Tony Greenstein and the German Revisionist

By Paul Bogdanor

Tony Greenstein claims to be a lifelong opponent of racism and fascism. If others see him as a totalitarian thug and Holocaust falsifier, it must be because they are “rabid dogs” or “warmongers” who deserve to be killed.

In his purported struggle against racism and fascism, he once saw fit to defend an ally of the Holocaust denier David Irving. On another occasion, he made the monumental blunder of invoking the German revisionist Ernst Nolte.

Surely the self-proclaimed anti-racist and anti-fascist Greenstein has nothing in common with the Nazi apologist Nolte. Here is a brief comparison of their ideological positions.

– Both equate Zionism with Nazism.

Nolte asserted that “Zionists basically wanted something similar to the national socialists, namely to conquer and colonize a vital space.” Greenstein wrote that the Zionist “obsession with demography and purity of the national entity, was no different from that of the anti-Semitic movements whose activities led directly to the Holocaust” (Return Magazine, March 1990).

– Both blame Zionists for the Holocaust.

Nolte argued that the Nazis were “justified in treating the German Jews as prisoners of war” because the Zionists were on England’s side (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 24, 1980). Greenstein stated: “If it was the Nazis who pulled the trigger it was the Zionists who provided them with the alibi” (Zionism: Anti Semitism’s Twin in Jewish Garb, 1982).

– Both insinuate that the Holocaust has been exaggerated.

Nolte admitted to being “open minded” to the “small grain of truth” in “unorthodox” publications which deny the gas chambers. Greenstein assails “Zionist historians” who “wish to inflate the figures to match the 6 million symbol,” when “the movement they support did nothing at the time.”

– Both claim that Hitler founded Israel.

Nolte maintains “that in future historical perspective, Hitler will appear as the one who originated the State of Israel.” Greenstein declares: “It was the holocaust that made Zionism into a majority political current in the world and Israel represents Hitler’s triumph.”

– Both celebrate the Hitler-Stalin war while ignoring the Hitler-Stalin alliance.

Nolte portrays Nazism as the “strongest of all counter forces” to communism. Greenstein hails Stalin’s armed forces as the main obstacle to Hitler’s victory.

– Both identify Judaism with an ideology of genocide.

Nolte detected “a great affinity between Judaism and Bolshevism.” Greenstein described “the Jewish orthodox religion” as “the fount of the most virulent forms of racism,” discovered “solid foundations for these Judaeo-Nazi views in the Halachah” and condemned “the Nazi pronouncements of Jewish orthodoxy” (Return Magazine, March 1990).

– Both justify the destruction of Israel.

Nolte asked his readers to imagine that the PLO “were to succeed in destroying the nation of Israel,” which would be remembered as a “victory over racist, repressive, even Fascist Zionism” (FAZ, July 24, 1980). Greenstein calls for “the state of Israel to be destroyed.”

It would be quite wrong to equate Greenstein, the anti-Zionist, with Nolte, the German revisionist. There is a crucial difference.

To my knowledge, Nolte has yet to advocate the mass murder of American Jews. By contrast, Greenstein has announced that “If every staffer in AIPAC were to be vaporised tomorrow, alongside Bush, Blair and Cheney, I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep” because they are an “anti-Semitic caricature... determined to act out the lines prepared in the Protocols of Elders of Zion” (Alef discussion list, April 19, 2007).

In his use of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to justify a 9/11-style massacre of pro-Israel Jews, Greenstein is, I believe, in a class of his own.