Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Bond Between Nazis & Zionism

In an age when "you are not supposed to observe that Islamism... arose in a spirit of harmony with the fascists of Europe in the 1930s and 40s"; when "you are not supposed to point out that Nazi inspirations have taken root among present-day Islamists"; and when "you are not supposed to mention that, by inducing a variety of journalists and intellectuals to maintain a respectful silence on these awkward matters, the Islamist preachers and ideologues have imposed on the rest of us their own categories of analysis," one brave soul, name of Paul Berman, is at last saying these very things. And, in an age when you are not supposed to... etc, etc... one brave newspaper, name of The Australian, has provided a forum for him to do so (as well as to spruik his latest book, The Flight of the Intellectuals) in an op-ed piece outrageously titled The bond between Nazis and Islam (13/7/10).

Apparently, reviewers in the US have been less than kind to Berman's polemic, eliciting this little whinge from him: "The piece in Foreign Affairs insists that, to the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hitler was merely a 'convenient ally', and it is 'ludicrous' to imagine a deeper alliance. Those in the National Interest and the New Yorker add that 'unlikely alliances' with Nazis were common among anti-colonialists. The articles point to some of Gandhi's comrades, to a faction of the IRA, and even to a dim-witted Zionist militant in 1940, who believed for a moment that Hitler could be an ally against the British."

A dim-witted Zionist militant who only momentarily entertained the mere thought of an alliance with Adolf before recovering and muttering to himself, 'Good God, I don't know what came over me'? So insubstantial and inconsequential as to be hardly worth mentioning, right?

Incredibly, that's Berman's spin on this sentence from Pankaj Mishra's scathing review of his book in The New Yorker: "The expedient notion that my enemy's enemy is my friend even motivated the Jewish militant leader Avraham Stern to try, in 1940, to enlist Nazi support against the British rulers of Palestine." (Islamismism: How should Western intellectuals respond to Muslim scholars? 7/6/10)

Just what is Berman trying to cover up here?

Lenni Brenner's indispensible study, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (1983), retrieves Avraham Stern from Berman's attempt to write him out of history and underscores the (very real) bond between Nazis and Zionism:

"Stern's single-minded belief, that the only solution to the Jewish catastrophe in Europe was the end of British domination of Palestine, had a logical conclusion. They could not defeat Britain with their own puny forces, so they looked to her enemies for salvation... [I]n January 1941 [Sternist] Naftali Lubentschik met two Germans [in Beirut] - Rudolf Rosen and Otto von Hentig, the philo-Zionist, who was then head of the Oriental Department of the German Foreign office. After the war a copy of the Sternist proposal for an alliance between [Stern's] movement and the Third Reich was discovered in the files of the German Embassy in Turkey... In it the Stern group told the Nazis: 'The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question; but this can only be made possible and complete through the settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish people, Palestine, and through the establishment of a Jewish state in its historical boundaries. The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government... towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that: 1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a New Order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO. 2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed volkish-national Hebrium would be possible and 3. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East. Proceeding from these three considerations, the NMO in Palestine... offers to actively take part in the war on Germany's side...' There was no German follow-up on these incredible propositions, but the Sternists did not lose hope. In December 1941... Stern sent Nathan Yalin-Mor to try to contact the Nazis in neutral Turkey, but he was arrested en route. There were no further attempts to contact the Nazis.... Did Yitzhak Yzertinsky - rabbi Shamir - to use his underground nom de guerre, now [1983] the Foreign Minister of Israel, know of his movement's proposed confederation with Adolf Hitler? In recent years the wartime activities of the Stern Gang have been thoroughly researched by one of the youths who joined it in the post-war period, when it was no longer pro-Nazi. Baruch Nadel is absolutely certain that Yzertinsky-Shamir was fully aware of Stern's plan: 'They all knew about it'. When Shamir was appointed Foreign Minister, international opinion focused on the fact that Begin had selected the organiser of two famous assassinations: the killing of Lord Moyne, the British Minister Resident for the Middle East, on 6 November 1944; and the slaying of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UNs special Mediator on Palestine, on 17 September 1948. Concern for his terrorist past was allowed to obscure the more grotesque notion that a would-be ally of Adolf Hitler could rise to the leadership of the Zionist state. When Begin appointed Shamir, and honoured Stern by having postage stamps issued which bore his portrait, he did it with the full knowledge of their past. There can be no better proof than this that the heritage of Zionist collusion with the Fascists and the Nazis, and the philosophies underlying it, carries through to contemporary Israel." (pp 266-269)

Hilariously, when it comes to recognising the bond between Nazis & Zionism, it's Berman who's in full flight.


Anonymous said...

A serious question MERC; when did the word Islamism join the English language?

MERC said...

I don't know. Probably a neocon neologism. But I just love Pankaj Mishra's Islamismism. That'd make Berman & Co Islamismists.