Here are some of the press articles & letters arising out of the Never Again – For Anyone tour, beginning with a major piece on Dr Hajo Meyer in the prestigious Huffington Post An Ethical Tradition Betrayed.
The tour began in Scotland – the Glasgow Herald published Auschwitz survivor: ‘Israel acts like Nazis’ but not IJAN’s letter in response. The Jewish Chronicle, in one of a number of attacks on the meeting in the House of Commons on Holocaust Memorial Day, wrote Gaza ethnic cleansing talk attacked as ‘an appalling offence’, and did not publish our letter, nor would the Independent on Sunday publish Yael Kahn’s letter.
The Camden New Journal wrote a very positive article Auschwitz survivor, 86, takes on the protesters, as did Press TV Auschwitz survivor sees Nazi acts in Israel. The letters column of the Camden New Journal has carried more attacks, and more letters defending Dr Meyer. And finally East London Lines reported on the "controversial" Goldsmiths meeting Auschwitz survivor sees Nazi acts in Israel.
For a video of Dr Meyer’s speech on the tour, please click here. And for three of Dr Eid’s speeches, made especially for this tour, please click here & here & here. See more on the Never Again website.
Following the House of Commons meeting, a number of people who had offered testimony on the genocide of their communities, are continuing to work together. We met at a full-day meeting (no Zionists allowed!). From this came a collective process to challenge the exclusivity of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, and instead speak of genocide rather than holocaust; to make explicit the genocides and ethnic cleansings historically and today; and to confront Zionism and the many forms of racism we all face. We will soon be giving you a report of this effort, and asking for your input.
Please keep in touch.
Yours against Zionism,
Selma James, Sara Kershnar, Michael Kalmanovitz
January 27, 2010
I was 20 years old when Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet army 55 years ago. This occurred just in time because 10 months imprisonment in Auschwitz-Gleiwitz-1 had weakened me considerably. One needed a hell of a lot of luck in order to survive that long under the circumstances in that camp.
Two important components of luck were on my side. First, during my first years as a refugee kid in the Netherlands I had learned to be a locksmith. So during the very strong winter of ’44-’45 I worked in the warmth of a factory. Second, I had acquired a very good and completely trustworthy friend, called Jos. We helped each other as much as possible. The two of us did indeed survive.
Another aspect of my friendship with Jos was that in spite of — or better, due to — the extremely high number of people per square foot in such a camp, one felt extremely lonely. Because of our friendship, mutual help and absolute mutual trust we were not lonely. This was vital to our psychological survival.
Psychological survival is at least as important as physical survival. In fact, the Nazi concentration camps were their attempt to dehumanize us Jews. If a prisoner became part of the oppression system by being Kapo, the dehumanization would be successful. Obviously, the non-Jewish members of the oppression system were also no longer fully human. I realized there that anyb
It is a deep tragedy that in Israel this is not what one concludes from the experiences in Auschwitz. To the contrary, Auschwitz is elevated there into a new religion.
"In the beginning is Auschwitz," wrote Elie Wiesel. "Nothing should be compared to the Holocaust but everything must be related to it." This elevation has allowed it to be exploited for political ends. All that was once most valued in a rich and varied Jewish heritage — the centrality of the ethical tradition, for instance — disappears beside the Nazi attempt at annihilation. This Holocaust religion translates in the minds of many into the impossibility that Israel can do any wrong.
Auschwitz existed within history, not outside of it. The main lesson I learned there is simple: We Jews should never, ever become like our tormentors — not even to save our lives. Even at Auschwitz, I sensed that such a moral downfall would render my survival meaningless.
Like most German Jews, I was raised in a secular and humanist tradition that was more antagonistic than sympathetic towards the Zionist enterprise. Since 1967 it has become obvious that political Zionism has one monolithic aim: Maximum land in Palestine with a minimum of Palestinians on it. This aim is pursued with an inexcusable cruelty as demonstrated during the assault on Gaza. The cruelty is explicitly formulated in the Dahiye doctrine of the military and morally supported by the Holocaust religion.
I am pained by the parallels I observe between my experiences in Germany prior to 1939 and those suffered by Palestinians today. I cannot help but hear echoes of the Nazi mythos of "blood and soil" in the rhetoric of settler fundamentalism which claims a sacred right to all the lands of biblical Judea and Samaria. The various forms of collective punishment visited upon the Palestinian people — coerced ghettoization behind a "security wall"; the bulldozing of homes and destruction of fields; the bombing of schools, mosques, and government buildings; an economic blockade that deprives people of the water, food, medicine, education and the basic necessities for dignified survival — force me to recall the deprivations and humiliations that I experienced in my youth. This century-long process of oppression means unimaginable suffering for Palestinians.
It is not too late to learn a different lesson from Auschwitz. For example, in the last year, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network has become a means for many — including young Jews in the United States — to challenge the precepts of Zionism and support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Their goal, and mine, is to challenge the dispossession and exclusivity of a Jewish state, in their names and in mine. They understand the urgency of the classical Jewish concept of teshuvah, return from the wrong road. Further, they understand that the pursuit of justice and making ethically positive sense out of senseless suffering is not only part of an ancient Jewish interpretation and shaping of history, but is crucial for all of us in creating the world we want to live in, and to our moral survival.
Hajo Meyer is the author of The End of Judaism: An Ethical Tradition Betrayed.
Exclusive: Graeme Murray and Chris Watt
Published on 24 Jan 2010
One of the last remaining Auschwitz survivors has launched a blistering attack on Israel over its occupation of Palestine as he began a lecture tour of Scotland.
Dr Hajo Meyer, 86, who survived 10 months in the Nazi death camp, spoke out as his 10-day tour of the UK and Ireland – taking in three Scottish venues – got under way. His comments sparked a furious reaction from hardline Jewish lobby groups, with Dr Meyer branded an "anti-Semite" and accused of abusing his position as a Holocaust survivor.
Dr Meyer also attended hearings at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, where five pro-Palestine campaigners are accused of racially aggravated conduct after disrupting a concert by the Jerusalem Quartet at the city’s Queen’s Hall.
Speaking as his tour got under way, Dr Meyer said there were parallels between the treatment of Jews by Germans in the Second World War and the current treatment of Palestinians by Israelis.
He said: "The Israelis tried to dehumanise the Palestinians, just like the Nazis tried to dehumanise me. Nobody should dehumanise any other and those who try to dehumanise another are not human.
"It may be that Israel is not the most cruel country in the world … but one thing I know for sure is that Israel is the world champion in pretending to be civilised and cultured."
Dr Meyer was born in 1924 in Bielefeld, Germany. He was not allowed to attend school there after November 1938. He then fled to the Netherlands, alone. In 1944, after a year in the underground, he was caught by the Gestapo and survived 10 months at Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
He now lives in the Netherlands, and is the author of three books on Judaism, the Holocaust and Zionism.
Dr Meyer also insisted the definition of "anti-Semitic" had now changed, saying: "Formerly an anti-Semite was somebody who hated Jews because they were Jews and had a Jewish soul. But nowadays an anti-Semite is somebody who is hated by Jews."
A spokesman for the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, of which Dr Meyer is a member, said criticising Israel was "not the same" as criticising Jews.
Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign chairman and one of the five demonstrators facing charges when the court case continues in March, said: "Palestinians are happy to have him as an ally in their cause.
"Hajo knows that Israel has a long history of abusing the tragic history of the Holocaust in order to suppress legitimate criticism of its own crimes.
"Especially since Gaza, people are no longer taken in by their claim that anyone that criticises Israel is anti-Semitic."
Dr Meyer’s claims met with a furious reaction from pro-Israel groups, who branded him "a disgrace".
Jonathan Hoffman, co-vice-chairman of the Zionist Federation, said: "I shall be telling him he is abusing his status as a survivor, and I shall be telling him that if Israel had been created 10 years earlier, millions of lives might have been saved.
"Whether he is a survivor or not, to use Nazi comparisons in relation to Israel’s policies is anti-Semitic, unquestionably."
The tour was cynically timed, Mr Hoffman added, to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.
Dr Ezra Golombok, Scottish spokesman for the Isra
"This is a propaganda exercise by Mick Napier and his friends, and nothing more. It’s preposterous to compare Israel with Nazi tactics."
The lecture series, entitled Never Again – For Anyone, continues until January 30.
Letter to Editor
Response to article publish 24 January 2010: Auschwitz survivor: ‘Israel acts like Nazis‘ by Graeme Murray and Chris Watt
The comments on January 24th of Jonathon Hoffman, co-vice-chair of the Zionist Federation, are typical of the arrogance of the Zionist lobby. Who is Hoffman to deny the experience of Hajo Meyer-who survived all twelve years of the most horrific wave of anti-Semitism in history, including 10 months in Auschwitz? Who is he to give Mr Meyer lessons on anti-Semitism? Hoffman reveals the Zionist selective use of the Holocaust to further the interests of the State of Israel.
In fact, the Zionist collaboration with the Nazis to bolster the case for the State of Israel is well documented. An example of this is the Ha’avara treaty between the Nazi government and the Zionist leadership. The Nazis allowed only rich Zionists to take their money and families out of Germany. In exchange, they bought and shipped German machines to Palestine, thereby stimulating the German economy. A portion of the proceeds were deposited in bank accounts giving the Nazi government access to foreign currency. Zionists were key to breaking the international Jewish-led economic boycott of Germany.
Furthermore, the founding leadership of Israel made clear their contempt for the Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide; they had use only for the memory of their suffering. Historical records are full of statements by leading Zionists expressing concern that refugees — "useless human material" — would "poison" the new state of Israel and drain its resources.
Hajo is appalled at the use of his suffering to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Hajo is "human material" who was the Director of Research for the largest electronics multi-national corporation of Europe. Contrary to the condescending comment of Dr Ezra Golombok, Scottish spokesman for the Israel Information Office, that Hajo has got himself "into a situation he doesn’t understand," Hajo well knows the difference between Judaism and Zionism, between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel, and between a commitment to collective humanity and the political interests of an imperialist State.
The point of the comparison is not whether or not the Nazi genocide of Jews and of so many others is the same as the Israeli slow motion genocide of the Palestinians. It is that dehumanisation of a minority is possible only after the dominant group has first dehumanized itself through indoctrination, fear and propaganda. This opens the way for displacement or worse of others.
To summarize the words of IJAN member Hajo Meyer: the only way we see fit to honour the Nazi genocide of the Jews and others is to stop current genocide and state-directed mass murder, beginning in Palestine, in our name and against our collective humanity. We say never again, for anyone, anywhere.
Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE
By Martin Bright, 28 January 2010
Jewish and pro-Israeli organisations have attacked a talk given at the Houses of Parliament comparing Israeli action in Gaza to the Shoah suffering of Jews.
Chaired by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, it featured Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer and Palestinian activist Haidar Eid, on a speaking tour organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.
Dr Meyer spoke against "Nazi genocide of Jews to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the state of Israel" while Dr Eid spoke by via link from his Gaza home.
Organisers said they had invited communities to "remind us of their resistance to the mass taking of life, in this way honouring all resistance and undermining the racist Zionist view of Jewish exceptionalism".
The Zionist Federation said holding the event, Never again – for anyone, at Parliament on Holocaust Memorial Day was an "appalling offence" to the Jewish community.
Speaking beforehand, Mr Corbyn said the Shoah was an "appalling period in history which will never be forgotten", adding: "Hajo has survived and spent the rest of his life working and campaigning for justice for people all over the world. He has spoken out against the dehumanising effects of occupation very forcefully. Sadly, for much of this he has been condemned, which I regret." Gili Brenner of the ZF said: "The shameless abuse of freedom of speech to demonise Israel on a day which commemorates the biggest tragedy in human history crosses a dangerous line."
Jon Benjamin, Board of Deputies chief executive, said: "This latest attempt to exploit the most painful chapter in Jewish history in order to berate and demonise Israel is among the most despicable."
Dear Letters Editor,
We brought together Auschwitz survivor Dr Hajo Meyer and Palestinian activist Dr Haidar Eid (via live telephone link from Gaza) and speakers from communities that had suffered and resisted genocide and other forms of mass-murder: Armenian, Irish, Native American, Roma, Rwandan, and others. Our aim is to realise the expression: never again, for anyone, anywhere.
Yet Dr Meyer was insulted and attacked by the JC: Jonathan Hoffman calls Dr Meyer "the Amazing Dancing Bear" (January 24); your article headlines the meeting as "an appalling offence" (28 January); and at the meeting itself Zionists tried – and failed – to prevent Dr Meyer speaking. One Zionist gave the Nazi salute & shouted "Heil Hitler" as MPs had police remove him.
Typically, Zionists try to destroy anti-racist organizing because
Selma James, Michael Kalmanovitz
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Anne Karpf rightly says that "philo-Semitism is a form of anti-Semitism" ("Anti-Semitism is at the limits of irony", 7 February). I wonder how she would define abuse of Holocaust survivors and Jewish Rabbis in traditional Jewish garb if the attackers claim to support the rights of Jews?
This is not a hypothetical situation nor from decades ago, but an actual event in the House of Commons and of all days, on Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January 2010). A Jewish Auschwitz survivor was repeatedly shouted at and was stopped many times from speaking about Auschwitz. He and other Jews, including a Rabbi, were persistently attacked, in spite of repeated police warnings, until 4 of them were escorted out. One of the attackers made the Nazi salute and shouted the Nazi obscenity, "sieg heil". While not all the attackers were Christians, they were all Zionists, in fact, mostly Jews. The Jewish victims were all anti-Zionists.
As Anne Karpf rightly says "We should never be complacent about anti-Semitism" – should attacks like that on the 27 Jan 10 be exempted?
IT’S not often you meet a have-a-go hero, let alone three! I met spritely 86-year-old Dr Hajo Meyer, a survivor of the Nazi death-camps, at the House of Commons.
At a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony, Dr Meyer spoke about the Nazis and pleaded for an end to the war against Palestinians. Israel, he said, was "dehumanising the Palestinians as the Nazis tried to dehumanise me".
But when a dozen protesters tried breaking up the meeting, shouting pro-Israel slogans and hurling abuse at Dr Meyer, they met their match. The plucky professor – barely over 5ft – refused to back down. "I grew up under Hitler and lived through Auschwitz. I’m not scared of people like you," he told the burly protestors.
Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn, who helped organise the meeting, had to call the police and it took several officers to cart the men away. Minutes later we heard the voice of another hero. Speaking by telephone from Gaza, Dr Haider Eid reported how Israel’s blockade of the enclave has cut power and plunged its 1.3m people into darkness.
Because of the embargo families are in tents, orphans on the streets, food and medicines have dwindled, he said. But he wanted pay tribute to the tens of thousands of Jews trapped by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.
The meeting was chaired by Hampstead resident Selma James, 79 year-old widow of the black writer CLR James.
Published: 4 March 2010
I HAD the privilege of seeing Auschwitz survivor Dr Hajo Meyer’s courage in the face of the repeated attacks at the House of Commons meeting, and he certainly did not look like someone "wheeled out… who has been bamboozled…" (letter by Nicole Segre, February 25).
The attacks at Dr Meyer on the Holocaust Day event escalated until House of Commons police escorted out a Jewish Zionist official.
Then another heckler was escorted out by a policeman but, just when he passed next to us, mainly Jewish people, he shockingly waved his hand in the Nazi salute and shouted "sieg heil". By contrast, John Gulliver showed his humanity in his compassionate article about the keynote speaker 86-year-old Dr Meyer (February 4).
With dignity Dr Meyer watched the hateful hecklers, only to resume his coherent account of his personal experience and historical analysis.
Unfazed in the face of the Zionist attackers, he told the audience of the lessons on the Siege of Gaza to be learned from the Holocaust.
Dr Meyer’s talk was a special inspiration for me, being an Israeli, currently having regular contact with Gaza, and a daughter of parents who escaped Nazi Germany.
I find Dr Meyer’s lessons poignant, especially when I face denial and silence in spite of the evidence of the death, hunger and suffering caused by the merciless siege of Gaza imposed by Israel.
Published: 11 March 2010
THE treatment of Auschwitz survivor Dr Hajo Meyer by Zionist Jews comes as no surprise to people like me who have personally experienced the kind of thuggish behaviour they regularly indulge in.
As a Jewish person who has been on the receiving end of their threats and intimidation, I regard it as important for others to know that bullying and cowardice are their stock in trade. The only useful thing to take from their behaviour towards Dr Meyer is that it reveals once again their disdain for civility, the bankruptcy of their politics and the perversity of their claim to speak for the welfare of Jewish people whether they live in Israel or any place else.
Ivor Dembina, SE1
The True meaning of Never Again
Published: 18 March 2010
WE brought together Auschwitz survivor Dr Hajo Meyer and Palestinian activist Dr Haidar Eid, whom the Israeli blockade prevented from leaving Gaza but who addressed the meeting via live telephone link, (Letters, Yael Kahn, Holocaust survivor’s courage, March 4).
They were joined by speakers from communities who had also suffered and resisted genocide and other forms of mass murder: Armenian, Irish, Native American, the Atlantic slave trade, Roma, Rwandan, and others.
Our aim is to realise the true meaning of Never Again, not only for Jews but for anyone anywhere.
Why did Zionists attack Dr Meyer?
Why do they want Jewish people to be the exception?
It seems that this somehow excuses Israel’s exceptional brutality against Palestinians. How can we allow our history of suffering to hide and even be an excuse for the suffering of othe
Dr Meyer, whom Zionists have always failed to silence, knows the difference between Judaism and Zionism, between anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism and between commitment to collective humanity and commitment to the interests of an apartheid state.
Auschwitz survivor sees Nazi acts in Israel Wed, 27 Jan 2010 11:17:07 GMT
A Nazi death camp survivor slams Israel over its occupation of Palestine, drawing an analogy between the Israeli army’s indignations and the conduct of Nazi forces during World War II.
"The Israelis tried to dehumanize the Palestinians, just like the Nazis tried to dehumanize me," said Dr Hajo Meyer, 86, who survived 10 months in Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Poland.
"Nobody should dehumanize any other and those who try to dehumanize another are not human," he said at the beginning of his lecture in Scotland.
The octogenarian Holocaust survivor, who embarked on a 10-day tour of the UK and Ireland, called Israel "the world champion in pretending to be civilized and cultured."
The comments by Meyer have provoked a fresh outcry of "anti-Semitism" by hardline Jewish lobby groups.
However, Meyer, the Dutch-based author of three books on Judaism, the Holocaust and Zionism, dismissed "anti-Semite" labels hurled against him.
"Formerly an anti-Semite was somebody who hated Jews because they were Jews and had a Jewish soul. But nowadays an anti-Semite is somebody who is hated by Jews," he stated.
A spokesman for the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, of which Dr. Meyer is a member of, backed the remarks.
"Hajo knows that Israel has a long history of abusing the tragic history of the Holocaust in order to suppress legitimate criticism of its own crimes," said the spokesman.
Also see the video: R&R Interview Holocaust Survivor Hajo Meyer
Written by Adriane Scott-Kemp
An 86-year-old Holocaust survivor was heckled by pro-Israelis while giving a controversial talk on Wednesday night at Goldsmiths University in Lewisham.
Dr. Hajo Meyer delivered his talk, ‘The Misuse of the Holocaust for Political Purposes’, on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day .His criticisms of the Israeli government were met with aggression by two audience members, who shouted interruptions during talks by both Dr. Meyer and fellow speaker, Palestinian Journalist, Haidar Eid. They also held up signs with the word ‘lies’ written on them.
In 1944 Dr. Meyer spent 10 months in Auschwitz; the largest of the World War II concentration camps. He is now a published essayist based in the Netherlands, and is involved in campaigning for ending, what he views as, the occupation of Palestine. He is delivering a series of talks as part of a tour organised by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.
The Network’s Founder, Sarah Kershnar, claimed they had not been allowed to list any of the talks on the official Holocaust Memorial Trust website due to their position on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Ms.Kershnar said: "We tried three times and it wouldn’t go through."
She has launched a petition in response to the banning, but when EastLondonLines approached The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, they denied having received the submission from IJAN.
James Haywood, the Goldsmiths College student who organized the hosting of the talk for IJAN, said he believed it contributed an important perspective to the Memorial Day; "The talk we’re holding tonight is not conventional but its important to remember that racism in all its forms is bad."
Other East London line boroughs, Croydon and Hackney, hosted more traditional ‘Candle Lighting Events’ yesterday to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.