(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Nazi-hunter and Holocaust scholar Dr. Efraim Zuroff dismissed claims by former mayor of London Ken Livingstone that Hitler supported the establishment of a Jewish state.
Last week, Livingstone took to the airwaves to defend a Labor member of Parliament who has been suspended over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks she made before being elected.
In a radio interview he said Hitler initially supported Zionism, and in a subsequent interview on BBC TV said that “a real anti-Semite doesn’t just hate the Jews in Israel, they hate their Jewish neighbors in Golders Green or Stoke Newington [both in London], it’s a physical loathing.”
Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office and a Holocaust historian, said that Hitler in no way supported the establishment of a Jewish state and that Livingstone was simply trying to delegitimize Zionism through his allegations.
Zuroff said Livingstone was referring to an early Nazi plan to increase Jewish flight from Germany by allowing Jews to take some of their possessions with them if they immigrated to Mandate Palestine, since emigration to most other countries, such as the US, was not possible.
An agreement was made between Nazi Germany and the Jewish Agency called the Haavara plan to facilitate this idea in 1933 but only lasted a year and a half.
“There was never any support for Zionism or for a Jewish state, it’s an absurd idea to discredit and delegitimize Israel and Zionism [in this way],” Zuroff told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
“Instead, Hitler welcomed [Arab Palestine nationalist leader] Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini to Berlin, and intended to do what the Nazis did to Jews in Europe to the Jews in the Middle East, had they defeated the British in North Africa.”
Zuroff noted that Livingstone has been citing the works of Lenni Brenner, a Trotskyite historian and anti-Zionist, and said that Brenner’s work “is full of conspiracy theories” and had never been accepted by mainstream academia.
Zuroff added that SS colonel Walter Rauff, who was in charge of the technical department of the Reich Security Main Office, which was responsible for murdering “enemies of the Reich” such as Jews, gypsies, Jehovah Witnesses and gays, was active in murdering Jews in North Africa during the German campaign there.
“He was going to be responsible for ‘Reich Security’ in the Middle East and Mandate Palestine, had the Nazis occupied the region,” said Zuroff.