Why neo-Nazis should thank the two Kens

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DAVE RICH

THERE IS no an­ti­semitism in the Labour Party. Don’t take my word for it: Ken Liv­ing­stone and Ken Loach have both as­sured us of this, so we can stop wor­ry­ing.

You might spot the sar­casm. Liv­ing­stone has spent much of his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer bait­ing Jews and then laugh­ing it off. Loach first at­tached him­self to this Stal­in­ist lie that Zion­ism and Nazism col­lab­o­rated in the mur­der of Euro­pean Jewry three decades ago, when he di­rected a play called Perdi­tion that drama­tised the Kaszt­ner trial that took place in Is­rael in the 1950s.

Rezsö Kaszt­ner was a Zion­ist leader who ne­go­ti­ated with the SS while they were or­gan­is­ing the de­por­ta­tion of Hun­gar­ian Jews to Auschwitz. His sup­port­ers point to the 1,300 Jews he man­aged to save; his detractors claim he know­ingly as­sisted the SS in their work.

This tragic episode is used by Loach, Liv­ing­stone and oth­ers to claim that the en­tire Zion­ist move­ment col­lab­o­rated in the mur­der of their fel­low Jews.

So why, out of all the sto­ries of suf­fer­ing and hero­ism that make up the fate of Euro­pean Jewry un­der the Nazis, do Liv­ing­stone and Loach choose to be­come ex­perts in the one as­pect that makes Jews look bad?

The an­swer is ob­vi­ous. Their ha­tred of Zion­ism and Is­rael is so over­whelm­ing, it would even lead them to the softer end of Holo­caust de­nial. Pos­si­bly there is also some­thing deeper to it: Loach has pre­vi­ously spo­ken re­sent­fully about “the gen­er­alised sense of guilt that every­one has about the Jews”.

Per­haps they don’t care that the more they push guilt for the Holo­caust onto “the Jews”, the less heav­ily that guilt weighs on the Nazis. Loach and Liv­ing­stone like to think of them­selves as anti-fas­cists but in this re­spect they are do­ing neo-Nazis’ work for them.

The dan­ger is that, by rais­ing doubt about this one as­pect of the Holo­caust, they cast doubt on all of it.

So when Is­raeli-Amer­i­can au­thor Miko Peled said at a fringe meet­ing that free speech in­cludes dis­cussing “the Holo­caust: yes or no” – im­ply­ing that de­niers have their place in pub­lic de­bate – Loach re­fused to con­demn the com­ment, sim­ply telling the BBC: “His­tory is there for us all to dis­cuss.”

Out­side the con­fer­ence, a group called Labour Party Marx­ists was hand­ing out a leaflet ti­tled “anti-Zion­ism does not equal anti-Semitism” that quoted Rein­hard Hey­drich, one of the ar­chi­tects of the fi­nal so­lu­tion, claim­ing that Nazism did not mean any harm to the Jews. Marx­ists quot­ing Nazis to slan­der Zion­ists — that pretty much sums up the left nowa­days.

Dave Rich is the au­thor of ‘The Left’s Jewish Prob­lem’. A longer ver­sion of this ar­ti­cle is at www.thejc.com/com­ment

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