But, despite all the hysteria, this is such an overblown issue. If one really wants to significantly reduce anti-Semitism in Europe, isn’t the solution obvious? Isn’t it to stop mass immigration of people amongst whom there are disproportionate numbers who hold viciously anti-Semitic views?
It’s a shame when the only people (apparently) willing to speak about this are the neoconservative right, since it is an issue that ought to concern any rational left-wing, secular people.
I don’t like Douglas Murray (especially given his pro-austerity nonsense), but here he has a point.
The really major problem with anti-Semitism in Europe, I am afraid, comes not from the British Labour party, but from within the community that Douglas Murray is speaking about here, which also has a serious problem with misogyny, homophobia, and religious extremism.
Having said that, I suppose I will now infuriate people on the other side, for it also seems to me that Ken Livingstone is being treated unfairly.
Livingstone said “when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.” Now there are problems with that statement, and with a lot of Livingstone’s politics, but the fact is that it is not far from the truth. Once we note that Israel didn’t exist in 1932 (a minor error Livingstone makes), and that Hitler personally rejected Zionism and the idea of an independent Jewish state per se (Livingstone’s serious mistakes, if he really meant to say this), and the obvious point that Kristallnacht and the sending of Jews to concentration camps in large numbers after that pogrom of November 1938 were blatant evidence of the violent anti-Semitism in 1930s Germany even before the war (which I assume Livingstone admits), the rest is accurate.
Has everybody forgotten the Haavara Agreement of 25 August, 1933?
This agreement took the following form:
“The Haavara Agreement (Hebrew: הסכם העברה Translit.: heskem haavara Translated: ‘transfer agreement’) was an agreement between Nazi Germany and Zionist German Jews signed on 25 August 1933. The agreement was finalized after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany, the Anglo-Palestine Bank (under the directive of the Jewish Agency) and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany. The agreement was designed to help facilitate the emigration of German Jews to Palestine. While it helped Jews emigrate, it forced them to temporarily give up possessions to Germany before departing. Those possessions could later be re-obtained by transferring them to Palestine as German export goods. The agreement was controversial at the time, and was criticised by many Jewish leaders both within the Zionist movement (such as the Revisionist Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky) and outside it.”The Transfer Agreement incentivised German Jewish emigration to Palestine by allowing those emigrating to transfer £1,000 (or about 15,000 Reichsmark), but in terms of export goods from Germany, while at the same time they only paid a smaller “flight tax” than other emigrants (essentially this means that the Nazis robbed the emigrants to Palestine of their property to a lesser degree than other emigrants bound for different countries).
Of course, none of this means that the Zionist organisations approved of Nazi Germany, nor that the Nazis or Hitler personally approved of Zionism. Nor that the Nazis were not guilty of vehement and pathological anti-Semitism. If anything, the Zionist organisations by the Transfer Agreement helped to save some 60,000 German Jews who emigrated, so in that respect they acted to save lives.
Nevertheless, amongst the Nazis, there was a bizarre and schizophrenic attitude to Zionism, and it was seen, at the very least, as useful in aiding the Nazi policy of expulsion of the Jews. If Livingstone had only said this and qualified his statements properly, none of this would have been false.
A good book on this is Francis R. Nicosia’s The Third Reich and the Palestine Question (I. B. Tauris, London, 1986). Nicosia, in addition to using evidence available on the public record, actually used Nazi party archives and German Foreign Ministry archives, and he shows that in the 1930s the Nazis – although nobody denies their vicious and murderous anti-Semitism – regarded the Zionist movement as a politically useful tool because it helped to encourage the 1930s Nazi policy of forced emigration of Jews from Germany and even provided a suitable destination, namely, the historic home in Palestine.
But, to return to the original issue, if Europe wants to reduce and fight the disease of anti-Semitism, then why import more and more anti-Semites? It’s a simple question.
Nicosia, Francis R. 1986. The Third Reich and the Palestine Question. I. B. Tauris, London.
Nicosia, Francis R. 2008. Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.