Since quitting Labour before he was pushed, former Labour MP Chris Williamson has been trying to build a far Left extra-Parliamentary movement. It is no exaggeration to say that antisemitism is a keystone of this movement. It comes in the form of our old friend, IDS (Israel Derangement Syndrome): “Jews Are OK, It’s Zionists Who Are Evil”. Williamson and his Cronies are free to play this game with impunity because although the Equality Act recognises that a ‘belief’ can be a ‘protected characteristic’, there has not yet been case law that confirms Zionism to be a ‘belief’(I am not aware of a case which decided that it is not a ‘belief’ either – there simply hasn’t been a case). I’ve submitted to the Law Commission Consultation on Hate Crime.
The problem with “Jews are OK … ” is that it’s nonsense. Jews and Zionists are two sides of the same coin. Antisemites make no distinction. Williamson knows this of course…..
The most recent manifestation of IDS was an online meeting last Wednesday (26 May 2021). (Kerry-Anne Mendoza was sick and didn’t participate). Speakers included Richard Boyd Barrett, the 54 year old member of the Irish Parliament who has told the Israel Ambassador that he should be expelled. But the reason why I am blogging the meeting is the contribution of Max Blumenthal which was pure Nazi – not for the first time from Blumenthal, here he is in 2017.
Here’s what Blumenthal says, with time-stamps and my comments:
39:49: “AIPAC controls every elite institution and leaves the public in the margins”
The trope of Jewish Power. Profoundly antisemitic. IHRA: ‘Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.‘
41:18 “BDS is an expression of how undemocratic our foreign policy is”
41:37 Williamson: “The Far Right and the Zionist movement in the UK are very close”
Ditto: Mendacious allegation. The far Right hate Jews. There are those who love Israel but their advances are rejected by all Jewish communal organisations.
46:05: “The Israel Lobby is becoming a receptacle for far Right trash, as it is in the US”
Ditto: Mendacious allegation
From 47:22 until 53:52 there is a six-and-a-half minute vile antisemitic rant from Blumenthal. I’ve transcribed most of it:
“This relationship between the far fascist Right and Zionism has always been there. The Zionist Right during the 1930s and 1940s embraced to a certain degree elements of the Third Reich and elements within the Third Reich – including Eichmann’s Deputy in the German Jewish Office, von Mildenstein – actually went on trips to Zionist Kibbutzim. Von Mildenstein came back to Germany with a special medal he had been gifted from the right wing of the Zionist Movement that featured …. And I’ve actually seen this medal because it was purchased by a researcher named Lenni Brenner, who wrote one of the most subversive and completely factual books on Zionism, called ‘51 Documents of Zionist/Nazi Collaboration’ … Lenni Brenner actually let me hold this medal in my hand –it had a Star of David – it shows how unfortunate it is for Zionism to claim this symbol of my faith community … the Star of David on the one side and a swastika on the other … That was the medal given to Von Mildenstein when he returned.”
This is a plain lie. Von Mildenstein did visit Palestine in 1933, when the Nazis were still considering relocation as a solution to the ‘Jewish Problem’. Von Mildenstein continued to advocate the relocation of Jews to the British Mandate up to 1936, when he was replaced as the SS pointman for Jewish issues by the Eichmann, who eventually helped orchestrate the mass-murder of Jews as the “final solution.” The ‘medal’ (in reality a coin) to which Blumenthal refers was NOT ‘gifted to von Mildenstein by the right wing of the Zionist Movement’.
The coins were produced by Nazi Germany as free gifts to encourage the purchase of a Nazi magazine, Der Angriff, which (in 1934) carried a series of 12 articles by Mildenstein entitled “A Nazi travels to Palestine.” Hitler’s propaganda chief Goebbels (who produced the magazine) likely saw the series as his newspaper’s flagship project, using it as a means of advertising.
Blumenthal’s praise of Lenni Brenner is sickening. See here for the truth about Brenner and a deconstruction of his work.
“Actually Jabotinsky – who was the sort of intellectual godfather of revisionist Zionism – the rightwing Zionism that inspires Netanyahu’s Likud party – had to tamp down on support for Nazi Germany within his Party. In 1933 the Stern Gang … that produced Yitzhak Shamir, future Israeli Prime Minister – issued a letter after Hitler’s election to Nazi Germany pledging to establish a fascist theocracy inside historic Palestine that would be allied with Germany. “
It’s a lie. The Stern Gang wasn’t formed until 1940 (Its real name was Lohamei Herut Israel, Freedom Fighters of Israel). There is no sign of any ‘letter’ in 1933. See for example here.
(There was, however, a letter sent to the Nazi German Ambassador in Lebanon in 1941 seeking cooperation for the purpose of ending the oppressive British regime in Palestine – not as an expression of identity with Nazism!)
“Then there’s the Havara Agreement that Ken Livingstone was pilloried for mentioning. The Havara Transfer Agreement was an agreement between the leftwing of the Zionist movement. It was overseen by David Ben Gurion who was the head of the major Zionist labour unions and his Deputy Haim Arlossoroff who was (I believe) assassinated by rightwing Zionists because he was so proud of making these deals with Nazi Germany, that he bragged about it in Ha’aretz … He was shot in the middle of Tel Aviv .. and what they were doing was, they were exchanging Jewish property and people inside Germany .. They would get the people and some of their property and they would agree to let the German government which was run by Hitler take a portion of that property as well as some of the family money from those people who would then be sent … historic Palestine … You can argue what they were saving those people’s lives… But they were openly trading with a antisemitic fascist regime to advance their narrow historic goals .. “
‘Narrow historic goals’? So saving the life of Jews is a ‘narrow historic goal!’ In March 1933 Hitler was elected and quickly began the persecution of Germany’s Jews. On 10 May there was mass burning of Jewish books. On 25 August the Havara Agreement was signed which saved approximately 20,000 German Jews who managed to emigrate to Palestine (Bauer, Jews for Sale?, p10).
“And what did they do to resist that regime? 200,000 Jews fought as Partisans … Many of them died in the woods of Belorussia and places across Eastern Europe fighting the fascist Nazi forces, while many of their neighbours collaborated with them .. What did the Zionist movement do? Pretty much nothing. They let one young woman Hanna Senesh parachute into Eastern Europe, get captured and died, they barely gave her their blessing so .. Golda Meir was deeply uncomfortable about that operation at that time. “
This is a defamatory lie clearly drawn from Tom Segev’s book ‘The Seventh Million’. Friling and Tamin (see below) write of this book that it is ‘an unmitigated and manipulative use of malicious hyperbole for political and other purposes….The Seventh Million teems with arbitrary, categorical conclusions, and shades of scandal; it makes for enticing reading, but is void of factual basis – at best it is a masterful job of smoke and mirrors. The book is also embassassingly inaccurate, rife with inherent contradictions and U-turns’.
Now the truth: Palestinian Jews flocked to the British colours to fight in Europe. According to their historian Yoav Gelber, some 30,000 Jews in Palestine volunteered for service in the British Army during the war, and 5,000 served in the Jewish Brigade that was formed in September 1944 and fought in Italy in the spring of 1945. See Michael R. Marrus, Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust (Journal of Contemporary History, Vol 30, No 1). The latest research shows that Ben-Gurion and his colleagues in Palestine did their utmost to save European Jewry during the Holocaust. They engaged in a multitude of activities, some of which might be termed a ‘little rescue’- small operations designed to assist Jewish survival in occupied areas. They provided money, food, clothes, medicine, and forged papers. They transferred people to areas of less danger; smuggled arms for self-defence; provided organisational assistance; and send money for those hiding. The Zionist leadership also undertook large-scale operations to rescue Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe. These included the ‘children’s rescue’ plan, ransom plans and the ‘covert cooperation’ plan that developed into the ‘parachutists’ plan’. See the works of Yehuda Bauer, Dina Porat and Dalia Ofer, Yoav Gelber and Shlomo Aronson; and ‘The New Historians and the Failure of Rescue Operations during the Holocaust’ by Tuvia Friling and Moshe Tlamin (Israel Studies, Vol 8 No 3). That these operations were mostly unsuccessful was not due to lack of effort, but to the unremitting evil of Hitler’s Germany and the lack of Allied support. Specifically the US maintained the immigration quotas set in the 1920s; the British maintained the 1939 White paper restrictions on Jewish immigration into Palestine (15,000 a year). Regarding the ‘children’s rescue’ plan, the Zionist leadership recognised that maintaining Palestine as an exclusive destination could cause political problems. They were willing to help to relocate them to any destination.
In summary Blumenthal is lying: the Zionist leadership did everything in its power to save European Jewry.
“They let one young woman Hanna Senesh parachute into Eastern Europe, get captured and died, they barely gave her their blessing so .. Golda Meir was deeply uncomfortable about that operation at that time.“The story of Hannah Szenes is here. Her parachute mission was undertaken for the British Army, not for the Yishuv (the name for the Jewish Community in Palestine pre-1948). So the notion that “They [the Zionist leadership] let ….” is a complete lie. I can find no evidence to support the comment about Golda Meir.
“So this relationship is historic. It is something that has always upset me about Zionism .. Is that whenever there’s an actual attack on Jews in the West … There’s a lot of bogus allegations of antisemitism but there are also hideous violent attacks on Jews as Jews. For example the kosher supermarket that was attacked in Paris .. I visited that supermarket after that attack .. I did a film actually with my friend James Kleinfeld who’s now part of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (and we also worked on the ‘Lobby’ investigation together, which I’ll talk about in a second)”
“Bogus allegations of antisemitism” …. It is an offence under the Equality Act 2010 to suggest that allegations of antisemitism are ‘bogus’, see EHRC Investigation of the Labour Party.
“We did a film called ‘Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie’ about the atmosphere of France after these attacks.
We found outside the supermarket lots of people had come to put flowers, al Qaeda criminals had gone and committed a shooting spree against Jews, and there were flowers outside but the Israeli Embassy and Zionist groups had actually come and put manuals targeting the Jewish Community on making Aliya – or emigrating to Israel – to basically leave Paris … So you have antisemites, fascist Jihadists, who want Jews out of Europe and then you have Zionists who want the same, they want them to go to Israel. It’s very convenient for people who don’t like Jews to have this place thousands of miles away where they can go.”
The allegation that Nazis and Zionists want the same thing –Jews out of Europe – is straight out of Moscow School 101, circa 1957. (In December 2015, Blumenthal travelled to Moscow—all expenses paid by the Kremlin—to attend a gala dinner, hosted by Vladimir Putin himself, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of RT, the international propaganda TV network owned by the Russian government). It’s nonsense of course. And ‘fascist Jihadists’ don’t just want Jews out of Europe, they want Jews out of the world, including of course the Middle East.
“In this country most of the people who support Israel and Netanyahu the strongest are Christian Zionists. And they see us Jews as instruments in their eschatology – their vision of a rapture – we all have to emigrate to historic Palestine in order for their vision of a rapture and the cleansing of the earth from Satanic elements to occur ……….”
“And they see us Jews as instruments in their eschatology” ….. Some do, others don’t.