Saturday, April 30, 2016

Want to Reduce Anti-Semitism in Europe?

At the moment the British Labour party is in the news with claims of anti-Semitism in its ranks. On the one hand, I don’t doubt that the modern Labour party has certain people in it like Livingstone or former members like the odious George Galloway who have a disgraceful and disgusting relationship with Islamists, and who have a one-sided and unfair bias against Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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.


  1. My recollection isn't clear enough about nazi policies on expulsion, but I think this isn't quite right. However I agree on the main issue. As for the Corbynites like Livingstone I think you are off base. He knows none of these details you discuss, nor any others. He just "knows" you can expel Jews without killing them, so that's okay, worth thinking about.

    As I said, I am enjoying the show, for partisan reasons.

  2. LK thank you for your interesting opinion i am as Israeli agree with you 100%.

    the problem with all of this its not exactly what this labour members are saying but the motives for this (which is basically to appeal to the antisemitic sentiments of some definitely not all of the muslim voters of labour party).

    its a dirty and cheap tricks.

    and the best weapon against it just not giving atteniton.

    p.s (if we are speaking about israel i want to give you idea for 3 blog posts about israeli economics which i believe may w be interesting in this blog)

    (austerity not in sense of surplus budget but in a sense of strict rationing of food and water which prevented mass starvation in newly founded israel).

    the dangers of bank deregulated enviorment (there is no more obvious example than this i believe)


    (how israel handled its hyperinflation spiral in very heterodox way even though with touches of neoliberalism but still i believe in very post keyensian way).

    1. The 1985 Israel Economic Stabilization Plan is an interesting subject. I am curious to know what the causes of this were. Was this a consequence of the 1977-1981 oil shocks and stagflation? Was Israel experiencing a balance of payments crisis in this period?

    2. Also, what is your opinion of Likud? Is Likud the major neoliberal party in Israel now?

    3. uhm in my opinion is that there been a mixture of reasons.

      n israel in 1980-1985 the inflation been huge (record high in 1983 450%),there been many causes for that

      1.the involvment in lebanon in the 80-s (Israeli version of vietnam which been really costly for israel) which soaked huge amount of money for war efforts.

      2.Tarif shock therapy of the neo-liberal likud party (its replaced the israeli labour party in 1977) which basically caused sharp outflow of capital and demand to abroad in a really quick timeline (well they indeed created a shock). the 70-s Israel expierenced lost decade of stagnating productivity and growth most likely the reason is
      the deregulated private banking sector (which created by the vision of the so called “patinkin boys” famouns neoclassical professor don patinkin students in heberew university in jerusalem which believed in self regulating financial sector),the deregulated banking sector started to do market manipulation with its own stocks until the face value of this small israeli banks been something like barclays or lloyds this manipulation created 2 big problems.

      a.a lot of capital gone from productive industries to this banks which did wild failed investments abroad at expense of investing in israel. 1983 the face value of this banks been so huge so they werent able to maintain the price of their stocks any longer and 6 from the 7 operating banks in israel at the time collapsed because of that and had to be bailout by the government and eventually natioanlised by the government.

    4. well its been major neoliberal in the crisis netanyahu outsourced many public services into private contractors hands while cutting budgets and taxes for the rich with crazy supply side reasoning luckily U.S recovered fast enough to support israeli exports which saved israel from his crazy policies.

      but anyway now likud seems less neoliberal and way more populist but what is worriying me is the increasing power of the so called liberal wing in the likud party (which composed of misses/ayn rand fans and israeli variation of tea party religious conservative laziess faire loonies).

    5. ohh i am sorry i thoguht you meant what been the causes of the hyperinflation.

      but the reason for stabilization plan been the hyperinflation.

  3. "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."

    Are there problems with it though given it was a verbal statement on a radio show, and he was clearly referring to the comments by Netanyahu last year - which is the latest version of where this idea is coming form?

    Ken was foolish to use the H word, which just invokes Godwin Law, but I've been quite disgusted about how the words have been twisted in the media.

    Even Naz Shah's actual comments seem to be to be naive rather than symbolic of a hatred of the Jews.

    It *would* be a solution to move Israel to the USA. The only problem is that the Israelis would never agree to it. Because Israel exists and has done for nearly 70 years. It's going nowhere.

    However the statement has been twisted to infer forceful movement - which she never said at all.

    It's pretty clear there's an internal Labour political battle going on here and false accusations of anti-semitism damage Labour into next week's election.

    Frankly though Corbyn's handling of the issue has been poor. It has pandered to false accusations and victim culture.

    1. the problem is not what they said but their motive of saying that neil

  4. There have been at least two Republican administrations Ike & Bush II that did studies of the hatred & aggression felt by Muslims against the USA. Under Bush it was called the Rumsfeld Report and you can find it online for free. It clearly demonstrates that US blind allegiance to Israel is causing a great deal of the current problem. So rather than engage in ooga-booga stories on Islam, I'd rather pull the plug on Israel and see how fast they find a solution to get along with their neighbors after than. Then, end American Hegemony & Imperialism in general. No, I do not think your point made elsewhere that imperialism inevitably accompanies a superpower add anything to the discussion.

    1. wait i would like to ask you 2 questions exactly radical islamism with jihadi local/global tendencies (of radical isalmic shariya state) have anything to do with israel and any sort of anti imperalist colonization movements?

      and i remind you that syria iraq lybia iran yemen saudi arabia already controlled more or less by this jihdai radical islamic groups.

      while egypt jordan tunisia fight despertaly against them and there is a serious threat to the secular dictatorial regimes in this countries.

      2.which solution to get along with radical islamists which believe that everyone should be or radical muslim like them or to be exterminated? do you propose how exactly israel can get along with this kind of neighbous?

    2. Another charming antisemitism heard from. Cohen means you.

    3. Ken b

      Thank you as always for the interesting comment.

    4. "do you propose how exactly israel can get along with this kind of neighbous?"

      No, but I bet they'd find out themselves if the US would quit changing their diapers ;-)

      One thing I would put on the table is the Yinon Plan.