By Mazin Qumsiyeh
As a Palestinian-American, I am appalled that many people meeting in Teheran claim to support Palestine while denying or trying to minimize Jewish suffering. Few at the conference articulated that the Holocaust did happen, was horrendous, and it needn’t be denied in order to support Palestinian human rights or to oppose Zionism (throughout I refer to political Zionism not cultural Zionism).
This is not surprising, considering that Zionists constantly and intentionally conflate Zionism with Judaism. This is accomplished in many ways, using Jewish symbols for Israel, choosing a national anthem that speaks of Jewish yearning (even though 20% of the population is not Jewish), emphasizing Israel as a Jewish state, speaking of "the Jewish people" as united in support of Israel, even though most Jews are not Zionists, and countless other ways.
But to me the most dangerous Zionist myth that contributes to anti-Jewish ranting in Teheran and beyond is that political Zionism is the defender and protector of Jews against a hostile (gentile) world. The truth is otherwise, and is now well documented in declassified archives, in Zionist archives, in letters and books, and it is rather "inconvenient" (to put it mildly) to political Zionists.
In ‘Mein Kampf’, the only Jews admired were the Zionists. Hitler called it a "great movement out of Vienna" that helped him dispel the doubts he had as to whether Judaism simply represented another religion or was a nationality (and thus did not belong in Europe). After the 1935 Nazi racial laws were introduced, the Zionist Federation of Germany was the only Jewish group allowed to function, with offices open in Berlin until 1942. This is not surprising, considering that they (ZFG) wrote to the new Nazi regime that “Zionism believes that a rebirth of national life, such as is occurring in German life through adhesion to Christian and national values, must also take place in the Jewish national group”.
Edwin Black’s book “The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine” is an eye opener on the tragic practical results of this convergence of these two segregationist ideologies. In the US, a powerful Zionist lobby scuttled efforts to bring Jewish refugees from WWII; this is documented in books by Jewish leaders and intellectuals like Alfred Lilienthal and Morris Ernst.
The future first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, rejected plans to save Jewish children, telling a meeting of Labor Zionist leaders on 7 Dec. 1938: “If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.” Iraqi Jew (and ex-Zionist) Naiem Giladi exposed this and other of Ben Gurion’s scandals in a book by that title. (e.g. Zionist underground forces bombed Jewish targets in Baghdad to achieve Zionist objectives of driving Jews to Israel).
Sigmund Freud wrote a letter rejecting putting his name in support of the Zionist project on psychological grounds: “Whoever wants to influence the masses must give them something rousing and inflammatory and my sober judgment of Zionism does not permit this… It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land. But I know that such a rational viewpoint would never have gained the enthusiasm of the masses and the financial support of the wealthy. I concede with sorrow that the baseless fanaticism of our people is in part to be blamed for the awakening of Arab distrust.”
In a letter published December 1948 in NY Times by Alfred Einstein and 26 other leading American Jews we read: "The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the goal." Begin went on to become Israeli Prime Minister and his party morphed into the Likud, and its allies in the US became the neoconservatives who pushed for the war on Iraq.
The horrors of what happened in Europe as a result of 19th century nationalism fed the ethnocentric nationalism known as Zionism, and was used to justify the ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestinian society. It is now destabilizing Western Asia and encouraging other narrow chauvinistic ideologies (e.g. Bin Laden\’s Pan-Islamic nationalism mirroring Zionism by claiming to represent members of a particular religion wherever they live).
The Iraq study group report recognized the centrality of the Israel/Palestine question to the spiraling mayhem and loss of US credibility, but failed to suggest the only change that would make a difference: a shift in US foreign policy goals and strategy to promote human rights and International law. The latter four words are ironically missing from both the "Road Map to Peace in the Middle East" and the "Report of the Iraq Study Group."
-Qumsiyeh is author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle". He served on the faculties of Duke and Yale Universities.
Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (New York : Carroll & Graf, 2001).
Lenni Brenner, 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis (Barricade
Lenni Brenner, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir (London: Zed Books, 1984).
Marc H. Ellis, Israel and Palestine: Out of the Ashes, (London: Pluto Press, 2003).
Naeim Giladi , Ben Gurion\’s Scandals (Flushing: Glilit Pub. Co., 1995).
Alfred M. Lilienthal, What Price Israel (IPS Reprint edition, 1969)
Tom Segev with Haim Watzman (Translator) The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust, (New York: Owl Books, 2000).
Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse, Neturei Karta, USA, New York, 1977.
Freud\’s Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 26 February 1930; posted at the Freud Institute in UK website: www.freud.org.uk./arab-israeli.html.
June 21, 1933 memo from The Zionist Federation of Germany, reprinted in Brenner, 51 Documents, p. 43.
Translated from German by Dr. D. S. Blondheim, Federation of American Zionists, 1916, Essential Texts of Zionism; Jewish Virtual Library www.us-israel.org/jsource/Zionism/pinsker.html
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Reissue edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), p. 56.