A Zionism On The Web Special
The comparison between Zionists, Israelis or Jews and Nazis is made by three distinct groups and for two very different purposes. In all cases the analogy is little to do with facts and instead tries to paint Zionists, Jews or Israel as the personification of evil.
This vilification in the form of comparison with Nazism or otherwise is either the result of underlying antisemitism or is simply making use of antisemitic tendencies in society to achieve support for some other objective, often political. The propoganda of the Arab States is an obvious example of hate for political ends. Though there is underlying antisemitism in this case as well, the primary benefit of creating a hatered of Zionism / Jews / Israel is to deflect critisism at home. Like wise in Nazi Germany the Jews were blamed for the loss of the first world war by Nazi Germany, and for every other problem the Nazi propogandists could think of.
In a similar fashion Jews today are in some minority corners of the web being blamed for both 9/11 and for the War in Iraq. This general antisemitic trend of blaming the Jews is one reason some (not realising the significance) try to blame Jews for the greatest two historic evils they can think of: Nazism and South African apartheid. While some blame Jews / Israel for these things, others use the Palestinians as their pawn and instead say Israel is LIKE apartheid South Africa and that Zionism is LIKE Nazism.
For the far right, the goals of the comparison with Nazism in particular is often aiming to reduce the horror of Nazism as much as it is to vilify the Jews. As long as the Nazi Holocaust is a crime so abhorent that it is not up for "debate", neo-Nazis will find it hard to recuit and impossible to gain power and make a new Nazi state.
More alarming is when other minority groups like the British Muslim community (equaly disliked by the Neo-Nazis) fall into using the same Neo-Nazi arguments. An example is the boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day by the Muslim Council of Britain. The real reason behind it is to try reduce the "victim status" of the Jewish community so that attacks on them (or on Israel) are tolerated more by society at large. The same logic has been used by Muslim groups who insteado f supporting Jews when complaints are made about antisemitic acts instead try and undermine the complaints and insist that "they have it worse". When the conversation is not abstract but about a particular case the community is working to resolve these attitudes are abhorent and counter productive for all anti-racism campaigners.
The last group that needs to be mentioned is the British left. While clearly against Nazism, neo-nazism and the far right in general, antisemitism on the left is often not acknowledged and is seen as an acceptable form of racism. To arrive at this point the left often borrow from arguments of the NEo-Nazi right, or borrow from the Muslim anti-Israel lobby who in term borrow from the Arab states propoganda which is itself often based on neo-Nazi is not actual Nazi propoganda.
It is our observation that the rise in antisemitic attacks in recent years (2005 and 2006) combined with the high profile academic boycotts tagretting Israel raised the problem of left wing antisemitism in the mind of the public. In a retiring speech at NUS conference 2006 a non Jewish member of the NUS executive explaimed that in fighting racism we must not forget about antisemitism and we as a society must face up to the fact that Antisemitism is NOT a lesser form of racism. That it needed saying is a sad reflection on the situation, that it was said shows people are beginning to tackle the problem.
Another positive sign is the work on antisemitism within European Community. The EU definition of antisemitism explicitly lables as antisemitism "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis". This is a definition of antisemitism that is now in use by law enforcement across europe. This makes the use of the analogy a hate crime. The inclusion of this point shows the huge gap between reality and propoganda as well as an acknolwedgement of the danger posed by those pushing this Israel = Nazism (or Zionism = Nazism) analogy.
As mentioned some try a far more direct approach, to blame Zionists or Jews for the Holocaust or the rise of Nazism. While there were some meetings early on in an attempt to transfer Jews our of Germany (and save their lives) some have tried to use the historical fact of communication between Nazi officials and Jews outside Germany as "proof" that the Jews and Nazis were in active collaboration. The sickness of this attempt to rewrite history is almost beyond words. Yes, Jews did work with the Nazis in order to try save peoples lives. The Nazi ghettos were run by Jewish committees and even in the death camps the Nazis used Jews as police and to sort the belongings of those they had gassed. Why did the Jews cooperate? The choice was to cooperate and try make things a little better, or not to cooperate and to be killed. We are not in a position to judge their decisions. What we do know is that despite attempts by the Zionism movement to rescue Jews, negotiations in the end broke down. The Zionist organisations worked with the British against Germany and th stories of their acts (often in the Special Operations Executive) are legendary, e.g. Hannah Senesh. This is the real history of Zionism against Nazism.
Thoughts from Dr Ginosar
How Neturei Karta abuse the memory of the Holocaust
Academics from Israel and the British Unions AUT and NATFHE (now UCU)
See the old site
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