JANUARY 3, 2006
Scholar / Public Intellectual
"Zionism in the Age of Dictators
Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis"
More About: LENNI
was born into an Orthodox Jewish family. He became an atheist at 10, and a
left political activist at 15, in 1952. His involvement with the Black civil
rights movement began on his first day in the organized left, when he met
Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality, later the organizer of the "freedom
rides" of the early 60s. He was active in the mid 50s with Bayard Rustin,
later the organizer of Martin Luther King's 1963 "I had a dream" March on
He was arrested 3 times during civil rights sit-ins in the San Francisco Bay
Area. He spent 39 months in prison when a court revoked his probation for
marijuana possession, because of his activities during the Berkeley Free
Movement at the University of California in 1964.
Immediately on imprisonment, he spent 4 days in intense discussion with Huey
Newton, later founder of the Black Panther Party, who he encountered in the
court holding tank. Subsequently, upon release, he worked with Kathy Cleaver.
More recently, in the 90s, he and Panther cofounder Bobby Seale defended their
activities during the 60s on Morton Downey's TV show.
He was an antiwar activist from the 1st days of the Vietnam war, speaking
frequently at rallies in the Bay Area. In 1963 he organized the Committee for
Narcotic Reform in Berkeley. In 1968 he co-founded the National Association
Irish Justice, the American affiliate of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights
He worked with Kwame Ture (AKA Stokely Carmichael), the legendary "Black
Power" leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in the
against Zionism and Racism, from 1985 until Ture's death in 1998.
Brenner is the author of 4 books:
* Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
* The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir
* Jews in America Today
* The Lesser Evil, a study of the Democratic Party
His books have been favorably reviewed in 11 languages by prominent
publications, including the London Times, The London Review of Books, Moscow's
Izvestia and the Jerusalem Post.
He has written over 100 articles for many publications, including New York's
Amsterdam News, the Anderson Valley Advertiser, The Atlanta Constitution,
CounterPunch, The Jewish Guardian, The Nation, The Washington Report on Middle
East Affairs, Middle East Policy, Middle East International, The Journal of
Palestine Studies, The New Statesman of London, Al-Fajr in Jerusalem and
In 2002 he edited 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis, which
contains complete translations of many of the documents quoted in Zionism in
the Age of the Dictators and The Iron Wall.
In 2004 he edited Jefferson & Madison On Separation of Church and State:
Writings on Religion and Secularism.
By and about Lenni Brenner:
The Demographics of American Jews
"My People are American. My Time is Today."
Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
London Times review of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir
51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis
Edward Said: Palestine's Loss is America's Loss
Lenni Brenner, "Anti-Semitism, Old and New,"
in Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair (Editors),
The Politics Of Anti-Semitism, AK Press, (10/03).
Gal and Gottschalk: Beyond Survival and Philanthropy: American Jewry and
Reviewed by Lenni Brenner
Michael Lerner and the Workers World Party:
The Ranting Rabbi Doesn't Speak for All Anti-War Jews
The Road Forward for the Palestinian Movement
The Anti-Defamation League's National Director is Crazy like a Foxman
Catch-Up on the Sociology of American Zionism
"Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics": The ADL's 1995 Audit of Anti-Semitic
The Forward Is Backward: New York's Unclassifiable Jewish Weekly
U.S. Jewish Establishment and Zionism, Not Jews, Feel Crisis
"Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Make Mad":
The Millions More Movement and Zionism
Biography as Wish-Fulfillment: Jefferson, Hitchens and Atheism
Breaking the Chains of Monkish Ignorance and Superstition:
Jefferson, God and the Fourth of July
Board of Deputies of British Jews:
"Pragmatic" Nazi-Zionist Collaboration was OK
The Plot to Stigmatize "51 Documents" on Amazon.com
The Tsunami, Religion, Science and Our Politicians
The Nation: The antiwar movement's friendly enemy
Jefferson & Madison on Separation of Church and State:
Writings on Religion and Secularism
Equality and Rights of Return:
Thomas Jefferson Instructs the New York Times
Christlike Kerry Roams Spiritual Universe
Happy Birthday, James Madison!
The Anti-Clerical Father of the Bill of Rights
Dean Hits the Demagoguery Pedal...Hard
God and the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party
"The Mass of Mankind Has Not Been Born with Saddles on Their Backs":
Jefferson is for Today
The Prison Barber Who Loved Aeschylus "Next"...a Prison Tale
Lessons for 2004: The 1964 Berkeley Free Speech Movement
When Cattle Unite, Lions Go Hungry:
Whatever Happened to the Last Radical in Berkeley to Take Off His Tie?
Renaissance Noir: Caravaggio at the Met
How Dylan Found His Voice:
Big Joe Williams, the East Village, Peyote and the Forging of Dylan's Art
John Brown and Dutch Bill:
Thin Is In, But Fat Was Where It Was At
Watson and Holmes in Afghanistan
Colin Powell the Owl: On Afghanistan and von Clausewitz
Review, 7 June 1999, of Ben Rathbun,
The Point Man: Irving Brown and the deadly post-1945 struggle for Europe and
Paper Trail: The New York Times From Mussolini to Gore
Life and Death of a Folk Hero: Dave Van Ronk
Fighting Bush with Only One Hand
Edward Mortimer, "Contradiction, collusion and controversy,"
The Times (London), 2/11/84.
Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
by Lenni Brenner
Who told a Berlin audience in March 1912 that "each country can absorb only a
limited number of Jews, if she doesn't want disorders in her stomach. Germany
already has too many Jews"?
No, not Adolf Hitler but Chaim Weizmann, later president of the World Zionist
Organization and later still the first president of the state of Israel.
And where might you find the following assertion, originally composed in 1917
but republished as late as 1936:
"The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically
and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the
harness of social obligation, knows no order nor discipline"?
Not in Der Sturmer but in the organ of the Zionist youth organization,
As the above quoted statement reveals, Zionism itself encouraged and
exploited self-hatred in the Diaspora.
It started from the assumption that anti-Semitism was inevitable and even in
a sense justified so long as Jews were outside the land of Israel.
It is true that only an extreme lunatic fringe of Zionism went so far as to
offer to join the war on Germany's side in 1941, in the hope of establishing
"the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound
a treaty with the German Reich." Unfortunately this was the group which the
present Prime Minister of Israel chose to join.
That fact gives an extra edge of topicality to what would in any case be a
highly controversial study of the Zionist record in the heyday of European
fascism by Lenni Brenner, an American Trotskyist writer who happens also to be
Jewish. It is short (250 pages), crisp and carefully documented. Mr Brenner is
able to cite numerous cases where Zionists collaborated with anti-Semitic
regimes, including Hitler's; he is careful also to put on record the
such policies within the Zionist movement.
In retrospect these activities have been defended as a distasteful but
necessary expedient to save Jewish lives.
But Brenner shows that most of the time this aim was secondary. The Zionist
leaders wanted to help young, skilled and able-bodied Jews to emigrate to
Palestine. They were never in the forefront of the struggle against fascism in
That in no way absolves the wartime Allies for their callous refusal to make
any serious effort to save European Jewry. As Brenner says, "Britain must be
condemned for abandoning the Jews of Europe"; but, "it is not for the Zionists
to do it."
(Note: Edward Mortimer is now Director of Communications,
Executive Office of the Secretary General, United Nations.)
Politica Internazionale, (Italy), Spring 1985
The Iron Wall, Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir
This book is a historical document of Zionist revisionism seen in the light
also of the personal vicissitudes of its inventor and major interpreter. The
author, a Jewish-American historian, does not conceal his dislike for
revisionism. Yet he tries to understand and explain its internal dynamics. The
is, undoubtedly, satisfactory.
The inclusion in the book, at the side of Jabotinsky and Begin, of Shamir,
whose historical role is decidedly secondary is perplexing. Obviously the
felt the need to find a representative and a leader for today's (and
yesterday's) revisionism. Particularly interesting and penetrating appears the
part, that devoted to Jabotinsky. The biographical data, apart from
facilitating reading, are warranted by the historic importance which is
attributed to the
character of the personage. In this sense, the socio-cultural humus of his
childhood is of basic importance. But his personal vicissitudes, including his
family misfortunes, are also useful.
Revisionism ends up by being presented almost as an outcome of Jabotinsky's
anti-communism. And it is precisely from his anti-communism that one has to
start to understand the contradictions of his practical action and of his
ideology. One thinks, for instance, of his open-mindedness in the choice of
alliances, which brought Herzl's noted attitude to paroxysm. Jabotinsky
the early twenties, alliances with the white Ukrainians, led by Slavinsky,
namely the slaughterers of tens of thousands of Jews. As to the ideology, it
remarked that revisionism did not presuppose the expulsion of the Arabs. If
anything, being deeply reactionary, he intended the relations between Arabs
Jews to be according to the colonial scheme, with the former, the natives, in
role of the colonized (more or less to be civilized) and the latter in the
role of civilizers.
The iron wall, which appears in the title, is, in fact, a metaphor to
indicate the need to use arms (a wall of bayonets) against the local
David Lan, "Diary," London Review of Books, 4/2/87:
The High Court of Justice in London, 1967. Dr. Miklos Yaron, a Hungarian
gynaecologist, is suing his former assistant Ruth Kaplan for libel. Kaplan has
pamphlet accusing Yaron of collaboration with Nazi leaders in 1944....
Is there anyone in Britain interested in the theatre, in civil liberties or
in Jews who can't identify this as a scene in Jim Allen's play Perdition? The
successful lobbying by Jews in Britain to have its production cancelled has
made it one of the most famous plays of the decade....
I'll start with a confession: I am the only Jew in England who is not an
expert on Zionist politics, 1939-1945....
When I was growing up in South Africa I was totally uninterested in - not to
say, embarrassed by - Zionism, or accurately, by Zionists. How I feel is
by Lenni Brenner's account, in Jews in America Today, of the callow youth who
are heard to say "I wouldn't be seen dead with those creeps." ....
The most passionate chapter, "Six Million Skeletons in the Closet," is a
return to the themes of Brenner's earlier book, Zionism in the Age of the
Dictators, one of the key sources for Perdition.
Here Brenner reviews the efforts of the Jewish establishment of the war years
to play down, even to conceal, reports of the camps in Europe for fear of
anti-semitism at home.
One of his prize quotations is also used by Jim Allen. It is from a letter
sent by Rabbi Steven Wise, leader of the American Jewish Congress, to
1942, the first year of the final solution: "I have had cables and underground
advices for some months, telling of these things. I succeeded, together with
the heads of other Jewish organizations, in keeping them out of the press."
"I wouldn't be seen dead with those creeps." As I watched Shoah, it came to me
that of course in certain circumstances, whether I wished to or not, I would.
American Library Association Booklist,
Lenni Brenner, The Lesser Evil
Muckraking is alive, kicking, red-faced with indignation, and unputdownably
readable in this expose of the Democratic Party. Brenner shows that despite
progressive leadership by Founding Fathers Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, the
aggregation's base of support in the slave-holding South soon dragged it into
reaction and corruption under Jackson, the patron deity of the spoils system
and, in his
last years, a rabid advocate of slavery. And so it has been ever since, by
accounting, and he documents his case impressively. He reminds us that the
began as the progressive alternative party; that up until FDR, progressives
often from the GOP's ranks, despite its own post-Reconstruction depravity;
programs that brought Roosevelt liberal support were balanced by his virulent
against Blacks, Jews, and Japanese-Americans; and that the record of every
major Democrat since reeksof legal and moral turpitude. Brenner's intent is to
finally drive liberals from the party,to make them see that supporting the
Democrats any longer is futile and stupid. If enough of them read him, he just
might succeed. A brilliant polemic, and
is it ever sarcastic!
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis
By Lenni Brenner, ed. Barricade Books, 2002
Reviewed by Sara Powell.
It's no secret that Zionism embraced political expediency to advance the
cause of carving
Eretz-Israel from the land of its native inhabitants. In his 1983 book,
Zionism in the Age of the Dictators,
Lenni Brenner shows that 20th century Zionists observed shockingly few limits
to that expediency.
Not surprisingly, the book received little coverage in the American media.
Now, in 51 Documents, Brenner has compiled a wide variety of letters,
statements, articles, and judgements -- some of which appeared in his earlier
book -- by a broad array of activists and authors, that documents Zionist
cooperation with the Nazis. On the face of it, the notion seems absurd.
However, Brenner presents the case -- made in many Zionists' own words -- that
the Nazi agenda of expelling the Jews from Germany fit nicely with the Zionist
plan for enticing those Jews into settling in Palestine and creating a new
In addition to introductory and concluding chapters, the book is organized
into five sections
which lead the reader through early, pre-Zionist documents; pre-Holocaust
ideological factions; the Holocaust era itself; and a chapter on the Stern
Gang and the Nazis.
Readers should note that a few documents are not indicative of collaboration
in and of themselves, but provide the background to others written in
response. These latter do
indicate levels of collaboration between Zionists and fascists, both the Nazis
in Germany, and those in Mussolini's Italy.
Brenner's brief explanatory notes at the beginning of each document are
helpful, as are the glossary and index. 51 Documents assumes a certain
knowledge of Zionist history, and
requires a close reading and some deconstructive efforts on the part of the
reader. Those willing to commit the time and effort, however, are rewarded
with some stunnin revelations. The reason some Zionists eschewed the boycott
against Hitler's Germany, for instance, is that they had a financial deal --
Ha'avara -- with Germany allowing Jews to exchange their wealth for goods to
be exported to Palestine at less of a loss, as an incentive to emigrate. Those
wondering why Zionists today are so organized and experienced in their public
relations efforts discover that these battles have been fought before.
Moreover, the section on Nazi and Zionist understandings of "nationality"
versus citizenship reveals how
German and Israeli practices are based on the same concept.
51 Documents also sheds a whole new light on the term "Holocaust guilt,"
frequently understood to mean Western, non-Jewish guilt for not acting against
the Holocaust earlier. However, these documents make it clear that Holocaust
guilt began with those Zionists who made the undoubtedly difficult, but
politically expedient choice to place Eretz-Israel at the top of their
priorities, above the lives of their threatened European brethren.
From a Zionist Executive Meeting speech by Yitzhak Gruenbaum on Feb. 18, 1943:
And when some asked me: "Can't you give money from Keren Ha Yesod (Palestine
Foundation Fund) to save Jews in the Diaspora?" I said: "No!" And again I say
because of these things, people called me an anti-Semite, and concluded that
I'm guilty, for the fact that we don't give ourselves completely to rescue
actions. (p. 211)
However difficult it may be, the reader must confront some rather disturbing
The most unsettling realization for this reviewer is that pre-Holocaust
Zionists were able to
politically align themselves with the Nazis because both groups fundamentally
as an important dividing line -- and, moreover, were determined to keep it
that way. From
Vladimir Jabotinsky to Albert Einstein, "assimilation" of Jews into the
societies in which
they lived was not an acceptable option. Rather, Jewish nationalism required
equality on a national level,not a personal one. As Jabotinsky explained, "It
is impossible for a man to
become assimilated with people whose blood is different from his own" (p. 10);
words, "Palestine is first and foremost not a refuge for East European Jews,
but the incarnation of a reawakening sense of national solidarity" (p. 29).
Finally, David Yisraeli, a member of the Stern Gang, wrote the following in
late 1940, as part of a proposal to Hitler. It was delivered in 1941 to two
German diplomats in Lebanon.
3. The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and
totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the
interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in
the Near East (p. 301).
Such beliefs, of course, were not limited to Nazis and Zionists. Scientific
constructs of the day considered such differentiation legitimate, and ideas of
racial difference -- and,therefore, racial supremacy -- were practiced around
Another disturbing conclusion a reader must inevitably face is that Zionists
tactical and political lessons from the Nazis and that, even today, these
lessons are applied to further the Zionist cause. Although most likely known
to potential readers of this book,
another disturbing element is the cover-up of the less than savory roles of
current Israeli leaders, including former prime ministers, in the terrorist
Irgun and Stern Gang just before, during, and after the Holocaust. Likewise,
the succumbing of various U.S. officials to Zionist pressure is a familiar,
but distressing, story.
51 Documents seems to represent a renewed attempt by Brenner to bring
regarding Zionist collaboration with the Nazis to U.S. supporters of Israel,
as well as to Jews and Muslims, in order to expand dialogue with knowledge,
and save lives -- both Palestinian and Israeli -- in the process. Readers of
51 Documents will find it difficult not to remove the rose colored glasses
that so many seem to wear when examining Zionism.
"Bookshelf," Conscience (Catholics for a Free Choice), Spring 2005
Jefferson & Madison On Separation of Church and State:
Writings on Religion and Secularism
Lenni Brenner (Ed.) (Barricade Books, 2004) (456pp.)
Perhaps the most complete recent collection of these two founding fathers'
writings on this issue, and one that bears attention as the protections they
supported between church and state are constantly assailed.