Archive | January 22nd, 2018

Yad Vashem bows to Dutch survivors, honors righteous gentiles

NOVANEWS

Righteous Jews

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

Haaretz

 

Following angry reactions by Dutch Holocaust survivors and their saviors, Yad Vashem last week agreed to reverse its refusal to honor two couples that saved the lives of converted [Jews] in the Holocaust.

In April Dutch recipients of Yad Vashem’s highest honor threatened to return the title to protest “discrimination” against saviors of ex-Jews, in a petition cosigned by 230 people, including leaders of Holland’s Jewish community.

The bone of contention revolved around Yad Vashem’s refusal to award two families, the Hollebrands and the Eggings, with the title of Righteous among the Nations, reserved for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews in the Holocaust.

“The Commission decided this past week to recognize the Hollebrands and the Eggings as Righteous Among the Nations,” Chairman of Yad Vashem’s directorate, Aver Shalev, wrote last week to the petition’s organizers, Charles Boissevain Leidschendam, Maarten Eliasar and Dick Verkijk.

Shalev said the decision came after “the recent uncovering of new information.”

Before the protest, Yad Vashem’s Commission for the Recognition of the Righteous among the Nations determined the couples were ineligible for the title because the children that they hid weren’t Jewish.

The Nazis later caught and murdered the Sanders children, who had been converted to Christianity before World War II by their parents.

The 230 petitioners wrote in April: “Yad Vashem’s discrimination … is unacceptable. They [the Sanders] shared the same fate [as Jews] and should be treated accordingly.” They added that some title recipients were so “distressed” that they are considering returning their award.

The petition that you sent to Mrs. Irena Steinfeldt on April 21st has of course received our serious and thorough attention.

In his letter, Shalev said that “it is groundless to assert that the Commission denies per se recognition for Righteous status to persons who rescued Jewish converts to Christianity.”

 

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Auschwitz survivor slams Scottish prosecutors for “taking sides with Israel”

NOVANEWS

By the SCOTTISH PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN

One of the few remaining survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp has criticised Scottish prosecutors for what he refers to as “taking sides with Israel”.

Hayo Meyer, an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, made his comments in support of 5 pro-Palestine campaigners charged with “racially aggravated conduct” after a boycott protest of a concert by an Israeli group.

The campaigners, all members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), interrupted the Aug 2008 Edinburgh Festival performance of the Jerusalem Quartet. They were originally charged with Breach of the Peace, but weeks after last year’s violence in Gaza which took the lives of 1400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, the Procurator Fiscal changed the charge to include the racist element.

They were accused of making “comments about Jews, Israelis, and the State of Israel”, but at a debate this week at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, a BBC audio recording of the event revealed that their criticisms had been focussed on the State of Israel. The debate will continue on March 29th when the Procurator Fiscal will make his arguments.

Meyer, who is in Scotland this week as part of a speaking tour, described the complaint as “ridiculous”. Said Meyer, “While Israel continues its occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, it is our duty to criticise it. This racism charge is ridiculous.

“It worries me that while Palestinians are humiliated and discriminated against every day, western leaders including Gordon Brown not only appease Israel, they support it. Unfortunately, it appears as though the prosecutors too are taking sides with Israel.”

Meyer survived almost a year in the notorious Nazi death camp after being caught by the Gestapo in 1944. It is estimated that of the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, around 1 million died in Auschwitz.

SPSC chair, Mick Napier, is one of the 5 accused: “We thank Hayo for his support. He knows better than anyone that Israel has a long record of abusing the tragic history of the Holocaust in order to suppress criticism of its own crimes. Especially since Gaza though, people are no longer taken in by their claim that anyone that criticises Israel is anti-Semitic.”

Meyer’s ten-day speaking tour, entitled “Never Again友or Anyone”, is jointly organised by the SPSC and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Week, an annual commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The meetings are all open to the general public and entry is free. Today’s meeting is in Edinburgh’s Augustine Church at 2pm. Full details can be found at www.scottishpsc.org.uk

 

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On Trump’s Announcement on Jerusalem

NOVANEWS


By Rich Siegel

Reprinted by permission from Rich Siegel’s Facebook Page

I would like to present an opinion on Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem using my friendship with Ayman Nijim, a native of Gaza, to offer important perspective. I have his permission. We discussed it the other night. Having a conversation with someone from Gaza is unlike having a conversation with someone from anywhere else. Me: “Ayman, how is your family in Gaza?”. Ayman: “Trying to reach them for 30 days. Maybe electricity will come on soon and I will be able to connect with th

Ayman’s family comes from Isdud, Palestine, which has since become Ashdod, Israel. Ayman has never been there. He has never been to Jerusalem. He is not permitted into any part of Israel or the occupied territories except for his native Gaza. Ayman’s family fled Isdud in 1948, after they heard about the massacre at Deir Yassin and other such incidents, and when it became clear that Zionist terrorists were attacking across the region. They had a very real fear of losing their lives if they remained. They fled intending to return. That never happened. They ended up in Gaza, like so many other victims of the Nakba (catastrophe in Arabic, the word used to describe the events of 1948). Ayman was born and raised there.

Ayman came to the US and earned an MA of Arts in Intercultural Leadership and Management at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. He is now Director of Programs at Maine Immigration and Refugee Services in Portland. He frequently gives talks at universities and churches about Gaza and the Palestinian situation generally.

When I visited Jerusalem this past October, I took photos which I then texted to various friends, including Ayman. Ayman texted back a request: Would I write his name on a piece of paper and take photos with it? I was confused. He explained, “It will be like my soul is in Jerusalem”. I did as he asked. I wrote his name in English and asked a hotel clerk to write his name in Arabic. (I stayed in Sheik Jarrah, in an Arab hotel in an Arab neighborhood).

Taking photos with my friend’s name changed my experience of Jerusalem. Of course I was aware that Palestinians hold Jerusalem very dear to their hearts and consider it their capitol, and I was aware that many Palestinians are prevented from going there, (those who live in Gaza, and those who are refugees in various places). But having traveled with my friend Ayman, having spent time with him in different parts of the US, the fact that I was in a place that he cherishes but is not permitted to visit, suddenly became very painful.

To fully understand the impact of Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem an appreciation of the history of the international community’s relationship with Israel and the Palestinians must be understood. Due to holocaust guilt in Europe and the influence of the pro-Israel lobby in America, Israel has been allowed to attack Gaza repeatedly, to attack neighboring states, to expand settlements, to build a wall outside Israel’s “green line” effectively stealing more land, and to visit any number of humiliations on the Palestinians, all with impunity. The one crumb that has been thrown to the Palestinians, the one thing that leaders around the world have given to show the Palestinians that their plight is seen at all, is the refusal to give in to Israel’s desire to have Jerusalem recognized as its capital, and to insist that embassies remain in Tel Aviv.

An understanding of the difference between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is also necessary. Jerusalem is holy to three faiths. For Christians it contains the Via Dolorosa and Calvary. For Muslims it is the site of Mohammed’s night journey and al Aqsa Mosque. Zionist Jews claim exclusive entitlement to Jerusalem as site of the ancient temple, but this fails to recognize the significance of this city to the other two faiths. Prior to Zionism members of all three faiths lived in harmony in Jerusalem. Arabic-speaking Muslims and Christians, and yes, Arabic-speaking Arab Jews and those who escaped the Spanish Inquisition and were welcomed. It is an ancient city, and it is an Arab city, albeit much of it now dominated by Jews from all over the world. It remains dearly beloved by Palestinians as their capital.

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 by 60 Jewish families on the outskirts of Jaffa. Even though it is part of historic Palestine, it is a Jewish city, not significant to other faiths. If there is to be a Jewish state in historic Palestine, a situation of dubious morality but never the less a modern reality, its capital should be there. Of course, Israel will put its capital where it wants, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to recognize its decision.

Trump’s statement can be compared to Sharon’s march on the Temple Mount in 2000, which ignited the 2nd intifada. It is a flagrant insult to the Palestinians, and a nasty provocation. While Sharon knew he was making a provocation and did it deliberately, it is likely that Trump is too ignorant to appreciate the ramifications of his actions, and did it just to please factions in the US. He stated that it would help “the peace process”, but he did not state how it would help, and what peace process exactly he was referring to. It was a ridiculous assertion.

The actual results of this action are unknown at this point, but clearly it has inspired anger among those who support peace and justice, and among those who will be adversely affected: The Palestinians. Most Israelis are cheering. It is very likely to strengthen the convictions that most Israelis and many Zionist Jews around the world have, that they are entitled to all of Jerusalem, and embolden actions related to ethnically cleansing and Judaizing Arab neighborhoods there. It is already commonplace for Arab families in East Jerusalem to be booted out of their homes with full cooperation of Israeli authorities, and then replaced by Jewish settlers. The number of such incidents is likely to increase due to Trump’s announcement, along with an increase of settler activity in other areas, taking Trump’s support as a pat on the back for Zionist expansionism generally. It is a tragic step in the wrong direction.

I am old enough to remember when Jerusalem was “unified” in 1967. My mother was full of joy when she told me that Jerusalem was now “OURS!” And that sounded great to an 8 year old. But what “OURS!” meant was “not theirs any more”. And what that meant to people whose families had lived there for centuries, was not even part of our awareness at all. It has been a painful but very gratifying process to see beyond Zionist narrative and Jewish tribal loyalty, to appreciate the reality of my Palestinian brothers and sisters who experienced Zionist conquest from the other side. (To her credit my mother has taken that journey, too).

“If we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us.” -1 John 4:12

(In the second photo I am with Ayman in Washington, DC. Unlike Jerusalem and Ashdod, Ayman is allowed to visit Washington, DC).

 

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An Answer To Uri Avnery

NOVANEWS

By Ilan Pappe

Electronic Intifada

The following is Ilan Pappe’s response to Uri Avnery’s essay “Bed of Sodom”
http://zope.gushshalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1177227796/

Uri Avnery accuses the supporters of the one-state solution of forcefully imposing the facts onto the “Bed of Sodom”. He seems to regard these people at best as daydreamers who do not understand the political reality around them and are stuck in a perpetual state of wishful thinking. We are all veteran comrades in the Israeli Left and therefore it is quite possible that in our moments of despair we fall into the trap of hallucinating and even fantasizing while ignoring the unpleasant reality around us.

And therefore the metaphor of the Bed of Sodom may even be fitting for lashing out at those who are inspired by the South African model in their search for a solution in Palestine. But in this case it is a small cot of Sodom compared to the king-size bed onto which Gush Shalom and other similar members of the Zionist Left insist on squeezing their two-state solution. The South African model is young — in fact hardly a year has passed since it was seriously considered — while the formula of two states is sixty years old: an abortive and dangerous illusion that enabled Israel to continue its occupation without facing any significant criticism from the international community.

The South African model is good subject matter for a comparative study — not as an object for a hollow emulation. Certain chapters in the history of the colonization in South Africa and the Zionization of Palestine are indeed nearly identical. The ruling methodology of the white settlers in South Africa resembles very closely that applied by the Zionist movement and later Israel against the indigenous population of Palestine since the end of the 19th century. Ever since 1948, the official Israeli policy against some of the Palestinians is more lenient than that of the Apartheid regime; against other Palestinians it is much worse.

But above all the South African model inspires those concerned with the Palestine cause in two crucial directions: by introducing the one democratic state, it offers a new orientation for a future solution instead of the two-state formula that failed, and it invigorates new thinking of how the Israeli occupation can be defeated — through boycott, divestment, and sanctions (the BDS option).

The facts on the ground are crystal clear: the two-state solution has dismally failed and we have no spare time to waste in futile anticipation of another illusory round of diplomatic efforts that would lead to nowhere. As Avnery admits, the Israeli peace camp has so far failed to persuade the Israeli Jewish society to try the road of peace. A sober and critical assessment of this camp’s size and force leads to the inevitable conclusion that it has no chance whatsoever against the prevailing trends in the Israeli Jewish society. It is doubtful whether it will even keep its very minimal presence on the ground, and there is a great concern that it will disappear all together.

Avnery ignores these facts and alleges that the one-state solution is a dangerous panacea to offer to the critically ill patient. All right, so let us prescribe it gradually. But for God’s sake let us take the patient off of the very dangerous medicine we have been forcing down his throat the last sixty years and which is about to kill him.

For the sake of peace, it is important to expand our research on the South African model and other historical case studies. Because of our failure we should study carefully any other successful struggle against oppression. All these historical case studies show that the struggles from within and from without reinforced each other and were not mutually exclusive. Even when the sanctions were imposed on South Africa, the ANC continued its struggle and white South Africans did not cease from their attempt to convince their compatriots to give up the Apartheid regime. But there was not one single voice that echoes the article of Avnery, which claimed that a strategy of pressure from the outside is wrong because it weakens the chances of change from within. Especially when the failure of the inside struggle is so conspicuous and obvious. Even when the De Klerk government negotiated with the ANC the sanctions regime still continued.

It is also very difficult to understand why Avnery underrates the importance of world public opinion. Without the support this world public opinion gave to the Zionist movement, the Nakba (catastrophe) would not have occurred. Had the international community rejected the idea of partition, a unitary state would have replaced Mandatory Palestine, as indeed was the wish of many members of the UN. However, these members succumbed to a violent pressure by the US and the Zionist lobby and retracted their earlier support for such a solution. And today, if the international community alters its position once more and revises its attitude towards Israel, the chances for ending the occupation would increase enormously and by that maybe also help to avert the colossal bloodshed that would engulf not only the Palestinians but also the Jews themselves.

The call for a one-state solution, and the demand for boycott, divestment and sanctions, has to be read as a reaction against the failure of the previous strategy — a strategy upheld by the political classes but never fully endorsed by the people themselves. And anyone who rejects the new thinking out of hand and in such a categorical manner, may be less bothered by what is wrong with this new option and far more troubled by his own place in history. It is indeed difficult to admit personal as well as collective failure; but for the sake of peace it is sometimes necessary to put aside one’s ego. I am inclined to think that way when I read the false narrative Avnery concocted about the Israeli peace movement’s ‘achievements’ so far. He announces that ‘the recognition of the existence of the Palestinian people has become general, and so has the readiness of most Israelis to accept the idea of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital of both states’. This is a clear case of amputating both the leg and the hand of the patient to fit him to the Bed of Sodom. And even more far-fetched is the declaration that ‘We have compelled our government to recognize the PLO, and we shall compel them to recognize Hamas’ — now that the rest of patient’s limbs have been dispensed with (sorry for the gruesome metaphor but I am forced into it by Avnery’s choice). These assertions have very little in common with the position of the Jewish public in Israel towards peace from 1948 until today. But facts can sometime confuse the issue.

But in order to stifle any debate on the one-state solution or the BDS option, Avnery draws from his magic hat the winning card: ‘but beneath the surface, in the depths of national consciousness, we are succeeding’. Let us thus provide the Palestinians with metal detectors and X-ray equipment — they may discover not only the tunnel, but also the light at its end. The truth is that what lies in the deepest layers of the Israeli national consciousness is far worse from what appears on the surface. And let us hope that this remains there forever and does not bubble to the surface. These are deposits of dark and primitive racism that if allowed to flow over will drown us all in a sea of hatred and bigotry.

Avnery is right when he asserts that ‘there is no doubt that 99.99 percent of Jewish Israelis want the State of Israel to exist as a state with a robust Jewish majority, whatever its borders’. A successful boycott campaign will not change this position in a day, but will send a clear message to this public that these positions are racist and unacceptable in the 21st century. Without the cultural and economical oxygen lines the West provides to Israel, it would be difficult for the silent majority there to continue and believe that it is possible both to be a racist and a legitimate state in the eyes of the world. They would have to choose, and hopefully like De Klerk they will make the right decision.

Avnery is also convinced that Adam Keller debunked most successfully the argument for a boycott by pointing out that the Palestinians in the occupied territories did not give in to boycott. This is indeed a fine comparison: a political prisoner lies nailed to the ground and dares to resist; as a punishment he is denied even the meager food he received hitherto. His situation is compared to a person who occupied illegally this prisoner’s house and who for the first time is facing the possibility of being brought to justice for his crimes. Who has more to lose? When is the threat mere cruelty and when is it a justified means to rectify a past evil? The boycott will not happen, states Avnery. He should talk with the veterans of the anti-Apartheid movement in Europe. Twenty years passed before they convinced the international community to take action. And they were told, when they began their long journey, that it will not work — that too many strategic and economic interests are involved and invested in South Africa.

Moreover, adds Avnery, in places such as Germany the idea of boycotting the victims of the Nazis would be rejected out of hand. Quite to the contrary. The action that already has been taken in this direction in Europe has ended the long period of Zionist manipulation of the Holocaust memory. Israel can no longer justify its crimes against the Palestinians in the name of the Holocaust. More and more people in Europe realize that that the criminal policies of Israel abuse the Holocaust memory and this is why so many Jews are members in the movement for boycott. This is also why the Israeli attempt to cast the accusation of anti-Semitism against the supporters of the boycott has met with contempt and resilience. The members of the new movement know that their motives are humanist and their impulses are democratic. For many of them their actions are triggered not only by universal values but also by their respect for the Judeo-Christian heritage of history. It would have been best for Avnery to use his immense popularity in Germany to demand from the society there to recognize their share not only in the Holocaust but also in the Palestinian catastrophe and that in the name of that recognition to ask them to end their shameful silence in the face of the Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories.

Towards the end of his article, Avnery sketches the features of the one-state solution out of the present reality. And thus because he does not include the return of the refugees or a change in the regime as components of the solution he describes today’s dismal reality as tomorrow vision. This is indeed an unworthy reality to fight for and nobody I know is struggling for it. But the vision of a one-state solution has to be the exact opposite of the present Apartheid state of Israel as was the post-Apartheid state in South Africa; and this is why this historical case study is so illuminating for us.

We need to wake up. The day Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush declared their loyal support for the two-state solution, this formula became a cynical means by which Israel can maintain its discriminatory regime inside the 1967 borders, its occupation in the West Bank and the ghettoization of the Gaza Strip. Anyone who blocks a debate over alternative political models allows the discourse of two states to shield the criminal Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories.

Moreover, not only are there no stones left in the occupied territories with which to build a state after Israel ruined the infrastructure there in the last six years, a reasonable partition is not offering the Palestinian a mere 20 percent of their homeland. The basis should be at least half of the homeland, on the basis of the 181 partition route, or a similar idea. Here is another useful avenue to explore, instead of embroiling forever inside the Sodom and Gomorrah stew that the two-state solution has produced so far on the ground.

And finally, there will be no solution to this conflict with a settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem. These refugees cannot return to their homeland for the same reason that their brothers and sisters are being expelled from greater Jerusalem and alongside the wall and their relatives are discriminated against in Israel. They cannot return for the same reason that every Palestinian is under the potential danger of occupation and expulsion as long as the Zionist project has not been completed in the eyes of its captains.

They are entitled to opt for return because it is their full human and political right. They can return because the international community had already promised them that they could. We as the Jews should want them to return because otherwise we will continue to live in a state where the value of ethnic superiority and supremacy overrides any other human and civil value. And we cannot promise ourselves, as well as the refugees, such a fair and just solution within the framework of the two-state formula.

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In Clear Sight of Yad Vashem (January 2003)

NOVANEWS

By Paul Eisen

“The central part of Deir Yassin is a cluster of buildings now used as a mental hospital. To the east lies the industrial area of Givat Shaul; to the north lies Har Hamenuchot (the Jewish cemetery), to the west, built into the side of the mountain on which Deir Yassin is located is Har Nof, a new settlement of orthodox Jews. To the south is a steep valley terraced and containing part of the Jerusalem Forest. On the other side of that valley, roughly a mile and a half from Deir Yassin and in clear view of it, are Mount Herzl and Yad Vashem.”

Dan McGowan, “Remembering Deir Yassin”

Deir Yassin is as important a part of Jewish as it is of Palestinian history. Deir Yassin, coming in April 1948, just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz in January 1945, marks a Jewish transition from enslavement to empowerment and from abused to abuser. Can there ever have been such a remarkable shift, over such a short period, in the history of a people?

Deir Yassin also signalled the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians leading to their eventual dispossession and exile and was just one example of a conscious and premeditated plan to destroy the Palestinians as a people in their own homeland. For the fifty-odd years since the establishment of the state of Israel, successive Israeli governments whether Labour or Likud, and whether by force as at Deir Yassin, or by chicanery as at Oslo and Camp David, have followed the same policy of oppressing and dispossessing Palestinians to make way for an exclusively Jewish state. Even now, when Israel could have peace and security for the asking, Israeli governments persist in their original intention of conquering the whole of Palestine for the use of the Jewish people alone. And all this was done, and is still being done, by Jews, for Jews and in the name of Jews.

But should we, as Jews, feel ourselves culpable? After all, these are the crimes of Zionists not of Jews committed in a different place and time. Are we, Jews who were not there, who were not even born at the time, to feel responsible for these deeds? And anyway, not all Jews committed these crimes, so surely not all Jews need accept responsibility?

But Zionism and the state of Israel now lie at the very heart of Jewish life and so many Jews have benefited from the associated empowerment. So many Jews, even if unaffiliated officially to Zionism, have still supported it in its aims. Indeed, almost the entire organised Jewish establishments throughout the western world, in Israel, Europe and North America have used their power, influence and, most importantly, their moral prestige to support Israel in its attempts to subjugate the Palestinians. And not only have they offered their support for these crimes. These same groups and individuals are also telling the rest of the world that it’s not really happening, that Israel is not the aggressor, that Israel is not trying to destroy the Palestinian people, that black is white. And not only do they deny this reality, anyone who dares say otherwise is branded an anti-Semite and excluded from society.

This militarization and politicisation of Jewish life, this silencing of dissent, this bowing down before the God of the state of Israel, is this the tradition that was handed down to us, and what does this leave us to pass on to our children? If we are really honest with ourselves, should we not, as suggested by Marc Ellis, replace every Torah scroll, in every ark, in every synagogue in the Jewish world, with a helicopter gunship? Because, as Ellis says, “what we do, we worship”.

That the relationship with the Palestinian people is fractured is self-evident, but what of the relationships within our own community and the relationship with our own history and tradition? Are these also not affected? And how does one repair a fractured relationship? As with an old friend whom one has offended, but to whom one has never acknowledged the offence, surely only the absolute truth will do.

So, for the sake of the future of Jewish life, there can only be one solution – a complete and full confession that what we Jews have done to the Palestinian people is wrong and what we are doing to the Palestinian people is wrong, and, with that confession, a resolve, as far as is possible, to put the matter right.

And where better to begin than at Deir Yassin – the scene of the crime against the Palestinian people, the place of transition from enslavement to empowerment and from abused to abuser? For Deir Yassin, in clear sight of Yad Vashem, the symbol of our own tragedy, is the symbol of the tragedy visited by us on another people. Where better to begin this process of confession and restitution?

But will they come? Will Jews come to commemorate Deir Yassin? For the overwhelming majority, the answer is a resounding “no”. Jews will not come to Deir Yassin. Jews will not confess to the Palestinian people. For most Jews, commemoration of Deir Yassin is tantamount to siding with the enemy, to conspiring to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. Buoyed up by their own propaganda and blinded by their sense of innocence and victimhood, most Jews will not join with Palestinians in commemorating Deir Yassin.

But there is a fringe of Jews who do not take this view, Jews who do not share this vision of the Jewish establishments. These Jews, who generally make up what is known as the “Peace Camp,” do not wish to see the complete destruction of the Palestinian people but, instead, wish to come to some kind of accommodation with them. These Jews, whilst also uneasy about coming to Deir Yassin, will at least talk about it. What of them?

These Jews will often say, “Yes, we will join Palestinians in commemorating Deir Yassin when Palestinians join us in commemorating Maalot” or “We will remember Deir Yassin when Palestinians remember the more recent Sbarro Pizza Bar bombing”, We then point out that we don’t commemorate Deir Yassin because it was a massacre. (If we did, we would be commemorating every day of the week, every week of the year since there were plenty of massacres, on both sides) We commemorate because Deir Yassin is a symbol of the Palestinian catastrophe rather as Anne Frank is a symbol of the Holocaust. After all, as Anne Frank was just one child so Deir Yassin was just one village.

So then these Jews say, “Okay, we shall commemorate Deir Yassin when Palestinians commemorate Auschwitz”. To this we have to say, “Yes, but Palestinians didn’t do Auschwitz to us; we did do Deir Yassin to them”. These Jews also don’t want to admit that what they have done to the Palestinians is wrong, and what they are doing to the Palestinians is wrong. Nor do these Jews really want to make restitution to the Palestinians. These Jews, just like those who flatly refuse to come to Deir Yassin and make no apologies, these, more moderate Jews, also want to assert their power. But, unlike the others, they want to keep their innocence as well. And this is not easy. At one time they simply told themselves that it had never happened, but now, largely thanks to the new Israeli historians, this is no longer possible. So they dress it up in what Professor Walid Khalidi has called “the sin of moral equivalence”. They say, “This is not a case of one people trying to destroy another, of a victim and a perpetrator; this is a conflict, a conflict between two rights and both sides have suffered terribly. If only both sides would understand each other’s suffering, all will be well.” So these Jews say that they will come to Deir Yassin and, once there, will say to Palestinians, “Okay, we’ve suffered; you’ve suffered, let’s talk”. To which we have to say, “No, it’s not we’ve suffered, you’ve suffered, let’s talk”; it’s “We’ve suffered and we’ve caused you to suffer; NOW let’s talk”. Deir Yassin is surely about peace and reconciliation, but the peace cannot be the peace and quiet for the victor to go on robbing the victims, and the reconciliation cannot be the reconciliation of the victims reconciling themselves with their victim-hood.

But for those few Jews of conscience who do make it to our commemorations, for that tiny remnant who do wish to remember and to confess, what will they find? First, they will encounter a people and a narrative that they may never have met or heard before. For most Jews, Palestinians remain stereotyped as biblical shepherds, refugees or terrorists, and their story is largely unknown. To encounter the Palestinian community, as so many Jews did for the first time at our London commemorations, is to encounter a community not only human and diverse, but, most importantly, so very like their own.

They will also be witness to Palestinians remembering their own tragedy. For many Palestinians, particularly those old enough to have been present at the events being remembered, Deir Yassin commemorations can be very emotional. Silently to accompany these people as they remember their tragic history is, for any Jew of conscience, a deeply moving experience.

Thirdly, and so importantly, they will encounter a story of dispossession and exile so reminiscent of their own. For any Jew, the Palestinian father who was dragged out of his home in Deir Yassin, as re-enacted at the London 2001 commemoration, could so easily have been a surrendered ghetto fighter in Warsaw 1941, and that bourgeois Madame, in her now-bedraggled fur coat trudging the road out of Jaffa and into exile, was nothing if not a Berliner boarding a train for Riga in 1942.

Finally, they will have the opportunity and the privilege to say, loud and clear, with no ifs and buts, “what we have done to the Palestinian people is wrong and what we are doing to the Palestinian people is wrong. Let us now work together to put it right.”

Paul Eisen

Paul Eisen is the London-based director of Deir Yassin Remembered
paul@eisen.demon.co.uk

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The Israel Lobby

NOVANEWS

By John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

An unedited version of this article in Adobe .pdf format is available here.

For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.

Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.

Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing that given to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct economic and military assistance since 1976, and is the largest recipient in total since World War Two, to the tune of well over $140 billion (in 2004 dollars). Israel receives about $3 billion in direct assistance each year, roughly one-fifth of the foreign aid budget, and worth about $500 a year for every Israeli. This largesse is especially striking since Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to that of South Korea or Spain.

Other recipients get their money in quarterly installments, but Israel receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal year and can thus earn interest on it. Most recipients of aid given for military purposes are required to spend all of it in the US, but Israel is allowed to use roughly 25 per cent of its allocation to subsidise its own defence industry. It is the only recipient that does not have to account for how the aid is spent, which makes it virtually impossible to prevent the money from being used for purposes the US opposes, such as building settlements on the West Bank. Moreover, the US has provided Israel with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems, and given it access to such top-drawer weaponry as Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 jets. Finally, the US gives Israel access to intelligence it denies to its Nato allies and has turned a blind eye to Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Washington also provides Israel with consistent diplomatic support. Since 1982, the US has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members. It blocks the efforts of Arab states to put Israel’s nuclear arsenal on the IAEA’s agenda. The US comes to the rescue in wartime and takes Israel’s side when negotiating peace. The Nixon administration protected it from the threat of Soviet intervention and resupplied it during the October War. Washington was deeply involved in the negotiations that ended that war, as well as in the lengthy ‘step-by-step’ process that followed, just as it played a key role in the negotiations that preceded and followed the 1993 Oslo Accords. In each case there was occasional friction between US and Israeli officials, but the US consistently supported the Israeli position. One American participant at Camp David in 2000 later said: ‘Far too often, we functioned . . . as Israel’s lawyer.’ Finally, the Bush administration’s ambition to transform the Middle East is at least partly aimed at improving Israel’s strategic situation.

This extraordinary generosity might be understandable if Israel were a vital strategic asset or if there were a compelling moral case for US backing. But neither explanation is convincing. One might argue that Israel was an asset during the Cold War. By serving as America’s proxy after 1967, it helped contain Soviet expansion in the region and inflicted humiliating defeats on Soviet clients like Egypt and Syria. It occasionally helped protect other US allies (like King Hussein of Jordan) and its military prowess forced Moscow to spend more on backing its own client states. It also provided useful intelligence about Soviet capabilities.

Backing Israel was not cheap, however, and it complicated America’s relations with the Arab world. For example, the decision to give $2.2 billion in emergency military aid during the October War triggered an Opec oil embargo that inflicted considerable damage on Western economies. For all that, Israel’s armed forces were not in a position to protect US interests in the region. The US could not, for example, rely on Israel when the Iranian Revolution in 1979 raised concerns about the security of oil supplies, and had to create its own Rapid Deployment Force instead.

The first Gulf War revealed the extent to which Israel was becoming a strategic burden. The US could not use Israeli bases without rupturing the anti-Iraq coalition, and had to divert resources (e.g. Patriot missile batteries) to prevent Tel Aviv doing anything that might harm the alliance against Saddam Hussein. History repeated itself in 2003: although Israel was eager for the US to attack Iraq, Bush could not ask it to help without triggering Arab opposition. So Israel stayed on the sidelines once again.

Beginning in the 1990s, and even more after 9/11, US support has been justified by the claim that both states are threatened by terrorist groups originating in the Arab and Muslim world, and by ‘rogue states’ that back these groups and seek weapons of mass destruction. This is taken to mean not only that Washington should give Israel a free hand in dealing with the Palestinians and not press it to make concessions until all Palestinian terrorists are imprisoned or dead, but that the US should go after countries like Iran and Syria. Israel is thus seen as a crucial ally in the war on terror, because its enemies are America’s enemies. In fact, Israel is a liability in the war on terror and the broader effort to deal with rogue states.

‘Terrorism’ is not a single adversary, but a tactic employed by a wide array of political groups. The terrorist organisations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States, except when it intervenes against them (as in Lebanon in 1982). Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or ‘the West’; it is largely a response to Israel’s prolonged campaign to colonise the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

More important, saying that Israel and the US are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around. Support for Israel is not the only source of anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror more difficult. There is no question that many al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are motivated by Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians. Unconditional support for Israel makes it easier for extremists to rally popular support and to attract recruits.

As for so-called rogue states in the Middle East, they are not a dire threat to vital US interests, except inasmuch as they are a threat to Israel. Even if these states acquire nuclear weapons – which is obviously undesirable – neither America nor Israel could be blackmailed, because the blackmailer could not carry out the threat without suffering overwhelming retaliation. The danger of a nuclear handover to terrorists is equally remote, because a rogue state could not be sure the transfer would go undetected or that it would not be blamed and punished afterwards. The relationship with Israel actually makes it harder for the US to deal with these states. Israel’s nuclear arsenal is one reason some of its neighbours want nuclear weapons, and threatening them with regime change merely increases that desire.

A final reason to question Israel’s strategic value is that it does not behave like a loyal ally. Israeli officials frequently ignore US requests and renege on promises (including pledges to stop building settlements and to refrain from ‘targeted assassinations’ of Palestinian leaders). Israel has provided sensitive military technology to potential rivals like China, in what the State Department inspector-general called ‘a systematic and growing pattern of unauthorised transfers’. According to the General Accounting Office, Israel also ‘conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the US of any ally’. In addition to the case of Jonathan Pollard, who gave Israel large quantities of classified material in the early 1980s (which it reportedly passed on to the Soviet Union in return for more exit visas for Soviet Jews), a new controversy erupted in 2004 when it was revealed that a key Pentagon official called Larry Franklin had passed classified information to an Israeli diplomat. Israel is hardly the only country that spies on the US, but its willingness to spy on its principal patron casts further doubt on its strategic value.

Israel’s strategic value isn’t the only issue. Its backers also argue that it deserves unqualified support because it is weak and surrounded by enemies; it is a democracy; the Jewish people have suffered from past crimes and therefore deserve special treatment; and Israel’s conduct has been morally superior to that of its adversaries. On close inspection, none of these arguments is persuasive. There is a strong moral case for supporting Israel’s existence, but that is not in jeopardy. Viewed objectively, its past and present conduct offers no moral basis for privileging it over the Palestinians.

Israel is often portrayed as David confronted by Goliath, but the converse is closer to the truth. Contrary to popular belief, the Zionists had larger, better equipped and better led forces during the 1947-49 War of Independence, and the Israel Defence Forces won quick and easy victories against Egypt in 1956 and against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967 – all of this before large-scale US aid began flowing. Today, Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East. Its conventional forces are far superior to those of its neighbours and it is the only state in the region with nuclear weapons. Egypt and Jordan have signed peace treaties with it, and Saudi Arabia has offered to do so. Syria has lost its Soviet patron, Iraq has been devastated by three disastrous wars and Iran is hundreds of miles away. The Palestinians barely have an effective police force, let alone an army that could pose a threat to Israel. According to a 2005 assessment by Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies, ‘the strategic balance decidedly favours Israel, which has continued to widen the qualitative gap between its own military capability and deterrence powers and those of its neighbours.’ If backing the underdog were a compelling motive, the United States would be supporting Israel’s opponents.

That Israel is a fellow democracy surrounded by hostile dictatorships cannot account for the current level of aid: there are many democracies around the world, but none receives the same lavish support. The US has overthrown democratic governments in the past and supported dictators when this was thought to advance its interests – it has good relations with a number of dictatorships today.

Some aspects of Israeli democracy are at odds with core American values. Unlike the US, where people are supposed to enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this, it is not surprising that its 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens, or that a recent Israeli government commission found that Israel behaves in a ‘neglectful and discriminatory’ manner towards them. Its democratic status is also undermined by its refusal to grant the Palestinians a viable state of their own or full political rights.

A third justification is the history of Jewish suffering in the Christian West, especially during the Holocaust. Because Jews were persecuted for centuries and could feel safe only in a Jewish homeland, many people now believe that Israel deserves special treatment from the United States. The country’s creation was undoubtedly an appropriate response to the long record of crimes against Jews, but it also brought about fresh crimes against a largely innocent third party: the Palestinians.

This was well understood by Israel’s early leaders. David Ben-Gurion told Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress:

If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country . . . We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?

Since then, Israeli leaders have repeatedly sought to deny the Palestinians’ national ambitions. When she was prime minister, Golda Meir famously remarked that ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian.’ Pressure from extremist violence and Palestinian population growth has forced subsequent Israeli leaders to disengage from the Gaza Strip and consider other territorial compromises, but not even Yitzhak Rabin was willing to offer the Palestinians a viable state. Ehud Barak’s purportedly generous offer at Camp David would have given them only a disarmed set of Bantustans under de facto Israeli control. The tragic history of the Jewish people does not obligate the US to help Israel today no matter what it does.

Israel’s backers also portray it as a country that has sought peace at every turn and shown great restraint even when provoked. The Arabs, by contrast, are said to have acted with great wickedness. Yet on the ground, Israel’s record is not distinguishable from that of its opponents. Ben-Gurion acknowledged that the early Zionists were far from benevolent towards the Palestinian Arabs, who resisted their encroachments – which is hardly surprising, given that the Zionists were trying to create their own state on Arab land. In the same way, the creation of Israel in 1947-48 involved acts of ethnic cleansing, including executions, massacres and rapes by Jews, and Israel’s subsequent conduct has often been brutal, belying any claim to moral superiority. Between 1949 and 1956, for example, Israeli security forces killed between 2700 and 5000 Arab infiltrators, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed. The IDF murdered hundreds of Egyptian prisoners of war in both the 1956 and 1967 wars, while in 1967, it expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank, and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights.

During the first intifada, the IDF distributed truncheons to its troops and encouraged them to break the bones of Palestinian protesters. The Swedish branch of Save the Children estimated that ‘23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the intifada.’ Nearly a third of them were aged ten or under. The response to the second intifada has been even more violent, leading Ha’aretz to declare that ‘the IDF . . . is turning into a killing machine whose efficiency is awe-inspiring, yet shocking.’ The IDF fired one million bullets in the first days of the uprising. Since then, for every Israeli lost, Israel has killed 3.4 Palestinians, the majority of whom have been innocent bystanders; the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli children killed is even higher (5.7:1). It is also worth bearing in mind that the Zionists relied on terrorist bombs to drive the British from Palestine, and that Yitzhak Shamir, once a terrorist and later prime minister, declared that ‘neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat.’

The Palestinian resort to terrorism is wrong but it isn’t surprising. The Palestinians believe they have no other way to force Israeli concessions. As Ehud Barak once admitted, had he been born a Palestinian, he ‘would have joined a terrorist organisation’.

So if neither strategic nor moral arguments can account for America’s support for Israel, how are we to explain it?

The explanation is the unmatched power of the Israel Lobby. We use ‘the Lobby’ as shorthand for the loose coalition of individuals and organisations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. This is not meant to suggest that ‘the Lobby’ is a unified movement with a central leadership, or that individuals within it do not disagree on certain issues. Not all Jewish Americans are part of the Lobby, because Israel is not a salient issue for many of them. In a 2004 survey, for example, roughly 36 per cent of American Jews said they were either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ emotionally attached to Israel.

Jewish Americans also differ on specific Israeli policies. Many of the key organisations in the Lobby, such as the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations, are run by hardliners who generally support the Likud Party’s expansionist policies, including its hostility to the Oslo peace process. The bulk of US Jewry, meanwhile, is more inclined to make concessions to the Palestinians, and a few groups – such as Jewish Voice for Peace – strongly advocate such steps. Despite these differences, moderates and hardliners both favour giving steadfast support to Israel.

Not surprisingly, American Jewish leaders often consult Israeli officials, to make sure that their actions advance Israeli goals. As one activist from a major Jewish organisation wrote, ‘it is routine for us to say: “This is our policy on a certain issue, but we must check what the Israelis think.” We as a community do it all the time.’ There is a strong prejudice against criticising Israeli policy, and putting pressure on Israel is considered out of order. Edgar Bronfman Sr, the president of the World Jewish Congress, was accused of ‘perfidy’ when he wrote a letter to President Bush in mid-2003 urging him to persuade Israel to curb construction of its controversial ‘security fence’. His critics said that ‘it would be obscene at any time for the president of the World Jewish Congress to lobby the president of the United States to resist policies being promoted by the government of Israel.’

Similarly, when the president of the Israel Policy Forum, Seymour Reich, advised Condoleezza Rice in November 2005 to ask Israel to reopen a critical border crossing in the Gaza Strip, his action was denounced as ‘irresponsible’: ‘There is,’ his critics said, ‘absolutely no room in the Jewish mainstream for actively canvassing against the security-related policies . . . of Israel.’ Recoiling from these attacks, Reich announced that ‘the word “pressure” is not in my vocabulary when it comes to Israel.’

Jewish Americans have set up an impressive array of organisations to influence American foreign policy, of which AIPAC is the most powerful and best known. In 1997, Fortune magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list the most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind the American Association of Retired People, but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association. A National Journal study in March 2005 reached a similar conclusion, placing AIPAC in second place (tied with AARP) in the Washington ‘muscle rankings’.

The Lobby also includes prominent Christian evangelicals like Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, as well as Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, former majority leaders in the House of Representatives, all of whom believe Israel’s rebirth is the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and support its expansionist agenda; to do otherwise, they believe, would be contrary to God’s will. Neo-conservative gentiles such as John Bolton; Robert Bartley, the former Wall Street Journal editor; William Bennett, the former secretary of education; Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former UN ambassador; and the influential columnist George Will are also steadfast supporters.

The US form of government offers activists many ways of influencing the policy process. Interest groups can lobby elected representatives and members of the executive branch, make campaign contributions, vote in elections, try to mould public opinion etc. They enjoy a disproportionate amount of influence when they are committed to an issue to which the bulk of the population is indifferent. Policymakers will tend to accommodate those who care about the issue, even if their numbers are small, confident that the rest of the population will not penalise them for doing so.

In its basic operations, the Israel Lobby is no different from the farm lobby, steel or textile workers’ unions, or other ethnic lobbies. There is nothing improper about American Jews and their Christian allies attempting to sway US policy: the Lobby’s activities are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise it are only doing what other special interest groups do, but doing it very much better. By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobby’s task even easier.

The Lobby pursues two broad strategies. First, it wields its significant influence in Washington, pressuring both Congress and the executive branch. Whatever an individual lawmaker or policymaker’s own views may be, the Lobby tries to make supporting Israel the ‘smart’ choice. Second, it strives to ensure that public discourse portrays Israel in a positive light, by repeating myths about its founding and by promoting its point of view in policy debates. The goal is to prevent critical comments from getting a fair hearing in the political arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing US support, because a candid discussion of US-Israeli relations might lead Americans to favour a different policy.

A key pillar of the Lobby’s effectiveness is its influence in Congress, where Israel is virtually immune from criticism. This in itself is remarkable, because Congress rarely shies away from contentious issues. Where Israel is concerned, however, potential critics fall silent. One reason is that some key members are Christian Zionists like Dick Armey, who said in September 2002: ‘My No. 1 priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel.’ One might think that the No. 1 priority for any congressman would be to protect America. There are also Jewish senators and congressmen who work to ensure that US foreign policy supports Israel’s interests.

Another source of the Lobby’s power is its use of pro-Israel congressional staffers. As Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC, once admitted, ‘there are a lot of guys at the working level up here’ – on Capitol Hill – ‘who happen to be Jewish, who are willing . . . to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness . . . These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators . . . You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level.’

AIPAC itself, however, forms the core of the Lobby’s influence in Congress. Its success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. Money is critical to US elections (as the scandal over the lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s shady dealings reminds us), and AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the many pro-Israel political action committees. Anyone who is seen as hostile to Israel can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to his or her political opponents. AIPAC also organises letter-writing campaigns and encourages newspaper editors to endorse pro-Israel candidates.

There is no doubt about the efficacy of these tactics. Here is one example: in the 1984 elections, AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, who, according to a prominent Lobby figure, had ‘displayed insensitivity and even hostility to our concerns’. Thomas Dine, the head of AIPAC at the time, explained what happened: ‘All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message.’

AIPAC’s influence on Capitol Hill goes even further. According to Douglas Bloomfield, a former AIPAC staff member, ‘it is common for members of Congress and their staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need information, before calling the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, committee staff or administration experts.’ More important, he notes that AIPAC is ‘often called on to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes’.

The bottom line is that AIPAC, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress, with the result that US policy towards Israel is not debated there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world. In other words, one of the three main branches of the government is firmly committed to supporting Israel. As one former Democratic senator, Ernest Hollings, noted on leaving office, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ Or as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: “Help AIPAC.”’

Thanks in part to the influence Jewish voters have on presidential elections, the Lobby also has significant leverage over the executive branch. Although they make up fewer than 3 per cent of the population, they make large campaign donations to candidates from both parties. The Washington Post once estimated that Democratic presidential candidates ‘depend on Jewish supporters to supply as much as 60 per cent of the money’. And because Jewish voters have high turn-out rates and are concentrated in key states like California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania, presidential candidates go to great lengths not to antagonise them.

Key organisations in the Lobby make it their business to ensure that critics of Israel do not get important foreign policy jobs. Jimmy Carter wanted to make George Ball his first secretary of state, but knew that Ball was seen as critical of Israel and that the Lobby would oppose the appointment. In this way any aspiring policymaker is encouraged to become an overt supporter of Israel, which is why public critics of Israeli policy have become an endangered species in the foreign policy establishment.

When Howard Dean called for the United States to take a more ‘even-handed role’ in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Senator Joseph Lieberman accused him of selling Israel down the river and said his statement was ‘irresponsible’. Virtually all the top Democrats in the House signed a letter criticising Dean’s remarks, and the Chicago Jewish Star reported that ‘anonymous attackers . . . are clogging the email inboxes of Jewish leaders around the country, warning – without much evidence – that Dean would somehow be bad for Israel.’

This worry was absurd; Dean is in fact quite hawkish on Israel: his campaign co-chair was a former AIPAC president, and Dean said his own views on the Middle East more closely reflected those of AIPAC than those of the more moderate Americans for Peace Now. He had merely suggested that to ‘bring the sides together’, Washington should act as an honest broker. This is hardly a radical idea, but the Lobby doesn’t tolerate even-handedness.

During the Clinton administration, Middle Eastern policy was largely shaped by officials with close ties to Israel or to prominent pro-Israel organisations; among them, Martin Indyk, the former deputy director of research at AIPAC and co-founder of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP); Dennis Ross, who joined WINEP after leaving government in 2001; and Aaron Miller, who has lived in Israel and often visits the country. These men were among Clinton’s closest advisers at the Camp David summit in July 2000. Although all three supported the Oslo peace process and favoured the creation of a Palestinian state, they did so only within the limits of what would be acceptable to Israel. The American delegation took its cues from Ehud Barak, co-ordinated its negotiating positions with Israel in advance, and did not offer independent proposals. Not surprisingly, Palestinian negotiators complained that they were ‘negotiating with two Israeli teams – one displaying an Israeli flag, and one an American flag’.

The situation is even more pronounced in the Bush administration, whose ranks have included such fervent advocates of the Israeli cause as Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, I. Lewis (‘Scooter’) Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and David Wurmser. As we shall see, these officials have consistently pushed for policies favoured by Israel and backed by organisations in the Lobby.

The Lobby doesn’t want an open debate, of course, because that might lead Americans to question the level of support they provide. Accordingly, pro-Israel organisations work hard to influence the institutions that do most to shape popular opinion.

The Lobby’s perspective prevails in the mainstream media: the debate among Middle East pundits, the journalist Eric Alterman writes, is ‘dominated by people who cannot imagine criticising Israel’. He lists 61 ‘columnists and commentators who can be counted on to support Israel reflexively and without qualification’. Conversely, he found just five pundits who consistently criticise Israeli actions or endorse Arab positions. Newspapers occasionally publish guest op-eds challenging Israeli policy, but the balance of opinion clearly favours the other side. It is hard to imagine any mainstream media outlet in the United States publishing a piece like this one.

‘Shamir, Sharon, Bibi – whatever those guys want is pretty much fine by me,’ Robert Bartley once remarked. Not surprisingly, his newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, along with other prominent papers like the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Times, regularly runs editorials that strongly support Israel. Magazines like Commentary, the New Republic and the Weekly Standard defend Israel at every turn.

Editorial bias is also found in papers like the New York Times, which occasionally criticises Israeli policies and sometimes concedes that the Palestinians have legitimate grievances, but is not even-handed. In his memoirs the paper’s former executive editor Max Frankel acknowledges the impact his own attitude had on his editorial decisions: ‘I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert . . . Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognised, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.’

News reports are more even-handed, in part because reporters strive to be objective, but also because it is difficult to cover events in the Occupied Territories without acknowledging Israel’s actions on the ground. To discourage unfavourable reporting, the Lobby organises letter-writing campaigns, demonstrations and boycotts of news outlets whose content it considers anti-Israel. One CNN executive has said that he sometimes gets 6000 email messages in a single day complaining about a story. In May 2003, the pro-Israel Committee for Accurate Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) organised demonstrations outside National Public Radio stations in 33 cities; it also tried to persuade contributors to withhold support from NPR until its Middle East coverage becomes more sympathetic to Israel. Boston’s NPR station, WBUR, reportedly lost more than $1 million in contributions as a result of these efforts. Further pressure on NPR has come from Israel’s friends in Congress, who have asked for an internal audit of its Middle East coverage as well as more oversight.

The Israeli side also dominates the think tanks which play an important role in shaping public debate as well as actual policy. The Lobby created its own think tank in 1985, when Martin Indyk helped to found WINEP. Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel, claiming instead to provide a ‘balanced and realistic’ perspective on Middle East issues, it is funded and run by individuals deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda.

The Lobby’s influence extends well beyond WINEP, however. Over the past 25 years, pro-Israel forces have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks employ few, if any, critics of US support for Israel.

Take the Brookings Institution. For many years, its senior expert on the Middle East was William Quandt, a former NSC official with a well-deserved reputation for even-handedness. Today, Brookings’s coverage is conducted through the Saban Center for Middle East Studies, which is financed by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American businessman and ardent Zionist. The centre’s director is the ubiquitous Martin Indyk. What was once a non-partisan policy institute is now part of the pro-Israel chorus.

Where the Lobby has had the most difficulty is in stifling debate on university campuses. In the 1990s, when the Oslo peace process was underway, there was only mild criticism of Israel, but it grew stronger with Oslo’s collapse and Sharon’s access to power, becoming quite vociferous when the IDF reoccupied the West Bank in spring 2002 and employed massive force to subdue the second intifada.

The Lobby moved immediately to ‘take back the campuses’. New groups sprang up, like the Caravan for Democracy, which brought Israeli speakers to US colleges. Established groups like the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Hillel joined in, and a new group, the Israel on Campus Coalition, was formed to co-ordinate the many bodies that now sought to put Israel’s case. Finally, AIPAC more than tripled its spending on programmes to monitor university activities and to train young advocates, in order to ‘vastly expand the number of students involved on campus . . . in the national pro-Israel effort’.

The Lobby also monitors what professors write and teach. In September 2002, Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, two passionately pro-Israel neo-conservatives, established a website (Campus Watch) that posted dossiers on suspect academics and encouraged students to report remarks or behaviour that might be considered hostile to Israel. This transparent attempt to blacklist and intimidate scholars provoked a harsh reaction and Pipes and Kramer later removed the dossiers, but the website still invites students to report ‘anti-Israel’ activity.

Groups within the Lobby put pressure on particular academics and universities. Columbia has been a frequent target, no doubt because of the presence of the late Edward Said on its faculty. ‘One can be sure that any public statement in support of the Palestinian people by the pre-eminent literary critic Edward Said will elicit hundreds of emails, letters and journalistic accounts that call on us to denounce Said and to either sanction or fire him,’ Jonathan Cole, its former provost, reported. When Columbia recruited the historian Rashid Khalidi from Chicago, the same thing happened. It was a problem Princeton also faced a few years later when it considered wooing Khalidi away from Columbia.

A classic illustration of the effort to police academia occurred towards the end of 2004, when the David Project produced a film alleging that faculty members of Columbia’s Middle East Studies programme were anti-semitic and were intimidating Jewish students who stood up for Israel. Columbia was hauled over the coals, but a faculty committee which was assigned to investigate the charges found no evidence of anti-semitism and the only incident possibly worth noting was that one professor had ‘responded heatedly’ to a student’s question. The committee also discovered that the academics in question had themselves been the target of an overt campaign of intimidation.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all this is the efforts Jewish groups have made to push Congress into establishing mechanisms to monitor what professors say. If they manage to get this passed, universities judged to have an anti-Israel bias would be denied federal funding. Their efforts have not yet succeeded, but they are an indication of the importance placed on controlling debate.

A number of Jewish philanthropists have recently established Israel Studies programmes (in addition to the roughly 130 Jewish Studies programmes already in existence) so as to increase the number of Israel-friendly scholars on campus. In May 2003, NYU announced the establishment of the Taub Center for Israel Studies; similar programmes have been set up at Berkeley, Brandeis and Emory. Academic administrators emphasise their pedagogical value, but the truth is that they are intended in large part to promote Israel’s image. Fred Laffer, the head of the Taub Foundation, makes it clear that his foundation funded the NYU centre to help counter the ‘Arabic [sic] point of view’ that he thinks is prevalent in NYU’s Middle East programmes.

No discussion of the Lobby would be complete without an examination of one of its most powerful weapons: the charge of anti-semitism. Anyone who criticises Israel’s actions or argues that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle Eastern policy – an influence AIPAC celebrates – stands a good chance of being labelled an anti-semite. Indeed, anyone who merely claims that there is an Israel Lobby runs the risk of being charged with anti-semitism, even though the Israeli media refer to America’s ‘Jewish Lobby’. In other words, the Lobby first boasts of its influence and then attacks anyone who calls attention to it. It’s a very effective tactic: anti-semitism is something no one wants to be accused of.

Europeans have been more willing than Americans to criticise Israeli policy, which some people attribute to a resurgence of anti-semitism in Europe. We are ‘getting to a point’, the US ambassador to the EU said in early 2004, ‘where it is as bad as it was in the 1930s’. Measuring anti-semitism is a complicated matter, but the weight of evidence points in the opposite direction. In the spring of 2004, when accusations of European anti-semitism filled the air in America, separate surveys of European public opinion conducted by the US-based Anti-Defamation League and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that it was in fact declining. In the 1930s, by contrast, anti-semitism was not only widespread among Europeans of all classes but considered quite acceptable.

The Lobby and its friends often portray France as the most anti-semitic country in Europe. But in 2003, the head of the French Jewish community said that ‘France is not more anti-semitic than America.’ According to a recent article in Ha’aretz, the French police have reported that anti-semitic incidents declined by almost 50 per cent in 2005; and this even though France has the largest Muslim population of any European country. Finally, when a French Jew was murdered in Paris last month by a Muslim gang, tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets to condemn anti-semitism. Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin both attended the victim’s memorial service to show their solidarity.

No one would deny that there is anti-semitism among European Muslims, some of it provoked by Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinians and some of it straightforwardly racist. But this is a separate matter with little bearing on whether or not Europe today is like Europe in the 1930s. Nor would anyone deny that there are still some virulent autochthonous anti-semites in Europe (as there are in the United States) but their numbers are small and their views are rejected by the vast majority of Europeans.

Israel’s advocates, when pressed to go beyond mere assertion, claim that there is a ‘new anti-semitism’, which they equate with criticism of Israel. In other words, criticise Israeli policy and you are by definition an anti-semite. When the synod of the Church of England recently voted to divest from Caterpillar Inc on the grounds that it manufactures the bulldozers used by the Israelis to demolish Palestinian homes, the Chief Rabbi complained that this would ‘have the most adverse repercussions on . . . Jewish-Christian relations in Britain’, while Rabbi Tony Bayfield, the head of the Reform movement, said: ‘There is a clear problem of anti-Zionist – verging on anti-semitic – attitudes emerging in the grass-roots, and even in the middle ranks of the Church.’ But the Church was guilty merely of protesting against Israeli government policy.

Critics are also accused of holding Israel to an unfair standard or questioning its right to exist. But these are bogus charges too. Western critics of Israel hardly ever question its right to exist: they question its behaviour towards the Palestinians, as do Israelis themselves. Nor is Israel being judged unfairly. Israeli treatment of the Palestinians elicits criticism because it is contrary to widely accepted notions of human rights, to international law and to the principle of national self-determination. And it is hardly the only state that has faced sharp criticism on these grounds.

In the autumn of 2001, and especially in the spring of 2002, the Bush administration tried to reduce anti-American sentiment in the Arab world and undermine support for terrorist groups like al-Qaida by halting Israel’s expansionist policies in the Occupied Territories and advocating the creation of a Palestinian state. Bush had very significant means of persuasion at his disposal. He could have threatened to reduce economic and diplomatic support for Israel, and the American people would almost certainly have supported him. A May 2003 poll reported that more than 60 per cent of Americans were willing to withhold aid if Israel resisted US pressure to settle the conflict, and that number rose to 70 per cent among the ‘politically active’. Indeed, 73 per cent said that the United States should not favour either side.

Yet the administration failed to change Israeli policy, and Washington ended up backing it. Over time, the administration also adopted Israel’s own justifications of its position, so that US rhetoric began to mimic Israeli rhetoric. By February 2003, a Washington Post headline summarised the situation: ‘Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.’ The main reason for this switch was the Lobby.

The story begins in late September 2001, when Bush began urging Sharon to show restraint in the Occupied Territories. He also pressed him to allow Israel’s foreign minister, Shimon Peres, to meet with Yasser Arafat, even though he (Bush) was highly critical of Arafat’s leadership. Bush even said publicly that he supported the creation of a Palestinian state. Alarmed, Sharon accused him of trying ‘to appease the Arabs at our expense’, warning that Israel ‘will not be Czechoslovakia’.

Bush was reportedly furious at being compared to Chamberlain, and the White House press secretary called Sharon’s remarks ‘unacceptable’. Sharon offered a pro forma apology, but quickly joined forces with the Lobby to persuade the administration and the American people that the United States and Israel faced a common threat from terrorism. Israeli officials and Lobby representatives insisted that there was no real difference between Arafat and Osama bin Laden: the United States and Israel, they said, should isolate the Palestinians’ elected leader and have nothing to do with him.

The Lobby also went to work in Congress. On 16 November, 89 senators sent Bush a letter praising him for refusing to meet with Arafat, but also demanding that the US not restrain Israel from retaliating against the Palestinians; the administration, they wrote, must state publicly that it stood behind Israel. According to the New York Times, the letter ‘stemmed’ from a meeting two weeks before between ‘leaders of the American Jewish community and key senators’, adding that AIPAC was ‘particularly active in providing advice on the letter’.

By late November, relations between Tel Aviv and Washington had improved considerably. This was thanks in part to the Lobby’s efforts, but also to America’s initial victory in Afghanistan, which reduced the perceived need for Arab support in dealing with al-Qaida. Sharon visited the White House in early December and had a friendly meeting with Bush.

In April 2002 trouble erupted again, after the IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield and resumed control of virtually all the major Palestinian areas on the West Bank. Bush knew that Israel’s actions would damage America’s image in the Islamic world and undermine the war on terrorism, so he demanded that Sharon ‘halt the incursions and begin withdrawal’. He underscored this message two days later, saying he wanted Israel to ‘withdraw without delay’. On 7 April, Condoleezza Rice, then Bush’s national security adviser, told reporters: ‘“Without delay” means without delay. It means now.’ That same day Colin Powell set out for the Middle East to persuade all sides to stop fighting and start negotiating.

Israel and the Lobby swung into action. Pro-Israel officials in the vice-president’s office and the Pentagon, as well as neo-conservative pundits like Robert Kagan and William Kristol, put the heat on Powell. They even accused him of having ‘virtually obliterated the distinction between terrorists and those fighting terrorists’. Bush himself was being pressed by Jewish leaders and Christian evangelicals. Tom DeLay and Dick Armey were especially outspoken about the need to support Israel, and DeLay and the Senate minority leader, Trent Lott, visited the White House and warned Bush to back off.

The first sign that Bush was caving in came on 11 April – a week after he told Sharon to withdraw his forces – when the White House press secretary said that the president believed Sharon was ‘a man of peace’. Bush repeated this statement publicly on Powell’s return from his abortive mission, and told reporters that Sharon had responded satisfactorily to his call for a full and immediate withdrawal. Sharon had done no such thing, but Bush was no longer willing to make an issue of it.

Meanwhile, Congress was also moving to back Sharon. On 2 May, it overrode the administration’s objections and passed two resolutions reaffirming support for Israel. (The Senate vote was 94 to 2; the House of Representatives version passed 352 to 21.) Both resolutions held that the United States ‘stands in solidarity with Israel’ and that the two countries were, to quote the House resolution, ‘now engaged in a common struggle against terrorism’. The House version also condemned ‘the ongoing support and co-ordination of terror by Yasser Arafat’, who was portrayed as a central part of the terrorism problem. Both resolutions were drawn up with the help of the Lobby. A few days later, a bipartisan congressional delegation on a fact-finding mission to Israel stated that Sharon should resist US pressure to negotiate with Arafat. On 9 May, a House appropriations subcommittee met to consider giving Israel an extra $200 million to fight terrorism. Powell opposed the package, but the Lobby backed it and Powell lost.

In short, Sharon and the Lobby took on the president of the United States and triumphed. Hemi Shalev, a journalist on the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, reported that Sharon’s aides ‘could not hide their satisfaction in view of Powell’s failure. Sharon saw the whites of President Bush’s eyes, they bragged, and the president blinked first.’ But it was Israel’s champions in the United States, not Sharon or Israel, that played the key role in defeating Bush.

The situation has changed little since then. The Bush administration refused ever again to have dealings with Arafat. After his death, it embraced the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, but has done little to help him. Sharon continued to develop his plan to impose a unilateral settlement on the Palestinians, based on ‘disengagement’ from Gaza coupled with continued expansion on the West Bank. By refusing to negotiate with Abbas and making it impossible for him to deliver tangible benefits to the Palestinian people, Sharon’s strategy contributed directly to Hamas’s electoral victory. With Hamas in power, however, Israel has another excuse not to negotiate. The US administration has supported Sharon’s actions (and those of his successor, Ehud Olmert). Bush has even endorsed unilateral Israeli annexations in the Occupied Territories, reversing the stated policy of every president since Lyndon Johnson.

US officials have offered mild criticisms of a few Israeli actions, but have done little to help create a viable Palestinian state. Sharon has Bush ‘wrapped around his little finger’, the former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft said in October 2004. If Bush tries to distance the US from Israel, or even criticises Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories, he is certain to face the wrath of the Lobby and its supporters in Congress. Democratic presidential candidates understand that these are facts of life, which is the reason John Kerry went to great lengths to display unalloyed support for Israel in 2004, and why Hillary Clinton is doing the same thing today.

Maintaining US support for Israel’s policies against the Palestinians is essential as far as the Lobby is concerned, but its ambitions do not stop there. It also wants America to help Israel remain the dominant regional power. The Israeli government and pro-Israel groups in the United States have worked together to shape the administration’s policy towards Iraq, Syria and Iran, as well as its grand scheme for reordering the Middle East.

Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’

On 16 August 2002, 11 days before Dick Cheney kicked off the campaign for war with a hardline speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Washington Post reported that ‘Israel is urging US officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.’ By this point, according to Sharon, strategic co-ordination between Israel and the US had reached ‘unprecedented dimensions’, and Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes. As one retired Israeli general later put it, ‘Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.’

Israeli leaders were deeply distressed when Bush decided to seek Security Council authorisation for war, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let UN inspectors back in. ‘The campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must,’ Shimon Peres told reporters in September 2002. ‘Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors.’

At the same time, Ehud Barak wrote a New York Times op-ed warning that ‘the greatest risk now lies in inaction.’ His predecessor as prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: ‘The Case for Toppling Saddam’. ‘Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do,’ he declared. ‘I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam’s regime.’ Or as Ha’aretz reported in February 2003, ‘the military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq.’

As Netanyahu suggested, however, the desire for war was not confined to Israel’s leaders. Apart from Kuwait, which Saddam invaded in 1990, Israel was the only country in the world where both politicians and public favoured war. As the journalist Gideon Levy observed at the time, ‘Israel is the only country in the West whose leaders support the war unreservedly and where no alternative opinion is voiced.’ In fact, Israelis were so gung-ho that their allies in America told them to damp down their rhetoric, or it would look as if the war would be fought on Israel’s behalf.

Within the US, the main driving force behind the war was a small band of neo-conservatives, many with ties to Likud. But leaders of the Lobby’s major organisations lent their voices to the campaign. ‘As President Bush attempted to sell the . . . war in Iraq,’ the Forward reported, ‘America’s most important Jewish organisations rallied as one to his defence. In statement after statement community leaders stressed the need to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.’ The editorial goes on to say that ‘concern for Israel’s safety rightfully factored into the deliberations of the main Jewish groups.’

Although neo-conservatives and other Lobby leaders were eager to invade Iraq, the broader American Jewish community was not. Just after the war started, Samuel Freedman reported that ‘a compilation of nationwide opinion polls by the Pew Research Center shows that Jews are less supportive of the Iraq war than the population at large, 52 per cent to 62 per cent.’ Clearly, it would be wrong to blame the war in Iraq on ‘Jewish influence’. Rather, it was due in large part to the Lobby’s influence, especially that of the neo-conservatives within it.

The neo-conservatives had been determined to topple Saddam even before Bush became president. They caused a stir early in 1998 by publishing two open letters to Clinton, calling for Saddam’s removal from power. The signatories, many of whom had close ties to pro-Israel groups like JINSA or WINEP, and who included Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Bernard Lewis, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, had little trouble persuading the Clinton administration to adopt the general goal of ousting Saddam. But they were unable to sell a war to achieve that objective. They were no more able to generate enthusiasm for invading Iraq in the early months of the Bush administration. They needed help to achieve their aim. That help arrived with 9/11. Specifically, the events of that day led Bush and Cheney to reverse course and become strong proponents of a preventive war.

At a key meeting with Bush at Camp David on 15 September, Wolfowitz advocated attacking Iraq before Afghanistan, even though there was no evidence that Saddam was involved in the attacks on the US and bin Laden was known to be in Afghanistan. Bush rejected his advice and chose to go after Afghanistan instead, but war with Iraq was now regarded as a serious possibility and on 21 November the president charged military planners with developing concrete plans for an invasion.

Other neo-conservatives were meanwhile at work in the corridors of power. We don’t have the full story yet, but scholars like Bernard Lewis of Princeton and Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins reportedly played important roles in persuading Cheney that war was the best option, though neo-conservatives on his staff – Eric Edelman, John Hannah and Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff and one of the most powerful individuals in the administration – also played their part. By early 2002 Cheney had persuaded Bush; and with Bush and Cheney on board, war was inevitable.

Outside the administration, neo-conservative pundits lost no time in making the case that invading Iraq was essential to winning the war on terrorism. Their efforts were designed partly to keep up the pressure on Bush, and partly to overcome opposition to the war inside and outside the government. On 20 September, a group of prominent neo-conservatives and their allies published another open letter: ‘Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack,’ it read, ‘any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.’ The letter also reminded Bush that ‘Israel has been and remains America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism.’ In the 1 October issue of the Weekly Standard, Robert Kagan and William Kristol called for regime change in Iraq as soon as the Taliban was defeated. That same day, Charles Krauthammer argued in the Washington Post that after the US was done with Afghanistan, Syria should be next, followed by Iran and Iraq: ‘The war on terrorism will conclude in Baghdad,’ when we finish off ‘the most dangerous terrorist regime in the world’.

This was the beginning of an unrelenting public relations campaign to win support for an invasion of Iraq, a crucial part of which was the manipulation of intelligence in such a way as to make it seem as if Saddam posed an imminent threat. For example, Libby pressured CIA analysts to find evidence supporting the case for war and helped prepare Colin Powell’s now discredited briefing to the UN Security Council. Within the Pentagon, the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group was charged with finding links between al-Qaida and Iraq that the intelligence community had supposedly missed. Its two key members were David Wurmser, a hard-core neo-conservative, and Michael Maloof, a Lebanese-American with close ties to Perle. Another Pentagon group, the so-called Office of Special Plans, was given the task of uncovering evidence that could be used to sell the war. It was headed by Abram Shulsky, a neo-conservative with long-standing ties to Wolfowitz, and its ranks included recruits from pro-Israel think tanks. Both these organisations were created after 9/11 and reported directly to Douglas Feith.

Like virtually all the neo-conservatives, Feith is deeply committed to Israel; he also has long-term ties to Likud. He wrote articles in the 1990s supporting the settlements and arguing that Israel should retain the Occupied Territories. More important, along with Perle and Wurmser, he wrote the famous ‘Clean Break’ report in June 1996 for Netanyahu, who had just become prime minister. Among other things, it recommended that Netanyahu ‘focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right’. It also called for Israel to take steps to reorder the entire Middle East. Netanyahu did not follow their advice, but Feith, Perle and Wurmser were soon urging the Bush administration to pursue those same goals. The Ha’aretzcolumnist Akiva Eldar warned that Feith and Perle ‘are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments . . . and Israeli interests’.

Wolfowitz is equally committed to Israel. The Forward once described him as ‘the most hawkishly pro-Israel voice in the administration’, and selected him in 2002 as first among 50 notables who ‘have consciously pursued Jewish activism’. At about the same time, JINSA gave Wolfowitz its Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award for promoting a strong partnership between Israel and the United States; and the Jerusalem Post, describing him as ‘devoutly pro-Israel’, named him ‘Man of the Year’ in 2003.

Finally, a brief word is in order about the neo-conservatives’ prewar support of Ahmed Chalabi, the unscrupulous Iraqi exile who headed the Iraqi National Congress. They backed Chalabi because he had established close ties with Jewish-American groups and had pledged to foster good relations with Israel once he gained power. This was precisely what pro-Israel proponents of regime change wanted to hear. Matthew Berger laid out the essence of the bargain in the Jewish Journal: ‘The INC saw improved relations as a way to tap Jewish influence in Washington and Jerusalem and to drum up increased support for its cause. For their part, the Jewish groups saw an opportunity to pave the way for better relations between Israel and Iraq, if and when the INC is involved in replacing Saddam Hussein’s regime.’

Given the neo-conservatives’ devotion to Israel, their obsession with Iraq, and their influence in the Bush administration, it isn’t surprising that many Americans suspected that the war was designed to further Israeli interests. Last March, Barry Jacobs of the American Jewish Committee acknowledged that the belief that Israel and the neo-conservatives had conspired to get the US into a war in Iraq was ‘pervasive’ in the intelligence community. Yet few people would say so publicly, and most of those who did – including Senator Ernest Hollings and Representative James Moran – were condemned for raising the issue. Michael Kinsley wrote in late 2002 that ‘the lack of public discussion about the role of Israel . . . is the proverbial elephant in the room.’ The reason for the reluctance to talk about it, he observed, was fear of being labelled an anti-semite. There is little doubt that Israel and the Lobby were key factors in the decision to go to war. It’s a decision the US would have been far less likely to take without their efforts. And the war itself was intended to be only the first step. A front-page headline in the Wall Street Journal shortly after the war began says it all: ‘President’s Dream: Changing Not Just Regime but a Region: A Pro-US, Democratic Area Is a Goal that Has Israeli and Neo-Conservative Roots.’

Pro-Israel forces have long been interested in getting the US military more directly involved in the Middle East. But they had limited success during the Cold War, because America acted as an ‘off-shore balancer’ in the region. Most forces designated for the Middle East, like the Rapid Deployment Force, were kept ‘over the horizon’ and out of harm’s way. The idea was to play local powers off against each other – which is why the Reagan administration supported Saddam against revolutionary Iran during the Iran-Iraq War – in order to maintain a balance favourable to the US.

This policy changed after the first Gulf War, when the Clinton administration adopted a strategy of ‘dual containment’. Substantial US forces would be stationed in the region in order to contain both Iran and Iraq, instead of one being used to check the other. The father of dual containment was none other than Martin Indyk, who first outlined the strategy in May 1993 at WINEP and then implemented it as director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.

By the mid-1990s there was considerable dissatisfaction with dual containment, because it made the United States the mortal enemy of two countries that hated each other, and forced Washington to bear the burden of containing both. But it was a strategy the Lobby favoured and worked actively in Congress to preserve. Pressed by AIPAC and other pro-Israel forces, Clinton toughened up the policy in the spring of 1995 by imposing an economic embargo on Iran. But AIPAC and the others wanted more. The result was the 1996 Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, which imposed sanctions on any foreign companies investing more than $40 million to develop petroleum resources in Iran or Libya. As Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz, noted at the time, ‘Israel is but a tiny element in the big scheme, but one should not conclude that it cannot influence those within the Beltway.’

By the late 1990s, however, the neo-conservatives were arguing that dual containment was not enough and that regime change in Iraq was essential. By toppling Saddam and turning Iraq into a vibrant democracy, they argued, the US would trigger a far-reaching process of change throughout the Middle East. The same line of thinking was evident in the ‘Clean Break’ study the neo-conservatives wrote for Netanyahu. By 2002, when an invasion of Iraq was on the front-burner, regional transformation was an article of faith in neo-conservative circles.

Charles Krauthammer describes this grand scheme as the brainchild of Natan Sharansky, but Israelis across the political spectrum believed that toppling Saddam would alter the Middle East to Israel’s advantage. Aluf Benn reported in Ha’aretz (17 February 2003):

Senior IDF officers and those close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, such as National Security Adviser Ephraim Halevy, paint a rosy picture of the wonderful future Israel can expect after the war. They envision a domino effect, with the fall of Saddam Hussein followed by that of Israel’s other enemies . . . Along with these leaders will disappear terror and weapons of mass destruction.

Once Baghdad fell in mid-April 2003, Sharon and his lieutenants began urging Washington to target Damascus. On 16 April, Sharon, interviewed in Yedioth Ahronoth, called for the United States to put ‘very heavy’ pressure on Syria, while Shaul Mofaz, his defence minister, interviewed in Ma’ariv, said: ‘We have a long list of issues that we are thinking of demanding of the Syrians and it is appropriate that it should be done through the Americans.’ Ephraim Halevy told a WINEP audience that it was now important for the US to get rough with Syria, and the Washington Post reported that Israel was ‘fuelling the campaign’ against Syria by feeding the US intelligence reports about the actions of Bashar Assad, the Syrian president.

Prominent members of the Lobby made the same arguments. Wolfowitz declared that ‘there has got to be regime change in Syria,’ and Richard Perle told a journalist that ‘a short message, a two-worded message’ could be delivered to other hostile regimes in the Middle East: ‘You’re next.’ In early April, WINEP released a bipartisan report stating that Syria ‘should not miss the message that countries that pursue Saddam’s reckless, irresponsible and defiant behaviour could end up sharing his fate’. On 15 April, Yossi Klein Halevi wrote a piece in the Los Angeles Times entitled ‘Next, Turn the Screws on Syria’, while the following day Zev Chafets wrote an article for the New York Daily News entitled ‘Terror-Friendly Syria Needs a Change, Too’. Not to be outdone, Lawrence Kaplan wrote in the New Republic on 21 April that Assad was a serious threat to America.

Back on Capitol Hill, Congressman Eliot Engel had reintroduced the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act. It threatened sanctions against Syria if it did not withdraw from Lebanon, give up its WMD and stop supporting terrorism, and it also called for Syria and Lebanon to take concrete steps to make peace with Israel. This legislation was strongly endorsed by the Lobby – by AIPAC especially – and ‘framed’, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, ‘by some of Israel’s best friends in Congress’. The Bush administration had little enthusiasm for it, but the anti-Syrian act passed overwhelmingly (398 to 4 in the House; 89 to 4 in the Senate), and Bush signed it into law on 12 December 2003.

The administration itself was still divided about the wisdom of targeting Syria. Although the neo-conservatives were eager to pick a fight with Damascus, the CIA and the State Department were opposed to the idea. And even after Bush signed the new law, he emphasised that he would go slowly in implementing it. His ambivalence is understandable. First, the Syrian government had not only been providing important intelligence about al-Qaida since 9/11: it had also warned Washington about a planned terrorist attack in the Gulf and given CIA interrogators access to Mohammed Zammar, the alleged recruiter of some of the 9/11 hijackers. Targeting the Assad regime would jeopardise these valuable connections, and thereby undermine the larger war on terrorism.

Second, Syria had not been on bad terms with Washington before the Iraq war (it had even voted for UN Resolution 1441), and was itself no threat to the United States. Playing hardball with it would make the US look like a bully with an insatiable appetite for beating up Arab states. Third, putting Syria on the hit list would give Damascus a powerful incentive to cause trouble in Iraq. Even if one wanted to bring pressure to bear, it made good sense to finish the job in Iraq first. Yet Congress insisted on putting the screws on Damascus, largely in response to pressure from Israeli officials and groups like AIPAC. If there were no Lobby, there would have been no Syria Accountability Act, and US policy towards Damascus would have been more in line with the national interest.

Israelis tend to describe every threat in the starkest terms, but Iran is widely seen as their most dangerous enemy because it is the most likely to acquire nuclear weapons. Virtually all Israelis regard an Islamic country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons as a threat to their existence. ‘Iraq is a problem . . . But you should understand, if you ask me, today Iran is more dangerous than Iraq,’ the defence minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, remarked a month before the Iraq war.

Sharon began pushing the US to confront Iran in November 2002, in an interview in the Times. Describing Iran as the ‘centre of world terror’, and bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, he declared that the Bush administration should put the strong arm on Iran ‘the day after’ it conquered Iraq. In late April 2003, Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli ambassador in Washington was calling for regime change in Iran. The overthrow of Saddam, he noted, was ‘not enough’. In his words, America ‘has to follow through. We still have great threats of that magnitude coming from Syria, coming from Iran.’

The neo-conservatives, too, lost no time in making the case for regime change in Tehran. On 6 May, the AEI co-sponsored an all-day conference on Iran with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Hudson Institute, both champions of Israel. The speakers were all strongly pro-Israel, and many called for the US to replace the Iranian regime with a democracy. As usual, a bevy of articles by prominent neo-conservatives made the case for going after Iran. ‘The liberation of Iraq was the first great battle for the future of the Middle East . . . But the next great battle – not, we hope, a military battle – will be for Iran,’ William Kristol wrote in the Weekly Standard on 12 May.

The administration has responded to the Lobby’s pressure by working overtime to shut down Iran’s nuclear programme. But Washington has had little success, and Iran seems determined to create a nuclear arsenal. As a result, the Lobby has intensified its pressure. Op-eds and other articles now warn of imminent dangers from a nuclear Iran, caution against any appeasement of a ‘terrorist’ regime, and hint darkly of preventive action should diplomacy fail. The Lobby is pushing Congress to approve the Iran Freedom Support Act, which would expand existing sanctions. Israeli officials also warn they may take pre-emptive action should Iran continue down the nuclear road, threats partly intended to keep Washington’s attention on the issue.

One might argue that Israel and the Lobby have not had much influence on policy towards Iran, because the US has its own reasons for keeping Iran from going nuclear. There is some truth in this, but Iran’s nuclear ambitions do not pose a direct threat to the US. If Washington could live with a nuclear Soviet Union, a nuclear China or even a nuclear North Korea, it can live with a nuclear Iran. And that is why the Lobby must keep up constant pressure on politicians to confront Tehran. Iran and the US would hardly be allies if the Lobby did not exist, but US policy would be more temperate and preventive war would not be a serious option.

It is not surprising that Israel and its American supporters want the US to deal with any and all threats to Israel’s security. If their efforts to shape US policy succeed, Israel’s enemies will be weakened or overthrown, Israel will get a free hand with the Palestinians, and the US will do most of the fighting, dying, rebuilding and paying. But even if the US fails to transform the Middle East and finds itself in conflict with an increasingly radicalised Arab and Islamic world, Israel will end up protected by the world’s only superpower. This is not a perfect outcome from the Lobby’s point of view, but it is obviously preferable to Washington distancing itself, or using its leverage to force Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.

Can the Lobby’s power be curtailed? One would like to think so, given the Iraq debacle, the obvious need to rebuild America’s image in the Arab and Islamic world, and the recent revelations about AIPAC officials passing US government secrets to Israel. One might also think that Arafat’s death and the election of the more moderate Mahmoud Abbas would cause Washington to press vigorously and even-handedly for a peace agreement. In short, there are ample grounds for leaders to distance themselves from the Lobby and adopt a Middle East policy more consistent with broader US interests. In particular, using American power to achieve a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians would help advance the cause of democracy in the region.

But that is not going to happen – not soon anyway. AIPAC and its allies (including Christian Zionists) have no serious opponents in the lobbying world. They know it has become more difficult to make Israel’s case today, and they are responding by taking on staff and expanding their activities. Besides, American politicians remain acutely sensitive to campaign contributions and other forms of political pressure, and major media outlets are likely to remain sympathetic to Israel no matter what it does.

The Lobby’s influence causes trouble on several fronts. It increases the terrorist danger that all states face – including America’s European allies. It has made it impossible to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a situation that gives extremists a powerful recruiting tool, increases the pool of potential terrorists and sympathisers, and contributes to Islamic radicalism in Europe and Asia.

Equally worrying, the Lobby’s campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the US to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects. We don’t need another Iraq. At a minimum, the Lobby’s hostility towards Syria and Iran makes it almost impossible for Washington to enlist them in the struggle against al-Qaida and the Iraqi insurgency, where their help is badly needed.

There is a moral dimension here as well. Thanks to the Lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the Occupied Territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians. This situation undercuts Washington’s efforts to promote democracy abroad and makes it look hypocritical when it presses other states to respect human rights. US efforts to limit nuclear proliferation appear equally hypocritical given its willingness to accept Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which only encourages Iran and others to seek a similar capability.

Besides, the Lobby’s campaign to quash debate about Israel is unhealthy for democracy. Silencing sceptics by organising blacklists and boycotts – or by suggesting that critics are anti-semites – violates the principle of open debate on which democracy depends. The inability of Congress to conduct a genuine debate on these important issues paralyses the entire process of democratic deliberation. Israel’s backers should be free to make their case and to challenge those who disagree with them, but efforts to stifle debate by intimidation must be roundly condemned.

Finally, the Lobby’s influence has been bad for Israel. Its ability to persuade Washington to support an expansionist agenda has discouraged Israel from seizing opportunities – including a peace treaty with Syria and a prompt and full implementation of the Oslo Accords – that would have saved Israeli lives and shrunk the ranks of Palestinian extremists. Denying the Palestinians their legitimate political rights certainly has not made Israel more secure, and the long campaign to kill or marginalise a generation of Palestinian leaders has empowered extremist groups like Hamas, and reduced the number of Palestinian leaders who would be willing to accept a fair settlement and able to make it work. Israel itself would probably be better off if the Lobby were less powerful and US policy more even-handed.

There is a ray of hope, however. Although the Lobby remains a powerful force, the adverse effects of its influence are increasingly difficult to hide. Powerful states can maintain flawed policies for quite some time, but reality cannot be ignored for ever. What is needed is a candid discussion of the Lobby’s influence and a more open debate about US interests in this vital region. Israel’s well-being is one of those interests, but its continued occupation of the West Bank and its broader regional agenda are not. Open debate will expose the limits of the strategic and moral case for one-sided US support and could move the US to a position more consistent with its own national interest, with the interests of the other states in the region, and with Israel’s long-term interests as well.

 

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Israel Lobby

The Holocaust Wars

NOVANEWS

By Paul Eisen

The virulently anti-Semitic Zundelsite (www.zundelsite.org) has posted this essay, (“Jewish Power” by Paul Eisen http://www.righteousjews.org/article10.html) which it describes as “brilliant.” Of course, Eisen cannot control the use of his work by these scum, but that is hardly the point. The sad fact is that it represents a “brilliant” endorsement of their own ideology of Jew-hating.

Joel Finkel [1]

I. Scum

The “scum” to which Joel Finkel refers are Ernst Zündel, currently in solitary confinement in the Metro West Detention Center, Toronto, and Ingrid Rimland, his wife, who owns and runs the Zundelsite – a website dedicated to supporting Zündel, his work and his struggle. All day every day Zündel sits in his cell on a pile of court transcripts (chairs are not permitted), wearing the same orange jumpsuit as all the rapists and murderers, and with the permitted pencil stubs (ball-points are forbidden) he fights his campaigns, writes, draws and meditates on the past, present and future. Meanwhile, from her Tennessee home Ingrid wheels and deals, begs and borrows, plots, posts and publishes to try to get him out, or at least to stop his imminent deportation to his native Germany where he can expect a warrant for his arrest under Germany’s severe “hate laws” and a possible five-year sentence.

Ernst Zündel immigrated to Canada in 1958 to avoid the draft (he is a lifelong pacifist), where he has lived for forty-two years. Unlike most Holocaust revisionists (rather an austere, academic lot), Zündel is a hands-on activist – by all accounts , a gentle, good-humored man, kind and honest and with those qualities often found in the strangest places: a fine mind and a good heart. Born in Germany’s Black Forest, Zündel sometimes refers to himself as a ‘Swabian peasant’, and it’s true, he does have that about him. But Zündel understands people and, most important, he understands history. He is, to use his own word, a Vordenker – one who thinks ahead of the crowd, one who sees the panorama of life.

For decades now Zündel has battled the Holocaust establishment:

“I was like everybody else in my own postwar years in Germany. I was disgusted with my father’s generation whom I believed to have been monsters. Like practically all people on our planet, I used to believe in the standard, widely accepted notion that the government of National Socialist Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, had attempted to kill the Jews by an act of state-decreed genocide. I was ashamed to be a German…..In the 1960’s ….I experienced my first doubts about some details of the Holocaust story. Further study, mostly at night, convinced me that many segments of the story were highly exaggerated, and the number of Jewish losses were wildly inflated.” Ernst Zündel

Thus began Zündel’s activism – persistent, flamboyant and effective. Who else would have got himself photographed carrying a martyr’s cross up the steps of a Canadian courtroom? And who else, after having been beaten on the steps of a courthouse by members of a violent Jewish group when he appeared for court dates, would thereafter appear for all court hearings in a hard hat and bulletproof vest?

His first brush with Canadian law was when the government sought to remove his special mail privileges. He won that one and has never looked back.

In 1985 Zündel ended up in court when he distributed a booklet, Did Six Million Really Die?, and ran foul of Canada’s “False News” Laws:

Everyone who willfully publishes a statement, tale or news that he knows is false and that causes or is likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Twice Ernst Zündel was in court for what turned out to be the two greatest Holocaust revisionism trials of our time, twice he was convicted and twice the convictions were overturned. The first in 1985 lasted seven weeks and ended with a 15-month sentence, overturned in 1987 by the Ontario Court of Appeal citing errors of law ordering a retrial. This, the second Zündel trial in 1988, lasted for almost four months. It was in this trial that Zündel commissioned Fred Leuchter, an expert on executions by gas in the U.S. to visit Auschwitz and conduct a forensic examination, which was presented in court as proving conclusively that there were no homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. For the revisionist community, that day in April 1988, when Fred Leuchter presented his report to the court, was the day the myth of the Holocaust was finally laid to rest.

Despite an impressive defense from revisionist heavyweights such as Robert Faurisson, Mark Weber and David Irving who, having just read the Leuchter report, took the opportunity of the trial to proclaim his conversion to Holocaust revisionism, Zündel was again found guilty and sentenced. But in 1992, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down as unconstitutional the law banning the spread of false news. This decision temporarily put an end to the deportation proceedings launched against Zündel after his 1988 conviction.

For the next few years Zündel continued his struggle despite various assaults, both legal and illegal – prosecutions, violence against his person, arson against his home and possessions.

In the spring of 1994, several Marxist street groups organized to attempt to drive Zündel out of his neighbourhood in Toronto. Pamphlets were distributed calling him a “hatemonger” and “white supremacist” and calling for his charging under Canada’s hate laws. These groups began a campaign of posters put up across Toronto with Zündel’s face in a rifle sight, giving directions to his home with instructions on how to build Molotov cocktails. Street graffiti appeared on fences and buildings calling for people to “drive Zündel out.” Zündel lodged complaints with Toronto police but nothing ever came of his complaints . . . On May 7, 1995, an arsonist torched Zündel’s house which was almost completely gutted on the second and third floors, causing over $400,000.00 in damages and destroying an extensive library and rare book collection. No person was ever charged with this offence. After the arson, Zündel suffered from severe anxiety, loss of memory, and loss of concentration. . . . At the end of May 1995, a powerful pipe bomb was sent to Zündel through the mails from Vancouver, British Columbia. Suspicious of the parcel, he took it unopened to the police. The bomb contained nails and metal shrapnel; Toronto police determined it would have killed anyone who opened it and anyone within 90 metres of the blast. [2]

Twice he submitted faultless applications for Canadian citizenship, and twice he was refused. There was a conviction for ‘hate crime’ in Germany and prosecutions for being “a threat to the safety and security of Canada”, and there were the incessant legal battles about the Zundelsite.

In 2000, exhausted after the struggles of the eighties and nineties, Zündel moved to the United States, where he married Ingrid, a U.S. citizen. There the couple lived quietly, establishing an art gallery, experimenting in organic agriculture and thinking about future campaigns. Then, on February 5th 2003 Ernst was arrested because, as he was told, he had missed showing up at a scheduled immigration hearing in May of 2001. “Remember what I told you?” He said to Ingrid as they faced together the arresting officers, “That’s what they were going to do. Use a bureaucratic excuse to get me.” He also told her, as he was led away in handcuffs, where to find her Valentine gift.

In what amounted to a legal kidnapping, Zündel was deported to Canada, where he faces extradition proceedings to Germany where “Holocaust denial” is against the law. There, you can get up to five years in prison for having the wrong opinion or, as they put it, for “. . . defaming the memory of the dead.” Two years later Zündel is still in prison as the legal wrangles continue.

“. . . you have just arrived at what is sneeringly called a “Holocaust denier.”

Ingrid Rimland

I had neither heard of Zündel nor the Zundelsite until I received an email from Ingrid Rimland asking permission to post my essay Jewish Power as one of her ‘Z-Grams’ – the emails she sends out to Zündel supporters all over the world. I agreed, and logged onto the Zundelsite. I appreciated its excellent selection of revisionist literature, but confess to being a little unnerved by its schwarz-weiß-rot livery, runic-style logo and anti-Jewish cartoons. But I carried on until I came across her introduction to my piece.

“Despite some occasional slipping into the RKPS mode….this Eisen essay is one remarkably crafted essay! Beautifully done! Rich in imagery and ice-cold in precision. “

. . . one remarkably crafted essay! Rich in imagery and ice-cold in precision! But what was this RKPS that I was occasionally slipping into?

Dear Paul,

RKPS stands for Requisite Knee-fall Paragraph Syndrome. It is a common, near universal writer’s affliction in every Western country. It neutralizes what crude folks call a “sh-t detector.” It befalls otherwise perfectly reasonable intellectuals much more than low-brow folks. It is as common as freckles.

It kicks in whenever the so-called “Holocaust” comes up. It’s automatic. One cannot help it. By inner command, one must immediately get down on ones knees, bow to the dust, pay homage to the “six million”, get up, kick Hitler in the shin, deplore the “racism” of the Third Reich, and otherwise distance oneself from the period of ’33-’45 so that there is no doubt as to exactly where one stands – fair square against (gulp!) “Nazis”.

Now, dear (future) friend – I have probably nixed a potentially congenial friendship right at the start by showing my true colors and putting my foot in the mouth – but I am a German, married to the world’s premier thought-criminal presently languishing in Abu Ghraib North, and my heart aches when I read otherwise magnificent writing like yours – and then detect the RKPS. It hurts me, because it is unworthy of thinking and otherwise fair people who have been raised on the Holocaust Drip that has deformed that part of their nature that is meant to be fair and critical.

Here is the example of the RKPS in your piece:-

“In its zeal and self belief Zionism has come to resemble the most brutal and relentless of modern ideologies. But unlike the brutal rationality of Stalinism, willing to sacrifice millions for political and economic revolution, this Jewish ideology, in its zealotry and irrationality, resembles more the National Socialism which condemned millions for the attainment of a nonsensical racial and ethnic supremacy.” (From “Jewish Power” by Paul Eisen) [3]

You see, Paul, when I read passages like that, I wince. Let me take it apart, bit by bit. “Zealotry”, yes – to the extent one wants a better, cleaner, saner, more honest, more compatible world for one’s own where life does not feel like having to wear a hair shirt for the benefit of strangers. Scientists deeply committed to their inventions are zealous. Mothers are zealous in wanting the best for their children. I am zealous when it comes to keeping smut out of the language I love. But not zealous like some Deep South Baptist preacher who thumbs the Bible, chews tobacco, and thinks nothing of spitting on your feet.

“Irrationality” – far from it! I used to think like that – I am ashamed to say I suffered badly from RKPS for most of my life. When I first started questioning why I behaved exactly like some brainless robot, I became curious about what people who were part of the National Socialist movement really thought. I talked to an old man whom I respected deeply for his integrity, and who had lost his only 18-year-old son at Stalingrad. He said to me, holding his son’s picture in his hands: “It felt right in my mind, and it felt right in my soul.” I asked: “You paid a price. Do you regret it?” And he said very quietly: “How could I? How could anyone who took the trouble understanding?”

That was the start of my resolve to take the trouble understanding.

“Non-sensical racial and ethnic supremacy.” You are just plain misinformed. Let me put it this way. You have been lied to about the murder of JFK, about Vince Foster, about the USS Liberty, about Weapons of Mass Destruction, about — you get the point. You have been lied to and lied to and lied to. You know you have. You accept that. And you haven’t been lied to about this “racial and ethnic supremacy” nonsense?

Here’s what I say to people who question my motives. Hitler has been dead for more than half a century. I don’t want to resurrect him. Nobody in my circle does. It cannot be done. What is gone is gone and is never going to return. But what we Germans want is balanced thinking, fair assessment of what the Hitler days were like. We don’t want people to assault us morning, noon, and night for things we didn’t do. I for one don’t like to watch grown men and women run and hide like rabbits the moment the Holocaust Lobby says “Boo!” After all, we all enjoy the Autobahn, don’t we? Why should not our world enjoy the benefits that came out of those times – the research in fighting cancer, for instance? The superb appreciation of genuine art? The emphasis on simple lifestyle, respecting the ecological system? The brilliant strides in space research? It is unworthy of us to let ourselves be spooked by professional smear mongers for profit. Paul, put your hand on your heart and confess: Just what have you read of the times that did not come out of the propaganda mills of Hollywood and such?

For me, your sentence read like a traditional RKPS – to nodding agreement of the audience. Am I wrong? If I am right, you have just arrived at what is sneeringly called a “Holocaust Denier.” I will look you straight in the eye and say that one cannot deny what did not exist. And now, to my regret, we have a mis-tone in our new-found mutual love (dare I say zealotry?) for ideas expressed in precise and finely honed words.

I suggest that forensic science ought to settle that disagreement about what Germans did or did not do in World War II in an open public forum – not by imprisonment and “torture lite” – as has happened to my husband, who sent the first forensic team EVER to inspect the “murder weapon”, the so-called “gas chambers at Auschwitz” – and found it not what it was purported to be.

Ingrid.

…I am frightened of you but I am more frightened of my ignorance…

Message to Ingrid Rimland from a ZGram reader

Ernst Zündel is a Holocaust revisionist or, a ‘Holocaust denier’ as some would have it. Like all revisionists, Zündel does not deny that the National Socialist regime targeted Jews or that Jews suffered at their hands, but he does deny specific, albeit key aspects of the Holocaust narrative as we know it. His denial is limited to three areas which should be clearly understood.

  • That there ever was an official plan on the part of Hitler or any other part of the Nazi regime systematically and physically to eliminate every Jew in Europe.
  • That there ever existed homicidal gas-chambers.
  • That the numbers of Jewish victims have been exaggerated.

Although unpopular enough itself, if Zündel had stuck to Holocaust revisionism he might have had an easier ride. But for Ernst Zündel revisionism is but a means to an end. He cannot and will not relinquish his loyalty and devotion, as he sees it, for his country, his people and their history. For him, the revision of the Holocaust is not just the pursuit of a truth, but the pursuit of a truth that will set his people free. Germans stand accused of having committed the worst crime in human history: the premeditated attempt to coolly and efficiently annihilate every Jew in Europe. Zündel rejects this. He is prepared for National Socialist Germany to be held accountable for the crimes it did commit but the attempted genocide of European Jews is, for him, not one of them.

Some readers, even those who stand for free speech, may now be reaching for their delete buttons. After all, maybe Zündel should not be penalized for his beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that his views must be disseminated, and it certainly does not mean that we have to read them. But free speech is not only the right to think, to speak and to write freely, but also to be given a fair hearing without ridicule and abuse or at least until a proper examination has been made. And you never know, even those who generally find such views repellent, if they were to hear them, even they might hear something worth hearing. So, for those folk prepared to grant to Ernst Zündel the same freedom they grant to themselves, for those who have the curiosity and the courage to pause awhile, this could be an opportunity rarely offered – an opportunity to hear and consider another and hitherto unheard, point of view.

Everybody has a story and everybody has a point of view, and in the matter of the events in Europe from 1933-1945 there are many points of view. The British have a point of view, the Americans have a point of view, the Poles, the Dutch, the Russians, the Serbs they all have a point of view and the Jews certainly have a point of view. But the Germans, too, have a point of view, even those Germans who once called themselves National Socialists, even those Germans who still call themselves National Socialists.

Dear Paul

Many WWII soldiers (now very old) have told me that World War II – that is, the war against the East – was really a preventive/defensive war against Communism, which was Jewish. Europe was about to be overrun by the Red Terror – Stalin had amassed his assault troops at the border, and it was only a matter of weeks, so Hitler hit first. Right now I am reading a book by a Swede, Juri Lina that is one long, horrid accounting of the Bolshevik/Jewish horrors. I don’t know how good his sources are – but he has certainly documented them. Six million? Even if it were true, which we say it isn’t, it was peanuts compared to the bloodbath in Russia, starting with the 1917 Revolution, all of it laid at the feet of the Jews. How much of that was known in Germany by the common people, I don’t know. But it was certainly known by the leadership. And the Jews were seen as subversives, rightly or wrongly, more and more so as the war went on. Add to that the Versailles Treaty that brutalized Germany financially, and the corruption of the Weimar Republic, which brutalized it spiritually, both of which were blamed on the Jews – and you have cause aplenty, as that generation saw it.

Ingrid

How do those Germans now nearing the end of their lives, feel when told that what seemed so right then and perhaps even still seems so right, was in fact so wrong? And how do those Germans today, born and educated in postwar Germany, feel when told of the shame and disgrace of their parents and grandparents? How might it feel, to be forbidden, alone amongst the peoples of Europe, to recall your recent history with anything but shame? Year after year all over the western world nations proudly parade, remembering their country-men and women and the contribution they made in the war. At ceremonies they remember their dead and the sacrifices made. But for Germans, only the atrocities are to be remembered – not a word, nothing of the achievements and sacrifices of their fellow Germans. Such was and is the price of ‘rehabilitation’ and the re-entry of Germany into the family of nations.

Of wartime suffering we hear plenty. The British in the blitz, Americans in the Pacific, French, Dutch and Danes under occupation, Russians and Poles in the East and of course, Jews in the Holocaust, but who hears about the suffering of Germans: the terror-bombing of German cities with the deliberate causing of firestorms, the only purpose of which was the mass slaughter of civilians? In the 1940 bombing of Coventry around 550 civilians were killed, whilst in the 1945 bombing of Dresden around 35,000 (the lowest figure I could find) were killed. And our response is to twin Dresden with Coventry, which says all you’ll ever need to know about ‘balance’. Who cares or even knows about the deportations of millions of Germans from their generations-long homes in the East, the rape and pillage of Berlin and other cities and the hunger and deprivation endured for years and years after the defeat of National Socialism? Who remembers the ten million Germans and Austrians who died in World War 2? Who much cares about Germany post World War 1 – the injustices of Versailles, the hunger, hopelessness, degradation and humiliation? So who will try to understand how it might have felt when a leader came along – a veteran of the war, a brave soldier by all accounts (twice wounded; Iron Cross First-Class), a fellow sufferer, one of their own, a man who promised peace, stability and well-being and the restoration of pride and honor – and, most incredibly of all, at that time kept his promises?

The Hitler we loved and why…

Ernst Zündel was once involved in the publication of a book called The Hitler We Loved and Why, but Ernst Zündel was not the only German who loved Hitler and is probably not the only German who still loves Hitler. Millions of Germans loved Hitler, who for twelve years impacted on them as no German has or probably ever will, and, though they never say so, must, deep down still cherish his memory.

In his book Setting the Record Straight: Letters from Cell #7 Zündel tells of a visit he made back to Germany to his aged mother still living in their Black Forest home. They were sitting there, at the table eating supper, just the two of them. It was dark, the clock ticking away on the wall as it had done for years, when his mother said to him,

“You know, Ernst, you would never have been born if Adolf Hitler had not come to power.”

And she told him how because Hitler kept his promises of bringing work, peace, stability and honour to a ravaged German people, thousands of families who had felt unable to have children, now felt able to have them.

“You are one of those children” she said.

Ernst Zündel the Holocaust denier is a German nationalist and, by his own admission, a racialist. He is an admirer of Hitler and is nostalgic for the National Socialist period of German history. He is anti-Jewish. He is also interested in UFO’s. So Ernst Zündel is easily dismissed as a crank, a Nazi, or as Joel Finkel would have it, as ‘scum’.

But Ernst Zündel is a Holocaust denier because he believes the Holocaust narrative falsely defames his people and their history. He is a racialist because race, for him – a cultural, emotional and spiritual, as well as biological determinant – is vital and precious in the life of human beings, and that his own white and German race, as he would term it, is, as is every other race, something to be cherished and preserved. He is a patriot who loves his country, his people, their language, culture and history. He remembers Adolf Hitler for the national regeneration he brought. He knows that he committed terrible crimes but asks that he be judged as any other historical figure like Stalin or Napoleon, no more, no less, and that National Socialism be judged also on its merits and demerits. He believes, as do many others (including many, if not most, Jews), that there exists some kind of Jewish spirit or sensibility, but further believes that this Jewish spirit, so often creative and energizing can, if unchecked and unbalanced, be damaging and corrosive to any society, and he grieves for the damage he believes it has caused to the world he loved.

But Ernst Zündel does not hate Jews because Ernst Zündel doesn’t hate anyone. Ernst Zündel has never committed an act of violence, nor has he ever called on anyone else to commit an act of violence. Ernst Zündel has never discriminated against anyone, nor has he called on anyone else to discriminate against anyone. Ernst Zündel has never stifled anyone’s freedom of expression, nor has he ever called on anyone else to stifle anyone’s freedom of expression. Ernst Zündel looks on his enemies as they try to silence, prosecute, imprison, bomb and burn him, with bewilderment, sorrow and some anger because, as he has said, “sometimes I simply run out of cheeks to turn”.

II. The War for the Truth

The Revisionists

It bears repetition that the denial of the Holocaust revisionists does not extend to the entire Holocaust narrative. Revisionists do not deny that the National Socialist regime brutally persecuted Jews. They do not deny that Jews in Germany were discriminated against, violently assaulted, dispossessed, imprisoned in camps and expelled. They also do not deny that Jews in countries occupied by Germany or within the German sphere of influence were also pitilessly assaulted, dispossessed and subjected to brutal deportations many to forced labour camps where many hundreds of thousands died. Nor do they deny that many Jews were executed by shooting in the East.

But they do deny the Holocaust narrative as we know it in three specific areas.

  • They deny that there ever was an official plan on the part of Hitler or any other part of the Nazi regime systematically and physically to eliminate every Jew in Europe;
  • They deny that there ever existed homicidal gas-chambers;
  • They deny the figure of six million Jewish victims of the Nazi assault and claim that the actual figure was significantly less.

In making their claims, Revisionists have offered a considerable body of work. To what degree they are right, everyone must judge for themselves. Many will take the view that Holocaust revisionism is but pernicious nonsense motivated only by a hatred of Jews and a desire to rehabilitate Hitler and National Socialism specifically, and fascism in general, and therefore not even worthy of scrutiny. I don’t agree, and those with sufficient curiosity to wish to research the subject can visit the website of the premier Revisionist think tank, the Institute for Historical Review, locate the Journal of Historical Review [4] and its archive of articles and papers and start reading. For an overview of the whole subject, they can obtain a copy of Joel Hayward’s 1993 M.A. thesis “The Fate of Jews in German Hands” [5]

The Revisionist case is broadly as follows:

  • There exists no documentary evidence whatsoever that there ever was a decision on the part of Hitler or the National Socialist state to physically murder all the Jews of Europe. There is, however, an abundance of evidence for the decision to persecute, disempower and expel all Jews from Europe
  • There is no physical evidence whatsoever for the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz or indeed anywhere else. There is, however, abundant evidence for the widespread use of hydrogen cyanide (Zyklon B) gas and gas chambers for delousing and disinfection against typhus. no one has yet been able to produce, draw or describe a homicidal gas chamber or produce a photograph or plan of one, because no one has ever seen a homicidal gas chamber.
  • no one has ever seen a homicidal gas chamber because they did not exist. The gas chambers shown to thousands of visitors to Auschwitz are, by the admission of the museum authorities, post-war reconstructions. Common images of gas chambers from other locations are either disinfestation chambers or more commonly morgues, air-raid shelters (often gas-tight) or crematoria. Common images of the gassing of Jews – deportees boarding and disembarking from trains, mountains of eyeglasses and shoes, piles of corpses, crematoria chimneys are just that – people and trains, eyeglasses and shoes, corpses, smoking chimneys, no more, no less – they do not constitute evidence of mass gassing.
  • Not only is there no physical evidence for the existence of homicidal gas chambers, there is substantial physical, architectural, topographical, geographical and forensic evidence against their existence. The critical evidence is in three reports all resulting from investigations at the site itself at Auschwitz. The first and most famous of these was the Leuchter report commissioned by Ernst Zündel in 1988. Acclaimed by revisionists, this report was somewhat hurriedly put together and, because of dispute about the interpretation of its conclusions, must be regarded as revelatory but nonetheless, inconclusive. However, Leuchter’s findings and conclusions were refined and confirmed by a forensic study carried out by German chemist Germar Rudolf and by a forensic examination and report commissioned by the Auschwitz State museum and conducted by Institute of Forensic Research in Krakow.
  • The gassing and cremation of the numbers claimed, in the time claimed and with the facilities claimed, is simply not possible. Some of the evidence for this conclusion comes from studies of individual gas executions performed in the United States, any study of which will show how hard it is to kill one person safely and efficiently, let alone the hundreds claimed.
  • The numbers of Jews killed by the Nazis, usually held to be around six million, is grossly exaggerated. This is largely because of greatly inflated pre-war Jewish population figures and underestimated Jewish survival and emigration figures.
  • The context of much of the evidence for the Holocaust narrative was the Nuremberg Trials – an extraordinary and unprecedented set of trials of the vanquished by the victors with little attempt to find or to tell the truth. Without the evidence generated by these proceedings, there would be no significant evidence that the extermination of Jews took place at all. The legitimacy of the court itself was questionable, its procedures were a disgrace with defendants denied basic procedural rights and with much of the evidence presented in the form of survivor testimony taken at face value or confessions beaten and tortured out of the hapless defendants. As a matter of record, the key confession of Auschwitz Commandant, Rudolf Hoess, was obtained through torture and coercion. [6]
  • Overall there is very little evidence for the established Holocaust narrative. Hard evidence is elusive, and what evidence as does exist is built largely on eyewitness reports, confessions and hearsay. Witness reports, notoriously unreliable anyway, are in this case totally false. Many key witnesses have already been demolished in the witness box and many noted ones, such as those by Rudolf Vrba, Felipe Muller, Kurt Gerstein and Rudolf Hoess, are now partially or completely discredited.
  • Many key elements of the Holocaust narrative have already been disproved to the extent that even establishment Holocaust writers have conceded their inaccuracy. Examples of these are the Jews-into-soap story – the long disproved story of how the Nazis used the bodies of gassed Jews to make soap – the use of “steam chambers” to steam victims to death, and the existence of homicidal gas chambers at concentration camps in Germany itself such as Dachau and Buchenwald. All claims were made at Nuremberg, and all have subsequently been quietly discarded. Most telling is the quiet downgrading of the figures of victims illustrated by the removal of nineteen signs at Auschwitz, which told visitors in nineteen languages that four million Jews died in the camp. These have now been replaced with signs claiming a million and a half (still claimed by revisionists to be a significant exaggeration).

Revisionist research seems to have been carried out in a scholarly manner, is well supported by evidence and is presented in a calm and restrained way. That some revisionists (not all) have histories in far-right activism is true. That some (not all) exhibit anti-Jewish sentiment is also true, although this may in part be due to the assaults that many have come under from Jews and Jewish organisations. Some (not all) have, in the past, been affiliated to racist and nationalist organisations, some (not all) speak fluent German and some even are Germans. Such information should lead us to look closely for signs of bias in their research; but not to discount their findings per se.

“Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber…”

Robert Faurisson [7]

no one is able to show us, at Auschwitz or anywhere else, even one of these chemical slaughterhouses. no one is capable of describing to us their exact appearance or workings. Neither a trace nor a hint of their existence is to be found. Not one document, not one study, not one drawing. Nothing. Nothing but some occasional, pitiful “evidence”, which vanishes, like a mirage, as soon as one draws near, and which the Jewish historians themselves, in recent years, have finally been obliged to repudiate. Robert Faurisson [8]

For 15 years, every time that I heard of a witness anywhere, no matter where in the portion of Europe that was not occupied by the Soviets, who claimed to have himself been present at gas exterminations, I immediately went to him to get his testimony. With documentation in hand, I would ask him so many precise and detailed questions that soon it became apparent that he could not answer except by lying. Often his lies became so transparent, even to himself, that he ended his testimony by declaring that he had not seen it himself, but that one of his good friends, who had died in the camps and whose good faith he could not doubt, had told him about it. I covered thousands and thousands of kilometers throughout Europe in this way. Paul Rassinier [9]

Robert Faurisson, the veteran revisionist scholar, has written that at the heart of the Holocaust is Auschwitz, and at the heart of Auschwitz are the gas chambers. He therefore urges those who wished to combat the Holocaust myth to focus their efforts on that heart. It was Faurisson who, in the mid seventies first thought of putting Holocaust revisionism on firm ground by focusing on the material and forensic evidence for or against the existence of homicidal gas chambers. He visited a functioning gas execution facility in the U.S. and saw for himself exactly what it took to efficiently and safely (for the executioners at least) kill one person at a time, let alone the many hundreds at a time claimed by Holocaust writers, and he concluded that “for physical and chemical reasons understandable to a child of eight” the existence and operation of the Nazi gas chambers was fundamentally impossible. But it was the activist Ernst Zündel who, at the time of the second False News trial in 1988 had the idea of sending to Auschwitz a forensic team to determine the issue once and for all. According to revisionists, and despite its flaws (most likely due to the speed under which it was formulated), the findings of the Leuchter Report were clear – the facilities held to have been homicidal gas chambers were neither used for that purpose nor could they have been used for that purpose.

Nothing seems to fit about the gassing story. The numbers of victims crammed into the space, the design and construction of the gassing facilities, the lack of protection for the attendants, the implausibility surrounding the rate of cremation, the huge errors, omissions and disparities in eye-witness accounts – all these and more, when added to the near total absence of hard affirmative evidence, makes one wonder why anyone believed such a story in the first place. No one has yet been able to explain how a gas chamber worked. No one has been able to explain how pellets of Zyklon B were poured into holes that do not and never have existed. No one has been able to explain how the Sonderkommando (special detachment) of Jewish prisoner/attendants was able to enter a gas chamber immediately, (even wearing gas masks which do not offer anything like proper protection especially when the wearer is active), after a mass gassing to remove the bodies, even though such an environment would have been an ocean of hydrogen cyanide. The deadly gas would have still been everywhere and particularly in the soft tissue of the corpses. In effect, no one has been able to take up the Faurisson challenge: “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber!”

The established Holocaust narrative can, and to a degree, has survived the successful promotion of two of the three revisionist claims. The debate between “intentionalists” and “functionalists” within the establishment in effect concedes that there may not have been a definite intention on the part of the German state to exterminate all the Jews. Similarly by downgrading the Auschwitz figures, the establishment has accepted at least the possibility of downgrading the overall figure of six million. But with the issue of the gas chambers there is simply nowhere to go. To paraphrase Faurisson: no gas-chamber, no Holocaust.

The Holocaust Establishment

Anti-revisionists, Holocaust affirmers, exterminationists – the range of labels on offer reflects the difficulty in naming the opposition. Even the word “opposition”, like the phrase “anti-revisionist” itself is misleading because it implies a reflexive, defensive posture. Although establishment writers do often find themselves responding to revisionist initiatives and do often sound rather defensive, the words “opposition” or “anti-revisionist” also suggest that they are the weaker party or that they have not themselves taken the initiative. This is not the case. Few narratives, true or false, have been promoted more forcefully or more widely than the Holocaust, and few lobbies have been stronger, better resourced and enjoyed such complete dominance over the accepted discourse. The same holds true for the term ‘affirmers’. The Holocaust narrative may well turn out to require affirmation, but you would never know it looking at the huge amount of ‘affirming’ material currently available. Finally the term ‘exterminationist’, usually used by revisionists to describe their opponents, though strictly accurate, is rather sneering and demeaning in tone. So we will adopt the relatively neutral term of ‘Holocaust establishment’.

For over sixty years there has been no shortage of material promoting the establishment view of the Holocaust – books, articles, films, plays, poems, TV programs, academic studies, conferences, memorials, museums – all supporting and promoting the established narrative, and it is only recently that the establishment has felt the need to respond to the claims of the revisionists. As before, for those who wish to research the subject, the following starting points are recommended:

  • The ADL website [10]
  • The Nizkor website [11]

Many of the contributors to these sites are known Jewish and Zionist activists, many with open and established links to Jewish and Zionist activist organizations. Again, this may lead us to view their findings with appropriate caution, though not to discard them per se.

The establishment has attempted to respond to specific revisionist claims, but only sporadically. They claim that extermination and cremation facilities were indeed perfectly capable of processing the numbers claimed, and that all claims are well supported by hard evidence. Any reader can study the evidence, which is freely available on the internet, but the debate has degenerated somewhat into a yes-it-is, no-it-isn’t squabble – one which could possibly be resolved by the appointment of some kind of judicial body with powers to call on expert witnesses.

But there still remains the problem that there is just not all that much available evidence to support the Holocaust narrative and what is available is often far from satisfactory – documents are often “ambiguous”, witnesses are often “confused” or “traumatized”, and buildings and installations are often “demolished”. Instead of denying the undeniable, the establishment has chosen rather to offer explanations. The lack of documentary evidence is explained by the fact that the final solution was top secret so not only were written communications kept to an absolute minimum but were also written euphemistically. Thus “special treatment” must mean extermination and “evacuation to the East” must mean deportation to a death camp. Similarly, no one has yet been able to come forward and take up Robert Faurisson’s challenge to show him or draw him a gas chamber, because anyone who saw a gas-chamber obviously did not live to tell the tale. The gassing facilities at Auschwitz-Birkenau shown to so many visitors over the years are now conceded to be “post-war reconstructions”, but only because the original gas chambers were destroyed in 1944 to remove the evidence in the face of the advancing Soviet forces. Finally the statements of survivors and perpetrators, whilst conceded to be confusing and contradictory, are so because of the traumatic conditions under which these terrible events were observed and the sheer quantity of these statements, and often their poignancy as well, qualify them as acceptable evidence.

But whether because of the lack of evidence or not, the establishment has, in the main, been less concerned with refuting specific revisionist claims than with questioning the right of revisionists to make them. For many Holocaust writers, and indeed for almost the entire intellectual establishment worldwide, the Holocaust happened and that is that. In 1979 in response to Faurisson’s questioning of the gas chambers, thirty-four French intellectuals published an appeal in Le Monde, the second sentence of which stated, “We must not ask how such a mass murder was technically possible – it was technically possible because it happened.” For most establishment figures to even discuss the issues is to concede to revisionism legitimacy it does not deserve.

If somebody came along today and reported the calling of a scientific congress to examine the question of whether the sun revolves around the earth or the earth around the sun, he would either be ridiculed or declared non-compos mentis. It wouldn’t occur to anyone to discuss the matter seriously… A similar thing occurs with the propagandists of the so-called ‘Auschwitz Lie’ or ‘Holocaust Lie’: their statements that there was no extermination of the Jews, is so obviously false that it is basically unworthy of serious scientific discussion. [12]

Such is the view of Deborah Lipstadt, Associate Professor of Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory College. Lipstadt, to her supporters a scholar of the Holocaust, to her detractors, a Jewish ethnic activist, has written extensively about Holocaust revisionism. Jewish herself and from a relatively orthodox background, Professor Lipstadt has had a lifelong allegiance to, and has been active in Jewish causes. She is a committed Zionist and is funded and aided by many Jewish and Zionist organizations such as the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University and the ADL – again, cause for scrutiny of her claims but not outright rejection.

Rather then dealing with revisionist claims, Lipstadt has focused on the revisionists themselves: their credibility, qualifications, motivations, affiliations and methods. In her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, she traces the development of revisionism from the late forties to the early nineties and aims to demonstrate that the revisionists are overwhelmingly anti-Semitic with long connections to fascist, white supremacist and generally racist organizations, that their motivation is nothing less than to rehabilitate the Hitler regime specifically, and fascism and anti-Semitism generally, and their scholarly veneer is just that; a cover for their racist and intolerant views.

Those who argue that the Holocaust deniers must be given a fair hearing fail to recognize that the deniers’ quest is not a search for truth. Rather they are motivated by racism, extremism, and virulent anti-Semitism. …their methodology is based on deception and falsification, and the scholarly and restrained tone of most revisionist writings, are merely window dressing to conceal their real character and intentions. Deborah Lipstadt [13]

She maintains that the revisionists are not only a danger to the validity and memory of the Holocaust itself but also constitute a general danger to history and scholarship itself and even to democratic life as we know it.

Holocaust denial should not be seen as an assault on the history of one particular group. It repudiates reasoned discussion, the way the Holocaust, itself, engulfed all civilization. Its attack on Jewish history is, like anti-Semitism, an attack on the most basic values of a reasoned society. Deborah Lipstadt [14]

For a long time Professor Lipstadt chose to ignore the revisionist challenge, but the ever-improving quality of revisionist scholarship does not go unnoticed,

Lately, the deniers’ work has become more virulent and dangerous, in part because it has become more sophisticated. Their publications, including The Journal of Historical Review, mimic legitimate scholarly publications. This confuses those who do not immediately know the Journal’s intentions. Deborah Lipstadt [15]

So she now responds, but only insofar as to challenge their credibility, she still refuses to either debate them or to respond to their specific claims. For her there can be no discussion of the essential truth of the Holocaust.

Despite the favorable balance of power and their successes both inside and outside the courtroom, neither Professor Lipstadt nor the rest of the Holocaust establishment are actually doing all that well. Revisionism and its influence has grown steadily and the revisionists exhibit a confidence and sureness of touch whilst the establishment seems at times to be somewhat rattled. And the revisionists are not without guile. Identified as the eternal underdogs in this struggle, they have adopted a devastatingly effective passive-aggressive posture – a wide-eyed innocence in claiming that revisionism has no ideological base and is simply a method for seeking the truth. Nonetheless, whatever their ideological motivations, they have in the main confined themselves to scholarly investigation conducted in a responsible manner and have, with devastating single-mindedness, piece by piece, proceeded to unpick the hitherto sacred Holocaust narrative.

Take the case of Raul Hilberg. In 1961 Hilberg published The Destruction of the European Jews. In this book, seen as a foundational text of the Holocaust, Hilberg describes an undertaking personally supervised by Hitler, who issued two effective orders to set the genocide in motion. These orders were acted upon by various administrative agencies, especially in the police and military which prepared, organized and executed this vast criminal enterprise. For twenty-five years this view remained substantially unchallenged until in 1976 Arthur Butz published The Hoax of the Twentieth Century and in 1978-1979 Robert Faurisson published two articles in Le Monde claiming that the Nazi Gas chambers could not have existed. A panel of experts was assembled to assert that the gas chambers did exist, and among the experts was Raul Hilberg. Just before the start of the proceedings Hilberg gave an interview to the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in which he acknowledged there were no existing documents to prove the existence of the gas chambers or that the extermination of the Jews was conceived and planned by the National Socialist regime. On February 22nd 1983 in New York, at an event organized by the Holocaust Survivors Foundation, Hilberg said,

What began in 1941 was a process of destruction not planned in advance, not organized centrally by any agency. There was no blueprint and there was no budget for destructive measures. They were taken step by step, one step at a time. Thus came about not so much a plan being carried out, but an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus – mind reading by a far-flung bureaucracy.”

This was confirmed in Hilberg’s testimony at the first Zündel trial in Toronto in 1985 and again in the same year in the revised edition of his book which included the following:

In the final analysis, the destruction of the Jews was not so much a product of laws and commands, as it was a matter of spirit, of shared comprehension, of consonance and synchronisation.

Apart from bewilderment at such a tale of consensual genocide conceived and directed by mind-reading, there must also be some acknowledgement that such a protracted and agonizing volte-face could only have come about as a result of the steady drip-drip of revisionist endeavor – and all achieved whilst the revisionists were being prosecuted, fined, imprisoned, assaulted and certainly shunned.

The Holocaust establishment has often preferred to respond less with argument and more with power. Largely due to pressure from Jewish organizations, Holocaust revisionism is subject to legal penalty in Israel, France, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Poland, and Spain. Laws in these countries make it a crime for anyone, regardless of their credentials or the factual basis of their views, to question or revise any aspect of the history of World War II or the Holocaust in a manner that goes beyond the standards established by the governments of those countries. Also some countries punish revisionism without even having such laws (USA, Great-Britain, Netherlands etc). In the U.S. a California judge took against the IHR “judicial notice” of the existence of the Nazi gas chambers. In France, in 1949-1950, forty years before the specific law of July 13 1990, revisionists had been sentenced for their writings.

A person who, in writing or by word of mouth, publishes any statement denying or diminishing the proportions of acts committed in the period of the Nazi regime which are crimes against the Jewish people or crimes against humanity, with intent to defend the perpetrators of those acts or to express sympathy or identification with them, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years [16]

Historians, researchers, authors, and publishers are being fined, imprisoned, placed under gag orders, expelled from their native countries, and denied entry into others. Revisionists facing prosecution have sometimes faced the absurdity that any defense of a revisionist character, i.e., any claim that the revisionist position was actually correct, would itself constitute a repetition of the offence; also, any witness who gave testimony in support of the revisionist position could, upon demand of the prosecution service, himself be immediately charged.

In addition in these and most other countries in the western world, even where not technically illegal, revisionism has carried the risk of severe penalty including loss of employment and social exclusion of many kinds. Finally revisionists have been on the receiving end of much violence, both threatened and real. All leading revisionists suffer legal assaults, all suffer social and professional exclusion, and many have suffered physical attacks. Holocaust revisionism today is, quite simply, held as witchcraft was held in previous times – to be a Holocaust denier is to place oneself on the outside of civilized society on a level with a pedophile.

This exercise of power has yielded victories. Revisionism has been kept out of the main media; revisionists have been denied access to the discourse, and the establishment has achieved a couple of stunning retractions such as this one from Joel Hayward, who in 1993 wrote a thesis in which he endeavored (and in my view, succeeded) to faithfully describe the state of the revisionist/establishment conflict.

I now regret working on such a complex topic without sufficient knowledge and preparation, and hope this brief addendum will prevent my work causing distress to the Jewish community here in New Zealand and elsewhere or being misused by individuals or groups with malevolent motives….. I can now see that I failed in my M.A. thesis to place adequate analytical weight on the motivation of numerous authors on the Holocaust, even though some were obviously writing with a view to attacking Jews and rehabilitating Nazis. Joel Hayward [17]

And this statement from the young Jewish revisionist David Cole, obtained through less than legal means and faxed to Irv Rubin, then head of the Jewish Defense League, is worth quoting in full.

This statement is given in an attempt to set the record straight about my current views regarding the Holocaust and Holocaust denial. As anyone who follows the subject of the Holocaust denial knows, from 1991 until 1994 I was well known in the movement as a Jewish Holocaust denier (a self-described “revisionist”). For the last three years I have no longer been associated with this movement, having realized that I was wrong and that the path I was taking with my life was self-destructive and hurtful to others. I have spent the last few years in silence on the subject of my time with the denial movement, a silence caused mainly by my shame at what I had done with my life and my desire to distance myself from that life.

However, in that shame-induced silence it has been brought to my attention that I have not gone as far as I should have to make a clear and complete public statement in order to set the record straight as to where I stand. It is my great hope that this statement accomplishes that task.

I would like to state for the record that there is no question in my mind that during the Holocaust of Europe’s Jews during World War II, the Nazis employed gas chambers in an attempt to commit genocide against the Jews. At camps in both Eastern and Western Europe, Jews were murdered in gas chambers which employed such poison gases as Zyklon B and carbon monoxide (in the Auschwitz camp, for example, the gas chambers used Zyklon B). The evidence for this is overwhelming and unmistakable.

The Nazis intended to kill all of the Jews of Europe, and the final death toll of this attempted genocide was six million. This atrocity, unique in its scope and breadth, must never be forgotten.

During my four years as a denier, I was wracked with self-hate and loathing, a fact that many of my critics were quick to point out. Indeed, this self hatred was obvious to most, but I was too blind to see it. The hate I had for myself I took out on my people. I was seduced by pseudo historical nonsense and clever-sounding but empty ideas and catch-phrases. When my eyes were finally opened, thanks to several good, kind friends who refused to give up on me even at my worst, I was horrified by what I had done. My instinct was to flee and never look back, but I now understand that I owe it to the people I wronged to make a forceful repudiation of my earlier views. I also owe a very large apology, not only to the many people I enraged, and to the family and friends I hurt, but especially to the survivors of the Holocaust, who deserve only our respect and compassion, not re-victimization.

Therefore, to all of the above people, let me offer my most humble and very, very sincere apology. I am sorry for what (I) did, and I am sorry for the hurt I caused.

And just as I must set the record straight concerning my views, it is also incumbent on me to set the record straight regarding the video “documentaries” and media appearances I did from 1991 to 1994. These “documentaries” are merely videotaped garbage filled with self-hatred and pseudo-intellectual nonsense. My “media appearances” were nothing but an embarrassment. My glazed look, specious reasoning, and talking-in-circles during my talk show appearances would have hopefully alerted any astute viewers that this was a man not in touch with reality.

It has been brought to my attention that Bradley Smith is still using one of my videos in advertisements he is running on college campuses. Therefore, I would like to make these additional points: This video is being advertised without my consent, and I denounce this video as being without worth. Bradley Smith is no historian, and denial is no “historical field”. Students on college campuses should look elsewhere to find out about the Holocaust. To these students, I would say, look to books like Hilberg’s “Destruction of the European Jews”, Yahil’s “The Holocaust”, and Dawidowicz’s “War Against the Jews” for correct information. If your school library doesn’t stock these books, have them order copies. Do not pay any attention to any “David Cole” videos, except to rightly denounce them as frauds.

I am thankful for being given the opportunity to make this statement. This statement is made freely and under no duress, and is quite willingly, even happily given to Mr. Irv Rubin of the Jewish Defense League for the widest possible distribution. This statement is the most current and accurate compilation of my views, and it supersedes any previous writings, videos, or statements. It is my hope that there will be no more confusion as to where I stand. I thank you for letting me set the record straight. David Cole [18]

Despite these victories it is still true that there is remarkably little hard evidence to support the established Holocaust narrative, and people are bound to ask how such a vast and complex undertaking as the premeditated and mechanistic extermination of such a huge number of people could possibly have taken place without leaving a clear trail of evidence, both documentary and physical. Also with regard to tactics and strategy, Holocaust activists are in something of a no-win situation. If they debate the revisionists they give them credibility and concede that the Holocaust is a matter for debate; if they refuse to debate with them, as in the main they do, they lay themselves open to the charge that they have something to hide.

And of course the internet has changed everything. Revisionist material, previously unseen, is now available at the click of a mouse and you don’t have to go into some dubious bookshop to get it. Online booksellers who have elected to stock revisionist materials have inevitably given it a new respectability. E-mails and newsgroups have widened and speeded up the debate. So much more can be said, so much quicker and to so many more people and for the moment at least, no one can stop you saying it or reading it.

Reading the revisionist literature one senses a confidence, not only that revisionists believe themselves to be right but also that the future lies with them. In 1988, at the time of the second Zündel trial and in reference to Ernst Zündel himself, Robert Faurisson wrote:

“Zündel may once again go to prison for his research and beliefs or be threatened with deportation. All this is possible. Anything may happen when there is an intellectual crisis and a realignment of historical concepts of such a dimension. Revisionism is the great intellectual adventure of the end of this century. Whatever happens, Ernst Zündel is already the victor.”

But how could it be so?

This must surely be the establishment’s strongest weapon – the sheer incredibility of the revisionist proposition. How could such a deception have taken place? How could all those survivors be so wrong in their testimonies? How could all those perpetrators be so wrong in their confessions? How could all those documents, unspecific as they are, have been falsified? Arthur Butz called his groundbreaking revisionist study “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century”, but a hoax of this size and nature just defies belief. Conspiracy theories rarely convince, nor do those who propagate them, so surely the sheer absurdity of the revisionists’ claim tells us all we need to know. If revisionism is to have any credibility at all, it must demonstrate how, if false, the Holocaust narrative, as we know it, came to be.

The first reports of the mass slaughter of Jews by the Germans were propagated in the spring of 1942 by Jewish and Zionist agencies and published in the Jewish press. These entirely uncorroborated reports received immediate and unmatched credibility by being broadcast (on one occasion in Yiddish) back into Poland by the BBC, and by repetition in the American press, particularly the New York Times. They spoke for the first time of extermination, but not only by gas. According to these reports Jews were being steamed to death, suffocated to death, pressed to death and electrocuted as well as being gassed. It is only later in reports compiled by the Soviet authorities, when they liberated the camps of Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944 and 1945, that gassing emerges as the main method of slaughter and even later, as just one element in the shower-gas-cremation sequence which now lies at the heart of the Holocaust narrative.

It is with these Soviet reports, plus others from the World Refugee Board, that the now-familiar extermination narrative emerges. The victims disembark from trains for selection. Those designated for extermination are taken to complexes designed to look like disinfection facilities. There they are separated into sexes and led to undressing rooms where they undress. Then they are led, 600-700 at a time, into huge rooms resembling shower rooms. When the rooms are crammed full, Zyklon B pellets are dropped from apertures in the roof and, as the temperature rises, hydrogen cyanide gas is released. The victims take about five to fifteen minutes to die, watched all the time through glass peepholes in the doors by SS personnel. An interval of about half an hour is allowed for the gas to clear, assisted by a ventilation system, after which a Jewish Sonderkommando (special detachment) enters with gas masks, rubber boots, gloves, hooks and hoses to disentangle, hose down and remove the bodies. The bodies are taken to mortuaries, where gold teeth etc. are extracted with pliers, and they are then transported to crematoria where they are burned to ashes. If the number of corpses should prove to be too great for the cremation facilities, then those remaining are taken to be burned in specially designed open pits.

But if such a narrative is false, it is interesting to speculate as to how it took the form it did. Possible answers may be found in the 50-100 year history of Europe prior to the events under investigation. This period saw huge movements of people westwards, many of them Jews and many of them migrating to or through Germany. All over central and western Europe, but particularly in Germany, there was a problem with, and a fear of epidemics, particularly of typhus – and many of the receiving authorities, and particularly the German authorities, were intent of developing and implementing mass disinfection and disinfestation procedures. These included mobile and stationery mass steam and shower baths and mobile and stationery facilities for the disinfestation of clothing by gas. The gas used for disinfestation was of course hydrogen cyanide gas in the form of Zyklon B pellets.

This use of gas for delousing and disinfestation must be set against the background of the very real use of poison gas as a weapon in the Great War and in various other areas of conflict both real (such as by the Italians in Abyssinia) and imaginary (as by the Martians in The War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938). It should also be noted how after the introduction of gas onto the battlefield in 1915, stories of homicidal gassings of civilians began to appear in atrocity propaganda. In March 1916 the Daily Telegraph reported that the Austrians and Bulgarians had murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbians using poison gas.

At roughly the same time cremation was increasingly being used for the disposal of bodies and particularly for the mass disposal of epidemic victims. Cremation as a means of corpse disposal was widely promoted by the German National Socialist regime – a regime noted for its modern attitudes to technology – and it was also universally used in its euthanasia programme. One result of the use of cremation in these euthanasia killings, was that it fed the general suspicion that cremation was used to conceal the cause of death by gas poisoning (deaths in the euthanasia programme are now thought more likely to have been by lethal injection) which was widely (and falsely) believed to cause disfigurement. So cremation became associated with attempts to deceive the population about the cause of death. In effect, all these techniques of disinfection and cremation, considered to be at the very cutting-edge of modernism by enlightened western Europeans, were viewed by large sections of the European masses – and particularly by immigrants, usually poor, conservative and deeply superstitious, and even more particularly by the eastern Jewish masses with their additional religious concerns about mass undressing and cremation etc – with the deepest suspicion.

It’s not so crazy if you put yourself in the shoes of a poor Jewish immigrant fleeing the conditions of Tsarist Russia. You arrive exhausted and terrified together with a mass of similarly exhausted and terrified folk at a German border station where you are confronted with uniformed guards and officials shouting at you in a language you barely understand. They want to separate you from your men- and women-folk, to undress you and to put you into large cold and forbidding chambers. You’ve heard the stories as you stand naked and shivering under the showerheads and wait for what you have been told will be water, but for what a part of you fears will be gas. An account from a surprising quarter illustrates the point – Ingrid Rimland:

I remember fairly clearly one such “experience” sometime in 1944. This was during the Wehrmacht retreat from the Eastern front, when huge refugee treks of ethnic Germans traveled westward with horse-drawn wagons under German Army protection, experiencing horrendous hardships from hunger and cold, the advancing Red Army ever in our backs.

My family belonged to German-descent Mennonites, a fundamentalist Christian community who had come to the Ukraine in 1789, but we still considered ourselves to be Germans and still spoke the German language. Ever since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution – which happened when my grandmother was still a young woman and my mother was only four years old – my people had been savagely persecuted by the Communists. Many of my cousins, aunts, uncles, more distant relatives perished in waves of ethnic cleansings. This persecution started before I was born and became deadly in 1938, affecting practically every male age 14 and over. My own father was exiled to Siberia when I was only five years old in 1941, and our entire family escaped exiling only at the last moment, literally hours before the German Army overran the Ukraine in September of that year – only weeks after my father was taken from us forever.

When the (for us) voluntary retreat to Germany began two years later, in the fall of 1943, there were four of us left – my grandmother, my mother, my baby sister and I. The rest of our family had either been exiled to Siberia, been killed, or simply disappeared in the havoc of those horror years since 1917. Now we were running for our lives from the Red Army – almost all of us women and children.

We entered Nazi-occupied Poland sometime in 1944 and were invited to be officially naturalized as Germans. I remember the city as Litzmannstadt (Lodz) but I cannot be sure.

But first we had to be deloused. Naturally! As far as I know, this was routine for everybody entering German-occupied territory and certainly Germany proper, an obligatory health measure to control epidemics such as typhus, a disease that was carried by lice. Everybody who was coming from the East was infested with lice in those days – Russians, Poles, Germans, Jews – soldiers and civilians. There was no way not to have lice, unless you underwent delousing. We were made to enter a long train. Whether that train took us to a building, or if it ended in a building, I don’t remember any more. Somehow the rumor sprang up that we were going to be gassed. I have no idea who started it. As a seven-year old, I do remember how terrified I was.

We were all stripped naked, had our hair shorn, and then, while we were all sitting, old and young, in long rows of benches, water and soap, probably mixed with insecticide, rained down on us from shower heads above. I don’t remember the relief, only the fear. Similarly, the rumor sprang up on that train that the Germans were looking for “yellow blood”, presumably Jewish, by clipping our ear lobe. I was just as terrified of that one. Ingrid Rimland

So these Soviet reports with their now-detailed descriptions of the shower-gas-cremation procedure of extermination, coming after three years of other terrifying reports of exterminations of Jews and others by the Germans, and also in the context of fears in Europe about the use of gas as a weapon used against civilians and of cremation as a new and unfamiliar method of the disposing of bodies, could possibly have been instrumental in laying the foundations of the Holocaust gas-chamber narrative as we know it. Certainly from the time of those reports, the mere presence of showers, disinfestation gas chambers and crematoria had become in itself evidence of mass homicidal gassing.

So when the western armies came across the German concentration camps at Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald sites at which it is now known that there were no mass extermination facilities, and saw the now familiar images of skeletal, diseased inmates and piles of discoloured corpses and discovered sealed rooms, showers and crematoria which we now know had been used only for disinfection and disinfestation, and encountered inmates who were prepared to tell them tales of mass exterminations, they were both able and willing to interpret it all in terms of what they had heard, rather than what, in this instance at least, was the truth.

Whatever conditions might have been in the German camps throughout the war, by 1945 and the final defeat of Germany the system, and particularly the camp system, had collapsed and conditions were catastrophic and it was the results of this collapse which the western armies came across. The Americans and the British saw these things, and, most critically, filmed and photographed them, as clear evidence of a planned genocide, rather than what they were: the result, particularly in the form of typhus epidemics, of a breakdown of Germany generally and the camp system in particular, under the onslaught of the allied saturation bombing.

Although it cannot entirely be ruled out that some of these authorities knew that they were propagating a myth, it seems most likely that the Jewish authorities who first spread reports of exterminations, were reacting only from a real concern for their fellow-Jews, known to be under ferocious assault by the Germans who, at the time of those first reports, were ratcheting up their assault on the Jews by beginning brutal deportations to the East. But what of the other authorities involved – the Americans, the British and the Soviets? These authorities surely would have been happy to accuse the Germans of absolutely anything and possibly not averse to a little falsification of the evidence if needed. After all, these same authorities had been perfectly prepared to continue to accuse the Germans of the massacre of over 4000 Poles at Katyn – a deed they knew full well had been perpetrated by the Soviet NKVD. In fact, the only cases where there is any evidence of contrived fabrication occur at the liberation of the camp at Majdanek by the Red army, at which time the Soviet authorities closed the site for a month and then presented to the world some highly questionable evidence of mass extermination of Jews. A similar conscious fabrication may also have taken place at Auschwitz. In any event, intentional or not, all was now ready for the story to take off.

Any story, true or false, is easily spread if there are fabricators, peddlers and believers, and this is all the more so if all three are combined. The Holocaust had plenty of all three. Moving down the chain of command we find plenty of examples at the Nuremberg trials where the alleged crimes of the vanquished were formalised by the victors. The Nuremberg investigators, as they worked their way through the mountains of alleged eyewitness testimonies, believed that there were gas chambers as they strove to establish the truth. The army interrogators, as they punched and pummeled their way through the hapless defendants, believed that there were gas chambers and that they were merely trying to get at the truth. The lawyers, as they presented highly questionable documents as hard evidence, believed that there were gas chambers and that they were only trying to get at the truth. And the survivors of the deportations, raw and traumatized, full of unimaginable feelings including hatred and a thirst for revenge, were surely perfectly capable of believing that there were gas chambers and that they were only telling the truth. After all, was not all Europe, including the camps, rife with reports of gas chambers and anyway, had not so-and-so seen them? And as for the defendants, many unsure of the truth themselves and possibly themselves totally bewildered by the extermination claims, they may have seen it in their best interests to go along with he what the court had ready decided. Some may even have found some comfort in their moment of world-class notoriety as they mounted the gallows and anyway, stopping the pain was motivation enough: the solitary confinement and sleep deprivation, the floggings, the threats to family and loved ones and the constant humiliations – perhaps it was just easier to confess.

Nor do we need much to persuade us that the Jewish leadership might have been ready and willing to propagate and believe such a tale. Jews suffered terribly under National Socialism – nobody denies that, neither revisionist or non-revisionist. They had been persecuted, expelled and assaulted. They had been forcibly deported and incarcerated in brutal labor camps where thousands upon thousands had died from exhaustion, malnutrition and maltreatment. In the East many Jews had been shot. Jews had little reason to love the Germans.

Nor would it be the first time that Jews have accepted and propagated stories, true, false or a mixture of both, of their suffering. The Holocaust is only the latest, albeit the worst of a series of tragic calamities to have befallen the Jewish people, and Hitler sits well with Pharaoh, Amalek, Haman, Tomas de Torquemada and Bogdan Chmielnitski – all enduring hate-figures in the Jewish martyrology. Nor would this be the first time that Jewish chroniclers (or any other chroniclers for that matter) have used some poetic license in describing their suffering. The Talmud tells that at the time of the destruction of the second temple – held in Jewish history to be the one historical precedent for the Holocaust – the Romans slew ‘four billions,” the blood of the Jewish victims was so great that it became a ‘tidal wave carrying boulders out to sea’, and staining the water for four miles out. The bodies of the Jews were used as ‘fence posts’ and Jewish children were “wrapped up in their Torah scrolls – and burned alive all 65 million of them.” In a context like this, the utterances of Elie Wiesel, become a little more understandable.

Not far from us blazed flames from a pit, gigantic flames. They were burning something. A lorry drove up to the pit and dumped its load into the pit. They were small children. Babies! Yes, I had seen it, with my own eyes…Children in the flames (is it any wonder, that sleep shuns my eyes since that time?). We went there, too. Somewhat further along, was another, bigger pit, for adults. ‘Father”, I said, ‘ if that is so, I wish to wait no longer. I shall throw myself against the electrified barbed wire fence. That is better than lying around in the flames for hours.” [19]

But for a story of this magnitude to be spread, many more believers were needed, than a few over-mighty politicians and soldiers and thousands of traumatized and broken survivors, and, save for a few insightful cynics at the very top of the British, American, Soviet and Jewish leaderships, believe it they did. True, there was little hard evidence, but what there was could so easily be made to fit. After all, everyone knew that the Germans had engaged in purposeful mass extermination of Jews therefore “special treatment” and “deportation to the East” must be euphemisms for extermination, and any sealed chamber attached to a crematorium, especially if used for disinfestations by gas, must have been a homicidal gas chamber.

Once momentum is achieved, all that is needed is an extended game of Chinese whispers to result in a Holocaust narrative, conceived in the real and terrible wartime suffering of Jews, portrayed as imagined in newsreels and photo-reportage, framed and formalized at Nuremberg and subsequent trials and then, most critically of all, later turned into religious dogma. Set all this in the context of a western world obsessed by Jews and its own ambivalence about Jews and Jewish suffering, a Jewish population traumatized by its very real and recent suffering, an immensely influential Jewish culture which places suffering at the core of its self-identity, and a Zionist leadership desperate to win world sympathy for a Jewish state in Palestine, and the idea of such a story, even if false, gaining near universal acceptance, really isn’t that hard to believe.

After all, people once believed the earth was flat and sat on the back of four elephants riding on a turtle. They believed the earth was the centre of the universe and persecuted skeptics with the same fervor and with about as much justification as they do today’s Holocaust revisionists. People today believe that JFK was assassinated by a lone gunman with a magic bullet. They believe in astrology and fortune telling, in bodily auras and out-of-body experiences. They believe that the Children of Israel were guided in the desert by a pillar of smoke by day and of fire by night, that Jesus was born of a virgin, died and was resurrected, and that the Prophet Mohamed ascended to heaven after seeing Mecca and Jerusalem. Why, they even believe that Palestine was a land without a people for a people without a land! So what is so hard to believe about the planned and premeditated slaughter of six million Jews by modern industrial methods, loaded in their millions onto trains and taken to industrialized killing centers where they are done to death thousands at a time in huge slaughter halls, their bodies burned to ashes and their bones ground into dust? People believe in heaven and they believe in hell – so why not the hell of the Holocaust?

III. The War for the Spirit

A friend and colleague in solidarity with the Palestinians wrote:

(Your writing) ultimately serves the same forces of racism that allow Israeli soldiers to kill Palestinians in cold blood. The Nazis not only articulated – they took daily, direct action to implement — their conception of a racial hierarchy. They killed people they believed threatened Aryan racial purity and superiority — the physically and mentally handicapped; gypsies; homosexuals; Slavs; Poles; Jews. Tinkering around trying to establish whether or not millions were gassed or killed by other means seems to me to be simply running away from the central political point: that racist ideologies are fundamentally murderous, and when people who espouse them get into power, they become literally murderous. What else matters? Do you really think that ‘proving’ that a few hundred thousand Jews/Slavs/Poles here and a few hundred thousand there were shot rather than gassed, will make any difference at all to how the state of Israel is perceived, or how Israelis perceive themselves, to Europe’s sense of culpability (displaced onto the Palestinians, of course), or whether or not Europe and the US decide to implement sanctions against Israel, or withdraw financial support to Israel.

These are difficult questions. Does writing about Holocaust revisionism give it a credibility it does not deserve? Does revisionism give to National Socialist ideology a credibility it does not deserve? Is Holocaust revisionism inextricably linked to fascism, racism and anti-Semitism and if so, should we then not investigate it? Is National Socialism worse than many other ideologies such as Stalinist Marxism, which we do deem suitable for objective investigation? Does confirming the truth or otherwise of the Holocaust have any bearing on the struggle of the Palestinians against Israeli oppression?

For what they’re worth my views are: Writing without prejudice about Holocaust revisionism must inevitably give it some credibility but in my view, for reasons now obvious, this is deserved. Holocaust revisionism is not inextricably linked to fascism, racism and anti-Semitism, though I can see how it might seem that way. Revisionist scholarship inevitably gives increased credibility to National Socialism, in that it allows the possibility that the National Socialist regime was not quite as unspeakable as it has been painted. Whether this is deserved or not depends on the result of the scholarship. As for whether National Socialism is worse than the many other ideologies that are considered worthy of unbiased study, the answer is that I don’t know.

But we are entitled to search for the truth. The real crime committed by the National Socialists – the exclusion, disempowerment, deportation, enslavement, death by omission and by commission and expulsion of a people simply because they were that people – was a terrible one. One does not need gas chambers to make the targeting of Jews, just because they are Jews, extraordinary and unacceptable. Nonetheless, if this targeting did not extend to extermination, if there were no gas chambers and if six million Jews did not die, then we should know it and, if necessary, address the implications. If there is some reason why we should not investigate this matter, then the onus is on those who would deny us that right, to say why. Those who would deny us that right have tried to say why, but in my view they have failed miserably.

But what does it matter how many Jews were murdered and in what way and with what intention? A murder is a murder and one murder is one murder too many. What difference will it make whether the Holocaust is proven or not? Will it have any affect whatsoever on the status and attitudes of Israel or on its behavior towards the Palestinians – issues on which we pressingly need to focus?

But the Holocaust is not just murder. Nor is it just mass murder. Nor is it even just genocide. There have been plenty of murders, mass murders and even genocides, but none have been memorialized like the Holocaust. The Holocaust is held to be the worst crime in human history, and this is not because more people were killed or because they were killed more brutally or more senselessly. Three million Polish Jews are held to have died in the Holocaust. Three million Polish non-Jews also died in the same period of history – yet the Jews, as evidenced by the memorialisation accorded them, are seen as more important. Fifty million people died in the Second World War, including twenty million Russians, ten million Germans and Austrians and six million Jews. Yet only the Jews warrant a “Holocaust.”

Is this because it was only Jews who were targeted for obliteration simply because they were Jews, and because it was only Jews who were exterminated in such a cool, premeditated and modern fashion by such an advanced, liberal and enlightened nation in the heart of Christian Europe? If the revisionists should prove their case that Jews were not targeted for extermination, that there were no gas-chambers and there was no six million, would there then be no Holocaust? Would Jews become just more tragic victims of a tragic period of history, on a par with the millions of other victims, including the thousands upon of thousands of German civilians slaughtered in the terror bombing of German cities by the western allies?

The revisionist community has probably said just about all it can say and proved all it can prove and have probably made the case sufficiently to at least cast doubt on the veracity of the Holocaust narrative. Future historians may well reject the Holocaust as history, but the Holocaust may yet go on, no longer as history but as ideology and even theology. Even though the evidence may lead us to accept that there never was intent to eliminate every single Jew from Europe, or any gas-chambers at Auschwitz, or anything near six-million victims, this may not make one iota of difference any more than archeological evidence might prove that there was no Exodus from Egypt and medical science might throw doubt on the virgin birth.

Because there is another possibility – that the suffering of the Jews is held to be the worst crime in human history not because of the nature of the crime but because of the nature of the victims. Maybe Abe Foxman had it just about right when he wrote:

(The Holocaust is)… “not simply one example of genocide, but a near successful attempt on the life of God’s chosen children and, thus, on God himself” [20]

Because it may be that the Holocaust is not just special, it may be that the Holocaust is sacred. It may be that speaking of the Holocaust alongside other atrocities is like speaking of the Passion as being the crucifixion of one troublemaker and two thieves. It may be that the Holocaust is a narrative of suffering greater than just of one person on a cross.

If Auschwitz is something other than a horror of history, if it goes beyond the ‘banality of evil’, then Christianity totters on its foundations. Christ is the Son of God, who went to the end of the humanly endurable, where he endured the cruelest suffering… If Auschwitz is true, then there is a human suffering which simply cannot be compared with that of Christ… In this case, Christ is false, and salvation will not come from Him…… Auschwitz is the refutation of Christ. Claude Lanzmann

So the Holocaust and Jewish suffering, no longer history, now theology, have become a religious imperative for Jews, and more critically for all Jews, even for those Jews who regard themselves as secular, who haven’t been near a synagogue since they were children, even for those Jews who don’t much consider themselves Jews. Take ten Jews today, maybe three will worship God, perhaps nine will worship the state of Israel, nine-point-five may worship “The Jewish People” but nine-point nine-nine-nine recurring will worship Jewish suffering and the Holocaust. The Holocaust resolves the great dilemma of modern Jewish life – how to be a Jew when you no longer believe in the Jewish God. Secular Jews have found many gods to replace the one they reject – Marx and Trotsky, atheism, psychoanalysis, multiculturalism, human rights, money and success, and of course, Zionism – there’s lots to choose from but only one that serves as a catch-all for everyone. And if you don’t believe it, try this – go find the most educated, secular, progressive, enlightened, perceptive, sensitive Jew you know – deny the Holocaust and then stand back.

But the Holocaust is not confined to Jews. The Holocaust is not only the central martyrdom and therefore a religious focus in modern Jewish history but also, if not in world history, then certainly in American and European history. All over North America and Western Europe: Holocaust museums – cathedrals to the new religion with their own priests and priestesses; Abe Foxman, Deborah Lipstadt, Elie Wiesel, Simon Wiesenthal, abound – the biggest and best in Washington DC with all the other symbols of American nationhood and power. Holocaust Chairs at major universities, memorials, foundations, conferences and symposia, books, magazines, films, TV documentaries. The further we travel in time from the actual events the greater the sacralisation. But these are only the outward manifestations. The Holocaust, the ultimate in suffering is a paradigm for all Jewish suffering and for all intolerance, discrimination and hatred against Jews and this is in itself is a paradigm for all suffering and all intolerance, discrimination and hatred against all people. That’s why a major Holocaust Museum in the U.S. is able to style itself as simply “The Museum of Tolerance”, and that’s why those who dare to challenge the Jewish claim to a particularity of suffering are nearly always accused of “intolerance” or of “promoting hate”. The Holocaust may be the ultimate symbol of Jewish power, the most visible means by which the Jewish will in this world is enforced and displayed to a cowering non-Jewish world. It proclaims that Jews are suffering and Jews are innocent so Jews can do what they like and, by association the state of the Jews is also suffering, is also innocent and can also do what it likes.

The Emperor’s new clothes

But the world doesn’t jump because it feels sorry for Jews. As Israel Shamir says, compassion and guilt may get you a free bowl of soup but not a lot else, and certainly not the ninety billion deutschmarks paid in reparations by the Federal Republic of Germany to the infant state of Israel, the billions of dollars paid by successive US governments to maintain that state, nor the free pass given to Israel by just about everyone to do pretty much what it likes to the Palestinians. The power of the Holocaust is not the power to arouse pity and compassion in the rest of the world. Anyone can see that Israel has no need of our pity or compassion and neither have Jews. Israel is not weak and Israel is not innocent and neither are Jews. What is harder to see is how anyone could ever have thought otherwise. Could it even be the same with the Holocaust? Is it not by now plain that there is very little evidence to support the Holocaust narrative, that the extermination narrative just doesn’t add up, and that the issue of the gas-chambers could, as Ingrid Rimland reminded us, be settled easily by forensic investigation.

I suggest that forensic science ought to settle that disagreement about what Germans did or did not do in World War II in an open public forum.

Why has this not been done? Everyone must know that if the establishment could disprove revisionist claims they would, so why haven’t they? And anyone can visit any number of websites and find mountains of evidence against the veracity of the Holocaust, so why don’t we?

The reason is the same reason why courtiers have, since time began, acted as if a stark naked emperor was beautifully attired – because they have to. The power of the Holocaust is the same power as enabled a few thousand Englishman to rule hundreds of millions of Indians; a few hundred French aristocrats to rule a few million French peasants and a Czar and a few hundred Russian nobles to rule millions of Russian serfs. It is the same power that all over the world and throughout human history has enabled the prosperous few to rule over the impoverished many. It is the very essence of power in this world; the power of bluff. As the unclothed Emperor can force people to believe that he is clothed, so the Jewish and Holocaust establishments can make us believe that black is white in the Holocaust narrative and that Jews and Israel are suffering and innocent. And if they can’t make us believe it, they can at least make us say that we believe it. To the wannabee dissenter, the power behind the Holocaust says this, “Watch it! If we can enforce this we can enforce anything!”

But why should we care if Jews choose to create for themselves such a mythology, even if that mythology has been accepted by so many others? The answer is: we must care because if the Holocaust is false, then there are those who suffer under that falsehood. First, if the special status of Jews is removed, then the equal status of every single non-Jew who died in that same time, till now demeaned and denigrated, is immediately restored to its rightful and equal place. And there are other victims too. The German people stand accused and found guilty of having committed the worst crime in human history. The Poles, Ukrainians, Latvians, Lithuanians etc. etc. stand accused and found guilty of aiding, abetting and even applauding the commission of the worst crime in human history. Add to them the Catholic Church and the Pope, the Americans and British who stand accused and found guilty of not having done enough to prevent the commission of the worst crime in human history. Add to them Christianity and Christians who throughout the ages stand accused and found guilty of laying the foundations for the commission of the worst crime in human history. And finally you may as well throw in pretty much the entire non-Jewish world accused and guilty of what amounts to simply not being one of the chosen victims of the worst crime in human history, and therefore condemned forever to hush their voices whenever the word ‘Jew’ is mentioned and to stand silently as the myth of Jewish chosenness in the Holocaust is propagated.

The weapons of the poor… 

There is one other victim: a present, pressing, ultimate victim. The Palestinian people -denied, denigrated and abused by a power which uses the Holocaust as a shield behind which any and every atrocity may take place – are surely the primary sufferers under the Holocaust.

On March 22 2001 Robert Faurisson wrote a paper for the proposed Beirut Conference on Revisionism and Zionism, which he knew would never be presented. He was right. The conference was cancelled due to external pressure, largely by Jewish groups. In his paper for the first time, Faurisson addressed the Arab world. First he put it to them that an intelligent adversary may say that they fear something when they don’t, and that they don’t fear something when they do. Thus their enemies’ firepower is deflected from those places where it may do real damage to those areas where it can do little damage.

Then he listed those things that Zionists do not fear: They do not fear military power – they’ve more than enough of their own and anyway, they know that anyone who has military power is far more likely to support them rather than oppose them. They do not fear anti-Semitism – on the contrary they feed on it to create sympathy for their cause. They do not really fear denouncers of Holocaust exploitation – the Norman Finkelsteins and the Peter Novicks – so long as they do not challenge the Holocaust itself. After all, the fiercest critic of something can (albeit often unwittingly) become its staunchest guardian – (If Norman Finkelstein says it, it must be true.) They do not even fear anti-Zionism since Zionism, like Jewish power itself, has the wondrous ability to transform itself into anything it wants – left/right, religious/secular, one-state/two-state – all provide fertile ground for Zionism and Jewish particularity. Nor do they much fear attacks on the founding myths of Israel – that is, all of them except one. Finally, they do not even fear being called Judeo-Nazis. On the contrary, being labeled by one’s adversaries as a Nazi merely affirms that ‘Nazi’ is the very worst thing imaginable.

He then told his audience what Zionists do fear: They fear the weapons of those who have nothing left to lose – the poor and the weak. They fear the stones and suicide bombers of the Palestinian Intifada – and they fear the weapons of that other Intifada – the words of the revisionists.

Zionists truly fear the weapons of the poor (children’s stones, their slingshots like that of David against the giant Goliath, the suicide attacks) and all that may endanger persons and business; they fear a demeaning of their brand image. But they are above all apprehensive of “the poor man’s atomic bomb”, that is, the disintegration, by historical revisionism, of the lie of the gas chambers, the genocide and the six million; they dread this weapon that kills no one but that would not fail, if properly used to explode their big lie like a bag of hot air . . . to lose the “Holocaust” is to lose the sword and the shield of Israel as well as a formidable instrument of political and financial blackmail; [21]

Despite their honourable intentions and dedicated efforts, the solidarity movement, which includes many Jews of conscience, has had little success in stopping the Zionist juggernaut. The truth is that the only thing that has stalled it has been Palestinian steadfastness and Palestinian stones. Although they will never say so, Palestinians must know that they are not just facing the might of the Israeli state but also the power of organized world Jewry and its primary arm, the Holocaust. Perhaps Palestinians should consider lobbing a few stones in that direction. Perhaps we all should.

Paul Eisen
December 2004
paul@eisen.demon.co.uk

Postscript: On March 2nd 2005 Ernst Zündel was deported to Germany where he faces a five year prison sentence for Holocaust denial.

[1] http://www.nimn.org/Perspectives/americanjews/000308.php?section=American%20Jewish%20Voices

[2] Complaint under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights Against Canada – January 4, 2005.

[3] http://www.righteousjews.org/article10.html

[4] http://www.ihr.org/main/journal.shtml 

[5] http://www.resistance.com/Hayward/hay1.html

[6] http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v12/v12pl67_Webera.html

[7] Robert Faurisson, Press Conference, Stockholm, March 1992.

[8] http://www.ihr.org/conference/beirutconf/010331faurisson.html

[9] Paul Rassinier, Le Drame des Juifs européens, Les Sept Couleurs, 1964, reprinted by La Vieille Taupe, Paris, p. 79.

[10] http://www.adl.org/holocaust/introduction.asp

[11] http://www.nizkor.org/

[12] Klara Obermueller Weltwoche series, “Auschwitz und die ‘Auschwitz-Lüge'”, 9, 16, and 23 December 1993, 3 articles.

[13] Deniers, Relativists and Pseudo-Scholarship – Deborah Lipstadt. Published in Dimensions, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1991.

[14] ibid.

[15] ibid.

[16] Extract from the Denial of Holocaust (Prohibition) Law 5746/1986 passed by the Israeli Knesset July 8th 1986 quoted in Hayward P 25. http://www.resistance.com/Hayward/hay1.html

[17] http://www.freewebs.com/joelhayward/thesisaddendum.htm

[18] http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Rhodes/5338/psa/cole.html

[19] Elie Wiesel, Night, 1960, in The Night Trilogy, 1985, pp. 40-43).

[20] Abraham Foxman quoted in Peter Novick “The Holocaust in American Life” by Peter Novick, published by Houghton Mifflin Co. 1999. Pp.195; 199.

[21] Paper written by Robert Faurisson for Beirut Conference on Revisionism and Zionism – March 2001.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Holocaust Wars

Jewish Power

NOVANEWS

By Paul Eisen

The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons displaying Jewish religious symbols, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organised Jews worldwide. But to name Jews as responsible for this crime seems impossible to do. 

The future is always open and nothing can ever be ruled out; but, for now, it’s hard to see how Israel can be stopped. After over fifty years, it is clear that Israel will only relinquish its eliminationist attitude to Palestinians and Palestinian life when it has to. This need not be through military action but it is hard to see how anything else will do. The conventional wisdom – that if America turned off the tap, Israel would be brought to its knees – is far from proven. First, it’s not going to happen. Second, those who believe it may well be underestimating both the cohesiveness of Israeli society and the force of Jewish history which permeates it. Even more unlikely is the military option. The only force on earth which could possibly confront Israel is the American military, and, again, that is not going to happen.

Palestinian resistance has been astonishing. After over fifty years of brutal assault by what may well one day be seen as one of the most ruthless and irrational powers of modern times, and with just about every power on earth ranged against them, Palestinians are still with us, still steadfast, still knowing who they are and where they come from. Nonetheless, for the time being effective resistance may be over (though the possibility of organised non-violent resistance can never be ruled out), and, for now, the only strategy open may be no more than one for survival.

For us it is so much easier to deny this reality than to accept it, and doubtless the struggle will continue. How fruitful this will be no-one can say. Although the present seems hopeless, survival is still vital and no-one knows when new opportunities may arise. Anyway, to struggle against injustice is always worth doing. But what if the struggle becomes so delusional that it inhibits rather than advances resistance? What if the struggle becomes a way of avoiding rather than confronting reality? Those slogans “End the Occupation!” and “Two States for Two Peoples!” are now joined by a new slogan, “The One-State Solution!” This is every bit as fantastic as its predecessors because, just as there never was going to be an end to the occupation, nor a real Palestinian state, so, for now, there is no possibility of any “one state” other than the state of Israel which now stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, and the only “solution” is a final solution and even that cannot be ruled out.

“Zionism is not Judaism;
Judaism is not Zionism….”


The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons with Jewish religious symbols all over them, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organised Jews worldwide. But to name Jews as responsible for this crime seems impossible to do. The past is just too terrible. All of us know of the hatred and violence to which accusations against Jews have led in the past. Also, if we were to examine critically the role of Jews in this conflict, what would become of us and of our struggle? Would we be labelled anti-Semites and lose much of the support that we have worked so hard to gain?

The present, too, is full of ambiguities. Zionism is not Judaism; Judaism is not Zionism has become an article of faith, endlessly repeated, as is the assertion that Zionism is a secular ideology opposed, for much of its history, by the bulk of religious Jews and even now still opposed by true Torah Jews such as Neturei Karta. But Zionism is now at the heart of Jewish life with religious Jews amongst the most virulent of Zionists and Neturei Karta, despite their impeccable anti-Zionism, their beautiful words and the enthusiasm with which they are welcomed at solidarity rallies, etc., may well be just Jews in fancy dress, a million miles from the reality of Jewish life.

And even if Zionism can still be disentangled from Judaism, can it be distinguished from a broader Jewish identity or Jewishness?So often Zionism is proclaimed to be a modern add-on to Jewish identity, another, albeit anachronistic, settler-colonial ideology simply adopted by Jews in response to their predicament. But, could it be that our need to avoid the accusation of anti-Semitism and our own conflicted perceptions and feelings, our insistence that Zionism and Jewishness are separate, has led us seriously to misunderstand the situation? Has our refusal to look squarely at the very Jewishness of Zionism and its crimes caused us to fail to understand exactly what we are up against?

Jews, Judaism and Zionism

Jews are complex; Jewish identity is complex and the relationship between Judaism the religion, and a broader, often secular, Jewish identity or Jewishness is very complex indeed. Jewishness may be experienced a long way from synagogue, yeshiva or any other formal aspect of Jewish religious life, yet is often still inextricably bound to Judaism. That is why secular Jews are able to proclaim their secularity every bit as loudly as they proclaim their Jewishness. Marc Ellis, a religious Jew, says that when you look at those Jews who are in solidarity with Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them are secular – but, from a religious point of view, the Covenant is with them. For Ellis, these secular Jews unknowingly and even unwillingly may be carrying with them the future of Jewish life.

Jewish identity, connecting Jews to other Jews, comes from deep within Jewish history. This is a shared history, both real and imagined, in that it is both literal and theological. Many Jews in the west share a real history of living together as a distinct people in Eastern, Central and then Western Europe and America. Others share a real history of settlement in Spain followed by expulsion and then settlement all over the world, particularly in Arab and Islamic lands. But this may not be what binds all Jews, because for allJews it is not a real, but maybe a theological, history that is shared. Most Palestinians today probably have more Hebrew blood in their little fingers then most western Jews have in their whole bodies. And yet, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is as real to many of them, and most importantly was as real to them when they were children, as if they, along with all Jews, had stood with Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai.

And histories like that don’t stop at the present. Even for secular Jews, though unacknowledged and even unrealized, there is a sense, not only of a shared history, but also of a shared destiny. Central to Jewish identity both religious and non-religious is the sense of mission centered on exile and return. How else to explain the extraordinary devotion of so many Jews, religious and secular, to the “return” to a land with which, in real terms, they have very little connection at all?

For many Jews, this history confers a ‘specialness’. This is not unique to Jews – after all, who in their heart of hearts does not feel a little bit special? But for Jews this specialness is at the centre of their self-identification and much of the world seems to concur. For religious Jews, the specialness comes from the supposed covenant with God. But for secular Jews, the specialness comes from a special history. In either case this can be a good, even a beautiful, thing. In much of Jewish religious tradition this specialness is no more than a special moral obligation, a special responsibility to offer an example to the world, and for so many secular Jews it has led them to struggle for justice in many places around the world.

At the heart of this Jewish specialness is Jewish suffering and victimhood. Like the shared history itself, this suffering may, but need not, correspond to reality. Jews have certainly suffered but their suffering remains unexamined and unexplained. The Holocaust, now the paradigm of Jewish suffering, has long ceased to be a piece of history, and is now treated by religious and secular alike, as a piece of theology – a sacred text almost – and therefore beyond scrutiny. And the suffering never ends. No matter how much Jews have suffered they are certainly not suffering now, but for many Jews their history of suffering is not just an unchallengeable past but also a possible future. So, no matter how safe Jews may be, many feel just a hair’s-breadth away from Auschwitz.

Zionism is at the heart of this. Zionism is also complex and also comes from deep within Jewish history with the same sense of exile and return. Zionism also confirms that Jews are special in their suffering and is explicit that Jews should ‘return’ to a land given to them, and only them – by God if they are religious, or by history if they are not – because they simply are not safe anywhere else on earth.

But so what? If Jews think that they are a people with a religious link to a land and have a deep wish to ‘return’, why should we care, so long as the land is not already populated by Palestinians? And if Jews feel that they are special and that God has made some kind of special arrangement with them, so what, so long as this does not lead them to demand preferential treatment and to discriminate against others? And if Jews feel that they have suffered like no-one else on the face of the earth, fine, so long as they do not use this suffering to justify the imposition of suffering on others and to blackmail morally the whole world into quiescent silence.

This is the problem with Zionism. It expresses Jewish identity but also empowers it. It tells Jews (and many others too) that Jews can do what Jews have always dreamed of doing. It takes the perfectly acceptable religious feelings of Jews, or if you prefer, the perfectly harmless delusions of Jews, and tries to turn them into a terrible reality. Jewish notions of specialness, choseness and even supremacism, are fine for a small, wandering people, but, when empowered with a state, an army and F16s become a concern for us all.

Zionism as Jewish empowerment in statehood changes everything. Israel is not just any state, it is a Jewish state and this means more than just a state for Jews. This Jewish state is built on traditions and modes of thought that have evolved amongst Jews for centuries – amongst which are the notions that Jews are special and that their suffering is special. By their own reckoning, Jews are “a nation that dwells alone” it is “us and them” and, in many cases, “us or them”. And these tendencies are translated into the modern state of Israel. This is a state that knows no boundaries. It is a state that both believes, and uses as justification for its own aggression, the notion that its very survival is always at stake, so anything is justified to ensure that survival. Israel is a state that manifestly believes that the rules of both law and humanity, applicable to all other states, do not apply to it.

Their own worst nightmare

It is a terrible irony that this empowerment of Jews has come to most resemble those empowerments under which Jews have suffered the most. Empowered Christianity, also a marriage of faith and power, enforced its ideology and pursued its dissidents and enemies with no greater fervor than has empowered Judaism. In its zeal and self belief, Zionism has come to resemble the most brutal and relentless of modern ideologies. But unlike the brutal rationality of Stalinism, willing to sacrifice millions for political and economic revolution, this Jewish ideology, in its zealotry and irrationality, resembles more the National Socialism which condemned millions for the attainment of a nonsensical racial and ethnic supremacy.

Of course there are differences but there are also similarities. National Socialism, like Zionism, another blend of mysticism and power, gained credibility as a means to right wrongs done to a victimized people. National Socialism, like Zionism, also sought to maintain the racial/ethnic purity of one group and to maintain the rights of that ethnic group over others, and National Socialism, like Zionism, also proposed an almost mystical attachment of that group to a land. Also, both National Socialism and Zionism shared a common interest – to separate Jews from non-Jews, in this case to remove Jews from Europe – and actively co-operated in the attainment of this aim. And if the similarity between these two ideologies is simply too great and too bitter to accept, one may ask what National Socialism with its uniforms, flags and mobilized youth must have looked like to those Germans, desperate after Versailles and the ravages of post-First World War Germany. Perhaps not so different from how the uniforms, flags and marching youth of pre- and post-state Zionism must have looked to Jews after their history of suffering, and particularly after the Holocaust.

This is, for Jews, their own worst nightmare: the thing they love the most has become the thing they hate the most. And for those Jews and others, who shrink from the comparison, let them ask themselves this: What would an average German, an enthusiastic Nazi even, have said in, say, 1938 had they been confronted with the possibility of an Auschwitz? They would have thought that you were stark, staring mad.

American Jews and Jewish America


At the heart of the conflict is the relationship between Israel and America. The statistics – billions in aid and loans, UN vetoes, etc., etc. need not be repeated here – American support for Israel seems limitless. But what is the nature of this support? For many, perhaps most, the answer is relatively simple. Israel is a client state of America, serving American interests or, more particularly, the interests of its power elites. This view is underpinned by the obvious importance of oil, the huge strategic importance of the region and the fact that, if Israel did not further the interests of those who control America, then we can be sure America would not support Israel. Also, there is no doubt that, in the IDF, America has found a marvellously flexible and effective force, easily aroused and let loose whenever any group of Arabs get a little above themselves.

But is this the whole story? Does Israel really serve America’s interests and is their relationship wholly based on the sharing of these interests? Consider how much in terms of goodwill from other nations America loses by its support for Israel, and consider the power and influence of the “Jewish”, “Zionist” or “pro-Israel” lobby, as when many an otherwise responsible lawmaker, faced with the prospect of an intervention in their re-election campaign from the Jewish lobby, seems happy to put his or her re-election prospects way in front of what is good for America.

The details of the workings of AIPAC and others, and the mechanics by which these groups exert pressure on America’s lawmakers and governors, have been dealt with elsewhere; we need only note that this interest group is undoubtedly extraordinarily effective and successful. Not just a small group of Jews supporting Israel, as its supporters would have us believe, these are powerful and committed ideologues: billionaires, media magnates, politicians, activists and religious leaders. In any event, the power of the Jewish lobby to make or break pretty well any public figure is legendary – not for nothing is it often referred to simply as “The Lobby”.

But again, there may be far more to the Israel/U.S. relationship than just a commonality of interest and the effectiveness of certain interest groups. That support for Israel must be in the interests of those who control America is certainly true, but who controls America? Perhaps the real relationship is not between Israel and America but between Jews and America.

The overwhelming majority of Jews in America live their lives just like any other Americans. They’ve done well and are undoubtedly pleased that America supports their fellow Jews in Israel but that’s as far as it goes. Nonetheless, an awful lot of Jews certainly do control an awful lot of America – not the industrial muscle of America – the steel, transport, etc., nor the oil and arms industries, those traditional money-spinners. No, if Jews have influence anywhere in America, it’s not over its muscle and sinew but over its blood and its brain. It is in finance and the media that we find a great many Jews in very influential positions. Lists abound (though you have to go to some pretty unpopular websites to find them) of Jews, prominent in financial and cultural life: Jews in banks; Jews in Forbes Magazine’s Richest Americans; Jews in Hollywood; Jews in TV; Jewish journalists, writers, critics, etc., etc.

Nor have Jews been slow in exploiting their position. Jews have not hesitated to use whatever resources they have to advance their interests as they see them. Nor does one need to subscribe to any conspiracy theory to note how natural it is for Jews in the media to promote Jews and their values as positive and worthy of emulation. When did anyone last see a Jew portrayed in anything other than a favourable light? Jews are clever, moral, interesting, intense, warm, witty, complex, ethical, contradictory, prophetic, infuriating, sometimes irritating, but always utterly engaging. Nor is it any wonder that Jews in influential positions are inclined to promote what they see as Jewish collective interests. Is it really all that incredible that Jewish advisers around the Presidency bear Israel’s interests at heart when they advise the President on foreign affairs?

But so what? So there are a lot of Jews with a lot of money, and a lot of Jews with a lot to say and the means to say it. If Jews by virtue of their ability and use of resources (as honestly gained as by anyone else) promote what they perceive as their own collective interest, what’s wrong with that? First, with some notable exceptions, the vast majority of Jews can, in good faith, lay hands on hearts and swear that they never take decisions or actions with collective Jewish interests in mind, certainly not consciously. And even if they did, they are acting no differently from anyone else. With a few exceptions, Jews have earned their advantageous positions. They came with nothing, played according to the rules and, if they use their influence to further what they perceive as Jewish interests, what’s so special about that? Do not the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Gun lobby, the Christian Evangelicals also not work to further their group interests?

The difference between Jews and other groups is that they probably do it better. Jews are, by pretty well any criteria, easily the most successful ethnic group in America and, for whatever reason, have been extraordinarily successful in promoting themselves both individually and collectively. And there would probably be nothing wrong with this were it not for the fact that these same people who exert so much control and influence over American life also seem to refuse to be held accountable. It is the surreptitiousness with which Jews are perceived to have achieved their success which arouses suspicion. Jews certainly seem cagey about the influence they have. Just breathe the words “Jewish power” and wait for the reaction. They claim it’s because this charge has so often been used as a precursor to discrimination and violence against them, but never consider the possibility that their own reluctance to discuss the power they wield arouses suspicion and even hostility.

But there is another claim, subtler and more worrying. This is that it doesn’t exist; that Jews do not wield power, that there is no Jewish lobby; that Jews in America do not exert power and influence to advance Jewish interests, even that there are no such things as Jewish interests! There are no Jewish interests in the war in Iraq, there are no Jewish interests in America; most amazing, there are no Jewish interests even in Israel and Palestine. There is no Jewish collective. Jews do not act together to advance their aims. They even say that the pro-Israeli lobby has actually not all that much to do with Jews, that the Jewishness of Israel is irrelevant and the Public Affairs Committees (PACs) which lobby so hard for Israel are in fact doing no more than supporting an ally and thus looking after America’s best interests even to the extent of concealing their true purpose behind names such as “American for Better Citizenship”, “Citizen’s Organised PAC” or the “National PAC” – none of which make one reference in their titles to Israel, Zionism or Jews. Similarly, Jews and Jewish organisations are said to be not so much furthering Jewish interests and values as American, or, even, universal interests and values. So, the major Holocaust Museum, styled as a “Museum of Tolerance”, focuses not only on anti-Semitism, but on every kind of intolerance known to mankind (except that shown by Jews to non-Jews in Israel and Palestine). Similarly, the Anti-Defamation League is but an organisation for the promotion of universal principles of tolerance and justice, not just for Jews but for everyone.

This conflation of Jewish interests with American interests is nowhere more stark than in present American foreign policy. If ever an image was reminiscent of a Jewish world conspiracy, the spectacle of the Jewish neo-cons gathered around the current presidency and directing policy in the Middle East, this must be it. But we are told that the fact that the Jewish neo-cons, many with links with right wing political groups within Israel, are in the forefront of urging a pro-Israel policy, is but a coincidence, and any suggestion that these figures might be influenced by their Jewishness and their links with Israel is immediately marginalised as reviving old anti-Semitic myths about Jewish dual loyalty. The idea that American intervention in Iraq, the one viable military counterweight to Israeli hegemony in the Middle East and therefore an inspiration to Arab and Palestinian resistance, primarily serves Israeli rather than American interests has also been consigned to the nether world of mediaeval anti-Semitic myth. The suggestion that those Jews around the president act from motives other than those to promote the interests of all Americans is just anti-Semitic raving. And maybe they’re right. Perhaps those who promote Jewish interests are in fact promoting American interests because, for now at least, they appear to be one and the same.

Jewish America

In Washington, D.C. is a memorial to a terrible tragedy. Not a memorial to a tragedy visited on Americans by a foreign power as at Pearl Harbour or 9/11, nor to a tragedy visited by Americans on Americans such the sacking of Atlanta. Nor is it a memorial of contrition to a tragedy inflicted by Americans onto another people, such as to slavery or to the history of racial injustice in America. It is to none of these. The Holocaust memorial is to a tragedy inflicted on people who were not Americans, by people who were not Americans, and in a place a very long way from America. And the co-religionists or, even, if you like, the co-nationals, of the people on whom the tragedy was visited and to whom the memorial is built make up around two percent of the American population. How is it that a group of people who make up such a tiny percentage of the overall American population can command such respect and regard that a memorial to them is built in the symbolic heart of American national life?

The Jewish narrative is now at the centre of American life, certainly that of its cultural and political elites. There is, anyway, much in the way that Americans choose to see themselves and their history which is quite naturally compatible with the way Jews see themselves and their history. What more fitting paradigm for a country founded on immigration, than the story of the mass immigration of Jews at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? For many Americans, the story of those Jews who came to their Goldenes Medina, their Golden Land, with nothing and, through hard work and perseverance, made it to the very top of American society, is also their story. And what could be more inspirational for a country, if not officially but still viscerally, deeply Christian than the story of the Jews, Jesus’ own people and God’s chosen people, returning to their ancient homeland and transforming it into a modern state. And for a nation which sees itself as a beacon of democracy in the world, what better international soul-mate than the state of Israel, widely held to be “the only democracy in the Middle-East”? Finally what greater validation for a country itself founded on a narrative of conquest and ethnic cleansing than the Biblical narrative of the conquest and ethnic cleansing of the Promised Land with the addition of the equally violent settlement of modern Palestine with its own ethnic cleansing and then “making the desert bloom”?

Most resonant, of course, is the notion of Jews as a suffering people. The fact that this “suffering people” is now enjoying a success beyond the dreams of any other ethnic group in America seems irrelevant. Also ignored is how American Jews have made it to the very top of American society whilst, every step of the way, complaining about how much they’re being discriminated against. Nonetheless, to America, Jews have an enduring and ongoing history of suffering and victimhood. But this history has rarely been examined or even discussed.

A Suffering People

That Jews have suffered is undeniable, but Jewish suffering is claimed to have been so enduring, so intense and so particular that it is to be treated differently from other sufferings. The issue is complex and cannot be fully debated or decided here but the following points may stimulate thought and discussion.

  • During even the most terrible times of Jewish suffering such as the Crusades or the Chmielnitzky massacres of seventeenth century Ukraine, and even more so at other times in history, it has been said that the average peasant would have given his eye-teeth to be a Jew. The meaning is clear: generally speaking, and throughout most of their history, the condition of Jews was often far superior to the mass of the population.

  • The above-mentioned Ukrainian massacres took place in the context of a peasant uprising against the oppression of the Ukrainian peasantry by their Polish overlords. As has often been the case, Jews were seen as occupying a traditional position of being in alliance with the ruling class in their oppression of the peasantry. Chmielnitzky, the leader of this popular uprising, is today a Ukrainian national hero, not for his assaults on Jews (there are even references to his having offered poor Jews to join the uprising against their exploitative co-religionists – the Jews declined) but for his championing of the rights of the oppressed Ukrainians. Again, the inference is plain: outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence, though never justified, have often been responses to Jewish behaviour both real and imaginary.

  • In the Holocaust three million Polish Jews died, but so did three million non-Jewish Poles. Jews were targeted but so were Gypsies, homosexuals, Slavs and Poles. Similarly, the Church burned Jews for their dissenting beliefs but then the church burned everyone for their dissenting beliefs. So again, the question must be asked: what’s so special about Jewish suffering?

The Holocaust, the paradigm for all anti-Semitism and all Jewish suffering, is treated as being beyond examination and scrutiny. Questioning the Holocaust narrative is, at best, socially unacceptable, leading often to social exclusion and discrimination, and, at worst, in some places is illegal and subject to severe penalty. Holocaust revisionist scholars, named Holocaust deniers by their opponents, have challenged this. They do not deny a brutal and extensive assault on Jews by the Nazi regime but they do deny the Holocaust narrative as framed by present day establishments and elites. Specifically, their denial is limited to three main areas. First, they deny that there ever was an official plan on the part of Hitler or any other part of the Nazi regime systematically and physically to eliminate every Jew in Europe; second, they deny that there ever existed homicidal gas-chambers; third, they claim that the numbers of Jewish victims of the Nazi assault have been greatly exaggerated.

But none of this is the point. Whether those who question the Holocaust narrative are revisionist scholars striving to find the truth and shamelessly persecuted for opposing a powerful faction, or whether they are crazy Jew-haters denying a tragedy and defaming its victims, the fact is that one may question the Armenian genocide, one may freely discuss the Slave Trade, one can say that the murder of millions of Ibos, Kampucheans and Rwandans never took place and that the moon is but a piece of green cheese floating in space, but one may not question the Jewish Holocaust. Why? Because, like the rest of the Jewish history of suffering, the Holocaust underpins the narrative of Jewish innocence which is used to bewilder and befuddle any attempt to see and to comprehend Jewish power and responsibility in Israel/Palestine and elsewhere in the world.

Jewish Power


What is a Jew?

Israel Shamir, the Russian-born Israeli writer, advocates the right of all people, whatever their ethnicity or religion, to live together in complete equality between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Shamir condemns the behaviour of Israel and of Diaspora Jews and calls for an end to their preferential treatment, but he also proposes an opposition to Judaism itself for which he stands accused of being anti-Jewish – a charge he does not deny but actually embraces.

Shamir proposes the existence of a Jewish ideology, or “Jewish paradigm” as he puts it, and proposes that it is the voluntary adherence to this “spirit” which makes a Jew into a Jew. For him, Jewishness is neither race nor ethnicity – there is, for Shamir, no such thing as a Jewish ‘tribe’ or ‘family’ – no biological or ethnic body from which there can be no escape. Further, this ideology, based on notions of choseness, exclusivity and even supremacism is, at least when empowered, incompatible with peace, equality and justice in Palestine or anywhere else for that matter.

No-one wants to oppose any Jews simply for being Jews, or even for what they believe, but only because of what they do. The problem is that since, according to Shamir, what Jews believe and even do is precisely what makes them into Jews, so opposition to Jewishness as an ideology surely comes dangerously close to opposition to Jews simply for being Jews. But for Shamir, Jews are Jews because they choose to be Jews. Someone may be born of Jews and raised as a Jew but they can if they wish reject their Jewish upbringing and become a non-Jew. And many have done just that including such famous escapees as Karl Marx, St. Paul, Leon Trotsky (and Shamir himself), etc. Opposition to Jews is not, therefore, like opposition to Blacks or to Asians or to other common racist attitudes since the object of the opposition is perfectly able to relinquish the ideology in question.

Shamir has never in any way called for any harm to be done to Jews or anyone else, nor for Jews or anyone else to be discriminated against in any way. Adherence to this Jewish ideology is, for Shamir, regrettable, but not, in itself, a matter for active opposition. Nor does this mean that Shamir is opposed to any individual Jew just because he or she is a Jew. What Shamir actively opposes is not “Jews” but “Jewry”. Analogous to say, the Catholic Church, Jewry consists of those organised Jews and their leaders who actively promote corrosive Jewish interests and values, particularly now in the oppression of the Palestinians.

One doesn’t have to be in complete agreement with Shamir to understand what he is talking about. Why should Jews not have a “spirit”; after all, such a concept has been discussed with regard to other nations?

“It is dangerous, wrong, to speak about the “Germans,” or any other people, as of a single undifferentiated entity, and include all individuals in one judgement. And yet I don’t think I would deny that there exists a spirit of each people (otherwise it would not be a people) a Deutschtum, an italianitia, an hispanidad: they are the sums of traditions, customs, history, language, and culture. Whoever does not feel within himself this spirit, which is national in the best sense of the word, not only does not entirely belong to his own people but is not part of human civilization. Therefore, while I consider insensate the syllogism, ‘All Italians are passionate; you are Italian; therefore you are passionate,” I do however believe it legitimate, within certain limits, to expect from Italians taken as a whole, or from Germans, etc., one specific, collective behavior rather than another. There will certainly be individual exceptions, but a prudent, probabilistic forecast is in my opinion possible.” Primo Levi

And for Jews it is, perhaps, even more appropriate. The place of Judaism as an ideology at the centre for all Jewish identity may be debated, but few would dispute that Judaism is at least at the historic heart of Jewishness and, whatever else may bind Jews together, it is certainly true that religion plays an important part. Second, for a group of people who have retained such a strong collective identity with no shared occupation of any land, language, nor even, in many cases, a culture, it is hard to see what else there could be that makes Jews into Jews. Surely for Jews, in the absence of other, more obvious factors, it is precisely such a spirit that has enabled them to retain their distinctive identity for so long and in the face of such opposition.

But if there is some kind of Jewish spirit or ideology, what is it? As far as Judaism, the religion, goes it seems fairly clear that there is an ideology based on the election of Israel by God, the special relationship Jews are supposed to have with God and the special mission allocated to Jews by God. So for observant Jews there is a special quality intrinsic to the covenant and to Judaism itself, though not all of them find it appealing:

“There is a strain in Jewish thought that says there is a special Godly something or other that is passed down in a certain genetic line which confers a special quality on people and Jewishness is a special quality. I call that metaphysical racism.” Rabbi Mark Solomon

But whilst easy to see such a common spirit in religious Jews – after all it is precisely that which makes them religious – it is so much harder to define it in secular Jews, those Jews who reject, often quite vociferously, all aspects of Jewish faith. They often claim that they don’t have an ideology, or that their ideology is one of, say, the left: not only not Jewish, but opposed to all religions including Judaism. Yet seemingly so free of all such ignorant superstition, these same people still call themselves Jews, still more often than not marry other Jews and still turn up to solidarity rallies only with other Jews and under Jewish banners. What is their ideology?

For my money it is much the same sense of specialness found in religious Jews but with a special reference to victimhood. “Yes, but only in the Hitlerian sense”, answered philosopher Maxime Rodinson when asked if he still considered himself a Jew. For many of these Jews it is their identity as a threatened and victimized people that makes them Jews. “Hitler said I was a Jew, so I may as well be a Jew” is one response or “To be a Jew somehow denies all those who ever persecuted Jews a victory- so I’m a Jew”. For these Jews, albeit estranged from Jewish religious and often community life as well, Emil Fackenheim’s famous post-Holocaust 614th commandment (to add to the other 613): Thou shall survive! is an absolute imperative. But whatever the motive, this self-identity runs very deep indeed. Amongst these Jews, no matter how left or progressive they may be, one may criticise Israel to the nth degree, poke fun at the Jewish establishment and even shamefully denigrate Judaism as a religion, but depart one iota from the approved text on anti-Semitism and Jewish suffering, and you are in deep trouble. For these rational folk, Jewish suffering and anti-Semitism is every bit as inexplicable, mysterious and therefore, unchallengeable as for any religious Jew.

Jewish secularism is often offered as evidence that there is no such thing as a Jewish identity gathered around any shared ideology. After all, if all Jews subscribe to the same basic ideology, then how come so many Jews so obviously don’t? And if all Jews essentially support the same interests, how come so many Jews so obviously don’t? But is it that obvious? Not only do secular Jews very often seem to subscribe to Jewish notions of specialness and victimhood, but also, in their attitudes to non-Jews in general, and Palestinians in particular, they are by no means all that different from religious Jews.

It is often quoted how many Jews are in solidarity movements with Palestinians and how many of these are secular. And it’s true: there are many Jews in sympathy with the Palestinians and the overwhelming majority are secular, and the main thrust of post-1967 virulent Zionism has come to be associated with the religious right. But this secular Jewish tradition, in fact, has been at the forefront of Zionism’s assault on the Palestinians. It was secular Labour Zionists who created the Zionist ideology and the pre-state Jewish-only society. It was secular Zionists – good, humanistic, left-wing kibbutzniks – who directed and carried out the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians, and the destruction of their towns and villages. It was secular Zionists who established the present state with all its discriminatory practices; and it was a largely secular Labour government that held the Palestinian citizens of Israel under military government in their own land for eighteen years. Finally, it was a secular, Labour government which conquered the West Bank and Gaza, and first built the settlements, and embarked on the Oslo peace process, coolly designed to deceive the Palestinians into surrendering their rights.

And even those secular Jews who do support Palestinian rights, on so many occasions, the solidarity they offer is limited by self interest. That these people, at least as much as anyone else, act out of their highest motives may be true. Many have been lifelong activists for many causes and many find their activism springs, consciously or unconsciously, from what they see as the highest ideals of their Jewishness. But nonetheless for many of them, solidarity with Palestinians means above all, the protection of Jews. They call for a Palestinian state on 22 per cent of the Palestinian homeland, but only to keep and protect the ‘Jewishness’ of the Jewish state. The Palestinian state they call for would inevitably be weak, dominated by the Israeli economy and under the guns of the Israeli military – surely they must know what this would mean!

At rally after rally, in speeches and on leaflets and banners, these Jews denounce the occupation: “Down with the occupation…down with the occupation…down with the occupation…” but not a word of the inherent injustice of a state for Jews only; perhaps a mention of the ill-gotten gains of 1948, but nothing of the right of return of the refugees, no restitution merely ‘a just solution’ taking account, of course, of Israel’s ‘demographic concerns’. “We are with you….we are with you….we are with you” they say “…but…”.Whether it be condemnation of some form of Palestinian resistance of which they disapprove, or some real or perceived occurrence of anti-Semitism, for these Jews there is always a “but.” 

They should take a leaf from Henry Herskovitz. He is part of an organisation called Jewish Witnesses for Peace, which holds silent vigils outside synagogues on shabbat. Of course, all the other Jewish activists are shrieking at him that you mustn’t target Jews for protest, that you must draw a distinction between Jews, Israelis and Zionists, that you’ll only alienate the people we want to engage…. but he doesn’t care. He knows that support from the Jewish mainstream, as Tony Cliff the Trotskyite used to say, “….is like honey on your elbow – you can see it, you can smell it but you can never quite taste it!” Henry also knows that to say that Jews in America individually and in their religious and community organisations should not be held accountable for what is happening is a lie and discredits all Jews before the non-Jewish world.

So these secular Jews often end up being just another round of Michael Neuman’s “veritable shell game” of Jewish identity. “Look! We’re a religion! No! a race! No! a cultural entity! Sorry–a religion!” Because this is the key to maintaining Jewish power – if it’s indefinable, it’s invisible. Like a Stealth Bomber (you can’t see it on your radar but you sure know when you’ve been hit) Jewish power, with its blurred outlines and changing forms, becomes invisible. And if you can’t see it you can’t fight it. Meanwhile the assault on the Palestinians continues.

“The Jews”

The phrase is itself terrifying because of its past association with discrimination and violence against Jews, but Jews themselves have no problem with it. The notion of a Jewish People is at the centre of Jewish faith with Jews of all or no degrees of religious adherence over and over again affirming its existence. It is also at the heart of Zionism even in its most secular forms and is written into the foundational texts of the state of Israel. The concept even received international legal approval when the Jewish people were declared, by the West German state, to be the post-war residual heirs of intestate Jews. And yet it is an absolute article of faith for everyone, including those in the solidarity movement, that while we may criticize and confront Israel and Israelis, we may not criticize and confront the Jewish people and Jews. Unlike Israel and any other state, the Jewish People has no common policy and any attack on the Jewish people is, therefore, aimed at what they are and not at what they do.

But is speaking of the Jews doing this or doing that any more or less acceptable than speaking of, say, the Americans? If the American military lays waste a third world country, it is done by order of the government (a small group) with the full support of the ruling elites (another small group), the tacit support of a substantial segment of the population (a larger group), the silent denial of probably the majority of the population (a very large group) and the opposition of a tiny minority (a small group). Is it all that different with Jews?

It may be. Unlike the United States, ‘the Jews’ are not a legally constituted body and they do not have an obvious and defined common policy. ‘The Jews’ do not have an officially designated leadership, nor do they inhabit one area of land, nor do they speak a common language or even share a common culture. Theoretically at least there seem to be so many differences as to render any comparison untenable. In practice this may not be the whole story.

It is true that ‘the Jews’ do not constitute a legally recognized body, but Zionism, with its claim to represent all Jews, has increasingly confused the issue. It is also true that the Zionists do not represent all Jews but they do represent the views of very many Jews indeed, and certainly the most powerful and influential Jews. And there is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of organized Jews are fully behind the Zionist project. That ‘the Jews’ do not have a formally designated leadership does not mean that they have no leadership – bodies again to which the overwhelming majority of organized Jews owe allegiance: the Israeli Government, the World Zionist Organization; numerous large and powerful Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, The Simon Wiesenthal Centre; lesser bodies such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews and similar organizations in every country in which Jews reside. Then there is the extensive network of Jewish bodies often linked, through synagogues to the whole spectrum of mainstream Jewish religious and community life. All these bodies with their vast and interconnected network do provide leadership; they do have clearly defined policies and they are all four-square behind Zionism and Israel in its assault on the Palestinians.

Does this constitute a definable Jewish collective engaged in advancing Jewish interests? Officially, perhaps not, but, effectively, when one notes the remarkable unanimity of intent of all these bodies, the answer may well be yes. They do not of course represent all Jews nor are all individual Jews responsible for their actions, but nonetheless ‘the Jews’ – organized, active and effective Jews – are as responsible for the pursuit of Jewish interests in Palestine and elsewhere as ‘the Americans’ in Vietnam, ‘the French’ in Algeria, and ‘the British’ in India.

So why should our response be different? Why should ‘the Jews’ not be as accountable as ‘the Americans’ and even ordinary Jews as accountable as ordinary Americans? Why do we not picket the offices of the Anti-Defamation League or The Conference of Presidents or the offices or even the homes of Abe Foxman, Edgar Bronfman and Mort Zuckerman in the U.S. and Neville Nagler in the U.K.? Why do we not heckle Alan Dershowitz in the U.S. and Melanie Phillips in the U.K.? What about the U.K. Chief Rabbi who in his time has had lots to say about Israel and Palestine? Why do we not take the struggle to every synagogue and Jewish community centre in the world? After all, every Shabbat a prayer is said for the state of Israel in every mainstream synagogue in the land, most of which are focal points for Zionist propagandizing and fundraising, so why should these Jews who choose to combine their prayers and their politics be immune while at prayer from our legitimate protests at their politics? And for those few Jews who are really prepared to stand up and be counted for their solidarity with Palestinians, why can we not still give to them due honour and regard as we did to those few Americans who opposed American imperialism and those white South Africans who opposed apartheid?

The answer is that we are frightened. Even knowing that Jews are responsible and should be held accountable, still we are frightened. We are frightened because criticism of Jews with its woeful history of violence and discrimination seems just too dangerous a position to take – it may open the flood-gates to a burst of Jew hatred. We are frightened that if we were to discuss the role of Jews in this conflict and in other areas and begin to hold Jews accountable, we might be labelled anti-Semites and lose support. And, perhaps most of all, we are frightened of the conflicted inner passions that confound us all whenever we come to look at these things.

Does speaking the truth about Jewish identity, power and history lead to Jews being led to concentration camps and ovens? Of course it doesn’t! It is hatred, fear and the suppression of free thought and speech which leads to these things – whether the hatred, fear and suppression is directed against Jews or by Jews. Anyway, despite efforts to convince us to the contrary, we do not live in the thirteenth century. Californians are unlikely to pour out of their cinemas showing Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’ chanting “Death to the Jews!” And, at a time when Jews in Israel/Palestine, overwhelmingly backed by Jewish organisations in the west, are desecrating churches and mosques wholesale and brutally oppressing entire Christian and Muslim populations, we may be forgiven for finding it hard to get excited about graffiti daubed on some synagogue somewhere.

If we were to begin to engage with the role of Jews in this conflict, we may well be labelled anti-Semites and we may well, initially at least, lose support. The anti-Semite curse has long served as a frightener to silence all criticism of Jews, Israel and Zionism, and undoubtedly will be used to discredit our cause. But so what? They call us anti-Semites anyway so what’s to lose? Edward Said spent a lifetime picking his way through the Israel/Zionism/Judaism minefield and never once criticised Jews, and he was called an anti-Semite his whole life, right up to and even after his death. As a movement we have probably spent as much time being nice to Jews as we have speaking up for Palestinians, and for what? Where has it got us? We are not racists and we are not anti-Semites, so let them do their worst. We shall speak our minds.

For so long now Jews have told the world that black is white and not only that, but also if anyone should dare to deny that black is white they will be denounced as anti-Semites with all the attendant penalties. We are held in a moral and intellectual lock, the intention of which has been to silence all criticism of Israeli and Jewish power. In saying the unsayable we may set ourselves and others free. And think how it will feel the next time you are called an anti-Semite to say “Well, I don’t know about that, but I do have some very strong but legitimate criticisms to make of Jews and the way they are behaving….and I intend to speak out”?

And you never know; we may be pleasantly surprised. Israel Shamir, who has no trouble whatsoever in calling a Jew a Jew, was cheered spontaneously recently when he introduced himself from the floor at a London solidarity meeting. I saw it with my own eyes. His first English-language book has just been published; he corresponds freely and reciprocally with many highly respected figures and is on the boards of advisers of The Association for One Democratic State in Palestine and of Deir Yassin Remembered. Perhaps it’s all just a case of the Emperor’s new clothes. Perhaps we’re all just waiting for some innocent child to blow the whistle.

The situation facing the Palestinian people is truly terrible. Old political strategies have got us nowhere. We need a new and widened debate. It may be that a new and credible discourse which puts Jews and Jewishness at the critical centre of our discussions is part of that.

And one final point: In a previous piece, paraphrasing Marc Ellis I wrote:

“To the Christian and to the entire non-Jewish world, Jews say this: ‘You will apologise for Jewish suffering again and again and again. And, when you have done apologising, you will then apologise some more. When you have apologised sufficiently we will forgive you … provided that you let us do what we want in Palestine.’

Shamir took me to task, “Eisen is too optimistic”, he said, “Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews… …the world is.”

Well, I don’t know about that, but, if as now seems likely, the conquest of Palestine is complete and the state of Israel stretches from Tel-Aviv to the Jordan River, what can we expect? Will the Jews of Israel, supported by Jews outside of Israel, now obey the law, live peaceably behind their borders and enjoy the fruits of their victory, or will they want more? Who’s next?

Paul Eisen is a director of Deir Yassin Remembered
paul@eisen.demon.co.uk

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Jewish Power

The 3rd Category and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement

NOVANEWS

By Gilad Atzmon

As far as self perception is concerned, those who call themselves Jews could be divided into three main categories:

1. those who follow Judaism.

2. those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of Jewish origin.

3. those who put their Jewishness over and above all of their other traits.

Obviously, the first two categories specify an harmless group of people. We do tend to respect religious people, as they are generally expected to be living inspired by their beliefs and are expected to abide by some sort of a higher spiritual code. Needless to say, we have no problem with the second category as well. One cannot choose one’s origin. We agree that people must be respected and treated equally regardless of their origin or their racial and ethnic belonging.

However the third category is largely problematic. Clearly, its definition may sound inflammatory to some. And yet, bizarrely enough, it is a general formulation of Chaim Weizmann’s view of the Jewish identity as expressed in his famous address at the First Jewish Congress: “There are no English, French, German or American Jews, but only Jews living in England, France, Germany or America.” [1]

According to Weizmann, a prominent Zionist figure, Jewishness is a primary quality. You may be a Jew who dwells in England, a Jew who plays the violin or even a Jew against Zionism. But above all else you are a Jew. And this is exactly the idea conveyed by the 3rd category. It is all about viewing Jewishness as the key element in one’s being. Any other quality is secondary.

This is exactly the message the early Zionists were interested in promulgating. For Weizmann, Jewishness is a unique quality that stops the Jew from assimilating within the nation he is a citizen of. He will always remain an alien. This very line of thinking was more than apparent in most early Zionist writings. Jabotinsky, the founder of right wing Zionism, takes it even further. He is more than firm that assimilation is impossible due to some biological conditioning. Here is what he had to say about the German Jew: “A Jew brought up among Germans may assume German customs, German words. He may be wholly imbued with that German fluid but the nucleus of his spiritual structure will always remain Jewish, because his blood, his body, his physical racial type are Jewish.” (Vladimir Jabotinsky, ‘A Letter on Autonomy’, 1904). The reader may notice that these outrageous racist ideas predate Nazism. Jabotinsky wasn’t alone, even the Marxist Ber Borochov who refers the Jewish condition to some historical and material circumstances is suggesting a remedy that is particular to Jewish people, i.e. Jewish Nationalism in which Jews will practice some proletarian activity, namely production. As it seems, Borochov lets Jews be separated from the international proletarian revolution. Why does he do this? Just because Jews are uniquely Jewish or at least the Zionists tend to believe they are.

However, one may rightly ask whether it was the Zionists who invented this 3rd category?

In fact, it is not that way at all.

Seemingly, Shakespeare had noticed this very pattern three hundred years earlier. Shylock, the famous money lender from Venice was a proper 3rd category Jew. He clearly admits that more than anything else he is a Jew who possesses many human features. ‘I am a Jew’ says Shylock, “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?” And yet Shylock insists that he shares many human features: “Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is.” Shylock claims to be essentially similar to the entire humanity: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?….” [2] Noticeably, according to Shylock the Jew is as vulnerable as an ordinary human being and yet he is primarily Jewish.

This is indeed the essence of Zionism, The Zionist is first and foremost a Jew. He can’t be just an ordinary British citizen who happens to be of a Jewish descent. He is rather a Jew who dwells in Britain. He is a Jew who speaks English, he is a Jew who gets his health services from the NHS, he is a Jew who happens to drive on the left side of the road. He is the ultimate Other. Generally speaking, 3rd category Jews are the ultimate Others. Just because they are always somewhere at the margins of or apart from any given human condition or human landscape.

Zionist agents

As it seems, Shylock was a Zionist, he fitted perfectly into Weizmann’s model. He was a 3rd category Jew. However, Shylock didn’t make it to Palestine. He didn’t engage himself in confiscating Palestinian land. He wasn’t even an Israeli soldier. In fact the 3rd category Jew doesn’t have to move to Palestine. Apparently, dwelling in Zion is merely just one possible practice within the Zionist philosophy. In order to become a proper Zionist you don’t have to wander. Sometimes it is actually better if you stay exactly wherever you are. Let us read what Victor Ostrovsky, an ex-Mossad agent, is telling us about 3rd category Jews.

“The next day Ran S. delivered a lecture on the sayanim, a unique and important part of the Mossad’s operation. Sayanim – assistants – must be 100 percent Jewish. They live abroad, and though they are not Israeli citizens, many are reached through their relatives in Israel. An Israeli with a relative in England, for example, might be asked to write a letter telling the person bearing the letter that he represents an organization whose main goal is to help save Jewish people in the diaspora. Could the British relative help in any way?…..There are thousands of sayanim around the world. In London alone, there are about 2,000 who are active, and another 5,000 on the list. They fulfill many different roles. A car sayan, for example, running a rental agency, could help the Mossad rent a car without having to complete the usual documentation. An apartment sayan would find accommodation without raising suspicions, a bank sayan could get you money if you needed it in the middle of the night, a doctor sayan would treat a bullet wound without reporting it to the police, and so on. The idea is to have a pool of people available when needed who can provide services but will keep quiet about them out of loyalty to the cause. They are paid only costs.” [3]

I assume that it must be clear that sayanim are basically 3rd category Jews. People who regard themselves primarily as Jews. The sayan is a man who would betray the nation in which he is a citizen just to satisfy a bizarre notion of a clannish brotherhood.

Zionism, an International Network

We are now starting to realise that Zionism shouldn’t be seen merely as a nationalist movement with a clear geographical aspiration. It isn’t exactly a colonial movement with an interest in Palestine. Zionism appears to be an international movement that is fuelled by the solidarity of 3rd category subjects. To be a Zionist means just to accept that more than anything else you are primarily a Jew.

Ostrovsky continues:
“You have at your disposal a non-risk recruitment system that actually gives you a pool of millions of Jewish people to tap from outside your own borders. It’s much easier to operate with what is available on the spot, and sayanim offer incredible practical support everywhere….Now one might suggest that, for example, Great Britain could use a similar system and recruit among WASPS around the world. But they don’t, because they can’t. It takes an extraordinary degree of racial solidarity and racial motivation to develop and maintain such a “non-risk recruitment system” and see to it that it works properly. Remember, all of these activities are spying, with long prison sentences if caught. Americans of English, Irish and Italian ancestry may have some residual loyalties to the old “mother country.” But this residue is nothing like the racial solidarity of the Jews. Such racial feelings are so strong and so pervasive among Jews that the Mossad knew in advance that their recruitment system was “non-risk.” Britain, Ireland, Italy and the Vatican know better than to try to implement such a thing. [4]

Ostrovsky is talking here about ‘racial solidarity’. But in fact, Jews are far from being a single race. As funny as it may sound, most Palestinians are more racially Jewish than the Ashkenazi Jews.

So if it isn’t a racial solidarity, what is it that leads the sayan to run the risk of years of imprisonment? What did Jonathan Pollard have in his mind when he clearly betrayed his country? What do those 2,000 sayanim here in London have in their minds when they betray their Queen? I assume that we are left here with one possibility: the solidarity of the 3rd category Jews. It is namely a solidarity of the people who regard themselves primarily as Jews.

I tend to regard Ostrovsky’s testimony as a very reliable report. As we know, at the time, the Israeli government was using every possible means to stop the publication of his books. In fact, this strange Israeli activity was more than an affirmation that Ostrovsky was indeed a Mossad agent and that the story that he is telling is rather genuine.

In a radio interview Joseph Lapid, at the time an Israeli senior columnist, opened his heart and told the world what he thought of Ostrovsky: “Ostrovsky is the most treacherous Jew in modern Jewish history. And he has no right to live, except if he’s prepared to return to Israel and stand trial.” [5]

Valerie Pringle, the journalist on the other side of the line asked Lapid: “Do you feel it’s a responsible statement to say what you’ve said?”

Lapid: “Oh yes, I fully believe in that. And unfortunately the Mossad cannot do it because we cannot endanger our relations with Canada. But I hope there will be a decent Jew in Canada who does it for us.”

Pringle: “You hope this. You could live with his blood on your hands?”

Lapid: “Oh no. It’s to…only it will not be his blood on my hands. It will be justice to a man who does the most horrible thing that any Jew can think of, and that is that he’s selling out the Jewish state and the Jewish people for money to our enemies. There is absolutely nothing worse that a human being, if he can be called a human being, can do.”

Lapid, later a member in Sharon’s cabinet, makes it more than clear: to be a Jew is a deep commitment that goes far beyond any legal or moral order. It is far more essential than any universal ethical perception. Clearly, for Lapid, Jewishness is not a spiritual stand, it is a political commitment. It is a world view that applies to the very last Jew on this planet. As he says: the Mossad can’t really kill Ostrovsky, thus, it is down to a ‘decent Canadian Jew’ to do the job. As is evident, a Zionist journalist is expressing here the most outrageous of views. He encourages a fellow Jew to commit a murder in the name of the Jewish brotherhood. In short, not only does Lapid affirm Ostrovsky’s report about the world of sayanim, he also confirms Weizmann’s view that from a Zionist point of view, there are no Canadian Jews but only Jews who live in Canada.

I think that the above leaves us with enough room to conclude that at least in the Zionists’ eyes, Jewishness is basically an international network operation. Ostrovsky calls it ‘racial solidarity’, I call it 3rd category brotherhood and Weizmann calls it Zionism. But it all means the very same thing. It is all about commitment, a global agenda that pools more and more Jews into an obscure, dangerous fellowship. Apparently, Zionism is not about Israel. Israel is just a colony, a territorial asset violently maintained by a mission force composed of 3rd category Jews. In fact, there is no geographical centre to the Zionist endeavor. It is hard to determine where the centre of Zionist decision making is. Is it in Jerusalem? In the Knesset, in Sharon’s cabinet, in the Mossad, or maybe in the ADL offices in America? It might as well be somewhere in Wall Street? Who knows?

But then, it is of course more than possible that there is no decision making process at all. The beauty of a network operative system is that not a single operator within the network is fully familiar with the network but is only aware of his personal role within it. This is probably the biggest strength of the Zionist movement.

Looking at Zionism as a global network operation would determine a major shift in our perspective of current world affairs:

The Palestinians, for instance, aren’t just the victims of the Israeli occupation, they are rather the victims of 3rd category Jews who decided to transform Palestine into a Jewish national bunker. The Iraqis, are better seen as the victims of the those 3rd category Jews who decided to transform the American army into a Jewish mission force. The Muslim world should be seen as a subject to some neo-conservative 3rd category tendency to make Nathan Sharansky’s Democratic ideology into the new American Bible for the 3rd world.

It is pretty depressing indeed.

The Jewish humanist

The Palestinian activist Reem Abdehadi, when asked for her opinion about Jewish anti Zionist campaigners, said sarcastically: “they are very nice, all fifteen of them…”

We must admit that not many Jews are there to fight against Zionism. However, amongst those few who engage themselves in this battle we find some people who insist upon doing so under the Jewish banner, e.g. Jews Against Zionism, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, etc.

While writing this paper I have started to ask myself what category those Jewish leftist groups belong to. Clearly, they do not fit into the 1st category. Jewish left is a ‘religious’ atheist tendency. They really don’t like to involve God in politics or in anything else. In most cases they are hostile to Judaism and even to those Orthodox Jews who happen to stand up to Zionism. But it isn’t only Judaism that they dislike. They aren’t fond of Islam or Christianity either. Those amongst them who endorse the idea of a one state solution do insist that the future Palestine must be ‘a secular’ and a democratic state’. Not that I am in any position to suggest what the future Palestine is going to be, I would just try to propose that it must be down to the citizens of this future state to decide what type of kingdom they prefer to live in.

Anyhow, those Jewish leftists fail as well to fit into the 2nd category. They do not regard themselves as ordinary humanists who happen to be of Jewish descent. If they were, they would simply join the Palestinian Solidarity movement like other Jews who prefer to act mainly as humanists. But then, rather than joining the Solidarity Campaign, they form some exclusive political cells that allow them to operate under the Jewish banner.

Consequently, we must admit that they all belong to the 3rd category. In fact they prefer to regard themselves as ‘Jews who hold some leftist views’. Clearly, amongst those groups you will find some wonderful people who genuinely believe that Zionism is wrong, that Zionism is racist and nationalist. But in fact these people are themselves operating as 3rd category Jews. They all act politically under a Jewish banner. In practical terms, they all follow Weizmann’s school. Rather than being Humanists who happen to be Jewish (2nd category), they are Jews who happen to be Humanists. But then, since acting politically under a Jewish banner is in fact the very definition of Zionism, it is reasonable to deduce that all Jewish left activity is in practice not more than a form of left Zionism. One may ask whether it is really possible to be a left Zionist? Is there left and right in a network group that is set primarily on a racial category and clannish brotherhood?

The answer is no. There is no left and right within Zionism but rather different right wing political apparatuses. Some Zionist political calls are adopting the shape of left discourse. I had noticed for instance that Jewish Marxists insist upon calling each other comrade. In fact they are mainly engaged in Marxist verbal rituals. But apparently, this isn’t enough. Ideology is more than a mere language game. In reality, those Jewish left clubs are operating as the body shield of the 3rd category identity. This may explain the fact that as far as the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign is concerned, those groups are primarily engaged in guarding some 3rd category Jewish interests that have very little to do with the Palestinians and their daily misery.

If to be more precise, those Jewish left groups are engaged mainly in searching for ‘anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and Jew haters. Somehow, they always find them amongst the most active and devoted 2nd category Jews. As it seems (to me at least), for these Jewish sporadic cells, Palestinian solidarity is just another instrument to draw attention to the myth of Jewish humanism. I will try to be very clear and transparent here. There is no Jewish secular humanism. No doubt many humanists happen to be Jewish and yet there is not a single Jewish secular humanist theorem or text. [6] This is mainly because Jewish secularity is not a philosophical position. It is rather a complete abandonment of God. Jewish secularity is a form of ethnicity based merely on some exclusive tendencies and a vague collective memory of some ritual heritage.

So, is there a Jewish Conspiracy to run the world?

Not really. First it must be clear that 1st and 2nd category Jews have nothing to do with all the above. For 1st category Jews, being Jewish means practicing Judaism. To follow a spiritual call and to obey God’s law. As we know, Zionism is still far from being popular amongst ultra orthodox Rabbis. However, I must admit that some would rightly argue that following the teaching of the Talmudic law many religious Jews do regard themselves as a chosen category. For me, this simply means that they fall into the 3rd category rather than the 1st one. This probably applies to the orthodox sects that allied with Zionism throughout the course of time.

The second category Jews have no intention of taking part in any global Jewish networking. They regard themselves as an ordinary and liberated human beings with no special privilege. Amongst the 2nd category Jews we find the most enlightening emancipated humanists. Those very great intellects that contributed to 20th century liberal and humanist thinking. As we all know, hardly any of them came from Israel or a Zionist faction.

When it comes to the 3rd category, we are faced with a slight problem. I tend to believe that the 3rd category Jews are mutually acting together. But then whether they are fully aware of it or not is a big question. Throughout the years they have formed a network that operates as a global Zionist body shield. They simply act in harmony, they protect each other. Even when they fight against one another, they depict an image of pluralism. I think that this is the essence of Zionism’s miraculous success.

A week ago I read a brilliant insight by Rowan Berkeley on Peacepalestine website. Rowan, a Londoner whom I know vaguely, had been flirting in the past with the idea of becoming a Jew. In the following comment he is aiming to explain the common Jewish take on Zionism. In fact, without realising it, he describes the 3rd category tactic:

“First they ask, Do you believe that (Jewish) Nationalism is a Good Thing, or a Bad Thing?

If you say it is a Good Thing, they will direct you to the Jewish Right, which will tell you that Jews have as much of a right to be nationalistic as anybody else does.

If you say it is a Bad Thing, they will direct you to the Jewish Left, which will tell you that you are not allowed to protest against Zionism on any basis other than Marxist or Anarchist Proletarian Internationalism – thus disqualifying almost all the actually existing anti-Zionist movements in the Arab world.

They can get away with this ideological shell game because each individual discursive arena is controlled by one or another Jewish faction.” [7]

Yes, I do believe that Rowan’s insight hits the nail right on the head. He is absolutely correct. But then, unlike Rowan I do believe that Jews Against Zionism are genuine. They simply fight Zionism without realising that they themselves are Zionists. Without realising that they are the most orthodox followers of Weizmann’s school. If they are really interested in bringing Zionism down, their tactics are obviously wrong.

I wrote to some of them about the subject before, I have seen some discussion about my views in many different Jewish left circles and yet, I have never come across any argumentative response from any of those sporadic exclusive groups. Rather than being confronted with my thoughts, they are solely engaged in labeling. I have already been: ‘a self hating Jew’, ‘a Christian fundamentalist’, ‘a Holocaust denier’, ‘an apologist for Holocaust deniers’, ‘a neo-nazi’, ‘a Stalinist’, ‘a Zionist agent’, ‘an anti-Semite’ and many more.

Two weeks ago, a small group of Jewish leftists picketed against me in front of a Marxist bookshop. I tried to write to them arguing that if Palestine is on top of one’s agenda, a protest in front of the Israeli embassy or any other 3rd category Jewish institute would be far more effective. They dismissed my call.

I am fully aware of the fact that crucifying me and burning my books is no doubt a proper 3rd category practice, but unfortunately it isn’t going to help the Palestinian at the checkpoint. It isn’t going to help the millions of refugees who have been living for almost six decades without elementary rights.

Israel is an inhuman political setup and we therefore must fight it as human beings rather than as sporadic ethnic or religious groups.


[1] Chaim Weizman, First Zionist Congress 1897.

[2] Shylock, The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare.

[3] By Way of Deception”, Victor Ostrovsky, St. Martin’s, 1990, pgs. 86-7.

[4] Ibid, pg. 87.

[5] http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0195/9501017.htm

[6] If anything, Zionism in its early days was aiming towards the establishment of such a philosophy, a form of Jewish secular ethics. Obviously such an attempt was doomed to failure. Just because Zionism is unethical by definition, being that it engages in the continual ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian people.

[7] http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on The 3rd Category and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement

My Life as a Holocaust Denier

NOVANEWS

By Paul Eisen

In December 2004 I completed my essay ” The Holocaust Wars.” Nearly 17,000 words long, the essay was the result of six months’ dedicated reading1 and the final piece of a trilogy beginning with “Speaking the Truth to Jews” and followed by “Jewish Power“. The manuscript sat on my desk for four months while I wondered what to do with it and in May 2005 it was posted at my request, on Israel Shamir’s website. There was hardly any response other than from the revisionist community which was, as expected, positive.

A couple of weeks later, again at my request, it was circulated by Gilad Atzmon on his private e-list. Now controversy broke out centering on the proposed appearance by Gilad at two Socialist Workers Party events. Two Jewish Marxists,2 Roland Rance and Tony Greenstein and others were outraged that a declared anti-racist organization like the SWP give a platform to someone who defended and circulated the writings of, if not an actual Holocaust denier, then certainly an apologist for the same.

Gilad denied the charge of Holocaust denial, but not only defended my right to think, speak and write as I liked, but also the quality of my thinking and my writing. The essence and tone of the controversy may be found in a published email exchange between Gilad and Tony Greenstein.

The SWP stayed committed to hosting Gilad who, despite picketing largely by anti-Zionist Jews, successfully appeared at both events. At the first of these—a book-signing at Bookmarks, the SWP bookshop—I, a Holocaust denier, was refused entry.

The controversy raged over the internet for some weeks until June 26th when an article by Jewish, ex-SWP Trotskyite now Neo-Con journalist David Aaronovitch, appeared in The Times entitled “How the Far Left Got into Bed with the Jew-Hating Right“.3

The article was largely an attack on Gilad and Israel Shamir with me in a non-speaking walk-on part as “Eisen the Holocaust denier.” Like Adolf Hitler’s infamous portrayal of the Jew as “a maggot in a rotting body …” I had metamorphosed into that lowest of animal life forms, the maggot at the bottom of the food chain—a Holocaust denier.

Until now the attacks had been from Jewish activists, mainly Marxist, anti-Zionist Jews; but now they spread. Colleagues, associates, and even friends slowly but surely began to distance themselves—some in genuine horror and shock—others with shrewd, maybe wise, calculation at the effects on their solidarity careers. Even those closest in opinion hurried to find opportunities to state again and again that they, categorically, absolutely and completely did not deny the Holocaust.

Stalwarts of the Christian solidarity community with whom I had worked closely for years, began to distance themselves. Prominent members of Christian organizations with whom I had had close and friendly relations, now expressed ‘concern’. There were moves to cancel the appearance of Sabeel’s Naim Ateek at the forthcoming Green Belt solidarity event if I remained on the Executive Committee of Friends of Sabeel UK. In response to a request by Roland Rance, the Executive Committee of the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign began to discuss my possible expulsion and also whether the PSC should continue to work with Deir Yassin Remembered.4

Over the next weeks and months high-profile and well-regarded Jewish activists moved to either denounce me, distance themselves from me or work quietly behind the scenes to ensure my marginalization. These included Uri Davis, Jeff Halper, Jeff Blankfort, Michael Rosen, and Uri Avnery.5

All this was initiated and guided by Jewish activists, largely Marxist and self-declared anti-Zionists. A petition damning me and my writing was begun by Joel Finkel and endorsed by Sue Blackwell who, after consulting ‘Jewish colleagues’,6 promoted the petition and denounced me. Overwhelmingly but not exclusively Jewish,7 the list included Jeff Halper, Uri Davis, and Uri Avnery.8

Most Palestinians held their silence9 except for a handful—Nur Masalha and Aref Nammari signed the petition and Reem Kelani took the opportunity to publicly denounce Gilad as an anti-Semite.10

While I had, been prepared for attacks by Jewish activists and their supporters, nothing could have prepared me for the effects on my family.11 These people who I love and who love me, and who, despite many disagreements, had taken pride in my Palestinian solidarity activism, now before their eyes, saw their kind, gentle and loving son, brother, husband and father, turn into that most loathsome of life forms—a “Holocaust Denier.” Their anger I could bear—harder to bear were their tears.12

The Holocaust Wars

The “Holocaust Wars” was written in three sections. The first called “Scum” (It was Joel Finkel’s calling Ernst Zündel and his wife, Ingrid Rimland, ‘scum’ which prompted me to write “The Holocaust Wars”) describes the struggle of Ernst Zündel, currently in jail in Germany for Holocaust denial. This section attempts to contextualize and re-humanize Ernst Zündel and Holocaust revisionism. It also attempts to contextualize and re-humanize the person of Adolf Hitler, the National Socialist regime, and, indeed, the German people. It was this section, provocatively placed at the very front of the essay, which most outraged Jewish activists and their supporters.

The second section, “The War for the Truth,” examined the Revisionist community, its scholarship and its struggle. Although I stopped short of coming out in definite agreement with them, I did (and do) acknowledge that I found their case compelling. This section also contained what was, for me, one of the most interesting aspects of these enquiries—under the heading “How Could This Be So?”—a discussion how, if the Holocaust narrative were to be proven false, it may have come about and how it came to be so widely accepted.13

The last section was called “The War for the Spirit” and was concerned with the ideological, spiritual and religious meaning of the Holocaust narrative and the use to which it has been put to enforce Jewish power. For me, this was the most important section of the essay but I doubt whether many critics got that far. I suspect most skimmed the first couple of pages, categorized both it and me, and then acted accordingly. (Norman Finkelstein replied a full ten minutes after I sent him a draft with the instruction not to bother him with such nonsense.)

Since writing the piece I’ve re-read “The Holocaust Wars” several times and I stand by every word-every word that is, except for three corrections, all in the first section. The first is where I described Ernst Zündel as “a gentle, good-humored man, kind and honest.” I have now added at the beginning of that phrase the words “by all accounts“. (Some critics were still not satisfied and contended that I could not possibly so describe someone I had never met. I don’t agree).14 Second, I changed my description of those who spoke for Zündel in his mid-eighties Holocaust trial from “heavyweights such as Robert Faurisson, Mark Weber and David Irving” to “revisionist heavyweights such as …” The third and last correction occurred when I amended the sentence, “Millions of Germans loved Hitler, who for twelve years impacted on them as no German has or probably ever will, and, though they never say so, must, deep down still cherish his memory”. I added the word ‘some‘ before the phrase “… must, deep down, cherish his memory”.

Holocaust Denier

The process of marginalization is a curious one. Slowly and cumulatively it takes place and in no time at all acquires a momentum all of its own. My own needed no help from me. Within weeks I had ceased to be an individual and had become the brand-“Eisen the Holocaust denier”. As sure as “Beanz Meanz Heinz” I was a Holocaust denier and, once branded, no more need be said. It sufficed that, whenever my name was mentioned some anti—Zionist Jewish activist would jump up and remind the company of what I was—the rest would take care of itself.

Did I protest? Not one bit. Did I fight back? Not at all. I told myself that to protest my innocence was to grant legitimacy to the accusation but also I rather relished my Christ-like posture—hanging there for the whole world to see. But the real reason for my failure to fight back was, quite simply, that I was terrified out of my wits. Nothing in my life up till then had prepared me for the hatred I experienced.

Racist! Nazi! Holocaust denier!

Now the net is just full of it—”Eisen the Holocaust denier”, “Eisen the racist”, “Eisen the Nazi”, “Eisen the anti-Semite” and all apparently disseminated by people who have neither met nor spoken to me. And, I’m sure in most cases, have not read anything I have written except for selected quotes presented out-of-context to them by others. As I came wearily to say; if someone would tell me what a Holocaust denier, an anti-Semite, and a racist is, then I would gladly say whether I am one.

They call me a racist. But what do they mean?15 Am I the elderly couple in the inner city neighborhood who, in the privacy of their own home, confess to each other their bewilderment at the changes caused by the influx of people who look, speak and even behave, so differently to them? Am I the hooded Klansman who lynches a black man and douses with petrol and sets light to his still living body? Or am I one of the perfectly ordinary racists who gathered round to watch?

They call me a Nazi. But the Nazis are dead and gone so I can’t be that kind of Nazi. I could have been the medium-grade office clerk who joined the party because his boss did, or I could perhaps be a Fuhrer-besotted housewife at a party rally. I could be an old Nazi who, like any old Bolshevik dreaming of revolutions past, sits and dreams of past glories. But I don’t think so. National Socialists, like any number of other ‘-ists’ are usually folk who know for sure how the world should or should not be and so often are not afraid to use force to make their point—and I’m not like that at all.

They call me a Holocaust denier. But “Holocaust denier” is just an abusive term for a Holocaust revisionist—the slur being that Holocaust revisionists are like flat-earthers, people who have lost all touch with reality and deny that anything unpleasant at all happened to Jews at the hands of the National Socialists. They do not. ‘Holocaust denier’ along with ‘racist’ ‘neo-Nazi’, anti-Semite and all the rest is just one more non-definable term of abuse used rather like ‘witch’ in the Middle Ages—a curse to silence those with whom one does not agree.

But let’s set the record straight about my racism, Nazism and ‘Holocaust denial”. Do I believe that ethnicity is important to many people? Yes I do. Do I find notions of physical, cultural, emotional, and spiritual differences between people interesting and worthy of consideration? Yes I do. Do I see any group of people inherently superior to any other? No I do not (though there may well be certain areas where one group is better than others). Am I sympathetic to National Socialist ideology and do I want to reinvent that ideology in the present day? Of course not. But do I think that National Socialism has been unequally demonized when compared to other equally violent and destructive ideologies? Yes I do.

And as for my ‘Holocaust denial’, I wasn’t at Auschwitz, so I don’t know exactly what did or did not take place there. Nor am I any scholar, but I’ve had a fair look at the evidence and as far as I can see, the revisionists have got it pretty much right. But I’m not a hundred percent sure and I say so, so technically I suppose I’m not a denier.16 Whether I say this from conviction, cowardice or simply an inability to sever that final link to whatever, I can’t say. But I have no doubt that Robert Faurisson, the greatest of all living revisionists, would rage at me for such equivocation.17

No, Holocaust revisionism or ‘denial’ if you like is confined to three main contentions in the typical Holocaust narrative, namely:

  • That there ever was an official plan on the part of Hitler or the National Socialist regime to systematically and physically exterminate every Jew in Europe.
  • That there existed homicidal gas-chambers.
  • That the number of Jewish victims was around six million.

Having examined all these contentions and found them questionable to say the least, it seems to me that a Holocaust revisionist (denier, if you like) is an entirely honorable thing to be. So why should I rush to deny that I am one?

In his article David Aaronovitch quoted me as writing about the gas-chambers: “No one is able to show us, at Auschwitz or anywhere else even one of these chemical slaughterhouses. No one is capable of describing to us their exact appearance or workings. Neither a trace nor a hint of their existence is to be found …” Aaronovitch got this wrong. I did not write those words. They were written by Robert Faurisson whom I was quoting. I was urged to protest this inaccuracy which I did successfully with the Press Complaints Commission.18 (It is the amended version that appears in the article accessed by the link above.) But now I’m not so sure about this. Professor Faurisson’s words were honorable and courageous and probably accurate, so even though I didn’t write those words, why should I now rush to disown them?

The same is true with Ernst Zündel. Why should I not support Ernst Zündel? Ernst Zündel has never committed an act of violence, nor has he ever called on anyone else to commit an act of violence. Ernst Zündel has never discriminated against anyone, nor has he called on anyone else to discriminate against anyone. Ernst Zündel has never stifled anyone’s freedom of expression, nor has he ever called on anyone else to stifle anyone’s freedom of expression. So why should I not support Ernst Zündel’s right to think, speak, and write as he pleases? And why do those who go on and on about these rights fall strangely silent when it comes to Ernst Zündel and the other revisionists? And why is it that so many of these folk, so busy, busy, busy defending free speech, at the same time work so hard to create a climate in which that freedom may be so easily denied? Joel Finkel believes in free speech and he calls Ernst and Ingrid ‘scum’.

But I also support Ernst Zündel and Holocaust revisionists because both Ernst and the revisionists are essentially truthful (though one doesn’t have to agree with everything they say). It is true that the Holocaust narrative is gravely flawed and could stand some serious examination. It is true that Adolf Hitler and National Socialism were, respectively both human and the creation of humans and both may well not have been any worse than many other brutal regimes and their leaderships, notably Bolshevism.19 And regarding Ernst’s alleged ‘racism’ it is also true that ethnicity, to my mind simply a mix of biology and culture, matters a lot to people and it may be that the human individual is moved as much by his or her ethnicity, roots and faith and, yes, genetic makeup, as by his or her class and aspirations.

Anyway, I like Ernst. Jeff Blankfort tells me that since I hadn’t met him I was ill-advised to write of Ernst as being “a gentle, good-humored man, kind and honest and with those qualities often found in the strangest places: a fine mind and a good heart.”20 Well perhaps I was, but long before I met Jeff I believed him to be a nice guy and a great activist.21

And I like Ingrid Rimland too, a brave, principled woman with a delightful way about her. I also support Ernst Zündel and the revisionists because they, along with the Palestinian people, are amongst the bravest people on the planet. I may not agree with everything Ernst Zündel does or believes, but his flamboyant activism makes me both laugh out loud at his antics while standing in silent awe at his courage.

But above all I support Ernst Zündel and the revisionists because they, along with the Palestinian and other Arab peoples are the ultimate victims of, and resistors to, an abusive Jewish power. (Why else are they dealt with so harshly?). Also, they’re the most feared. As Robert Faurisson said, above all, Zionists fear the weak—those with nothing left to lose. And they fear the weapons of the weak: The stones and martyrdom of the Palestinians and the words of the revisionists. They fear the Palestinian Intifada but they also fear that other Intifada—that of the revisionists.

So to those who say that the subject is irrelevant and ask why I or anyone else should spend any time at all in the distasteful activity of working out precisely how many people died and by what manner, and especially to those who wish to discuss the abuse to which the Holocaust narrative has been put but do not wish to examine the narrative itself, I say this: I am not interested in the hydrogen cyanide traces in brickwork or how long it takes to burn a corpse. But the fact is that there is a probability that a lie of massive proportions is being peddled big-time and savagely enforced. It seems to me that we must know if this is true. So while I will not myself be engaging in this research, I do support those that do.

And to those, who with querulous, bewildered expressions ask if it really matters if there was or was not a decision to kill all the Jews, whether it was done by shooting, gas-chambers or any other method and whether it was one, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, one, two, three, four, five or six million Jews? After all, they say self-righteously, is not one death one death too many? And does it matter if it was pre-planned or whether it was by gas, massacre or typhus epidemic? These folks mean to deceive.

Under cover of feigned sensitivity and mock horror they conceal their own deep Holocaust worship. So to them I say that it doesmatter. Firstly, it matters because the truth matters. But more than that, it matters because it is those three key areas: that Hitler and the National Socialists determined to physically exterminate every Jew in Europe, that in the main this was done on an industrial scale by use of homicidal gas-chambers and that in the final end, six million Jews perished, It is in these contentions that the Holocaust cult resides. Without these iconic embellishments the very real story of the assault on the Jews of Europe ceases to be the Holocaust and becomes just one more terrible atrocity in a history of terrible atrocities. It is these which turn the Holocaust narrative into a religion and it is those which turn its denial into a heresy.

And to those who tell me that questioning the Holocaust is just a diversion and my time would be better spent marching, leafleting and chanting slogans I say, where have your slogans and marches got you? And to those who say that writing in support of Ernst Zündel and the revisionists serves only to provide weapons for those who would secure the oppression of the Palestinians and others I say: Where has your caution got you? In 2002 in London Marc Ellis called on a largely Jewish audience to “Abandon strategy!” I agree. Abandon strategy. Forget, “if I do this will they do that?” Forget “If we say this will they say that?” And, most of all, forget “If we do this will they call us that?” Those times are over. Resist. Defy. Speak out.

Why bother?

I read recently a letter written by Germar Rudolf from his cell in Stammheim Prison, Stuttgart. The letter examines why Rudolf became a Holocaust revisionist and why he was prepared to pay such a terrible price. The fact is that Germar Rudolf was never much interested in World War II or, for that matter, in the Holocaust. What interested him were the whys and wherefores of lies, delusions and propaganda. Why are they created, how are they propagated, maintained and enforced and why do we believe in them? So for Rudolf, Holocaust propaganda is not an historical issue but an ideological issue. Nor does there seem to be any single motive for Rudolf’s interest, rather a mixture of personal history and personality. From childhood, he tells us, he was blessed or cursed with an insane curiosity and with, what he describes as, “a greatly overdeveloped sense of justice.” We also learn that he was brutalized by his father.

At eighteen he learned of the post-war expulsion of twelve million Germans from East Germany and Eastern Europe and it is from then that he dates his interest in history. He became “a very patriotic German—still within the mainstream yet at the right edge of it.” But, never did he touch upon the Holocaust topic. “The usual claims about it seemed indubitable, undeniable to me, truth chiseled in stone, self-evident.”

But in 1989 he came across the writings of Paul Rassinier, the father of Holocaust revisionism and everything changed. On his liberation, Rassinier, A former French communist, partisan fighter and eventual inmate of Buchenwald and Dora concentration camps, began to hear stories of mechanized exterminations in Buchenwald—a claim he knew to be untrue because he had been there—so he wondered what anyone might wonder: If they can lie about that, what else can they lie about? Now, there was no stopping him.

“For 15 years, every time that I heard of a witness anywhere, no matter where in the portion of Europe that was not occupied by the Soviets, who claimed to have himself been present at gas exterminations, I immediately went to him to get his testimony. With documentation in hand, I would ask him so many precise and detailed questions that soon it became apparent that he could not answer except by lying. Often his lies became so transparent, even to himself, that he ended his testimony by declaring that he had not seen it himself, but that one of his good friends, who had died in the camps and whose good faith he could not doubt, had told him about it. I covered thousands and thousands of kilometers throughout Europe in this way.”

And for the young German patriot Rudolf: “He opened my eyes and allowed doubts. Not more, just doubts.”

Like all post-war Germans Rudolf had been raised not to doubt, which in itself maddened him as did the increasing persecution in Germany of anyone who raised the issue.

“… at once I knew—and a little research confirmed it—that any doubts and a dissenter is relentlessly ostracized, persecuted, and even prosecuted with no chance of defense. So I said to myself: This is outrageous, unacceptable, against all norms and ideals of this society, and the fact that there is no other topic where dissent is more severely suppressed is evidence enough for me that it is also the most important topic. He who is sure of being truthful is relaxed; only liars call for earthly judges.”

“Give me a meaning of life!” Young Germar had demanded and now he had found it. When so many powerful people worked so hard to stop one peaceful dissident, it must be because he has something that can, and will, rock the world. It was that simple.

“I was sure I was right, and unless I was convinced by rational, scientific arguments that I was wrong, I was not going to give in. They made the mistake to provoke the blood out of me by persecuting me. That’s it. No negotiations any more. It’s me or them now. My father didn’t manage to break me with stick, whip, fists, or by using me as a missile, and so they won’t break my will with violence either. It only gets stronger with every beating.”

That is Germar Rudolf: a bloody-minded contrarian with enormous will power.22

“The only way to take this away from me is by killing me. Period. Anybody who punishes me for merely exercising my human right of being a human, a creature able to doubt and explore, will meet my utmost unbreakable resistance. I won’t allow anybody to reduce me to a submissive slave. Nobody.”

Germar Rudolf, along with Ernst Zündel, Robert Faurisson, David Irving, Jurgen Graf, Udo Walendy, Carlo Mattogno, Erhard Kempner, Wolfgang Froehlich, Michel Adam, Pedro Varela, Gary Lauck, Gunter Deckert and many, many others have paid, and are paying, a terrible price and none more terrible than the price obviously paid by Rudolf as indicated in the dedication of his Lectures on the Holocaust: “For Tamara, Kay, and Natalie. Hoping that one day they will understand.”

Deny the Holocaust!

That Jews suffered greatly from 1933-1945 is not in question23 but the notion of a premeditated, planned, and industrial extermination of Europe’s Jews with its iconic gas-chambers and magical six million are all used to make the Holocaust not only special but also sacred. We are faced with a new, secular religion, a false God with astonishing power to command worship. And, like the Crucifixion with its Cross, Resurrection etc, the Holocaust has key and sacred elements—the exterminationist imperative, the gas-chambers and the sacred six million. It is these that comprise the holy Holocaust which Jews, Zionists, and others worship and which Ernst and the revisionists refuse.24

Nor is this a small matter.25 If it was, why the fuss, why the witch-hunt, why the imprisonment of David Irving, Germar Rudolf and Ernst Zündel? And it’s not just them. What may be a massive lie is being used to oppress pretty much all of humankind. The German and Austrian peoples who, we are told, conceived and perpetrated the slaughter; the Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Rumanian, Hungarian, peoples etc., etc who supposedly hosted, assisted in and cheered on the slaughter;26 the Americans, the British, the French, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Italians (but not the Danes and the Bulgarians) etc. who apparently didn’t do enough to stop the slaughter; the Swiss who earned out of the slaughter and the entire Christian27 world who, it seems, created the faith—traditions and ideologies in which the slaughter could take place—and now the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim peoples who seemingly want to perpetrate a new slaughter—in fact, the Holocaust oppresses the entire non-Jewish world and indeed much of the Jewish world as well. Stand and have done with it. Deny the Holocaust.


Notes

  1. Key pieces were Joel Hayward’s 1993 MA thesis The Fate of Jews in German Hands. This was the first piece of revisionist literature I read and was most appropriate in that the young Hayward was, like me, totally astonished at what he was reading. Hayward ran into endless trouble and in the end recanted. I also read everything by Robert Faurisson and key works by Germar Rudolf, particularly “Lectures on the Holocaust“.back to text
  2. I wondered whether to change this to ‘Marxist Jews’—a not unimportant difference rather like ‘American Jew’/’Jewish American.back to text
  3. The link is to the piece amended after I had successfully won my case with the Press Complaints Council.back to text
  4. Both organizations were saved further trouble by my resigning. At the time I feared any conflict could result in further publicity and my family simply could not take any more. Now I know that my real reason for resigning was that it became clear to me that I was no longer welcome in these organisations and I simply found this too painful and humiliating to bear.back to text
  5. Of course the vast majority of people simply remained silent but there were some who openly and repeatedly demonstrated their solidarity e.g. Dan McGowan, Henry Herskovitz, Gilad Atzmon, Sarah Gillespie, Israel Shamir, Francis Clark-Lowes, Gill Kaffash, Amjad Taha, Randa Hamwi Duwaji, Cambridge PSC, Rosemary Ernshaw, Fr. Michael Prior RIP, Ernst Zündel; Ingrid Rimland.back to text
  6. Sue seems to define her left wing credentials in general, her solidarity with Palestinians in particular and her all-round right-on “goodness” by her willingness to accede to the wishes of Jewish activists and by bowing endlessly to Jewish power.back to text
  7. My favorite Jewish signatory was “Annette Herskovits of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.”back to text
  8. The list has subsequently been taken down, perhaps because of its lack of success in attracting signatories outside the usual circles.back to text
  9. Quite the right response, in my opinion.back to text
  10. My favourite Palestinian response was from Palestinian playwright Razanne Carmey I said that one of the reasons I had written “The Holocaust Wars” was because I wanted to know what it felt like to be a Palestinian. Razanne’s response: “So now you know.”back to text
  11. It’s supposed to be behind us now of course. But recently I read the testimony of a Jewish deportee describing how she had managed (or not) to accommodate her wartime experiences. The woman painted a word-picture of a pool into which a stone is dropped. The initial ripples gradually subside until the turbulence is completely gone. Now the surface is calm and still—but the stone still lies at the bottom. “My feelings are like that stone,” she said. With regard to my family, so are mine.back to text
  12. “I go to bed with tears in my eyes and I wake up the same.” Family email.back to text
  13. For the source of this, read the fascinating: The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes by Samuel Crowell.back to text
  14. I have now met Ernst and a more gentle, good-humoured, kind and honest man you could not hope to meet.back to text
  15. Recently I heard one child call another child “racist”. They were arguing over possession of a ball and both were white.back to text
  16. Since completing this essay I’ve come to enthusiastically accept the term “denier” for two reasons: a) The Holocaust narrative is a false and abusive ‘god’ and so I absolutely deny it, in that I want to put as much moral distance between myself and it as I can; and, b) To evade the term is to agree with the accusers that there’s something bad about it. Well, there isn’t.back to text
  17. See his words to Mark Weber of the IHR.back to text
  18. They were very professional about the whole thing. Here is the text of my final letter to them: “Thank you for your letter of 31 October and thank you handling my complaint to the PCC. Under present conditions in the matter of how we were depicted in the Times article there can be no real justice for myself or indeed for Gilad Atzmon or Israel Shamir. However, within the context of my specific complaint i.e. the misattribution of a quotation, I was very pleased with the way the PCC, and particularly you, dealt with my case. Thank you.”back to text
  19. Of course they might have been a great deal better. The more I read the more it seems that the post-war, post Holocaust Anglo-American (and Zionist) version of events is little more than ‘the history of the victor’. The question is: how far can this go? Could I ever get to a point when I will see National Socialism as a necessary and an even (gasp) beneficial corrective to Bolshevism? Also, what about the Jewish component in all this? We know there was enormous Jewish participation in the Bolshevik Revolution but again, to what extent? Could it be said that the revolution was, in effect, a Jewish coup against the Russian people and thereafter against all the peoples—Poles, Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Latvians, Estonians, Rumanians, Hungarians etc. etc.—amongst whom Jews had lived?back to text
  20. A fair picture of what Ernst is like may perhaps be gleaned from a viewing of Setting the Record Straight, the 4 hour DVD account of his courtroom struggles made by his wife Ingrid. Also, see the book Letters from Cell #7—a collection of his prison letters written mainly to Ingrid. Both are available from Ingrid Rimland, 3152 Parkway, 13-109, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 USA.

    Dan McGowan DYR founder who visited Ernst in prison wrote this: “An admirer once described Ernst Zuendel [sic] as ‘an outgoing, good-humored man who is blessed with a rare combination of unflagging optimism and practical ability. He maintains this infectious spirit even under very trying conditions. He is an unusually alert and sensitive individual with a keen understanding of human nature. He inspires confidence, loyalty and affection.’ On December 7, 2006 I witnessed his trial in Mannheim and found this description to be uncannily accurate.”back to text

  21. I did meet Jeff in London and he did seem to be nice guy and a great activist. Alas, he has, since cut off all links with me because of my continued support for Ernst Zündel.back to text
  22. Since writing this I have met Germar (now released). I spent three days in his company and, in that time, he must have spoken for about eight hours. He spoke about aspects of the Holocaust and Holocaust revisionism, his own struggle, his erstwhile Catholic faith, Germany and Germans then and now, the Third Reich and Hitler, his own present state and relationships and his hopes and fears for the future and many, many other topics. And, speaking fully and fluently in English with an astonishing grasp of facts and interpretations, not once did he repeat himself.back to text
  23. For what its worth, the true story of Jewish suffering 1933-45 moves me far more than any ‘Holocaust’.back to text
  24. It seems to me that opposing the Holocaust religion whilst blindly maintaining the gas-chambers is a bit like saying you’re not a Christian but you believe in the Resurrection.back to text
  25. It certainly isn’t. Some argue that the entire post-war Anglo-American western discourse, essentially Zionist, is founded on the Holocaust ‘religion’ and it is to this discourse we owe Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, 1948, 1967, The Yom Kippur War, two Intifadas, two Lebanese wars, two Gulf Wars and God knows what else.back to text
  26. In my view all these countries and peoples have been comprehensively rubbished in the western discourse. Is it a coincidence that they are the countries in which Jews have most recently lived and which stand most accused, (by Jews), of anti-Semitism?back to text
  27. Mainly the Catholic Church. For information about this aspect of the relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews, go to the magazine Culture Wars published by E. Michael Jones. The July/August 2006 (Volume 25 No 8) has an article: “Cardinal Bea and the Jews“. Also, see “Pope John Paul II and the Jews: an Evaluation“.back to text

 

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