Rare Book Suggests North American Holocaust

Rare Book Suggests North American Holocaust

As published in the Victoria Standard: March 13, 2019.

I have absolutely no doubt that the Nazis pondered a North American version of their European genocide against the Jews and others. However, the Nazi record is no excuse for Canada’s official marginalization of a people who played no role in the Holocaust.

A rare book from Adolf Hitler’s personal library is currently on display at Library and Archives Canada. It has been speculated by Archives staff that the Nazis might well have used Heinz Kloss’ 1944 book, Statistics, Media and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada to support a North American Holocaust. The book provides a chilling account of the numbers, ethnicities and linguistic profiles of American and Canadian Jews.

I’ve compared the Archive’s reaction to Kloss’ book with the government’s quiet exclusion of literature on Palestinian issues to illustrate how understandable fear of false anti-Semitic accusations exerts a negative effect on public discourse and access to information concerning Palestine and Israeli. I can’t imagine a Government of Canada cultural institution displaying or advertising any book that contradicts the official Israeli narrative of history.
While the Nazi Holocaust was vastly worse than Israel’s past and current treatment of Palestinians both in Israel and under Israeli military occupation elsewhere, those two situations have never been related. Nevertheless, Israeli advocacy groups seem determined to link or conflate legitimate criticism of Israeli state conduct with anti-Jewish discrimination. While things have improved, Canada’s past is stained by overt anti-Semitism.

The well-known 1983 book None Is Too Many describes official Canada’s resistance to Jewish immigration in spite of the government’s awareness of Germany’s viciously racist Nuremburg Laws. These Nazi laws featured a prohibition against sexual relations or marriage between Jews and so-called Aryans and a brutal program designed to alienate and isolate German Jews, while simultaneously subjecting them to both official and random violence. Exacerbating the difficulties of these desperate European Jews were simultaneous Zionist efforts to increase Jewish settlement in Palestine. In the early 1930’s Zionist authorities launched a campaign of political and advertising pressure that successfully exploited North American anti-Semitism.

An Archives Canada curator likened Statistics, Media and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada to the infamous Black Book, a list of British notables targeted for arrest in the event that the Nazis succeeded in Operation Sea Lion, the cancelled invasion of Britain. At the same time, a similar program called Plan Dalet was occurring in Palestine.

Plan Dalet was the pre-state Zionist blueprint for both ejecting Palestinians from the new Israeli state and seizing valuable sections of the planned Palestinian state immediately after the UN partition. Vital to the scheme were extensive geographical and population surveys of Arab Palestinian areas and the identification of influential Palestinian figures conducted by agents of the proposed Israeli state who often went about as nature hikers carrying basic surveying gear.

A search of Archives Canada’s website reveals no references to Plan Dalet or even the Nakba, the Palestinian version of events that led to the 1947 creation of Israel. In contrast, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights library actually includes “The Palestine Nakba: Decolonising History, Narrating the Subaltern, Reclaiming Memory” a 2012 book by Nur Masalha. In spite of this generalized official exclusion, a number of credible books on Plan Dalet and the Nakba are available in Canada from private sources, including two by noted Israeli historians: Adel Manna’s 2017 “Nakba and Survival” and Illan Pappe’s 2006 “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.”

Both Canada and the United States have long been complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by supporting the Palestinian Authority’s role as a collaborative agent of Israeli power. The United States’ greater role has been its consistent provision of military, economic and of diplomatic support to the Israeli State, which insulates it from international pressure. Therefore, it is reasonable to hold Israel, Canada and the United States to a higher standard of conduct than these nations currently demonstrate.

Archives Canada, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and other public institutions that collect and display historical documents could easily include more information on subjects like the Nakba without diminishing Holocaust awareness. Censoring public education on controversial topics only encourages ignorance and partisanship as public discourse becomes ever more timid.