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Jewish education’s sin of omission

Despite years of Jewish education, much of which focused on Israel, this young American Zionist was still ignorant of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

By David Sarna Galdi

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank will mark its 50-year anniversary next year. For five decades, since 1967, that occupation has been a central theme in any discussion of Israel’s politics, history, current events and obviously, conflict with the Palestinians — except, apparently, if you’re young and Jewish in America.

While recently reading a critique of the absence of any discussion of the occupation (or any criticism of Israel, for that matter) in the 2016 American presidential elections, I made a disturbing realization: I myself had only become aware of the occupation and all of its ramifications relatively recently, only after moving to Israel and actively trying to codify, for myself, the country’s political genome.

Despite being the product of an active Jewish diaspora community and intense Jewish education (I was the target audience for a thorough understanding of Israel’s political physiognomy) I had been utterly in the dark when it came to Israel’s greatest blemish.

I attended Jewish schools near New York City. I went to Jewish camps. I spent countless Saturday mornings in synagogue with my grandparents. I traveled to Israel with my family a dozen times. As a 17 year old I spent the summer hiking the length and width of Israel. Later, I spent a hot, sweaty summer volunteering in an economically depressed city in the Negev desert. One could argue that I had the quintessential Zionist Jewish-American upbringing.

Yet somehow, in all of those years of exposure to Jewish and Israeli reality, history and culture, I never heard one word about the occupation, or even the actual word, “occupation.”

I came of age during the giddy, hope-filled days of the Oslo Accords. In fact, I distinctly remember the 13th of September, 1993, when my modern-Orthodox Jewish high school cancelled classes and gathered all of the students in the auditorium to watch the live broadcast of the signing ceremony on the White House lawn.

Yet, for all of my school’s engagement with Israeli current events, they left out one huge detail of modern Israeli history: the fact that in 1967, after the Six Day War, Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza but didn’t absorb them, setting the stage for today’s reality in which the...

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'Every few minutes, one of them hit us with a rifle butt'

Three Palestinian teens speak about the abuse they say they endured in Israeli military custody after being arrested during a demonstration along the Gaza border.

By Yael Marom

Israeli military police are investigating the suspicion that over the course of three days, IDF soldiers abused three Palestinian teenagers who illegally crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip during a protest late last year, according to a Haaretz report earlier this month.

On October 10, 2015, the three Gazan teenagers were participating in a protest along the border, during which protesters attempted to damage the fence, and threw stones toward soldiers positioned on the other side. The soldiers responded with gunfire, tear gas grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets.

At some point a number of protesters pulled up part of a gate in the fence. Military forces gave pursuit with the use of flares and K9 units. Six of the protesters, those who fled into Israeli territory, were arrested.

Several months after their release, three of the arrestees, minors aged 15, 16, and 17, told a researcher working for Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem what happened during the 72 hours following their arrest.

For three days, the teenagers say, soldiers kept them tied up in the open, repeatedly beat them, denied them food and drink, subjected them to various degradations, and kept them awake. One of the teens says that soldier extinguished cigarettes on his arms and legs.

The following are three testimonies collected from the three teenagers, as provided by B’Tselem:

‘Abd a-Rahman Abu Hamisah, 16 years old

A few minutes after I joined the demonstration, I went ahead with some other guys and we tore out the iron gate that’s part of the border fence. I entered Israeli territory and Israeli military jeeps started pursuing us, about five jeeps. The soldiers fired all around us. We kept running east into Israeli territory, into the vegetation. We ran a long way and couldn’t see the border any more. It was already evening and he sun had gone down. By nightfall, I realized we were in trouble and got scared. I couldn’t go back towards the border because the demonstration was over and the soldiers were occupied only with looking for us. I didn’t mean to go any further into Israel. I just wanted to get away from the soldiers and the gunfire. We kept running...

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Being beaten by settlers can get you arrested — if you're Palestinian

IDF soldiers find Palestinians beaten by settlers yet do not ask the right questions. An incident that will, inevitably, go completely under the radar.

By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz

On November 21, 2015 B., a Palestinian youth, went with his friend H., from his village of A-Dik in the West Bank, to bring food to H.’s father, who was busy working the land.

At about 14:00, they found H.’s father and gave him the food. Then they went to another part of the same plot of land to gather “white fragrant flowers named ‘Jargas,’” as B. would later recount. They were about a kilometer away from the Israeli settlement of Bruchin when they noticed three horsemen approaching them. Only when they were very close did the Palestinians realize they were Israeli civilians.

Two of the riders were armed: one with a rifle, the other with a handgun. At gunpoint, they forced the two boys to stand still. The third rider, armed with a club, began beating them while the two others pointed their guns at them. The beating went on for a long while — B. thought it continued for a full ten minutes. The two didn’t dare to attempt an escape, since they believed they would be shot.

After that the Israeli civilians forced the two boys to take off their coats and shoes, and led them barefoot toward a guard tower near Bruchin. B. estimated they walked for about a kilometer, and said the guns were pointed at them the whole way. The tower wasn’t manned, and the settlers began hitting them again. As they beat the boys, a military jeep arrived.

What did the IDF soldiers, the representatives of the sovereign power, do when they saw two young men standing barefoot, guns pointed at them, and a man beating them with a club? Did they detain the attackers, as any reasonable person would do?

Of course not. They didn’t even speak to the Israeli civilians, who now exit our story. The soldiers tied the young Palestinians’ eyes with cloths and kept them in the jeep for several hours. Later, described B., the soldiers would drive the detainees without any stated reason to Bruchin, where they were turned over to the police. A policeman named Shlomi used B.’s cellphone to call his father: come and pick your son up from the entrance to the settlement....

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A law criminalizing torture: The first step on a long path

Unless a law to criminalize torture is passed, we cannot begin combatting the view that a human being’s body and soul can be abused for punishment or to extract information.

By Rachel Stroumsa

Representatives of the Israeli Justice Ministry announced last week in Geneva that the ministry is working on a law criminalizing torture in Israel. A day later it became clear that these representatives were unable to address the content of the proposed law. Nor could they even venture a guess as to when it would be completed, despite the fact that the matter has been under debate for several months.

The initial announcement came as part of a set of answers questions posed by the United Nations Committee Against Torture, known endearingly as CAT. The questions posed by CAT should trouble us all: why is there systematic use of torture in Israel? Why are detainees held in solitary confinement for months on end? And why, in the face of over 1,000 registered allegations and complaints, has not one single criminal investigation been opened against Shin Bet interrogators?

Let’s be clear. The announcement is certainly welcome. After many recommendations — including those of two governmental commissions — Israel has finally declared it will work toward the banning of torture. Yet some fear that the state’s evasive answers the following day in Geneva indicate that it is too early to rejoice.

After all, Israel currently permits the use of torture, and members of the various security forces enjoy almost total impunity from allegations of torture or ill-treatment. It can hardly be denied that to this day the Israeli legal system has employed double standards towards Palestinian and Jewish detainees, exempted the suspects in “security offenses” from safeguards designed to protect them, and made light of torture outside interrogation rooms, such as the use of police violence against Ethiopian citizens.

In light of all this, it is reasonable to question whether a law against torture would indeed protect human rights. And yet, for so many years, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and other organizations have called for such legislation. What would be its value?

There is immense power in a state’s clear declaration that torture is not just another tool at the disposal of the governing forces — that there are some actions that civilized states do not carry out, and that these actions should...

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How I explained the Nakba to my kids

By Noam Rotem

Say Dad, what is independence?

An independent person is a person who can do whatever they want. They are free and nobody makes decisions for them. When a state is independent, it means that no one tells it what to do and it can decide for itself what it deems to be good and bad.

And what is Independence Day?

Independence Day is the day the State of Israel became independent. The rest of the countries in the world agreed it could assume control over the land of Israel without anyone else telling it what to do.

Who told it what to do?

Before there was a State of Israel, the British ruled here, and before them the Turks. They controlled the Jews and the Palestinians. After the other countries agreed to give up the country, the British departed and left it for the Jews and the Arabs.

And they gave us all of the Land of Israel?

No. The countries of the world agreed to give only part of the land to the Jews, and the other part they gave to the Arabs. Grandma and grandpa’s house in the Galilee, for example, was not inside Israel. It was supposed to be part of the state of Palestine. Here, see this map:

The orange part was where the Jewish State should have been and the yellow designated the Palestinian state. Jerusalem was not supposed to belong to anyone, which is why it is colored white.

So what happened?

There was a war. Some of the people who lived here weren’t willing to give up their homes for a Jewish state, and some of the Jews didn’t agree to it either, because they wanted Jerusalem and other places. Most of the Jewish leaders agreed to it, and most of the Arab leaders did not. Battles started, and then other regional armies got involved: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and even Iraq. In the end, the Jews managed to fight the armies and conquered more parts of the land that were designated to be a Palestinian state.

What is a Palestinian state?

It is the state where the country’s Arab residents — who are called Palestinians — were supposed to live.

So the Jews won?

You could say that, but a war is never good. A lot of people died, and a lot of people lost their homes...

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The role of Israeli Jews in planning for Palestinian return

Perhaps the most important area in which Jewish Israelis can be active regarding Palestinian return is preparing the Israeli public for that eventuality.

By Eitan Bronstein Aparicio

The Nakba has entered the mainstream Israeli discourse in recent years in ways that were unthinkable in the past. A large majority of Jews in Israel know it is a word in Arabic connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has a negative connotation, shows a public opinion poll to be published soon by De-Colonizer, a research and art laboratory for social change, that provides materials and tools to expose and challenge the colonialist nature of the Israeli regime.

In response to that public recognition we have seen a dramatic shift on the part of the Israeli government and right-wing group Im Tirtzu. The “Nakba Law,” which passed in 2011, is aimed at preventing the study and commemoration of the Nakba. At the same time, Im Tirtzu launched a major campaign encouraging Nakba denial. And yet, despite the burgeoning awareness of the Nakba, most Israelis do not know what it actually is.

Even fewer Israelis recognize that Israel has any kind of responsibility for turning most Palestinians into refugees and destroying most of their towns and villages in 1948 in order to establish the Jewish state. Among those who understand the importance of Israeli recognition of the Nakba, a minority supports recognition of the right of return (Hak al-Awda in Arabic) of Palestinian refugees as determined in international law and specifically in UN Resolution 194 from December 11, 1948.

Since Israel’s establishment, the bitter debate over the right of return has been dichotomous: Zionists are against and the anti-Zionist are for. It seems to be a dispute between two sides that aren’t engaging in any constructive dialogue. Obviously this is not a dispute restricted to legal terms, but one whose basis is the Jewish state, a state that uses legal mechanisms to maintain a Jewish majority and in which only Jews can be full citizens.

In order to move past this and achieve a real discourse on the matter, in order to promote the right of return, we should focus more on practical return and less on a theoretical right. In addition to studying and recognizing the Nakba, it is necessary to start planning the actual return itself. Planning for the return of Palestinian refugees is based on two fundamental principles: nobody should be uprooted...

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'The Jews are heading to the polls in droves'

It turns out that one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s most notoriously divisive statements in recent years reflects, almost identically, an anti-Semitic election slogan exposed and decried by none other than the founding father of right-wing Zionism, Jabotinsky.

By Gilad Halpern

Ze’ev Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founding father of the Zionist right and forebear of Likud, has been said to turn in his grave so many times he could produce enough energy to electrify a few new settlements.

It is often said that Jabotinsky, a liberal nationalist who imbibed 19th century romanticism, would have had nothing but contempt for the lowbrow jingoism that has become so characteristic of his so-called disciples in Likud.

One particularly notorious example was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Election Day warning that “Arab voters are heading to the polling station in droves,” in a desperate attempt to prod his supporters to save his right-wing government. Which they did: Netanyahu’s divisive remark proved to be extremely effective, and it is credited with having clinched him a victory in what seemed until the very end to be a losing battle.

But as it emerged this week, when Netanyahu uttered his now-infamous remark, Jabotinsky must have completed a double somersault six feet under.

Prof. Yaacov Shavit, a historian of Judaism at Tel Aviv University, has dug up a century-old, obscure quote from one of Jabotinsky’s many volumes of writings.

It was written in 1911, when Jabotinsky, an extremely prolific journalist and essayist, covered the racially tense municipal elections in Warsaw, Poland.

In archaic Hebrew that has nonetheless survived the passage of time, he conveys to his readers the “pogrom atmosphere” that prevailed during the campaign. To prove his point, he quotes a few tracts handed out by Polish nationalists, including one that says: “Calling on our people: Look what is happening at the polling stations. The Jews are heading to them in droves, and the Poles are scattered… If you vote for the pseudo-progressive party, Warsaw will be represented by Jews. Poles, save your capital!”

He then concludes: “I rest my case.”

Did Netanyahu know about the uncanny similarity between the two? That’s very unlikely. The quote appears in a new book of Jabotinsky’s writings published just this week. But to put it in Mark Twain’s words, “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Gilad Halpern is a journalist and broadcaster, host of “The Tel Aviv Review – Ideas from...

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Give me back my Zionism!

The week commencing on Holocaust Remembrance Day and ending on Independence Day is when Israel is swept with unquestioning patriotism. But as hard as it may be, it is important to resist the temptation.

By Lev Yam Gonen

In last year’s Knesset elections, I voted for a left-wing party. This piece of information is enough for most Israelis to infer that I’m a vegetarian – no, vegan, actually – work for B’Tselem and have an Arab boyfriend. And the blue eyes that I don’t have are from my Ashkenazi father’s side.

But actually, except a poster of Meretz leader Zehava Galon hanging above my bed, I don’t meet any of the criteria. But I do like to moan, assuming that it helps my lefty credentials, and that’s what I plan to do now.

The week commencing on Holocaust Remembrance Day is a particularly tough one to pretend to be a lefty. The minute’s silence that makes me reflect on my dead grandmother is only a prelude to many a thought of survival, victimhood and vengeance. Look at us, I keep telling myself: the Jewish people defied this horror, and a self-sufficient Jewish state fought successfully for its survival – as a world-class “start-up nation,” no less.

There’s a right-wing demon sitting on my right shoulder, whispering all this in my ear. And my left shoulder remains bare.

Yes, I too was outraged by Lt.-Gen. Yair Golan’s speech. How dare he speak his mind on Holocaust Remembrance Day? How can he be so naïve not to know that he should keep his unpopular views to himself, and make do with praying at the Western Wall, speaking solemnly about ensuring Israel’s security and sucking up to the religious people? And only then, after we’ve swallowed that bill, push the hawk back into his hat and pull out a dove.

My bare left shoulder exposes our inability to stand up to the romanticization of the memory of the Holocaust. It’s not Gen. Golan who owes us an apology, but the entire collective memory that has accustomed us to an incredibly reductive expression of grief.

I’m still praying to win back Zionism. I still want Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem, and a blue-and-white flag at half mast to send shivers down my spine. I want every war to fill me with a sense of national unity and patriotism. But instead, irony creeps in.

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'Literature's task is to pose alternatives to political reality'

“Art and War: Poetry, Pulp and Politics in Israeli Fiction”, by Lavie Tidhar and Shimon Adaf; Repeater, 300 pages, $14.95

Have you ever eavesdropped on the conversations of the brilliant people at the table next to you, and wanted to jump in and interrupt, to ask your own questions? Art and War: Poetry, Pulp and Politics in Israeli Fiction, a new book of conversations between two writers, is sure to make readers feel that way.

Art and War consists of conversations between Sapir Prize winning Tel Aviv resident Shimon Adaf and World Fantasy Award winning London resident Lavie Tidhar about the many things that enlighten, bother, and frighten them. They talk here about their worries about the book’s coming out, the realities of Israel today, the Holocaust, science fiction, digression, and how to answer for fictional characters – or each other. Being writers, they’ve each written a story at the conclusion of the dialogue in which the other is a character. Art and War comes from that impulse good friends have to push their friend and force them to actually make sense and clarify statements. Or, in the words of the authors via email, it is, “very much a conversation, not an agreement. Think of two cranky old rabbis having an argument about the right way to boil an egg and that, I suspect, would be closer to it!” says Lavie Tidhar. Shimon Adaf characterizes their interchanges as like “two Halacha students shouting over the status of an egg that has been laid during a holiday…”

The two generated this dialogue, and the accompanying stories, in the aftermath of both being too depressed about the events of the summer of 2014 and the war in Gaza to have much discussion on anything. Yet, ultimately, the sense of needing to respond to the world in which they found themselves got them to speak to each other about things that concerned them. Tidhar responded to this reporter’s query about what is “Jewish conversation” that he is “less a part of the conversation than the guy standing by the drinks cabinet at the party making rude comments about everyone else’s dancing.” His friend Adaf added to his comment, “But that guy has an immense role in the conversation. He drives it along. True conversation is not about agreements, but about speaking to each other while being open to the interruptions, misunderstandings and...

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A rare opportunity to put Jewish universalism on a pedestal

On this Holocaust Memorial Day, I’d like to seize the opportunity and honor the memory of my teacher, Auschwitz survivor Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold, by remembering an important lesson: A universal vision is an essential part of Jewish particularism.

By Rabbi Arik Ascherman

A day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed in Israel starting Wednesday evening, Israeli author and media personality Irit Linor published a rant on Facebook (Hebrew), apparently with Holocaust and Heroism Day (as it is known in Hebrew) on her mind. She wrote that she is completely particularistic and that she doesn’t have “any truck with universalistic values, because they say nothing to me.” She rejected any attempt to derive universal lessons from the Holocaust because, she stated, the Nazis hated Jews, not “the other” in general.

I agree that some abuse the Holocaust for their own ends, from those who accuse Israel of perpetrating a Holocaust against the Palestinians to those Israelis who exploit the Holocaust to perpetuate a worldview in which any criticism of Israel is an attempt to complete what the Nazis started. But the fact is that I will light seven memorial candles this evening, not just the usual six, in order to remember the million “others” who were murdered by the Nazis, along with six million Jews. My response to Linor is also an opportunity to honor the memory of my rabbi and teacher at Harvard Hillel, Ben-Zion Gold, z”l, a survivor of Auschwitz who died on April 16th.

When Irit Linor writes that “I don’t have any truck with universal values because they don’t say anything to me,” she is saying that that Jewish particularlism doesn’t speak to her either. That’s because a universal vision is an essential part of Jewish particularism. As careful as we must be about claiming “Judaism says,” Judaism clearly contains a balance (and yes, sometimes tension) between “universal values” and “particularism.” Isaiah and Micah’s prophesies about the end of days display this balance:

“1. But in the end of days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the Adonai’s house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow unto it. 2. And many nations shall go and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of Adonai, and to the house...

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Israel's forgotten heroes of the Red Army

This Holocaust Memorial Day, a group of young Russian-speaking Israelis is calling attention to the stories of their grandparents —  Soviet heroes who defeated the Nazis, living on the margins of Israeli society.

By Edi Zhensker and Berry Rosenberg

A lot of us stare at them and wonder: who are these elderly people who speak Russian? What are they wearing on their chest? Who gets so many medals? Many wonder whether it is some weird 90s fashion trend that these immigrants brought with them, and which they refuse to let go of. Others have a hard time pronouncing the word “veteran” and confuse it with “veterinarians,” which hurts them immensely.

The truth is that some of these elderly Russian-speaking people we often see on lined at the supermarket or at our health care clinics were actually combatants in tank, infantry and air force divisions of the Red Army who fought against the Nazis. Some of them bravely stood at the Blockade, the punishing siege the German army imposed on the city of Leningrad (today St. Petersburg), were forced to flee their homes in one of the biggest population transfers in history, “the evacuation,” and joined the partisans or survived the war in territory occupied by the Nazis in the Soviet Union. The Nazis annihilated around 90 percent of the Jews in that area. These veterans lost all their property, their friends and family on their way to the Allies’ victory in 1945.

Tens of thousands of them and their children immigrated to Israel over the years and settled here quietly, without us noticing. Most of them lived and still live in poverty and isolation. Some of them still live among us, utterly transparent, invisible. They are not part of the Israeli discourse, their stories of heroism and pride they carry with them are not part of the State of Israel’s narrative, despite their relevance to the end of World War II and the survival of the Jewish people.

One day a year, May 9, Victory Day over the Nazis, is their holiday. It is the day they emerge from their anonymity and isolation and feel historic pride, whether they were medics in the Red Army, or those who invaded Berlin. It is the day they wear their many medals from the war and go outside, to celebratory marches in the hearts of their cities, to tell their stories. They march...

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Qalandiya rashomon: Anatomy of an apparent murder in cold blood

Nobody knows what happened last week at Qalandiya checkpoint, where a Palestinian woman was killed together with her brother. And until police release the CCTV footage, nobody will.

By Alon-Lee Green

Last week, 23 year-old Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail and her 16-year-old brother, Ibrahim, were killed by Israeli forces while walking towards Qalandiya checkpoint, in the West Bank.

The wanton coverage the killing got in the Israeli media made it clear instantly that something wasn’t quite right – beyond the ongoing injustice of the occupation.

Following increasing pressure from MKs Zehava Galon (Meretz) and Dov Khenin and Ahmad Tibi (Joint List), as well as Local Call and Haaretz newspaper, the Ministry of Public Security was forced to admit that they were killed by outsourced security guards, employees of the security services company Civil Intelligence.

On Monday it was reported that following an internal investigation, the company vindicated the killers of any wrongdoing. However, one crucial detail was missing in the investigation: the CCTV footage that recorded the incident was never published, and never given to the company. It is still being withheld by police.

Regardless of the CCTV footage, the evidence adds up to paint a disconcerting picture. The police refusal to release the footage and the Civil Intelligence’s slapdash investigation points to one conclusion: That the brother and sister did not pose any danger.

Let’s unpack the facts as we know them:

The arrival at the checkpoint: Twenty-three-year-old Maram, a mother of two, was walking with her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim towards the Qalandiya checkpoint. The family said that she was on her way to receive medical treatment, and that was the first time she received permission to pass through the checkpoint.

The shooting: There are two partly complementary, partly contradictory versions. Police say that at some point Maram and Ibrahim were told to halt, but she started walking backwards and hurled a knife at them from a 15-20-meter distance (Maram apparently had quite impressive aiming skills). According to Palestinian eyewitnesses, Maram and Ibrahim were marching on the road, rather than the pedestrian lane, and were told in Hebrew to stop.

Once she was told to stop, both versions concur, she was shot by the security guards. Her brother – who at no stage was suspected of attempting to attack them – bent over to help her and was shot as well. All in all, Maram and Ibrahim took 15 bullets. The...

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What the Left can learn about anti-Semitism from Ken Livingstone

Why would the senior Labour member allow himself to be dragged into a debate about the Holocaust while his party is bending over backwards to fend off accusations that it is teeming with anti-Semites?

By Gilad Halpern

Ken Livingstone may not realize it, but he has done the progressive left a great service.

Livingstone, a veteran UK Labour Party politician and former mayor of London, was suspended from his party on Thursday for saying in a radio interview that Hitler was a Zionist. For his party, still reeling from a series of mini-scandals involving unsavory statements about Israel and the Jews, it was one borderline anti-Semitic remark too many.

Livingstone’s handling of the scandal that now bears his name is a textbook example of everything that’s wrong with the radical European left today. Because if you look at his initial comment, it was perhaps simplistic and crass, but not entirely mistaken.

“Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932,” he said, trying to defend fellow Labour MP Naz Shah who had herself been suspended for writing on Facebook that Israel should be relocated to the United States, “his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this was before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

This statement is riddled with inaccuracies: Hitler came to power in 1933, not 1932; Israel would not be established for another 16 years, and was then known as British-ruled Palestine; and most important, Hitler was already a murderous maniac in 1932. If he was ever sane, he went mad long before that.

But there’s an element of truth in what Livingstone said: although Hitler himself was most likely not a Zionist, the anti-Semitic European right of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the Nazi regime in its early phase, saw eye to eye with Zionism on where Europe’s Jews belonged — not in Europe.

Edouard Drumont, the godfather of French anti-Semitism, congratulated Theodor Herzl in his 1891 book Jewish France and suggested that Jews should be “sent back to Palestine.” It became an instant bestseller. In 1933, the German government and the Zionist Organization signed an agreement that facilitated the immigration of 50,000 German Jews to Palestine. And in 1934, a delegation led by SS officer Leopold Von Mildenstein visited Palestine to assess the feasibility of resettling Germany’s Jews in it. The coordinator of...

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