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Zionism During the Holocaust


Tony Greenstein’s well researched book, Zionism During the Holocaust: The Weaponisation of Memory in the Service of the State and Nation will not sit well with proponents of the propaganda that sustains Israeli colonisation of Palestine. While several Israeli authors have touched upon the links between Zionism and Nazism, Greenstein’s book brings this history to the fore and exposes how Zionist leaders were concerned with the establishment of the colonial state, as opposed to preventing the killing of Jews during the Holocaust. In his introduction, Greenstein writes, “This book is a response to a Zionist historiography which has attempted to write anti-Zionism out of history and consign it to a ‘state of oblivion’.” The book is divided in three parts, chronicling the influence of Zionism before, during and after the Holocaust. Of particular significance is the insistence of early Zionist leaders to distinguish between Jews deemed eligible for entry into Palestine for the settler-colonial enterprise. While Zionism realised the importance of exploiting the Holocaust to argue for proof of needing a Jewish state, despite the fact that not all victims were Jewish, it also determined that only Jewish people that could contribute to setting up the settler-colonial enterprise would be allowed entry. The concept of Jewish refugees as a humanitarian issue derived from politics was of no concern to the Zionist leaders. To this effect, Zionists leaders collaborated with the Nazis, striking deals which would enable masses of Jews to be exterminated, in return for preserving the lives of elite Jews for the purpose of colonial migration to Palestine. Quoting David Ben Gurion in 1933, Greenstein makes an important observation on how Zionism was not concerned with saving Jewish lives. Ben Gurion had explained that if there was “a conflict of interest between saving individual Jewish lives and the good of the Zionist enterprise, we shall say the enterprise comes first.” Nazism, Greenstein argues, benefited from the Zionist political ideology and harboured no opposition. For example, the Zionist claim that Jews were unable to assimilate anywhere in the world was adopted by the Nazis in their persecution of Jewish people. Anti-Semitism, therefore, was a joint “Hitler understood early on that there was a distinction between the Jews and Zionism.” And while Jews actively fought against Nazism, Zionists collaborated with Nazism and fascism. The conflation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism which rests so well with Israel and the international community, was necessary for the early Zionist leaders and for today’s Israeli government. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism does not allow criticism of the Israeli colonial state, particularly in comparing its policies to those of the Nazi. Yet, Greenstein notes, Israelis themselves noted the similarity. Besides the massacre of Kafr Qasem, which Israeli perpetrators compared to Nazi tactics, Greenstein quotes an Israeli stating, “There is a wider identification with the Nazis in Israeli society.” Tony Greenstein is a Jewish anti-Zionist and a founding member of Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. He is a long-standing anti-fascist activist and author of A History of Fighting Fascism in Brighton and the South Coast.

Artikelnummer: 43428 Categorie: Tags: ,
Subtitel: The Weaponisation of Memory in the Service of State and Nation
Auteur: Greenstein,Tony
Jaar: 2024
ISBN: 9781803693040
Pagina's: 546
Taal: English
Uitgever: New Generation Publishing
Uitgever stad:
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