The Historical Zionist Case for Fascism
Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam (Blog), Oct 20 2017

292Herut flyer: “An answer to fools!”

Over the past year, especially in Britain, the Israel Lobby has mounted its high horse about the issue of comparing Zionism to Nazism. Calling any such comparison anti-Semitic, it has insisted that the charge is a fabrication of the order of the Christian Blood Libel. Tony Greenstein, myself and others have countered that the comparison is indeed historically factual and accurate, though I’ve also warned that such comparisons must be made carefully, rather than as a bludgeon to equate Israel with Nazism. Ken Livingstone, who offered a rather provocative version of the claim, got himself suspended from the British Labour Party as a result. Jackie Walker, who is herself Jewish, was threatened with expulsion for correctly noting that Jews profited from the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Most recently, Moshe Machover, the founder of the Israeli anti-Zionist Party Matzpen, found himself expelled from the Israeli Labor Party for arguing along the same lines. A Jewish studies graduate student earlier today pointed me to a fascinating study of pre-WW2 Jabotinsky Zionism and its impact on latter-day Israeli politics, Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism by Daniel Kupfert Heller. My friend pointed me to an eye-opening passage (p 72, unfortunately not in my Google online version – RB) which recounts the romance the Zionist Revisionists had with Italy’s Mussolini circa 1928:

“It has to be said fiercely and succinctly: we are fascists, Jewish fascists.”  With these words, D Stabiecki, a Revisionist living in Rome, appealed to Polish Jews to adopt the politics of Mussolini’s Italy. The chief mission of the Revisionist movement, he argued, was to give birth to the fascist Jew. This new Jew would “glorify physical strength” and strive toward “the will to power,” the notion that as Nietzsche put it, “Life itself is essentially a process of appropriating, injuring, overpowering the alien and the weaker.” The fascist Jew’s code of ethics would follow a simple formula: “Everything that serves the building of the Jewish state is good. Everything that damages the construction of the Jewish state is bad.” He argued the new fascist Jew would wage war against socialists and communists on the “Jewish street” and be “prepared to use all means to stop them, not excluding physical force.” He would proudly declare that the “democratic-liberal idea is not holy to us. If the realization of democratic thinking can lead to destroying the ideal of the Jewish state, we can also be anti-democratic.”

While it’s important to note that this romance between Zionist and European fascism flourished in the period before WW2, before news broke of the Holocaust and the Nazi extermination of much of European Jewry. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the Revisionists, in their effort to end British colonial rule, conducted serious negotiations with the Nazis well into the War itself.  They even contemplated a Jewish state underpinned by much of the same ideology as the Nazis themselves. Nor were the Revisionists the only zionist party flirting with European fascism. Ben Gurion’s Labor movement signed the Haavara Agreement which facilitated the plundering of the wealth of German Jews by transferring it to Palestine in return for the purchase of military matériel for the Nazi war machine. Haavara also served a double benefit because it peeled away Diaspora Zionists from the international campaign led by Pindo Jewry to boycott Nazi Germany. The idea that zionism has had a long historical flirtation with fascism that informs Israel today, is an idea that should not be controversial. The fact that in some circles it is, illustrates how ahistorical the Israel Lobby and its adherents are.

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