Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

Nazism, Zionism and ecology

Here is an article in Haaretz about the Nazis and the green movement quite astonishing in its obtuseness. It tries to tar modern concerns about impending ecological catastrophe with the Nazi obsession with caring for the German homeland. An Israeli historian Boaz Neumann provides a veneer of academic credibility to this nonsense.

Far more interesting is what Neumann alludes to but can’t fully grasp because he is blinded by his own ethnic nationalism, Zionism. Here, in the words of Haaretz, is his criticism of the Nazi approach to the environment:

The Nazi movement was conservative, rightist, radical and chauvinistic and it championed conservation of Germany’s natural environment rather than the world’s natural environment….

In practice, the Nazi regime destroyed the environment. The plans and preparations for the Second World War ‘made a mockery of any real attempt to protect the environment’. In the face of the catastrophe of that war, no benefit was derived from the Nazi regime’s green principles when one considers the systematic ‘scorched earth’ policy, the deliberate starvation techniques, the destruction of the lives of tens of millions of human beings and the murder of millions of other human beings. In the final analysis, as Neumann puts it, the Nazis ‘were always racists and militarists and were “red” in terms of the blood they spilled rather than “green”.’

Sound familiar? Israel was founded using very similar green principles: making the desert bloom, loving the land of Israel etc. Today, apart from a small Friends of the Earth movement in Israel, which upholds universal environmental principles, the dominant green movement in Israel is led by the most chauvinist settlers, whose children dress like 1960s hippies and who are the chief proponents in Israel of organic agriculture.

The reality is that Israeli “lovers of the land of Israel” have wrecked the environment, built walls and fences across it, dried up and polluted the rivers, made the land toxic, waged wars that have hugely damaged the natural environment etc. The Zionists used land to “territorialize identity”, as Neumann notes in relation to the Nazis but is oblivious to in relation to Zionism, creating “the perception that anyone who harms my territory and the sanctity of my natural habitat harms me”.

From the perspective of creating a territorial identity, it’s difficult to sum up Israel’s attitude to the indigenous inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians, better than Neumann does here talking about the Nazis and the Jews:

ecological order must be imposed on the relationship between the organism and its environment; thus, those who were ‘worthy’ must be allowed to remain in that environment or must be returned to it, while those who were ‘unworthy’ must be distanced from the ‘living space’, a term that has been irrevocably stained.

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