Friday, August 15, 2008

Nazi anti-Zionism and Jewish criminality

A post at the excellent Contested Terrain (there are other contested terrains in this world. Accept no substitute) points to a really interesting book chapter on Nazi representations of Zionism.
It looks at the transformation of antisemitic propaganda in the late 1940s, and observes the transition to an explicit language of anti-zionism. The multiple reasons for this shift are discussed, as well as the consequences. The analysis provides important historical material for thinking about the relationship between antisemitism and anti-zionism. It is from Michael Berkowitz’s book, The Crime of My Very Existence: Nazism and the Myth of Jewish Criminality, from the chapter “Re-Presenting Zionism as the Apex of Global Conspiracy.”
I still imagine that most of the really repugnant, leftist anti-Zionism has a more direct provenance in Stalinist Zionology, but I've probably underestimated the influence of the Nazis on anti-Zionism, especially on the right in Europe and among Arab/Muslim nationalists. Also, I imagine the stereotype of Jewish criminality has contributed significantly to the perception of Israel as a "criminal" state.

1 comment:

ro.ber.lin said...

What seems significant about this anti-zionist turn in Nazi antisemitism is the way in which it signifies a kind of de-racialization of antisemitism. Of course this had nothing to do with the practical reality of Nazi persecution of Jews, which was to be universal and all-encompassing. But this de-racialization or the transcendence of biological explanations in their propaganda, meant the production of a political antisemitism based on power conspiracies. Of course, such conspiracies could always be found present in modern european antisemitism about jewish control of the economy and whatnot, but the focus on zionists signified a kind of emancipation for antisemites. Not just from their persecution of jews to encompass other people and other political enemies, but to tie it to a seemingly political game of power politics. This was also helpful for Stalinists, as you mention.