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Expulsions from the Labour Party are severe blemishes on its record

26 October, 2017

• COUNCILLOR Phil Rosenberg evidently finds it embarrassing to see references to the relationship between inter-war Zionist leaders and the Nazi regime, but he does himself no credit by rubbishing accounts of it by Professor Moshé Machover (Moshé Machover’s historical revisionism is not just poor history, it is malicious, October 19).

According to Cllr Rosenberg, the Nazis and the Zionists could not possibly have sought to work together, since their objectives were completely incompatible; but he ignores the actual chronology of events wherein the Nazis sought different means of ridding Germany of its Jewish citizenry before deciding upon the Final Solution in January 1942.

Here, very briefly, are two episodes in this relationship.

The arrival of Hitler to power in January 1933 led Jewish organisations in the United States, Britain and elsewhere to organise an international boycott of German goods. Whether this would have brought Germany to its knees, we cannot know.

But we do know that it was effectively halted by the main Zionist organisation in Germany, which proceeded to negotiate a transfer agreement with the Nazi regime in the hope of facilitating the emigration of Jews from the country.

The story of the transfer agreement is well told in Edwin Black’s account, subtitled The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine, which remained on the New York Times best-seller list for months after its publication in 1984.

Equally notable was the visit of Adolf Eichmann, later the chief administrator of the Final Solution, and a second SS officer to Palestine in October 1937.

Earlier that year in Berlin Eichmann had received an unofficial representative of the Haganah, the defence force of the Jewish community in Palestine, to discuss the transfer of Jews to Palestine.

Eichmann decided to visit the Jewish community there to see if the plan was feasible. Readers can find a summary account of the visit on the website of the National Library of Israel.

Eighteen months ago Ken Livingstone made a slightly inaccurate reference to the transfer agreement, which led to his expulsion from the Labour Party. This month, Professor Machover was similarly expelled from the Labour Party mainly, it seems, for writing about the Zionist-Nazi relationship.

These expulsions are severe blemishes on the Labour Party’s long-standing record of tolerating dissenting opinion.

It is a great shame to see a Camden councillor apparently siding with his party’s apparatchiks who are using McCarthyite tactics to silence criticism of Zionism and Israel.

Patshull Road, NW5 



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