on the Nazis.  It was this which had kept Nazi violence against Germany’s Jews in check.  Black describes what happened next:
‘‘Blumenfeld [Secretary of the German Zionist Federation] stepped forward on behalf of the Zionists, declaring that the German Zionist Federation was uniquely capable of conferring with Jewish leaders in other countries… Once uttered, the words forever changed the relationship between the Nazis and the Zionists.’ [Black p.36]
The Zionists, unlike the non-Zionists, were prepared to do their best to help the Nazis defeat the Boycott if in turn the Nazis would help them build a Jewish state in Palestine. 
The Zionist   paper which welcomed the Nuremberg Laws
Why is this relevant?  Because today, as fascist groups and racism (including anti-Semitism) grow in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the Israeli state and its leaders have the friendliest of relations with not only Orban other racist and anti-Semitic regimes for example the Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło of the far-Right Law and Justice party.

Only today we hear news of a march of an estimated 60,000 fascists in Warsaw celebrating a pogrom against the Jews in Warsaw in 1936.  Polish Nationalist Youth March Draws Thousands in Capital - Crowd of mostly young people carries banners that read ‘Europe Will Be White’ and ‘Clean Blood’  Their slogan is ‘Pray for Islamic Holocaust’.  Presumably there is no point in praying for another Jewish one since most Poland Jews either died in the Holocaust or departed after the war.  We can assume that Israel will not be making any representations about this march.

Today the primary victims of fascist violence in Europe are Muslims and this is not unwelcome to Israel and the Zionist movement.  The far-Right in Europe and America openly admire Israel for its hostility to Muslims. The neo-Nazi leader of America’s alt-Right, Richard Spencer declares that he is a White Zionist.  Is there a difference between the march in Warsaw and the thousands of settlers who chant ‘Death to the Arabs’ in Jerusalem?
The Labour Party Marxists publication which the Zionists took exception to
The AWL is nothing if not stupid. You might have thought that their experience of being denounced as ‘anti-Semitic’ by Owen Smith in the leadership contest with Jeremy Corbyn would have taught them a lesson.  At least two AWL members – Pete Radcliffe and Daniel Randall were expelled from the Labour Party for ‘left anti-Semitism’.

The AWL is unique on the British Left. They are Trotskyist Zionists (though Trotsky would have run a mile from them!). Whereas most supporters of a 2 State solution in Palestine reluctantly accept the continuance of a racist Jewish Supremacist state, AWL endorse the Apartheid Jewish state enthusiastically.  Those who don’t share their enthusiasm are guilty of ‘left anti-Semitism’. 

Absurdly they are argue that ‘left anti-Semitism’ is not racist! As I pointed out at a debate with Daniel Randall on the 15th September 2016, if it’s not racist it’s not anti-Semitic either!  They should find another word, like anti-Zionist!
When the head of the Gestapo's Jewish desk Baron von Mildenstein went with Kurt Tuchler and their wives for a 6 month visit to Palestine in 1933, as guest of the Labour Zionist movement, they struck a medal on their return with the Swastika on one side and the Zionist Star of David on the other
During our debate I embarrassed Randall by noting that he had been expelled from the Labour Party for ‘left anti-Semitism’.  His response was:  ‘I do want to say from the outset that it is undeniably the case that the issue of anti-Semitism has been instrumentalised and manipulated by some on the Labour Right and their supporters in the press in order to undermine Corbyn and the Left.’ [see transcript]

Never before, or since have the AWL admitted that ‘left anti-Semitism’ is a weapon used by the Right against the Left.  It took the experience of the Summer of 2016 for the AWL to realise that for the Labour Right – ‘anti-Semitism’ and being on the Left were synonymous.  In Scotland, Rhea Wolfson, the left’s candidate for the National Executive Committee and herself a member of the Jewish Labour Movement had her nomination rejected by her Glasgow constituency, after Jim Murphy, Blair’s Scottish leftover, accused Momentum of ‘anti-Semitism’.

What has angered the AWL is that Moshe Machover has been exonerated and readmitted to the Labour Party despite writing an ‘apparently anti-Semitic’, article describing the warm relations between leading Nazis and the Zionist movement in Germany.  Indeed Sam Matthews of the Disputes Committee backed away from his initial description of the article that Moshe had written and which Labour Party Marxists had reprinted. 
Heydrich - in charge of the combined police (RSHA) and the 'engineer' of the Final Solution
In the article Moshe quoted an article Heydrich had written in the SS paper Das Schwarze Korps on September 26 1935:

‘National socialism has no intention of attacking the Jewish people in any way. On the contrary, the recognition of Jewry as a racial community based on blood, and not as a religious one, leads the German government to guarantee the racial separateness of this community without any limitations. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry throughout the world and the rejection of all assimilationist ideas.’ 5

The full quotation can be found in ‘The Third Reich and the Palestine Question’ [I.B. Tauris, 1985, London, p.57 and a shortened version in Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, CUP, 2008] by Francis Nicosia, Professor of Holocaust Studies at Vermont University.

Of course by itself, this quotation simply proves that the Nazis looked on the Zionist rejection of assimilation favourably.  Obviously Heydrich, who is described by Gerald Reitlinger as the ‘engineer’ of the Final Solution [The Final Solution, Valentine Mitchell, London, 1968. p.13] was lying when he said that the Nazis had no intention of attacking the Jewish people. 

Relations between the Zionists and the Nazis went much deeper.  Lucy Dawidowicz described how in January 1935 Heydrich had issued an instruction to the Gestapo in Bavaria that Zionist youth groups ‘are not to be treated with that strictness that it is necessary to apply to the members of the so-called German-Jewish organizations (assimilationists)’. [‘War Against the Jews 1933-45, Penguin 1987’ pp.118, citing Mommsen 'Der Nationalsozialistische Polizeistaat pp.78/9 and Nicosia, ZANG, p.119]

The question is whether this was just one-way traffic.  Did the Zionists reciprocate in any way and the answer is yes, very much so.  On 21st June 1933 the German Zionist Federation wrote a memo to Hitler explaining the ideological similarity between the Zionists and the Nazis.

‘On the foundation of the new state, which has established the principle of race, we wish so to fit in our community [so that] fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible. Our acknowledgement of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we don’t wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we too are against mixed marriages and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group… The realisation of Zionism could only be hurt by resentment of Jews abroad against the German development. Boycott propaganda… is in essence fundamentally unZionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build.’ [Lucy Dawidowicz, A Holocaust Reader, p.150-153.]

The Zionists set their face against any campaign against the Nazis. They opposed a Boycott because they realized that Jewish Palestine could prosper by trading with Nazi Germany.  When faced with a choice between building a Jewish state and the needs of the Jewish diaspora they unhesitatingly chose the former.  At the World Zionist Congress in Prague in 1933 they failed even to condemn the Nazi regime. 

In August 1933 the Zionist leaders agreed a trade agreement, Ha’avara, with the Nazis which effectively destroyed the International Jewish Boycott of Nazi Germany. A Boycott which had the potential to destroy the Nazi government in its infancy. Instead the Zionist movement hitched its wagon to the success of the Nazi state.   The result was that the pressure was off Hitler and the regime in subsequently years could consolidate. 

As Black noted

Ha’avara meant that whilst most Jews were doing their best to undermine the German economy and effect the removal of Hitler, the Zionists’ interest was in stabilizing and safeguarding the German economy: ‘the Nazi party and the Zionist Organization shared a common stake in the recovery of Germany. If the Hitler economy fell, both sides would be ruined.’ [Black p. 253]

Even as ardent a Zionist as Elie Wiesel admitted that the

‘Jewish leaders of Palestine never made the rescue of European Jews into an overwhelming national priority. We know that Zionist leader Itzhak Gruenbaum... considered creating new settlements more urgent than saving Jews from being sent to Treblinka and Birkenau.

Wiesel cited approvingly Tom Segev’s conclusion that ‘Only a few survivors owed their lives to the efforts of the Zionist movement’. [The Land That Broke Its Promise : THE SEVENTH MILLION: The Israelis and the Holocaust, http://articles.latimes.com/1993-05-23/books/bk-38582_1_tom-segev/]

Yet the AWL would have you believe that to mention this naked collaboration is ‘anti-Semitic’. The AWL identify with the most right-wing, racist movement amongst Jewry.  This is the mark of their appeasement and concession to imperialism today.

It is argued that the Zionist movement at this time could not be certain that the professions of Heydrich and others, that they intended no harm to the Jews but merely sought racial separation, were false. The physical attacks on Jews in Germany and the vile anti-Semitic propaganda of Der Sturmer should have told them that the Nazi regime was no ‘ordinary’ anti-Semitic regime. Ordinary Jews knew this which was why they packed out Madison Square Gardens in New York as part of the movement to Boycott Nazi Germany. Unlike most Jews, the Zionists chose to believe the Nazis, which is why they alone of the Jews welcomed the 1935 Nuremburg Laws, which were described by Reitlinger as ‘the most murderous legislative instrument known to European history’.  The Introduction to the Nuremburg Laws read: 

‘If the Jews had a state of their own in which the bulk of their people were at home, the Jewish question could already be considered solved today… The ardent Zionists of all people have objected least of all to the basic ideas of the Nuremberg Laws, because they know that these laws are the only correct solution for the Jewish people too…’ [Moshe Machover and Mario Offenberg, Zionism and its scarecrows’ p. 38., Khamsin 6, Pluto Press, 1978, citing Die Nurnberger Gesetze, 5. Auflage, Berlin 1939 p.13/14]. 

On the 17th September, just 2 days after the promulgation of the Nuremburg Laws, Judische Rundschau, paper of the German Zionist movement welcomed them declaring that:

Germany 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.’ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/german-news-agency-on-the-nuremberg-laws ]

Moshe also cited the welcome for the Nazi regime by Rabbi Joachim Prinz, one of the leaders of the German Zionist Federation.  In his 1934 book ‘Wir Juden’ (We Jews) he stated that:

‘‘(The Jews) have been drawn out of the last recesses of christening and mixed marriages. We are not unhappy about it... The theory of assimilation has collapsed. … We want to replace assimilation by something new: the declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and the Jewish race. A state, built according to the principles of purity of the nation and race can only be honoured and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his own kind.’

The AWL in their article criticise Machover for the ‘trope of Nazi-Zionist collaboration’ (‘trope’ is a favoured word for Zionist dopes!). The article quotes at length Heydrich to prove that he was a vicious anti-Semite.  No one however disputes or his role in the Holocaust. Yet despite this Heydrich spoke favourably of the Zionists and they in turn saw in the rise of the Nazis ‘proof’ that the Jews did not belong amongst the German nation.  The article goes on to quote Hitler in Mein Kampf as saying that a Jewish state would be “a central organisation for their (Jews’) world swindling … a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.”

What else was Hitler expected to say?  That he saw a Jewish State as leading to the reforming of the Jewish character?  In fact many Nazis did believe this, including Eichmann who described himself as an ‘ardent Zionist’ but in 1922, Hitler, saw everything that was Jewish as being evil, including Zionism, which he knew little about.  However Hitler was willing to adapt to circumstances when in power.  In 1933 the same Hitler approved the trade agreement with the Zionists and in 1937-8 when others in the Nazi government wanted to end it, it was Hitler who was decisive in ensuring the Ha'avara continued up till the beginning of the war.

What Moshe Machover said in his article was merely a basic recitation of the facts of the early Zionist relationship with the Nazis.  Of course the Nazis’ flattering of the Zionist movement in Germany did not mean that they changed their attitude to the Jews.  They still sought either to expel them or exterminate them. The tragedy is that instead of unremitting opposition to Nazism, the Zionists became the Nazis useful fools. The Nazis played the Zionists like a violin. In 1941 with the beginning of the Holocaust and the deportation of the Jews of Germany, the Nazis made no distinction between Zionist and non-Zionists.  All Jews were destined for the gas chambers or the pits of Ponary. The Zionist movement even betrayed its own supporters in Europe.

Ha’avara led to 100m RM of trade between Germany and Palestine and accounted for 60% of total capital investment in the Zionist economy in Palestine. [David Rosenthall, Chaim Arlosoroff 65 Years After his Assassination, Jewish Frontier, May-June 1998, p. 28, New York]
In response to the Kindertransport when Britain agreed to admit 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Ben Gurion declared that he would prefer to save half Germany's children if they went to Palestine than all of them in England - from his official biography, The Burning Ground 
Berl Katznelson, who was a founder of Mapai, the Israeli Labour Party, and editor of the Histadrut paper Davar saw the rise of Hitler as “an opportunity to build and flourish like none we have ever had or ever will have”. [Nicosia, ZANG, p.91. Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, p.18]. Ben Gurion “hoped the Nazis' victory would become a 'fertile force' for Zionism” 

The Zionist movement functioned as a Jewish Quisling movement.  The Jews of Europe were completely written off by the Palestinian Zionist movement and the Jewish Agency. 

In the course of their article the AWL also imply that Jackie Walker was anti-Semitic for saying that the Black Holocaust of slavery isn’t commemorated on Holocaust Memorial Day. As this is a fact then presumably AWL are happy with this exclusion.

Former NUS President Malia Bouatthia is also attacked as anti-Semitic for stating that Birmingham University was “something of a Zionist outpost  Ken Livingstone’s anti-Semitism is simply taken for granted.

The AWL represent an extreme version of a historic tendency of the British Left to accept what Lenin described as the crumbs off the table of imperialism. Lenin had been seeking to explain the conservatism of the British working class in terms of its identification with the British Empire.  The AWL have a long history of support for Western imperialism from refusing to call for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq or Afghanistan to supporting the CIA backed Islamic Mojahadeen in Afghanistan to opposition to the Republican movement in Ireland.

In Palestine the AWL treat Zionism not as an ethno-nationalist settler colonial movement but as a legitimate form of nationalism. This is despite the fact that Zionism claims that Jews world wide form a nation despite the fact that diaspora Jews do not speak the same languge, occupy the same territory or have the same culture.  It is a racial view of Jewry.  The AWL having long abandoned any concept of imperialism refuse to see Israel as a client regime of US imperialism.  The AWL also have nothing to say about the virulent racism which is inherent in a Jewish settler colonial state.

Within the trade union movement the AWL have consistently opposed any attempts at solidarity with the Palestinians.  When I spoke to UNISON conference in 2007 and 2008 in support of BDS, one of those speaking against us was from the AWL.  However the AWL’s racist support for Israel had negligible support and the motions were passed overwhelmingly.

The AWL found themselves in a dilemma when the Labour Right and Zionist Jewish Labour Movement sought to expel Professor Moshe Machover, an Israeli anti-Zionist and socialist. After all  Machover had been expelled not only for his relationship with the CPGB and Labour Party Marxists but originally for his ‘apparently anti-Semitic’ article Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Semitism’. The AWL supported the basis on which the expulsion was proposed but not the expulsion itself without losing all credibility on the Left.  In their article the AWL have sought to try to reconcile these contradictions – how to oppose the witch hunt of which they are themselves a victim whilst retaining their ideological purity.  The result, is as one might expect, a complete ideological mish-mash.

Author: Dale Street

Had it not been distributed as a leaflet at this year’s Labour Party conference, Moshe Machover’s article “‘Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism’” would have been just another turgid and distasteful article which had found a natural home for itself in the pages of the Weekly Worker.

A longer version of the same article – entitled “Don’t Apologise – Attack” – had been published in Weekly Worker four months earlier. According to that article:

• Anyone who thought that a retweet by Naz Shah MP – which had suggested that Israel (and, presumably, its population) should be relocated to the USA – “was anything but a piece of satire should have their head examined.”

• Jackie Walker “has been suspended for saying that there was not only a Jewish holocaust but also a black African one too.” (Wrong: that was not the reason for her suspension.)

• There was nothing antisemitic about NUS President Malia Bouattia describing Birmingham University as “something of a Zionist outpost”.

• Ken Livingstone was “certainly inaccurate” in having said that Hitler supported Zionism until he went mad. At the same time, “the point he was making was basically correct”.
The inclusion of a shorter version of the article in a “Labour Party Marxists” bulletin distributed at Labour Party conference rescued it from obscurity.

Overnight, Machover’s article became a cause célèbre for left antisemites (and antisemites in general).

Zionism is essentialised. Machover unceasingly refers to “the Zionists … the Zionists … the Zionists.” Unlike any other nationalism, Zionism is portrayed as a uniformly negative monolith.

Legitimate complaints about antisemitic arguments and ways of thinking are dismissed as a Zionist concoction: “And so the Zionists and their allies decided to launch the ‘Anti-Zionism equals Anti-Semitism’ campaign.”

This “campaign” is an international (cosmopolitan) one: “The whole campaign of equating opposition to Zionism with antisemitism has been carefully orchestrated with the help of the Israeli government and the far right in the United States.”

Antisemitism is defined in such a way that its existence in the labour movement can simply be denied as being of no account:

“The handful of people of the left who propagate a version of the ‘Protocols of Zion’ carry no weight and are without any intellectual foundation.”

Unlike others who share his current politics, Machover does not define Zionism as a form of antisemitism. But he does portray collusion with antisemitism as inherent in Zionism: “You can also attack Zionism because of its collusion and collaboration with antisemitism, including up to a point with Nazi Germany.”

This brings Machover round to the trope of Zionist-Nazi collaboration: “Let us now turn to the Zionist-Nazi connection. … The Zionists made overtures to the Nazi regime, so how did the Nazis respond? … In other words, a friendly mention of Zionism, indicating an area of basic agreement it shared with Nazism.”

The “friendly mention of Zionism” cited by Machover is a quote from an article written in 1935 by Reinhard Heydrich, published in the Das Schwarze Korps, the in-house magazine of the Nazi SS:
“National socialism has no intention of attacking the Jewish people in any way. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, so-called Zionism.”

Heydrich was a hardened antisemite from the early 1930s onwards. He was one of the architects of the Final Solution. Only a few months earlier he had made clear his attitude towards Jews in another article in Das Schwarze Korps:

“In order to preserve our people, we must be harsh in the face of our enemy, even at the cost of hurting an individual or being condemned as rabble-rousers by some probably well-meaning people. …

“If someone is our enemy, he is to be vanquished subjectively and without exception. If, for example, out of false compassion, every German should make an exception for ‘only one decent’ Jew or Freemason whom he knows, we would end up with 60 million such exceptions.”

Ten years before Heydrich’s article Hitler had already dismissed a Jewish state as “a central organisation for their (Jews’) world swindling … a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.”

Thus, to illustrate the “basic agreement” which Zionism supposedly shared with the Nazis, Machover quotes an architect of the Holocaust, from an article in the magazine of the organisation which played a leading role in carrying out the Holocaust.

It is not about supporting the Palestinians. Machover says explicitly: that’s not enough. You must also demonise “the Zionists” as an evil essence running through history to link Jews today back to the taint of the Nazis.

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