Antisemitism and Anti-Colonial Liberation: How these Movements Worked Hand in Hand in the Second World War

By Austin Pellizzer

In David Motadel’s article, The Global Authoritarian Movement and the Revolt Against Empire, we see the relationship in which Hitler’s Germany and many anti-imperialist movements at the time joined hand in hand to fight the common enemy, the imperial powers of Britain, France, and Holland, to name a few. However, while touched on briefly, Motadel’s piece underemphasized the importance of how ideology played in the alliances of said groups. Such examples can be seen concerning the ‘Palestinian’ national Al-Husayni in which he discusses his hatred for “International Jewry and colonialist counties” (872). Another notable antisemite who Motadel failed to go in-depth with was the Syrian rebel leader Fawzi al-Qawuqji (843). While Motadel’s article uses the Mufti of Jerusalem as an example of the hatred and antisemitism Muslim and Arab Leaders used to align themselves with the Nazi regime, I can not help but feel much of Germany’s allies used the ideas of ‘anti-colonial struggles’ (872) to push their hateful rhetoric of the Jewish populations as simply part of the European colonial struggle. While this article as a whole was not to look solely at the motives of why these groups joined forces, the lack of background given to the commonalities of ideological antisemitism leaves this article wanting and aspects much to be still desired. 

With looking a the Nazi allies and the ideological commonalities of Motadel’s article, the complimenting piece which also helps to cement the idea of anti-Semitic theories used by the Axes powers, was the thoughts of how Judeo-Bolshevism lead to the spread of communism. In the podcast, A Spector Haunting Europe, The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism, Paul Hamebrink discusses the notion of how the Jewish communities in Europe themselves pushed and helped to create the political force of communism in Europe seen in the 1917 Russian revolution and into the 1920-30s. While Hamebrink connects the way this conspiracy was used to turn populations against their neighbours, it was not looked at how the communist ‘Jewish question’ was used by the fascist parties of Germany and its allies in the Second World War. This connection would have helped to see how it was used to keep the notion alive in post-war Eastern Europe (like Hungary), but also the West and into today’s rise of far-right anti-Semitic narratives pushed in many political spheres concerning Euroscepticism and other prominent ideologies today. 

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