Saturday, 20 May 2017

Muslims: the Jews of today?

A lesson I never learn is not to go into Holocaust museums.

The most recent was in Budapest. I had an hour to kill before heading to the airport and, by pure chance, found myself right by the museum. So I wandered in.

The Synagogue at the Budapest Holocaust Museum
Things went the same way as on my previous visits to Holocaust monuments. At first I work my way around the display cases in a serious but quiet mood, but with some apprehension about the emotional onslaught to come. I read the descriptions of the long history of Jews in the country. Because this was Hungary, there was also material about the gypsies, victims too when the time came.

Then there were photos of the time just before the seizure of power by the anti-Semites. Jewish families out for the day. Jewish pharmacies or groceries supplying Jews and gentiles alike. Gypsies travelling the country. But already there were bad signs: ghettoes reforming, arched gateways being bricked up, yellow stars.

And finally, what always happens happened again. I was reduced to tears by the shots of women being marched down the streets, their hands in the air, young Jews or gypsies breaking stones in forced labour teams, and at the end of the road, old people and children making their way along barbed wire fences towards the gas chambers. The tears come every time, forcing me to leave the exhibition and make for the open air.

Once outside, my thoughts turned to how people could justify meting out such treatment to others. The thinking hasn’t, after all, ever fully died out. Even within the British Labour Party, my own party, we have a leading member and former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who keeps insisting that Hitler supported Zionism. Here’s what Arno Schickedanz, a leading Nazi ideologue, had to say on the subject:

In the ideology of political Zionism, Palestine fulfilled the role of an indispensable part of prophecy, just as certain rules are the guarantee for success in the magical ceremonies of primitive peoples. Political Zionism never intended Palestine to be the destination of all Jews, but rather it merely wants to make Palestine the centre of Jewish world policy. That must naturally be protected by a strong Jewish population. 

Zionism to him was merely a part of a more far-reaching plan of the Jewish “race” (it was crucial, for the Nazis, not to confuse the so-called “race” with a mere religion).

Gentile observers and writers on Zionism, who see political Zionism only as an attempt at “national renewal” rather than an effort to establish a unified Jewish leadership as well as Jewish rule over the world, are therefore incorrect. The confusion of political Zionism with Palestine can be understood only through the Jewish prophecies in which Jewry is assured of control over all the goods of this world.

For the Nazis, the real aim of Jews was to control the entire world, and Zionism with its proposed emigration to Palestine, was merely a veil for it as well as a stepping stone towards it. Certainly some Nazis, at certain times, favoured shifting Jews to Palestine or somewhere else: “From a political standpoint, Schickedannz continues, it would be in the interests of the whole world, of all the host peoples, if the Jews now scattered throughout the whole world were to voluntarily emigrate to some habitable territory”. That, however, was to create a dumping ground for them, not to back the Zionist goal of creating a Jewish homeland.

You can support or oppose Zionism, but to suggest that Nazis had any sympathy for its aims is a strange distortion of history. It’s extraordinary that Livingstone hasn’t grasped that fact.

But it isn’t in fading grandees like Livingstone that the old mentality, the roots of the Holocaust, continues to live and strive to express itself. To a recent tweet in favour of the EU, I received a curious reply:

Well [sic] save you [sic] bacon yet - which come to think of it will probably be banned in EU soon

I was a little surprised by this news, which I hadn’t picked up. But it seems that it was a bit of a long-range forecast:

Ah there would only be a bann [sic] when the Muslims outbreed non-Muslims - how long do you think that would take?

Not long, apparently, since it seems that Muslims breed “6 kids a family...”

My correspondent was concerned with the Islamic drive to world domination. It operates from within. They come to our countries and outbreed us, so they can take over and ban (or possibly bann) our bacon.

It felt like a sentiment worthy of Arno Schickedanz. Only the target has changed. The Muslims, it seems, are the Jews of today, the new objects of a hatred of another human based only on who they are rather than on anything they do.

It’s painful to visit Holocaust memorials. But given that such views are still being expressed, perhaps we do need to keep reminding ourselves of where they can lead. Maybe I need to go on visiting them – after all, shedding a few tears is a small price to pay if it can help avoid shedding blood, again, instead.

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