FW: Part III Zionists And/As Nazis

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Wed May 21 09:44:49 MDT 2003

>From Tom Segev "The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust"

"Ironically the Revisionists also had fairly wide-ranging links with the
Nazis. The Betar youth movement was active in Berlin and several other
German cities. About half a year before the Nazis came to power, the
movement's leadership distributed a memorandum to its members that was both
commonsensical and cautious. The Nazis should be treated politely and with
reserve, the memorandum instructed. Whenever Betar members were in public,
they should remain quiet and refrain from vocal debates and critical
comments. Under no circumstances should anyone say anything that could be
interpreted as an insult to the German people, to its institutions, or to
its prevailing ideology.

  The Nazis allowed Betar to continue its activities--meetings, conventions,
summer camps hikes, sports, sailing, and agricultural training. Members were
allowed to wear their uniforms, which included brown shirts, and they were
allowed to publish mimeographed pamphlets, including Zionist articles in a
nationalistic, para-Fascist tone, in the spirit of the times. The German
Betar pamphlets focused on events in Palestine, and their exuberant
nationalism targeted the British, the Arabs, and the Zionist left. The
contained no references to the political situation in Germany. With this
exception, they were similar to the nationalist German youth publications,
including those published by the Nazis. Jabotinsky decried the influence
Hitlerism was having on the members of Betar." (pp. 32)

In the second half of 1940, a few members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi (National
Military Organization)--the anti-British terrorist group sponsored by the
Revisionists and known by its acronym Etzel, and to the British simply as
the Irgun--made contact with representatives of Fascist Italy, offering to
cooperate against the British. Soon the Etzel split, and the group headed by
Avraham "Yair" Stern formed itself into the Lehi (from the initials of its
Hebrew name, Lohamei Herut Yisrael--Fighters for the Freedom of Israel),
also known as the Stern Gang. A representative of this group met with a
German foreign ministry official and offered to help Nazi Germany in its war
against the British. The Germans understood that the group aimed to
establish an independent state based on the totalitarian principles of the
Fascist and Nazi regimes. Many years after he tried to forge this lik with
Nazis, a former Lehi leader explained what had guided his men at the time:
'Our obligation was to fight the enemy. We were justified in taking aid from
the Nazi oppressor, who was in this case the enemy of our enemy--the
British.' " (p. 33)

"The question was what to do with those refugees who were neither Zionist
nor fit to help build the new society in Palestine. 'Only God knows how the
poor little land of Israel can take in this stream of people and emerge with
a healthy social structure', Chaim Weizmann wrote. The German Immigrants
Association complained that the Jewish Agency's representatives in Berlin
were giving immigration certificates to invalids. ' The human material
[direct quote and their words] coming from Germany is getting worse and
worse', the association charged after almost a year of Nazi rule. 'They are
not able and not willing to work, and they need social assistance.' A year
later the association sent to Berlin a list of names of people who should
not have been sent. Henrietta Szold, who headed the Jewish Agency's
social-work division, also frequently protested about the sick and needy
among the immigrants. From time to time Szold demanded that certain of such
'cases' be returned to Nazi Germany so that they would not be a burden on
the yishuv." (p. 43)

"In 1937 the Joint Distribution Committee, an American organization that
assisted needy Jews, negotiated with the German authorities for the release
of 120 Jewish prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp. 'I am not so
sure that from a political point of view it is desirable that all those
released come to Palestine', a Jewish Agency official wrote to one of his
colleagues. Most were not Zionists; and there may even have been Communists
among them." (pp 43-44)

to be continued...

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