Holocaust inversion is the act of depicting Jews as Nazis, crypto-Nazis, or genocide perpetrators.
Holocaust inversion is a rhetorical tool used to portray Jews as morally equivalent (or worse) than Nazis. It’s often employed in discussions about Israel-Palestine and is frequently used by anti-Zionists. Holocaust inversion is a form of Holocaust denial. Why?
Holocaust denial is an antisemitic and anti-Roma conspiracy theory that asserts that the Holocaust is either a myth, an exaggeration, or a fabrication.
Holocaust denial takes many forms. Sometimes it’s outright denial that the Holocaust happened. Most often, though, it’s a distortion of established facts about the Holocaust. This is also known as Holocaust revisionism. Holocaust inversion is a form of Holocaust revisionism because: (1) Holocaust inversion depicts Jews as morally equivalent to Nazis. Jews can never be morally equivalent to Nazis because Nazis considered Jews, regardless of their political views, to be the inferior race; (2) Holocaust inversion minimizes the Holocaust, especially when the very existence of Israel is equated to the extermination of over 60% of European Jewry; (3) the vast majority of Holocaust survivors, historically, have ardently supported Jewish self-determination (i.e. Zionism), and equating Holocaust survivors with their oppressors is repugnant and antisemitic; (4) the Nazis persecuted *all* Jews, whether they considered themselves Zionists or not; and (5) the Arab leadership of Palestine actively collaborated with the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. For more on this, see my post NAZISM IN THE 1947-1949 ARAB-ISRAELI WAR.
Immediately following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, the Nazis contemplated a number of (increasingly violent and radical) “solutions” to the so-called “Jewish Question.” “The Jewish Question,” also known as the “Jewish Problem,” was a debate in the 19th and 20th centuries regarding the fate of European Jewry. Among the Nazis’ proposed “solutions” were expulsion and voluntary emigration.
The Nazis wasted no time in passing antisemitic legislation, including a boycott of Jewish businesses, and, between 1933-1938, a process known as “voluntary Aryanization” (which later became “mandatory Aryanization”) transferred Jewish businesses and assets to Germans. German Jews became increasingly desperate to flee, but no countries wanted to take in Jewish refugees, and this economic marginalization made emigration virtually impossible.
In 1933, Hanotea, a Jewish citrus company based in Netanya, Mandatory Palestine, negotiated an agreement with the Reich Economics Ministry. A number of blocked Jewish bank accounts would be unblocked on the condition that those funds were used to purchase German agricultural goods. The goods, along with the Jewish bank account owners, would then be transferred to Palestine.
In 1933, Eliezer Hoofein, the director of the Anglo-Palestine Bank, and the Reich Economics Ministry negotiated the Haavara Agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Jews fleeing persecution in Germany could use their assets to purchase German goods for export, thus salvaging their assets and facilitating emigration to Palestine under the immigrant investor visa, in spite of severe British antisemitic immigration restriction policies.
Between 1933-1937, $22,500,000 worth (in 1938 currency) of goods were exported to Jewish enterprises in Mandatory Palestine. Under the Haavara Agreement, some 60,000 German Jews were able to emigrate to Palestine, thus saving themselves from the horrors of the Holocaust.
Even so, the Haavara Agreement was met with staunch opposition, both among Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews. In response to the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses, Jews worldwide enacted a boycott on German goods themselves. The Haavara Agreement was not in line with the Jewish anti-German boycott, as the Jewish community in both Germany and Palestine would be purchasing German goods. German public opinion also opposed the agreement. The Haavara Agreement was dissolved after World War II broke out in 1939. Additionally, the 1939 British White Paper made Jewish emigration to Palestine virtually illegal (for more on this, see my post THE ZIONISTS & THE BRITISH: WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED).
The Haavara Agreement, though deeply controversial, ultimately saved the lives of some 60,000 German Jews.
EICHMANN IN PALESTINE
Another source of the erroneous claim that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis is Adolf Eichmann’s secret 1937 visit to Mandatory Palestine. Adolf Eichmann, the notorious murderer and later architect of the Nazi “Final Solution,” wanted to see if it would be “feasible” to deport the entirety of the German Jewish community to Palestine. Controversially, the visit was planned after a secret meeting in Berlin between Eichmann and Feivel Polkes, an unofficial representative to the Haganah (the precursor to the Israeli Defense Forces). In Polkes’ view, such a transfer would save the lives of the increasingly desperate German Jewish community. In Eichmann’s view, this could be a potential solution to Germany’s “Jewish Problem.”
Following his one day visit, during which Eichmann traveled undercover dressed as a journalist, Eichmann concluded that the economic situation for the Jews of Palestine was too dire for the plan to work. Additionally, he feared that transferring so many Jews out of Germany would result in the establishment of a Jewish state or entity in Palestine, something that the Nazis vehemently opposed.
In other words: no, neither Eichmann nor the Nazi regime were “Zionists” or even at all remotely supportive of Zionism. In fact, Hitler despised Zionism, unsurprisingly viewing it as a continuation of a broader Jewish conspiracy of world domination.
For a more complete post on Palestinian-Nazi collaboration in Mandatory Palestine, please see my post NAZISM IN THE 1947-1949 ARAB ISRAELI WAR.
In 1933, just two months after Hitler came to power, the leader of the Arab Higher Committee, Haj Amin al-Husseini, called the German consulate in Jerusalem, offering his congratulations. In November of 1933, the Nazis themselves revealed that they had established a direct contact with the Arab leadership in Palestine, with the hopes of “adapting the Nazi program” to the Holy Land.
In 1935, the Husseinis established the Palestinian Arab Party, modeled after the Nazi Party in Germany.
During the Great Arab Revolt (1936-1939), which culminated in various anti-Jewish massacres, the British quickly suspected Nazi involvement, noticing that the Arab rioters carried smuggled Nazi weaponry. The British also suspected the Germans of planning the 1938 pogrom in Tiberias, which resulted in the massacre of 19 Jews, including 11 children.
Right in the midst of World War II, the Nazis continued to arm the Arabs in Palestine. In addition to al-Husseini, other prominent Palestinian leaders working directly for the Nazis included Akram Zuaiter, Jamal Hussein, Fawzi al-Qawuqji, Mu’in al-Madi, Amin Tamimi, Abd al-Qader al-Husseini. In October of 1944, two of Husseini’s men aided the Nazis in a failed intelligence-gathering mission in Mandatory Palestine.
1939 WHITE PAPER
For more context on this topic, please see my post THE ZIONISTS & THE BRITISH: WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
In addition to the dissolution of the Haavara Agreement, in 1939, the British passed what is known as the 1939 White Paper, essentially putting the final nail on the coffin of Jewish refugee immigration to Palestine.
Among numerous restrictions on Palestine’s Jewish population, the White Paper also limited Jewish immigration to up to 75,000 people within a period of five years (keep in mind, once again, that Europe was on the brink of war and Jews, not just in Germany but elsewhere in Europe, were desperate to escape). The White Paper stated that any further immigration would be subject to the approval of the Arabs. Jews were no longer allowed to purchase Arab land except for 5 percent of the Mandate territory.
The Palestinian Arab leadership at the time rejected the White Paper on the basis that Jewish immigration was not restricted enough and that the White Paper did not “place [the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the leader of the Arab Higher Committee] at the helm of a future Palestinian state.” However, the average Palestinian Arab was satisfied with the terms.
Jews, on the other hand, rejected the White Paper.
The Jewish Agency for Palestine issued a statement saying that the British were denying Jews their rights in the “darkest hour of Jewish history.”
REDUCTIO AD HITLERUM
“Reductio ad Hitlerum,” meaning “reduction to Hitler” in Latin, is a form of association fallacy used to invalidate someone else’s position on the basis that Hitler or the Nazis held the same view. It’s also known as “playing the Nazi card.”
For example: say Bob is a vegetarian. So was Hitler. According to this association fallacy, Bob and Hitler are exactly the same on the basis that they’re both vegetarians.
The term “reductio ad Hitlerum” was coined by a German Jewish Holocaust refugee and University of Chicago professor named Leo Strauss in 1953, borrowing from the term “reductio ad absurdum” (“reduction to the absurd”). “Reductio ad Hitlerum” implies guilt by association and is used to derail arguments.
Equating Zionism to Nazism on the basis of the Haavara Agreement (or Eichmann’s visit to Palestine) is a form of “reductio ad Hitlerum.” After all, both the Zionists and the Nazis had an interest in getting Jews out of Germany; it just so happens that their motivations had absolutely nothing to do with each other, and as such, implying that the Zionists are just like Nazis is a blatant association fallacy.
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