TEL AVIV – The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement doesn’t want “a better Israel, they want no Israel at all,” one of the world’s leading Holocaust experts told a London audience on Tuesday night.
Professor Yehuda Bauer, who teaches Holocaust Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, made his remarks during a panel alongside Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
“Now of course, they love Jews. Especially dead Jews. The ones who died in the Holocaust, they’re marvelous, they were terrific. Live Jews is something else,” Bauer said.
Bauer said anti-Zionism was nothing more than anti-Semitism.
“Anti-Zionism is a slogan, there’s nothing real behind it. It’s anti-Jewish, it’s anti-Semitic. They want to destroy the Jewish state; they want to destroy it because it’s a Jewish state. That means you are an anti-Semite.”
One day after a suspended Labour member repeated the claim that Adolf Hitler advocated Zionism, Bauer clarified the history of the Nazi party’s views towards the founding of a Jewish state.
He said: “The Nazi policy from 1933 when they reached power, was to get rid of the Jews of Germany.
“They did not yet plan the Holocaust. They wanted the Jews to emigrate and if they didn’t emigrate voluntarily, to expel them.
“The Zionist movement in Palestine at the time wanted to rescue these Jews. So they arrived at an agreement with the Nazi government that a certain number of Jews who had some wealth would be able to export some of their wealth – in goods – to Palestine, and thereby build up their own future and enable them to emigrate, which they otherwise would have had great difficulties doing due to the British policies in Palestine.
“The British government, in 1938-1939, agreed to the absorption in Britain of close to 10,000 Jewish children – the Kindertransport – from Germany, Austria and later from the occupied Czech lands until the outbreak of war.
“This was done with the agreement of the German government; they wanted to get rid of Jews, and the British wanted, at that point, to rescue children. Does that mean that the British and Nazi governments were in collusion?
“Anyone who says that, in this country or elsewhere, simply doesn’t know what they are talking about.”
The 90-year-old professor emeritus was brought to the UK by Yachad, a local organization that seeks to build support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among British Jews.
MP Siddiq, who is a Muslim, said it was a “an honor” to be in a dialogue with Bauer. Siddiq is the vice-chairwoman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism.
“I spoke with the preeminent scholar of the Holocaust on his background, his life’s work, and his views on contemporary anti-Semitism,” she later wrote on Facebook. “Specifically focusing on whether the nature of the Holocaust’s perpetrators could be described as ‘unique,’ and the Shoah’s legacy with regard to further genocides, Professor Bauer spoke to a transfixed, near-silent audience for the entire hour during which he replied to my questions. At 90 years old, his passion and conviction for articulating his views on these crucial issues remains undiminished.”