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. 

Political Analogies: Helpful Tools? or Harmful Comparisons?

By Austin Pellizzer

The articles of this week looked at the use of political analogies of the past to be applied to the present is a discussion that carries divided stances from scholars and historians alike. While we were able to analyze articles from both groups, I am afraid that this discussion and debate is anything but solved after considering all sides.

In Samuel Mayn’s article The Trouble with Comparisons, Mayn takes the stance that comparisons are helpful and the key to being able to understand the importance of historical events and actions. However, it is also seen that it can lead to intellectual laziness and letting the fears of such comparisons take control. Additionally, we see that similarly, in Victoria de Grazia’s piece, What We Don’t Understand About Fascism discusses the overused term ‘fascism’ which she states, “Calling people “fascists” has been as American as apple pie”… . While both writers demonstrate the dangers of oversimplifying and overusing the term which carries heavy meaning especially in the last century, it is also important to understand the reason as to why and how these analogies have been able to carry such weight in public discourse and political circles. 

In contrast, we see in the Peter E Gordon article, Why Historical Analogy Matters, the comparisons of historical accounts of the Holocaust and the concentration camps and the migrant detention camps are easily used to try and push similarities. While these analogies useful and gets across very similar messaging, we see how this could once again be seen as minimizing the events of the past to try and fit different political narratives. 

With all this being said, it is apparent to see why and how the political phenomena of analogies is a nuanced area when discussing the socially acceptable tools and means of getting messages across.

Works Cited/ Bibliography

de Grazia, Victoria. “What We Don’t Understand about Fascism.” Zocalo Public Square, 13 Aug. 2020, zocalopublicsquare.org/2020/08/13/understand-fascism-american-history-mussolini-hitler-20th-century/ideas/essay

Gordon, Peter E. “Why Historical Analogy Matters.” The New York Review, 7 Jan. 2020, nybooks.com/daily/2020/01/07/why-historical-analogy-matters/

Moyn, Samuel. “The Trouble with Comparisons.” The New York Review, 19 May 2020, nybooks.com/daily/2020/05/19/the-trouble-with-comparisons/

Introduction

Hello All!

My name is Austin Pellizzer. I am a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in European and Russian Studies and minoring in Political Science. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a great interest in European history, politics, and current events. Being adopted from Russia and raised Italian, I have been exposed to facets of what it truly means to be European and share in the heritage and history of such a diverse and unique continent.

Two years ago, I had the privilege of being a student in Professor Evan’s class of 20th century German History. It is in this class that I acquired a true interest in the politics of “remembering” related to the Post-Cold War nations of the Eastern bloc. Specifically, East Germany. It is because of these very significant historical aspects I believe it is imperative to understand why and how the rise of populism is becoming so mainstream.

Lastly, on a more personal note, some of my hobbies and passions include travelling, photography (particularly aviation and landscapes), binge-watching horror movies (the classics are my favourite), and learning all there is about European history, American and Israeli politics, and getting sushi with friends.

My trip to Israel in December of 2017 was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

I am so excited to meet you all and to have lively and respectful discussions and debates.