Friday, 29 April 2016

A Stern Lesson In When Not to Be Too Bloody Clever For Your Own Good

Oh, for the love of...

Look, folks, it's very simple.  Rule Number 1; Never, ever, *ever* turn your back on Lynton Crosby until the ballots are in.

Let's get the basics out of the way first... 

Is Ken Livingstone a prize tool for blundering in with his bleedin' clown feet when he had no real need to do so?  Yes.

Is it worrying that the Labour Party can be blindsided by such an obvious bit of political opportunism (especially given the monumental effort Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has put into placating the Jewish communities of London)?  Absolutely.


Was Livingstone factually correct when he stated that Hitler considered repatriation of the European Jewish diaspora as a solution? Yes - unequivocally so.

Furthermore, it is a matter of undisputed historical record that the most globally-visible Zionist group in the inter-war years was Lehi, more colloquially known as the "Stern Gang" - and you can read about them here:

For the sake of argument, I'm not going to go into the matter of how Avraham Stern's group was notorious for levels of dogmatic brutality that would give today's IS a run for their money (and if we were to play Devil's Advocate, given the horrific abuse inflicted on the Jewish diaspora in the early 20th Century, that kind of response is unsurprising).

What I am going to do is draw your attention firstly to the second paragraph of the preamble of the Wiki article [n.b. I use Wikipedia only for ease of access for all - I leave the citations in place for that reason] :

Lehi initially sought an alliance with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, offering to fight alongside them against the British in return for the transfer of all Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe to Palestine.[2] Believing that Nazi Germany was a lesser enemy of the Jews than Britain, Lehi twice attempted to form an alliance with the Nazis.[2]
..and thence to the final paragraph of the section entitled "Founding Of Lehi" :

In 1940, the idea of the Final Solution was still "unthinkable", and Stern believed that Hitler wanted to make Germany judenrein through emigration, as opposed to extermination.[23][24]In December 1940, Lehi even contacted Germany with a proposal to aid German conquest in the Middle East in return for recognition of a Jewish state open to unlimited immigration.[23]
So let's get this straight - no matter what your political persuasions may be, no matter how you may feel about the actions of the state of Israel in this day and age and no matter what your own religion or ethnicity may be - it is a matter of historical fact that one of the most globally-visible groups of Zionists in the inter-war years and following at least twice (and as late as 1940) attempted to broker a deal with Hitler and the Nazis, offering military support in exchange for a recognised Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The Nazi response to these overtures is lost to posterity - possibly as a result of the Soviet sack of Berlin in 1945, or equally possibly as a result of the Nazis' own attempts to cover their tracks as the net closed in on them.  Avraham Stern died in 1942 (in the darkest of ironies, mere weeks after the Nazi High Command had outlined their plans for The Final Solution), and Lehi's alignment subsequently shifted towards support of Stalin's Soviet Union.

So why am I writing this now, after far too long vacillating and leaving half-written posts behind me?

I'm writing this because I believe firmly in my heart that as furious as I am with Ken Livingstone's failure to recognise a blindingly obvious political trap; as much as the attempts to dishonestly draw equivalence between disagreement with the actions of the Israeli state and anti-semitism drive me up the wall, and as much as I wish to damn Lynton Crosby to an eternity of torment despite my own agnosticism - none of those things matter as much as the following:

You do *not* get to rewrite or realign the historical record for the sake of political expediency and expect me to keep silent.

Yes, Livingstone should be considered a prize pillock for once again trying to be a bit too bloody clever for his own good.  Yes, he messed up the semantics and yes, bringing that bit of history up when there was no real need to do so was a titanic political miscalculation.

But that doesn't alter the fact that on the substance of the matter, he wasn't far wrong.