Zionism and anti-Semitism
Stanley Heller 'Zionist betrayal of Jews, from Herzl to Netanyahu' self-published, 2019, pp147. Available from Middle East Crisis Committee, Box 3626, Woodbridge CT, 06525, USA, for a donation of $10 or more.
This book is really just a sampler with a fairly arbitrary selection of topics about Zionism’s relationship with its Siamese twin, anti-Semitism. Without anti-Semitism there would have been no Zionism and that is why the Zionist movement has always considered anti-Semitism as a kind of ‘distant relative’.
The founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, in his pamphlet The Jewish state, compared the Zionist use of anti-Semitism to the use of steam as a source of power. Zionism sought not to fight anti-Semitism, but to harness it.
There are, however, large gaps in Heller’s brief account and his selection of topics is somewhat arbitrary. Why choose the visit of the Nazis, Adolf Eichmann and Leopold von Mildenstein, to Palestine as guests of the Labour Zionists, when there are so many worse examples of Nazi-Zionist collaboration? Why omit completely the story of Kasztner and the collaboration of Hungarian Zionism with the Nazis, which cost thousands of lives?
Yet these are minor points. Heller has done us a service with this book in reminding us, in the days when Zionist accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are rife, that, when it comes to genuine anti-Semitism, you will not see the Zionist movement for dust.
One of the most remarkable things about the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign waged against Jeremy Corbyn for the past four years - what Justin Schlosberg has called a “disinformation paradigm”1 - is the absence of evidence: hence why such a high percentage of those suspended and expelled have been Jewish anti-Zionists.
Herzl made it clear that opposition to anti-Semitism was “futile”, before going on to “pardon” it.2 He believed anti-Semitism contained a “divine will to good”.3 One of the most remarkable aspects of the false anti-Semitism campaign is that even the truth can be anti-Semitic!
By ‘anti-Semitism’ I mean what the man on the Clapham Omnibus understands by it, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “hostility to or prejudice against Jews”. Because Zionism has no interest in opposing genuine anti-Semitism it has tried to foist the IHRA definition of it onto public bodies. Anti-Semitism has been redefined as hostility to Israel and Zionism.
It was Ken Livingstone’s propensity for blurting out the truth - namely that the Nazis ‘supported’ Zionism - which was responsible for the vitriolic attacks on him. A little known fact is that Labour’s disciplinary process excluded, from the start, any examination of the truth of what Livingstone had said. What mattered was that he had said it. The sole concern of Labour’s witch-hunters was that Ken had ‘given offence’ to the ‘Jewish community’.
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders in France, The Guardian and others supported freedom of speech. An op ed in The Guardian by Jodie Ginsburg thundered: “The right to free speech means nothing without the right to offend.”4 Perhaps she should have added: ‘except if they are Zionist Jews or their non-Jewish supporters’.
Not one British newspaper, not even The Guardian or The Independent supported Livingstone’s freedom of speech. They demanded his expulsion from Labour. He was sacked by LBC radio, which was happy to employ neo-Nazi Katie Hopkins and the far-right Nigel Farage.
But targeting Muslims, as Charlie Hebdo did, was acceptable. One front page called the Koran “shit”, because anti-Muslim racism is consistent with imperialist discourse. However, speaking the truth about the record of Zionism during the Nazi era is not covered by freedom of speech. Zionism is the ideology that gave birth to and governs the Israeli state. What is at stake is not a quibble about the truth, but very real political, strategic and economic interests. Jews have been summoned as the first line of defence of western strategic and economic interests. Jews are the shield for western imperialism.
Heller’s description of how Zionism has betrayed the Jews, from the days of its founder, Theodor Herzl to Netanyahu is a gripping one. One theme runs through the book: Zionism sought to utilise, never to oppose, anti-Semitism. When a conflict arose between the needs of Jews and building the ‘Jewish’ state, then the latter always won out.
Heller builds on Lenni Brenner’s book, Zionism in the age of the dictators, which exposed some of the sordid details of the Zionist movement’s relationships with fascism. This despite serious problems with Brenner’s understanding of events and analysis.5 It would though have been useful to have provided, if not an index, at least a contents page!
Heller begins his journey with Herzl - “the Jewish man who thought that anti-Semitism was natural”. The belief that anti-Semitism was a natural phenomenon was common to all Zionists. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Zionist Organisation and first president of Israel (his name does not appear in the book once) wrote in his autobiography:
Whenever the quantity of Jews in any country reaches saturation point, that country reacts against them ... The determining factor in this matter is not the solubility of the Jews, but the solvent power of the country.6
Heller rightly points out that Herzl’s conversion to Zionism occurred not as a result of the Dreyfus affair, but the election of Karl Lueger as mayor of Vienna in 1897. Lueger’s election was a shock to both the Jews and emperor Franz Joseph, who only confirmed him in office after the fifth election. The last thing Joseph wanted was anti-Semitism in his multi-national empire.
Whilst Hitler praised Lueger as his inspiration, he was no Hitler himself. Lueger was an opportunist, who realised that without the spice of anti-Semitism he could not win over the artisan vote in Vienna. He was more in the tradition of ‘municipal socialism’. Lueger also had many Jewish friends and, when reproached about this, famously declared: “I decide who is a Jew.”
What Heller does not mention is that Herzl created a myth, claiming that it was the Dreyfus affair that had been the cause of his conversion to Zionism. Any objective examination shows that Herzl was not interested in Dreyfus and almost certainly believed in his guilt. This was why Herzl and Bernard Lazare, the earliest campaigner for Dreyfus, parted company in 1899.
Heller describes how early Zionists were willing to work with the worst anti-Semites. Herzl met with Vyacheslav von Plehve, the Russian interior minister responsible for the pogrom at Kishinev in 1903. In return for the legalisation of the Zionist movement, he agreed not to criticise the Russian government. Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of revisionist Zionism, reached an agreement with the White Russian leader, Symon Petliura, who had the deaths of up to 50,000 Jews to his credit. But that did not stop Jabotinsky holding hands with him.
Heller looks at the Zionist sabotage of the Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany through its negotiation of a trade agreement, Ha’avara, with the Nazis. The Zionists saw the rise of the Nazis as an opportunity: “The last thing they considered was mobilising world opinion against the brownshirt menace.”
The Zionists broke the boycott, even though it held out the only possibility of leading to the overthrow of Hitler. In practice they were writing off German Jewry. Today the Zionists claim that Ha’avara was about saving Jews, but this is a lie. It was about saving German Jewish wealth: 60% of capital investment in Jewish Palestine between 1933 and 1939 came from Nazi Germany.7 According to Edwin Black, a rightwing Zionist and author of The transfer agreement, “the Nazi party and the Zionist Organisation shared a common stake in the recovery of Germany. If the Hitler economy fell, both sides would be ruined.”8
An article on the Jewish Telegraph Agency site is headed ‘Reich on verge of collapse’.9 This was on account of the Jewish boycott. The sabotage of the anti-Nazi boycott by Zionism was an example of prioritising the interests of the ‘Jewish state’ over the lives of living Jews. Although the Zionists claimed that no-one in 1933 could predict the extermination of the Jews, this is untrue. Samuel Untermayer, organiser of the boycott, did just that.
As Edwin Black pointed out, the boycott forced Hitler to restrain anti-Jewish attacks. It denied Germany foreign exchange and the ability to “acquire the raw materials needed to rebuild its war machine”. None of this mattered to the Zionists.
Heller rightly concentrates on the situation in Poland, where after the death of Józef Piłsudski in 1935, the level of anti-Semitism soared. Jewish benches were introduced in the universities. Attacks on Jews massively increased and the government introduced anti-Semitic legislation, such as forcing businesses to carry the name of the owner on their sign (thus making it clear which shops were Jewish).
Jabotinsky’s supporters, who were strong in Poland, collaborated first with the Piłsudski regime and then the colonels’ government. They believed that Poland could take over the Palestine mandate from the British. They also had cordial relations with Mussolini’s fascists, training at the Italian naval station of Civitavecchia. In 1938 Mussolini introduced anti-Semitic racial laws and started persecuting Italian Jews. In 1943 during the Salò republic, Italian fascists collaborated in the deportation of 8,000 Italian Jews to Auschwitz.
It was in this situation of increasing anti-Semitism that Polish Jews turned to the Bund, an anti-Zionist socialist organisation. As Shmuel Merlin, a revisionist leader in Warsaw, told Lenni Brenner,
It was absolutely correct to say that only the Bund waged an organised fight against the anti-Semites. We did not consider that we had to fight in Poland. We believed the way to ease the situation was to take the Jews out of Poland. We had no spirit of animosity.
Heller quotes the notorious speech of Ben Gurion of December 9 1938 to the central committee of Mapai, the centre-left party (in response to the Krystallnacht, the British had offered to admit 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish children from Germany):
If I knew that it was possible to save all the children in Germany by transporting them to England, or only half by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second, because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.
If Jews were to be rescued, according to their twisted logic, it had to be to Palestine. Otherwise what purpose was there to this “national museum”, as Ben Gurion described it?
Whereas world Jewry viewed the rise of Hitler with foreboding, to the Zionist leaders Hitler’s rise presented “unprecedented historical opportunities”. Heller quotes Tom Segev’s Seventh million as claiming that for Ben Gurion the extermination of the Jews was “above all else a crime against Zionism”.
Heller’s short section on ‘rescue plans’ skirts over three that were abortive - the rescue of 70,000 Jews from Transnistria in Romania, the delayed deportation of Jews from Slovakia and the ‘Blood for Trucks’ proposal to the allies from Adolf Eichmann in May 1944. Heller does justice to none of these proposals.
He follows in Brenner’s footsteps in seeing the offer of a million Jews in exchange for 100,000 winterised trucks as genuine. That the Zionists took it seriously, when it was obviously designed to split the Allies, is entirely to their discredit - especially as they refused to publicise the plight of Hungarian Jews, who Eichmann had already started deporting from Hungary on May 15, two days before this so-called offer had been made.
Heller also makes the mistake of attributing the stopping of the deportation of 30,000 Jews from Slovakia in October 1942 as due to a bribe. Slovakia was the first country in Europe whose Jews were deported. In fact it was Vatican pressure on the puppet leader, Josef Tiso, a Catholic priest, which was responsible for the calling off of the deportations.
Heller quotes Tom Segev as saying, “Only a few survivors owed their lives to the efforts of the Zionist movement.” Not only is this true, but thousands more lost their lives because of the Zionist movement’s campaign against rescue to anywhere but Palestine.
The author quotes Segev as saying that “the Jewish leaders of Palestine never made the rescue of European Jews into an overwhelming national priority”. This was an understatement. The Zionist leaders focussed almost exclusively on building their state, to the exclusion of the holocaust. But this did not stop Zionism from using the holocaust as a propaganda weapon. Heller mentions the 32 members of Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary group in Palestine, who were parachuted into Europe in 1944 and accepts the story that they were sent to fight the Nazis. He writes: “All praise must be given to these heroes.”
But this is not true. According to the memoirs of Yoel Palgi, the only Hungarian parachutist to survive, the aim was “to reconstruct the crumbling Zionist youth movements there after the war”. Yechiam Weitz wrote: “While the parachutists outwardly defined theirs as a rescue mission, ... their primary goal was in effect to influence the survivors to choose Palestine as their ultimate destination.”10
Heller mentions the Livingstone affair, when Ken stated that Hitler supported Zionism. Heller says that “Livingstone’s wording was regrettable” and that “Hitler certainly didn’t believe in Zionism: his agents only worked with Zionists in the 30s to get Jews out of Germany.” Livingstone, who has been repeatedly misquoted by the bourgeois press, is misquoted again here. He said that Hitler ‘supported’, not ‘believed in’, Zionism.
And it is not true that Nazi agents only worked with the Zionists in order to get rid of Germany’s Jews. There was also an ideological congruity, which was expressed in the Ha’avara agreement. The collaboration was wider. The Zionist leaders welcomed Hitler and the Nazis to power, believing that they would benefit. This was what became known as ‘cruel Zionism’.
Zionism never hesitates to mention the collaboration of the mufti of Jerusalem, but omits to mention the “loathsome offer to collaborate with Hitler” of the Stern Gang - one of whose leaders, Yitzhak Shamir, twice became Israel’s prime minister. The Stern Gang “under Stern’s inspiration praised the Nazis extravagantly for locking the Polish Jews into the ghettos, contrasting this favourably with the conditions of Jewish life in Poland before the Nazi invasion”. Was there any greater example of the madness of the Zionist fringe?
Heller gives us a taste of a number of subjects that require much greater in-depth study. He describes how the leadership of American Jewry betrayed the Jews of Europe. In the section, ‘Arthur Goldberg whitewashes the passivity of the Jewish elite’, Heller tells the story of the bad conscience of the leadership of American Jewry.
In the 1980s “the American Jewish Commission on the Holocaust” was set up, chaired by Arthur Goldberg. It was initially financed by Jack Eisner, a former Warsaw ghetto fighter. Part of its draft, which was leaked to the New York Times, stated:
In retrospect, one incontrovertible fact stands out above all others: In the face of Hitler’s total war of extermination against the Jews of Europe, the Jewish leadership in America at no stage decided to proclaim total mobilisation for rescue.
It said that the Zionists’ “exclusive concentration on Palestine as a solution” made them unable to work for any other alternative.
Heller cites the dissident revisionist, Peter Bergson, who told Stephen Wise, the leader of American Zionists: “If you were inside a burning house, would you want the people outside to scream, ‘Save them’, or to scream, ‘Save them by taking them to the Waldorf Astoria’?”
The Zionists literally sabotaged rescue to anywhere but Palestine. Not content with this, they spearheaded a campaign against those who did want to do something - notably the Emergency Committee to Rescue Europe’s Jews. Stephen Wise and Nahum Goldman advised the Roosevelt administration to deport the committee’s two leaders, describing them as “worse than Hitler”.
Not surprisingly, the Zionists did not like the draft report of the Commission and it never saw the light of day. Eisner withdrew his financial backing when he saw that the vested interests would not allow the truth to emerge. Nahum Goldman, who was president of the Zionist Organisation, admitted that he and Wise received a telegram from Jewish Resistance in Europe exhorting “12 top American Jews to go and sit night and day on the steps outside the White House until the Allies are moved to bomb Auschwitz and Treblinka”.
The US airforce had the capacity to bomb Auschwitz, because it was already bombing Buna/Auschwitz III, where the rubber factories were based. Indeed they bombed one of the gas chambers by accident. Yet the American leaders refused to do anything other than make polite requests. As Heller notes, on June 11 1944, the Jewish Agency executive committee refused to call for the bombing of Auschwitz.
In chapter 5, Heller focuses on ‘Israel - employing German Nazis’. This is the remarkable story of how the Israeli state employed leading Nazis after the war as agents. The most notorious was Walter Rauff, who had personally designed the ‘Black Raven’ mobile gas chambers that were first used between 1939 and 1941 to murder up to 100,000 handicapped Germans. These same gas trucks made their way to Poland, where they formed the first extermination camp at Chełmno at the beginning of December 1941. Thousands of Jews and gypsies from Łódź - the second major ghetto in Poland - were murdered there.
Rauff’s New York Times obituary states: “Nazi hunters and governments that sought his extradition, however, estimated that as many as 250,000 people - most of them east European Jews - died in the vans.” However, this did not deter the Israeli government from employing him. Israel not only paid Rauff, but also arranged for an Italian visa. Rauff and his family sailed from Genoa to South America courtesy of the Israeli state.
Another agent was the swashbuckling Otto Skorzeny. He was responsible for helping install the Nazi Arrow Cross regime in Hungary. Heller states that the result of this for Hungarian Jews was the resumption of the deportations, with the loss of 100,000 lives. I disagree. About 50,000 Jews were murdered, primarily as a result of gang attacks by Arrow Cross thugs and in the forced march of Jews to Vienna on November 8 1944.
It is untrue that deportations were resumed. I have seen no evidence of this. A report on the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Austria by Eleonore Lappin confirms this. After the overthrow of regent Miklós Horthy and prime minister Géza Lakatos on October 15, Eichmann returned two days later to Budapest:
However, by this juncture in mid-October, the machinery of annihilation in Auschwitz had already been disrupted and shut down. On October 7 1944, prisoners in the Sonderkommando had destroyed at least one of the gas chambers. A short time later, gassings were halted and Himmler gave the order to tear down the gas chambers and crematoria. This was carried out in November and December 1944.
This is why, when SS Brigadeführer Hugo Blaschke, mayor of Vienna, begged for labour to help build anti-tank fortifications, Jews were forced to travel by foot until Arrow Cross leader Ferenc Szálasi halted the march. The rail network had all but collapsed.
Skorzeny had kidnapped Horthy’s son, rolling him up in a carpet and threatening to execute him if Horthy did not resign. Skorzeny bore a major responsibility for the murder of Jews which followed, but this did not stop Israel from recruiting him as a spy. Although Israel made great play of its capture of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960, Heller shows how it was not interested in the capture of any other Nazis, such as Josef Mengele, the notorious SS doctor in Auschwitz.
The final three chapters bring us up to date, beginning with chapter 6: ‘Selling guns to Nazi-admiring juntas’. The Bolivian junta under Hugo Banzer was hiding Klaus Barbie, head of the Gestapo in Lyons:
In August 1973, Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban visited Bolivia and was asked at a press conference whether he had spoken to its dictatorial leader, Hugo Banzer, about Barbie. Eban responded that it was an internal matter of the Bolivian legal system, and that it would be up to Bolivia to decide whether or not to extradite Barbie to France.
What kind of ‘Jewish’ state refuses to call for the extradition of a Nazi responsible for the murder of at least 4,000 Jews?
When Luis García Meza seized power in Bolivia in 1980, aiming to create a Pinochet-style government, US president Jimmy Carter refused to recognise his regime. Israel, however, had no such scruples. As Heller observes, “The Carter administration applied sanctions against Meza. In contrast Israel gave Meza economic and military aid.”
John Brown in Ha’aretz described how
Israel also armed Bolivia’s military regimes, knowing that Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was part of the regime. Legal documents used to convict the head of the junta also showed that Barbie’s death squads used Israeli Uzis [submachine guns].
What was Israel’s motive? A few million in arms sales! As Israel Shahak, the Israeli human rights activist and holocaust survivor said in 1984, it was “beyond shame”. He added: “During this time the Israel of prime ministers Rabin and Begin did nothing - actually less than nothing - as they aided the fascist regime.”
People should bear this in mind when they consider the ‘anti-Semitism’ attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. Heller describes Israeli relationships with Paraguay under the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner, an open Nazi admirer. Paraguay played host to Mengele. When the Israeli ambassador, Benjamin Varon was asked about Mengele, his standard answer was: “The Israel government is not searching for Dr Mengele - the Federal Republic of Germany is.”
The seventh chapter, ‘Modern-day collaboration with Jew-haters’, includes Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, who is intent on rehabilitating admiral Horthy, the pro-Nazi leader of Hungary during the war, whom he described as an “exceptional statesman”.
Heller says that Horthy set up the ‘labour service system’ for men considered ‘unworthy’ of being in the military, such as Jews. Heller says that 45,000 Jews served in it. My own understanding is that the figure was double this and that half of them survived. Ironically the labour service became a source of refuge and rescue.
Heller describes how in 2019 Netanyahu gave a warm welcome to the premier of Lithuania, Saulius Skvernelis. A year earlier Netanyahu had praised Skvernelis for fighting anti-Semitism despite the fact that Lithuanian schools make into heroes the anti-Soviet nationalists who were involved in the mass killing of Jews. 95% of Lithuanian Jews were exterminated - the highest proportion in Europe.
Israel has cultivated warm relationships with a whole series of racist regimes and figures, such as Austria’s neo-Nazi leader, Heinz Christian Strache, and India’s Hindu nationalist leader, Narendra Modi. Israel even supplies weapons to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi militia, the Azov.
The final chapter is on ‘Trump, Netanyahu and the eruption of US anti-Semitism’. Trump is an ideal example of how an anti-Semite can, at the same time, be the most ardent Zionist. The man for whom neo-Nazis at Charlottesville were “fine people” invited the anti-Semitic pastor, John Hagee, who believes that Hitler was a “half-breed Jew”, to preside at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
In short, when Zionists talk about ‘anti-Semitism’, it is a camouflage to hide their own collaboration with genuine anti-Semites.
Heller has done us a great service in writing this all too short book. I can heartily recommend it as an hors d’oeuvres. However it is only a taster. The full story of Zionist collaboration with anti-Semites, the Nazis included, will take up a much larger volume.
. J Schlosberg Labour, anti-Semitism and the news: a disinformation paradigm: www.mediareform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Labour-antisemitism-and-the-news-FINAL-PROOFED.pdf.↩︎
. www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/mideast/toi/chap3-11.html. In his diaries (p6) he wrote: “In Paris, as I have said, I achieved a freer attitude towards anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, I recognised the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ anti-Semitism.”↩︎
. T Herzl The complete diaries of Theodor Herzl New York 1960, p231.↩︎
. The Guardian February 16 2015.↩︎
. See my article, ‘Zionist-Nazi collaboration and the holocaust - a historical aberration? Lenni Brenner revisited’ Journal of Holy Land Studies November 2014’.↩︎
. C Weizmann Trial and error pp90-91.↩︎
. D Rosenthal, ‘Chaim Arlosoroff, 65 years after his assassination’ Jewish Frontier May-June 1998. In 1937 over 31 million Deutsche Mark were transferred (FR Nicosia The Third Reich and the Palestine question London 2000, p213).↩︎
. E Black The transfer agreement Washington 2009, p253.↩︎
. Y Weitz, ‘Jewish refugees and Zionist policy during the holocaust’ Middle Eastern Studies Vol 30, No2, April 1994, p359. Lenni Brenner in Zionism in the age of the dictators (1983) made the same mistake.↩︎