In some parallel universe, Ken Livingstone will try to prove that Hitler ‘supported’ Zionism in 1932. He later “went mad” (Adolf, not Ken). Which is why he “ended up killing 6m Jews”. We will all have to relearn modern history.
But he can’t prove what he claims.
Here’s what he said: “Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was the Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”
So here’s a little history lesson for Mr Livingstone:
- In the 1932 German election, 586 seats were contested. The Nazi Party won 230 of them. That’s hardly ‘winning’ an election. In a second election five months later – necessitated by the fact that there was no majority party or coalition – they lost 34 of those seats.
- Moving the Jews to Israel might have been tricky; there was no such place in 1932.
- The ‘Zionist’ Hitler opened Dachau, the first concentration camp, in March 1933, three months after being appointed Chancellor.
As early as 1919 Hitler was railing against the Jews as “the racial tuberculosis of peoples”. That might not be evidence of actual madness, but it’s not exactly rational, is it? In the same year, in a letter to Adolf Gemlich (link below) Hitler wrote that “antisemitism as a political movement may not and cannot be defined by emotional impulses, but by recognition of the facts”.
The facts, according to Hitler were that the Jewish race moves around the world, never feeling German, or French, or British, destroying “the character of princes with byzantine flattery; national pride, with ridicule; and (shamelessly) breeding to depravity”.
Ken would also have to explain away Mein Kampf, written in 1925-26. A notorious passage reads, “if (during WW1) 12-15,000 of the Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain”.
The Haavara Agreement so beloved of Facebook in the wake of Livingstone’s comments, was laughably held up as proof that Hitler supported the concept of a Jewish homeland.
No he didn’t. He supported the concept of getting all Jews out of Germany, and then out of Poland, and then out of France, and then out of whatever other countries he thought he might conquer. That hardly reconstitutes Hitler as a Zionist, Ken! “Historically inaccurate and historically illiterate,” as historian Roger Moorhouse put it in his blog on Friday.
But in truth, another possible reading of the Haavara Agreement might be that it was an attempt by more reasonable Nazis to solve the problem before their leader set about his systematic destruction of the Jewish race; and that Jewish/Zionist involvement in drawing it up was a desperate attempt to get out alive.
In any event, even that agreement made Jews second class citizens in German. And Hitler pretty much set his face against the Haavara Agreement. So Ken will struggle on that front, too.
After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, Jews were stripped of all public sector jobs in Germany – hardly evidence of Nazi ‘Zionism’. And, after all, Livingstone didn’t say the Nazis were Zionists. He said that Hitler was a Zionist.
He will produce a book in his defence of the ‘historical facts’. Unfortunately for him, the historical facts will be hard to support because the book he will produce was not written by a historian, but by a political activist, Lenni Brenner.
The one thing we can be almost certain of regarding Mr Brenner – from even a cursory look at his output – is that his aim appears to be to denigrate Zionism (the political will of Jewish people to create their own homeland) wherever and whenever he can. Writing in the Sunday Times, historian Niall Ferguson quotes Brenner as saying, in an anti-Israel speech, that Jews who make political donations are as “crooked as a dog’s hind leg”. Presumably he meant political donations in America, because although the speech was made in Berlin, it was Berlin, Connecticut. That’s ironic, innit?
The defence of Mr Livingstone all over Facebook at the weekend was something to behold. He’s seen as possibly the most ‘right on’ politician of our generation, so he couldn’t possibly be anti-semitic, could he?
Well, he may not be. But he certainly does a good job of hiding the fact.