>>One man's >Holocaust Denial< is another man's protestation of innocence. Why should protestation of innocence be a crime? If new evidence is sufficient to warrant it, then there should always be scope for a retrial. There should be no limit to anyone's right to protest the innocence of another person, no matter how many courts have found the accused guilty. This is a far more basic and significant right than that of >Holocaust< promoters to remain unchallenged.<< Peter Wakefield-Sault
Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism Part 3: Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, 21 March 2007
Which Israeli Prime Minister in his youth was a member of an organisation that offered to collaborate with the Nazis at the height of World War II, because of their shared racial ideology of blood and soil? This question is answered by American civil rights activist and Anti-Zionist Lenni Brenner, the author of Zionism in the age of the dictators.
[This transcript was typed from a recording of the program. The ABC cannot guarantee its complete accuracy because of the possibility of mishearing and occasional difficulty in identifying speakers.]
Stephen Crittenden: Welcome to the program.
Today: Part 3 of our series of programs on Zionism. You may remember that a few weeks ago we were looking at the dispute which has broken out in the Jewish communities in Britain and the United States over support for Israel. In Britain, a new group called 'Independent Jewish Voices' has formed, and a similar group has since started up here in Australia.
You may also remember that I interviewed Professor Alvin Rosenfeld from the University of Indiana, who was scandalised by my use of the term 'Blut und Boden Zionism', or 'blood and soil Zionism'. He denied that revisionist Zionism in the '20s and '30s and its leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky, had been influenced by fascist ideas about race.
Well I promised you more on the subject, and more in particular about Jabotinsky and today we speak to Lenni Brenner, the author of a number of books on Zionism, including Zionism in the Age of the Dictators and The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir. He's also the editor of 'Fifty-one documents: Zionist collaboration with the Nazis'.
American Civil Rights activist Lenni Brenner crashed with Bob Dylan, spent time in jail with Hughie Newton, and for 13 years he worked with Stokeley Carmichael, whose >Coalition Against Zionism and Racism< was founded in 1985, and wound up when Carmichael died in 1998.
When Zionism in the Age of the Dictators was published, in 1983, Vanessa Redgrave purchased the movie rights, and one chapter became the basis of the Jim Allen play, Perdition. Perdition was the centre of a major censorship scandal in 1987 when the Board of the Royal Court Theatre in London cancelled the premiere of a production to be directed by Ken Loach, at the last moment.
Well Lenni Brenner, welcome to The Religion Report. We know that Theodore Herzl founded the Zionist movement a century ago because when he looked around him in Europe he saw hysterical anti-Zionism everywhere. But is there any doubt that early Zionism was shaped by the same ideas about race that shaped Fascism?
Lenni Brenner: Well there's no doubt about it. I'll just quote a couple of little things, in fact I'll quote my favourite first and I'll quote it before I tell you who wrote it, because when you hear who wrote it, you will laugh, OK? And everybody does. Now this is from an article written in 1921 called 'Assimilation and Nationalism', right?
>Nations with racial differences appear to have instincts which work against their fusion. The assimilation of the Jews of the European nations among whom they live in language, in customs, and to some extent even in the forms of religious organisation, could not eradicate the feeling of lack of kinship between them and those among whom they live. In the last resort, this instinctive feeling of lack of kinship is referable to the law of conservation of energy. For this reason it cannot be eradicated by any amount of well-meaning pressure. Nationalities do not want to be fused, they want to go each its own way.<
Now guess who said that?
Stephen Crittenden: Would I be right in thinking the line about the law of conservation of energy is the clue?
Lenni Brenner: Yes.
Stephen Crittenden: Albert Einstein.
Lenni Brenner: Albert Einstein, none other than Albert Einstein, and that's complete pseudo-science, I mean there is no law of conservation of energy and biology, races intermarry constantly. And that was typical not only of the Zionist movement but of the upper class and middle class of Europe and America of that time, and even Australia. I mean in other words they were living in the age of white imperialism, colonies all over the world. So that affected everybody in the intellectual world.
Stephen Crittenden: Lenni, a few weeks ago I interviewed Professor Alvin Rosenfeld on this program about Zionism and anti-Semitism, and I used the term >Blut und Boden Zionism<, >blood and soil Zionism<. And he nearly ended the interview on the spot, because he said it was a Nazi term. But I found the term Blut und Boden Zionism< in your book being used by German Zionists in the 1930s.
Lenni Brenner: Oh yes, I mean basically their attitude was German blood, German soil, Jewish blood, Jewish soil. In 1933, the Nazis come to power and on June 21st, 1933, the Zionist Federation of Germany sent a secret letter to the Nazis. Now we have the letter because it was ultimately published in Israel in 1963, 30 years later. This is the Zionist Federation of Germany to the Nazis. 'Our acknowledgment of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities, precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals because we too are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group and reject any trespass of the cultural domain.' Now I can tell you this: traditional Jewish opposition to mixed marriage was non-stop. I grew up in a family in which my mother kept telling me that I had to marry a Jew. 'Marry a Jew; marry a Jew', you know, it was non-stop. But that's very common. And when the Nazis came to power, the German Zionist Federation which represented a miniscule proportion of the Jews in Germany at that time, they felt that they had won. Here were these guys, who like us, 'blood and soil', like you say, 'Blut und Boden', and opposition to mixed marriage. I mean it was a Zionist dream.
Stephen Crittenden: Alvin Rosenfeld suggested that anti-Zionism among Jews these days can be a form of Jewish self-hatred. You demonstrate in your book that revisionist Zionism in the '20s and '30s itself had a strong flavour of Jewish racial self-hatred.
Lenni Brenner: Well the Zionist attitude was the Jews are smart people and so on and so forth, but they're wasting their time in these countries where they're the businessmen, they're the merchants, they're the parasites, you know? It wasn't so much Zionism revisionism it was actually Labour Zionism is more into that kind of thing. What the Jews had to do was go back literally to the soil, you know, in other words, Jews had to leave the cities of Poland and the United States and go settle on kibbutz in Israel, which were farms.
Stephen Crittenden: Lenni, what about Jabotinsky? He seems like an incredibly interesting and complex figure. You show that he didn't describe himself as a fascist, he didn't want to be called a fascist, but that he and his supporters were very influenced by fascist ideas and that there were in fact some very interesting links between his movement and Mussolini.
Lenni Brenner: Yes, Jabotinsky was one of the most famous linguists of his day. He would come to countries like let's say Belgium and introduce himself to an audience in Flemish, and he's an excellent writer. I mean he's as clear a writer as any imaginable, he's sort of an in-the-face man. 'This is what I stand for, that's right, a Jewish Empire, just like everybody else wants an empire, I want an empire', you know, that kind of mentality. The problem that he had with fascism was that he actually lived in Italy before Mussolini came to power, before World War I actually, and he loved the country which is the least anti-Semitic country in all of Europe. The capitalists there were famous in 1848 when they established the Roman Republic which only lasted about a year, but the first thing they did was smash down the wall of the ghetto.
Stephen Crittenden: And I think it's true that Mussolini himself for a long time when he was in power, treated Hitler's ideas about race as nonsense.
Lenni Brenner: Yes, for a brief instant he flirted with Anti-Semitism and then in 1918-'19 etc., and his own party members said, 'Benito, it doesn't work in Italy, everybody likes the Jews in Italy.' So from then on in he became a patriot of the Jews. Now what happened was that Jabotinsky liked the Italy before Mussolini came to power, and he resented the idea of Mussolini coming to power. But in the realities of Mediterranean politics of that period, Jabotinsky realised the British promised the Zionists a national home in Palestine but they didn't really intend to do it, I mean they were just using them against the Arabs, that was pretty obvious after a while. So he began to look around for a substitute mandatory, a League of Nations mandatory to take over from England. And there was England's rival, Italy, so he became pro-Fascist for the moment.
Now it reached the point where in 1935 Benito Mussolini had a squadron of young Zionist Revisionists, followers of Jabotinsky, at his Naval Academy, and the pro-Fascism just became greater and greater. I mean here is - this is an article from 'World Jewry' which is a pro-Zionist magazine published in London in 1936, and it's talking about Wolfgang von Weisel, who was the Economics Director of the Zionist Revisionists, and this is what he said:
>He personally was a supporter of Fascism and he rejoiced in the victory of Fascist Italy in Abyssinia as a triumph of the white races against the black.< That's the end of the quote. Now Abyssinia is Ethiopia, and I have another book which I reviewed about a year ago Erin Kaplan's 'The Jewish Radical Right: Revisionist Zionism and its Ideological Legacy'. This is a quote from him. 'In his history of Hebrew seamanship, Yirmiyahu Halpern [Jeremiah Halpern] wrote that the cadets' meaning that the Betar squadron at Mussolini's Academy, 'despite opposition from their superiors expressed public support for Mussolini's regime. During the Italian campaign in Ethiopia the Betarist candidates marched alongside Italian soldiers in a demonstration in support of the war.' Now that's pretty clear. I mean here they are -
Stephen Crittenden: And you say those young Jews who graduated from that Naval Academy actually became the founders of the Navy of the new Israeli State?
Lenni Brenner: Yes. They weren't just pro-Fascist, they actually joined the Italian Fascist Youth, the Italian Fascist party. They were living
in Italy, going to school at Mussolini's Naval Academy. They joined the Italian Fascist Youth. This is from L'Idea Sionistica March, 1936. They're inaugurating their squadron headquarters. The rabbi's benediction. The order. Attention, a triple chant was ordered by the squad's commanding officer. 'Viva l'Italia, Viva il Rei, Viva il Duce' followed by a benediction which Rabbi Aldo Lattes invoked in Italian and Hebrew for God and for the King and for il Duce.' And then it says 'Giovinezza" was sung with much enthusiasm by the Betara. Giovinezza was the Italian Fascist party anthem, it wasn't the Italian anthem. What happened was that by 1936 when the Spanish Civil War broke out, Mussolini realised that he had to make sure that the Spanish loyalists were defeated in Spain because if they won, it would inspire the workers in Italy to revolt against him. So he had to ally himself with Hitler, and that meant that he had to get rid of this Betar squadron at his Naval Academy, he had to kick Jews not only out of the Italian Fascist party but out of his Cabinet, and he put in Italian racial laws because otherwise Hitler wouldn't ally himself with him, it was as simple as that.
So they got kicked out. Jabotinsky went back to supporting the British in World War II, but I want to point out that a wing of the Zionist Revisionists broke with him over that and went and supported Hitler. Yitzhak Shamir and most importantly, Avraham Stern and Yitzhak Shamir, let's put it that way, they decided, Look, let's give Mussolini a break. He really tried to do right by Zionism and the Jews, those ingrates, they wouldn't go for it, except for us they wouldn't go for it. So he turned on us, and that's understandable. But now we have to show that we're really Fascist just like him. So what they did was that they sent a messenger, two messengers actually, to Beirut, which was occupied by Vichy France at that time, in 1940 and '41, in December, '40, January, '41. And they gave them a note. It's called 'Fundamental Features of the Proposal of the National Military Organisation in Palestine (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in War on the Side of Germany'.
Now we have this, because they gave it to a German diplomat and he put it in the archives in the German Consulate or Embassy I should say, in Ankara, Turkey and was captured after the war by the British. So we have this. And this is what they said:
'Common interest could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept of the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they're embodied by the NMO. Co-operation between the new Germany and a renewed folkish-national Hebraium would be possible and the establishment of the historic Jewish State on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by the treat with the German Reich, would be in the interests of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East. Proceeding from these considerations the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the abovementioned national aspirations of the Israeli Freedom movement are recognised on the side of the German Reich offers to actively take part in the war on Germany's side.'
Stephen Crittenden: And the NMO is the group that broke away from Jabotinsky Zionists?
Lenni Brenner: Yes.
Stephen Crittenden: We're talking I assume about a very small splinter group?
Lenni Brenner: No, they were. Were talking about a group that is universally known by the name that the British gave them, they're called the Stern Gang. And it was a miniscule group at the time. But one of their leaders, Yitzhak Shamir, later became the Prime Minister of Israel, OK? I mean I was there in Israel in 1983, when this pro-Nazi from 1940 became the Prime Minister of Israel. What literally happened was I was there and I had this document that I just read you, in English and in German. So I took it to an English language Palestinian paper in Jerusalem and they ran the document, and that caused a big hubbub because what happened was that all the foreign correspondents in Jerusalem, when they wanted to know what the Arabs were thinking, they read this English language publication and they read this thing, and they questioned Shamir about it and 'Well there was a plan to talk to them etc. I opposed it but I did join the Stern Gang after the plan was abandoned.' That was just a straight lie.
Stephen Crittenden: You mention Shamir; let's just broaden this out a little bit more and consider the Likud party. Jabotinsky is often seen as the spiritual father of the Likud, of Menachen Begin, of Netanyahu.
Lenni Brenner: Yes, well not only that but almost Ehud Elmert who's the Prime Minister of Kadema, he comes from an Irgun family, and he was born in 1945, but his father was a leader of the Irgun. So when we're talking about the revisionists collaborating with Mussolini in particular, we're talking about the entire Zionist revisionist movement. That's Likud and Kadema. And as you said, Menachem Begin and so on and so forth. That's straight, OK? Shamir, as I say, he represented a minor element in 1940 but as Zionism came into power and had to maintain itself, that minor element became the Prime Minister, OK? I mean he was Prime Minister twice from 1983 to 1991. Stern, they have a museum in Israel for Stern, they have streets named after him ...
Stephen Crittenden: Lenni , I've seen a quote of David Ben Gurion in the late '30s saying he supports transportation of the Arabs, that he sees nothing immoral in that. Now the Jewish people were about to experience transportation for themselves. No-one knew what was just around the corner, but they were speaking the same language.
Lenni Brenner: Well they didn't know what was around the corner, that's true. But on the other hand you mentioned David Ben Gurion, now this is a statement that Ben Gurion made on December 7th, 1938, in other words after Kristallnacht, which was this huge pogrom in Germany, the Night of the Broken Glass where they shattered the windows of Jewish stores all over Germany etc., now this is the man who later became the first Prime Minister of Israel, right?
>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 Israel, 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.<
Now I mean, that statement is so shocking that even most Zionists when they read it - they can hardly believe that he said it, you know. In other words in 1938 after Kristallnacht, he's talking about saving half the Jews rather than all the Jews all in the interest of Zionism and so on. And that was their mentality, their attitude was 'Look, the Jews are in dead trouble no matter where they live, because they don't live in their own country. So what we've got to do is set up our own country come hell or high water'. Labour Zionists were the ones, not the Revisionist, Labour Zionists were the ones who signed a trade agreement with the Nazis in 1933, when all the rest of the Jews, everywhere were spontaneously boycotting Nazi Germany. It didn't take much to do that. The World Zionist Organisation never boycotted Nazi Germany, they were legal in Nazi Germany. When the Communists were illegal, Social Democrats were illegal, the Christian Centre Party was illegal, Catholic Centre Party, every party except the Nazis was illegal, the Zionist movement was legal and allowed to function, and it wasn't an underground organisation, it was up there in front. How I mean this is Labour Zionists. So let me put it this way, the Labour Zionists and the Zionist Revisionists, competed for the franchise if you know what I mean.
Stephen Crittenden: The franchise of?
Lenni Brenner: Of the Nazis and the Fascists. Jabotinsky denounced his own followers in Palestine for being pro-Nazi, but the leader of the Zionist Revisionists in Germany, Georg Kareski was the pick of the German government, I mean they appointed him to one Jewish organistion after the other, after the other. And it got so bad that when he finally went to Palestine in the late '30s, the German Jews met him at the boat and rioted, they were so furious at this Zionist Revisionist.
Stephen Crittenden: There's a view that the modern Israeli State is in some sense founded on an original sin, of the dispossession of the Palestinians who were there. That the military action of 1948 is part of that, that a kind of demographic warfare in fact went on, even from much earlier before 1948. What's your view of that?
Lenni Brenner: Well Yitzhak Rabin wrote a book which was published in Hebrew and then in English by the University of California. In the University of California version he describes how they ran Palestinians out of one particular town in 1948. The way they did it was they called the Palestinian leaders in the town into the Town Square and said 'Look, here are buses. Now you get into those buses and you get out of here, and if you don't get out of here' - and then they opened fire with machine guns over the heads of the Palestinians. They didn't kill anybody, but if somebody fires a machine gun over your head, you're going to take a bus out of there.
The Zionist attitude Look, Palestine is a small country and we're not even getting all of it. So we've got to drive out as many of these Arabs as possible. You said 'original sin'; I would call it unoriginal sin, if you know what I mean. In other words, this is the standard colonialist way of operating. One thing about Jabotinsky, he is famous for one article that he wrote called 'The Iron Wall', in which he just put it right out on the T-shirt, you know, Look, we're a colonial movement, the Arabs are going to resist us just like every other native group resists colonists; just like when the whites came to America, the Indians fought them. Every native group fights foreigners who come into their country. And the only way we can establish Zionism is with an iron wall. And what he meant was an iron wall of bayonets. And he wrote this in 1921 and he said Look, you can talk all you want, as to who is going to be the iron wall, whether it's going to be the British who is going to be the iron wall for us, or we're going to be the iron wall, but no iron wall, no Zionism.
I mentioned Einstein before, you know this was going to be a wonderful place for the Jews who are going to revive their culture and so on, well you know, Jabotinsky's attitude was 'That's very good, but unless you're ready to shoot at the Arabs, you're not going to revive anything because the Arabs, being the natives, they are not going to say Hey, yes, welcome and please do take over our country'. I mean hey, God, you understand, the Zionists didn't come there as immigrants you know, in other words let's say Jews come to Australia, or Jews come to America, they weren't trying to take over Australia or America, they were going to become Americans, Australians. But here they came specifically at the invitation of the wonderful fellows called the British Empire.
I'll tell you this, I mean I read Rosenblat's denunciation of all the Jews who are denouncing Zionism now, and that's going to go on because Zionism isn't working. It's created a Jewish State that's just simply an armed camp. I mean it is nothing but an iron wall at this point, and the average Jew in America first off, resents Israel because it's an Orthodox Jewish State, and the average Jew in the United States is simply not Orthodox. In fact the demographers estimate that about 28% of the Jews in the United States consider themselves to be atheist. So that's No.1. And No.2 they see America's ties to Israel as creating problems from America and wars for America and so on, and as Americans they don't feel Why should America have to go to Israel's defence?
Stephen Crittenden: OK, a last question now that we're on to Jews in America. Lenni , some people would say that this latest debate that's going on in America and Britain over Zionism and antiSemitism, is just the Jewish right hitting the Jewish left over the head and saying, 'Be quiet'. But it seems to me that the American Zionists have been pretty quiet themselves over the past year. Could that be because one US Defence Department official received a long jail sentence recently, and several American Zionists have been indicted over spying for Israel?
Lenni Brenner: Well let me put it this way. There's one American Jew named Pollard who's been in jail for about 20 years as an Israeli spy. OK. And now AIPAC which is the American Israel Political Action Committee, several of their leaders are waiting trial on charges of getting information from the State Department and illegally passing it on to Israel. And everybody understands that there are Israeli spies all over the American government etc. But the Zionist establishment is not silent. On the contrary. They hardly defended themselves against those charges because the politicians here are in their pay and they don't care about the fact that these guys are in jail or going to jail or anything like that. What the Zionists are yelling about is this: The Zionists can bribe a gentile politician, all you've got to do is pass out money, that's American politics, OK. The problem is they can't bribe the Jews. The Jews either believe in Zionism or they don't.
And more and more Jews are simply saying No, I don't believe in it. First off, a majority of young Jews in the United States now, mix marriage. In other words, marry gentiles. So what Israel is all about is a State where they're supposed to go and live off by themselves where in the real world they're living with the ex-Jews living with the ex-Catholic next door. That's the reality of America. So more and more of these Jews who are so alien to Zionism are speaking out. And even some people who've been Zionists, like Tony Judt, for example, was an Editor of New Republic Magazine, he broke with Zionism about two years ago. They don't stop denouncing him as an anti-Semite. Or a self-hater. Now what I tell people is Look, they can call me a self-hater all they like, the fact is all my ex-girlfriends tell me that I was in love with myself and the only one I ever loved, was myself. And they know me a little better than the Zionists.
Stephen Crittenden: Lenni, it's been great talking to you. We've got to wind it up I'm afraid, but look, that's been a very interesting and entertaining conversation on a whole range of levels. Thank you very much for talking to us.
Lenni Brenner: All right. And have a good day.
Stephen Crittenden: Lenni Brenner, the author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. We await your letters.
That's all this week, goodbye from Stephen Crittenden.
Guests: Lenni Brenner, author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.
Presenter: Stephen Crittenden
Producer: Noel Debien
Stephen Crittenden: Welcome to The Religion Report.
If you're a regular listener to The Religion Report you may have been listening in to our series of items on anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in recent months.
To recap briefly, a new group in Britain calling itself Independent Jewish Voices had published an open letter in The Guardian complaining at the way open debate about Israel was being stifled within the Jewish community in Britain. A local chapter of Independent Jewish Voices has since been launched here in Australia.
Meanwhile in the United States, a similar debate was going on. The American-Jewish Committee had published a controversial paper arguing that anti-Zionism was the new anti-Semitism, and progressive, left-leaning Jews were in effect the new anti-Semites.
Well this was an important story, and we've attempted to cover it in good faith, and to present a diversity of views as we're required to do under the new ABC Editorial policies. Most recently we spoke to American Marxist and anti-Zionist, Lenny Brenner, the author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. We discussed controversial topics, such as whether European Zionism in the early 20th century had been shaped by the same racialist ideology that shaped Fascism; the Zionists' association with Mussolini; how the Stern Gang wrote the Germans in December, 1940 offering to fight against the British on the side of the Nazis; and how a former leader of the Stern Gang, Yitzak Shamir later became Prime Minister of Israel.
Well we had a huge response to the Lenny Brenner program, both positive and negative, and we promised you more. And so this week, by way of response to Lenny Brenner we go right to the tip-top of the tree, to leading historian of Zionism, Walter Laqueur. Walter Laqueur is 86 years old and still writing books and giving interviews at a pace that would exhaust many people half his age. His History of Zionism was published in 1972. Last year's book was The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism, and his latest book, The Last Days of Europe has just appeared. Twenty years ago he reviewed Lenny Brenner's book for the magazine New Republic under the headline 'The anti-Zionism of fools'. But I began by asking Walter Laqueur about the changing face of anti-Semitism; how does he think anti-Semitism is changing?
Walter Laqueur: Well the world is changing and anti-Semitism has been changing, has been changing over the last 2,000 years. 200 years ago was mainly religious anti-Semitism, 100 years ago was racialist, and we are living now in a period one could perhaps define it as post-racialist anti-Semitist. In the period of Adolf Hitler it was a racialist thing, in other words if you were a Jew, you belonged to a certain inferior race which ultimately had to be destroyed, had to be exterminated. Anti-Semitism today is different because provided you agree with the people you know who criticise or attack the Jews, be it about Israel, be it about other subjects, then you can pass. In other words, it's maybe more like the religions anti-Semitism. In other words, if a Jew in the 17th or 18th century, if he converted, then he was all right, I mean there was nothing wrong with him, provided of course the conversion was genuine.
Stephen Crittenden: And what do you feel about the argument that the new anti-Semitism is essentially hatred of Israel?
Walter Laqueur: Well it isn't true. In other words of course Israel is a factor which shouldn't be ignored, true, but the issue is of course why should Israel, Israel let's assume that the government of Israel is committing all kinds of, I don't know, misdeeds, or even crimes, but there's a great deal of crime going on in the world, and why should Israel be singled out, and if it is singled out there must be a reason. And the reason is apparently some form of anti-Semitism.
Stephen Crittenden: You're a man of advanced years Professor Laquer, you've seen it all; how do you determine the difference between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism? I assume you don't think all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism.
Walter Laqueur: Of course not. Any government which commits mistakes or crimes should be criticised and should be attacked, and of course my personal view is that a great deal has been wrong with the foreign policy and domestic policy of the State of Israel, and that's on one hand. But on the other hand, most member states of the United Nations have also been guilty of misdeeds, and they're not attacked. But here of course there is something wrong.
Stephen Crittenden: Let me go back to the history of Zionism in the early 20th century in Europe. In your 'History of Zionism' you suggest that the Zionists accepted that anti-Semitism was natural, and that acceptance was grist to the mill of Nazi propaganda. Tell us about that.
Walter Laqueur: Yes, you see, if you happen to live in Europe and Austria as Helfler(?) did around the turn of the - about 1900, there was a great deal of anti-Semitism, and not only in Austria, it in France, you know the Dreyfus case, and then the pogroms in Eastern Europe, and it was only natural that people should think here Look there's a Jewish problem, which indeed there was. As you know I mean - World War II. And people were looking for a solution, and the solution was for many people a territorial one. Not necessarily Palestine, but an exodus of Jews from many European countries.
Stephen Crittenden: Professor Laquer, in the 1920s and 1930s here in Australia, the White Australia Policy was booming with the full support of the Australian people. That's a dark aspect of our history, but it's also a fact that I guess any serious inquiry into Australian history has to face. Now our discussion of Zionism and anti-Semitism on this program in recent weeks has ventured into some very dark and sensitive territory. I'm sure some people would say that even by discussing these matters, we're giving comfort to the enemies of Israel and the anti-Semites, the David Irvings of the world. In theory, should we be having this conversation about these dark and sensitive facts of history?
Walter Laqueur: Of course, in this day and age one shouldn't be too selfconscious. I mean as almost everything which should be discussed . There should be obviously sometimes an end to discussion, but I'm not in favour of censorship and of self-censorship. But you mentioned about Australia and Canada of course, I remember that at one stage a few years ago I had to go into these issues, namely why was there such an unwillingness to accept refugees from Europe. And the people who today complain about Zionism in Israel if other countries would have been more willing to accept refugees from Europe, but they were not obviously, and I forget now whether it was a Canadian or Australian Minister who said 'One immigrant is one too many', but it was quite typical for the late 1930s.
Stephen Crittenden: Well I guess the point being that racialist ideas were everywhere. Was Zionism influenced by those racialist ideas, and by I guess a volkish nationalism of blood and soil; that it wanted a Jewish State in imitation of the volkish national states of Europe?
Walter Laqueur: Well it was - maybe the pioneers. It wasn't - look, Zionism after all goes back to the 19th century, even further, and the Nazis and Fascism came later. So I mean Zionists certainly didn't copy it, didn't learn from them. But it is perfectly true that the race issue, not as the Nazis saw it, but race issues were a topical intellectual subject around 1890 and 1900, and not only on the right. I would say more on the left if you look at people like George Bernard Shaw and so on, a firm believer in race and eugenics, and the one government which introduced eugenic and racialist laws was the Social Democratic government of Sweden. So it's true these ideas were very much in the air, but I don't think that especially the Eastern European Zionists, for them this race issue didn't figure at all, they had other problems.
Stephen Crittenden: It was more a German Zionist thing.
Walter Laqueur: It was more German, German-Austrian, yes.
Stephen Crittenden: You gave a fairly negative review about 20 years ago to Lenny Brenner's book 'Zionism in the Age of the Dictators', but you also said this: You said, 'It is quite true that some Zionists should not have looked for Mussolini's support, even in the 1920s. They were gravely mistaken to do so. It is true moreover that German Zionists did not fully understand the meaning of Hitler when he came to power in 1933. Some of their comments make embarrassing reading 50 years later.' Is Brenner at least correct about the facts of Zionist collaboration?
Walter Laqueur: Look, of course the Zionists collaborated, everyone who lived in Germany after 1933, this was the government, and if you wanted to emigrate from the country you had to talk to the Nazis, you even had to talk to Eichmann who was in charge of emigration up to 1939. So I never understood what Brenner wanted to prove, if he wanted the Jews to stay in Germany, did he want every single one to be killed? It's absolutely nonsense. It's not really a matter for serious discussion.
Stephen Crittenden: What about the collaboration of the Stern Gang in Palestine once the Second World War had begun? We received a lot of angry comment about Brenner's statement that the Stern Gang sent a note to the Germans in December 1940 offering to fight against the British on the side of the Nazis; is there any doubt that that happened?
Walter Laqueur: Look the Stern Gang were a few dozen people, and I think two of them went to Bayreuth, a man by the name of Yallin Moor(?) and another person. I don't think they saw any, they tried to see a German, but I don't think they succeeded in the end. Now this was a group of confused young people, by the way the Stern Gang was also very left-wing, it was pro-Soviet.
Stephen Crittenden: Well that came later didn't it, after the war?
Walter Laqueur: And that happened yes, two years later, they became pro-Soviet. In other words, they didn't really know what they were doing, and again this was a matter of not the slightest consequence and organised Jewish community in Palestine turned against the terrorist, meaning Irgun and Stern Gang, and either handed them over to the British or they were exiled to Eritrea of course.
Stephen Crittenden: Well Stern isn't entirely treated as a traitor in Israel, is he? I mean there are streets and museums and stamps in his honour.
Walter Laqueur: Stern was killed during a police raid I think - I forget now, was it '40 or '41 in Tel Aviv, but yes, of course these people were treated as traitors. And look, not everything was known immediately, only it took a few months, it took a year until it became known that these people had been to Bayreuth and what they intended to do. A lot of people went to Bayreuth in 1940/41, but one didn't know what they were up to.
Stephen Crittenden: On the other hand, I wonder about the continuing influence of - I mean we know this was a tiny ultranational splinter group, but the continuing influence of people like Shamir and Began for that matter, who both went on to be Prime Minister of Israel. And whether Zionism in Israel in recent decades has really been shaped by the ultranationalist Zionism.
Walter Laqueur: Look as far as the Stern Gang is concerned, most of its members, there were a few dozen, were arrested in '48 after the murder of Bernadotte, you know the Swedish mediator, and later on some of them were given an opportunity to serve the country, but that took about 25, 30 years until they were rehabilitated.
Stephen Crittenden: Of course there was a famous letter published in The New York Times in December, 1948 and signed by people like Albert Einstein, and Hannah Arendt, when Menachem Begin came to the United States as the head of a new political party that had been formed out of the Irgun, and in that letter they stated that it was 'inconceivable that people who opposed fascism throughout the world could support the movement he represented', that it had been involved in terrorism, that it had been closely influenced by Italian fascism, and that it preached a mixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism and racial superiority. Wasn't all that true?
Walter Laqueur: Look, at the time this National Liberation movement and for many people this was a National Liberation movement like Kenyatta, or like in China or like any other. It was anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, so I personally have not the slightest sympathy, but you should see that in the context of the time, the period of decolonisation, the British Empire withdrawing, and here the Israeli terrorists were given the same treatment let's say, like the Indians who were fighting the British. And the other nationalists after all.
Stephen Crittenden: Well you say it was an anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist movement. On the other hand, we haven't mentioned the Arabs who were also at that time emerging as an anti-imperialist movement of national liberation, with aspirations of their own. Is one of the failures of Zionism perhaps from the very beginning, that it didn't really take those Arab aspirations into account?
Walter Laqueur: Yes that's perfectly true. They should have given more attention and some of those, some did, some of the Zionist leaders. Except by now in the perspective of 50, or 80 or 90 years, I'm a little sceptical you see. If two people want the same country, you have a genuine conflict, and even if you take the aspirations of the other side into account, you will not necessarily reach an agreement. And that was the situation.
Stephen Crittenden: I appreciate your time. Thank you very much for talking to the program.
Walter LLaqueur: Thank you.
Stephen Crittenden: Historian Walter Laqueur, speaking to me from his home in Washington, D.C.
Well now, by way of what I hope will be a postscript, a new collection has recently appeared of the Jewish writings of that great Jewish moralist, philosopher, and political commentator, Hannah Arendt. Last year was the centenary of her birth. She's most famous for her book The Origins of Totalitarianism and for her coverage of the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961, in which she coined the phrase, 'the banality of evil'. That book provoked an enormously hostile reception from Jewish intellectual and community leaders, and one of the critics of Hannah Arendt at the time was Walter Laquer. He once said that she'd read too much anti-Semitic literature for her own good. Here's what he has to say about Hannah Arendt.
Walter Laqueur: You see Hannah Arendt, a) she was a philosopher, as a philosopher she was important, and significant and she's still read today. As a political thinker, as a political commentator, and I do not think that highly of her, and furthermore she changed her opinion from time to time, which is perfectly all right, all of us change our opinion. Hannah Arendt was a Zionist, except she put the stress on cultural Zionism. She believed in a bi-national state rather than a Jewish state, which I for instance and many others did too. Except there was no partner for bi-national states. It was not enough that the Jews be in favour. The other side had to agree too, and the other side didn't agree.
Stephen Crittenden: Walter Laqueur.
Presenter: Stephen Crittenden
Producer: Noel Debien
ABC redress 'very little and too late'
Australian Jewish News, 18 May 2007
Antisemitism watchdog, the B'nau B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) has panned the ABC for taking more than six weeks to redress "gross misrepresentations" about Zionism made on Radio National's Religion Report.
ADC executive officer Manny Waks told the AJN this week that the May 9 edition of the Religion Report, which featured an interview with US Zionist historian Walter Laqueur, is "a minor and belated attempt" to restore balance after a March 21 interview on the program with socialist historian Lenni Brenner.
During his interview with host Stephen Crittenden, Brenner said that "Everybody understands that there are Israeli spies all over the American government" and "What the Zionists are yelling about is this: the Zionists can bribe a gentile politician, all you've got to do is pass out money ... The problem is they can't bribe the Jews."
Calling the copmments "blatantly antisemitic", Waks said they "should have resulted in an immediate response to that, there should have been someone else the following week to counter those serious allegations and inaccurate statements".
"The fact that the ABC decided to do so several weeks after, we acknowledge and welcome that, but it certainly doesn't absolve them of their responsibility or wash their hands clean of journalistic impropriety."
In his May 9 interview with Crittenden, Laqueur, who was scathing of Brenner's book Zionism in the Age of Dictators when he reviewed it two decades ago, answered some of Brenner's accusations about links between Zionism and fascism.
On alleged Zionist collaboration with Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Laqueur told Crittenden: "If you wanted to emigrate from the country you had to talk to the Nazis, you even had to talk to [Adolf] Eichmann, who was in charge of emigration up to 1939. So I never understood what Brenner wanted to prove, if he wanted the Jews to stay in Germany, did he want every single one to be killed? It's absolutely nonsense. It's not really a matter for serious discussion."
The Brenner interview triggered a letter of complaint by the ADC to ABC Radio's executive producer for religion, David Busch.
Some weeks later, a response from ABC audience liaison manager Denise Musto to the ADC stated that the national broadcaster acknowledged "that these are complex and controversial issues and Mr Brenner's analysis is rejected by other scholars".
Musto stated: "The ABC is satisfied that the Religion Report gave fair and accurate coverage of Mr Brenner's views: but did not specifically answer the ADC's criticism of Crittenden's interviewing.
Meanwhile, member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby said he was "most satisfied" with a meeting he had with ABC managing director Mark Scott last week.
The meeting, which lasted nearly an hour, discussed Danby's charges that the national broadcaster has an inherent anti-Israel bias.
[Note: Peter Grose states he witnessed the second plane crashing into the tower - a witness speaks out and his world view is unfolding. Is he in the know about matters or is he merely being prophetic about a forthcoming sea attack? Note reference to Airservices Australia, where Revisionist Richard Krege worked for almost ten years, but was given his marching orders after he returned from the December 2006 Teheran International Holocaust Conference. Richard Sproull, who had written about the conference and its Australian attendees in The Australian, had mentioned in one article Richard Krege’s workplace. Sproull has now left the Australian and his present whereabouts is unknown. That’s how it is done – and so we deliver another proof how individuals are >terminated< whenever they dare question any aspects of the >Holocaust-Shoah< dogma – Fredrick Töben]
I'd just finished the first draft of my book A Very Rude Awakening, and I was having lunch to celebrate with a Navy friend. My book deals with the Japanese midget submarine raid on Sydney Harbour on May 31, 1942, and one of its big themes is just how badly Sydney prepared for the attack. In the run-up there were three Japanese spy plane flights over Sydney, one in February, one eight days before the raid, and one two days before it. Although the last two flights were spotted by the defences, nobody fired a shot at any of the planes, and nobody thought to put Sydney on extra alert.
The three midget submarines slipped into Sydney Harbour past eight electronic indicator loops, past six patrolling Royal Australian Navy ships and through two gaps in the anti-submarine net. The net wasn't finished in May 1942, and the Japanese spy planes had thoughtfully sketched and photographed the gaps so the submarine commanders had no trouble finding their way into the harbour.
My Navy friend and I were chortling over all this when he pulled me up short by saying: "You know, if the same thing happened today, I doubt if we'd be any better prepared."
Well, I wonder. Let's take a look at the spy plane flights first. The airspace over Sydney is tightly controlled to protect the passenger planes flying in and out of Sydney Airport. It is blanketed by radar, and you can't enter Sydney's airspace without permission from the air traffic controllers at Mascot.
So what would happen if a slow-moving single-engine spy plane, looking for all the world like one of those seaplanes that buzz around Sydney Harbour today, turned up on the radar unannounced and charged into the controlled airspace over Sydney? I rang up Airservices Australia, which has the legal responsibility for all this, and asked them what they'd do. "We'd talk to the pilot," said a spokesman. "We'd call him on the radio and tell him he was in controlled airspace and that he should remove himself at once."
What if he didn't answer the radio, I asked? "Then we'd warn other aircraft that he was there and route them around him."
Would there be any attempt to follow the intruder back to wherever he landed? "We don't have the facilities for that," said my new friend. So the worst any spy plane intruding over Sydney these days could expect is a bit of a talking to from Airservices Australia. And if the pilot didn't answer on the radio, then Airservices Australia would make sure no other aircraft interfered with his work, and would heave a huge sigh of relief when he cleared off. But that's all.
What about somebody entering Sydney Harbour from the sea? There are no boom nets across Sydney Harbour these days, no indicator loops, and no Royal Australian Navy patrols inside the harbour. After all, we're not at war, are we?
So what would happen today if somebody tried to enter Sydney Harbour and do us an injury? I rang the Department of Defence. They were more formal than Airservices Australia, and asked me to put my questions in writing, by e-mail. Their reply was a bit huffy at first, saying: "Defence does not usually give details of its current tactics, techniques and procedures. I'm also not sure that it is appropriate for you to be talking about current defences." Well, as I was clearly going to talk about them anyway, my correspondent agreed that my summary of the position was pretty accurate.
Here is the current state of play, as I understand it. There are air and sea patrols off Australia's shores backed up by satellite surveillance. Any large warship would have trouble getting close to us without being spotted and intercepted. These same patrols and satellites keep an eye on civil shipping as well, on the lookout for people smugglers, drug smugglers and the like.
What about ordinary commercial shipping? Ah, that's a different story. As long as a ship is expected, it will enter our harbours unchallenged.
I began to think about al-Qaida and how patiently they go about setting up an operation. It took two years to prepare the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre, including training the pilots.
So what if someone out to harm us began by infiltrating the crew of a super tanker, or a container ship? Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. So do a lot of super tankers full of crude oil. What if, over a couple of years, the crew of a super-tanker gradually gathered up a handful of people who then picked us out as their target?
The ecological damage from a super tanker wrecked near our shores would last for decades. The cost of cleaning up the mess could run into billions of dollars. A wrecked container ship inside the harbour with chemicals on board would be just as lethal and just as expensive.
Yet it would be very hard to stop. No amount of boom nets or indicator loops or satellite pictures or patrolling ships and planes would protect us against an attack like this. If Sydney were the target, then we would be about as unprepared today as we were in May, 1942.
Having churned my way through all these melancholy thoughts, I suddenly found myself stuck, in the way you do, with the words of a song. Burt Bacharach's lyrics kept going round and round in my head. "Trains and boats and planes," I sang to myself. Well, the terrorists can put a tick against planes after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre, and they can put two ticks against trains after the Madrid bombing and the attacks on the Tube in London. That leaves only boats untouched. I hope I'm wrong.
Guest:: Peter Grose, former publisher at Secker & Warburg, Founder of Curtis Brown Australia, Former chairman of ACP (UK).
Publications: A Very Rude Awakening, Allen & Unwin, ISBN 978 1 74175 219 9
Producer: Sue Clark
Italian campus denies denier
An Italian university shut down to prevent a lecture by a Holocaust denier. The head of the University of Teramo, in central Italy, ordered the shutdown Friday after it failed to dissuade Robert Faurisson from appearing. Faurisson, who has been prosecuted in his native France for arguing that the Nazi gas chambers were a myth, had been invited by a history professor at the university. Jewish groups said the invitation was unbecoming of a serious academic institution. http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/101921.html
From: Google Alerts
Sent: Saturday, 19 May 2007 11:32 AM
Subject: Google Alert - Robert Faurisson
Google News Alert for: Robert Faurisson
Denver Post - Denver,CO,USA
Retired French professor Robert Faurisson, with pin-striped suit, gestures as he speaks to journalists about Nazis during World War II, ...
Google Blogs Alert for: Robert Faurisson
For anyone claiming academic credentials, like French Professor Robert Faurisson, to come along a mere 62 years after WWII (while there are still a few Holocaust survivors around) and deny the horrors of Nazism as perpetrated against ...
Freedom - http://www.peres-fondateurs.com/~freedom
By Chris Womak(Chris Womak)
Robert Faurisson is indeed one powerful guy! If you listen to the Jew Box, they say he's marginalized and nobody listens to him. Yeah right. University shut in Holocaust row An Italian university has closed down one of its campuses to ...
Politically Correct Apostate - http://pcapostate.blogspot.com/
By Deborah Lipstadt(Deborah Lipstadt)
It's hard to believe but Robert Faurisson, an unabashed Holocaust denier who has been convicted five times in France for denying crimes against humanity, was invited to lecture at the University of Teramo. ...
Robert Faurisson, who has been convicted five times in France for denying crimes against humanity, is expected to speak at a local hotel instead.
Robert Faurisson, who has been convicted five times in France for denying crimes against humanity, is expected to speak at a local hotel instead. [If he'd spoken at the university a few fools would've attended; or students and others ...
This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.
Evidence: Lawsuit aimed at racial intimidation of Muslim community
Boston--May 22, 2007--Court documents reveal that on May 28, 2004, David Project directors and several attorneys were developing strategies to cast doubt on the Roxbury Mosque's status as a non-profit organization. One attorney suggested, "How about simply appealing the building permit and tying things up?"
The group decided to investigate several plans to halt construction, but on July 22, 2007 David Project director Anna Kolodner started panicking.
"The steel is going up on the Mosque," she wrote to the group. "We need to have a plaintiff. This is a priority. Please contact any individuals that would consider this role and let us know."
Using the lawsuit, Kolodner demanded records from the Boston Redevelopment Authority to use for negative publicity. Realizing that few Americans could care less where the Islamic Society of Boston obtained their mortgage, real estate developer Steve Cohen discussed creating suspicion by using vague language to question the mosque’s non-criminal foreign "connections."
"However, the First Amendment will bar any governmental action against the mosque based on these connections - not in the absence of incitement that might lead to ‘imminent action.’ So all we are left with is a public relations campaign."
This admission betrays a premeditated decision to incite hate by using "terrorist" as an ethnic slur to manipulate public sentiment, while their plaintiff sued the city for selling to Muslims.
"The suit itself will have to stick to the narrow constitutional issues, which have nothing to do with the terrorist connections," Cohen continued. "However, the pr campaign surrounding the suit can strike a different chord: i.e. that the city of Boston should not be subsidizing a mosque or any organization with terrorist connections. We will be much more effective if we let others ask this question than if we do so ourselves," Cohen admitted, "The suit itself will have to stick to the narrow constitutional issues, which have nothing to do with the terrorist connections."
On September 2, 2004, Anna Kolodner wrote, "Filing the lawsuit will serve to trip the switch on the larger agenda of exposing the radical fundamentalist underpinnings of the Mosque and its leaders…We need to develop a media campaign and identify who will be the public spokesperson for the group…We need an expert in power point to develop a presentation that can be used with the media, politicians, and community groups." That power point expert would turn out to be the notorious Robert Spencer.
Karin Friedemann is editor of World View News Service, focusing on the Islamic world.
Top | Home
©-free 2007 Adelaide Institute