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Anti-Zionism and Holocaust denial and distortion

Anti-Zionism and Holocaust denial and distortion
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As pointed out when describing the events in Britain, one of the antisemitic accusations that arose during this time was that the Zionist movement had cooperated with Hitler and Nazi Germany in the 1930s, even claiming that Hitler himself was a Zionist. This brings us back to the topic of Holocaust denial and distortion, and introduces us to one of its main contemporary manifestations - the use of the Holocaust in anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist rhetoric. This form of Holocaust denial and distortion can be found in the Western Far-left and Far-right, as well as in the Islamic and Arab world, though of course it is expressed in each of these arenas in different ways and in varying degrees.
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We’ve already seen how Israel and Zionism are equated with Nazi Germany in the extreme anti-Zionist discourse. Let’s hear more about how the Holocaust is used and abused in order to delegitimize the State of Israel. Holocaust denial has been used more and more in the context of anti-Israeli discourse. In order to describe this thing, I use the term the ‘master postulate’ which is a kind of a philosophical joke.
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What I meant in using this term is this: One hypothesis of this discourse is that what explains the existence of the state of Israel was in terms of causal links, especially in terms of possible justification in the Holocaust.
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To put things as simply as I can I would say that many people say more or less the same: “Israel is a criminal phenomenon. It is a criminal fact. It was born in sin and it lives in even greater sin. The only justification that one could bring to justify this crime is a bigger crime - the Holocaust.” Then it goes on to all kinds of other arguments like that the partition decision on Nov 29th in the UN was accepted because of bad conscience of the Europeans, which is not true, but I won’t get into it. This is the idea.
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The deniers say, to put it again very simply, if this is the justification, we should say that there was no Holocaust, so that the justification disappears. What do the deniers say? And I’ll give as an example Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, who used this a lot, this argument.
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He said the following: “If the state of Israel is based on the Holocaust and is a result of the Holocaust, then if there was no Holocaust and there wasn’t any Holocaust - this is what I am told - then, there is no basis and no legitimation for the state of Israel.” Thereby he and others who support this argument, in fact, ignore totally that the state of Israel was not and I repeat was not born out of or by the Holocaust. It almost didn’t come about because of the Holocaust because the public that was supposed to build it was being killed.
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Thereby he ignores that Zionsim is the element and the basis for the state, that since the 1860s-70s there were settlemets being built, a whole entity - not yet a political entity but a local entity vibrant, vivid, creating, settling, culture, science etc. - that was already some seventy years old when the Holocaust began, when World War II began is the basis of the state. Another form is to say and this goes another way. Another form is to say that in fact Zionism was an ally, an accomplice of Nazism, that they actually worked hand in hand.
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And they use as a starting point in time 1933 when there was indeed an agreement between the Jewish Agency in then the Land of Israel under the British Mandate, and the German, the Nazi government in order to have Jews from Germany come here and Germany would have in return economic advantages, purchase of machines and industries etc. This indeed happened. But this was a way of the Jewish Agency to rescue German Jews from Germany. But they see it, those who use these arguments, see it as a starting point for a ccoperation that went all along the Holocaust. Why? “Because Zionism was interested” - so they say - “in having Jews flee Europe and come to the Land of Israel.”
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This under the British Mandate and the limitations of the British Mandate couldn’t happen. But this doesn’t interest those who hold this argument. “And not only did they want Jews to flee Germany and then the Third Reich as a whole to the Land of Israel but later they were interested in the Nazis’ killing Jews that they did not perceive as suitable enough for the Jewish state and for the New Zionist Jew,” which is a terrible accusation that has no basis at all.

Prof. Elhanan Yakira, Prof. Dina Porat

As pointed out when describing the events in Britain, one of the antisemitic accusations that arose during this time was that the Zionist movement had cooperated with Hitler and Nazi Germany in the 1930s, even claiming that Hitler himself was a Zionist. This brings us back to the topic of Holocaust denial and distortion, and introduces us to one of its main contemporary manifestations – the use of the Holocaust in anti-Israeli anti-Zionist rhetoric.

References

  • Porat, Dina, “Holocaust Denial and the Image of the Jew: Or, ‘They Boycott Auschwitz as an Israeli Product’“ in Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013).

  • Yakira, Elhanan, Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust: Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting, and the Delegitimation of Israel, trans. by Michael Swirsky (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010).

  • Yakira, Elhanan, “Five Reflections on Holocaust Denial, Old and New Forms of Hatred of Jews and the Delegitimation of Israel” in Anthony McElligott and Jeffrey Herf, eds., Antisemitism Before and Since the Holocaust: Altered Contexts and Recent Perspectives (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 335 – 352.

  • Wistrich, Robert S., “Antisemitism and Holocaust Inversion,” in Anthony McElligott and Jeffrey Herf, eds., Antisemitism Before and Since the Holocaust: Altered Contexts and Recent Perspectives (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 37 – 50.

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Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

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