The RETURN Statement

The RETURN Statement

Against the Israeli Law of Return – For the Palestinian Right to Return

On 2 November 1917, the British Government issued the Balfour Declaration. This represented the first major victory for the Zionist project of transforming Palestine from a part of the Ottoman empire into a Jewish state – a project which came to fruition on 15 May 1948, with the proclamation of ‘the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine’.

 

As a result, the Palestinian people now live either under Israeli rule or in exile. Those in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 (many of them refugees from areas occupied in 1948) live under continuing harsh military rule; those in the territories occupied in 1948 are second-class residents in a Jewish state, denied the rights and privileges accorded to those residents recognised by the state as Jews.

 

On 9 December 1987, the Palestinian people living under Israeli military occupation rose up against their oppressors. On 15 November 1988, the Palestine National Council declared the establishment of the independent state of Palestine. Two years on, the Intifada continues. it is now manifestly clear to everyone that the Israeli military occupation must end, and that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Any pretence to the contrary is an obvious lie.

 

Meanwhile, the Israeli repression of the Palestinian people and their Intifada continues. Over 800 Palestinians (150 of them children) have been killed by the Israeli security forces or by settlers in the past two years. Many thousands more have been maimed, imprisoned without trial, had their homes destroyed or been expelled from their homeland.

 

Israel has become an armed camp, at war both with its neighbours and with its subject Palestinian population. In its operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Israel represents a major link in the world network of repressive and racist regimes. Its nuclear weapons capacity, developed in alliance with South Africa, is a danger to the entire Middle East, and to the whole world.

 

In spite of this, Jewish communities have been recruited by Israel as both support and justification for its activities. The historic sufferings of Jews, particularly the Nazi murder of six million European Jews, are held to justify Israel’s existence and behaviour. Israel continues to present itself as acting in the name of the Jewish people in international affairs.

 

We, entitled to the privileges accorded under the Israeli Law of Return to Jews and their close relatives, declare our opposition to the state of Israel as a Jewish state and to the Zionist movement. We call on our fellow Jews and their close relatives to join us in making the following statement:

 

* the Palestinian people, at whose expense the state of Israel was established and continues to exist, have the right to return, to self-determination and to their independent state on Palestinian soil;

 

* the Palestine Liberation Organisation is the sole legitimate

representative of the Palestinian people;

 

* the state of Israel does not represent all Jewish people, neither legally, morally nor in any other way;

 

* the Zionist structure of the state of Israel is at the heart of the racism and oppression against the Palestinian people, and should be dismantled.

 

 

George Abendstern, Rochdale

George Adda, Tunis

Paul Adams, London

Isobel Aga, London

Yasmin Alam, London

Ammiel Alcalay, New York

Mick Ashley, Brighton

Deni Asnis, San Francisco

Lenore Azaroff, Somerville

Sid Bachrach, Handel

Molly E Balaban, Surrey

Michael Bar-Am, New York

Dr. Tony Barnett, Norwich

Mady Bassin, New York

Jonathan Bellos, Brighton

Phyllis Bennis, New York

Dan Berger, Manchester

Rabbi Elmer Berger, Sarasota

Michael Berlin, London

Penny Bernstock, London

Eric Biddulph, Huddersfield

Earl Billheimer, Bradford

Cllr Ruth Billheimer, Bradford

Stella Binns, London

Jeffrey Blankfort, San Francisco

Peter Bleyer, London

Jenny Bourne, London

Harry Bramson, London

Dorit Braun, Earlsdon

Gabriella Braun, Coventry

Hanna Braun, Coventry

Lenni Brenner, New York

Haim Bresheeth, London

Mordechai Briemberg, Vancouver

Josy Brown, Manchester

Tamar Brown, London

David Cabibbe, Genoa

Amir Carmel, Brighton

Ben Cashdan, London

Ray Challis, Coventry

Dana T. Charkasi, Vienna

Linda Clair, Rochdale

Doris Clay Bury, St. Edmunds

Tony Cliff, London

Tom Cloher, Adelaide

B J Cohen, Lincoln

Benjamin Cohen, London

Shaun Cohen, Leeds

Harry Cohen, MP, Leyton

Neil Collins, London

Petra Collins, London

Bob Cottingham, London

Michael Crome, Royston

J Csoti, Harrow

Mike Cushman, London

Dr. Keith Dadds, Poole

Rochan Dadoo, Manchester

Elizabeth Dales, Kent

Dr Renee Danziger, Geneva

Paul Roger Darby, Brighton

Peter Davey, London

Madelaine Davidson, Sawbridgeworth

Martin Davidson, Sawbridgeworth

Elias Davidsson, Reykjavik

Maurice Davies, Lisburn

Gul Davis, London

Dr Uri Davis, London

Debbie de Lange, London

G de Smidt, London

Brian Dilworth, Devon

Abigail Dombey, Brighton

Elizabeth Dresner, London

Merav Dvir, London

Shraga Elam, Saland

Jacob Eldar, Odense

Danielle Eldin, Montpellier

Michael Ellman, London

Mark Etkind, London

Lee Ezra, Altrincham

Chris Faatz, Salem

Steve Faith, Edinburgh

Linda Feldman, New York

Andrew Fenyo, Canterbury

Arye Finkle, London

Mark Fraenkel, Manchester

Carolanne Frank, London

Dr T Frank, London

Douglas Franks, San Francisco

Brian Freeman, Durham

Catherine Fried, London

Erich Fried, London

Klaus Fried, London

Robert Friedlander, Manchester

Daniel Friesner, Oxford

Michael Friesner, London

Barbara Gaines, New York

Edward Gaskett, Bolton

Elaine Ginsburg, London

Donny Gluckstein, Edinburgh

Dr Cecile Goldet, Paris

Steve Goldfield, San Francisco

Jeff Goldhar, Melbourne

Abigail Goodden, London

Phil Goodfield, Manchester

Chaya Gordon, San Francisco

Frances Gorman, London

John Gosler, London

Geraldine Gould, Edinburgh

Marci Green. Wolverhampton

Tony Greenstein, Brighton

Oren Gruenbaum, Manchester

Ilan Halevi, Paris

Stephen Hall, London

Mary Hamilton, Santiago

P Hammond, Durham

Djamila Hammoudi, London

Howard Harris, Cardiff

Leora Harris, New York

Dave Harrison, Bradford

Fred Hasson, London

Yitzhak Hasson, Tel-Aviv

Erwin Herrman, Melbourne

Alain Hertzman, London

Tina Hill, Derby

Rabbi Moshe Hirsch, Jerusalem

Yvette Hochberg, Berkeley

Bill Hoffmann, San Francisco

Ann Holt, Hull

Martha Horan, London

Andrew Hornung, London

Jacky Humphreys, Bristol

Nicole B Isitt, San Francisco

Br B Jacobson, London

Bessy Johnson, Bury

Theresa Jones, London

Dr david Josephs, Bedford

Meyer Journo, Rome

Sidney Salomon Journo, Rome

Fadi Kabbani, Cheshire

Noah Kaczerginski, Paris

Linda Kahn, San Francisco

Harriet Karchmer, New York

Michael Katz, London

Bill Kaye, London

Sindey Kaye, London

C J Keens, London

Victoria E Keens, London

Earle Kessler, Bristol

Sharaza Khan, Middlesex

M C Khullar, Chatham

Sid Kivanosky, New York

Judith M Klain, San Francisco

Daniel Kohns, Princeton

Tamara Kohns, Princeton

W Kopytynska, London

Z Kopytynska, London

Liz Krainman, New York

Mark Krantz, Manchester

Richard Kuper, London

Emillia Kupersmitt, London

Patricia Kushnik, Gatley

Diana Lam, London

Albert Langer, Melbourne

Bernice Laschinger, London

Jeff Lazarus, Fitzroy

Ruth Leboff, Birmingham

Ralph Leighton, Cuxton

Peter Lennard, London

Adam Lent, London

Janet Levelen, London

Les Levidow, London

Barry Levy, London

Hope Liebersohn, Newcastle

Prof Alan Lipman, Cardiff

Beata Lipman, Cardiff

Jane Lipman, London

Ed Lithgow, Edinburgh

Nicola Low, London

Rachel Lurie, New York

Rebecca Lurie, New York

Simon Lynn, London

Sydney Lytton, London

Tessa Lytton, London

David Makofsky, Berkeley

Antonia Maks, Exeter

David Markham, London

Gerald Marks, London

Michael Marks, London

Michael Marqusee, London

Helen Mayer, London

Mark McCoy, London

Hilda Meers, Swanage

Alyssa Melnick, New York

Arna Mer-Khamis, Haifa

Dr Norton Mezvinsky, New Britain

Anita Miller, London

David Milstein, Berkeley

R Moodley, London

Samantha Mooney, Cambridge

Dr Stephen Moorbath, Oxford

Amanda Morrow, Iraklion

A P Moseley, Axminster

Anneke Jos Mouthaan, Amsterdam

Graham Murray, London

A Muslemen, London

J Nalibov, New Jersey

Arthur Neslen, Manchester

Dr Richard Noss, London

Harry Nowicki, Melbourne

Hilton Oberzinger, San Francisco

Nogah Ofer, London

Akiva Orr, Kfar Shemaryahu

Jane Parker, Brighton

Simonetta Paggi, Rome

M Palacz, London

Joan Parker, Leatherhead

Diana Paton, Watford

Ruth Pearson, Norwich

Karen Phillips, London

Michael Picardie, Cardiff

Yuval Pilavsky, London

C Platt, Leeds

Mick Plewman, London

Bennie Polack, Wolverhampton

M H Pollack, London

T and R Posner, London

Daniel Potasznik, London

Richard Powell, Bradford

Dorothea Pratley, London

T Rajadurai, Colombo

Bert Ramelson, London

Roland Rance, London

Jill Rawling, Old Woking

Nick Rawling, Slough

Tony Rawson, Diss

George Richardson, Littlehampton

Frances Rifkin, London

Nissan Rilov, Paris

Nea Rizack, Teaneck

Anna M Robinson, Birmingham

R B Robinson, London

Joanna Roche Milton, Keynes

Michael Rodney, London

Neil Rogall, London

Osnat Ron, London

Malcolm A Ronchetti, Coventry

Manfred Ropschitz, Crediton

Adam Rose, Manchester

John Rose, London

Michael Rosen, London

Chanie Rosenberg, London

Marty Rosenbluth, Ramallah

Robert Rosenthal, London

Douglas Ross, Southhampton

Leon Rosselon, London

David Rubinstein, Hull

Sabby Sagall, London

John Sage, Haverfordwest

Sol Salby, Melbourne

Jill Sanguinetti, Melbourne

Esther Saraga, London

John Schaechter, Birmingham

Haim Scortariu, London

Patricia Scott Robson, London

Dr Richard Seaford, Exeter

Tamar Selby, London

Sam Semoff, Liverpool

Cindy Shambon, Berkeley

Carmel Shepherd, London

Bernard Sherman, Purley

Rosetta Sherman, Purley

Steve Sherman, London

Marika Sherwood, London

David Shonfield, London

Toma Sik, Tel-Aviv/Jaffa

Patrick Simms, Warwickshire

Mike Simons, London

Mac Simpson, Brighton

Steve Simpson, Bradford

Adrian Sinclair, Bradford

Abraham Sirton, Glasgow

Ruth M Sirton, Glasgow

Ehud Sivosh, London

Sara Spain, London

Harry Spillman, Hove

Heini Srour, London

Basil Stein, London

Philip Stein, London

Helen Stollar, London

Janey Stone, Melbourne

Marge Sussman, Berkeley

Prof Michael Talbot, Liverpool

Inbar Tamari, London

Rebekeh Tanner, New York

Jakob Taut, Kiryat Bialik

Jon Taylor, Manchester

Elizabeth Tebbs, Manchester

Julian Teischer, Melbourne

Dr Norman Temple, London

Susan V Tipograph, New York

David Toube, Southampton

Joe Townsend, Brighton

Tony Traub, Leigh-on-Sea

John Turkig, London

Shimon Tzabar, London

Bub Usellis, Seattle

Guido Valabrega, Milan

Jean Claude Valomet, Nantes

Roger van Zwanenberg, London

Caroline Ward, Bradford

Philip Ward, Sheffield

Shaun Waterman, London

Jayne Watson, Leicestershire

Gary Kenneth Watt, London

John Weal, London

John Langford Weekley, Canterbury

Joyce Weissberger, New York

Edward Teller, Attleborough

Tania Wess, London

Suzan Saida Widmark, London

Sue Wilson, London

Baylah Wolfe, New York

Marion Woolfson, Painswick

George Wynschenk, Southport

Sheral Grosse Yanowitz, London

Daphne Yassir, Fulmer

Yousef Yassir, Fulmer

Cllr Sally Young, Newcastle upon Tyne

Myk Zeitlin, London

Y Zerovabeli, Edgware

——————————————-

 

The above statement has been published a number of times in

British media, each time with an increasing number of

signatories.

 

Those interested in endorsing the above RETURN statement or

contributing to its publication can send their name, address and

telephone number to:

 

 

RETURN

BM 8999

London WC1N 3XX

 

(see also Editorial of the first RETURN magazine, where names of the editorial board are listed)

 

 

 

 

Editorial of the RETURN magazine, no.1

Editorial of the first issue of the RETURN magazine

Published in March 1989, London.

 

Editorial Collective: Ben Cashdan, Uri Davis, Merav Dvir, Tony Greenstein, Graham Murray, Roland Rance, Billie Raphaeli, Haim Scortariu

 

RETURN was formed to promote a statement and petition declaring opposition to the Israeli Law of Return for Jews and their close relatives, and support the Palestinian right to return. Over 300 people, all of whom are potential beneficiaries of legal and material privileges in Israel by virtue of being defined as Jewish under the Israeli Law of Return, have signed the statement. The RETURN initiative, of which this magazine is a part, is one of the clearest expressions of Jewish opposition to Zionism to date.

 

(…)

 

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Zionism has achieved an ideological, cultural, political and organisational hegemony among western and much of world Jewry. For many culturally assimilated Jews, irreligious if not atheists, the only distinguishing feature of their Jewishness is their commitment to and support for Israel. Nearly all the various Jewish identities that arose out of the break up of the feudal order in Europe have been transferred or destroyed by Zionism. The Jewish God has become the Jewish state (see Ilan Halevi’s article)

 

The internal politics of Jewish communities, which once reflected the struggle against exploitation, anti-Semitism and fascism, as well as the Jewish bourgeoisie and rabbis, have moved decisively to the right. In socio-economic terms, Jewish communities in the West are, for the most part, prosperous and middle class. The old immigrant Jewish working class has been replaced by its Black counterpart. In the absence of specific economic and material factors, it is the Israeli state and Zionism which are the defining factors in mainstream Jewish identity today. It is an identity which, whilst expressing itself in different religious or cultural forms, is increasingly reactionary.

 

In the absence of the Israeli state, the existing organised Jewish communities would fragment and disintegrate at an even faster rate than they are already doing. There is no material basis for the existence of Jewish communities outside Israel (see Moshe Machover’s article)

 

However Jewish identity, precisely because it is a political identity, is neither uniform nor unproblematic. It reflects the contradictions and tension between the demands of Zionism and the State of Israel on one hand, and the actual situation of Jews on the other. The relationship between Israel and Jewish communities is colonial, if not feudal (see David Rosenberg’s article). Israel is not only a financial but a political parasite. It uses these communities as political pawns and as a cover for imperialist interests. This is especially true in the United States where the so-called Jewish vote is used incorrectly to explain the strategic alliance with Israel. In so doing, Zionism not only diverts attention away from the main source of imperialist interests in the Middle East but directly endangers Jews by boosting anti-Semitic perceptions of Jewish communities as ‘alien implants’ in their countries of origin, whose primary allegiance lies with a foreign power.

 

It is Zionism which does not address the interests of Jewish communities. Far from being a refuge for Jews, Israel is a source of danger. In its efforts to promote Jewish emigration to Israel, Zionism has a vested interest in the continuance of anti-Semitism and, on occasion, hasn’t hesitated to give it a helping hand. The relationship of Zionism to anti-Semitism, its historical accommodation to and acceptance of the inevitability of the latter, are issues that Jews cannot afford to ignore. In the case for example of Argentina, where the Israeli state armed the anti-Semitic Junta, this involved Zionism coming into conflict with the anti-fascist movement.

 

Nor is Zionism the only form of Jewish identity or its sole component. Many Jews do draw the connection between anti-Semitism, the Holocaust in particular, and what the Palestinians are now experiencing. Many Jews, as we have discovered, identify themselves as Jews by virtue of their opposition to Zionism and anti-Semitism.

 

We cannot regard Western Jewry today as an oppressed and exploited minority. Anti-Semitism is no longer a form of state racism. Today all too many Jews feel comfortable voting for racist parties of the Right, including Le Pen (see Tony Greenstein’s article). Zionism has aligned many Jews with some of the most reactionary and racist elements in western society, as the experience of Jesse Jackson demonstrated, when a mere 7 per cent of Jews defied the injunction of Mayor Koch and Kach not to vote for Jackson in the Democratic primary elections.

 

We hope to become a focus and a voice for those Jews and others who are opposed to the Israeli state and its policies, and in particular the growing number of Jews who have become disillusioned with Zionism and wish to distance themselves from Israel. RETURN gives the lie to the argument that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are synonymous.

 

Not only has Zionism destroyed Diaspora Jewish culture, it has in the case of the Arab world destroyed those communities as well. But its main crime is what it has done to the Palestinians. It is a tragic irony that some 70,000 Palestinian refugees are living in Germany under threat of deportation. It is essential to make the connection, as do many Israelis, between what the Nazis did to the Jews and what Zionism is doing to the Palestinians. The Holocaust must be demystified and analysed, not sanctified. Zionism treats it as a unique and irrational event, beyond analysis or understanding, whilst using it as a political prop. The lessons we draw from the Holocaust are diametrically opposite to those of Zionism.

 

We do not believe that by compromising our opposition to Zionism, by pretending that Israel is just another Jewish community, or by declaring that we are merely ‘non-Zionist’, that it will be easier to break a section of Jewish people from Zionist politics. On the contrary, our political confusion would only confuse others, Jewish and non-Jewish. By being honest about our anti-Zionist politics, we hope to make a contribution to undermining the legitimacy of the Israeli state when it claims to act on behalf of all Jewish people. If you agree with us, sign our statement and join us!

 

Edwin Montagu and Zionism 1917

Edwin Montagu and Zionism 1917

Memorandum of Edwin Montagu on the Anti-Semitism of the Present (British) Government – Submitted to the British Cabinet, August, 1917

I have chosen the above title for this memorandum, not in any hostile sense, not by any means as quarrelling with an anti-Semitic view which may be held by my colleagues, not with a desire to deny that anti-Semitism can be held by rational men, not even with a view to suggesting that the Government is deliberately anti-Semitic; but I wish to place on record my view that the policy of His Majesty’s Government is anti-Semitic in result will prove a rallying ground for Anti-Semites in every country in the world.

 

This view is prompted by the receipt yesterday of a correspondence between Lord Rothschild and Mr. Balfour.

 

Lord Rothschild’s letter is dated the 18th July and Mr. Balfour’s answer is to be dated August 1917. I fear that my protest comes too late, and it may well be that the Government were practically committed when Lord Rothschild wrote and before I became a member of the Government, for there has obviously been some correspondence or conversation before this letter. But I do feel that as the one Jewish Minister in the Government I may be allowed by my colleagues an opportunity of expressing views which may be peculiar to myself, but which I hold very strongly and which I must ask permission to express when opportunity affords.

 

I believe most firmly that this war has been a death-blow to Internationalism, and that it has proved an opportunity for a renewal of the slackening sense of Nationality, for it is has not only been tacitly agreed by most statesmen in most countries that the redistribution of territory resulting from the war should be more or less on national grounds, but we have learned to realise that our country stands for principles, for aims, for civilisation which no other country stands for in the same degree, and that in the future, whatever may have been the case in the past, we must live and fight in peace and in war for those aims and aspirations, and so equip and regulate our lives and industries as to be ready whenever and if ever we are challenged. To take one instance, the science of Political Economy, which in its purity knows no Nationalism, will hereafter be tempered and viewed in the light of this national need of defence and security.

 

the war has indeed justified patriotism as the prime motive of political thought.

 

It is in this atmosphere that the Government proposes to endorse the formation of a new nation with a new home in Palestine. This nation will presumably be formed of Jewish Russians, Jewish Englishmen, Jewish Roumanians, Jewish Bulgarians, and Jewish citizens of all nations – survivors or relations of those who have fought or laid down their lives for the different countries which I have mentioned, at a time when the three years that they have lived through have united their outlook and thought more closely than ever with the countries of which they are citizens.

 

Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom. If a Jewish Englishman sets his eyes on the Mount of Olives and longs for the day when he will shake British soil from his shoes and go back to agricultural pursuits in Palestine, he has always seemed to me to have acknowledged aims inconsistent with British citizenship and to have admitted that he is unfit for a share in public life in Great Britain, or to be treated as an Englishman. I have always understood that those who indulged in this creed were largely animated by the restrictions upon and refusal of liberty to Jews in Russia. But at the very time when these Jews have been acknowledged as Jewish Russians and given all liberties, it seems to be inconceivable that Zionism should be officially recognised by the British Government, and that Mr. Balfour should be authorized to say that Palestine was to be reconstituted as the "national home of the Jewish people". I do not know what this involves, but I assume that it means that Mahommedans and Christians are to make way for the Jews and that the Jews should be put in all positions of preference and should be peculiarly associated with Palestine in the same way that England is with the English or France with the French, that Turks and other Mahommedans in Palestine will be regarded as foreigners, just in the same way as Jews will hereafter be treated as foreigners in every country but Palestine. Perhaps also citizenship must be granted only as a result of a religious test.

 

I lay down with emphasis four principles:

 

1. I assert that there is not a Jewish nation. The members of my family, for instance, who have been in this country for generations, have no sort or kind of community of view or of desire with any Jewish family in any other country beyond the fact that they profess to a greater or less degree the same religion. It is no more true to say that a Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation: of the same race, perhaps, traced back through the centuries – through centuries of the history of a peculiarly adaptable race. The Prime Minister and M. Briand are, I suppose, related through the ages, one as a Welshman and the other as a Breton, but they certainly do not belong to the same nation.

 

2. When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants, taking all the best in the country, drawn from all quarters of the globe, speaking every language on the face of the earth, and incapable of communicating with one another except by means of an interpreter. I have always understood that this was the consequence of the building of the Tower of Babel, if ever it was built, and I certainly do not dissent from the view, commonly held, as I have always understood, by the Jews before Zionism was invented, that to bring the Jews back to form a nation in the country from which they were dispersed would require Divine leadership. I have never heard it suggested, even by their most fervent admirers, that either Mr. Balfour or Lord Rothschild would prove to be the Messiah.

 

I claim that the lives that British Jews have led, that the aims that they have had before them, that the part that they have played in our public life and our public institutions, have entitled them to be regarded, not as British Jews, but as Jewish Britons. I would willingly disfranchise every Zionist. I would be almost tempted to proscribe the Zionist organisation as illegal and against the national interest. But I would ask of a British Government sufficient tolerance to refuse a conclusion which makes aliens and foreigners by implication, if not at once by law, of all their Jewish fellow-citizens.

 

3, I deny that Palestine is to-day associated with the Jews or properly to be regarded as a fit place for them to live in. The Ten Commandments were delivered to the Jews on Sinai. It is quite true that Palestine plays a large part in Jewish history, but so it does in modern Mahommendan history, and, after the time of the Jews, surely it plays a larger part than any other country in Christian history. The Temple may have been in Palestine, but so was the Sermon on the Mount and the Crucifixion. I would not deny to Jews in Palestine equal rights to colonisation with those who profess other religions, but a religious test of citizenship seems to me to be the only admitted by those who take a bigoted and narrow view of one particular epoch of the history of Palestine, and claim for the Jews a position to which they are not entitled.

 

If my memory serves me right, there are three times as many Jews in the world as could possible get into Palestine if you drove out all the population that remains there now. So that only one-third will get back at the most, and what will happen to the remainder?

 

4. I can easily understand the editors of the Morning Post and of the New Witness being Zionists, and I am not in the least surprised that the non-Jews of England may welcome this policy. I have always recognised the unpopularity, much greater than some people think, of my community. We have obtained a far greater share of this country’s goods and opportunities than we are numerically entitled to. We reach on the whole maturity earlier, and therefore with people of our own age we compete unfairly. Many of us have been exclusive in our friendships and intolerant in our attitude, and I can easily understand that many a non-Jew in England wants to get rid of us. But just as there is no community of thought and mode of life among Christian Englishmen, so there is not among Jewish Englishmen. More and more we are educated in public schools and at the Universities, and take our part in the politics, in the Army, in the Civil Service, of our country. And I am glad to think that the prejudices against inter-marriage are breaking down. But when the Jew has a national home, surely it follows that the impetus to deprive us of the rights of British citizenship must be enormously increased. Palestine will become the world’s Ghetto. Why should the Russian give the Jew equal rights? His national home is Palestine. Why does Lord Rothschild attach so much importance to the difference between British and foreign Jews? All Jews will be foreign Jews, inhabitants of the great country of Palestine.

 

I do not know how the fortunate third will be chosen, but the Jew will have the choice, whatever country he belongs to, whatever country he loves, whatever country he regards himself as an integral part of, between going to live with people who are foreigners to him, but to whom his Christian fellow-countrymen have told him he shall belong, and of remaining as an unwelcome guest in the country that he thought he belonged to.

 

I am not surprised that the Government should take this step after the formation of a Jewish Regiment, and I am waiting to learn that my brother, who has been wounded in the Naval Division, or my nephew, who is in the Grenadier Guards, will be forced by public opinion or by Army regulations to become an officer in a regiment which will mainly be composed of people who will not understand the only language which he speaks – English. I can well understand that when it was decided, and quite rightly, to force foreign Jews in this country to serve in the Army, it was difficult to put them in British regiments because of the language difficulty, but that was because they were foreigners, and not because they were Jews, and a Foreign Legion would seem to me to have been the right thing to establish. A Jewish Legion makes the position of Jews in other regiments more difficult and forces a nationality upon people who have nothing in common.

 

I feel that the Government are asked to be the instrument for carrying out the wishes of a Zionist organisation largely run, as my information goes, at any rate in the past, by men of enemy descent or birth, and by this means have dealt a severe blow to the liberties, position and opportunities of service of their Jewish fellow-countrymen.

 

I would say to Lord Rothschild that the Government will be prepared to do everything in their power to obtain for Jews in Palestine complete liberty of settlement and life on an equality with the inhabitants of that country who profess other religious beliefs. I would ask that the Government should go no further.

 

E.S.M.

 

23 August 1917

 

Source: Great Britain, Public Record Office, Cab. 24/24, Aug. 23, 1917. Lord Edwin Samuel Montagu (1879-1924), Anglo-Jewish statesman, was British Minister of Munitions, 1916, and Secretary of State for India, 1917-22.

 

US Jews Oppose a Jewish State in 1919

US Jews Oppose a Jewish State in 1919

A Statement to the Peace Conference by prominent US Jews

The following statement was handed to President Wilson on behalf of the signers by Congressman Julius Kahn on March 4th, 1919, for transmission to the Peace Conference at Paris. The Statement was prepared conjointly by the Rev. Dr. Henry Berkowitz, of Philadelphia, Mr. Max Senior, of Cincinatti, and Professor Morris Jastrow, Jr., of the University of Pennsylvania

 

As a future form of government for Palestine will undoubtedly be considered by the approaching Peace Conference, we, the undersigned citizens of the United States, unite in this statement, setting forth our objections to the organization of a Jewish State in Palestine as proposed by the Zionist Societies in this country and Europe and to the segregation of the Jews as a nationalistic unit in any country.

 

We feel that in so doing we are voicing the opinion of the majority of American Jews born in this country and of those foreign born who have lived here long enough to thoroughly assimilate American political and social conditions. The American Zionists represent, according to the most recent statistics available, only a small proportion of the Jews living in this country, about 150,000 out of 3,500,000. (American Jewish Year Book, 1918, Philadelphia).

 

At the outset we wish to indicate our entire sympathy with the efforts of Zionists which aim to secure for Jews at present living in lands of oppression a refuge in Palestine or elsewhere, where they may freely develop their capabilities and carry on their activities as free citizens.

 

But we raise our voices in warning and protest against the demand of the Zionists for the reorganisation of the Jews as a national unit, to whom, now or in the future, territorial sovereignty in Palestine shall be committed. This demand not only misrepresents the trend of the history of the Jews, who ceased to be a nation 2000 years ago, but involves the limitation and possible annulment of the larger claims of Jews for full citizenship and human rights in all lands in which those rights are not yet secure. For the very reason that the new era upon which the world is entering aims to establish government everywhere on principles of true democracy, we reject the Zionistic project of a "national home for the Jewish people in Palestine".

 

Zionism arose as a result of the intolerable conditions under which Jews have been forced to live in Russia and Roumania. But it is evident that for the Jewish population of these countries, variously estimated at from six to ten millions, Palestine can become no homeland. Even with the improvement of the neglected condition of this country, its limited area can offer no solution. The Jewish question in Russia and Roumania can be settled only within those countries by the grant of full rights of citizenship to Jews.

 

We are all the more opposed to the Zionists, because they, themselves, distinctly repudiate the solely ameliorative program. They demand and hail with delight the "Balfour Declaration" to establish "a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine", i.e., a home not merely for Jews living in countries in which they are oppressed, but for Jews universally. No Jew, wherever he may live, can consider himself free from the implications of such a grant.

 

The willingness of Jews interested in the welfare of their brethren to aid in redeeming Palestine from the blight of centuries of Turkish misrule, is no acceptance of the Zionist project to segregate Jews as a political unit and to re-institute a section of such a political unit in Palestine or elsewhere.

 

At the present juncture in the world’s affairs when lands that have hitherto been subjected to foreign domination are to be recognized as free and independent states, we rejoice in the avowed proposal of the Peace Congress to put into practical application the fundamental principles of democracy. That principle, which asserts equal rights for all citizens of a state, irrespective of creed or ethnic descent, should be applied in such a manner as to exclude segregation of any kind, be it nationalistic or other. Such segregation must inevitably create differences among the sections of the population of a country. Any such plan of segregation is necessarily reactionary in its tendency, undemocratic in spirit and totally contrary to the practices of free government, especially as these are exemplified by our own country. We therefore strongly urge the abandonment of such a basis for the reorganization of any state.

 

Objections to segregation of Jews as a political unit

Against such a political segregation of the Jews in Palestine or elsewhere we object:

 

1. Because the Jews are dedicated heart and soul to the welfare of the countries in which they dwell under free conditions. All Jews repudiate every suspicion of a double allegiance, but to our minds it is necessarily implied in and cannot by any logic be eliminated from the establishment of a sovereign State for the Jews in Palestine.

 

By the large part taken by them in the great war, the Jews have once and for all shattered the base aspersions of the Anti-Semites which charged them with being aliens in every land, incapable of true patriotism and prompted only by sinister and self-seeking motives. Moreover, it is safe to assume that the overwhelming bulk of the Jews of America, England, France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland and the other lands of freedom, have no thought whatever of surrendering their citizenship in these lands in order to resort to a "Jewish homeland in Palestine". As a rule those who favor such a restoration advocate it not for themselves but for others. Those who act thus, and yet insist on their patriotic attachment to the countries of which they are citizens, are self-deceived in their profession of Zionism and under the spell of an emotional romanticism or of a religious sentiment fostered through centuries of gloom.

 

2. We also object to political segregation of Jews for those who take their Zionistic professions seriously as referring not to ‘others’ but to themselves. Granted that the establishment of a sovereign Jewish State in Palestine would lead many to emigrate to that land, the political conditions of the millions who would be unable to migrate for generations to come, if ever, would be made far more precarious. Roumania – despite the pledges of the Berlin Treaty – has legally branded her Jews as aliens, though many are descended from families settled in that country longer than the present Roumanian government has existed. The establishment of a Jewish State will manifestly serve the malevolent rulers of that and other lands as a new justification for additional repressive legislation. The multitudes who remain would be subject to worse perils, if possible, even though the few who escape might prosper in Palestine.

 

3. We object to the political segregation also of those who might succeed in establishing themselves in Palestine. The proposition involves dangers which it is manifest, have not had the serious consideration of those who are so zealous in its advocacy. These dangers are adverted to in a most kindly spirit as warning by Sir George Adam Smith, who is generally acknowledged to be the greatest authority in this world on everything connected with Palestine, either past or present. In a recent publication, Syria and the Holy Land, he points out that there is absolutely no fixity to the boundaries of Palestine. These have varied greatly in the course of the centuries. The claims to various sections of this undefined territory would unquestionably evoke bitter controversies. "It is not true", says Sir George, "that Palestine is the national home of the Jewish people and of no other people". It is not correct to call its non-Jewish inhabitants ‘Arabs’, or to say that they have left no image of their spirit and made no history except in the great Mosque". "Nor can we evade the fact that Christian communities have been as long as ever the Jews were". "These are legitimate questions", he says, "stirred up by the claims of Zionism, but the Zionists have not yet fully faced them".

 

To subject the Jews to the possible recurrence of such bitter and sanguinary conflicts which would be inevitable, would be a crime against the triumphs of their whole past history and against the lofty and world-embracing visions of their great prophets and leaders.

 

4. Though these grave difficulties be met, still we protest against the political segregation of the Jews and the re-establishment in Palestine of a distinctively Jewish State as utterly opposed to the principles of democracy which it is the avowed purpose of the World’s Peace Conference to establish.

 

Whether the Jews be regarded as a ‘race’ or as a ‘religion’, it is contrary to the democratic principles for which the world war was waged to found a nation on either or both of these bases. America, England, France, Italy, Switzerland and all the most advanced nations of the world are composed of representatives of many races and religions. Their glory lies in the freedom of conscience and worship, in the liberty of thought and custom which binds the followers of many faiths and varied civilizations in the common bonds of political union. A Jewish State involves fundamental limitations as to race and religion, else the term ‘Jewish’ means nothing. To unite Church and State, in any form, as under the old Jewish hierarchy, would be a leap backward of two thousand years.

 

"The rights of other creeds and races will be respected under Jewish dominance", is the assurance of Zionism. But the keynotes of democracy are neither condescension nor tolerance, but justice and equality. All this applies with special force to a country like Palestine. That land is filled with associations sacred to the followers of three great religions, and as a result of migrating movements of many centuries contains an extraordinary number of different ethnic groups, far out of proportion to the small extent of the country itself. Such a condition points clearly to a reorganization of Palestine on the broadest possible basis.

 

5. We object to the political segregation of the Jews because it is an error to assume that the bond uniting them is of a national character. They are bound by two factors: First, the bond of common religious beliefs and aspirations and, secondly, the bond of common traditions, customs, and experiences, largely, alas, of common trials and sufferings. Nothing in their present status suggests that they form in any real sense a separate nationalistic unit.

 

The reorganization of Palestine as far as it affects the Jews is but part of a far larger issue, namely, the constructive endeavor to secure the emancipation of the Jews in all the lands in which they dwell. This movement, inaugurated in the eighteenth century and advancing with steady progress through the western lands, was checked by such reactionary tendencies as caused by the expulsion of the Poles from Eastern Prussia and the massacre of Armenians in Turkey. As directed against Jews these tendencies crystallised into a political movement called Anti-Semitism, which had its rise in Germany. Its virulence spread (especially) throughout eastern Europe and led to cruel outbreaks in Roumania and elsewhere, and to the pogroms of Russia with their dire consequences.

 

To guard against such evils in the future we urge that the great constructive movement, so sadly interrupted, be reinstituted and that efficient measures be taken to insure the protection of the law and the full fights of citizenship to Jews in every land. If the basis of the reorganisation of governments is henceforth to be democratic, it cannot be contemplated to exclude any group of people from the enjoyment of full rights.

 

As to the future of Palestine, it is our fervent hope that what was once a "promised land" for the Jews may become a "land of promise" for all races and creeds, safeguarded by the League of Nations which, it is expected, will be one of the fruits of the Peace Conference to whose deliberations the world now looks forward so anxiously and so full of hope. We ask that Palestine be constituted as a free and independent state, to be governed under a democratic form of government recognizing no distinctions of creed or race or ethnic descent, and with adequate power to protect the country against oppression of any kind. We do not wish to see Palestine, either now or at any time in the future, organized as a Jewish State.

 

(printed as Annex in Anti-Zionism – Analytical Reflections, by Roselle Tekiner, Samir Abed-Rabbo and Norton Mezvinsky, editors, Amana Books, New York, 1988. Distributed by American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism, Inc., New York)

 

 

Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs

Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs

Entry in the Encyclopaedia of Zionism and Israel (ed. Patai), excerpts regarding the activities of the Committee during World War II

Coordinating body of American Zionist organizations, founded in 1939 and subsequently renamed American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs (January, 1942), American Zionist Emergency Council (fall, 1942), and American Zionist Council (1949).

 

In the closing days of the 21th Zionist Congress in Geneva on the brink of World War II (August, 1939), Chaim Weizmann and his colleagues in the World Zionist Organization (WZO) authorized the setting up of a special Emergency Committee in the United States. This committee, which was to consist of a group of prominent leaders of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and of representatives of other main American Zionist organizations – Hadassah, Labor Zionists and Mizrahi – was to have two purposes: (1) to have in the then neutral United States a body that could assume the authority and functions of World Zionist leadership to the extent that the activities of the World Zionist Executive in London and Jerusalem might be restricted by wartime conditions; and (2) to bring home to the American public Jewish and non-Jewish alike, and to American political leaders the needs of the Jews as a people and the role of Palestine in the future of world Jewry. The latter function was considered a vital necessity in view of the role the United States could be expected to have in the eventual peace settlement.

 

(…)

From the outset the Emergency Committee had the benefit of information, advice, and assistance of World Zionist leaders such as Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, Kurt Blumenfeld, Eliyahu Golomb, Chief Rabbi Isaac H. Herzog, and Georg Landauer, who were in the United States at various times during the war. The presence of these men at meetings enabled the committee to keep abreast of developments in London, Jerusalem, and elsewhere.

 

(…)

With the official entry of the United States into the war and the lessening of the threat of loss of contact with World Zionist headquarters due to Nazi military action, the Emergency Committee endeavored to regroup its forces for an expanded program on the American scene. As the extent of the Nazi programs for the extermination of European Jewry became known, this phase of Zionist activity assumed crucial importance.

 

Expanded program, 1942-43

In January, 1942, the committee adopted bylaws and, to emphasize the American aspect of its work, changed its name to American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs. Wise was chairman, and Robert Szold became treasurer and chairman of the Budget Committee. The members of the Office Committee included also Israel Goldstein and Louis E. Levinthal (ZOA), Tamar de Sola Pool and Rose Halprin (Hadassa), David Wertheim (Po’ale Zion), Leon Gellman (Mizrahi), Gedalia Bublick (alternate for Mizrahi), and Solomon Goldman, Hayim Grinberg, Rose Gell Jacobs, Louis Lipsky, and Abba Hillel Silver, members at large.

 

(…)

Biltmore Conference

In view of the continued British intransigence on the Palestine issue and grim reports from Nazi-held Europe, there was a hardening of the mood of the Yishuv [Zionist community in Palestine] and of large sections of the Zionist movement. There was also a growing necessity to promulgate a definitive plan for the postwar solution of the Palestine problem and to press persistently for the acceptance of the plan by the Jewish world and by the embattled democracies. The plan, it was felt, would have to cease speaking in the nebulous terms of a ‘National Home’ and instead set forth the Jewish claim to an independent Jewish State as part of the peace settlement. Normally such a change in declared Zionist policy would have required the approval of the World Zionist Congress, but under wartime conditions it was impossible to convene such a meeting.

 

Accordingly, the Emergency Committee decided to hold an extraordinary conference in New York to coincide with a visit of Chaim Weizmann. Meyer W. Weisgal was in charge of the preliminary arrangements. The conference was held at the Biltmore Hotel on May 9-11, 1942, with the participation of Weizmann, Ben-Gurion, and American Zionist leaders. It brought together nearly 600 Zionists from all parts of the United States and adopted a series of resolutions that came to be known as the Biltmore Program and, after approval by the Inner Action Committee in Palestine, became the program of the World Zionist Organization.

 

(…)

American Zionist Emergency Council (AZEC)

As the war progressed, it was increasingly felt that not enough was being done to win the United States for the Zionist cause. At the same time, reports indicating the full extent of the destruction of European Jewry made an unprecedented program of political action seem more imperative than ever. Important elements within the Emergency Committee itself became increasingly unhappy with its own performance. It appeared to be less a closely meshed committee than an ambassadorial conference of sovereign organizations, and it lacked the strong personal leadership enjoyed during World War I by the Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs under the vigorous chairmanship of Louis D. Brandeis.

 

(…)

In the fall of 1943 the committee was reorganized as the American Zionist Emergency Council, with Silver as co-chairman of the council and chairman of its Executive Committee. An eloquent orator and a dynamic personality, he had been chairman of the United Palestine Appeal and now brought his skills and experience to bear on reshaping the political arm of the American Zionist movement. A budget of $500,000 was adopted, and an expert professional staff was engaged, including Henry Montor as executive director (later succeeded by Harry Shapiro). Some 14 subcommittees were constituted, including Finance and Personnel, Community Contacts, American Palestine Committee, Publications, Intellectual Mobilization, Contact with Jewish Religious Forces, Christian Clergy, Special Functions, Research, Press and Radio, Economic Resources, Contact with Labor Groups, Contact with Allied Postwar Groups, and Postwar Political Planning.

 

The functioning of these committees and their staffs under Silver’s leadership caused a great forward surge in the activities of the council throughout the country. Hundreds of local emergency committees were formed and carried out an intensive campaign of education. Every possible means was employed to secure the support of public opinion. Press, pulpit, and radio were utilized. Public demonstrations were held from time to time, and thousands of lectures and speeches were delivered before Jewish and, especially, non-Jewish groups. At various times the White House and the Department of State as well as the offices of many congressmen were inundated by letters and telegrams calling for action by the government.

 

In Washington a branch office of the Emergency Council was set up late in 1943, under the direction of Leon I. Feuer. He was succeeded in 1945 by Benjamin Akzin, a specialist in international law. The function of this office was to maintain contact with the Department of State, the British Embassy, and envoys of foreign countries. Its staff members also visited congressmen, distributed Zionist literature, and cooperated with delegations sent to Washington by local groups.

 

Early in 1944 an additional step was devised to place the dual problem of the survivors of Nazi persecution and the future of Palestine on the national agenda of the American people. Resolutions in support of Jewish aspirations in Palestine were introduced into both houses of Congress: the Wagner-Taft resolution in the Senate and the Wright-Compton resolution in the House of Representatives. Timed to coincide with the approaching deadline set by the British White Paper of 1939 for the termination of Jewish immigration into Palestine, they were intended to break the official silence in Washington on the Palestine problem Through its Washington bureau and local emergency councils, the AZEC canvassed congressional opinion, distributed pertinent material, and effected contacts with the appropriate congressional committees.

 

Silver conferred with members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and met no objections. At the hearings of the House of Representatives in February, 1944, the Zionist position was presented by Silver, Wise, Neumann, Israel Goldstein, Hermann Shulman, Louis Lipsky, Z’ev Gold, David Wertheim, Judith G. Epstein, and James G. Heller.

 

(…)

On May 23-24, 1944, a national conference of local emergency committees, representing 130 communities from 38 states, was held in Washington to launch a nationwide movement in favour of the resolutions. The AZEC organized a great rally in Madison Square Garden, New York, the first of many mass demonstrations that were to take place at critical moments of the struggle for a Jewish State.

 

Note by Elias Davidsson

The above entry does not mention any large-scale or systematic activities on behalf of European Jewry being exterminated: Neither rescue, relief nor support for armed resistance. While extermination was carried out, the efforts of American Zionist organizations were directed to raise support for a Jewish State in Palestine.

American Palestine Committee (Encyclop. of Zionism and Israel)

American Palestine Committee

Entry from the Encyclopaedia of Zionism and Israel (ed. Patai), excerpts

Organization of prominent Americans, predominantly non-Jewish in its composition, that aimed to provide moral and political support for the Jewish National Home in Palestine. It was first projected by Emanuel Neumann, American member of the World Zionist Executive, late in 1931, after the publication (1930) of the Passfield White Paper by the British government had marked a line of retreat from the commitments of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine.

 

The American Palestine Committee was launched publicly at a dinner in Washington on Jan. 17, 1932, that was attended by members of both houses of Congress and other government dignitaries, including Vice President Charles Curtis. The principal speeches were delivered by Felix Frankfurter, Emanuel Neumann, and Elwood Mead. A letter from Pres. Herbert Hoover, expressing sympathy and approval, was read.

 

(…)

 

The second and more sustained effort undertaken on Neumann’s return to the United States [from Palestine] in 1940 was notably successful. Among those who agreed to sponsor and head the revived Palestine Committee were Senators William H. King of Utah, Charles McNary of Oregon, Robert F. Wagner of New York, and Robert A. Taft of Ohio. By the time the reconstituted committee held its initial dinner meeting in 1941, the first of a series of such annual events, its roster included more than two-thirds of the U.S. Senate and hundreds of members of the House of Representatives, as well as many other leaders of public life [emphasis – E.D.]

 

(…)

The membership of the committee grew eventually to 15,000, including governors, members of state legislatures, mayors of cities, and men and women in all walks of life, many of whom lent their services as speakers in a campaign of public education and in other ways.

 

(…)

Whereas the American Palestine Committee was largely political in its makeup, additional significant support was forthcoming with the founding of the Christian Council on Palestine as an allied though independent cooperating group. The initial impetus was given late in 1942 by prominent Protestants such as Reinhold Niebuhr, S. Ralph Harlow, Henry A. Atkinson, Daniel A. Poling, and Paul Tillich. Working with them as liaison with the Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs were Milton Steinberg and Philip Bernstein, who enjoyed the full cooperation of Stephen S. Wise and Emanuel Neumann (…) The Christian Council emphasized the need to destroy racial and religious discrimination and to demand justice for the Jewish people everywhere, but it considered Zionist objectives in Palestine the paramount goal and the basic solution to Jewish national homelessness. The council strove to gain the sympathy of churchmen and clergy by organizing conferences, arranging seminars, and publishing literature. The influence it exerted was out of proportion to its relatively limited membership.

 

In 1944 the American Palestine Committee sponsored a National Conference on Palestine. The conference, which was held in Washington and attended by leaders from all parts of the country, adopted resolutions with regard to the Jews of Europe and the future of Palestine, demanding maximum Jewish immigration to Palestine and the reconstitution of the country as a Jewish Commonwealth. The same year members of the American Palestine Committee in both houses of Congress lent their support to the efforts of Abba Hillel Silver and the American Zionist Emergency Council, which he headed, to have Congress adopt a resolution favoring Zionist aims in Palestine. The resolution was finally adopted late in 1945.

 

(…)

———————————————————-

Note by Elias Davidsson:

 

The above entry does not mention any activity of the American Palestine Committee related to the extermination of European Jewry by the Nazis.

 

Transfer and the Lessons of the Holocaust

Transfer and the Lessons of the Holocaust

By Uri Davis, in RETURN, March 1990

Given Zionist and Israeli history, the ongoing public discussion inside Israel regarding the prospects of mass expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homeland – ‘transfer’ in Zionist and Israeli parlance – are justly a cause of grave concern. As of 1987, a new political party MOLEDET (‘Homeland’) led by General (Reserve) Rehavam Ze’evi, Director of the Ha’aretz Museum in Tel Aviv, devoted primarily to propagation and promotion of ‘transfer’ policies is represented in the Israeli Knesset (parliament). Public discussion of the merits or otherwise of ‘transfer’ – a most grievous war crime under international law – is a legitimate subject of political discourse and polite discussion. It has been so in the past. Against the backdrop of the Palestinian intifada it has acquired new dimensions.

 

During and in the wake of the 1948-9 war the government of the State of Israel orchestrated the mass transfer of the majority of the Palestinian Arab inhabitants out of the villages, towns and cities in the territories that came under Israeli control: Some 750,000 men, women and children, who, today, with their descendants constitute the body of approximately 2 million Palestinian Arab refugees and exiles. In subsequent years, their home villages, almost without exception, were razed to the ground in flagrant violation of repeated United Nations Resolutions affirming the right of the Palestinian Arab refugees to return or to compensation.

 

These are war crimes under international law.

 

Following the intifada, Israeli occupation policies of collective punishment against the Palestinian people have been extensively documented in the West: denial of supplies of fuel and electricity; administrative arrests of many thousands in concentration camps; demolition of homes of detainees; illegal deportation; indiscriminate beatings directed to maim and mutilate; illegal application of tear gas in confined places resulting in many deaths and hundreds of miscarriages of pregnant women; torture; killing of unarmed Palestinian protesters against the continued Israeli occupation, men and women, mostly youths and many children under fourteen, at the rate of one person every 24 hours on average (adjusted for population size the equivalent figure in the United Kingdom would be some 500 persons per month, 17 persons per day).

 

These too are war crimes under international law.

 

Given the enormity of these crimes, it is necessary to make one straight qualification: the government of Israel did not contemplate in the past, and is not contemplating at present mass murder of the Palestinian Arab people, in gas chambers or in any other way. Yet, it is also necessary to ask, and it is repeatedly asked: how is it possible for people who had gone through the experience of transfer and the mass murder of six million Jews and the Nazi Holocaust to commit war crimes against another people.

 

For nearly two decades following the 1948-9 war the perplexity and the incredulity represented in this question ("How is it possible…") was manipulated by the official Zionist and Israeli information offices to undermine the credibility of the historical narrative of the Palestinian people; the victims of the war.

 

Since it was not credible, so the official Zionist and Israeli argument went, that the remnant of a people who had gone through the Nazi Holocaust should commit, in their turn, war crimes against another people, therefore, the claims of the Palestinians to have been subject to massacres, mass murder, and orchestrated mass expulsion at the hand of the Israeli army, must be fabrication and slander; yet another case of manipulation of Arab (Muslim and Christian) anti-Jewish racism inflamed by the general Levantine propensity to unprincipled lying, and exaggerated by the essential retrograde mind of a backward people fictionalising reality to suit their vile purpose.

 

Thus, according to the Zionist and official Israeli version, the Palestinians were not expelled by Israel and repeated massacres did not take place except, perhaps, for the one at Deir Yassin. The Palestinians allegedly left the localities of their normal residences in response to the calls of their leaders. There are no Palestinians, anyway. There are only Arabs in Palestine, who have no claims to Palestine except as transient Bedouin residents who properly belong to the neighbouring Arab countries (Peters). The Arabs in Palestine have not been dispossessed. They got due punishment as aggressors in a unjust war. There are no Palestinian refugees. There are only Arabs who had allegedly departed from the localities of normal residences in Palestine at the behest of their leaders with the intent of returning in the wake of the victorious Arab armies (Katz). The majority of Arabs are dreaming and yearning for the day when they are masters of the state, meanwhile roaming the land seeking out Jewish women to bed, and, sometimes, to wed (Kahane). The two decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which have followed the 1967 war, punctuated by the Israeli invasion of the Lebanon, the siege of Beirut and the massacres at Sabra and Shatila in 1982, and most emphatically, the Intifada, have put paid to these slanderous Zionist and official Israeli portrayals of the question of Palestine.

 

There is an established Hebrew adage which is apposite here: "Ha-posel be-mumo posel". He or she who unjustly slanders another reveals thereby the truth of his or her own failing.

 

The details of Plan Dalet have now been widely researched. The scope of the mass murder perpetrated by pre-1948 Zionist military organisations (e.g. at Deir Yassin where 250 were massacred) and by the Israeli army since May 1948 (e.g.. at Duwayma where 300 were massacred; Lydda were 250 were massacred) in order to uproot the Palestinian people from their homeland and cause the terrorised flight of the mass of the Palestinian population have now been properly documented (Sayigh; Morris; Palumbo; Kana’ana).

 

The extent of the official Israeli lie fabricating the alleged call by Arab leaders to the Palestinian population to depart is fully authoritatively exposed (e.g.. Flapan). The horrific destruction of Palestinian villages inside pre-1967 Israel territory is well recorded: 385 of the 500 Palestinian villages in the territories that came under Israeli sovereignty following the 1948-9 war were razed to the ground, their lands transferred to exclusive Jewish settlement, cultivation and development (Shahak, in Davis and Mezvinsky). Most of the land belonging to the remaining villages was, by racist legislation, transferred to exclusive Jewish use (Jiryis). "Between ourselves", wrote Joseph Weitz, key architect of Zionist colonisation in Palestine, in 1940, "[It] must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country: We shall not achieve our goal of being an independent people with the Arabs in this small country. The only solution is Eretz Israel, at least the west part of Eretz Israel, without Arabs…And there is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, transfer all of them, not one village, not one tribe should be left, and the transfer must aim at Iraq, Syria and even Transjordan…" (quoted in Hirst)

 

How is it possible for a people who had gone through the experience of transfer and the mass murder of six million Jews and the Nazi Holocaust to commit in turn war crimes against another people?

 

It is possible because the Zionist solution to the problem of anti-Semitism and the anti-Semitic solution of the Jewish question, each from their respective and separate motivation and ideological point of departure, can converge into agreement on practicalities. The Zionist argument claims that Jewish communities cannot achieve freedom and equality as minorities in non-Jewish societies. The anti-Semitic argument claims that non-Jewish societies will forever be afflicted by malaise and deterioration so long as they have minority Jewish communities in their midst. Both Zionist and anti-Semite can, and do, agree that Jews have no place as minorities in non-Jewish societies; both Zionist and anti-Semite can, and do agree on the necessity, indeed the desirability, of the mass transfer of minority Jewish communities from the body of non-Jewish societies into a segregated territory.

 

Motivated by the ideological perspective outlined above, official collaboration between the Zionist organisation and the Nazi authorities took place against the backdrop of the mass annihilation of the Nazi Holocaust in order to promote the selective transfer of Jews from Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe to Palestine. Sections of the leadership of the Zionist organisation, those sections spearheading the struggle to establish a Zionist Jewish state in Palestine, chose to collaborate with the Nazi authorities of the Third Reich and subject all considerations to the misplaced primacy of the establishment of a Zionist Jewish state in Palestine rather than to the primacy of the mass rescue of Jews from annihilation. At the time, Yitzhak Gruenbaum, Head of the Rescue Committee of the World Zionist Organisation/Jewish Agency made the following statement:

 

And it this time in Eretz Israel there are comments: ‘Do not put Eretz Israel in priority in this difficult time, in time of destruction of European Jewry’. I do not accept such as a saying. And when some asked me: ‘Can you not give money from KEREN HAYESSOD (Zionist Foundation Fund designated to fund Jewish settlements in Palestine) to save Jews in the Diaspora?’ I said: ‘No’. And again I say: ‘No’. I know that people wonder why I had to say it. Friends tell me that even if these things are right there is no need to reveal them in public in time of sorrow and concern. I disagree. I think we have to stand before this wave that is putting Zionist activity into the second row…And because of this people called me an anti-Semite and concluded that I am guilty, because we do not give priority to rescue actions…I think it is necessary to say here: Zionism is over everything…" (Quoted in Brenner)

 

Motivated by such an ideological perspective, sections of the Zionist leadership, and most emphatically sections of the Labour-Zionist leadership, resolved at least in some critical cases (e.g.. Hungary, Czechoslovakia) to pay the price of silence, demanded by the Nazi authorities for such collaboration, and consciously abandoned the mass of European Jewish communities to death and destruction (Hecht; Shonfield). A Zionist political leadership and a Zionist political organisation willing to compromise its own people in this way in order to promote its political programme of the establishment of a Zionist Jewish state in Palestine, would have no hesitation in perpetrating war crimes against another people if it was deemed necessary to achieve this aim (Allen).

 

This is how it is possible.

 

The mass expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homeland by the Israeli army (‘transfer’) was perpetrated in 1948-49 in an effort by the newly declared Israeli state authorities to secure Jewish demographic majority in the territories which came under their sovereignty. Through perpetrating policies of grievous war crimes the Jewish state of Israel designated by the United Nations to be a bi-national state (UN Partition Plan, Resolution 181 of 1947) was transformed through the 1948-9 orchestrated mass ‘transfer’ of the Palestinian people into a Zionist state of Israel with a Jewish demographic majority.

 

Following the 1967 war the continuing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and against the backdrop of the Palestinian intifada since 1987, current renewed discussion in Israel on the subject is serious and dangerous in the extreme. Thus, a MOLEDET 1987 election information pamphlet has the following to say:;

 

Already in 1917 when the Arabs of the Land of Israel rejected the Balfour Declaration, Max Nordau and Israeli Zangwill, Herzl’s colleagues, suggested that the one half million Arab inhabitants be transferred to Arab states and given compensation for their rehabilitation. Berl Katznelson, of the leadership of the Labour movement at the time, supported their proposal. The transfer of Arabs to an Arab state was also proposed by a British Royal Commission [the Peel Commission of 1937] which arrived in the country in the wake of the 1936-9 disturbances (the first intifada). It was due to the idea of transfer that David Ben-Gurion agreed to the partition of the country. Also the British Labour Party conference in 1945, prior to the end of World War II, passed a resolution in favour of transfer of the Arabs of the Land of Israel to Iraq. This took place effectively after the Arabs rejected the UN resolution (1947) regarding the establishment of a Jewish state. They launched a second intifada, following which our war of liberation took place. It resulted in the fleeing of the Arabs, who thereby made real the idea of transfer in practice. Since the 1967 war the idea of transfer was not taken off [the national agenda] as a possible solution to the demographic problem. Now a significant proportion of the people regard transfer as almost the only solution (MOLEDET, Homeland, Elections Manifesto, circa 1987)

 

This is how it is possible.

 

Adapted from Uri Davis, THE STATE OF PALESTINE. Forthcoming in Ithaca Press, London 1990.

 

Bibliography

 

Allen, Jim: Perdition, Ithaca Press and Jerusalem and Peace Service, London, 1987

 

Arendt, Hannah: Eichmann in Jerusalem. A Report on the Banality of Evil, Faber and Faber, London, 1963

 

Brenner, Lenni: Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, A Reappraisal, Croom Helm, London, 1983

 

Flapan, Simha: The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, Croom Helm, London, 1987

 

Hecht, Ben: Perfidy, Julian Messner, New York, 1961

 

Hirst, David: The Gun and the Olive Branch, Faber and Faber, 1977

 

Jiryis, Sabri: The Arabs in Israel, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1976

 

Kahane, Meir: Forty Years, in Yair Kotler, Heil Kahane, Adama Books, New York, 1986

 

Kana’ana, Sharif and Beer Yizhar: "Collect Every Detail – Rescue Every Remnant" Ha’aretz, 10 Jan. 1990

 

Katz, Shmuel: The Battleground: Facts and Fantasy in Palestine, Bantam Books, New York, 1973

 

Khalidi, Walid: From Haven to Conquest, Institute of Palestine Studies, Beirut/Washington, 1971

 

Peters, Joan: From Time Immemorial – The Origin of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine, Michael Joseph, London, 1984

 

Sayigh, Rosemary: Palestinians, From Peasants to Revolutionaries, Zed Books, London, 1977

 

Shahak, Israel: ‘Arab Villages Destroyed in Israel – A Report’, in Uri Davis & Norton (eds.), Documents from Israel – Readings for Critique of Zionism, Ithaca Press, London, 1975

 

Shonfield, Rabbi Moshe: The Holocaust Victims Accuse, Neturei Karta of USA, New York, 1977

 

———————————————————————-

Uri Davis is a Palestinian Jewish socialist and anti-Zionist. Academic and civil rights activist of dual Israeli and British citizenship. Author and associate author of several books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most recently Israel- an Apartheid State and the Jewish National Fund. Founder member of RETURN.

 

 

The Ghetto Fights

The Ghetto Fights

Marek Edelman, Bookmarks /book review by Tony Greenstein in RETURN, December 1990

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising stands as one of the finest symbols of humanity’s capacity to resist oppression, no matter how powerful the enemy seems. Even today, it stands as a beacon of light for those without hope.

 

From July to September 1942 the Nazis deported three-quarters of the ghetto, over a quarter of million Jews, to the Treblinka death camp. The left political groups in the ghetto had stood by, impotent with rage, without arms, as the Jewish Police hunted down their fellow Jews.

 

In the months that followed the beginnings of physical resistance took shape. There had always been political opposition within the Ghetto, the Bund (Jewish Workers Party) putting out regular bulletins and newssheets. In January 1943 an Aktion was met by armed resistance. With only a few revolvers, the SS and their Latvian and Ukrainan helpers were driven back. The Nazis backed off for 3 months and the Jewish Fighting Organisation (ZOB) took control of the streets. When the Nazis moved in on April 19, 1943, it took them longer to conquer the Ghetto than it had to conquer all of Poland.

 

History is written and re-written from the standpoint of those in power. Thus it is that the Jewish Establishment whose equivalent in the Warsaw Ghetto, the Judenrat (Jewish Council) was one of the main obstacles to resistance, today pay homage to the Resistance. Likewise all those Zionists who negotiated and collaborated with Nazism, even to the extent of conducting profitable trade with the murderers, now make an obscene comparison between the fighters of the Ghetto and Israeli militarism.

 

Hollywood films such as The Wall would have us believe that the goal of the fighters was to reach Palestine. In fact ZOB took particular care to ensure that no preparations were made for refuge in the ‘Aryan’ part of Warsaw, for fear of undermining the will to fight. In fact there was but one goal, namely to inflict the maximum amount of damage on the Nazi beasts. The desire to revenge those who had murdered their loved ones and starved the ghetto into submission (the amount of food allowed by the Nazis in the Ghetto meant deliberate starvation).

 

The Uprising is claimed by the Zionists today as proof that they resisted. It is true that the left-Zionist groups, especially their youth wings, fought valiantly. Yet in such a situation, it was hardly their Zionism which was responsible for this. Indeed it was when these same groups had abandoned any practical commitment to Zionist goals, eg. the maintenance of kibbutzim on farms from which Poles had been sent for forced labour in Germany, that they turned towards resistance. They fought not because of, but despite their Zionism.

 

If not for the Bund and the Communists, resistance would not have occurred. Only the Left had developed relations with the non-Jewish parties. The Zionists, having always preached that Jews should keep themselves apart from non-Jewish Poles and, with the exception of Left Poale Zion having abstained from the fight against the anti-Semites in pre-war Poland, had to rely on the Left parties in order to obtain the arms which were so necessary for resistance to begin.

 

This book was first published in 1946. Marek Edelman, deputy leader of ZOB, was a member of the anti-Zionist Bund, which in last pre-war elections in Poland captured a majority of the vote in every major Polish Jewish community. An activist in Solidarity and heart-surgeon who decided to stay in Poland after the war.

 

This book tugs at the whole range of human emotions – despair, joy, grief and hope. How was it possible for people to resist the most powerful army on earth armed with little more than pistols, having been starved for two years? When a loaf of bread had enticed so many into the death trains only months before.

 

For me the most searing account is that of the escape of Edelman’s band of fighters into the Central ghetto. He commanded the group in the shops area – where the German factories were situated – which was set alight by the Nazis in order to smoke out the resistance. A decision was taken to flee and in one fell swoop, they darted through the flames and fiery ruins. As they crossed over, a searchlight was trained upon them. A shot rang out and the darkness returned and the fighters were safe.

 

Edelman’s political integrity is in itself a testimony to the struggle of the human spirit. Contrary to the assertions of Zionist historians he states that the reason ZOB had so few arms was not because of the anti-Semitism of the Polish resistance but because they too had so few. The precondition for resistance was the elimination of the Jewish collaborators and the terrorising of the Jewish establishment in the ghetto. Ironically this is exactly what the Palestinians are doing today in the Intifada.

 

———————————————————————

Elaborating on this subject here is a Letter to the editor by Prof. Israel Shahak, published on 19 May 1989 in Kol Ha’ir, Jerusalem:

 

Falsification of the Holocaust

 

I disagree with the opinion of Haim Baram that the Israeli education system has managed to instil a ‘Holocaust awareness’ in its pupils (Kol Ha’Ir 12.5.89). It’s not an awareness of the Holocaust but rather the myth of the Holocaust or even a falsification of the Holocaust (in the sense that ‘a half-truth is worse than a lie’) which has been instilled here.

 

As one who himself lived through the Holocaust, first in Warsaw then in Bergen-Belsen, I will give an immediate example of the total ignorance of daily life during the Holocaust. In the Warsaw ghetto, even during the period of the first massive extermination (June to October 1943), one saw almost no German soldiers. Nearly all the work of administration, and later the work of transporting hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths, was carried out by Jewish collaborators. Before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (the planning of which only started after the extermination of the majority of Jews in Warsaw), the Jewish underground killed, with perfect justification, every Jewish collaborator they could find. If they had not done so the Uprising could never have started. The majority of the population of the Ghetto hated the collaborators far more than the German Nazis. Every Jewish child was taught, and this saved the lives of some them "if you enter a square from which there are three exits, one guarded by a German SS man, one by an Ukrainian and one by a Jewish policeman, then you should first try to pass the German, and then maybe the Ukrainian, but never the Jew".

 

One of my own strongest memories is that, when the Jewish underground killed a despicable collaborator close to my home at the end of February 1943, I danced and sang around the still bleeding corpse together with the other children. I still do not regret this, quite the contrary.

 

It is clear that such events were not exclusive to the Jews, the entire Nazi success in easy and continued rule over millions of people stemmed from the subtle and diabolical use of collaborators, who did most of the dirty work for them. But does anybody now know about this ? This, and not what is ‘instilled’ was the reality. Of the Yad Vashem (official state Holocaust museum in Jerusalem – Ed.) theatre, I do not wish to speak, at all. It, and its vile exploiting, such as honouring South Africa collaborators with the Nazis are truly beneath contempt.

 

Therefore, if we knew a little of the truth about the Holocaust, we would at least understand (with or without agreeing) why the Palestinians are now eliminating their collaborators. That is the only means they have if they wish to continue to struggle against our limb-breaking regime.

 

 

Zionists during the Holocaust: A studied indifference

Zionists during the Holocaust: A studied indifference

Book Review in Jerusalem Post, 30. Nov. 1991 (excerpts)

Hamillion Hashvi’i (The Seventh Million): The Israelis and the Holocaust, by Tom Segev, Jerusalem, Domino Press, Keter, 548 pp. NIS 45.90

 

Book review by Gilla Eisenberg

 

How die the Zionist leaders relate to the Holocaust and to European Jews during and after WWII? How was the catastrophe perceived in the Yishuv, and later in the newborn State? What reception awaited the survivors arriving in the Promised Land? How did Israeli society choose to safeguard the memory of the Holocaust?

 

Tom Segev – a historian and columnist at Ha’aretz – has worked for over two years to answer these questions, digging into various archives and unearthing much unpublished material. The overall picture that emerges is a far cry from the awe and respect on might suppose this event would elicit.

 

The Zionist leadership, whether Mapai or Herut [Labor or Right-wing Revisionist – E.D.], behaved with incredible disregard for the events in Europe: the fate of their European brethren was important only insofar as it served the Zionist cause; in later years, the Holocaust, its consequences, its memory, were exploited without any qualms in political infighting by major Israeli parties.

 

To flesh out his provocative thesis, Segev lines up a number of ‘affairs’ which bitterly divided the country, and shows the way the Holocaust was used and abused by political figures like Ben-Gurion and Begin. Most of the facts are known and, though Segev does reveal some new elements, it is his assembling of different events which proves so troubling.

 

Zionists from all sides adopted a ‘pragmatic’ attitude during the war in regard to the rescue of European Jews. Since they were quite powerless at that time [see entries on Zionism in the United States during World War II for contrary evidence], they tended simply to negate the extent of the catastrophe. Segev refuses to go into the question of whether or not all was done by the Jewish leaders in Mandatory Palestine that could be done. Nevertheless, the documents he produces show clearly that the fate of the Jews under Nazi domination was never a priority for Ben Gurion. He was a man dedicated to one cause: the establishment of a Jewish state. He put all his strength into this task.

 

More shocking is the way the survivors were treated on their arrival in the Promised Land. Regarded with undisguised contempt, they weren’t even given the chance to speak about their experiences: this kind of testimony was considered ‘demoralizing’. Moshe Sharett declared that they were ‘undesirable human material’.

 

Ben-Gurion and his associates couldn’t reconcile the image of the crushed Jewish victims of Nazism with the new Jew that Zionist ideology had tried to set up: the proud pioneer-soldier. On the other hand, the leaders of the Jewish Agency and of Mapai realized that the Holocaust powerfully buttressed the reasons for their work. These two contradictory reactions may explain the ambiguity which characterized the relation of the Israelis to the event and to the survivors.

 

(…)

 

Some rituals inflicted on Israeli youth border on the grotesque: Segev witnessed some shocking scenes when he travelled to Poland to participate with groups of adolescents in the ‘March of the Living’, now a must in Holocaust education. He is deeply troubled by the fact that the lesson taught is one of mistrust of the outside world, of aggressiveness and narrow nationalism. The memory of Holocaust should have instilled respect for democratic values and human rights, and reinforced the struggle against racism.

 

A harsh piece of self-criticism, The Seventh Million offers interesting revelations and sometimes controversial conclusions. It will no doubt provoke passionate debate. Members of the new generation, who were taught mainly the heroic deeds of the founding fathers, will discover that the mythic figures of the Zionist enterprise were great men who also made great mistakes. So far, it seems, Israeli society has not yet learned how to cope with the Holocaust – with its survivors and with the preservation of its memory – in an appropriate and dignified manner.

 

(The Seventh Million will be published in English early in 1992 by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, New York)

 

Zionism’s Failure to Support Resistance

Zionism’s Failure to Support Resistance

The World Zionist Organization prided itself on its international organisation and especially its intelligence network and so on. It was the only specifically Jewish international organisation which had liaison offices both inside and on the periphery of Nazi Europe, which had direct organisational links with Zionist groups throughout Europe and direct access to and political influence with the Allied powers, and which had been engaged in arms smuggling and financial operations. The only other international Jewish organisation was the Bund, which had far less resources and did far more to publicize the Holocaust and seek support for Jewish resistance in Europe.

 

The vast apparatus of the World Zionist Organisation, including its illegal armed forces in Palestine etc. was not used to publicize the Holocaust and support resistance, but took part in covering it up until the Allied powers decided to publicize it.

 

This vast Zionist apparatus was not used either for assisting beleaguered ghetto fighters or aiding rescue activities. Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel, organizer of rescue activities in Slovakia asks in his book ‘From the Depths’:

 

Why didn’t they try, from their place of freedom, to break through to us and send us a secret messenger? This question becomes greater when we see that the governments of Czechoslovakia and Poland, which were in free lands, sent secret messengers daily to their loyal people in the occupied countries. And therefore our amazement grows. Why don’t the great organizers of Jewry use these messengers if they have no other way? And during all of the years since we developed this method, those in the free countries did not once attempt to send messengers to us – rather, WE had to send them and to pay for them. How many did we send them only for the to return empty-handed – because those over there did not have time to answer ?" (Quoted in ‘The Holocaust Victims Accuse’ by Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld)

 

The only known assistance from the international Zionist movement to Jewish resistance in Nazi Europe was when the British Royal Air Force parachuted some volunteers from Palestine to make contact with partisan forces. Those who were escorted by Tito’s partisans from Yugoslavia to Hungary were handed over to the Gestapo by their Zionist ‘liaison’ in Budapest – Rudolf Kastner.

 

Many Zionists in Nazi Europe had no choice but to fight back against the Nazis and some acquitted themselves with honour in ghetto rebellions and partisan warfare, although these resistance activities were generally led by Communists and Bundists rather than by Zionists.

 

Large masses of Jews organised resistance movements and took part in partisan warfare throughout occupied Europe – usually under Communist leadership, often under direct command of the Red Army, and generally making quite a substantial contribution to the Allied war effort.

 

Generally, Zionists preferred MASSADA-like last stands to the more effective form of resistance – partisan warfare. But even at Warsaw, where their contribution was greatest, the majority of fighters were Communist, Bundist or unaffiliated. Moreover, although both left-wing Zionists and Revisionists did make a major contribution to the Warsaw ghetto rebellion, their first target was other Zionists, mainly mainstream ones, who were leaders of the Nazi sponsored Judenrat, the ghetto police and the Jewish Gestapo.

 

The leading pro-German, anti-British Zionist theoretician, one of the well known international leaders of a dissident faction in Zionism, Dr. Alfred Nossig, was shot by the Warsaw ghetto fighters as a Gestapo agent. Whatever role some Zionists played in the resistance activities, the plain fact is that they got little or no support from the international Zionist movement, whose leadership was too busy demanding unrestricted immigration and a Jewish Army in Palestine.

 

That is not to say that Zionists in Palestine were incapable of giving assistance to partisan warfare. On the contrary, both the mainstream Zionists and the Revisionists maintained very efficient clandestine armed forces in Palestine throughout the war, and these both had extensive arms smuggling operations which substantially depleted British armouries and forced the diversion of British troops to guard duty. But these arms were for use against the British and the Arabs, not against the Germans. Details will be found in ‘Cross Roads to Israel’ by Christopher Sykes (Nel Mentor, London, 1967).

 

Zionist Priorities During the Holocaust

Zionist policy during the Holocaust is best summed up in the words of Yitzhak Greenbaum speaking on ‘The Diaspora and the Redemption’ at a Tel Aviv meeting in February 1943:

 

For the rescue of the Jews in the Diaspora, we should consolidate our excess strength and the surplus of powers that we have. When they come to us with two plans – the rescue of the masses of Jews in Europe or the redemption of the land – I vote, without a second thought, for the redemption of the land. The more said about the slaughter of our people, the greater the minimization of our efforts to strengthen and promote the Hebraization of the land. If there would be a possibility today of buying packages of food with the money of the ‘Keren Hayesod’ (United Jewish Appeal) to send it through Lisbon, would we do such a thing? No! And once again No!"

(Shonfeld, op. cit., p.26)

 

Greenbaum confirms this in his postwar book ‘In Days of Holocaust and Destruction’:

 

…When they asked me, couldn’t you give money out of the United Jewish Appeal funds for the rescue of Jews in Europe, I said, ‘NO!’ and I say again ‘NO!’…one should resist this wave which pushes the Zionist activities to secondary importance." (ibid., p.26)

 

Notice that Greenbaum had not only insisted that buying land from the Arabs was more important than rescuing Jews in Europe, as he admitted after the war, but he had even called for less to be SAID about the slaughter, so as not to distract attention from buying land! It was an explicit call for a conspiracy of silence.

 

Greenbaum, whose son was an exceptionally notorious Kapo at Auschwitz, was not just some insignificant Zionist functionary shooting his mouth off. He was Kastner’s immediate superior in the Jewish Agency, as head of the Rescue Committee for European Jewry, and he became a cabinet minister in Israel’s first Government.

 

Greenbaum’s policy was the Zionist movement’s policy (Greenbaum was actually in a minority in the Zionist leadership on this question. The damning fact is that he was left in charge of the ‘rescue committee’ after openly expressing his opposition to the use of Zionist money for rescue activities). Kastner was only carrying out an agreed policy.

 

This policy was summed up in the slogan ‘one goat in Eretz Israel (Hebrew name for historic Palestine) is worth an entire community in the Diaspora"

 

As Rabbi Shonfeld comments:

 

The rescue committee of the Jewish Agency falsely bore the name ‘rescue’. It would be more appropriate to call it the Committee for Covering Up, Ignoring and Silencing…the thoughts of Zionist officials and especially the chairman, Greenbaum, were steeped in plots and schemes to use the holocaust and its consequences to build up the national home and to realize the demands for establishing a Jewish State." (Shonfeld, op.cit., p. 56)

 

This attitude was further demonstrated in a letter from Nathan Schwalb, representative of the Jewish Agency in Switzerland, to the Rescue Committee for Czech Jewry:

 

Since we have the opportunity of this courier, we are writing to the group that they must always remember that matter which is the most important, which is the main issue that must always be before our eyes. After all, the allies will be victorious. After the victory, they will once again divide up the world between the nations as they did at the end of first war. Then they opened the way for us for the first step and now, as the war ends, we must do everything so that Eretz Yisroel should become a Jewish state. Important steps have already been taken in this matter. As to the cry that comes from your country, we must be aware that all the nations of the Allies are spilling much blood and if we do not bring sacrifices, with what will we achieve the right to sit at the table when they make the distribution of nations and territories after the war? And so it would be foolish and impertinent on our side to ask the nations whose blood is being spilled in order to protect our own blood. Because ‘rak b’dam tihyu lanu haaretz’ (only through blood will the land be ours). As to yourselves – members of the group – you will get out, and for this purpose we are providing you with funds by this courier." (Ibid., pp. 26-28).

 

As Rabbi Shonfeld comments:

 

Here Mr. Schwalb expressed the complete Zionist ideology and stated clearly and openly the politics of the Zionist leaders in the area of rescue: The shedding of Jewish blood in the Diaspora is necessary in order for us to demand the establishment of a ‘Jewish’ state before a peace commission. Money will be sent to save a group of ‘chalutzim’ (pioneers, while the remainder of Czech Jewry must resign itself to annihilation in the Auschwitz crematoria." (Ibid., p. 28)

 

Suppressing the News

There is no doubt about the fact that the Zionist leadership kept quiet about the Holocaust while it was going on. Kastner was able to excuse his own silence about Auschwitz by telling the Court that other Jewish Agency representatives suppressed the news he sent out while negotiations proceeded:

 

I learned that the Jewish Agency and Joint Distribution Committee representatives in Switzerland, Moshe Shwalb and Saly Mayer, did not give out information to the press about the mass killings. They failed to give the press the news I sent from Budapest. I sent cables also to the Istanbul Rescue Committee (of the Jewish Agency). They were also kept secret from the press. I informed them almost daily by cables about the pace of the extermination. My cables were never published anywhere."(Hecht, op. cit., p.91).

 

Indeed, as Ben Hecht explains:

 

There will be many witnesses to testify about this silence during Greenwald’s trial, among them Professor Aktzin, dean of the Law Faculty of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I quote from the trial record:

 

‘Tamir: Is it true that the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency did suppress the news of the extermination in the United States up to and through 1941?

 

"Professor Aktzin: The Zionists, Jewish Agency and Joint Distribution Committee did refrain from publicizing in the American press the massacre of Jews.’

 

While the war was still on in 1945, a Jewish mission of survivors from Poland came to the annual meeting of the World Jewish Congress. They came with accusations, and the leaders of the Jewish Congress listened stoically to their plaint. The survivors from Poland accused these leaders of Zion of having failed to arouse the nations of the world to the fact that the Jews were being exterminated. The mission accused the leaders of Jewry of having neglected practical possibilities of rescue and help. The leaders stated that the omissions were the result of a deliberate decision. They offered as explanation ‘the opinion of the executive board was that it was inadvisable because of own diplomatic ties with these governments’ (Of the Free World). (ibid., pp. 92-3).

 

Greenbaum justified the Zionist leaders policy of hiding the facts about the Holocaust from the public, in a speech he made at Sokolov House on 1 January 1964. He said:

 

Whoever is building the homeland and is battling for the very existence of the homeland, is excused from knowing; for he has another, greater obligation." (Shonfeld, op.cit, p.79)

 

Thus after the war too, Greenbaum reaffirms that the Holocaust had to be covered up because the knowledge that European Jewry was being exterminated would have distracted attention from the more important question of building a Jewish State in Palestine. This was also the occasion on which Greenbaum produced another gem:

 

It would have been worthwhile to sacrifice another million Jews for the glory of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt" (ibid., p.79)

 

Zionist Leaders Admit Inactivity


Despite the popular impression, Zionist leaders do not seriously contest that they were inactive during the holocaust. Here is Dr. Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress speaking at a commemorative meeting on 4 March, 1962:

 

There is no doubt that future Jewish history will judge the generation of the Holocaust which lived in free lands as guilty. It will accuse it of failing to adequately prepare for the Nazi danger in its beginning stages, and of not daring to fight desperately the annihilation in this period. I do not know whether, in the time of the war, the Allies could have prevented the death of millions of Jews. But there is no doubt in my heart that it was possible to save tens of thousands of Jews with active, daring measures by the democratic governments. But most of the responsibility lies upon us, due to our self-satisfaction with requests and routine demands and to the fact that groups of Jews did not have enough courage to pressure the democratic governments with dramatic means and motivate them to act drastically. I will never forget the day on which a telegram from the Warsaw ghetto was delivered to me, it was addressed to Rabbi Stephen Wise and to myself. We were asked why Jewish leaders in America do not protest day and night on the stairs of the White House until the President orders the bombing of the concentration camps and the railway tracks leading to them. We did not do so because the majority of Jewish leaders then were of the opinion that they should not interfere with the free world’s war effort against the Nazis with stormy protests. Therefore we should not transfer the guilt to those who suffered and paid with their lives. If there is a basis to the historical ‘I accuse’, let us have the courage now to direct it against that part of the generation which was lucky enough to be outside of the Nazi domination and did not fulfil its obligation toward the millions killed." (reported in the Israeli daily paper Davar, 22 April 1964).

 

While admitting most of the responsibility for the deaths of tens of thousands, if not millions of Jews who could have been saved, Goldmann tries to spread the blame around a bit, to include everyone who was not actually a victim of the holocaust.

 

As Rabbi Shonfeld comments on this speech:

 

Today all have regrets: the past Nazis, the good Germans, the merciful Catholics, the very democratic British and Americans, and even the Jewish secular leaders. However, as we said, the statute of limitations against war crimes is not to apply to the Nazis and their accomplices, whether non-Jews or Jews…" (Ibid., p. 70)

 

Actually, Nahum Goldmann received and ignored so many similar messages during the holocaust that he was bound to become confused after 20 years.

 

The telegram from the Warsaw ghetto did not refer to bombing concentration camps and railway tracks.

 

It came from the ‘Jewish National Committee’ in Warsaw, via the Polish underground, on 21 January 1943, and simply read as follows:

 

We notify you of the greatest crime of all times, about the murder of millions of Jews in Poland. Poised at the brink of the annihilation of the still surviving Jews, we ask you:

1. Revenge against the Germans

2. Force the Hitlerites to halt the murders

3. Fight for our lives and our honour

4. Contact the neutral countries

5. Rescue 10,000 children through exchange

6. 500,000 dollars for purposes of aid

Brothers – the remaining Jews in Poland live with the awareness that in the most terrible days of our history you did not come to our aid. Respond, at least in the last days of our life." (quoted in Lucy Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews 1933-45. Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1977, p.403)

 

Nor did all "that part of the generation which was lucky enough to be outside of the Nazi domination" fall to "fulfil its obligation toward the millions killed". Not even all Jewish nationalists took Nahum Goldmann’s Zionist stand that they "should not interfere with the free world’s war effort against the Nazis with stormy protests" (a pathetic lie considering the Zionist decision to ‘fight the White Paper as though there was no war’ in Palestine).

 

The Bundist member of the Polish Government in exile (The Bund was a nationalist, but not Zionist, Social Democratic party of Jewish workers in Russia and Poland), Artur Zygelbojm committed suicide as a public gesture to draw attention to what was happening in Warsaw. Despite the Zionist fears, he has never been accused in ‘interfering with the free world’s war effort against the Nazis with stormy protests’.

 

A Message Zionist Leaders Ignored

————————————

The message Nahum Goldmann thought he remembered from Warsaw about bombing concentration camps and railways, actually came more than a year later from Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel, a rescue worker operating in Slovakia. If anyone thinks some 3CR programs speak too strongly, let them study this message:

 

May 15, 1944 – In a cave near Lublin. Sholom and Greetings. We send you this special message to inform you that yesterday the Germans began the deportation of Jews from Hungary. It is the beginning of deportation of all the Hungarian Jews.

 

Every day, twelve thousand souls are being taken off. Four deportations of forty-five such train-loads move daily out of Hungary. Within twenty-six days all that area will have been deported.

 

The deported ones go to Auschwitz to be put to death by cyanide gas. A great number are dead on arrival. The Germans allow a few of the strongest to stay alive. Those who are allowed to live are branded with a number burned into their arm and the Star of David burned into their chest.

 

Most of these privileged ones die within a month. Others take their place.

 

Those who go directly from the train to the gas chambers to be suffocated are not branded. They are completely consumed in the ovens and leave no evidence behind. These are 95% of each transport.

 

The dead bodies are burned in specially made ovens. Each oven burns 12 bodies an hour. In February there were 36 ovens burning. We have learned that more have been built.

 

Information supplied us by a few eyewitnesses reveals that in February there were four disposal buildings. We have learned that more have been built since then.

 

Formerly, the Germans killed and burned the Jews in the Forest of Birkenwald, near Auschwitz. Now the killing and burning take place in the buildings shown on the enclosed map.

 

In December, the Germans built special trains to transport the Jews of Hungary to their extermination. This is the schedule of Auschwitz, from yesterday to the end; twelve thousand Jews – men, women and children, old men, infants, healthy and sick ones – are to be suffocated daily and their bones and ashes are to be used to fertilize the German fields.

 

And you – our brothers in Palestine, in all the countries of freedom, and you, ministers of all the kingdom – how do you keep silent in the face of this great murder ? Silent while thousand on thousands, reaching now to six million Jews, were murdered. And silent now while tens of thousands are still being murdered and waiting to be murdered? Their destroyed hearts cry to you for help as they bewail your cruelty. Brutal you are and murderers too you are, because of the cold-bloodedness of the silence in which you watch.

 

Because you sit with folded arms and you do nothing, though you could stop or delay the murder of Jews at this very hour.

 

In the name of the blood of the thousands on thousands who have been murdered we beg, we plead, we cry out and demand that you take action, that you do deeds now – at once !

 

That the Ministers of Kingdoms and all the Lands raise a loud and piercing outcry that must enter the ears of the world, the ears of the German people, the ears of the Hungarian people. Let them cry out a warning to the German murderers. Let them proclaim that they know all that has been done in the past, and that which is still being done. And the Pope, himself, should join in this cry of outrage against the German murderers.

 

Let this outcry be heard over all the radios and read in all the newspapers of the world, that unless they stop at once the deportations of Hungary’s Jews – then will Germany be forever exiled from civilisation.

 

We ask that the crematoria in Auschwitz be bombed from the air. They are sharply visible, as shown on the enclosed map.

 

Such bombing will delay the work of the German murderers.

 

What is more important – to bomb persistently all the roads leading from Eastern Hungary to Poland and to bomb persistently the bridges in the neighborhood of Karpatarus. Drop all other business to get this done. Remember that one day of your idleness kills twelve thousand souls.

 

You, our brothers, sons of Israel, are you insane? Don’t you know the Hell around us? For whom are you saving your money?

 

How is it that all our pleadings affect you less than the whimpering of a beggar standing in your doorway? Murderers! Madmen! Who is it that gives charity? You who toss a few pennies from your safe homes? Or we who give our blood in the depths of Hell?

 

There is only one thing that may be said in your exoneration – that you do not know the truth. This is possible. The villain does his job so shrewdly that only a few guess the truth. We have told you the truth several times. Is it possible that you believe our murderers more than you believe us? May God open your eyes and give you heart to rescue in these last hours the remainder.

 

Most important is that which I write about the bombing of the Auschwitz Crematoria and the bridges leading to them.

 

Such bombing can vitally delay the evil work of our slaughterers. And God who keeps alive the last remnant of Israel will show His mercy for which I pray. I pray as I write out of the sea of tears of the people of Israel. We wait God’s help.

 

One from the Market who witnesses the woes of his people"

(Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel, Exhibit of the Defence, no. 36, State Attorney v. M. Greenwald, District Court, Jerusalem, CC124/53)

 

During the Kastner case, Menachem Bader of the Jewish Agency was asked ‘Did you receive this letter from Rabbi Weissmandel?"

 

He answered:

 

"Letters like this came to us every day".

 

But Auschwitz was not bombed. Despite receiving these heart rending messages, the Zionist leaders contended themselves with routine requests. Presumably the point was they could not initiate ‘stormy protests’ without endangering the ‘deals’ that their representative Kastner was making to rescue a few Zionists and bring them to Palestine – and from the Zionist point of view, that was more important.

 

As well as the myth about not wanting to interfere with the Allied war effort, Zionist leaders have attempted to excuse their inactivity during the holocaust by pretending that they did not really know what was happening (see, for example, Nahum Goldmann’s speech of Feb.. 1968).

 

But this excuse is refuted by numerous documents. The whole world knew about Hitler’s extermination policy after the formal Allied declaration about it in December 1942, and the Zionist leaders knew from their own sources long before then. See for example the speech of Knesset member Chaim Landau at a symposium held by the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv on 24 April, 1966 (cited in V. Bolshakov, Anti-Communism, the Main Line of Zionism, Novosti Press Agency Publ. House, Moscow,, 1972, p.35)

 

Other Zionists Accuse

The worst that Zionists will admit to, and this interpretation is widely accepted, is that they deliberately refrained from putting sufficient pressure on the Allies to intervene to rescue Jews, because they did not want to prejudice friendly relations and the future establishment of a State of Israel with British and American support.

 

That admission is damning enough, and has been quite sufficient to justify the use of the term ‘collaboration’ by Zionist Revisionists who themselves accept the theory that the conspiracy of silence was in response to British pressure, and who naturally regard immigration to Palestine as the central question in rescuing Jews.

 

A great deal of the exposure of Nazi collaboration by the mainstream Zionist leadership was carried out for political reasons by Revisionists who rightly say that agreeing to remain silent about the holocaust, while millions were being murdered, amounts to collaboration with the murderers.

 

Thus Greenwald’s defence counsel in the Kastner case, Shmuel Tamir, formerly Minister for Justice in the State of Israel, points out that Davar, the official Zionist Labour Federation newspaper, did not publicize the holocaust and even ran an editorial saying:

 

The Nazi denial of extermination has a good foundation. Not as many were annihilated as was feared." (quoted in Hecht, op.cit. p.145)

 

Tamir says:

 

Until mid-July, six weeks after the killing of twelve thousand a day had begun, still not a single authoritative word is uttered by the Jewish Agency or any Zionist officials that the deportation had started – that already half a million were exterminated.

 

The Jewish Agency had by then the best and most exact informative source on the fate of the Jews of Hungary, and on the deportation, and there was no British censorship of such items, as was proven in Court. …For a full month and a half, Mr. Sharett and the Jewish Agency are knowingly and wilfully suppressing all the news known to them." (ibid., p.147)

 

He continues:

 

And why this suppression of the dreadful news by Ben-Gurion, Sharett, Weizmann and all the official leaders of Jewry? Because, had the masses in Palestine known then what was happening in Hungary, and known then the stony hearts of their leaders, a storm would have risen in our land. Power would have fallen out of their hands. And this, it seems, was more important to them.

 

There is no other explanation. Therefore I said: "Collaboration here, parallel to collaboration there. But if the collaboration there has developed under German pressure, here we talk of men who lived in the free world, whose discretion could be more balanced, who were in control of good youth, wonderful youth, which awaited a command. The fact remains that the moral and historical responsibility, as far as Jews are concerned, lies first and foremost on those who lived in the free world. And though I am here to prove the guilt of Kastner, I say that his responsibility is lesser than that of the leaders of our free Jewish world" (ibid., p.148)

 

Ben Hecht, a supporter of the same Zionist party sums up:

 

These organizations, these philanthropists, these timorous Jewish lodge members in Zion, London and America, these Zionist leaders who let their six million kinsmen burn, choke, hang, without protest, with indifference and even with a glint of anti-Semitic cunning in their political planning, I sum up against them…

 

…My faith says that nearly all the six million Jews could have been saved and the horror of our century saved with them – had the powerful American Jewry alone united in a campaign to save them. And had those Palestine leaders who stayed mum on the slaughter and were garrulous as geese on the needs of Zionism in Palestine – had they cried out – would they have survived as leaders ? Would the British have ousted them, and gutted the ‘dream of Zionism’?

 

Again, I do not know, I know only that, by my measure, such honorable human behaviour would have been of deeper worth to the world than a dozen States of Israel." (ibid., p. 193)

 

But the truth is far worse than what Zionists will admit to joining a conspiracy of silence under British pressure. As will be shown shortly, the only British pressure was against immigration to Palestine, and it was Zionists who were exerting pressure on Britain not to rescue Jews from the holocaust.

 

A fairly accurate account of Zionist thinking at the time is given by Mapai leader Eliezer Livneh, expressing his regrets in a column entitled ‘Thoughts on the Holocaust’ in the newspaper Yedi’ot Aharonot (Shonfeld, op cit., pp.24-25):

 

Our Zionist orientation educated us to see the growing land of Israel as the prime goal and the Jewish nation only in relation to its building the land. With each tragedy befalling the Jews in the Diaspora, we saw the state as the evident solution. We continued employing this principle even during the holocaust, saving only those who could be brought to Israel. The mandate’s limitation on immigration served as a political factor in our battle to open the doors to aliya (immigration) and to establishing the state. Our programs were geared to this aim and for this we were prepared to sacrifice or endanger lives. Everything outside of this goal, including the rescue of European Jewry for its own sake, was a secondary goal. ‘If there can be no people without a country’, Rabbi Weissmandel exclaimed, ‘then surely there can be no country without a people. And where are the living Jewish people, if not in Europe?’

 

The Very Existence of the ‘Jewish Agency’ Helped the Nazis

————————————————————-

As the Revisionist newspaper Herut asks:

 

How are we to explain the fact, that the leaders of the Jewish Agency and the chiefs of the Zionist movement in Palestine kept silent? Why didn’t they raise their voices? Why didn’t they shout about it over the whole wide world? Why didn’t they appeal in broadcasts of their ‘secret’ Haganah radio station to Jews in ghettos, camps and villages to flee to the woods, to mutiny and fight, to try to save themselves? By silence they collaborated with the German to no less extent than the scoundrels who provided the Germans with the death lists. History will yet pronounce its verdict against them. Was not the very existence of the Jewish Agency a help for the Nazis? When history tries the so-called Judenrat and the Jewish police, she will also condemn the leaders of the Agency and the leaders of the Zionist movement" (Herut, 25 May 1964, Cited in Bolshakov, op.cit., p.40)

 

And that really is the verdict of history.

 

Just as Judge Benjamin Halevi found that the Zionist Jewish Agency’s ‘Relief and Rescue Committee’ in Budapest was a department of the Nazi SS, alongside the departments for extermination and looting, so we must find that the very existence of the Jewish Agency (the World Zionist Organisation) was a help to the Nazis in carrying out and covering up their crimes.

 

(excerpted from Nazi-Zionist Collaboration, pamphlet published in 1981 by BAZO-PS – British Anti-Zionist Organisation/Palestine Solidarity, London)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closed-door policy

Closing the doors

Zionists maintain that it was the British who were exerting pressure on Zionists not to publicize the holocaust.

 

The record shows that it was not the British who instigated the conspiracy of silence concerning the holocaust, but rather Zionist leaders like Greenbaum who said that publicity for the holocaust would have distracted attention from ‘Hebreization’ (clearing Arabs off) of the land.

 

Today Zionists constantly emphasize the importance of the State of Israel to Jews because they say that during the Holocaust there was no state in the world that Jews could turn to for protection or refuge.

 

What they fail to mention is that throughout this time there were Zionists working actively to keep the doors shut to Jews in every country except Palestine, and to some extent, even Palestine (If the evidence that follows in this chapter appears incredible, please consider the present open Zionist campaign to prevent Soviet Jews from emigrating to any country other than Israel. And if Nazi cooperation with Zionist aims seems strange, please note that the USSR will issue visas to Jews to go to Israel only. The Israeli Government is also on record as requesting the West German government not to issue visas to Soviet Jews asking to come to Germany, so as to force them to go to Israel)

 

Here is Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld, Chairman of the wartime Rescue Committee established by the Chief Rabbi of Britain, writing a letter to the Times of 6 June 1961:

 

Your recent reports of the Eichmann trial include considerable evidence tending to show that H.M. Government was largely indifferent to and unwilling to take action in defense of the European Jews who were being massacred daily by the Nazis; and that this was so in spite of efforts by Zionist leaders to persuade the British Foreign Office to rouse itself into action on behalf of the victims. In your leader (June 1) you express concern lest it be held that our wartime Government was guilty of negligence in the face of the holocaust. Your correspondent succinctly suggests that the attention now being given to this side of the picture is connected with some current criticism of Zionist inactivity during the war.

 

My experience in 1942-43 was wholly in favour of British readiness to help, openly, constructively and totally, and that this readiness met with opposition from Zionist leaders who insisted on rescue to Palestine as the only acceptable form of help.

 

In December 1942 (long before the approaches of 1944 reported from the Jerusalem trial), we in London formed a Council for Rescue from the Nazi Terror which, in turn, initiated a Parliamentary Rescue Committee under the chairmanship of Professor A.V.Hill, M.P. supported by leading members of both Houses. At the time I was executive director of the Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council and applied myself to this task. A motion was placed on the Order Paper in the following terms:

 

‘That in view of the massacres and starvation of Jews and others in enemy and enemy-occupied countries, this House asks H.M. Government, following the United Nations Declaration read to both Houses of Parliament on December 17, 1942, and in consultation with the Dominion Government of India, to declare its readiness to find temporary refuge in its own territories or in territories under its control for endangered persons who are able to leave those countries; to appeal to the governments of countries bordering on enemy and enemy-occupied countries to allow temporary asylum and transit facilities for such persons; to offer to those governments, so far as practicable, such help as may be needed to facilitate their cooperation; and to invite the other Allied governments to consider similar action.’

 

As a result of widespread concern and the persistence of a few, this motion achieved within two weeks a total of 277 Parliamentary signatures of all parties. This purely humanitarian proposal met with sympathy from government circles, and I should add that H.M. Government did, in fact, issue some hundreds of Mauritius and other immigration permits – indeed, in favour of any threatened Jewish family whom we could name. Already while the Parliamentary motion was gathering momentum, voices of dissent were heard from Zionist quarters: ‘Why not Palestine’? The obvious answers that the most urgent concern was humanitarian and not political, that the Mufti-Nazi alliance ruled out Palestine for the immediate saving of lives and that Britain could not then add to her Middle East problems, were of no avail.

 

At the Parliamentary meeting held on January 27, 1943, when the next steps were being energetically pursued by over 100 M.P.s and Lords, a spokesman for the Zionists announced that the Jews would oppose the motion on the grounds of its omitting to refer to Palestine. Some voices were raised in support of the Zionist view, there was considerable debate, and thereafter the motion was dead. Even the promoters exclaimed in desperation: If the Jews cannot agree among themselves, how can we help?

 

It was useless to argue with a then current Zionist argument: ‘Every nation has had its dead in the fight for its homeland – the sufferers under Hitler are our dead in our fight’. But it would be unjust now to permit the miswriting of history so as to cast blame upon Britain. By all means let Eichmann be tried on his murderous merits. Let the nations who participated in the holocaust of this still Dark Age be judged alongside. Even let the opportunity be taken to point an accusing finger at the neutral bystanders, nations and individuals. But Britain was at her best." (Shonfeld, op. cit., pp.60-61)

 

Sweden

 

The Scandinavian countries have come out of the holocaust with a much better reputation for humanity and compassion than the other European countries, Britain or America. But how many know that his too involved surmounting the active opposition of Zionist leaders ?

 

According to Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld:

 

In 1939, with the intensification of persecution against German Jewry, the Swedish Parliament passed a law which permitted entry to tens of thousands of German Jews. The upshot of this decision would be their rescue from the certain death that would result if they would otherwise have been sent east. The Swedish Parliament thus displayed an outstanding humanitarian approach. But then something happened which dumbfounded the Gentiles, resulting in weakening the hand of those who were true friends of the Jewish people.

 

Dr. Ehrenpreisz, the ‘Chief Rabbi’ of Sweden (since 1914), together with the leader of the Jewish community in Stockholm, turned to the Swedish Government with the request that it not carry out the aforementioned decision of Parliament, using the excuse that the settling, even temporarily, of 10,000 additional Jews in Sweden could arouse anti-Semitism because of the small number of its Jewish citizens. The efforts of these two wicked community leaders succeeded in their goal and the Swedish government voided its plan to carry out its own Parliament’s law. But when, four years later, all of Danish Jewry was smuggled, overnight, into Sweden, Ehrenpreisz did not succeed in thwarting that wonderful rescue effort, since it came to him as a surprise, too.

 

Here it is appropriate to point out that the fear of anti-Semitism served only as an excuse for Ehrenpreisz, enabling him to convince the head of the Stockholm Jewish community to join in his criminal plan. But the true motivation of this Jewish veteran Zionist was outstandingly and typically Zionist, fitting in with the principle that even if death threatens the Jews, one should not find for them refuge outside of Eretz Yisroel (Palestine). This principle also guided the British Zionists in 1942 in killing the proposed resolution which was virtually assured of being accepted, whereby Jewish refugees would be absorbed temporarily in areas under British protection…

 

Dr. Ehrenpreisz was shrewd enough to realize that in the event that his intention would be revealed, he would be unable to win support either in the Stockholm Jewish community or the Swedish Government. He therefore chose to hide behind the selfish claim and seeming concern for the security of Swedish Jewry. Who else but Yitzchak Greenbaum, who served as chairman of the Jewish Agency’s ‘rescue committee’ in Jerusalem (the wolf in the role of the shepherd), could fathom the mind of Dr. Ehrenpreisz? He therefore strongly urged him to join the ‘rescue committee’ in Sweden, until, in 1941, Ehrenpreisz acceded to Greenbaum’s request…" (Shonfeld, op.cit., pp.110-111)

 

On 18 January, 1945, the Swedish Government discussed whether Sweden had done enough about rescue during the war and before it. The official record shows a Government member, Moller, arguing that ‘the Swedish government was no less generous than the Jewish community in Stockholm’, while an opposition member, Knut Petersson replies:

 

I do not deny this. On the contrary, the fact is well known to me that certain factions amongst the Jews here were not in the least interested in encouraging acceptance of Jewish refugees, but I ask only to answer what I have already mentioned, when we took up these problems. It appears to me that the policy of handling refugees by the Swedish government does not have to be decided from such a point of view, but rather from protection and concern for our tradition of culture and humanitarianism and in accordance with our feeling for justice.(ibid., p. 113)

 

This seems a fair analysis of the situation in all the countries that did not do enough to assist the victims of Nazi persecution, and that have been held up as examples by Zionists, to prove that Jews cannot rely on humanitarian concern from others, and need the protection of a State of their own.

 

The truth is that these countries are guilty. They are guilty of accepting Zionist advice instead of following their own ‘tradition of culture and humanitarianism’ and their own ‘feeling for justice’.

 

Meanwhile, Dr. Mordechai Ehrenpreisz, rightly continues to be regarded as one of the heroes of Zionism and one of the builders of the State of Israel today.

 

This friend and confidant of Herzl, participant in the first Zionist Congress, was indeed a Zionist hero, commemorated in special supplements to various Zionist periodicals. He was famous for having decreed, when Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria, that anyone who refused to donate to Zionist causes would be forbidden to have his sons circumcised.

 

He was a Zionist hero – and a vicious anti-Semite.

 

Selectivity

 

Even as regards Palestine, where despite popular myth very substantial Jewish immigration was permitted by the British authorities, the Zionist aim was for *selective* immigration to build a Jewish State, not rescue of Jewish refugees. Thus, on February 1, 1940, Henry Montor, Executive Vice-President of the United Jewish Appeal, writes to Rabbi Baruch E. Rabinowitz of the congregation B’nai Abraham in Hagerstown, Maryland:

 

What Palestine needs today are young people who have an understanding of what the Jewish National home is meant to be and whose energies and resources of talent are such as to create the possibilities for additional large immigration.

 

There could be no more deadly ammunition provided to the enemies of Zionism, whether they be in the ranks of the British Government or the Arabs, or even in the ranks of the Jewish people, if Palestine were to be flooded with very old people or with undesirables who would make impossible the conditions of life in Palestine and destroy the prospect of creating such economic circumstances as would insure a continuity of immigration…

 

This Zionist tradition of selective immigration was firmly established long before the war, and in full knowledge of what it meant for those not ‘selected’. Thus Chaim Weizmann, first President of Israel, said at the Twentieth Zionist Congress in 1937:

 

…the hopes of six million Jews are centred on emigration…I was asked, ‘But can you bring six million Jews to Palestine? I replied, ‘No’…In the depth of the Jewish tragedy – I want to save two million of youth…The old ones will pass, they will bear their fate or they will not. They are dust, economic and moral dust in a cruel world…Only a remnant shall survive…we have to accept it.

 

It follows that Zionist efforts to discourage havens outside Palestine, and even temporary havens in Palestine, were done in the knowledge that most of the Jews who needed refuge could not have gone there even if they had preferred to (which they did not), and if the British had let them. The doors were closed elsewhere not to divert actual immigration to Palestine, but solely in a coldly calculated move to increase the future pressure for a Jewish State in Palestine. It is difficult to imagine anything more callous.

 

This callous tradition explains both Kastner’s actions and also the defence of those actions by the Supreme Court of Israel. Indeed, it was explicitly appealed to by the Attorney General of Israel, Chaim Cohen, in his defence of Kastner:

 

He (Kastner) was entitled to make a deal with the Nazis for the saving of a few hundred and entitled not to warn the millions. In fact if that’s how he saw it, rightly or wrongly, that was his duty…

 

If you don’t like it, if it doesn’t coincide with your own philosophy, you may criticize Kastner and say his policy was a mistaken one. But what does all this have to do with collaboration”…It has always been our Zionist tradition to select the few out of many in arranging the immigration to Palestine…Are we therefore to be called traitors?

 

Kastner did nothing more and nothing less than was done by us in rescuing the Jews and bringing them to Palestine…You are allowed – in fact it is your duty – to risk losing the many in order to save the few…" (Hecht, Perfidy, pp.194-5)

 

(Cohen continued explaining that this attitude had always been the system of the Zionist institutions, who gave immigration certificates to Palestine only to a few of the masses who wanted to emigrate).

 

It was not a great jump from Weizmann’s description of the masses of European Jews as ‘economic and moral dust in a cruel world’, to the Supreme Court of Israel’s majority judgement that Kastner was entitled to mislead the Hungarian Jews about Auschwitz because:

 

The Hungarian Jew was a branch which long ago dried up on the tree" and "This was a big Jewish community in Hungary without any ideological Jewish backbone [i.e. not much Zionism]

 

As Ben Hecht remarks, it was not a much greater jump from there to Dr. Goebbels diary entry in 1943:

 

In our Nazi attitude toward the Jews, there must be no squeamish sentimentalism.

 

Indeed, as Ben Hecht also remarks, the sneer and belittlement of Dr. Goebbels who wrote ‘The Jews deserve the catastrophe that has now overtaken them’, seems to echo in the voice of the Attorney General of the State of Israel who says:

 

For those and millions of Jews like them there came true the old curse ‘And, lo, they were meant to be taken like sheep for slaughter, for killing, for destruction, for crushing and shame’. There was no spirit in them. The Jewish masses in Warsaw were in the same condition." (Court records, CC124/53 Jerusalem District Court)

 

This basically Nazi philosophy, displayed here towards Jews instead of Arabs helps explain how the concept of saving the few at the expense of the many led Zionists to become the most suitable collaborators for the Nazis in administering the Jewish Councils or Judenrat in the ghettos, as will be described later.

 

Hersz Bernblat, deputy chief of the Bedzin Ghetto police, was, unlike Kastner, actually tried under Israel’s ‘Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710/1950’ and sentenced to five years imprisonment for having handed over children from the Ghetto’s orphan home to the Nazis for extermination. The Supreme Court of Israel unanimously exonerated the Jewish Councils in general, precisely on the grounds that they were trying to save some by sacrificing others (as indeed all collaborators always are – trying to save themselves).

 

Rabbi Shonfeld quotes Hertzberg, a witness in the Bernblat trial, and goes on to draw some interesting conclusions:

 

The ‘Judenrat’ served as an instrument for keeping things calm. It lulled both the youth and the adults into a false sense of security, so that they shouldn’t think about rescue activities. Unfortunately, most of the members of the Judenrat were Zionists. They thought that by collaborating with the Germans, they were doing a good thing. By preparing the lists of Jews who were sent to their deaths, they thought they were saving other Jews. The heads of the Judenrat suffered from a superiority complex, thinking that they were doing a historic thing in order to redeem the nation – and the entire Jewish population feared them." (Ha’aretz, 24 Sept. 1963)

 

Rabbi Shonfeld continues:

 

On the same subject, it is fitting to quote the words of the lawyer, Shmuel Tamir, in his concluding speech in the Kastner trial, in order to prove that human nature is the same the world over. Whether in Poland, Hungary, the United States or Eretz Yisroel, the Zionists take one line of action: Overpower and rule, choose and discriminate! Finally, their ancient dream materalized: Seizing the ‘Kehillos’ (Jewish communities), even within the framework of the Judenrat, served as the precedent to the government of an independent state.

 

Tamir explains:

 

At that time as very special process was occurring among Hungarian Jewry. The Zionist minority, which was a small minority within the Hungarian Jewry, was ruling over all of the Jews. The assimilated majority, called ‘Neologists’, and the religious, called ‘Orthodox’, retreated and have way to the Zionists. Brand confirms this in his memorandum, as does Freudiger in his testimony.

 

Among the Zionists themselves, after having received money from Eretz Yisroel through Kastner’s group ‘Ichud’, the minority governed. According to the testimony of Kraus, this group constituted less than a quarter of the Zionist movement, resulting in a situation that was paradoxical: The minority among the Zionists ruled over Hungarian Zionism, therefore controlling all of Hungarian Jewry. This minority, headed by Kastner, controlled the internal lives of one million people. When the Germans searched for collaborators among the Zionists, they immediately met Kastner and his colleagues; for they, too, were doing all that they could to make contact with the Germans." (Shonfeld, op.cit, p. 88-9)

 

(excerpted from Nazi-Zionist Collaboration, pamphlet issued by BAZO-PS – British Anti-Zionist Organisation/Palestine Solidarity, London, 1981)

 

 

 

 

 

The Kastner Case

The Kastner Case

Introduction

The most notorious case of Nazi-Zionist collaboration is that involving Rudolf Kastner.

Most Jewish people have never heard of Rudolf Kastner. Those who have, are generally under the impression that there is some ‘controversy’ about negotiations he undertook for ‘the purchase of Jewish lives for money and military equipment’, but that he was ‘fully rehabilitated’ by the Supreme Court of Israel.

The Accusations

Briefly, the accusations against Kastner are as follows:

Dr. Rudolf Verba, a Doctor of Science now serving at the British Medical Research Council, was one of the few escapees from Auschwitz. In his memoirs published in February, 1961, in the London Daily Herald, he wrote:

 I am a Jew. In spite of that – indeed because of that – I accuse certain Jewish leaders of one of the most ghastly deeds of the war.

This small group of quislings knew what was happening to their brethren in Hitler’s gas chambers and bought their own lives with the price of silence. Among them was Dr. Kastner, leader of the council which spoke for all Jews in Hungary. While I was prisoner number 44070 at Auschwitz – the number is still on my arm – I compiled careful statistics of the exterminations…I took these terrible statistics with me when I escaped in 1944 and I was able to give Hungarian Zionist leaders three weeks notice that Eichmann planned to send a million of their Jews to his gas chambers…Kastner went to Eichmann and told him, ‘I know of your plans; spare some Jews of my choice and I shall keep quiet.’

 Eichmann not only agreed, but dressed Kastner up in S.S. uniform and took him to Belsen to trace some of his friends. Nor did the sordid bargaining end there.

Kastner paid Eichmann several thousand dollars. With this little fortune, Eichmann was able to buy his way to freedom when Germany collapsed, to set himself up in the Argentine…(Ben Hecht, Perfidy, pp261-2)

These accusations are confirmed by the ‘Eichmann Confessions’ published in Life magazine, 28 November and 5 December 1960:

I resolved to show how well a job could be done when the commander stands 100% behind it. By shipping the Jews off in a lightning operation, I wanted to set an example for future campaigns elsewhere…In obedience to Himmler’s directive I now concentrated on negotiations with the Jewish political officials in Budapest…Among them Dr. Rudolph Kastner, authorized representative of the Zionist Movement. This Dr. Kastner was 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 could 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…was not too high for me.

…We trusted each other perfectly. When he was with me, Kastner smoke cigarets as though he was in a coffeehouse. While we talked he would smoke one aromatic cigaret after another, taking them from a silver case and lighting them with a 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 S.S. and the viewpoint of these immensely idealistic Zionist leaders….I believe that Kastner would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal…’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…That was the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ I had with Kastner (Hecht, ibid., p.260-61)

Quite clearly these accusations, whether true or false, do not relate merely to ‘the purchase of Jewish lives for money and military equipment’.

Are the accusations against Kastner true?

According to the Government of Israel, they are a lie. When Malchiel Greenwald, a strongly pro-Zionist Israeli citizen published these accusations against Kastner, the Israeli Government did rather more than demand that his views should not be broadcast. Because a prominent Zionist official (Dr. Kastner was a spokesman for the Ministry of Trade and Industry) was involved, the Attorney General of the State of Israel prosecuted Greenwald for criminal libel.

The Verdict

Let the verdict of Judge Benjamin Halevi (who later became one of the panel of three judges that tried Eichmann) in Israel’s District Court of Jerusalem speak for itself, given in criminal case No. 124 of 1953. The Attorney General v. Malchiel Greenwald. This material should be studied carefully.

The masses of Jews from Hungary’s ghettos obediently boarded the deportation trains without knowing their fate. They were full of confidence in the false information that they were being transferred to Kenyermeze.

The Nazis could not have misled the masses of Jews so conclusively had they not spread their false information through Jewish channels.

The Jews of the ghettos would not have trusted the Nazi or Hungarian rulers. But they had trust in their Jewish leaders. Eichmann and others used this known fact as part of their calculated plan to mislead the Jews. They were able to deport the Jews to their extermination by the help of Jewish leaders.

The false information was spread by the Jewish leaders. The local leaders of the Jews of Kluj and Nodvarod knew that other leaders were spreading such false information and did not protest.

Those of the Jews who tried to warn their friends of the truth were persecuted by the Jewish leaders in charge of the local ‘rescue work’.

The trust of the Jews in the misleading information and their lack of knowledge that their wives, children and themselves were about to be deported to the gas chambers of Auschwitz led the victims to remain quiescent in their ghettos. It seduced them into not resisting or hampering the deportation orders.

Dozens of thousands of Jews were guarded in their ghettos by a few dozen police. Yet even vigorous young Jews made no attempt to overpower these few guards and escape to nearby Rumania. No resistance activities to the deportations were organized in these ghettos.

And the Jewish leaders did everything in their power to soothe the Jews in the ghettos and to prevent such resistance activities.

The same Jews who spread in Kluj and Nodvarod the false rumor of Kenyermeze, or confirmed it, the same public leaders who did not warn their own people against the misleading statements, the same Jewish leaders who did not organize any resistance or any sabotage of deportations…these same leaders did not join the people of their community in their ride to Auschwitz, but were all included in the Rescue train.

The Nazi organizers of extermination and the perpetrators of extermination permitted Rudolf Kastner and the members of the Jewish Council in Budapest to save themselves, their relatives, and friends. The Nazis did this as a means of making the local Jewish leaders, whom they favoured, dependent on the Nazi regime, dependent on its good will during the time of its fatal deportation schedule. In short, the Nazis succeeded in bringing the Jewish leaders into collaboration with the Nazis at the time of the catastrophe.

The Nazi chiefs knew that the Zionists were a most vital element in Jewry and the most trusted by the Jews.

The Nazis drew a lesson from the Warsaw ghetto and other belligerent ghettos. They learned that Jews were able to sell their lives very expensively if honorably guided.

Eichmann did not want a second Warsaw. For this reason, the Nazis exerted themselves to mislead and bribe the Jewish leaders.

The personality of Rudolph Kastner made him a convenient catspaw for Eichmann and his clique, to draw into collaboration and make their task easier.

The question here is not, as stated by the Attorney General in his summation, whether members of the Jewish Rescue Committee were or were not capable of fulfilling their duty without the patronage of the S.S. chiefs. It is obvious that without such S.S. Nazi patronage the Jewish Rescue Committee could not have existed, and could have acted only as an underground.

The question is, as put by the lawyer for the defense, why were the Nazis interested in the existence of the Rescue Committee? Why did the S.S. chiefs make every effort to encourage the existence of the Jewish Rescue Committee? Did the exterminators turn into rescuers?

The same question rises concerning the rescue of prominent Jews by these German killers of Jews. Was the rescue of such Jews a part of the extermination plan of the killers ?

The support given by the extermination leaders to Kastner’s Rescue Committee proves that indeed there was a place for Kastner and his friends in their Final Solution for the Jews of Hungary – their total annihilation.

The Nazi’s patronage of Kastner, and their agreement to let him save six hundred prominent Jews, were part of the plan to exterminate the Jews. Kastner was given a chance to add a few more to that number. The bait attracted him. The opportunity of rescuing prominent people appealed to him greatly. He considered the rescue of the most important Jews as a great personal success and a success for Zionism. It was a success that would also justify his conduct – his political negotiation with Nazis and the Nazi patronage of his committee.

When Kastner received this present from the Nazis, Kastner sold his soul to the German Satan.

The sacrifice of the vital interests of the majority of the Jews, in order to rescue the prominents, was the basic element in the agreement between Kastner and the Nazis. This agreement fixed the division of the nation into two unequal camps: a small fragment of prominents, whom the Nazis promised Kastner to save, on the one hand, and the great majority or Hungarian Jews whom the Nazis designated for death, on the other hand. An imperative condition for the rescue of the first camp by the Nazis was that Kastner will not interfere in the action of the Nazis against the other camp and will not hamper them in its extermination. Kastner fulfilled this condition. He concentrated his efforts in the rescue of the prominents and treated the camp of the doomed as if they had already been wiped out from the book of the living.

One cannot estimate the damage caused by Kastner’s collaboration and put down the number of victims which it cost Hungarian Jews. These are not only the thousands of Jews in Nodvarod or any other community in the border area, Jews who could escape through the border, had the chief of their rescue committee fulfilled his duty toward them.

All of Kastner’s answers in his final testimony were a constant effort to evade this truth.

Kastner has tried to escape through every crack he could find in the wall of evidence. When one crack was sealed in his face, he darted quickly to another. (Judgement of Judge Benjamin Halevi, Criminal Case 124/53; Attorney General v. Malchiel Greenwald, District Court, Jerusalem, June 22, 1955).

Judge Halevi reverts to the meeting of Kastner with the S.S. officers Becher and Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz at the time when the ‘new line’ of rescuing Jews was revealed by Hoess. He says:

From this gathering in Budapest, it is obvious that the ‘new line’ stretched from Himmler to Hoess, from Jutner to Becher and Krumey.

According to Kastner, however, these Nazis were all active in rescuing Jews.

This meeting of these important German guests in Budapest exposes the ‘rescue’ work of Becher in its true light. It reveals also the extent of Kastner’s involvement in the inner circle of the chief German war criminals.

Just as the Nazi war criminals knew they needed an alibi and hoped to achieve it by the rescue of a few Jews at the eleventh hour, so Kastner also needed an alibi for himself.

Collaboration between the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee and the Exterminators of the Jews was solidified in Budapest and Vienna. Kastner’s duties were part and parcel of the general duties of the S.S.

In addition to its Extermination Department and Looting Department, the Nazi S.S. opened a Rescue Department headed by Kastner.

All these extermination, robbery and rescue activities of the S.S. were coordinated under the management of Heinrich Himmler". (ibid.)

Judge Halevi continues:

Kastner perjured himself knowingly in his testimony before this court when he denied he had interceded in Becher’s behalf. Moreover, he concealed the important fact that he interceded for Becher in the name of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress.

As to the contents of Kastner’s affidavit, it was enough for the defense to provide Becher was a war criminal. It was up to the prosecution to remove Becher from this status, if they wished to negate the affidavit.

The Attorney General admitted in his summation that Becher was a war criminal.

The lies in the contents of Kastner’s affidavit, the lies in his testimony concerning the document, and Kastner’s knowing participation in the activities of Nazi war criminals, and his participation in the last minute fake rescue activities – all these combine to show one overwhelming truth – that this affidavit was not given in good faith.

Kastner knew well, as he himself testified, that Becher had never stood up against the stream of Jewish extermination, as Kastner has declared in the affidavit.

The aims of Becher and his superior, Himmler, were not to save Jews but to serve the Nazi regime with full compliance. These is not truth and no good faith in Kastner’s testimony, ‘I never doubted for one moment the good intention of good Becher’.

It is clear that the positive recommendation by Kastner, not only in his own name but also in the name of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress was of decisive importance for Becher. Kastner did not exaggerate when he said that Becher was released by the Allies because of his personal intervention. The lies in the affidavit of Kastner and the contradictions and various pretexts, which were proven to be lies, were sufficient to annul the value of his statements and to prove that there was no good faith in his testimony in favor of this German war criminal. Kastner’s affidavit in favor of Becher was a wilfully false affidavit given in favor of a war criminal to save him from trial and punishment in Nuremberg.

Therefore, the defendant, Malchiel Greenwald, was correct in his accusations against Rudolf Kastner in the first, second and fourth of his statements." (ibid.)

Judge Halevi’s verdict found Malchiel Greenwald generally innocent of libel against Kastner, but fined him one Israeli pound for the one unproved accusation – that Kastner had actually collected money from his Nazi partners for his aide to their slaughter program. The judge also ordered the Government of Israel to pay Greenwald two hundred Israeli pounds as court costs.

In fairness to Kastner it should me mentioned that as well as having been unpaid, it was never established that he ever wore S.S. uniform.

If the story ended there, it would only prove conclusively that the individual Kastner was a collaborator and the Israeli Government had attempted to defend him, although facts brought out in the trial pointed to much more than that.

But the story does not end there.

The Reaction

Public opinion in Israel was almost unanimous in demanding that Kastner and his associates should be put on trial. Remember that up to now it was Kastner’s accuser who was on trial.

The Communist Party newspaper Kol Ha’am (Voice of the People) wrote:

All those whose relatives were butchered by the Germans in Hungary know now clearly that Jewish hands helped the mass murder" (23 June 1955)

In the authoritative Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the leading political journalist, Dr. Moshe Keren wrote:

Kastner must be brought to trial as a Nazi collaborator. And at this trial, Kastner should defend himself as a private citizen, and not be defended by the Israeli Government…" (14 July 1955).

 *Haboker*, the pro-Government General Zionist party paper stated:

 The public wants to know the real facts about Kastner, and not about him alone. The only way to find out the truth is to put all the Rescue Committee people on trial and give them a chance to offer their defense." (23 June 1955)

But public opinion was not quite unanimous. The problem with bringing Kastner and his associates to trial was that his associates were the Government of Israel.

As the evening paper *Yedi’ot Aharonot* said:

If Kastner is brought to trial the entire government faces a total political and national collapse – as a result of what such a trial may disclose." (23 June 1955)

Accordingly, the Government of Israel did not put Kastner on trial, instead it filed an appeal against the acquittal of Greenwald for criminal libel.

As Dr. Karlebach wrote in Israel’s largest evening newspaper, *Ma’ariv*:

What is going on here? The Attorney General has to mobilize all the government power, appear himself in court, to justify and defend collaboration with Himmler! And in order to defend a quisling, the government must drag through the streets one of the grimmest stories of our history!

At 11 P.M. the verdict was given. At 11 A.M. next morning the government announces the defense of Kastner will be renewed – an appeal filed. What exemplary expediency! Since when does this government possess such lawyer-genius who can weigh in one night the legal chances of an appeal on a detailed, complex verdict of three hundred pages”! (24 June 1955)

At the appeal hearings before the Supreme Court, the Attorney General of Israel, Chaim Cohen, explained clearly why the Government of Israel was defending Kastner so strongly:

The man Kastner does not stand here as a private individual. He was a recognized representative, official or non-official of the Jewish National Institutes in Palestine and of the Zionist Executive; and I come here in this court to defend the representative of our national institutions." (Hecht, p. 268)

The truth of this statement cannot be denied. Kastner’s collaboration was not that of an individual. It was the collaboration of the Zionist leadership.

So far, it has only been established that the Government of Israel continued to support a Nazi collaborator after the facts about his collaboration had been conclusively established in an Israeli court. But the story gets worse.

The Supreme Court of Israel unanimously found that Becher was indeed a Nazi war criminal and that Kastner had without justification, and in the name of the Jewish Agency, helped Becher to escape justice. On this point Greenwald was acquitted of libel and Kastner was not ‘fully rehabilitated’.

The Supreme Court also accepted the facts established in the lower court – that Kastner deliberately concealed the truth about Auschwitz from the majority of Hungarian Jews in exchange for Nazi permission to take a thousand or so to Palestine. Again, Kastner was far from being ‘fully rehabilitated’.

The Majority Judgement

But now comes the really nasty bit. After unanimously acknowledging these facts, the Supreme Court of Israel, by a majority of three to two, found that Kastner’s actions were morally justifiable and convicted Greenwald of criminal libel for calling this ‘collaboration’.

Kastner’s actions only proved that he was a Nazi collaborator. It is the defense of these actions by the Government and Courts of Israel that prove conclusively that Zionism approves of Nazi collaboration.

The majority of the Supreme Court of Israel did not rehabilitate Kastner. They joined him.

Let us read from the majority judgement of Supreme Court Judge Shlomo Chesin:

…What point was there in telling the people boarding the trains in Kluj, people struck by fate and persecuted, as to what awaits them at the end of their journey…Kastner spoke in detail of the situation, saying, ‘The Hungarian Jew was a branch which long ago dried up on the tree’. This vivid description coincides with the testimony of another witness about the Hungarian Jews, ‘This was a big Jewish community in Hungary, without any ideological Jewish backbone’ (Moshe Shweiger, a Kastner aide in Budapest, protocol 465).

I fully agree with my friend, Judge Agranot, when he states that, ‘The Jews of Hungary, including those in the countryside, were not capable, neither physically nor mentally, to carry out resistance operations with force against the deportation scheme’…From this point of view no rescue achievement could have resulted by disclosing the Auschwitz news to the Jewish leaders there, and this…is a consideration which on can properly conclude that Kastner had in front of his eyes. 

…And I take one more step. I am certain that the silence of Kastner when he arrived in Kluj was premeditated and calculated and did not result from his great despair because of the helplessness of the Jewish community. Even then, I say, this is still not considered wilful collaboration and assistance in the extermination, because all the signs indicate that Kastner’s efforts were aimed at rescue and rescue on a big scale…And towards the end I take one last step. In doing so I go very far and say that even if Kastner ordered himself to keep silent knowingly, in submission to the strong will of the Nazis, in order to save a few Jews from Hell – this is still no proof that he stained his hands by collaborating with the enemies of his people and carrying out their plan to exterminate most of the Jewish community in Hungary.

Even if, through these activities of his – or rather, his omission – the extermination became easier. And as to the moral issue, 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 that the answer is clear. What good will the blood of the few bring if everybody is to perish”…As I said, I am not arguing with the basic factual findings of the learned President of the Jewish District Court (Judge Halevi) but it seems to me, with all due respect, that his findings do not, as of necessity, demand the conclusion he has arrived at. That is to say, collaboration on the part of Kastner in the extermination of the Jews. And that they better coincide with bad leadership both from a moral and public point of view…

In my opinion, one can say outright that if you find out that Kastner collaborated with the enemy because he did not disclose to the people who boarded the trains in Kluj that they were being led to extermination, one has to put on trial today Danzig, Herman, Hanzi, Brand, Revis and Marton, and many more leaders and half-leaders who gagged themselves in an hour of crisis and did not inform others of what was known to them and did not warn and did not cry out of the coming danger….

Because of all this I cannot confirm the conclusion of the District Court with regard to the accusation that Greenwald has thrown on Kastner of collaboration with the Nazis in exterminating the Jewish people in Hungary during the last war." (Hecht, ibid., pp.270-2)

In other words, the Court approved of Kastner’s contempt for the Hungarian Jews and could not allow him to be condemned for doing exactly what many other Zionist leaders had half-leaders did – concealing their knowledge of the Nazi extermination plans so that Jews would board the trains to Auschwitz peacefully while their Zionist ‘leaders’ boarded a different train for Palestine.

The Minority Judgement

It cannot be said that all top Zionists leaders actively approved of Nazi collaboration in this way. Indeed the most precise answer to this sickening judgement of Judge Chesin is provided in the minority judgement of Supreme Court Judge Moshe Silberg:

I do not say that he was the only man who possessed information among the leaders. It is quite possible that somebody else as well does not have a clear conscience with regards to this concealment. But we are dealing here with the guilt of Kastner and we do not have to make judgements on the guilt of others….

The declaration of the learned Attorney General therefore shrinks into an opinion….’Kastner was convinced and believed that there was no ray of hope for the Jews of Hungary, almost for none of them, and as he, as a result of his personal despair, did not disclose the secret of the extermination in order not to endanger or frustrate the rescue of the few – therefore he acted in good faith and should not be accused of collaborating with the Nazis in expediting the extermination of the Jews, even though, in fact, he brought about its result.’

I am compelled to state that it is very difficult for me to conceive such an intention. Is this good faith? Can a single man, even in cooperation with some of his friends, yield to despair on behalf and without the knowledge of 800,000 other people? This is, in my opinion, the decisive consideration in the problem facing us. The charge emanating from the testimony of the witnesses against Kastner is that had they known of the Auschwitz secret, then thousands or tens of thousands would have been able to save their lives by local, partial, specific or indirect rescue operations like local revolts, resistance, escapes, hidings, concealment of children with Gentiles, forging of documents, ransom money, bribery, etc. – and when this is the case and when one deals with many hundreds of thousands, how does a human being, a mortal, reject with complete certainty and with an extreme ‘no’ the efficiency of all the many and varied rescue ways? How can he examine the tens of thousands of possibilities? Does he decide instead of God? Indeed, he who can act with such a usurpation of the last hope of hundreds of thousands is not entitled to claim good faith as his defense. The penetrating question quo warrento is a good answer to a claim of such good faith…

If the superintendent of a big hospital lets thousands of sick people die so that he may devote himself to the sure rescue of one soul, he will come out guilty, at least morally, even if it is proven that he as an individual erroneously thought that there was no hope of saving the other patients. He is a collaborator with the angel of death.

Either a complete atrophy of the soul or a blind involvement with complete loss of senses and proportion in his small but personal rescue operation could bring a man to such a gigantic, hazardous play.

And if all this is not enough to annul the claim of good faith which was put before us on behalf of Kastner by the Attorney General, then Kastner himself comes and annuls it altogether. Not only did he never make this claim, but his own words prove the contrary. He writes in his report to the Jewish Agency that the Committee sent emissaries to many ghettos in the countryside and pleaded with them to organize escapes and to refuse to board the trains. And though the story of these pleadings is untrue, and the silence of Kastner in Kluj is proven, the very uttering of these statements entirely contradicts the claim that Kastner had concealed the news about the fate of the ghetto inmates in good faith and only as a result of his complete despairing of the chances of escaping or resisting the Germans. You can not claim at the same time helplessness and activity. Anyway, such a claim is not convincing…

We can sum up with three facts:

A. That the Nazis didn’t want to have a great revolt – ‘Second Warsaw’ – nor small revolts, and their passion was to have the extermination machine working smoothly without resistance. This fact was known to Kastner from the best source – from Eichmann himself – And he had additional proofs of that when he witnessed all the illusionary and misleading tactics which were being taken by the Nazis from the first moment of occupation.

B. That the most efficient means to paralyze the resistance with – or the escape of a victim is to conceal from him the plot of the coming murder. This fact is known to every man and one does not need any proof of evidence for this.

C. That he, Kastner, in order to carry out the rescue plan for the few prominents, fulfilled knowingly and without good faith the said desire of the Nazis, thus expediting the work of exterminating the masses.

And also the rescue of Becher by Kastner…He who is capable of rescuing this Becher from hanging proves that the atrocities of this great war criminal were not so horrifying or despicable in his eyes…I couldn’t base the main guilt of Kastner on this fact had it been alone, but when it is attached even from afar to the whole scene of events it throws retroactive light on the whole affair and serves as a dozen proofs of our conclusion."(Supreme Court Judge, Moshe Silberg, 1957)

Conclusion

If that had been the majority judgement, one could say that whatever their attitudes to the Arabs, and whatever their past behaviour might have been under pressure, the Zionist leadership today did not advocate collaboration with the Nazis.

But Judge Silberg’s judgement was that of a minority.

The Kastner case is therefore not an alleged episode in past history.

It is a continuing controversy in which the top Zionist leadership of Israel stand indicted of continuing to publicly defend collaboration with the Nazis in the extermination of Jews.

Despite the unanimous finding of the Supreme Court of Israel that Kurt Becher was a major war criminal, the Jewish Agency (World Zionist Organization) refused to withdraw the fraudulent certificate Kastner gave on their behalf, which saved Becher from hanging, and allowed him to remain a free man in West Germany, the head of several corporations and with an estimated personal worth of $30 million.

Becher has even used his certification as a ‘good’ SS officer to give evidence in support of his associates at other war crimes trials in West Germany.

Since the prosecution, representing the Israeli Government agreed with the Supreme Court that Becher was a major war criminal, one can only pressure that the Israeli Government did not want him put on trial for fear of what might come out.

Likewise, none of Kastner’s associates on the Zionist Relief and Rescue Committee or his bosses in the Jewish Agency have ever been put on trial as demanded by Israeli public opinion. Let alone the hundreds of ‘prominents’ who helped Kastner to reassure the Hungarian Jews that they were going to Kenyermeze and not Auschwitz, in exchange for tickets on the one train that took them eventually to Palestine.

As for Kastner himself, he will cause no further embarrassment to the Zionist leadership with his undisputed claims that everything he did was approved by the Jewish Agency (World Zionist Organization) leadership in Palestine. He is ‘now dead’. Or putting it less delicately, on 3 March 1957 he was shot by Zeev Eckstein – immediately after the appeal hearings were concluded, and before the judgement ‘rehabilitating’ him was delivered. Eckstein was not a Hungarian avenger. He was a paid undercover agent of the Israeli secret service. (Hecht, ibid., p.208). Another ‘fantastic allegation’ no doubt; but admitted in court during the murder trial).

The facts of the Kastner case show that the very existence of the Jewish Agency (World Zionist Organization) was an actual help to the Nazis and that more could have been saved if the Zionist movement had not existed. Having a State that approves of actions like those of Kastner for an insurance policy, is like using petroleum for a fire extinguisher.

(extracted from a pamphlet issued by BAZO-PS (British Anti-Zionist Organization/Palestine Solidarity, in 1981)

 

Zionist Emigration and Gestapo Expulsion

Hannah Arendt

In her book "Eichmann in Jerusalem", Dr. Hannah Arendt, who is neither left-wing nor pro-Palestinian, and who supports the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, touched on some of the questions involved, although she did not really hit the sore spots and did not directly accuse the Zionist movement of collaboration with Nazism.

 

Zionist Emigration and Gestapo Expulsion

Hannah Arendt wrote:

 

During its first few years, Hitler’s rise to power appeared to the Zionists chiefly as ‘the decisive defeat of assimilationism’. Hence, the Zionists could, for a time, at least, engage in a certain amount of non-criminal cooperation with the Nazi authorities; the Zionists too believed that ‘dissimilation’, combined with the emigration to Palestine of Jewish youngsters and, they hoped, Jewish capitalists, could be a ‘mutually fair solution’. At the time, many German officials held this opinion, and this kind of talk seems to have been quite common up to the end. A letter from a survivor of Theresienstadt, a German Jew, relates that all leading positions in the Nazi-appointed "Reichsvereiningung" were held by Zionists (whereas the authentic Jewish "Reichsvereiningung" had been composed of both Zionists and non-Zionists), because Zionists, according to the Nazis, were the ‘decent’ Jews since they too thought in ‘national terms’. To be sure, no prominent Nazi ever spoke publicly in this vein; from beginning to end, Nazi propaganda was fiercely, unequivocally, uncompromisingly anti-Semitic, and eventually nothing counted but what people who were still without experience in the mysteries of totalitarian government dismissed as ‘mere propaganda’. There existed in those first years a mutually highly satisfactory agreement between the Nazi authorities and the Jewish Agency for Palestine – a ‘Ha’avara’, or Transfer Agreement, which provided that an emigrant to Palestine could transfer his money there in German goods and exchange them for pounds upon arrival. It was soon the only legal way for a Jew to take his money with him (the alternative then being the establishment of a blocked account, which could be liquidated abroad only at a loss of between fifty and ninety-five per cent). The result was that in the thirties, when American Jewry took great pains to organize a boycott of German merchandise, Palestine, of all places, was swamped with all kinds of goods ‘made in Germany’.

 

"Of Greater importance for Eichmann were the emissaries from Palestine, who would approach the Gestapo and the S.S. on their own initiative, without taking orders from either the German Zionists or the Jewish Agency for Palestine. They came in order to enlist the help for the illegal immigration of Jews into British-ruled Palestine, and both the Gestapo and the S.S: were helpful. They negotiated with Eichmann in Vienna, and they reported that he was ‘polite’, ‘not the shouting type’, and that he even provided them with farms and facilities for setting up vocational training camps for prospective immigrants. (‘On one occasion, he expelled a group of nuns from a convent to provide a training farm for young Jews’ and on another ‘a special train was made available and Nazi officials accompanied’ a group of emigrants, ostensibly headed for Zionist training farms in Yugoslavia, to see them safely across the border). According to the story told by Jon and David Kimche, with ‘the full and generous cooperation of all the chief actors’ (The Secret Roads: The ‘Illegal’ Migration of a People, 1938-1948, London, 1954), these Jews from Palestine spoke a language not totally different from that of Eichmann. They had been sent to Europe by the communal settlements in Palestine, and they were not interested in rescue operations: ‘That was not their job’. They wanted to select ‘suitable material’, and their chief enemy, prior to the extermination program, was not those who made life impossible for Jews in the old countries, Germany or Austria, but those who barred access to the new homeland: that enemy was definitely Britain, not Germany. Indeed, they were in a position to deal with the Nazi authorities on a footing amounting to equality, which native Jews were not, since they enjoyed the protection of the mandatory power; they were probably among the first Jews to talk openly about mutual interests and were certainly the first to be given permission ‘to pick young Jewish pioneers’ from among the Jews in the concentration camps. Of course, they were unaware of the sinister implications of this deal, which still lay in the future; but they too somehow believed that if it was a question of selecting Jews for survival, the Jews should do the selecting themselves. It was this fundamental error in judgement that eventually led to a situation in which the non-selected majority of Jews inevitably found themselves confronted with two enemies – the Nazi authorities and the Jewish authorities".

(pp. 59-61)

 

The Jewish Councils

On collaboration by the Judenrat officials, Dr. Arendt wrote:

 

To a Jew this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story. It had been known about before, but it has now been exposed for the first time in all its pathetic and sordid detail by Raul Hilberg, whose standard work *The Destruction of the European Jews* I mentioned before. In the matter of cooperation, there was no distinction between the highly assimilated Jewish communities of Central and Western Europe and the Yiddish-speaking masses of the East. In Amsterdam as in Warsaw, in Berlin as in Budapest, Jewish officials could be trusted to compile the lists of persons and of their property, to secure money from the deportees to defray the expenses of their deportation and extermination, to keep track of vacated apartments, to supply police forces to help seize Jews and get them on trains, until, as a last gesture, they handed over the assets of the Jewish community in good order for final confiscation. They distributed the Yellow Star badges, and sometimes, as in Warsaw, ‘the sale of the armbands of cloth and fancy plastic armbands which were washable’. In the Nazi-inspired, but not Nazi-dictated, manifestos they issued, we still can sense how they enjoyed their new power – ‘The Central Jewish Council has been granted the right of absolute disposal over all Jewish spiritual and material wealth and over all Jewish manpower’, as the first announcement of the Budapest Council phrased it. We know how the Jewish officials felt when they became instruments of murder – like captains ‘whose ships were about to sink and who succeeded in bringing them safe to port by casting overboard a great part of their precious cargo’; like saviors who ‘with a hundred victims save a thousand people, with a thousand ten thousand’. The truth was even more gruesome. Dr. Kastner, in Hungary, for instance, saved exactly 1,684 people with approximately 476,000 victims. In order not to leave the selection to ‘blind fate’, ‘truly holy principles’ were needed ‘as the guiding force of the weak human hand which puts down on paper the name of the unknown person and with this decides his life or death’. And whom did these ‘holy principles’ single out for salvation? Those ‘who had worked all their lives for the ‘zibur’ (community)’ – i.e. the functionaries – and the ‘most prominent Jews’, as Kastner says in his report.

 

"No one bothered to swear the Jewish officials to secrecy; they were voluntary ‘bearers of secrets’, either in order to assure quiet and prevent panic, as in Dr. Kastner’s case, or out of ‘humane’ considerations, such as that ‘living in the expectation of death by gassing would only be the harder’, as in the case of Dr. Leo Baeck, former Chief Rabbi of Berlin. During the Eichmann trial, one witness pointed out the unfortunate consequences of this kind of ‘humanity’ – people volunteered for deportation from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz and denounced those who tried to tell them the truth as being ‘not sane’. We know the physiognomies of the Jewish leaders during the Nazi period very well: they ranged all the way from Chaim Rumkowski, eldest of the Jews in Lodz, called Chaim I, who issued currency notes bearing his signature and postage stamps engraved with his portrait, and who rode around in a broken-down horse-drawn carriage; through Leo Baeck, scholarly, mild-mannered, highly educated, who believed Jewish policemen would be ‘more gentle and helpful’ and would ‘make the ordeal easier’ (whereas in fact they were, of course, more brutal and less corruptible, since so much more was at stake for them); to, finally, a Jew who committed suicide – like Adam Czerniakow, chairman of the Warsaw Jewish Council, who was not a rabbi but an unbeliever, a Polish-speaking Jewish engineer, but who must still have remembered the rabbinical saying: ‘Let them kill you, but don’t cross the line’." (pp. 117-119)

 

Dr. Arendt’s conclusion was that without this collaboration, many lives could have been saved:

 

But the whole truth was that there existed Jewish community organizations and Jewish party and welfare organizations on both the local and the international level. Wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis. The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and half and six million people". (p.125).

 

The Zionist Response to Arendt

Initially, Dr. Arendt’s book received a sympathetic reaction from the Israeli press, but almost immediately the Zionist propaganda machine was turned on full blast to attack it because the ‘concept about Jewish participation in the Nazi holocaust …may plague Jews for years to come’ (Hannah Arendt: The Jew as Pariah, Grove Press, New York, 1978).

 

On 11 March 1963 the B’nai Brith Anti-Defamation League issued a ‘summary’ recommended to ‘book reviewers and others when the volume appears’ which accused Hannah Arendt of saying, among other things:

 

That Europe’s Jewish organisations in the main, played a ‘disastrous role’ by cooperating with the Nazi extermination machine. As a result the Jews, themselves, bear a large share of the blame"(emphasis added) (ibid.)

 

As Hannah Arendt commented in the New York Review of Books, 20 January 1966:

 

In other words, as everybody soon knew and repeated, my ‘thesis’ was that the Jews had murdered themselves

 

This line was repeated by almost every reviewer of Arendt’s book, as though, in Mary McCarthy’s telling phrase, they came out of a ‘mimeographing machine’, which in fact they did.

 

Eichmann’s prosecutor Gideon Hausner, even announced in the New York Daily News (20 May, 1963):

 

The author would have you believe that Eichmann really wasn’t a Nazi, that the Gestapo aided Jews, that Eichmann actually was unaware of Hitler’s evil plans…

This sort of response is fairly typical of the Zionist reaction when questions about Nazi collaboration are raised. Although the first attacks on Hannah Arendt’s book described it as an ‘otherwise masterly report’ and said that ‘Dr. Arendt is a recognized scholar’ and ‘a person of eminent respectability’, by the end of the campaign they had to prove that the ‘evil book’ was written by an ‘evil person’.

 

Whole books were written by various ‘experts’ to refute her (see, for example Jacob Robinson’s And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight: The Eichmann Trial, the Jewish Catastrophe and Hannah Arendt’s Narrative’, Macmillan, New York, 1965. This is a vitriolic page-by-page attempted rebuttal but is, however, a disjointed apologia as far as the facts are concerned).

 

In ‘The Jew as a Pariah’, she describes the campaign against her:

 

No one will doubt the effectiveness of modern image-making and no one acquainted with Jewish organisations and their countless channels of communication outside their immediate range will underestimate their possibilities in influencing public opinion. For greater than their direct power of control is the voluntary outside help upon which they can draw from Jews who, though they may not be at all interested in Jewish affairs, will flock home, as it were, out of age-old fears (no longer justified, let us hope, but still very much alive) when their people or its leaders are criticized. What I had done according to their lights was the crime of crimes. I had told ‘the truth in a hostile environment,’ as an Israeli official told me, and what the A.D.C. and all the other organizations did was to hoist the danger signal…"(p.275).

 

The campaign backfires

According to Dr. Arendt, the campaign ‘was of course a farce, but it was effective’:

 

Or was it? After all, the denunciation of book and author, with which they achieved great, though by no means total, success, was not their goal. It was only the means with which to prevent the discussion of an issue ‘which may plague Jews for years to come’. And as far as this goal was concerned, they achieved the precise opposite. If they had left well enough alone, this issue, which I had touched upon only marginally, would not have been trumpeted all over the world. In their efforts to prevent people from reading what I had written, or, in case such misfortune had already happened, to provide the necessary reading glasses, they blew it up out of all proportion, not only with reference to my book but with reference to what had actually happened. They forgot that they were mass organisations, using all the means of mass communication, so that every issue they touched at all, pro or contra, was liable to attract the attention of masses whom they then no longer could control. So what happened after a while in these meaningless and mindless debates was that people began to think that all the nonsense the image-makers had made me say was the actual historical truth.

 

Thus, with the unerring precision with which a bicyclist on his first ride will collide with the obstacle he is most afraid of, Mr. Robinson’s formidable supporters have put their whole power at the service of propagating what they were most anxious to avoid. So that now, as a result of their folly, literally everybody feels the need for a ‘major work’ on Jewish conduct in the face of catastrophe (ibid.)

 

 

 

Zionism and the Holocaust, Overview

Zionism and the Holocaust

Haim Bresheeth, in RETURN, March 1989

The first point to note regarding the appropriation of the history of the Holocaust by Zionist propaganda is that Zionism without anti-Semitism is impossible. Zionism agrees with the basic tenet of anti-Semitism, namely that Jews cannot live with non-Jews.

 

The history and roots of the Holocaust go back a long way. While the industry of death and destruction did not operate before 1942, its roots were firmly placed in the 19th Century. Jewish aspirations for emancipation emerged out of the national struggles in Europe. When the hopes for liberation through bourgeois-democratic change were dashed, other alternatives for improving the lot of the Jews of Europe achieved prominence.

 

The socialist Bund, a mass movement with enormous following, had to contend with opposition from a new and small, almost insignificant opponent, the political Zionists. In outline these two offered diametrically opposed options for Jews in Europe. While the Bund was suggesting joining forces with the rest of Europe’s workers, the Zionists were proposing a new programme aimed at ridding Europe of its Jews by setting up some form of a Jewish state.

 

Historically, nothing is inevitable, all depends on the balance of forces involved in the struggle. History can be seen as an option tree: every time a certain option is chosen, other routes become barred. Because of that choice, movement backwards to the point before that choice was mad is impossible. While Zionism as an option was taken by many young Jews, it remained a minority position until the first days of the 3rd Reich. The Zionist Federation of Germany (ZVfD), an organisation representing a tiny minority of German Jews, was selected by the Nazis as the body to represent the Jews of the Reich. Its was the only flag of an international organisation allowed to fly in Berlin, and this was the only international organisation allowed to operate during this period. From a marginal position, the leaders of the Zionist Federation were propelled to a prominence and centrality that surprised even them. All of a sudden they attained political power, power based not on representation, but from being selected as the choice of the Nazi regime for dealing with the ‘Jewish problem’. Their position in negotiating with the Nazis agreements that affected the lives of many tens of thousands of the Jews in Germany transformed them from a utopian, marginal organisation in Germany (and some other countries in Europe) into a real option to be considered by German Jews.

 

The best example of this was the ‘Transfer Agreement’ of 1934. Immediately after the Nazi takeover in 1933, Jews all over the world supported or were organising a world wide boycott of German goods. This campaign hurt the Nazi regime and the German authorities searched frantically for a way disabling the boycott. It was clear that if Jews and Jewish organisations were to pull out, the campaign would collapse.

 

This problem was solved by the ZVfD. A letter sent to the Nazi party as early as 21.6.33, outlined the degree of agreement that existed between the two organisations on the questions of race, nation, and the nature of the ‘Jewish problem’, and it offered to collaborate with the new regime:

 

The realisation of Zionism could only be hurt by resentment of Jews abroad against the German development. Boycott propaganda – such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways – is in essence unZionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and build…

 

In their eagerness to gain credence and the backing of the new regime, the Zionist organisation managed to undermine the boycott. The main public act was the signature of the ‘Transfer Agreement’ with the Nazi authorities during the Zionist Congress of 1934. In essence, the agreement was designed to get Germany’s Jews out of the country and into Mandate Palestine. It provided a possibility for Jews to take a sizeable part of their property out of the country, through a transfer of German goods to Palestine. This right was denied to Jews leaving for any other destination (emphasis – ED). The Zionist Organisation was the acting agent, through its financial organisations. This agreement operated on a number of fronts ‘helping’ Jews to leave the country, breaking the ring of the boycott, exporting German goods in large quantities to Palestine, and last but not least, enabling the regime to be seen as humane and reasonable even towards its avowed enemies, the Jews. After all, they argued, the Jews do not belong in Europe and now the Jews come and agree with them.

 

After news of the agreement broke, the boycott was doomed. If the Zionist Organisation found it possible and necessary to deal with the Nazis, and import their goods, who could argue for a boycott? This was not the first time that the interests of both movements were presented to the German public as complementary. Baron Von Mildenstein, the first head of the Jewish Department of the SS, later followed by Eichmann, was invited to travel to Palestine. This he did in early 1933, in the company of a Zionist leader, Kurt Tuchler. Having spent six months in Palestine, he wrote a series of favourable articles in Der Sturmer describing the ‘new Jew’ of Zionism, a Jew Nazis could accept and understand.

 

This little-known episode established quite clearly the relationship during the early days of Nazism, between the new regime and the ZVfD, a relationship that was echoed later in a number of key instances, even after the nature of the Final Solution became clear. In many cases this meant a silencing of reports about the horrors of the exterminations. A book concentrating on this aspect of the Zionist reaction to the Holocaust is Post-Ugandan Zionism in the Crucible of the Holocaust, by S.B. Beth-Zvi.

 

In the case of the Kastner episode, around which Jim Allen’s play PERDITION is based, even the normal excuse of lack of knowledge of the real nature of events does not exist. It occurred near the end of the war. The USSR had advanced almost up to Germany. Italy and the African bases had been lost. The Nazis were on the run, with a number of key countries, such as Rumania, leaving the Axis. A second front was a matter of months away, as the western Allies prepared their forces. In the midst of all this we find Eichmann, the master bureaucrat of industrial murder, setting up is HQ in occupied Budapest, after the German takeover of the country in April 1944. His first act was to have a conference with the Jewish leadership, and to appoint Zionist Federation members, headed by Kastner, as the agent and clearing house for all Jews in their relationship with the SS and Nazi authorities. Why they did this is not difficult to see. As opposed to Poland, where its three and half million Jews lived in ghettoes and were visible different from the rest of the Polish population, the Hungarian Jews were in integrated part of the community. The middle class was mainly Jewish, the Jews were mainly middle class. They enjoyed freedom of travel, served in the Hungarian (fascist) army in frontline units, as officers and soldiers, their names were Hungarian – how was Eichmann to find them if they were to be exterminated ? The task was not easy, there were a million Jews in Hungary, most of them resident, the rest being refugees from other countries. Many had heard about the fate of Jews elsewhere, and were unlikely to believe any statements by Nazi officials.

 

Like elsewhere, the only people who had the information and the ear of the frightened Jewish population were the Judenrat. In this case the Judenrat comprised mainly the Zionist Federation members. Without their help the SS, with 19 officers and less than 90 men, plus a few hundred Hungarian police, could not have collected and controlled a million Jews, when they did not even know their whereabouts. Kastner and the others were left under no illusions. Eichmann told Joel Brand, one of the members of Kastner’s committee, that he intended to send all Hungary’s Jews to Auschwitz, before he even started the expulsions! He told them clearly that all these Jews will die, 12,000 a day, unless certain conditions were met.

 

The Committee faced a simple choice – to tell the Jews of Hungary about their fate, (with neutral Rumania, where many could escape, being in most cases a few hours away) or to collaborate with the Nazis by assisting in the concentration process. What would not have been believed when coming from the SS, sounded quite plausible when coming from the mouths of the Zionist leadership. Thus it is, that most of the Hungarian Jews went quietly to their death, assured by their leadership that they were sent to work camps.

 

To be sure, there are thirty pieces of silver in this narrative of destruction: the trains of ‘prominents’ which Eichmann promised to Kastner – a promise he kept to the last detail. For Eichmann it was a bargain: allowing 1,680 Jews to survive, as the price paid for the silent collaboration over the death of almost a million Jews.

 

There was no way in which the Jews of Hungary could even be located, not to say murdered, without the full collaboration of Kastner and his few friends. No doubt the SS would hunt a few Jews here and there, but the scale of the operation would have been minuscule compared to the half million who died in Auschwitz.

 

It is important to realise that Kastner was not an aberration, like say Rumkovky in Lodz. Kastner acted as a result of his strongly held Zionist convictions. His actions were a logical outcome of earlier positions. This is instanced when he exposed to the Gestapo the existence of a British cell of saboteurs, Palgi and Senesh, and persuaded them to give themselves up, so as not to disrupt his operations. At no point during his trial or elsewhere, did Kastner deny that he knew exactly what was to happen to those Jews.

 

To conclude, the role played by Zionists in this period, was connected to another role they could, and should have played, that of alarming the whole world to what was happening in Europe. They had the information, but politically it was contrary to their priorities. The priorities were, and still are, quite simple: All that furthers the Zionist enterprise in Palestine is followed, whatever the price. The lives of individuals, Jews and non-Jews, are secondary. If this process requires dealing with fascists, Nazis and other assorted dictatorial regimes across the world, so be it.

 

An Agent of Zionist Propaganda, the JNF 1924-1947

An Agent of Zionist Propaganda, the JNF 1924-1947

Yoram Bar-Gal, 1999

A description of the book:

This book deals with the study of the case of the Propaganda Department of the Jewish National Fund in Israel during the years 1924-1947. It treats the intersection between propaganda and the education of children and youth through the development of mass media work practices – an encounter which took place on the background of the need of the organization (the JNF) to achieve political goals over a long period of time.

The JNF (sometimes referred to as the KKL – Keren Kayemet Le Yisrael – the Hebrew transliteration) is the executive body established by the Zionist movement in 1902 to buy land in Palestine for the Jewish people. Very quickly, however, it became an international organization and, even, before World War I had branches in many countries throughout the world. One of the tasks of these branches was to mediate between the central office in Jerusalem and the millions of Jews who donated money to buy land. The organization , which is still active throughout the Jewish world, concerned itself with "the marketing of ideology": the dissemination of symbols, knowledge and ideas to the masses of the Jewish people, and converted them into money and real estate property in the Land of Israel – Eretz Yisrael.

While the history of Zionism will remember the JNF as an organization which purchased land for the settlement of Jews in Eretz Yisrael, in the memories of much of World Jewry the organization is linked with the memories of their childhood and the forming of their identities. This memory was, in fact, fashioned by the Propaganda Department of the JNF which worked through the mass communications media in the Jewish world and made its presence massively felt in the Jewish education networks in many countries. Up until today there has been virtually no research carried out on these aspects of Zionist propaganda which helped fashion the collective memory and left its mark upon Jewish culture in Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.

The documents of the period under study allow us to study the institutional motive of the JNF which propelled it towards the intensive activity whose results were felt by every child who received a Zionist education. The JNF devoted considerable resources to this activity and one can assume that the motives were connected to areas of politics and internal-Zionistic struggles for power. The study identifies a small group of people, from the areas of both propaganda and education, who saw Eretz Yisrael as the "product" they had to market to various sections of population within the Jewish World, using the conventional methods of persuasion for those days.

The use of the term "propaganda", which will constantly appear in this book, has been an emotionally loaded concept since the Second World War. The term "propaganda" is, actually, one of the expressions of the art of "persuasion": that is an organizational or institutional effort to persuade others to believe (or not to believe) in "certain truths" or to carry out (or avoid carrying out) certain activities. There are those who define propaganda as "a form of communication which attempts to change the attitudes and beliefs of others"

Argentina: Israel Allowed Jews to Die

Argentina: Israel Allowed Jews to Die

Article in Return No. 5, December 1990, London

One of the main justifications that supporters of Zionism give for the State of Israel is that in the event of a resurgence of anti-Semitism, Israel will provide a refuge for Jews. In RETURN No.1, an article ‘Zionism and anti-Semitism’ told how Israel had done nothing about anti-Semitism in Argentina during the rule of the neo-Nazi military junta. We described how the Zionist communal organisations and the Israeli state had collaborated with the regime through arms sales. In addition the group ‘Mothers of the Jewish Disappeared’ had picketed a meeting that the former Israeli President Yitzhak Navon attended, chanting ‘Nazi, Nazi’ at the Zionists who attended. The following article demonstrates that Israeli policy went even further, and should destroy the idea that in the event of the rise of anti-Semitism and fascism in the West, left-wing Jews would be able to find refuge in the ‘Jewish’ State:

 

Israel Denied Shelter to Left-wing Argentine Jews During Junta Rule

Hadashot (Israeli Hebrew newspaper), 28 Sept. 1990

 

The Israeli government could have saved hundreds of Argentine Jews, who were murdered or kidnapped during the rule of the generals between 1976 and 1983, claims Marcel Zohar in his book Let My People Go to Hell, soon to be published by Zitrin.

 

The military censor this week decided to at last permit the publication of the book, except for several paragraphs which, so he claimed, might endanger certain person’s lives or harm Israel’s relations with other countries. The publisher, Ben Zion Zitrin, is about to offer the book to foreign publishing houses.

 

Zohar, who was Yedi’ot Aharonot [an Israeli evening newspaper] correspondent in Argentina between 1978 and 1982, describes how the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency and other official bodies refrained from processing immigration applications from Jews with left-wing background, in order to preserve Israel’s good business and political links with the ruling junta. In the same period, arms sales worth about one billion dollars were concluded between Israel and Argentina. According to Zohar, both Likud and Labour leaders shared in the conspiracy of silence.

 

His book recounts the struggle which took place between Danny Rekanati, the immigration official based in Argentina, and the Israeli ambassador, Ron Nergad. Rekanati tried to help persecuted Jews escape from the country, while Nergad, according to the book, complained about his activities. The unwritten instruction was to refuse any help to Jews defined as ‘too left-wing’.

 

The late Menahem Savidor, who was Knesset chairman at the time, admitted to Zohar that he had prevented a public Knesset debate on the situation of Argentina’s Jews at the government’s request in order not to harm Israel’s crucial links with Argentina. The prime ministers of the period covered, would not discuss the book. Yigal Alon and Moshe Dayan, who were Israel’s foreign ministers then, are no longer alive. The foreign ministry refused to cooperate or to open its archives for the period.

 

 

Our Responsibility Towards the Jews in the Arab Countries

Our Responsibility Towards the Jews in the Arab Countries

By Uri Harari, in the Israeli daily Yedi’ot Aharonot, 9 Feb.. 1969

(excerpts)

When we hear of riots, pogroms or hanging [of Jews] we seethe with anger, and justly so. We mobilize public opinion and we raise our warning. We try to do everything within our capacity to help the persecuted Jews. Then we ask ourselves, "Where were they all these years?", "Why did they not immigrate into the country [Israel] in time?"…Still later, and deep in our heart there is also a tiny flicker of vicious joy, "Serves them right!"; "We warned them!"; "We told them so!".

It is, of course, not customary for us to talk about it in public, but many of us felt a tiny bit of joy at another’s calamity when we read reports in the papers about the swastika epidemic in Europe in 1960, or about the [pro-Nazi] Takuara movement in Argentina. And even today, we have very mixed feelings when we read of de Gaulle’s anti-Semitic hints or about the intensification of anti-Jewish feelings among black leaders in the United States.

Despite all the anger and the shock and the insult, these phenomena fit into our world view, because Zionism said then, as it says today, that this is the state of affairs, and that such it must be so long as Jews live among Gentile nations. In our great enthusiasm for the achievement of Israeli independence and sovereignty, we sometimes forget the negative aspect of Zionism – its cruel world view… [Zionism] assumes the eternal hatred of the Jew by the Gentile, irrespective of how liberal the Gentile may be… Concerning one answer there is no discussion: of course we must do everything in order to enable every Jew who so desires to immigrate into the country and establish his life here.

We have to save the Jews from Arab countries, to act with all our might to get the gates of East European countries opened. We must create in this country possibilities for the absorption of [Jewish] immigrants from western countries. So far this is all agreed. But does the state of Israel have duties towards Jews who can immigrate into the country and do not wish to do so?

Furthermore, do we have the right to tell them, "We know better than you what is good for you, and we shall therefore act to get you to immigrate into the country; we might even act in order to facilitate the deterioration of your situation [in the Diaspora] so that you will have no other choice but to immigrate into Israel!". One should note that this last question is not imaginary. We have already had to face this question in very concrete situations, and we may have to face it again in the future.

Translated and quoted in Uri Davis, Israel – an Apartheid State, Zed Books Ltd., London and New Jersey, 1987, p.3

Israel Requests West Germany to Deny Visas to Soviet Jews

Israel Requests West Germany to Deny Visas to Soviet Jews

Letter from Elias Davidsson to Mr. Helmut Kohl, 23.4.91

Your Excellency, Mr. Kohl,

 

The Israeli daily Yedi’ot Aharonot of March 15th reported that in your meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy on March 14th, you "promised Israel to help prevent the granting of refugee status to Soviet Jews arriving in Germany", so that they would be forced to go to Israel.

 

I am very shocked by these news, as it reminds me the year 1935. At that year, my mother was pressured by the Nazi regime to leave Germany, because she was Jewish. No Western country gave my family a haven. It had to go to Palestine, where I was born. Now as then, Western countries show their cynicism by rejecting Jewish immigration to the West and wishing to solve the Jewish problem on the expense of the Palestinian people.

 

Israel has for years pressured foreign states to close their doors to Soviet Jews after it found that most of them would – given the chance – move to Western Europe or the United States. Most Soviet Jews are assimilated into Soviet society and are married with non-Jewish partners. They are therefore not interested in going to the Jewish State, Israel, if given an alternative. Israel’s leaders consider however their duty to avert the assimilation of Jews into non-Jewish cultures and nations, if necessary by force. They consider assimilation of Jews as "the most serious threat to the Jewish people since the Holocaust".

 

In doing so, they place nationalist ideology above individual human rights, an attitude typical of a fascist state. Israel’s refusal to institute civil marriage and its enactment of apartheid legislation[1] are further highlighting the racist nature of that State.

 

For us Jews who have non-Jewish partners whom we dearly love, Israel’s practices and ideology are abominable. Our love to human beings is considered by the Zionist establishment as treason. We[2] cannot accept that Israel speak on behalf of world Jewry and act as if it represented their interests. It does not.

 

The State of Israel does not respect the universal principle stated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights – that everyone has the right to leave any country including his own and to return to it. Such principle implies the right of people to choose their destination, when they leave their country. But Soviet Jews are in fact prevented of this right and Israel is trying to pressure other States to make it difficult for Soviet Jews to exercice this right. It is disgraceful that governments of Western democracies give in to Israeli blackmail.

 

Moreover the State of Israel grossly violates the right of return of people to their country (if they are not Jewish). Some two million people, originating in areas controlled now by the State of Israel, and who have been thrown into exile, are denied this right. These people are usually called the Palestinian refugees. Their only crime: They are not Jews. By doing so, Israel is also defying the entire international community, which has called yearly in the United Nations on Israel to allow these refugees the right to return and compensation.

 

Israel’s behaviour is neither compatible with Jewish morals nor with the interests of Jews around the world. Those who are really sympathetic to Jews should end all their dealings with the Zionist State of Israel.

 

I appeal therefore on your government to stop all assistance, material and moral to the State of Israel. It is incumbent that Israel respect international law and U.N. resolutions and begin to act as a civilized nation. Only international and effective pressure on Israel can make the Israeli Jewish public realize that their government is leading them to calamity.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Elias Davidsson,
Composer and pianist

 

Att.

 

 

Antisemitism (Encyclopaedia of Zionism and Israel)

Antisemitism

Entry in the Encyclopaedia of Zionism and Israel (ed. Patai), excerpts

(…)

 

In the age of growing nationalism, Jews were declared to be an alien, hostile people, incapable of assimilation. Their economic activities were especially attacked by anti-Semites, who tended to regard all Jews as potential Rothschilds. Capitalists and conservatives charged Jews with radicalism, while Socialists often denounced them as exploiters. Politicians found in anti-Semitic propaganda a convenient method of marshalling discontent. There arose specifically anti-Semitic parties, such as Karl Lueger’s Christian Socialist Party in Vienna, whose successes so impressed the young Adolf Hitler.

 

The impact of the new anti-Semitism on the emancipated Jew was enormous. To those Jews who believed in the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the anti-Semitic agitation appeared to be a terrible throwback to the Dark Ages. Jews were accused of every possible crime, and the sober mustering of evidence to disprove these accusations made no impression. Incredibly, the blood libel and pogrom, symbols of medieval fanaticism, made their reappearance in civilized Europe. As a result, many Jews were forced to admit that their sanguine hopes had been unrealistic and that new solutions would have to be sought. To be sure, Jewish reactions to 19th century anti-Semitism were varied. Some clung even more strongly to assimilation; others went so far as to convert. Some looked to socialism to end anti-Semitism forever; still others, shaken by their confrontation with anti-Semitism, turned to political Zionism as their own solution to the Jewish question.

 

(…)

 

Anti-Semitism not only influenced many Jews to become Zionists but also had an effect on the development of Zionist ideology. Such aspects of the Zionist philosophy as the ‘negation of the Exile’ (Sh’lilat haGola), the contempt for the ghetto Jew, the dislike of the Yiddish language, and the attacks on Jewish economic activities in the Diaspora owed something to anti-Semitic propaganda. Consciously, or unconsciously, some Zionists tended to accept certain features of the Jewish stereotype as presented in anti-Semitic literature.

 

(…)

 

In a sense, anti-Semitism constituted one aspect of the foreign relations of the Jewish people. As such, it seems safe to conclude that as long as Jews continue to exist, anti-Semitism will never entirely disappear. It will undoubtedly continue to play a role in Jewish history in general and in the history of Israel and the Zionist movement in particular.

 

Truth – Justice – Peace