The Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an interesting story by Dan Tamir a few weeks ago (20 July 2019), titled “When Jews Praised Mussolini and Supported Nazis: Meet Israel’s First Fascists.” Many individuals are oblivious to historical truths that relate Israeli leaders to Nazi and Fascist administrations. That appears to be alarming. But, if Israeli media and intellectuals acknowledge them, who will tell them, “You lie,” or even call them “anti-semite”? Some European governments are more concerned with fostering Netanyahu’s fascism than with the human rights of millions of Palestinians blasted day and night in Gaza. Are they all Hamas? No, but they are all Palestinians, and that identity cannot be taken away from them now since it is that of the Heroes who experienced the most horrifying fascist colonisation ever seen in the world for 75 years.
“Whoever mixes with a charcoal dealer becomes black,” an Arab saying goes, drawing a link between Israelis and fascists.
The link between Zionism and fascism, especially Nazism, is a complicated and challenging topic that has sparked significant historical and scholarly debate. Before delving into this subject, defining the terminologies is critical. Zionism is a political philosophy that seeks to build a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Fascism is a type of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism. In contrast, Nazism was a type of fascism that existed in Germany from 1933 to 1945 and was distinguished by severe racial purity ideas and anti-Semitism.
The Transfer Contract
The Haavara (Transfer) Agreement, signed in 1933, was among the most contentious links between Zionism and Nazism. The agreement allowed the transfer of Jewish assets from Germany to Palestine, aiding Jewish emigration. On the one hand, the agreement can be viewed as a pragmatic decision by the Zionist leadership to extricate Jews from increasingly dangerous conditions in Germany. However, it has been criticised for indirectly helping the Nazi dictatorship by violating the worldwide boycott of German goods.
Mussolini and Revisionist Zionism
Another link may be seen between Italy’s fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, and Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionist movement. Initially, Mussolini was sympathetic to the Zionist cause, considering it compatible with his Mediterranean imperial ambitions. Some Revisionist Zionists admired fascist philosophy, especially its emphasis on nation-building and strong leadership. However, this relationship deteriorated as Italy became more closely aligned with Nazi Germany, resulting in anti-Semitic legislation and the eventual deportation of Jews.
Regardless of these cases, it is critical to recognise the significant ideological contrasts between Zionism and fascism/Nazism. At its essence, Zionism is a national colonisation movement that seeks to build a Jewish state. Fascism and Nazism, on the other hand, were primarily concerned with ethnic purity, authoritarian rule, and territorial expansion at the expense of other nations and nationalities. Nazism’s anti-Semitic foundations conflict sharply with Zionism’s goals.
Academic perspectives on this topic vary greatly, and it is critical to avoid broad generalisations. Scholars like Hannah Arendt have criticised aspects of Zionist cooperation with Nazi Germany, while others maintain that such collaborations were a desperate and pragmatic response to a dangerous situation.
Examining the historical connections between Zionism and fascism/Nazism must be nuanced, considering the various periods, circumstances, and motivations involved. While there were instances of interaction—at times contentious—between Zionist organisations and fascist regimes, these were frequently motivated by unique circumstances and temporary common interests rather than a basic ideological agreement.
– Nicosia, Francis R. *Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany*. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
– Arendt, Hannah. *Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil*. Penguin Classics, 2006.
– Black, Edwin. *The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine*. Dialog Press, 2009.