The Transfer Agreement Hardcover – 1 Sep 1999
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Black believes that the Transfer Agreement was a concession granted by the Nazis in their first year of power to blunt a world-wide boycott of German exports that threatened to topple the regime. A kind of "alternative market" was created in Palestine to keep the Germany economy afloat.
With this deal, the Zionists helped save Hitler's regime, to the outrage of American and Palestinian Jews.
According to Edwin Black's "Introduction to the 1984 edition" fiery debates instantly ignited in the pre-War Jewish world when rumours of the pact leaked out, and the same debates took place again when Black's book came out in 1983.
Black remained a passionate Zionist despite what he discovered.
I was puzzled, intrigued, and astonished by it's contents.
I was puzzled because I couldn't really work out the motivation for the author to write the book in the first place.
I think it is important to point out that Edwin Black is no 'friend of Palestinians', he is a 'hard-core' zionist.
Straight and simple.
Early on in the book he describes the Palestinians as the inhabitants of a 'sandy swampy wasteland' and makes it very clear that in emigrating to the land of historic Palestine, in his opinion, the Jews 'civilised and cultivated' what was essentially a barren land, a sparsely populated land peopled with pockets of rather primitive nomads.
In his view the arrival of the Jewish settlers saved a rural backwater from self imposed oblivion.
The reality of course is that the Palestinian people enjoyed a vibrant culture and the land of Palestine was peopled by a patchwork of Palestinian cities, towns and villages not unlike the English countryside is today, and it was a culture who's roots stretched back thousands of years to the land of the Caananites.
Jewish people formed an integrated (tiny) minority (in numerical terms) in Palestine around 1900, unfortunately the coming zionist invasion was to 'turn the place upside down' over the coming decades.
Black's view is reminiscent of the (totally discredited) Joan Peters book 'From Time Immemorial' in his portrayal of Palestine as being a 'land without people' destined to fulfil the hopes and dreams of 'a people without land'.
I realise that by saying this I am perhaps in danger of discrediting the rest of the book, however the main theme of the book is 'checkable' and the information it refers to, is closely cross-referenced and irrefutable.
The point I am making is that, since Edwin Black is clearly such a zealous zionist, I find it hard to understand why he wrote it !!?
Perhaps the answer to my question lays somewhere in the fact that Black conveys the typical 'assumption of superiority' articulated by Gilad Atzmon in his book, 'The Wandering Who ?'
No-one who isn't Jewish really seems to count for very much in Edwin Black's view of the world.
Perhaps he feels that we are all just a bit too dumb to appreciate the enormous implications of what he has uncovered.
I am astonished at the information he gives about the true nature of thinking of the zionist movement (with regard to their own Jewish people).
I am even more astonished at the little stir this has caused in literary (and historical) circles since it was written in the 1980's ?
As early as the 10th International Zionist Congress meeting at Basle in Switzerland in 1911, Herzl's deputy Max Nordau apparently predicted that growing political forces in Europe 'could' result in the deaths of millions of Jews and went on to advise that, should the movement be faced with such a situation they should grasp the nettle, accept it and use the event as a way of securing pressure to secure their state.
What one needs to understand is how, in the early days of the zionist movement, the very real difference between 'Jews' and 'zionist Jews' was marked.
Many ordinary Jews had little or no interest in zionism, simultaneously zionist Jews increasingly saw the great mass of the Jewish population as merely 'pawns in their game' of securing a Jewish state in Palestine.
Very often expressing open contempt for the great mass of the Jewish people.
If it were deemed necessary that large numbers of ordinary Jews should be sacrificed as part of the process of securing their 'Jewish state' then so be it.
The bulk of the Jewish population were seen as 'expendable statistics', the object of the exercise was to secure the Jewish state and to do whatever it took to achieve this.
So right from before Hitler came to power, the international zionist movement either knowingly or sometimes inadvertently, helped engineer the direction that things would take over the coming years in terms of the fate of their fellow Jews in Europe.
This is a far cry from the narrative we have been routinely fed since the Second World War that the Jews in Europe were simply helpless victims of planned nazi tyranny.
I firmly believe that this is the real reason why there is a form of 'prohibition' on examining the details of the 'Holocaust story'.
Zionism (a Jewish movement) actually had a large hand in the suffering of the Jewish people during the nazi era in Europe.
I believe that this is precisely why this whole area needs to be opened up to enquiry, just like any other historical event.
I read this book in conjunction with The Joel Brand Story', and ' The Unheeded Cry' by Abraham Fuchs (The latter is the story of Rabbi Weissmandl's attempts to rescue some 1000000 plus Jews from the nazi regime in Eastern Europe)
Both accused the International Zionist Movement of not cooperating with their rescue attempts and thereby abandoning their own people to their fate.
When I visited Budapest earlier this year, I took the tour of the Synagogue (I had never been in a synagogue before) and attempted to engage the guide (in a polite way) about the Joel Brand story.
She wasn't interested, in fact she didn't really want to talk about him, she kept changing the subject.
I don't think he deserves such treatment.
Fuchs ironically received 'the Nordau prize' for one of his works on the Holocaust.
I also have 'The Destruction of the European Jews' by Raoul Hilberg (though I haven't read all of it !) and Hilberg openly admits that 'no-one really knows' precisely how many Jewish people died during the Holocaust period.
He feels that it 'could' have been as many as 6 million, but it could have been a good deal less.
I think it would be a much healthier state of affairs if young people were taught some of all of this (especially young Jewish people) rather than the black and white 'Jews as perennial victims of non-Jews' narrative we have all been fed for so long (the essence of the 'Victim Culture' and 'identity politics' ?).
The Transfer Agreement is not an easy book but it, and some of these other publications, really ought to have had more impact.
Perhaps people prefer the 'caricature', perhaps they prefer to 'keep it simple' ?
Perhaps that is why they prefer to look away when the civilian population of Gaza is blitzed for the umpteenth time ?
In 1933 when Hitler ascended to power, there was a furious reaction from both Jews and the labour movement world-wide. Although, contrary to popular opinion today, the Nazis had not come to power on the basis of anti-semitism, indeed they had played this down since 1925 and certainly 1930, anti-semitism fulfilled a vital function within the Nazi Party - essentially keeping the rabble rousers of the brown shirted SA happy. This was their `anti-capitalism'.
Almost Hitler's first act was to pass the Law for the Restoration of a Professional Civil Service on April 7th, which stipulated that non-Aryan, i.e. Jewish civil servants were to be dismissed. This only intensified the impetus behind a Boycott of all German goods.
But the Zionist Organisation was determined to save as much as it could of German Jewry's estimated $5 billion wealth. The Jews themselves were not so important but they wished to lay their hands on as much as possible in order to build their `Jewish State'.
Black, citing the New York Times, notes that Germany's economy was highly export dependent and `the volume of German goods sold abroad was already dangerously low. Germany simply could not stand further reductions.' The Boycott, also served the aims of a significant portion of non-Jewish business abroad, for whom Germany had been a traditional competitor, and thus `anti-Nazism' served as a good ideological pretext for boycott. [Black p.34]
At the very time when German's economy was extremely susceptible and the new Nazi leaders were petrified of a Jewish inspired boycott, the Zionists stepped into the breach with their transfer agreement. Jews emigrating abroad had to liquidate their wealth into a frozen account. German goods would be ordered in Palestine and paid for from this account. Those goods would be sold in Palestine and the proceeds given to the emigrant. In practice, after various Nazi and Zionist deductions, the emigrant would be lucky to see 10% in cash terms of their original wealth.
But the Nazis could say that if the Jews were trading with them, what objections could anyone else have? Haavara met with a furious reaction from world Jews who accused them of being scab agents for German goods. Some 60% of capital investment in Palestine from 1933-39 was from Nazi Germany! So fierce was the reaction, even among their own supporters, that the Zionists denied at the 1933 World Congress knowing anything about the agreement (which the Nazis had conveniently leaked). In 1935 the 19th Congress at Lucerne approved Haavara.
So fearful of boycott were the Nazis [Even ardent Zionist academic Francis Nicosia admits that `Clearly the boycott generated considerable fear in Berlin about its potential for severely disrupting the government's economic policies.' [Zionist and anti-semitism in Nazi Germany, pp. 83-4, 2008,]
that on March 25th Goring summoned the leaders of the 3 major Jewish orgnaisations in Germany to a meeting and instructed them to go to London and New York to say that they opposed boycott. [Black p.36] The Zionists got themselves invited to the meeting and volunteered to use their world-wide organisation to oppose the boycott. Most German Jews were opposed to Zionist and Zionism was a middle-class cult.
The Zionists defend Haavara by saying it was a means of rescuing German Jews but according to David Yisraeli [The Third Reich and the Transfer Agreement, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 6, No. 2. (1971), pp. 129-148.] only 37% of Jews between 1932 and 1937, who went to Palestine, used haavara. (p.139). Since numbers of German Jews going to Palestine increased after 1937, becoming a majority of Palestine's Jewish immigrants in 1939, at the same time that haavara had declined from 31m RM of goods in 1937 to little more than 8m in 1939, one can assume that Haavara played less and less part in Jewish emigration to Palestine and it is doubtful whether more than 25% of emigrants used the Haavara mechanism.
But Haavara had served its purpose. It had broken the anti-Nazi boycott of Germany. It was the only method by which German Jews had been protected from anti-semitic violence. As Black notes, despite the fact that the Boycott had `forced the Third Reich to vigilantly restrain anti-Jewish violence in Germany'. [Black p.372] the Zionists had preferred building their state to protecting Germany's Jews.
This is an important book highlighting one particular example of where Zionism, given the choice between the Jews and the Jewish State prefers the latter.
The author, Edwin Black, is anything but neutral. The book is very coloured by the authors own (jewish) identity and worldview, and the political agenda (pro-zionism) he supports.
5 stars for topic, 4 stars for prose, 3 stars for scholarship, 1 star for authors fairness in presenting the subject.
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