Un­der the mi­cro­scope

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

books en­dorse the “col­lab­o­ra­tion” fan­tasy.

Mr Liv­ing­stone’s other “facts” are just as un­re­li­able. The idea the SS “set up train­ing camps” for Ger­man Jews is a fab­ri­ca­tion. It was lo­cal Zion­ists who founded the hachschara farms as oc­cu­pa­tional re­train­ing cen­tres for Jews hop­ing to em­i­grate to Pales­tine.

The SS ini­tially tol­er­ated these ac­tiv­i­ties, while im­pos­ing strict con­trols on them. When the war started, the Zion­ist trainees who had not suc­ceeded in es­cap­ing from Ger­many were used by the Nazis as slave labour and then mur­dered.

On the claim that Hitler passed a law per­mit­ting the fly­ing of the “Zion­ist flag” as well as the swastika, his­to­rian Richard Evans states that the Nurem­berg Laws banned Jews from us­ing the Nazi ban­ner while al­low­ing them to dis­play “Jewish colours”. The laws never spec­i­fied those colours, nor was any “Zion­ist flag” of­fi­cially recog­nised.

Mr Liv­ing­stone’s tale about Nazi-Jewish arms deals is base­less. The Ha­ganah re­ceived some Ger­man Mausers via Bel­gium dur­ing 1933-35, but the sup­plier is un­known. Ha­ganah agents were seek­ing weapons all over Europe at the time, and the pis­tols could have come from any num­ber of sources.

The for­mer Lon­don mayor also ac­cused Zion­ists of urg­ing Hitler to ban Yid­dish-lan­guage ser­mons from syn­a­gogues. But it was Chanukah ser­mons in Ger­man that the Gestapo pro­hib­ited in De­cem­ber 1936, on its own ini­tia­tive and with­out any re­quest from the Zion­ists.

Mr Liv­ing­stone re­ferred to a Ger­man for­eign of­fice meet­ing in July 1937, when Hitler sup­pos­edly in­ter­vened in favour of Jewish state­hood. In fact, Hitler’s di­rec­tive did not ad­dress the is­sue. Soon af­ter­wards, how­ever, the Nazis be­gan a press cam­paign against the call for a Jewish state, in­sist­ing that Pales­tine be­longed to the Arabs.

These fic­tions must not di­vert at­ten­tion from the on­go­ing scan­dal of Mr Liv­ing­stone’s de­nial of the ex­is­tence of an­ti­semites in the Labour Party and his de­fence of Labour MP Naz Shah against charges of ex­press­ing an­ti­semitic views, even af­ter she re­tracted her state­ments and apol­o­gised for them.

Ken Liv­ing­stone seems deter­mined to con­tinue in­sult­ing the his­tor­i­cal mem­ory of the Jewish peo­ple, re­gard­less of the costs to the truth and to what re­mains of his own rep­u­ta­tion.

All these claims are dis­tor­tions or in­ven­tions’

Paul Bogdanor is an author and re­searcher. His lat­est book is ‘Kaszt­ner’s Crime’ (Trans­ac­tion Pub­lish­ers, 2016)

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