Machover cites a Nazi as a reliable source against “the Zionists”

November 9, 2017 at 5:56 pm (anti-semitism, conspiracy theories, CPGB, fascism, history, labour party, Livingstone, posted by JD, zionism)

Moshe Machover’s expulsion from the Labour Party has been rescinded and he is once again a member. The expulsion was not due to the contents of the leaflet discussed below, and neither is his re-instatement. His expulsion was due to concerns about his relationship with the so-called ‘Labour Party Marxists’, the CPGB and the Weekly Worker paper: these concerns have now been cleared up.

Reinhard Heydrich
Above: Machover’s source

Dale Street comments on the leaflet:

Had it not been distributed as a leaflet at this year’s Labour Party conference, Moshe Machover’s article “Anti-Zionism Does Not Equal Anti-Semitism” would have been just another turgid and distasteful article which had found a natural home for itself in the pages of the Weekly Worker.

A longer version of the same article – entitled “Don’t Apologise – Attack” – had been published in the Weekly Worker four months earlier. According to that article:

• Anyone who thought that a retweet by Naz Shah MP – which had suggested that Israel (and, presumably, its population) should be relocated to the USA – “was anything but a piece of satire should have their head examined.”
• Jackie Walker “has been suspended for saying that there was not only a Jewish holocaust but also a black African one too.” (Wrong: that was not the reason for her suspension.)
• There was nothing antisemitic about NUS President Malia Bouattia describing Birmingham University as “something of a Zionist outpost”.
• Ken Livingstone was “certainly inaccurate” in having said that Hitler supported Zionism until he went mad. At the same time, “the point he was making was basically correct”.

The inclusion of a shorter version of the article in a “Labour Party Marxists” bulletin distributed at Labour Party conference rescued it from obscurity.

Overnight, Machover’s article became a cause célèbre for left antisemites (and antisemites in general).

Zionism is essentialised. Machover unceasingly refers to “the Zionists … the Zionists … the Zionists.” Unlike any other nationalism, Zionism is portrayed as a uniformly negative monolith.

Legitimate complaints about antisemitic arguments and ways of thinking are dismissed as a Zionist concoction: “And so the Zionists and their allies decided to launch the ‘Anti-Zionism equals Anti-Semitism’ campaign.”

This “campaign” is an international (cosmopolitan) one: “The whole campaign of equating opposition to Zionism with antisemitism has been carefully orchestrated with the help of the Israeli government and the far right in the United States.”

Antisemitism is defined in such a way that its existence in the labour movement can simply be denied as being of no account:

“The handful of people of the left who propagate a version of the ‘Protocols of Zion’ carry no weight and are without any intellectual foundation.”

Unlike others who share his current politics, Machover does not define Zionism as a form of antisemitism. But he does portray collusion with antisemitism as inherent in Zionism: “You can also attack Zionism because of its collusion and collaboration with antisemitism, including up to a point with Nazi Germany.”

This brings Machover round to the trope of Zionist-Nazi collaboration: “Let us now turn to the Zionist-Nazi connection. … The Zionists made overtures to the Nazi regime, so how did the Nazis respond? … In other words, a friendly mention of Zionism, indicating an area of basic agreement it shared with Nazism.”

The “friendly mention of Zionism” cited by Machover is a quote from an article written in 1935 by Reinhard Heydrich, published in the Das Schwarze Korps, the in-house magazine of the Nazi SS:

“National socialism has no intention of attacking the Jewish people in any way. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, so-called Zionism.”

Heydrich was a hardened antisemite from the early 1930s onwards. He was one of the architects of the Final Solution. Only a few months earlier he had made clear his attitude towards Jews in another article in Das Schwarze Korps:

“In order to preserve our people, we must be harsh in the face of our enemy, even at the cost of hurting an individual or being condemned as rabble-rousers by some probably well-meaning people. …

“If someone is our enemy, he is to be vanquished subjectively and without exception. If, for example, out of false compassion, every German should make an exception for ‘only one decent’ Jew or Freemason whom he knows, we would end up with 60 million such exceptions.”

Ten years before Heydrich’s article Hitler had already dismissed a Jewish state as “a central organisation for their (Jews’) world swindling … a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.”

Thus, to illustrate the “basic agreement” which Zionism supposedly shared with the Nazis, Machover quotes an architect of the Holocaust, from an article in the magazine of the organisation which played a leading role in carrying out the Holocaust.

It is not about supporting the Palestinians. Machover says explicitly: that’s not enough. You must also demonise “the Zionists” as an evil essence running through history to link Jews today back to the taint of the Nazis.


  1. Stephen Bellamy said,

    The whole point here is that Moshe was summarily expelled on safe grounds because McNicol et al did not have the balls to ” investigate” him for antisemitism. Now they don’t have the balls to stick with their summary dismissal, Anyone that thinks they have the balls to resume their “investigation” for antisemitism doubtless thinks that Hull City will win the Champions League sometime soon Moshe’s razor sharp mind backed up with sound legal representation, and a clear willingness to use it, would tear the pea brains of the LP compliance unit to shreds. McNicol is not the sharpest knife in the draw but he is not entirely stupid. He gets it.

  2. Moshé Machover, Labour Party Marxists, the ‘CPGB’: Dispelling some Myths. | Tendance Coatesy said,

    […] The full article is on Shiraz: Machover cites a Nazi as a reliable source against “the Zionists” […]

  3. Ben said,

    Machover is deteriorating. He used to quote the prophet Jeremiah in support of his arguments, today he is reduced to misquoting the war criminal Reinhard Heydrich.

  4. Eric said,

    Is it possible to just say that you disagree with the pamphlet but don’t support the witch hunt against him?

    • Jim Denham said,

      He’s been re-instated now, so that matter’s academic.

      • Eric said,

        You could easily see another case like it. Or one against all Trotskyists, including you.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Yes indeed, which is why I’m saying nothing about the original decision to expel.

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        Jim knows when to take cover. It is what I admire most about him.

  5. Eric said,

    …and I did not speak out

    • Jim Denham said,

      If I *had* spoken out on this occasion, you might not have liked it, Eric.

      Dale Street’s article is not about the expulsion of Machover, which is now dealt with, but the contents of his article/leaflet: want to comment on that?

      • Eric said,

        I’m not particularly interested in the details of the relationship between the Zionist movement and the Nazis in the 1930’s. It’s historical minutiae and it makes no political difference regarding anything today. However I take it as obvious that discussing it is not anti-semitic and that it’s obvious that socialists or indeed anyone of a democratic disposition should oppose witch hunts over such minor historical questions.

      • Eric said,

        You’re supposed to be diehard Bolshevik-Leninists holding firmly to your principles through thick and thin and yet you can’t make a simple principled stand like this from Bob From Brockley:
        “My conclusion, then, is that really there are no clearcut grounds for expelling Machover for antisemitism. But watching out antisemites on social media clamouring for his reinstatement and using the case to push more blatantly antisemitic forms of historical revisionism and conspiracy theory, I cannot, unlike the leader’s office,  feel glad that he is back in the party. In short, the party has probably made the right decision, but Machover is a poor choice for our solidarity.”

      • Jim Denham said,

        “I’m not particularly interested in the details of the relationship between the Zionist movement and the Nazis in the 1930’s. It’s historical minutiae and it makes no political difference regarding anything today”:

        what an extraordinary, racist, potentially antisemitic statement!

        It perhaps explains why you, Eric, can’t make a clear-cut statement on whether anti-Semitism is acceptable within the Labour Party: because you, yourself are an anti-Semite. Yes, I think you are.

  6. Glasgow Working Class said,

    I wonder what motivates those who continuously raise the subject of Jews, Israel, anti semitism and Zionism. Could it just be hatred? Is it Palestine or is that an excuse?

  7. Eric said,

    I think anti-semites should be expelled from the Labour Party and should be shunned in the broader movement. I’ve no problem with being clear cut here.

    I can’t see anything clear cut on anything from you Jim though.

    Are you actually saying that Moshe Machover is an anti-Semite or are you not? If you are why can’t you make a clear cut case for his expulsion? If you are not why can’t you make a clear cut case against his expulsion? Why all the smoke and mirrors? Why are you ducking this?

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      You could end up with no Labour Party if you expelled people you do not agree with.

  8. Eric said,

    By the way it’s very obvious that these historical questions make no difference.

    You can as per the AWL say that Israel has a right to exist and denying that right is anti-semitic regardless of the misdeeds of the Zionist movement in the 1930’s because Marxists support national liberation movements while criticising their bourgeois leadership all the time. For example the Kurdish nationalists in Syria have formed a military alliance with Assad but that does not diminish the justice of their cause. Why would one expect to be anything but disappointed in the bourgeois leadership of a national movement regardless of whether the movement’s aims are just.

    Or you can do the reverse. You can say that the alliance between the Zionist movement and the Nazis is a myth based on exaggerating the significance of various historical sources but that the Zionist movement itself should be opposed on an anti-colonial basis regardless

    The fact that you don’t realise that there is nothing to lose over this historical question if you are willing to stick to your principles shows how insecure you are on questions of principle. (A similar point should be made to Tony Greenstein who keeps banging on about this historical trivia.)

    • Jim Denham said,

      “You can as per the AWL say that Israel has a right to exist and denying that right is anti-semitic regardless of the misdeeds of the Zionist movement in the 1930″… eh, yes, Eric: that is, indeed what I say

      • Stephen Bellamy said,

        Jim this is not difficult. Even my sister’s pet canary’s retarded cousin grasps it.

        I mean is the following your view.

        Antisemites should be expelled from the LP

        Machover is an antisemite.

        Therefore Machover should be expelled from the LP

        Which of the premises do you not accept ?

        If none do you think that the conclusion of the syllogism does not follow from the premises ?

        Jim you are such a wimp

  9. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Israel knows that lefties and fascists want to wipe them out and that is why Israel will survive.
    Some Israelis in the past were a bit saft in the head with pretend socialism and all that crap but were woken up.
    Sorry all you clever lefties the Jews are not going for holidays in the back of your lorries. Ve got the message.

  10. Glasgow Working Class said,

    The Balfour Declaration assured the survival of the Jews in the Middle East. If the British had not defended their own interests in the Middle East then the Natzis and the Palestinians would have wiped out the Jews.
    What you say Bellamy?

  11. DeCerteau said,

    I wish to make one small point of logic. The use of particular sources may imply the orientation and direction of those using those sources – why are they accessing those sources; Why are they so keen to accept these sources as credible and so on? However, the point of origin of a source, data, a proposition or an observation, does not by defintion guarantee unreliability. The guilt by association argument in these cases is also suspect and has to be justified by other and more direct, logical and persuasive means.
    If a Nazi says ‘…it is raining’ and it is, in fact, raining; should we by definition disbelieve him or her? Stalin once asked for a cup of coffee, so every time you ask for a cup of coffeee, guess what? You are saying something that Stalin once said. Dear me…you bear watching!

    • Jim Denham, said,

      I think you’ve missed the point, DeCerteau: it would be quite possible for Machover to make his (rather banal) points about Zionism without quoting the main architect of the Final Solution – something calculated to offend and outrage the vast majority of Jews in the world. It was a deliberate provocation and act of attention-seeking – a conscious act of Jew-baiting by Machover and his anti-Semitic friends in the CPGB.

      Quite apart from the fact that Heydrich said many entirely contradictory things about Jews and Zionism – though who in their right mind denies the Nazis’ murderous intent towards *all* Jews, Zionist and non-Zionist alike?

      • Eric said,

        Difficult to take this argument seriously when you yourself have quoted Hitler!!

      • Stephen Bellamy said,


      • Jim Denham said,

        Eric: this may come as a surprise to you, but I think most people accept that what Hitler wrote about the Jews was fairly consistent and authoritative, and was backed up with action – unlike an out-of-context quote from Heydrich. If you cannot see that, there is, frankly, no hope.

  12. DeCerteau said,

    Agreed. My point was a general one related to getting at the truth, not a particular one about Heydrich in this case.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      You know the truth. The Nazis attempted to wipe out the Jews and your coffee routine could have been tea.

  13. Hound of Tindalos said,

    I notice some people are quoting Heydrich as a reliable source so as to attack Machover. Surely that would be anti-semitic?

  14. Eric said,

    Well it remains a reasonable question how consistent Hitler was – that’s what you call the “rather banal point about Zionism”. (And I agree it’s pretty banal.) But the point you raise is about quoting leading Nazis offends Jews not the accuracy of the historical record (which can be debated). And you’ve quoted Hitler. I’m struggling to take you seriously.

    • Jim Denham said,

      And as you don’t seem to understand an elementary point, you don’t deserve to be taken seriously, Eric.

      • Eric said,

        Your point seems to be that anyone who argues that the Nazis were not planning genocide of the Jews in the 1930s is an anti-Semite – although you seem to be flinching from saying this explicitly. This would make a lot of mainstream holocaust scholars anti-semites. Including the dean of holocaust studies – Raoul Hilburg.

        Again I recommend the course of sanity. Scholarly historical questions like these have nothing to do with anti-Zionism nevermind anti-Semitism. It’s standard practice for historians to quote leading Nazis when discussing what those Nazis thought. Sorry if that upsets you.

      • Jim Denham said,

        1/ Are you seriously suggesting that the Nazi’s *didn”t* have genocidal intentions towards the Jews in the 1930s? Seriously? If not, when did they start to think this way? After “Hitler went mad”? After the allies declared war?

        2/ What are the motives of people (like Livingstone and Machover) who semi-argue this within the British Labour movement? (I’d say it’s pretty obvious: Jew-baiting).

        NB: Adolf Hitler in 1922, told journalist Josef Hell, “Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews.”

  15. Eric said,

    1/ It’s a mainstream position among historians that the Nazi’s did not have genocidal intentions towards the Jews in the 1930s. Personally I’m no historian and I don’t take a position on it. But I recommend you read up on the subject. Try Destruction of the European Jews by Raoul Hilberg.

    2/ They don’t semi-argue it, they argue it. I don’t know what Livingstone’s motivation was but Machover is pretty clear – he thinks history of the Nazis in the 1930’s should not be a taboo subject.

    That you are taking a neutral stance over a witch hunt over a matter of historical record with no political consequences is truly shocking.

    • Jim Denham, said,

      It is most certainly *not* “mainstream” amongst (reputable) historians to deny the Nazis’ genocidal intentions in the 1930’s. It’s only “mainstream” amongst followers of David Irving: would that happen to include you, Eric?

  16. Eric said,

    Good god, have you just googled David Irving + Raul Hilberg in order to find something incriminating against the latter?

    • Jim Denham, said,

      Yes: and it was easy. Think on, Eric …

      • Eric said,

        Think on what? Hilberg was the most respected scholar on the Holocaust. Are you actually saying he was a denialist?

      • Jim Denham said,

        Stop digging, Eric. You’re embarrassing your friends.

  17. Eric said,

    Is that your version of a retraction? Are you still insinuating that Raul Hilberg was a Holocaust denier?

    • Jim Denham said,

      Not necessarily: just that his ambiguous formulations provide “evidence” for deniers like you.

      • Eric said,

        There is nothing ambiguous about Hilberg’s formulations. Stop pretending you know what you are talking about.

  18. Eric said,

    In all seriousness. Just read up on the subject. The Holocaust the lessons that can be drawn from it are important in their own right. The Destruction of the European Jews is generally regarded to be seminal. It’s not exactly functionalist either if that is still such a big heresy for you. I’m just recommending what anyone who knows anything about the subject would recommend.

    But in any case, you obviously aren’t competent to pronounce on this historical question, nevermind draw conclusions about supposed anti-Semitism.

    • Jim Denham said,

      If you can’t see and understand the ambiguity of what Hilberg writes, then you’re either a fool or (as I suspect) a revisionist and denier. Try reading Bracher, pages 318-319. Then get back to me.

      • Eric said,

        You’re just googling anything that attacks Hilberg now. Fine don’t read him and read Bracher instead. Just read something.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Stop digging is my advice, Eric.

  19. Eric said,

    You mean stop commenting or you’ll accuse me of being a Holocaust denier again. It’s fine. You can call me all the names under the sun. You can’t even decide if Raul Hilberg is a Holocaust denier or whether anti-semites should be expelled from the Labour Party. You name call because you lack conviction. But that’s no skin off my nose.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      You Eric seem to have an obcession with Jews and related matters.

  20. DeCerteau said,

    Eric is wrong and admits the reason for his error; he is not a historian and does not read history. He cannot therefore rely on comparative sources to arrive at a general and coherent view. He relies upon one historian who he seems attached to and perhaps on one book. The consensus is not that there was no intent to annihilate or’deal’ with the so-called Jewish question by ferociously violent means by the Nazis in the 30’s. The ideological content of their virulent anit-Semitism was and is, well documented. The consensus is that there was no coherent or agreed plan and no pre-arranged system of means for achieving that end. These only became possible later with the sweeping military victories that brought Jewish populations under Nazi control and concomitantly, made various sources of industrial scale human destruction possible. It is not a matter of functionalists versus intentional-ists, but rather the insight that fanatical political ideologies only lack the ‘real’ means to enact themselves, just as deranged fantasies must avoid the reality they feed upon or risk revealing the true content of their inner sadism; if the ‘real’ means are ever achieved, by overcoming social resistance, the results are always catastrophic. History confirms this, especially so in the case of the Nazis.

    • Eric said,

      Wrong about what? I take no position on this historical question. I’m not even interested in it. I just take the democratic view that socialists are free to debate it. Basic stuff.

      • Jim Denham said,

        ” I take no position on this historical question. I’m not even interested in it”: both those statements are patently untrue.

  21. Eric said,

    Not at all. I’m interested in why accusation of antisemitism are flying around and why socialists are not demonstrating elementary solidarity with each other. I’m really not interested in the debate about the 1930’s. I know enough about it to strongly suspect that both sides are being simplistic, but I have not done the adequate research to formulate my own view and I really have better things to do with my time. The disagreement you have with Machover is not the question. The question is why disagreement over a historical question of no political significance is not tolerated. Machover can have his view, you can have yours and maybe one of you will say something interesting.

    One thing I would note is that I bet Machover and his co-thinkers would defend you.

  22. wikifreaks disrael sniper1 said,

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