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Gallery of Antisemitism – Example 28

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Jews, Israel and Zionism: Making a false equivalence between Zionism and Nazism:

We dealt in the Holocaust section with inappropriate comparisons of the behaviour of the State of Israel to the Palestians with Nazi Germany.

Here we deal with a different false equivalence between Zionism and Nazism which arises from misinterpreting the historical Haavara Agreement. This agreement between the Nazis and some German Zionists enabled some Jews fleeing persecution under the new Nazi regime to transfer some portion of their assets to British Mandatory Palestine and emigrate there. The Agreement is described here.

In 2016, however, Ken Livingstone, distorted the facts by saying that “he [Hitler] was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. The statement is fundamentally incorrect. Nazi ideology was, and remains, of the opinion that the Jews are a menace and should be disposed of, not merely sent forcibly to other countries, and the fact that a small number of Jews were allowed to go to Palestine does not change this. The implication is that Zionists colluded with the Nazis and thus that Zionism itself is fundamentally Nazi. Zionists did not collude with the Nazis: to regard the Haarava Agreement as collusion is either to misunderstand or wilfully ignore the situation of Jews within the Reich. Jewish people faced multiple and vicious discrimination against themselves, then deportation, followed by extermination of huge swathes of the population, as did some other groups targeted for genocide by the Nazis; they were not able to act freely but were forced to find ways to save as many lives as possible. Ken Livingstone’s failure to acknowledge these facts, with which he must have been familiar, suggests more of a wish to score political points than an understanding of what the true position was at the time. His repeated doubling down, despite authoritative refutation of what he had said by a number of respected historians (as in the article below) appears to us to be a gesture of extreme bad faith.


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