A reply to those recasting Holocaust victims posthumously as enemies of Zionism

The most audacious claim in a Guardian letter refuting British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s Telegraph op-ed slamming anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism was that most Jews murdered by the Nazis were indifferent to or opposed Zionism.

Here’s the relevant passage in a May 10th Guardian letter signed by dozens of anti-Zionist Jews.

Mirvis attacks as “antisemitic” those who separate Judaism from Zionism. Yet most Jews who perished in the Holocaust were indifferent to Zionism and many opposed it. In the last municipal elections in Europe’s largest Jewish community, in Poland, just before the second world war, Poland’s Jews voted overwhelmingly for the secular, anti-Zionist, socialists of the Bund, while Zionist parties got derisory votes. Is Rabbi Mirvis recasting those victims of the Holocaust posthumously as enemies of Judaism and therefore as antisemites?

On May 12th, the Guardian published a masterful reply by the CST’s Dave Rich.

Your correspondents seeking to defend the Labour party from allegations of antisemitism disgrace themselves and their argument when they claim that “most Jews who perished in the Holocaust were indifferent to Zionism and many opposed it” (Letters, 11 May).

They simply do not know what the 6 million victims of Nazi antisemitism thought of Zionism. They do not know how many Polish Jews who voted for non-Zionist parties before the war changed their views as they were forced into ghettos and camps, starved and worked to death, shot into pits and herded into gas chambers. They do not know how many Jews might have been saved had Israel existed in the 1930s, nor how many survivors were grateful for Zionism after the war when Israel was the only country that would take them in.

They claim to speak for those who cannot, in order to fight their petty political battles. They may speak as Jews, but they show a stunning disregard for the sensibilities and sensitivities of their fellow Jews. They would be well advised not to repeat this claim.

 (Follow Dave Rich on Twitter, here)

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