When a Holocaust survivor compares Israel to
Nazi Germany, it's time to take note
Nazi Germany, it's time to take note
Sun, 11 Mar 2018 17:23 UTC
IHRA definition of anti-Semitism that Theresa May has embraced, gives as one of 11 illustrative examples of 'anti-Semitism':
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.'
Shami Chakrabarti, in her Report on racism and anti-Semitism to the Labour Party also criticised the use of Holocaust comparisons. 'In day -to-day political debate , it is always incendiary to compare the actions of Jewish people or institutions anywhere in the world to those of Hitler or the Nazis or to the perpetration of the Holocaust. Indeed such remarks can only be intended to be incendiary rather than persuasive.' Shami Chakrabarti, whose Report was admirable in many ways, in particular its (so far ignored) recommendations on a fair and transparent disciplinary process in the Labour Party, was out of her depth when she dealt with Zionism and Israel. It was not a subject she knew anything about and her opinions were shallow and superficial.
Even if it is 'incendiary' to compare demonstrations in Israel that chant 'Death to the Arabs' to similar ones in Nazi Germany or Poland, where the chant was 'Death to the Jews', is that any reason to be silent? If Nazi Germany forbade Jews buying German 'national' land in much the same way as non-Jews are prevented from buying 'Jewish national' land in Israel, is the fear of being 'incendiary' a reason to be quiet?
But in any case the comparison is not between Jews and Nazi Germany but between Zionists and Nazi Germany - a big difference.
It is precisely because Israel derives its legitimacy from the Holocaust, which it claims as its moral and political foundation that we should remind its supporters of the growing similarity between the State of Israel and pre-war Nazi Germany.
White Zionists only reinforces this comparison. Those who pretend that the welcome by neo-Nazi and far-Right parties for Israel is a one way affair, that it is not reciprocated, are being deliberately disingenuous.
Sebastian Gorka at the Zionist Organisation of America 2017 Annual Gala Dinner
Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Organisation of America, who welcomed Sebastian Gorka to the ZOA's 2017 annual Gala dinner asked rhetorically: "Reagan had Nazis supporting him, so what?" The Jewish Voice described how 'Tonight Klein outdid himself with a superstar cast of participants including Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, Senator Joe Lieberman...'
Gorka, who was a deputy assistant to Donald Trump was photographed at Trump's inauguration wearing the Vitézi Rend, a medal issued by a Hungarian fascist group. This group collaborated with Nazi Germany during the war. Vitézi Rend was founded by Admiral Horthy, who ruled Hungary as Prince Regent, in 1920. During the war Horthy formed an alliance with Nazi Germany and from May to July 1945 Horthy presided over the deportation of nearly ½ million Jews to Auschwitz. Horthy was a self-confessed anti-Semite.
But it wasn't only far-Right Mort Klein, at whose dinner Alan Dershowitz, former Senator Lieberman and Steve Bannon attended, who welcomed Gorka. As Joseph Massad noted in The shocking alliance between Zionism and Anti-Semitism, Gorka was welcomed by the Jerusalem Post with warm applause and a prominent speaking slot at its annual conference in May 2017 in New York
Other speakers at the same conference included Israel's Education, Defence and Justice Ministers Naftali Bennet, Avigdor Liebermann and Ayelet Shaked. As the Forward noted, 'Despite his controversial ties to allies of the Nazis, White House counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka has scored invitations to speak at upcoming pro-Israeli events.
Indeed the leader of the Israeli Labour Party, Isaac Herzog, a man who was always willing to condemn Jeremy Corbyn as 'anti-Semitic' was also a speaker at the conference.
An op-ed defending Gorka explained that "The real agenda is clear: Gorka has written forcefully about the need to defeat the jihadi threat to Western civilization,"
The alliance between Europe's far Right anti-Semitic parties and the Zionist movement and Israel is founded, above all, on a common and shared hatred of Muslims. Zionism feeds into anti-Islamic hatred in Europe and the fascists see Israel as the model kind of state that they would like to see back home.
Professor Ze'ev Sternhell
Ze'ev Sternhell is a childhood survivor of the Holocaust who was born in Przemyśl, Poland. He was smuggled out of the ghetto into Lwow and survived the war, having been adopted by a Catholic family. In 2008 Sternhell was injured by a bomb planted by settler terrorists. Sternhell is also an expert in fascism, which is why his comparisons between Germany 1933-39 and Israel today cannot be understated.
What Sternhell compares Israel to is not the Nazi Germany of the Holocaust post-1941 but the pre-1939 era when the Nazi programme was one of expulsion and the removal of basic rights from the Jews of Germany. From 1933 onwards there was a steady process of what might be called incremental discrimination against the Jews of Germany. The first act was the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which resulted in the dismissal of most Jewish civil servants. The following six years saw the removal of citizenship from Jews and their economic pauperisation as Jews were prevented from owning businesses, Jewish children prevented from going to public schools and even, on November 29th 1938 owning carrier pigeons! See Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany.
A kosher certificate handed out by Lehava to employers who refuse to hire Arab workers.
In Israel too there are growing campaigns for businesses to dismiss Arab workers, for Jews not to rent land or property to non-Jews as well as state authorised discrimination in terms of the segregation of education, jobs, housing etc. This is accompanied in the social sphere by government sponsored campaigns against social and personal relations between Jews and Arabs in order to preserve the ethnic purity of the Jewish race in Israel, because in Israel being Jewish is a national and not just a religious category.
In 2014 we had the sick scenes of hundreds of protestors from Lehava, a state funded organisation, demonstrating outside the marriage reception of a Jewish woman and an Arab man. Lehava itself organises lynch mobs to attack Arabs suspected of dating Jewish men. Under the aegis of now Deputy Foreign Minister Tsipi Hotoveli, the 'charitable' front of Lehava has received state funding for over a decade. Israel Funds Group That 'Saves Jewish Girls' From Marrying Arabs.
Racism in Israel however has never been a private matter. The Jewish National Fund is a body established by the JNF Law 1953. The JNF controls 93% of Israeli land with the Israeli Land Authority. Its constitution prevents it from leasing or renting land to non-Jews and when this arrangement was upset by a Supreme Court ruling in Kadan in 2000 the Knesset simply passed the Receptions Committees Law which substituted indirect for direct discrimination. It was otherwise known as the "High Court- Kaadan bypass law".
After the Kadan ruling the JNF argued that not only did 70% of Israeli Jews oppose allocating their land to non-Jews, but that 80% of Jews preferred Israel to be a Jewish state to a state of its own citizens
At the present time the Israeli government is piloting through the Knesset a Jewish Nation State Law which will enshrine in basic law, the equivalent of Israel's Constitution, the fact that Arabs are not even second class citizens of Israel. They are, at best tolerated tresspassers.
The process of discrimination in Israel isn't confined to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories but increasingly to Israel's Arab citizens too. Thus we see that the Jewish state is progressively becoming the equivalent of the Aryan state in Germany before 1939. This is the background to the comparisons by Professor Sternhell. Those who decry such comparisons are saying that the present apartheid situation in Israel is an acceptable price to pay for the existence of a 'Jewish' state.
Palestinians or Africans, begin eroding the moral legitimacy of their existence as a sovereign entity?
The answer, that historian might say, was embedded in the actions of Knesset members such as Miki Zohar and Bezalel Smotrich and the bills proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. The nation-state law, which looks like it was formulated by the worst of Europe's ultra-nationalists, was only the beginning. Since the left did not protest against it in its Rothschild Boulevard demonstrations, it served as a first nail in the coffin of the old Israel, the one whose Declaration of Independence will remain as a museum showpiece. This archaeological relic will teach people what Israel could have become if its society hadn't disintegrated from the moral devastation brought on by the occupation and apartheid in the territories.
The left is no longer capable of overcoming the toxic ultra-nationalism that has evolved here, the kind whose European strain almost wiped out a majority of the Jewish people. The interviews Haaretz's Ravit Hecht held with Smotrich and Zohar (December 3, 2016 and October 28, 2017) should be widely disseminated on all media outlets in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. In both of them we see not just a growing Israeli fascism but racism akin to Nazism in its early stages.
Like every ideology, the Nazi race theory developed over the years. At first it only deprived Jews of their civil and human rights. It's possible that without World War II the "Jewish problem" would have ended only with the "voluntary" expulsion of Jews from Reich lands. After all, most of Austria and Germany's Jews made it out in time. It's possible that this is the future facing Palestinians.
Indeed, Smotrich and Zohar don't wish to physically harm Palestinians, on condition that they don't rise against their Jewish masters. They only wish to deprive them of their basic human rights, such as self-rule in their own state and freedom from oppression, or equal rights in case the territories are officially annexed to Israel. For these two representatives of the Knesset majority, the Palestinians are doomed to remain under occupation forever. It's likely that the Likud's Central Committee also thinks this way. The reasoning is simple: The Arabs aren't Jews, so they cannot demand ownership over any part of the land that was.
According to the concepts of Smotrich, Zohar and Shaked, a Jew from Brooklyn who has never set foot in this country is the legitimate owner of this land, while a Palestinian whose family has lived here for generations is a stranger, living here only by the grace of the Jews. "A Palestinian,"Zohar tells Hecht, "has no right to national self-determination since he doesn't own the land in this country. Out of decency I want him here as a resident, since he was born here and lives here - I won't tell him to leave. I'm sorry to say this but they have one major disadvantage - they weren't born as Jews."
From this one may assume that even if they all converted, grew side-curls and studied Torah, it would not help. This is the situation with regard to Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers and their children, who are Israeli for all intents and purposes. This is how it was with the Nazis. Later comes apartheid, which could apply under certain circumstances to Arabs who are citizens of Israel. Most Israelis don't seem worried.