And Israeli Support for War Criminals and Human Rights Abusers (see below)
TO THE EDITORS OF NEW YORK TIMES (Dec. 2, 1948):
Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party”, a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties [emphasis added]. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
…It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to [Freedom Party leader Menachim] Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.
Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin’s behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel [emphasis added], the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.
The public avowals of Begin’s party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state [emphasis added]. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.”
- signed by Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and 26 other prominent American Jews
Uri Avnery was born in Germany in 1923, and his family fled the Nazis and moved to what was then Palestine. As a youth, he joined the Irgun Zionist paramilitary group, which he later quit to become a leading peace activist in Israel. In 1950, he founded the news magazine, HaOlam HaZeh (This World). Fifteen years later, he was elected to the Knesset on a peace platform. In 1982, he made headlines when he crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat, head of the then-banned Palestine Liberation Organization. In 1993, he started the Gush Shalom (Peace Coalition) peace movement. He is the author of many books, including 1948: A Soldier’s Tale – The Bloody Road to Jerusalem, Israel’s Vicious Circle and My Friend, the Enemy. He will soon turn 91 and still writes a weekly column.
The following is excerpted from an interview aired on Democracy Now! on 8/8/2014:
“The root of the problem is that Israel is occupying the Palestinian territories – the territory of the West Bank and the territory of the Gaza Strip. As long as the occupation lasts, there will be no peace. In order to achieve peace with the Palestinian people, Israel must end the occupation, withdraw from the Occupied Territories and enable the Palestinians to set up their own independent nation and state, the state of Palestine. That’s what it’s all about. Everything else flows from this basic problem.”
“I was a member of a terrorist organization when I was 15 years old. I believe I understand the psychology of young people who join organizations which are called terrorists by their enemies, but which think of themselves as freedom fighters. Hamas thinks it’s fighting for the freedom of Palestine. They are deeply convinced of this.”
“One of the basic problems at this moment is that Israelis and Hamas do not talk to each other… there’s a very simple solution to this… Israel and Hamas must talk to each other.”
“Hamas cannot and will not agree to a long-lasting ceasefire if there is a blockade on the Gaza Strip. You have 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It’s a tiny, tiny, little territory. It’s suffering from a blockade for at least eight years. A blockade means that all the borders are closed, including the sea border, and you cannot get in anything except by the permission of Israel, and you cannot get anything out at all.”
“Hamas is not a militia. Hamas is not a military organization. Hamas is a Palestinian political party, which in the last Palestinian elections, supervised by ex-President Carter, had a majority of the Palestinian people. When a Palestinian government was set up by Hamas, it was destroyed by Israel and the United States and Europe. It was brought down. It was then that Hamas took over power in the Gaza Strip by force.”
“You cannot wish Hamas away. You can do to Hamas whatever you want. You can kill all the 10,000 fighters of Hamas, but Hamas will remain, because Hamas is an ideology, and Hamas is a political party accepted by the Palestinian people. So, whatever we do, in the end, after all the killing and after all this terrible destruction, we’ll have to talk with Hamas.”
“This government of Israel, which represents the extreme right in Israel, with some openly fascist elements in it, but supported by a majority of the Israeli people [emphasis added], does not want to give up the occupied territories of the West Bank and the indirectly occupied territories of Gaza. If we are ready to give up this territory and allow the Palestinians to set up their own nation and state of Palestine, then the problem is solved and we shall have peace. If you put up settlements in the West Bank, you cannot have a Palestinian state.”
“One must realize, the West Bank and Gaza together, the Occupied Territories, constitute 22% of the historic land of Palestine in which the Palestinians desire and are ready to set up their own nation and state of Palestine. The question is: Do we agree to live side by side with an independent, sovereign state of Palestine? If not, then every further discussion is superfluous. We shall have war, and again and again and again and again, until the end of time.”
Zionist – Nazi Collaboration & Collusion
Irrefutable evidence of this collaboration is found in Rolf Hilberg’s seminal The Destruction of European Jews; Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem; Ben Hecht’s Perfidy; Edwin Black’s The Transfer Agreement; Francis R. Nicosia’s The Third Reich and the Palestine Question; Rudolf Vrba and Alan Bestic’s I Cannot Forgive; and Rafael Medoff’s The Deadening Silence: American Jews and the Holocaust.
These books, written by Jews and Israelis, journalists and scholars, detail the evidence that some Zionists collaborated with the Nazis, that Zionists sabotaged anti-Nazi boycotts, and that Zionists interfered with efforts to rescue victims of Nazi oppression.
When facts first emerged in the 1950s about Zionist-Nazi collusion, it caused considerable scandal in Israel and led to the fall of the Israeli government of the time. The topic inspired novels by well-known Israeli writers Amos Elon and Neil Gordon, was the subject of a 1987 British play, and was portrayed in a 1994 Israeli docudrama.
Popular American playwright and fervent Zionist Ben Hecht wrote the first book on the subject, Perfidy, relating the history of Hungarian Zionist leader Dr. Rudolf Kastner, who arranged for his family and several hundred prominent Jews to escape while facilitating the movement of the rest of Hungarian Jews to Nazi concentration camps.
Hannah Arendt, in her 1960 book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report in the Banality of Evil, writes: “To a Jew this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story.”
In The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (containing an afterword by Anti-Defamation League head Abe Foxman), pro-Israel writer Edwin Black reports that, in 1933, Zionist leaders concluded a secret pact with the Third Reich – the Ha’avara Agreement – that transferred 60,000 Jews and $100,000 to Palestine, Zionists promising in return that they would halt the worldwide boycott “that threatened to topple the Hitler regime in its first year”.
Author-researcher, anti-war and civil right activist Lenni Brenner wrote of Zionist-Nazi collusion in Zionism in the Age of Dictators, of which the London Times stated: “Brenner is able to cite numerous cases where Zionists collaborated with anti-Semitic regimes, including Hitler’s”.
Brenner’s second book on the topic, 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis, includes a 1940 letter from underground Zionist terrorist leader Avraham Stern proposing that Jewish militias would fight on Germany’s side in exchange for Nazi help in creating an “historic Jewish state”.
In What Price Israel, American Council for Judaism member Alfred Lilienthal describes FDR’s efforts to set up a program to rescue refugees, only to find Zionists sabotaging it. Roosevelt explained: “The Zionist movement knows that Palestine is, and will be for some time, a remittance society. They know that they can raise vast sums for Palestine by saying to donors, ‘There is no other place this poor Jew can go’.”
When New York attorney Morris Ernst joined this refugee effort, he was shocked: “I was thrown out of parlors of friends of mine who very frankly said ‘Morris, this is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement’.” Ernst wrote that he found a fanatical movement of men “little concerned about human blood if it is not their own”.
In The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust, Israeli historian Tom Segev quotes Zionist leader and future Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion: “If I knew that it was possible to save all the Jewish children of Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second.”
Segev writes that “Ben-Gurion worried that ‘the human conscience’ might cause various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany and saw this as a threat, warning: ‘Zionism is in danger’.”
Israel’s current insistence on a “right to exist” may have come from her former enemy: “Germany’s right to exist is now a question of to be or not to be.” – Nazi Party, 1933
In 2002, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli military was specifically studying Nazi Warsaw Ghetto strategies for use in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
The Zionist-Nazi Collaboration
by William James Martin , July 8th, 2012
William James Martin is a Middle East affairs analyst and commentator. He has taught mathematics at the University of New Orleans and Louisiana State University. His articles and commentaries about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have appeared on the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, The Socialist Review, Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, The Palestine Chronicle, and other sites.
[The full article with footnotes is available at this link. Excerpts follow:]
Both Nazism and Zionism arose in tandem from small insignificant social movements in the early part of the 20th century, arguing, with equal force, that Jews were an alien and indigestible mass living in the midst of an otherwise pure Aryan population. Both movements contributed to the more general acceptance of this argument in Europe, and particularly in Germany, as mid-century approached, and both have to be responsible for the consequences.
In 1896, journalist Theodore Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat (The Jews’ State), Herzl expressed his understanding of inevitability, permanence, and omnipresence of anti-Semitism and argued that the only solution was a separate state for Jews. Herzl stated, in his book:
The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in perceptable numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution.
In 1912, Chaim Weizman, Israel’s first president, and the Zionist advocate who had the most to do with lobbying the British for the Balfour Declaration of 1917, echoed this view, speaking to a Berlin audience:
… each country can absorb only a limited number of Jews, if she doesn’t want disorder in her stomach. Germany already has too many Jews.
Indeed, in 1925, Jacob Klatzkin, the co-editor of the massive Encyclopedia Judaica, wrote:
If our people is deserving and willing to live its own national life, then it is an alien body that insists on its own distinctive identity, reducing the domain of their life. It is right therefore, that they should fight against us for their national integrity … Instead of establishing societies for defense against the anti-Semites, who want to reduce our rights, we should establish societies for defense against our friends who desire to defend our rights.
The understanding of Herzl, as well as the Zionists, about the inevitability of anti-Semitism was possibly self-fulfilling, for rather than opposing anti-Semitism in the first half of the 20th century, the Zionists found common cause with Hitler, Eichmann, and the Nazis and used anti-Semitism and Nazism as a means of achieving their end which was the establishment of a Jewish state. The two reactionary movements shared the view that German Jews were living in that country as a ‘foreign race’ and that the racial divide was essential to maintain. The Zionists’ use of Nazism involved, among other things, the blocking of avenues of escape to other countries of Europe’s Jews and diverting them to Palestine, even as the death trains began to roll in Europe. The rise of Nazism and Hitler to power was never, or almost never, opposed by the Zionists prior to the establishment of Israel.
Thus, in an article by Siegfried Moses, which appeared in the Rundschau, the official newspaper of the German Zionist Federation, and later, its head, stated:
… it is true that the defense against anti-Semitism is not our main task, it does not concern us to the same extent and is not of the same importance for us as is the work for Palestine …
In 1934, Stephen Wise, head of the American Jewish Congress said:
… I cannot be indifferent to the Galuth [the Jewish diaspora living outside of Palestine] … if I had to choose between Eretz Israel and its upbuilding and the defense of the Galuth, I would say that then the Galuth must perish.
On October 2, 1937, two SS officers, Herbert Hagen and Adolf Eichmann, disembarked in Haifa and were met by the Gestapo’s agent in Palestine, Fritz Reichert, and later in the day, Fevel Polkes, a Haganah agent, who showed the Nazi officials Haifa from Mt Carmel and then visited a kibbutz. Some years later, when Eichmann was hiding in Argentina, he taped a story of his excursion to Palestine, stating:
I did see enough to be very impressed with the way the Jewish colonists were building up their land. … In the years that followed I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist.
Eichmann had read Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat, and also studied Hebrew. In their trip report, the two SS officers paraphrased Polkes’s message to them:
The Zionist state must be established by all means and as soon as possible. … When the Jewish state is established according to the current proposals laid down in the Peel paper, and in line with England’s partial promises, then the borders may be pushed further outwards according to one wished.
… in Jewish nationalist circles people were very pleased with the radical German policy, since the strength of the Jewish population in Palestine would be so far increased thereby that in the foreseeable future the Jews could reckon upon numerical superiority over the Arabs in Palestine.
During his February trip to Berlin, Polkes proposed that the Haganah act as spies for the Nazi government and, as a sign of good faith, passed on intelligence information which was detrimental to their mutual enemies, the Communists. History might have been very different had the Zionist component of Jewry opposed Nazism; there might never have been a Holocaust. And there might never have been a state of Israel, as some Zionists well understood.
Lenni Brenner puts it:
… of all of the active Jewish opponents of the boycott idea [of Nazi Germany], the most important was the world Zionists Organization (WZO). It not only bought German wares; it sold them, and even sought out new customers for Hitler and his industrialist backers.
The WZO saw Hitler’s victory in much the same way as its German affiliate, the ZVfD [the German Zionist Organization]: not primarily as a defeat for all Jewry, but as positive proof of the bankruptcy of assimilation and liberalism.
Here Brenner is referring to the so-called Ha’avara agreement, or ‘transfer agreement’.
In 1933, Sam Cohen, owner of a citrus export company in Tel Aviv, approached the German government with the proposal that emigrants from Germany could avoid the flight tax by instead purchasing German products, which would then be shipped to Palestine, along with their purchasers, where the new arrivals in Palestine could then redeem their investments after the sale of the products by import merchants.
Heinrich Wolff, the German Consul in Jerusalem, quickly realized the utility of such an arrangement in tamping the international boycott effort of German import goods. He wrote to Berlin:
Whereas in April and May the Yishuv [the European Jewish community in Palestine] was waiting boycott instructions from the United States, it now seems that the situation has been transformed. It is Palestine which now gives the instructions… It is important to break the boycott first and foremost in Palestine, and the effect will inevitably be felt on the main front, in the United States.
Cohen had promised Heinrich Wolff that he would work behind the scenes at the forthcoming Jewish conference in London to weaken or defeat any boycott resolution.
Negotiations with the Nazi government were taken over by the World Zionist Organization and Cohen was replaced by Chaim Arlosoroff, the Political Secretary of the Jewish Agency. Arlosoroff traveled to Berlin in May of 1933. He and the Nazis reached a preliminary understanding to continue Cohen’s arrangement. Arlosoroff returned to Tel Aviv where he was assassinated, most probably by some members of the Revisionist wing of Zionism headed by Jabotinsky who opposed any accommodation with the Nazis.
Negotiations continued, however, and an agreement was signed in 1933 between the Nazis and the World Zionist Organization which persisted until 1939 and the German invasion of Poland. The Ha’arava grew to become a substantial banking and trading house with 137 specialists in its Jerusalem office at the height of its activities. The sale of German products expanded to include destinations outside of Palestine, but the arrangement remained essentially the same as the one originally negotiated by Sam Cohen – that German Jews wishing to emigrate, rather giving up most or all of their wealth to the German government, could invest their money in a German bank which would be used for purchasing German export goods. The purchaser could then redeem his investment when the goods had been sold and after he had arrived in Palestine. The German government set the rules and the emigrant would lose typically in excess of 30% of his investment and, eventually, 50%.
Indeed, there was a fundamental incompatibility with the upbuilding of a Jewish state in Palestine and opposition to the Nazi program of extermination of Europe’s Jews. The Ha’avara agreement allowed the transfer of LP 8,100,000 (Palestinian Pounds; then $40,419,000) to Palestine along with 60,000 German Jews between 1933 and 1939. But it also had the effect of undercutting the international boycott effort and providing an inflow of capital to the German government owing to the sale of German manufactured goods abroad.
This understanding is important, as the Holocaust has been central in provoking sympathy for the State of Israel and in amplifying the claims for reparations from European governments. Sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust, whether Jews or Roma, is no less justified, but the state of Israel cannot maintain an air of complete innocence nor be the justified recipient of billions of dollars or reparations, very little of which is actually dispersed to Holocaust survivors.
Nor has Israel accepted the universal principle that states must pay reparations to ethnicities whom it has harmed, as Israel has ignored or denied the catastrophe of ethnic cleansing and massacres which it prosecuted against the Palestinian people in 1948.
The model of Jews fleeing a burning building; i.e., the Nazi Holocaust, and thus creating a redoubt of safety in the form of the state of Israel cannot be maintained. Aside from the fact that the Zionist project was initiated at least by the time of Herzl’s Der Judenstaat of 1896 and his founding of the World Zionist Congress a year later, and well before the Nazi ascension to power in the 1930s, the Zionists were little concerned with the slaughter of Jews in Europe and almost exclusively focused on building a state in Palestine.
A proposal by the British, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, of November 1938, that Britain admit a thousand children directly into Britain was sternly opposed by Ben Gurion who told a meeting of the Labor Zionist in December:
If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz Israel, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.
At this time, Peter Bergson, a Palestinian Jew and member of the Irgun, shifted their attention to saving Europe’s Jews. Bergson, who had been sent to New York City by Revisionists leader Jaobtinsky in order to create American support of the establishment of a Jewish army in Palestine, and his colleagues formed the Emergency Committee to Save Europe’s Jews and initiated it with a conference attended by 1500 delegates including former President Herbert Hoover and New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The delegates ultimately adopted an eight-point rescue program, the primary feature of which was the creation of a US government agency charged with saving Europe’s Jews. They also called for their allies to immediately attack the concentration camps and bomb railroads lines leading to them.
The conference’s program sought to avoid the issue of a Jewish state in Palestine, preferring to leave that to another day. Indeed, the efforts of Bergson were perceived by the American Jewish organizations, and especially by Rabbi Stephen Wise, head of the American Jewish Conference, as an effort to divert energy and attention away from Zionism and the upbuilding of a Jewish state in Palestine.
The Emergency Committee also organized public events and rallies and a march by 450 Orthodox rabbis to the White House and the US Capitol. They also staged a theatrical production, entitled, We Will Never Die, authored by Academy Award winning screen writer Ben Hecht, that included actors such as Edward G. Robinson with music written by Bertoldt Brecht. The play chronicled the contributions of Jews and addressed the current situation of Europe’s Jews.
The production played to 40,000 in Madison Square Garden and, in Washington, was viewed by Eleanor Roosevelt and hundreds of members of Congress.
Though the Emergency Committee had raised the consciousness of Americans for the plight of Europe’s Jews, their efforts were strongly opposed by America’s organized Jewish groups including Rabbi Stephen Wise and his American Jewish Congress.
In January 1942, the Soviets issued a report of the working of the Einsatzgruppen, or the SS, and in May of that year, the Bund, the Jewish Workers Union of Poland and Russia, which was anti-Zionist, sent London a radio message that 700,000 people, most Jews, were exterminated in Poland. This message was repeated on the BBC two months later.
Despite the amply sufficient reports of massacres and exterminations, essentially nothing at all was done by the Zionist organizations, and reports of atrocities were consistently minimized.
Dov Joseph, acting director of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department cautioned:
… against publishing data exaggerating the number of Jewish victims, for if we announce that millions of Jews have been slaughtered by the Nazis, we will justifiably be asked where the millions of Jews are, for whom we claim that we shall need to provide a home in Eretz Israel after the war ends.
Yitzhak Gruenbaum, leader of the Jewish Agency’s Vaad Hazalah (Rescue Committee) who, in 1942 also believed the reports of atrocities taking place in Europe were exaggerated, offers a defense in his post war book, Bi-mei Hurban ve Sho’ah (In the Days of Holocaust and Destruction):
I think we have to stand before this wave that is putting Zionist activity into second row. … I think it necessary to say here Zionism is over everything…
… [W]e must guard Zionism. There are those who feel that this should not be said at the time a Holocaust is occurring, but believe me, lately we see worrisome manifestations in this respect: Zionism is above all – it is necessary to sound this whenever a Holocaust diverts us from our war of liberation in Zionism. Our war of liberation does not arise from the fact of the Holocaust in a straight forward manner and does not interlock with actions for the benefit of the Diaspora … And we must guard – especially in these times – the supremacy of the war of redemption.
The irony is overwhelming. Though the memory and imagery of the Holocaust is not far from the lips of every Israel leader, particularly the present one, and though this imagery is exploited for the sake of gaining tolerance and forbearance from the international community, as well as reparations which go well beyond actuarial merits, there was little serious concern on the part of organized Zionism for those facing extermination in Europe. Rather the Holocaust was regarded as a threat which had the potential of diverting energy and resources from the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine which was by far their highest priority.
The fact that the initiation of the Zionist project had nothing to do with the Holocaust, as it developed more than a half century earlier, and the fact of the indifference to the slaughter of Jews on the part of the founders of Israel, together with its collaboration with the Nazi Party, undermines Israel’s projected, and exploited, image as innocent victim.
At the end of the war a document, dated 11 January 1941, produced by Avraham Stern, proposing a military alliance and an understanding between the Third Reich and the Zionists was found in the German embassy in Ankara. It had been presented to two German diplomats in Lebanon, under Vichy at that time. The document was entitled, “Proposal for the National Military Organization (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the side of Germany”. The NMO, later to adopt the name Lohamamei Herut Yisrael, or Lehi for short, was universally known by its British designation as the Stern Gang.
The Irgun, (the NMO) under Manachem Begin, and the Stern Gang, are sometime blamed, by mainstream Zionism, as being uniquely responsible for the more grotesque atrocities of Israel’s fight against both the Arabs and against the British in its quest for statehood; for example, the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946, in which 96 mostly civilians were killed, and the massacre at Deir Yassin. In fact, both of these actions involved the coordination of these ‘dissident groups’ with the Haganah – the military under the direction of David Ben Gurion.
Yitzhak Yzernitsky – later to call himself Yitzhak Shamir, and later to become Israeli Prime Minister, in fact, the longest serving Prime Minister of Israel except for David Ben Gurion – became the operations commander of the Stern Gang after Avraham Stern was killed by the British army in February of 1942. Under Shamir’s leadership, 14 assassinations were attempted of British officials with two successful ones – of Lord Moyne, the British Minister Resident in the Middle East, sitting in Cairo, and the UN Representative to Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, who received three bullets in the heart on the order of Stern’s operations commander and future Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
The Charter of the Stern Gang, or more accurately, the principles promulgated by Stern, included the establishment of a Jewish state “from the Nile to the Euphrates”, the ‘transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to regions outside of the Jewish state, and the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. It maintained offices outside of the Middle East – including Warsaw, Paris, London, and New York City, the latter headed by Benzion Netanyahu, the present Prime Minister’s father.
51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis
by Lenni Brenner (2010))
[Lenni Brenner (born 1937) is an American Marxist Trotskyist writer. In the 1960s, Brenner was a prominent civil rights activist and a prominent opponent of the Vietnam War. Brenner was born into an Orthodox Jewish family. He became an atheist at age 10 or 12 and a Marxist at age 15. Brenner's involvement with the American Civil Rights Movement began when he met James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality, later the organizer of the "freedom rides" of the early 1960s. He also worked with Bayard Rustin, later the organizer of Martin Luther King's 1963 "I Have a Dream" march on Washington, and with the Berkeley Free Speech Movement at the University of California in 1964. He was an anti-war activist from the first days of the Vietnam War. In the 1990s, he and Stokely Carmichael, the legendary Black Power leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, co-founded the Committee against Zionism and Racism. They also published The Anti-War Activist. In 2003, Brenner spoke at the inaugural meeting of Jews Against Zionism. Brenner is the author of four books: Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, Jews in America Today, and The Lesser Evil, a study of the Democratic Party. His books have been widely translated, and have received very positive reviews from the London Times, the London Review of Books, Booklist magazine, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. In 2002, he edited 51 Documents, which contains complete translations of many of the documents quoted in Zionism in the Age of the Dictators and The Iron Wall.]
The Zionists were also in bed with the other members of what later became known as WWII’s “Axis of Evil,” that included Benito Mussolini’s Italy, and Tojo Hideki’s Japan. For example, in March 29, 1936, Zionists praised Il Duce and his regime, at the opening of a maritime school funded by the Fascist government at Civitavecchia. This is where a Zionist youth group, the “Beitar,” trained its sailors for the future Revisionist state. The speakers ignored the fact that on Oct. 3, 1935, Italian troops had invaded Abyssinia.
On another front, the “Third Congress of the Jewish Community of the Far East” was held in January 1940, in Harbin Manchuria, then reeling under a brutal military occupation by the Japanese imperial forces. At that time, too, Tokyo was already aligned with Hitler and Italy’s Mussolini, in the notorious Anti-Comintern Pact. The Japanese murderous “Rape of Nanking” had occurred in December 1937, and the “Crystal Night” incident on November 9, 1938. Nevertheless, the Zionist confab went out of its way to legitimize the Japanese occupation by certifying it as a guarantor of the “equality of all citizens” in that beleaguered land.
After the Holocaust began in 1942, Eichmann dealt regularly with Dr. Rudolf Kastner, a Hungarian Jew, whom he considered a “fanatical Zionist”. Kastner was later assassinated in Israel as a Nazi collaborator. At issue then, however, was the bargaining over the eventual fate of Hungary’s Jews, who were slated for liquidation in the Nazi-run death camps. Eichmann said this about Kastner, the Zionist representative, “I believe that [he] would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal. He was not interested in old Jews or those who had become assimilated into Hungarian society. `You can have the others,’ he would say, `but let me have this group here’. And because Kastner rendered us a great service by helping keep the deportation camps peaceful. I would let his groups escape.”
Zionism and the Third Reich
The following is excerpted from “Zionism and the Third Reich” by Mark Weber, from The Journal of Historical Review, 1993.
After graduating from Jesuit High School in 1969, Weber studied history in Chicago at the University of Illinois, continued his studies at the University of Munich, and returned to Oregon to earn a B.A. degree in history with high honors from Portland State University. Weber earned an M.A. in modern European history at Indiana University in 1977.
In March 1988, he testified for five days in Toronto District Court as a recognized expert witness on Germany’s wartime Jewish policy and the Holocaust issue.
Nota Bene: While Mark Weber and the Journal of Historical Review have been charged with being part of the Holocaust Denial movement, the article I have excerpted is thoroughly footnoted and much of the same research has been published in mainstream outlets including Wikipedia, and by many American and Israeli Jews (as detailed above).
Early in 1935, a passenger ship bound for Haifa in Palestine left the German port of Bremerhaven. Its stern bore the Hebrew letters for its name, “Tel Aviv”, while a swastika banner fluttered from the mast. And although the ship was Zionist-owned, its captain was a National Socialist Party member. Many years later a traveler aboard the ship recalled this symbolic combination as a “metaphysical absurdity”. Absurd or not, this is but one vignette from a little-known chapter of history: The wide-ranging collaboration between Zionism and Hitler’s Third Reich.
During the 1930s, Jewish Zionists and German National Socialists agreed that Jews and Germans were distinctly different nationalities, and that Jews did not belong in Germany.
Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the founder of modern Zionism, maintained that anti-Semitism is not an aberration, but a natural and completely understandable response by non-Jews to alien Jewish behavior and attitudes. The only solution, he argued, is for Jews to recognize reality and live in a separate state of their own.
The Jewish question, he maintained, is not social or religious. “It is a national question. To solve it we must, above all, make it an international political issue…” Zionism, wrote Herzl, offered the world a welcome “final solution of the Jewish question.”
Six months after Hitler came to power, the Zionist Federation of Germany (by far the largest Zionist group in the country) submitted a detailed memorandum to the new government that reviewed German-Jewish relations and formally offered Zionist support in “solving” the vexing “Jewish question”.
For the Jewish people, too, national origin, religion, common destiny and a sense of its uniqueness must be of decisive importance in the shaping of its existence…
We believe it is precisely the new [National Socialist] Germany that can, through bold resoluteness in the handling of the Jewish question, take a decisive step toward overcoming a problem which, in truth, will have to be dealt with by most European peoples…
Our acknowledgment of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities… because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group and reject any trespasses in the cultural domain…
From the abnormal situation of the Jews severe disadvantages result for them, but also scarcely tolerable conditions for other peoples.
- Zionist Federation of Germany memo of June 21, 1933
The Federation’s paper, the Jüdische Rundschau (“Jewish Review”), proclaimed the same message. A young Berlin rabbi, Joachim Prinz, who later settled in the United States and became head of the American Jewish Congress, wrote in his 1934 book, Wir Juden (We Jews), that the National Socialist revolution in Germany meant “Jewry for the Jews”. He explained: “No subterfuge can save us now. In place of assimilation we desire a new concept: recognition of the Jewish nation and Jewish race.”
On this basis of their similar ideologies about ethnicity and nationhood, National Socialists and Zionists worked together for what each group believed was in its own national interest. As a result, the Hitler government vigorously supported Zionism and Jewish emigration to Palestine from 1933 until 1940-1941, when the Second World War prevented extensive collaboration.
Until late 1938, the Zionist movement flourished in Germany under Hitler. The circulation of the Zionist Federation’s bi-weekly Jüdische Rundschau grew enormously. Numerous Zionist books were published.
The SS was particularly enthusiastic in its support for Zionism. An internal June 1934 SS position paper urged active and wide-ranging support for Zionism by the government and the Party as the best way to encourage emigration of Germany’s Jews to Palestine. This would require increased Jewish self-awareness. Jewish schools, Jewish sports leagues, Jewish cultural organizations – in short, everything that would encourage this new consciousness and self-awareness – should be promoted, the paper recommended.
SS officer Leopold von Mildenstein and Zionist Federation official Kurt Tuchler toured Palestine together for six months to assess Zionist development there. Based on his firsthand observations, von Mildenstein wrote a series of twelve illustrated articles for the important Berlin daily Der Angriff [founded and controlled by Joseph Goebbels] that appeared in late 1934 under the heading “A Nazi Travels to Palestine”. The series expressed great admiration for the pioneering spirit and achievements of the Jewish settlers. Zionist self-development, von Mildenstein wrote, had produced a new kind of Jew. He praised Zionism as a great benefit for both the Jewish people and the entire world. A Jewish homeland in Palestine, he wrote in his concluding article, “pointed the way to curing a centuries-long wound on the body of the world: the Jewish question”. Der Angriff issued a special medal, with a Swastika on one side and a Star of David on the other, to commemorate the joint SS-Zionist visit. A few months after the articles appeared, von Mildenstein was promoted to head the Jewish affairs department of the SS security service in order to support Zionist migration and development more effectively.
The official SS newspaper, Das Schwarze Korps, proclaimed its support for Zionism in a May 1935 front-page editorial: “The time may not be too far off when Palestine will again be able to receive its sons who have been lost to it for more than a thousand years. Our good wishes, together with official goodwill, go with them.” Four months later, a similar article appeared in the SS paper:
“The recognition of Jewry as a racial community based on blood and not on religion leads the German government to guarantee without reservation the racial separateness of this community. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry, the so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry around the world and its rejection of all assimilationist notions. On this basis, Germany undertakes measures that will surely play a significant role in the future in the handling of the Jewish problem around the world.”
A leading German shipping line began direct passenger liner service from Hamburg to Haifa, Palestine, in October 1933 providing “strictly kosher food on its ships, under the supervision of the Hamburg rabbinate.”
As American historian Francis Nicosia put it in “The Third Reich and the Palestine Question”: “There was considerable pressure to teach Jews in Germany to cease identifying themselves as Germans and to awaken a new Jewish national identity in them.”
In an interview after the war, the former head of the Zionist Federation of Germany, Dr. Hans Friedenthal, summed up the situation: “The Gestapo did everything in those days to promote emigration, particularly to Palestine. We often received their help when we required anything from other authorities regarding preparations for emigration.”
At the September 1935 National Socialist Party Congress, the Reichstag adopted the so-called “Nuremberg laws” that prohibited marriages and sexual relations between Jews and Germans and, in effect, proclaimed the Jews an alien minority nationality. A few days later the Zionist Jüdische Rundschau editorially welcomed the new measures.
Georg Kareski, the head of both the “Revisionist” Zionist State Organization and the Jewish Cultural League, and former head of the Berlin Jewish Community, declared in an interview with the Berlin daily Der Angriff at the end of 1935:
“For many years I have regarded a complete separation of the cultural affairs of the two peoples [Jews and Germans] as a pre-condition for living together without conflict… This interruption of the process of dissolution in many Jewish communities, which had been promoted through mixed marriages, is therefore, from a Jewish point of view, entirely welcome.”
The Interior Ministry’s Jewish affairs specialist, Dr. Bernhard Lösener, expressed support for Zionism in an article that appeared in a November 1935 issue of the official Reichsverwaltungsblatt:
“If the Jews already had their own state in which the majority of them were settled, then the Jewish question could be regarded as completely resolved today, also for the Jews themselves. The least amount of opposition to the ideas underlying the Nuremberg Laws have been shown by the Zionists, because they realize at once that these laws represent the only correct solution for the Jewish people as well. For each nation must have its own state as the outward expression of its particular nationhood.”
In cooperation with the German authorities, Zionist groups organized a network of some forty camps and agricultural centers throughout Germany where prospective settlers were trained for their new lives in Palestine. Although the Nuremberg Laws forbid Jews from displaying the German flag, Jews were specifically guaranteed the right to display the blue and white Jewish national banner. The flag that would one day be adopted by Israel was flown at the Zionist camps and centers in Hitler’s Germany.
Himmler’s security service cooperated with the Haganah, the Zionist underground military organization in Palestine. The SS agency paid Haganah official Feivel Polkes for information about the situation in Palestine and for help in directing Jewish emigration to that country. Meanwhile, the Haganah was kept well informed about German plans by a spy it managed to plant in the Berlin headquarters of the SS. Haganah-SS collaboration even included secret deliveries of German weapons to Jewish settlers for use in clashes with Palestinian Arabs.
In the aftermath of the November 1938 “Kristallnacht” outburst of violence and destruction, the SS quickly helped the Zionist organization to get back on its feet and continue its work in Germany.
German backing for Zionism was limited to support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine under British control, not a sovereign Jewish state. A Jewish state in Palestine, the Foreign Minister informed diplomats in June 1937, would not be in Germany’s interest because it would not be able to absorb all Jews around the world, but would only serve as an additional power base for international Jewry, in much the same way as Moscow served as a base for international Communism.
A Foreign Office circular bulletin of June 22, 1937, cautioned that in spite of support for Jewish settlement in Palestine, “it would nevertheless be a mistake to assume that Germany supports the formation of a state structure in Palestine under some form of Jewish control. In view of the anti-German agitation of international Jewry, Germany cannot agree that the formation of a Palestine Jewish state would help the peaceful development of the nations of the world.”
Hitler himself personally reviewed this entire issue in early 1938 and, in spite of his long-standing skepticism of Zionist ambitions and misgivings that his policies might contribute to the formation of a Jewish state, decided to support Jewish migration to Palestine even more vigorously. The prospect of ridding Germany of its Jews, he concluded, outweighed the possible dangers.
The Transfer Agreement
The centerpiece of German-Zionist cooperation during the Hitler era was the Transfer Agreement, a pact that enabled tens of thousands of German Jews to migrate to Palestine with their wealth. The Agreement, also known as the Ha’avara (Hebrew for “transfer”), was concluded in August 1933 following talks between German officials and Chaim Arlosoroff, Political Secretary of the Jewish Agency, the Palestine center of the World Zionist Organization.
Through this unusual arrangement, each Jew bound for Palestine deposited money in a special account in Germany. The money was used to purchase German-made agricultural tools, building materials, pumps, fertilizer, and so forth, which were exported to Palestine and sold there by the Jewish-owned Ha’avara company in Tel-Aviv. Money from the sales was given to the Jewish emigrant upon his arrival in Palestine in an amount corresponding to his deposit in Germany.
The 1935 Zionist Congress, meeting in Switzerland, overwhelmingly endorsed the pact. In 1936, the Jewish Agency (the Zionist “shadow government” in Palestine) took over direct control of the Ha’avara, which remained in effect until the Second World War forced its abandonment.
A December 1937 internal memorandum by the German Interior Ministry reviewed the impact of the Transfer Agreement: “There is no doubt that the Ha’avara arrangement has contributed most significantly to the very rapid development of Palestine since 1933. The Agreement provided not only the largest source of money (from Germany!), but also the most intelligent group of immigrants, and finally it brought to the country the machines and industrial products essential for development.”
Hitler personally reviewed the policy in July and September 1937, and again in January 1938, and each time decided to maintain the Ha’avara arrangement.
The Reich Economics Ministry helped to organize another transfer company, the International Trade and Investment Agency, or Intria, through which Jews in foreign countries could help German Jews emigrate to Palestine. Almost $900,000 was eventually channeled through the Intria to German Jews in Palestine.
Between 1933 and 1941, some 60,000 German Jews emigrated to Palestine through the Ha’avara and other German-Zionist arrangements, or about ten percent of Germany’s 1933 Jewish population. (These German Jews made up about 15% of Palestine’s 1939 Jewish population.) Some Ha’avara emigrants transferred considerable personal wealth from Germany to Palestine.
The total amount transferred from Germany to Palestine through the Ha’avara between August 1933 and the end of 1939 was the equivalent of more than $40 million. This amount included 33.9 million German marks ($13.8 million) provided by the Reichsbank in connection with the Agreement.
Historian Black has estimated that an additional $70 million may have flowed into Palestine through corollary German commercial agreements and special international banking transactions. The German funds had a major impact on a country as underdeveloped as Palestine was in the 1930s, he pointed out. The influx of Ha’avara goods and capital, concluded Black, “produced an economic explosion in Jewish Palestine” and was “an indispensable factor in the creation of the State of Israel”.
The Transfer Agreement was the most far-reaching example of cooperation between Hitler’s Germany and international Zionism. Through this pact, Hitler’s Third Reich did more than any other government during the 1930s to support Jewish development in Palestine.
Zionists Offer a Military Alliance with Hitler
In early January 1941 the radical underground “Fighters for the Freedom of Israel,” better known as the Lehi or Stern Gang, submitted a formal proposal to German diplomats in Beirut for a military-political alliance with wartime Germany. The offer was made by its leader, Avraham Stern, who had recently broken with the radical nationalist “National Military Organization” (Irgun Zvai Leumi). Stern regarded Britain as the main enemy of Zionism.
This remarkable Zionist proposal “for the solution of the Jewish question in Europe and the active participation of the NMO [Lehi] in the war on the side of Germany” is worth quoting:
In their speeches and statements, the leading statesmen of National Socialist Germany have often emphasized that a New Order in Europe requires as a prerequisite a radical solution of the Jewish question by evacuation. (“Jew-free Europe”)
The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question. However, the only way this can be totally achieved is through settlement of these masses in the homeland of the Jewish people, Palestine, and by the establishment of a Jewish state in its historical boundaries…
The NMO, which is very familiar with the good will of the German Reich government and its officials towards Zionist activities within Germany and the Zionist emigration program, takes that view that:
Common interests can exist between a European New Order based on the German concept and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as embodied by the NMO…
The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by treaty with the German Reich [emphasis added], would be in the interest of maintaining and strengthening the future German position of power in the Near East.
On the basis of these considerations, and upon the condition that the German Reich government recognize the national aspirations of the Israel Freedom Movement mentioned above, the NMO in Palestine offers to actively take part in the war on the side of Germany.
The cooperation of the Israel Freedom Movement would also be consistent with a recent speech by the German Reich Chancellor, in which Hitler stressed that he would utilize any combination and coalition in order to isolate and defeat England.
There is no record of any German response. Remarkably, Stern’s group sought to conclude a pact with the Third Reich at a time when stories that Hitler was bent on exterminating Jews were already in wide circulation.
An important Lehi member at the time the group made this offer was Yitzhak Shamir, who later served as Israel’s Foreign Minister and then, during much of the 1980s and until June 1992, as Prime Minister. As Lehi operations chief following Stern’s death in 1942, Shamir organized numerous acts of terror, including the November 1944 assassination of British Middle East Minister Lord Moyne and the September 1948 slaying of Swedish United Nations mediator Count Bernadotte.
In spite of the basic hostility between the Hitler regime and international Jewry, for several years Jewish Zionist and German National Socialist interests coincided. Indeed, during the 1930s no nation did more to substantively further Jewish-Zionist goals than Hitler’s Germany.
This sharing of values and strategy with Nazi Germany was not limited merely to the transfer of people and money to Palestine.
The fiction of a “right to exist” for a nation already recognized by the world community as existing may have been “borrowed” as well from their erstwhile enemies:
“Germany’s right to exist is now a question of to be or not to be.” – Nazi Party, 1933
Similarly, the idea of ethnic cleansing may also have been “borrowed” from Hitler.
“The world has become accustomed to the idea of mass migrations and has become fond of them…Hitler – as odious as he is to us – has given this idea a good name in the world.”
- Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Ideological founder of the Likud Party in “One Palestine Complete”
And, finally and most significantly, the Zionist movement took on much of the character and viciousness of the Nazi movement.
“The treatment of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and 1948) was as morally indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis. Though not comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis, it was comparable in quality.”
- the distinguished British historian, Arnold J. Toynbee
Israeli Support for Terrorism, War Criminals
and Human Rights Abusers
Israeli arms – whether government sanctioned or black market, from multinational arms corporations or individual dealers and mercenaries – can be found in nearly every locale where human rights are violated.
Decades of sales to brutal regimes and colonial and imperial forces from the 1950s to present should have long ago dispelled any illusions. The Israeli arms industry is geared for export. The first small arms and munitions shops were founded in the 1920s to produce weapons to use against Palestinians during the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonization and settlement has remained an important catalyst for research, development and testing of new technologies ever since. As Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi wrote in his 1987 study of the Israeli arms industry, Israel is exporting “the Middle East experience of Zionism”.
Israel, as a proxy weapons supplier, became a covert arm of US administrations seeking to circumvent Congressional and UN bans on weapons to human rights abusers – pro-West dictators, military juntas, and right-wing insurgents.
South Africa’s apartheid government had very close relations with Israel, which began in 1955 when South Africa purchased Uzis from Israel. Later the two countries became strategic allies. In 1962 thirty two Centurion war tanks were purchased, and in return Israel got uranium for its nuclear reactors. When France stopped selling its weapons to Israel, South Africa provided its own French fighter planes to Israel in 1967 for the Six Day War. Israeli firms were building apartheid South Africa’s border fences almost thirty years before the West Bank separation barrier.
In 1963, the UN had imposed an embargo on arms to South Africa. South Africa supported UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) in the 1974 Angola civil war, and Israel trained South African forces for that war, which lasted almost 28 years. Israel sold South Africa automatic weapons, anti tank missiles, surface-to-surface Gabriel missiles, self-propelled Howitzers and antisubmarine torpedoes after South African Prime Minister John Vorster’s visit to Israel in 1976.
Israel supported South Africa with arms, training, advisors, technology and even tritium to boost the yield of South Africa’s nuclear arsenal until the apartheid regime fell.
Congo was given as personal property to Belgian King Leopold II at the 1885 Berlin Conference. After the Congo gained its independence in 1960, an army mutiny and the mysterious death of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba brought Col. Joseph Mobutu, a military man trained in Israel, to head the army. In 1965, Mobutu appointed himself president and was awarded huge CIA subsidies and Israeli military support. Israel sold tanks to Mobutu that were transshipped through France, West Germany, Italy, Denmark, and Canada. Israel also provided military training and equipment for Mobutu’s army and elite commando battalion. Mobutu was, until his end in 1997, singled out by Amnesty International as one of the most oppressive rulers in Africa. Repeated insurrections, sometimes involving foreign troops, took the lives of about two million civilians.
Beginning in 1962, various Israeli governments, firms, arms dealers and mercenaries have provided everything from tanks to small arms to counterinsurgency training to Mobutu and his successors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Uganda gained it independence from Britain 1962. Just like Mobutu, Idi Amin, president from 1971 to 1979, also got his military training in Israel. Idi Amin carried out a coup against president Obote, who was anti-Zionist, in 1971.
Angola and Mozambique
Portugal retained its colonial empire in Africa, which was rich in diamonds, oil, natural gas, copper and other minerals. South Africa, the United States, Great Britain, and Israel were heavy supporters of Portugal’s suppression of black liberation movements. Israel supplied SA-7 missiles, artillery shells, and Uzis.
The Portuguese-backed white Angolan government was overthrown in 1974 by a Marxist-influenced liberation force (MPLA). South Africa and pro-West guerrillas (UNITA), aided by Israel and the CIA, invaded Angola.
Israel Military Industries licensed production of the Uzi to Portugal in the 1960s, which deployed these weapons in its brutal African colonial rule. Israelis assisted at various times all three sides – the FNLA, UNITA and the victorious MPLA – during four decades of Angolan civil war until it ended in 2002.
Despite a Congressional ban on US involvement (Clark Amendment, 1976), the United States and Israel continued to support a South African invasion of Angola and Namibia. In the early 1980s, Israel partnered in South Africa’s attempt to turn Mozambique, by then independent, back into a Portuguese colony. South Africa had primary responsibility for an estimated 1.5 million deaths in this cold war fight against newly liberated Portuguese colonies.
Other African Dictators
In the 1970s and 1980s, Israel and Israelis provided private security, aircraft and military training to the Bophuthaswana and Ciskei Bantustan governments. To the tyrannical Obiang regime in Equatorial Guinea, Israel and Israelis sold naval craft (2004, 2008, 2011), drones (2008), military training (2005) and surveillance systems (2011). Ethiopia’s Derg junta was the recipient of counterinsurgency training, mercenaries, munitions and other systems from 1974 to 1987.
Israel sold small arms in 1957 to Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo.
Israeli mercenaries provided small arms and military training to Colombian paramilitaries and narco-traffickers in the 1980s, and from the 1980s onward, counterinsurgency training, aircraft, missiles and small arms to the Colombian government – widely regarded as the worst human rights abuser in the Western Hemisphere.
The Somoza family dominated Nicaragua from the 1930s to 1979. Israel began arming Nicaragua’s Somoza regime in 1957, and continued to arm successive Somoza dictatorships with small arms, tanks, planes, boats, helicopters, missiles, machine guns and counterinsurgency training until the Sandinistas overthrew the younger Somoza in 1979. In fact, 98% of all arms to Nicaragua in the 1970s came from Israel. The Sandinista insurrection was put down with such “savagery” toward the civilian population that the US Congress cut off arms to Somoza’s National Guard in 1978. Israel continued to supply weapons until the end of Somoza’s rule a year later. The country was in ruins, littered with 40,000 corpses, the treasury robbed, the economy devastated.
Matters did not end when the Somoza family was overthrown in 1979. The United States reorganized Somoza’s former National Guard, known as the Contras, to attack the newly installed Sandinista government. The Contras were trained in the US Army School in the Panama Canal Zone and were based in Honduras for forays into Nicaragua. Ariel Sharon of Israel secretly supplied the Honduran base with sophisticated Kfir jet fighters, armored tanks, Galil assault rifles, and training for officers, troops, and pilots, creating the strongest air force in Central America. When it became publicly known in 1983 that Israel had been secretly supplying weapons to the Contras, President Reagan acknowledged that it had been at his request.
Although Congress prohibited all military aid to the Contras (Boland amendment, 1984), the White House continued its attempts to secretly finance the Contras by sale of US arms to Iran through Israel.
The Iran–Contra affair, also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or the Iran–Contra scandal (1985–1986), was a covert operation during the second term of the Reagan Administration. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the United States would re-supply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua. Under the Boland Amendment, funding of the Contras had been prohibited by Congress.
In Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held that the US had violated international law by supporting the Contras in their rebellion against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua’s harbors. The United States refused to participate in the proceedings after the Court rejected its argument that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The US later blocked enforcement of the judgment by the United Nations Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation. The Nicaraguan government finally withdrew the complaint from the court in September 1992 (under the government of Violeta Chamorro). on November 12, 1987, the UN General Assembly called for “full and immediate compliance” with the World Court decision. Only Israel joined the United States in opposing adherence to the ruling.
The elected leftist President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman was overthrown in a 1954 CIA coup. From 1960 through the 1980s the military government used, reportedly with Israeli assistance, paramilitary death squads against suspected guerillas, their potential sympathizers and critics of the government.
After the 1977 US arms cutoff, Israel built Guatemala an airbase and ammunitions factory, becoming Guatemala’s largest supplier of weapons for the next decade. In 1982, Israeli military advisors helped to develop and carry out Plan Victoria, a scorched earth campaign in which the Guatemalan army bombed, strafed, and burned large numbers of villages. An estimated 100,000 peasants escaped across the border to Mexico or into mountainous areas. Although “indiscriminate use of violence” by the murderous Guatemalan army was noted by US officials, Reagan gave Israel a green light to support this army. Israel was cited by Guatemalan Chief of Staff Lucas Garcia as “the only country that gave us support”.
Israeli arms and training were key in the Guatemalan, El Salvadoran and Honduran repressions of indigenous, labor and progressive organizations and rebels from the 1960s through the 1980s. Between the three countries, hundreds of thousands were killed.
The CIA aided the military overthrow of Chile’s elected president, Salvador Allende. Augusto Pinochet then ruled until 1990 in an environment of state terror with thousands of political assassinations, detentions, and expulsions. Israel sold Pinochet infrared homing (Shafir) missiles, fast patrol boats, radar systems, antitank missiles, and more in the 1970s and 1980s.
Israel’s largest South American client was Argentina. Rafael Videla, the military dictator who pursued his infamous “Dirty War” (death squad “disappearances” of 30,000 citizens) from 1976 to 1981, purchased much of his weaponry from Israel – in fact, 30% of Israel’s total weapons sales in the 1970s went to Argentina.
Despite Carter’s resistance to selling arms in areas of conflict, Israel sold Mirage (Dagger) fighters, Gabriel missiles, Skyhawk fighters, etc. to the military junta and, during and after the 1982 Falkland War, defied a Western alliance ban on weapons to Argentina by building and rebuilding its air force.
Israel The Israeli Mossad and CIA jointly trained the Iranian Shah’s notorious internal security force, the SAVAK, in 1954 and sold Uzis to the Imperial National Guard in 1959. In 1963, Israel helped advise Iran’s counterinsurgency operation against dissident tribes in the south, and in 1964 sold the Iranian army Uzis, and trained Iran’s military officers in ground and air warfare. Israel sold Iran more than $100 million worth of weapons per year until the Shah was overthrown by the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Then Israel sold the Islamic Republic hundreds of millions worth of ammunition, artillery and other arms through the 1980s. During the protracted Iran-Iraq war (1980–1989), Israel sold weapons to Iran through indirect channels – about $500 million worth between 1980 and 1983, according to the Jafe Institute for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. Most of it was paid for by Iranian oil delivered to Israel.
According to Ronen Bergman, Israel sold Iran US$75 million worth of arms from stocks of Israel Military Industries, Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel Defense Forces stockpiles, in their Operation Seashell in 1981. Materiel included 150 M-40 antitank guns with 24,000 shells for each gun, spare parts for tank and aircraft engines, 106 mm, 130 mm, 203 mm and 175 mm shells and TOW missiles.
According to Ahmad Haidari, an Iranian arms dealer working for the Khomeini regime, roughly 80% of the weaponry bought by Tehran immediately after the onset of the war originated in Israel.
Israel’s June 7, 1981 attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor set back Iraq’s nuclear program. In fact, Iran bombed them first, back in 1980, but they only damaged secondary buildings.
Israeli arms dealer Yaacov Nimrodi apparently signed a deal with Iran’s Ministry of National Defense to sell $135,842,000 worth of arms, including Lance missiles, Copperhead shells and Hawk missiles. In March 1982, The New York Times cited documents indicating that Israel had supplied half or more of all arms reaching Tehran in the previous 18 months, amounting to at least $100 million in sales. The Milan weekly Panorama reported that Israel had sold the Khomeini regime 45,000 Uzi submachine guns, anti-tank missile launchers, missiles, Howitzers and aircraft replacement parts. “A large part of the booty from the PLO during the 1982 Lebanon campaign wound up in Tehran,” the magazine claimed.
According to John Bulloch and Harvey Morris, the Israelis devised and manufactured the huge, lightweight polystyrene blocks which the Iranian assault forces carried with them to build instant makeshift causeways across the shallow Iraqi water defences in front of Basra.
Despite all the speeches of Iranian leaders and the denunciation of Israel at Friday prayers, there were never less than around one hundred Israeli advisers and technicians in Iran at any time throughout the war, living in a carefully guarded and secluded camp just north of Tehran, where they remained even after the ceasefire.
In August 1982, Aerospace Daily reported that Israel’s support was “crucial” to keeping Iran’s air force flying against Iraq. Israeli sales also included spare parts for US-made F-4 Phantom jets. Newsweek also reported that after an Iranian defector landed his F-4 Phantom jet in Saudi Arabia in 1984, intelligence experts determined that many of its parts had originally been sold to Israel, and had then been re-exported to Tehran in violation of US law.
According to Bergman, Israel’s goals were to: reestablish some influence in Iran which was lost when the Shah was defeated in 1979; intensify the Iran-Iraq War and weaken both Iran and Iraq, both of whom opposed the existence of Israel; prevent Iraq from conquering Iran as they feared a victorious Saddam Hussein; and create business for the Israeli weapons industry.
Private dealers like Nahum Manbar, Eli Cohen and Avichai Weinstein sold the Khameini regime tanks, chemical weapons, armored vehicle parts and missile wires during the 1990s and 2000s.
In 1965, a military coup led by pro-American General Suharno against the parliamentary government, succeeded with covert US and British help. As many as 600,000 were killed – mostly landless peasants. In 1975–1976, Indonesia, armed by the United States, invaded and annexed neighboring East Timor on the claim of forestalling Soviet influence – an annexation not recognized by the UN. East Timor separatists fought on. Israel supplied the Indonesians with 28 American Skyhawk fighters and 11 gunship helicopters when their arms were depleted in the course of the 1979 massacre of Timorese civilians.
The Washington Post reported that “the US government is fronting an arms deal in which Israel, without being publicly identified as the source, is selling Indonesia used warplanes obtained from the United States.”
Israel assisted Sultan Qaboos ibn Said’s totalitarian regime in Oman in its counterinsurgency efforts in Dhofar province during the 1970s, and joined with Saudi Arabia and Iran in supporting the royalists against the republicans during the 1962-70 Yemeni civil war. Israel more recently sold weapons to the Saleh regime, against which the Yemeni people have been rebelling since 2011.
A 24 June 2012 article in Maariv brought to light some new information about arms shipments from Israel to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. In The Arms Fixers, Brian Wood and Johan Peleman reported in 1999: “Seven large cargoes of small arms worth $6.5 million were flown from Tirana and Tel Aviv between mid-April and mid-July 1994 to the forces as they carried out the genocide, even during the time when the mass killings were being reported daily by the international news media.” The flights from Tirana were supervised by Israeli personnel. Sarah Leibowitz’s article in Maariv adds a few names as well as information about Israelis training Rwandan military and paramilitary forces and earlier arms sales in 1992 and 1993.
Iraq & Afghanistan
Israel and Israelis sold or otherwise provided artillery to the Afghan mujahadeen in the 1980s, and armored vehicles in 2009 to the US-sponsored Karzai regime. Israel also supplied countless drones, surveillance and targeting systems, missiles, small arms, urban warfare and counterinsurgency training and whatever else to virtually all the forces involved in the US-led invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Israel and Israelis armed the brutal Duvalier regime in Haiti with Uzis (1974-77), aircraft (1980), and counterinsurgency training (1970s-80s).
For Turkey’s use in suppressing Kurdish liberation, Israel and Israelis sold drones (2004-2010), aircraft upgrades (1997-2005), tank systems (2002), armored personnel carriers (2009), and other systems.
Zimbabwe received armored vehicles (2002) and crowd control systems (2008).