Ken Livingstone’s Unwelcome Truths
by Gwydion M. Williams
“After Ken Livingstone was today suspended for a further year from the Labour Party as the result of a long delayed quasi-judicial process that was not in accord with natural justice, five Jewish Labour Party members, who gave evidence in support of Ken Livingstone at the hearing, issued the following statement:
“‘We are appalled by the decision to continue the suspension of Ken Livingstone.
“‘The case brought against Ken was not that he was antisemitic. Instead it was claimed that he upset a significant part of the UK’s Jewish population. This upset had been caused by his (accurate) statement that some Zionists and Hitler had wanted to get Jews out of Germany, and that prior to the War they reached a temporary agreement to help bring this about. The Zionist motivation was to increase the numbers of Jews going to Palestine.
“‘If a political party adopts the principle that it suspends every member that upsets some part of the population where would it all end? Labour should respect freedom of expression.
“‘The decision to continue the suspension of Ken is mistaken. It is an attempt to protect Israel from criticism, while simultaneously weakening the position of Jeremy Corbyn, a principled supporter of Palestinian rights.
“‘It is the verdict, not Ken Livingstone, that has brought the Labour Party into disrepute.’”[A]
Livingstone was attacked because he refused to let the very real sufferings of Jews during World War Two to be used as cover for Israel ignoring Palestinian rights and grabbing far more land than their fair share. And because he mentioned the awkward fact that Hitler was not against the idea of Jews recovering Palestine, if it got them out of Germany. But as usual, the mainstream media cast fog and darkness over ‘off-message facts’. They said that some historians have doubts, but didn’t say just what was in doubt.
All sorts of doubts exist over the Battle of Waterloo – was it won by Wellington, Blucher, or sheer luck? How many times did the French cavalry charge? But what cannot be doubted is that Napoleon lost. Likewise it is a solid truth that before World War Two, Hitler did work with Zionists to get as many Jews as possible out of Germany. This is detailed in many reliable sources, including an on-line Jewish encyclopaedia:
“HAAVARA, a company for the transfer of Jewish property from Nazi Germany to Palestine. The Trust and Transfer Office Haavara Ltd., was established in Tel Aviv, following an agreement with the German government in August 1933, to facilitate the emigration of Jews to Palestine by allowing the transfer of their capital in the form of German export goods. The Haavara Agreement is an instance where the question of Jewish rights, Zionist needs and individual rescue were in deep tension. Jewish organizations outside of Germany had declared a boycott against German goods and hoped to delegitimate the Nazi regime. The Zionists saw this agreement as a way of attracting Jews to Palestine and thus rescuing them from the Nazi universe even if that meant cooperation with Hitler. For a time the Nazi program of making Germany Judenrein [free of Jews] and the Zionist policy of seeking olim coincided.”[B]
You get complaints that non-Jews don’t take the Holocaust seriously enough. Myself, I take very seriously any slaughter of humans by other humans. One incident that stuck in my memory concerned some Jews who had been shipped to Siberia during the first Soviet occupation of Estonia. They thought they had been through a tough time, but then discovered that being removed from a future war zone and sent to Siberia was a lucky break:
“When we stopped in a small Hungarian town a group of local Jews came to the train to welcome us. When the women saw our children they could not believe their eyes. They all said ‘You still have children! Ours have all been killed by the Nazis.’ This was the first time we had come face to face with evidence of Nazi atrocities. We felt numb and all we could do was comfort these poor mothers. When the Soviet troops had told us about the Nazi atrocities and how the Nazis were exterminating Jews and other groups, we were certain it was Soviet propaganda and did not believe any of it. It seemed too horrific to be possible. Now we knew that something awful had happened.”[C]
Stalin had shipped about a million Jews out of the territories he occupied between the fall of Poland and the Nazi invasion. This gets left out of standard histories, following the standard rule that nothing good may be said about Stalin, even if it happens to be undeniably true.
There was also nothing accidental in Anna Frank and her sister dying while her father survived. They were in Auschwitz, but mass exterminations had stopped and the evidence was being hidden when the Soviet army came close. But they were among 8,000 Jewish women shipped at the expense of Germany’s war effort to Bergen-Belsen far to the west, which had previously been intended for Jews who might be exchanged for German prisoners of war.[D] As it happened, the Allies had no wish to exchange enemy soldiers for sickly Jews, so it became a place where natural deaths (partly from starvation diets) could be expected. That was what killed them.
You might think it would have been easier just to shoot Anna Frank and the other potential mothers of another generation of Jews. But real life is not like a Quentin Tarantino movie. Even the Nazis could not find many people ready to shoot a 15-year-old girl who was a prisoner and obviously helpless. Methods like gas chambers were used so that the guards did not have to see the eyes of the dying.
All of this is horrible stuff. But I refuse to see the Holocaust in isolation. I will not treat the slaughter of Jews with a high status in Europe’s 1930s racial hierarchy as different in kind from the slaughter of Serbs, Gypsies, and homosexuals of all ethnic backgrounds by the same Nazi death-machine. Or earlier of Native Americans and Australian Aboriginals.
Aboriginal Tasmanians were all shot or rounded up and they left behind no descendants. Thomas Huxley, noted biologist, aggressive publicist for Darwinism and inventor of the term ‘agnosticism, would have wished the same done to all Aboriginals:
“[Huxley] had fewer kind thoughts about Australia’s ‘hopelessly irreclaimable savages’… Australia’s nomads were blind to the Victorian ideas of private property, free-trade and Piccadilly fashion. His squatter’s morality was evidence; his final solution smugly horrifying. Their ‘elimination … from the earth’s surface can be viewed only with satisfaction, as the removal of a great blot from the escutcheon of our common humanity, by all those who know them as they are, and are not to be misled by the maudlin philanthropy of ‘aborigines’ friends.”[E]
Reworded to apply to Jews, this could pass as one of Hitler’s more extreme remarks.
The death of at least one million Irish in the 1840s Potato Famine was also just as much a moral offence as Hitler’s genocide. At the time, the global hegemony of the British Empire was not remotely under threat. British domination of global manufacturing had reached its peak, but very few saw prospects of a decline. (Friedrich Engels was one, noting that British manufacturers never bothered to learn foreign tastes, expecting them to share English tastes).
Even more shockingly, and unlike Hitler’s Germany where the Allied sea blockade threatened the same sort of starvation that defeated them in World War One, Ireland produced more than it needed to feed itself. But the surplus was exported for profit, and not all Britons regretted the decline even of a population that was racially acceptable. Irish were classed as slightly inferior to Scots, themselves ‘a little lower than the English’ in the mainstream English view. But Catholic Irish in Ireland had also been resistant to the ‘Victorian ideas of private property, free-trade’. Out in the wider Empire, they apparently became part of an English-dominated white community.
The Irish have perhaps been too forgiving: there was no outcry when a 1993 history of The Economist magazine endorsed the magazine’s decision back then to support the painful death of unwanted Irish in the interests of Free Trade.[F]
Though Concentration Camps were foreshadowed by Spain’s failed bid to prevent Cuban independence, they first shocked the world and then became normalised in the shape of the mass imprisonment of non-combatant South Africans that helped Britain win the Boer War. There was no deliberate killing, but there was a very high death rate.
And what of conspiracies? Anyone can get suspected. In my book Adam Smith: Wealth Without Nations,[G] I made the unexpected discovery that modern Conspiracy Theories were begun by a man close to both Adam Smith and James Watt, though Smith and his friends thought that the poor man had gone insane:
“Watt was influenced in his efforts to improve the steam engine by a fellow called John Robison. And Robison was also the originator and inventor of the modern conspiracy theory. Robison wrote a book full of paranoid fears, identifying a conspiracy of Illuminati within Freemasonry as the cause of the French Revolution.
“Robison’s notion of an Illuminati / Masonic conspiracy was later reworked to include Jews. He himself was quite unconcerned by Europe’s Jewish minority, saying nothing either for or against them. He probably saw it as a matter of no importance, there were few Jews in Scotland. Nor have Jews ever gained much prominence in Britain’s Celtic Fringes, where there are a lots of energetic and well-educated Welsh, Scots or Irish to fill the social roles that Jews often share in the prosperous Metropolitan centres.
“Jews and Scots had a rather similar position within the rich and rising English society, except that the Scots as Protestants had a very definite advantage. They had their own state institutions and they could also sit in Parliament and take government jobs.”[H]
Elsewhere I had written about how genocide and ideas of ‘race cleansing’ were widespread in Britain and the USA, though Jews were normally tolerated as an eccentric and sometimes disliked minority within the White Master Race. There is a lot of this in Science Fiction.[I] John Wyndham’s SF novels have been described as ‘Cosy Catastrophes’:[J] what gets overlooked is the ‘Cosy Genocide’ in several of them. I was particularly struck by the ending of The Chrysalids, in which we follow a group of persecuted telepaths born among normal humans. A community of telepaths with superior technology rescue them: splendid. But then we learn that they have casually slaughtered the pursuing ‘normals’, and in the long run plan to exterminate every last one of them.
I don’t think Wyndham had anything against Jews. In The Midwich Cuckoos, the suicide-bomber hero who wipes out the New Humans and saves ‘normals’ is called Zellaby, which sounds Jewish. He was a typical British racist of the era. Meantime Edgar Rice Burroughs as a typical US racist seemed to dislike Jews and has a lot of them as villains, but shows no signs of wishing them all dead. Burroughs’ mediocre Venus series includes a parody of the Nazis, with whom he had quarrelled over his gross misrepresentation in one of his Tarzan books of the achievements of General Lettow-Vorbeck in East Africa. But it also has another Venusian culture who have carried through a brutal extermination of the inferior elements in their own race, and are seen as very admirable.
Then there is Jack London’s The Unparalleled Invasion,[K] in which an expansionist China is attacked with germ warfare and all Chinese exterminated. You also find a certain sympathy for fascism in Olaf Stapleton’s Star Maker. In another fantasy called Odd John, the superior humans hypnotise an island population into committing suicide so as to have their island without disturbance. They also contemplate exterminating the ‘normals’ of the rest of the world, but decide not after concluding that it would ruin their ‘spiritual development’.
For some reason my original study left out The Marching Morons by Cyril Kornbluth.[L] Written in 1951 and set several hundred years in Earth’s future, it follows Burroughs and others in approving of superior humans exterminating inferiors. An unscrupulous individual revived from suspended animation in our time copies Nazi tactics by persuading the ‘morons’ they will be resettled, in this case on Venus. What makes this particularly bizarre is that Kornbluth himself was of Polish-Jewish descent. And it was highly popular, winning an award in 1965.
The point I am making is that the mass killing of several million defenceless Jews by Hitler was an extreme within a much wider process. It was only the big shift leftwards after World War Two that shifted global attitudes on race and many other matters.[M] The New Right would like to pretend it never happened. Their bitter enemies in the Trotskyist and pro-Moscow Communist movement unintentionally helped them by saying as little as possible about the very real advances made by the West in the 1950s and 1960s. They also vigorously sabotaged a possible further socialist advance via incomes policy and workers control in the 1970s, believing that this would allow them to advance to ‘real socialism’.
Sadly, the New Right were the main gainers. And a New Right / Zionist hybrid emerged that includes significant numbers of Jews. A minority of Jews strongly oppose this monstrosity, but many more accept it as some sort of grim necessity. A caricature of Nazism and a pretence that World War Two was an heroic anglosphere crusade against Nazi evils is part of the propaganda.
The different stages in Nazi hostility to Jews get mixed up. They had the fixed racist notion that both Jews and Gypsies did not belong in Europe and were a threat just by existing. This was not different in principle from the White Racist notion of racial segregation against non-whites, but only a few places like Imperial Spain had classed Jews among the Inferior Races. Nazi rules against Jews were modelled on those applied against Afro-Americans in the US South. Many Southern Whites wanted blacks returned to Africa: this had also been Abraham Lincoln’s policy. After World War Two it was applied very extensively as Apartheid in South Africa, which did not stop Britain and the USA being friendly to them. South Africa tried to push its entire non-white population into Bantustans. Nazi Germany before the war made life as tough as possible for German Jews, trying to persuade them to emigrate.
It was only after the British Empire and French Empire chose to declare war after Hitler’s invasion of Poland that the Nazis switched to forced deportation of Jews. The idea of mass extermination was also floated during the early years of the war. Extermination only became a covert official policy after the Wannsee Conference of 20 January 1942. Significantly, this was after Hitler had declared war on the USA and there were no neutrals he would have cared about.
Roosevelt could not declare war without a majority in Congress, and many in Congress wanted no war against Germany until they found that Hitler had unwisely declared it. But Roosevelt had provoked him by doing everything he legally could to support the British Empire’s continuing war.
Would there have been mass extermination of Jews and other Nazi targets, if Britain had not continued the war after the Fall of France? Most historians like to say yes, to keep the guilt entirely Nazi. But there is plenty of scope for doubt.
If the Nazi policy of resettling Jews in Eastern Poland was sincere and would have been continued had the war ended in 1940, then the allied cause does not look so virtuous. Obviously the main guilt was Nazi: they chose to practice mass killing even at the expense of their war effort. But the mass killing mostly happened when the Nazis knew they might lose the war. The Soviet Union had not fallen quickly, as both the Nazi leadership and Germany’s generals had expected. In December 1941 there was a Soviet counter-offensive that pushed them back and removed the immediate threat to Moscow.
The Nazis must have realised that if Germany lost, any Jews they had resettled in the East would return to their old homes. Some survivors did do just that. But because there had been mass killings, those still alive usually moved on, mostly to Israel.
An offer by the Allies for a negotiated peace if the Old Right threw out the Nazis might have saved millions of lives, many of them Jewish. But the Allied war was basically against Germany. Churchill was one of many on the Centre-Right who had approved of Italian Fascism.[N]
Jews and other minorities (including Gypsies and homosexuals) were victims of a global struggle in which the British Empire and the USA showed a complete lack of interest in the fate of Jews who were not their citizens. Technically all of us were only ‘British subjects’ until much later: but Jews in English-speaking countries were accepted as part of the White Race and had far more rights than Afro-Americans or non-white British subjects. The entire Anglosphere would not then accept non-white officers even to command non-white troops: Jews could and did become normal commissioned officers. But the dominant centre-right attitude was that while some Jews were OK, a majority were bad news. No more foreign Jews were wanted:
“[Air Minister Lord] Londonderry’s evident belief in the international power of Jewry as compounded by what followed: ‘As I told you, I have no great affection for the Jews. It is possible to trace their participation in most of those international disturbances which have created so much havoc in different countries,’ though he added that it was possible to ‘find many Jews strongly ranged on the other side who have done their best with the wealth at their disposal, and also by their influence to counteract those malevolent and mischievous activities of fellow Jews.
“Londonderry was certainly not a racial anti-Semite in the Nazi sense. There is no inkling in his extensive papers and correspondence of obsessive or pervasive hatred of Jews. Lord and Lady Londonderry had numerous Jewish friends and colleagues.”[O]
These were not marginal cranks: “A pillar of the Conservative Party, Londonderry, socially and politically, could scarcely have been better connected. The King called him ‘Charley’. Members of the royal family were frequently guests in his London mansion. The political establishment dined regularly at his table… Londonderry was on first-name terms with all the major political figures of the day.”[P]
Cooperation by what was then a very weak Zionist movement should be seen in the context of massive collaboration of people who were much stronger than Hitler until they let him arm and expand. Ken Livingstone might say this, as a gesture of reconciliation now we have a General Election immanent. But the fact of Nazi-Zionist cooperation remains a fact, and must be insisted upon.
Copyright © Gwydion M. Williams
[C] Sekules, Edith. Surviving the Nazis, Exile and Siberia. Vallentine Mitchell, London. Page 120.
[E] Desmond, Allen. Huxley: From Devil’s Disciple to Evolution’s High Priest. Penguin Books 1997. Page 144.
[H] Available online, https://gwydionwilliams.com/40-britain/the-original-conspiracy-theory/.
[O] Kershaw, Ian. Making Friends With Hitler. Allen Lane (Penguin Books) 2004. Ibid., Page 146.
[P] Ibid., Page xv.