The following message was sent to the Alef list on April 24, 2007
Tony Greenstein gets it wrong – again. Is anyone surprised?
He now argues that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis by opposing Jewish immigration to Britain, the United States and other Western countries. To back up his claim he selectively cites Dr Shonfeld's letter (The Times, June 6, 1961). First, he conveniently omits Shonfeld's mention in the same letter of the collaboration between the Palestinian Arab leadership and the Nazis. Second, he ignores the fact that Shonfeld's letter was refuted two days later (The Times, June 8, 1961):
Dr. Solomon Schonfeld is wrong when he says in his letter today that Zionist leaders insisted on rescue to Palestine as the only acceptable form of help for European Jewry.
A programme suggesting practical measures for saving the Jews from Nazi massacres was drawn up in 1943 by an Emergency Consultative Council, representing the Jewish Agency, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the World Jewish Congress and Agudat Israel; it was unanimously endorsed by over 200 delegates from Jewish institutions in Great Britain. The proposals adopted included the following suggestions:
(1) a request for an announcement by Allied governments that they will afford asylum to refugees who can escape or can be removed from the territories where they are threatened with extermination;
(2) the provision of visas for use at the discretion of the consulates of respective governments in neutral countries,
(3) the establishment of refugee camps in territories under Allied control;
(4) the assurance to neutral countries regarding the earliest practical arrangements for the transfer and settlement of the refugees elsewhere;
(5) to explore the possibilities of the exchange of refugees against Axis nationals in the Allied countries;
(6) an approach to be made to the British Dominions and Latin American countries for their assistance in the foregoing measures.
It is true that the Consultative Committee urged "that the utmost use be made of the specially favourable opportunities for refuge in Palestine" …
These are the facts. It is up to everyone of us to draw his own conclusions.
I am, Sir. yours, &c.,
There's no need for me to answer Greenstein's other inventions, such as his claim about a pro-Zionist introduction to the Nuremberg Laws or his nonsense about Zionists building
kibbutzim in Nazi-occupied Poland!
Greenstein dismisses the tens of thousands of Jews saved by the Transfer Agreement with the casual comment: "every Jew who wanted to leave Germany…" – as if they could easily leave and there was an obvious refuge! Maybe Greenstein would like to name all the countries that would admit Jews and tell us where the millions of Jews should have gone? Greenstein does not mention that the £1,000 for the "capitalist class" was a result of British rule in
Palestine. Nor does he mention the Youth Aliyah which also saved tens of thousands from the Nazis.
All the Jews rescued by the Transfer Agreement and the Youth Aliyah would otherwise have been trapped by the Third Reich. Greenstein's Marxist analysis would be that they should not have left in the first place – they should have stayed and resisted. What they could have resisted with – we do not know; who they could have aligned themselves with, given that the communists were allied with the Nazis – we do not know. In the mad political world of Tony Greenstein, the Jews should have joined either the Trotskyists, who opposed the "imperialist war" against Nazism and did nothing to rescue Jews, or the Stalinists, who made an alliance with the Nazis and helped them to start the "imperialist war" which destroyed most of Europe!
For Greenstein to suggest that the Nazis supported Zionism shows a complete lack of understanding of the Nazi hatred of the Jews. He even has the chutzpah to cite Nicosia, who points out that "the idea of an independent Jewish state revived [for Nazi officials] the specter of an international Jewish conspiracy operating from its own power base in Palestine." (Journal of Modern History, vol. 50, no. 4, 1978)
Adolf Hitler delivered his first major speech on the Jewish question on August 1920, stating: "the whole notion of the Zionist state and its establishment is nothing more than a comedy."
The following year Alfred Rosenberg published an essay with the title "Zionism Hostile to the State" which called Zionism "the powerless effort of an incapable people to engage in productive activity… a means for ambitious speculators to establish a new area for receiving usurious interests on a global scale." This was reissued by the main Nazi publishing house in 1938. A year after that the Nazi Propaganda Ministry distributed a book with the title Palestine: Jewish State? which exposed "the real line of Jewish politics, namely the striving for a new, perhaps decisive base for Jewish world power" in a Jewish state. They also issued a book entitled The English, Jews and Arabs in Palestine, warning that the Zionist goal in Palestine was the "establishment of a Vatican of world Jewry. A firm base is to be built, on which, in later years, Jewish world policy can rest." During the war the Nazis published a book protesting "the exploitation of the Arabs by the Jews" and "the clear bond between the English government and the Zionists" – claims that Greenstein himself would agree with! And so on and so on.
All this and more can be found in Jeffrey Herf, "Convergence: The Classic Case: Nazi Germany, Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism during World War II," Journal of Israeli History, vol. 25, no. 1, 2006.
Greenstein continues to get it wrong about Kasztner. He mentions "the train for the elite in Hungary in return for which Kastner and the Zionist movement there kept quiet about the destination of the deportation trains." Greenstein ignores the fact that on that train there were orphans and other powerless Jews. Greenstein also uses the phrase "in return for which" to suggest some kind of deal to betray the Jewish masses – a claim dismissed by the Israeli Supreme Court and by virtually every Holocaust historian. And his statement that the Hungarian Zionist movement "kept quiet about the destination of the deportation trains" is a simple lie. The Zionist youth movements sent rescue activists all over Hungary to warn the Jews that their lives were in danger. These warnings were not believed. See Asher Cohen, The Halutz Resistance in Hungary, 1942-1944, for discussion of the warnings and Zionist rescue activities which saved thousands of Jews.
Greenstein continues: "No doubt he applauds the fact that Kastner testified on behalf of Nazi war criminals... Even the Israeli Supreme Court, despite a nakedly political judgment (although accepting the facts of the lower court) upheld unanimously an allegation of collaboration on that count."
Greenstein is lying again. I have never defended Kasztner's testimony on behalf of Becher and other mid-ranking officials who negotiated rescue proposals with him. Greenstein should also mention that Kasztner testified against Kaltenbrunner, who was executed, and that he gave an affidavit against Eichmann. The allegation of testifying on behalf of Becher was not an allegation of collaboration – this was a separate matter. The Supreme Court condemned him for his post-war testimony but acquitted him of collaboration by a 4-1 majority, finding that he had "the sole motive of saving Hungary's Jews as a whole, that is, the largest possible number under the circumstances of time and place as he estimated could be saved." So much for Greenstein's "facts."
I cannot finish without mentioning Greenstein's guilt-by-association tactics linking me with Atzmon, who calls me a political enemy in the very message that Greenstein quotes! But since Greenstein raises the issue, perhaps he would like to explain why he supported the PLO when it was backing neo-Nazi terrorist groups? Perhaps he would like to explain why his writings are posted on so many neo-Nazi websites? Perhaps he would like to explain why a neo-Nazi newspaper approvingly compared him – not me – to the Holocaust deniers? Perhaps he would like to explain why he himself had a meeting with Steven Brady of the neo-Nazi National Front? See
Perhaps all this has something to do with Greenstein's latest calls for the mass murder of thousands of Jews belonging to AIPAC?