Why Ken Livingstone is wrong about Hitler and Zionism
Ken Livingstone’s comments on Hitler and Zionism created a justified outrage. His comments divorce the realities of Hitler’s antisemtism and Nazi violence. Hitler opposed the creation of a Jewish state in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf. Hitler’s antisemitic outlook owes in part to the writings of Henry Ford and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. His commitment to the conspiracy of a Jewish plot to rule the world prevented him from entertaining the idea of a single Jewish state. This became a meaningful way for the Nazis to dehumanize Jewish communities. Hitler obsession with the racist conspiracy of global Jewish influence germinated in Vienna. This grew in the 1920s when party ideologue Alfred Rosenberg introduced him to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Nazi Party had already published copies of the text in 1919. And by 1939, the party had published at least 23 versions of the text. So Livingstone’s point that Hitler “was supporting Zionism” is wrong. Nor did Israel exist in 1932. The conflation between Zionism, Israel and Hitler only serves to cause deep upset. Livingstone’s comment also divorces the complexities of Jewish thought in this era. Removed from the historical context of growing antisemitic [...]
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