Golda Meier Saw the Future

During the lead-up to the Eichmann trial, Attorney General and chief prosecutor Gideon Hausner was bombarded by requests from Ben Gurion and his cabinet as to how the case ought to be tried and framed. Though she wasn’t much listened to, Golda Meier proved to be the most far-sighted of all, providing politically shrewd advice that showed she was keeping her eye on the prize about how the Holocaust could be used on behalf of the State of Israel:

  1. Don’t go after the Allies for not doing enough for the Jews during the war;
  2. Link the Nazis to the Mufti and to the Arab states that harbored Nazis (never mind Germany or the US); and
  3. Above all else, connect the plight of the Jews to that of black Africans suffering under colonial and/or racist rule.

You got to hand it to her: she saw the future.


  1. J. Otto Pohl December 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm | #

    1. I have seen lots of Zionists attack the Allies on this matter. They seem to have ignored her advice.

    2. This I see a lot and it ignores a number of things most notably the very large number of Arabs including Palestinians who fought against the Axis during WWII.

    3. This doesn’t fly in reality given Israel’s close alliance with France during the Algerian Revolution and later alliance with the apartheid regime in South Africa. Take a look at how African refugees are treated in Israel today. The claim that no Jew could ever be racist because Jews were victims of racism at one time in Europe does not match with Israeli reality. Anti-Black racism has been very much tied up in Israeli policy as the reverse of Arab-African solidarity.

  2. BillR December 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm | #

    Any idea on who the Nazis harbored by Arab regimes were? One name that’s often brought up is Otto Skorzeny who trained Egyptian soldiers during the 50s. What’s often left out is that he was part of a much larger network of ex-Nazis working for the CIA (google “Gehlen organization” and “Operation Paperclip”). The number of ex-Nazis who ended up working for Arab regimes is probably at least 2-3 orders of magnitude less than the number that ended up gainfully employed all over North and South America. This ranged from assembly-line workers to pundits and statesmen like Albert Speer, Wernher von Braun, Kurt Waldheim, etc. (check out a recent book, ‘The Nazis Next Door’ by Eric Lichtblau).

    The notion that Nazism was a popular ideology in the Arab world is not borne out by any evidence. Israeli scholars have gone through the entire WWII newspaper archive of Arab societies with a fine-toothed comb and not turned up anything. Gilber Achcar addressed this issue in his recent book “Arabs and the Holocaust”:

    The role of al-Hussaini has been “grossly exaggerated”, Achcar argues in his book. As example he cites the Holocaust Encyclopaedia published by the Yad Vashem Memorial, which devotes to the Mufti of Jerusalem the second-longest article after Hitler, as though he had borne direct responsibility for the Holocaust. “The Holocaust”, Freitag adds, “is a German crime. It is the crime neither of the Arabs nor of others.”…[T]he number of Arabs who joined forces with Nazi troops amounted to no more than 6,000 men. There were however some 9,000 Palestinians who fought alongside the British, as well as about a quarter of a million Moroccans who joined the French in battling the Nazis: “Despite these facts, books are still published in all languages that try to convince us that the Arabs were Nazi sympathisers. That is libel,” Achcar states.

    Max Blumenthal has also written of the Mufti fetish:

    ndeed, the only image of a Palestinian in all of Yad Vashem (at least that I am aware of) is of the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, who was forced by the British to flee to Germany, where he became a (not very successful) Nazi collaborator. In recent years, the Mufti has become a key fixture of Israeli propaganda efforts against the Palestinians. As such, a photo is featured prominently on a wall in Yad Vashem depicting him sig heiling a group of Nazi troops. However, there is no mention anywhere in Yad Vashem of the 9000 Palestinian Arabs the British recruited to fight the Nazis, or of the 233,000 North African volunteers who fought and died while battling the Nazis in the French Liberation Army (and whose heroic efforts were dramatized in the excellent film, Days of Glory).
    According to Peter Novick, the author of The Holocaust in American Life, though the Mufti played no significant part in the Holocaust, he plays a “starring role” in Yad Vashem’s Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. “The article on the Mufti is more than twice as long as the articles on Goebbels and Goring, longer than the articles on Himmler and Heydrich combined, longer than the article on Eichmann — of all the biographical articles, it is exceeded in length, but only slightly, by the entry for Hitler.”

    Also, regarding linking up with black suffering, other than a few sad cases like that of Bayard Rustin, who felt shunned from the mainstream Civil Rights movement because of his sexuality, there were hardly any notable leaders who gave anything other than qualified support to any Zionist cause. This despite heroic efforts at coming up with hoaxes such as the widely cited ‘Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend’ supposedly written by Martin Luther King.

    • BillR December 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm | #

      Incidentally, Lichtblau’s book on Nazis officially rehabilitated in the US also has details on how CIA and State Department officials were worried about how their involvement in things like the “rat line” and Operations like Paperclip might come up at the Eichmann trial, although it appears in keeping with political instincts outlined by Golda Meir, the Israelis were obliging enough to keep a lid on such things so long as they could gain access to advanced weaponry from US for the first time such as Hawk missiles and JFK used the phrase “special relationship” (formerly used only in regard to UK) with Israel in a meeting with Meir. Formerly Nazi assetts such as a man who worked directly under Adolf Eichmann in the office of Jewish Affairs and whose wartime record was passed off as “relatively innocuous” by his CIA handlers to allow him to become a US citizen were often warned to keep a low profile (lest they be abducted off the streets of New York) and to not angle for high-profile government positions (in the State Department in one case that would inevitably result in greater public exposure overseas). A truly disturbing book and one that as a reviewer at noted, he literally could not think of in anything like objective terms for weeks before he sat down to write his review.

      Also, very disturbing trends in Southern and Eastern Europe as former Nazi collaborators are openly and officialy being praised (Ukraine and Hungary being the worst cases, the latter’s leader referred to, for once rightly, as a “neofascist dictator” by John McCain a couple of weeks ago on the Senate floor). But, this is happening in Western Europe also, 95%+ of whose citizens have never known anything other than democracy and free press. In Italy and France, Fascists and their collaborators are often “praised with faint damnation” even by the very highest office holders of the state, e.g. Prime Minister (Berlusconi) and Foreign Minister (Fini) in the case of Italy.

  3. s. wallerstein December 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm | #

    The selling of Israel in the early 60’s should be studied by all those interested in successful propaganda with a leftie touch.

    Anyone who hasn’t should see or resee the movie Exodus (1960). Director Otto Preminger got until then black-listed scriptwriter Dalton Trumbo to do the script, which features a great scene, worthy of an Eisenstein movie on the Russian Revolution, of the oppressed Jews, all Holocaust survivors, all in rags, unshaven if male and without make-up if female, deciding collectively that they, the wretched of the earth, will defy the mighty British Empire. It’s heart-warming if you’re unaware (as many people were in 1960) of the existence of the Palestinian people.

    How the Israeli colonialists managed to portray themselves as the oppressed underdog is worthy of study.

    • J. Otto Pohl December 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm | #

      But, Frantz Fanon who coined the term “Wretched of the Earth” was undoubtedly aware that the Israelis were closely allied with France specifically because of the French colonial occupation of Algeria. The French saw Egypt as a main supporter of the FLN and Israel as an important counterweight to Nasser. The Egyptians were certainly aware of the Palestinians. Sure American and European Leftists who had a long history of anti-Arab and anti-African racism heavily supported Israel in 1960. But, in the colonial and post-colonial world the position of Israel as being aligned with European colonialism from at least the 1956 attack on Suez was well known.

      • s. wallerstein December 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm | #

        I have no doubt that Franz Fanon was aware that Israel was and is a colonial state, although it is interesting that Jean Paul Sartre, who even wrote a preface to Wretched of the Earth, who supported the FLN in Algeria and who is a good example of a 1960 leftwing European intellectual always supported Israel.

        However, my point is not what the effect of the movie Exodus was on Franz Fanon and people of his level of awareness, but of how it convinced many, including a 14 year-old boy, me, that Israel was an eternal underdog. I have a friend of my age, here in Chile, later to become a committed socialist revolutionary, who after seeing the movie Exodus, went to a rabbi, asking to be converted to Judaism. That same identification with the underdog that led him to want to convert to Judaism, a few years later led him to dedicate his life to socialism, suffering exile and having to go through the experience of having his nephew burned alive by the army during the Pinochet dictatorship.

      • lazycat1984 December 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm | #

        The Israelis certainly got swept up in the realpolitik of the day. So much for their specialness

      • BillR December 23, 2014 at 10:23 pm | #

        Sartre’s blind spot toward Israel was noted by a fan of him, Edward Said:

        For my generation he has always been one of the great intellectual heroes of the 20th century, a man whose insight and intellectual gifts were at the service of nearly every progressive cause of our time. Yet he seemed neither infallible nor prophetic. On the contrary, one admired Sartre for the efforts he made to understand situations and, when necessary, to offer solidarity to political causes. He was never condescending or evasive, even if he was given to error and overstatement. Nearly everything he wrote is interesting for its sheer audacity, its freedom (even its freedom to be verbose) and its generosity of spirit.

        There is one obvious exception…

        The account of his encounter with Sartre is available in its entirety in the 1 June 2000 edition of London Review of Books.

        Sartre also spoke about his sentimental blind spot toward Israel in him during his conversations with John Gerassi which appeared under the title ‘Talking with Sartre: Conversations and Debates’ about 5 years ago. Chomsky has also spoken of how curious it was that an otherwise uncompromisingly anti-colonial intellectual like Sartre was at the same time capable of giving leeway and then some to Israel.

      • s. wallerstein December 24, 2014 at 8:21 am | #

        With Sartre, it’s partially a generational thing. Foucault referred to Sartre as a man of the 19th century trying to understand the 20th century and even if that is not the case, Sartre probably never got over the enthusiasm for Zionism found in his book, Anti-Semite and Jew, first published in 1946 even before the founding of Israel.

        Sartre is at least a solid generation older than Said and Chomsky.

        In addition, Sartre was very close to Zionist apologist Claude Lanzmann (De Beauvoir was even closer) and finally, to Zionist
        Benny Levy aka Pierre Victor and friendships counted for Sartre.

        Sartre is probably a less consistent thinker than Chomsky, although not a lesser one.

      • BillR December 24, 2014 at 9:44 am | #

        yes, it’s largely a generational thing. Although, there were honorable exceptions in the case of both Sartre and Foucault’s generations–Jean Genet and Jacques Deleuze to name just two mentioned in Said’s article.

        Another writer, whose own generation is one step removed from that of Chomsky, Foucault, etc., and who has written of the generational divide in opinion of the Jewish state is Norman Finkelstein. RealNews has just put up the first segment of a 5 part interview of him by Paul Jay on youtube.

      • s. wallerstein December 24, 2014 at 9:50 am | #

        Thanks. I’ll take a look at what Finkelstein has to say.

  4. BillR December 25, 2014 at 5:07 pm | #

    One thing Golda and politicos of the Labor Party of that era (which conducted all the ethnic cleansing, carried out clever foreign image projection, and ruled over the “ethnocracy” for its first 30 years) might not have foreseen was the rise of the likes of Danny Danon, Eli Yishai, and Miri Regev (Africans are a “cancer”) who are getting ready for their expected rise to power in 3 months:

    Veteran “Middle East hands” in the Foreign Policy establishment are wringing their hands over the upcoming election and rise of these “Volkish” rabble-rousers, but the Israeli “silent majority” seems paralyzed and incapable of resisting the state’s “isolation from the world of democracies”:

    The employment of “shock and awe” military assaults against civilian populations, medical facilities, schools and public infrastructure, as well as UN and foreign NGO facilities,–presumably meant to intimidate Palestinian civilians, and as the American army says, “demonstrate resolve”–provided few if any positive gains and contributed to that foreign political discredit that drives the Israel Boycott Movement. They generated what the Israelis insist on describing as anti-Semitism but is in fact hostility to Israeli violations of international law by its settlement policies and military actions rather than by any hostility to the Jewish people. There is a difference.

    These policies have combined with the insolent defiance of Israel’s most important allies, the United States and the West Europeans, to create a situation–now approaching its climax in the Israeli national election in March, and the American presidential and legislative elections in 2016–that threatens for Israel total isolation from the world of democracies–or as the leader of the Labor Party, Isaac Herzog, has recently said, “an abyss.” They surely lead towards still another war, in which it will have arrogantly discarded all of its friends.

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