‘My grandfather did the inconceivable – negotiated with Nazis – to save Jews’
MK Michaeli says Livingstone “abused Holocaust for political needs, tried to downgrade the atrocity.”
MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union) said she learned from her grandfather, Rudolph Kastner, to take action and not be a victim, in her remarks at New York Reform synagogue Temple Emanu-El’s Yom Hashoa ceremony Sunday.
Remarking on a recent comment by former London mayor Ken Livingstone saying that Hitler was a Zionist, leading to his suspension, Michaeli said: “There will always be those who will try to downgrade the tragedy and atrocity of the Holocaust. There will always be those who will try to abuse it for political needs, as Ken Livingstone painfully reminded us this week.”
However, Michaeli added: “That doesn’t make Israel a victim. It means that Israel must be even more committed to fighting hate and racism, and accepting others.”
Michaeli opened her speech by pointing out that she is the granddaughter of Rudolph Kastner, an early example of what she called abusing the memory of Holocaust, whose legacy is still controversial nearly 60 years after his assassination.
Kastner, a leader of the Budapest Aid and Rescue Committee to help Jewish refugees in WWII, paid senior SS officer Adolf Eichmann – later executed by Israel – money, gold and diamonds to allow 1,684 Jews to leave Hungary for Switzerland. After an Israeli journalist self-published a pamphlet accusing Kastner, then spokesman of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, of collaborating with the Nazis and agreeing not to warn the Jews he couldn’t save that they would be sent to death camps, the government sued for libel on his behalf.
In 1955, a judge determined that Kastner “sold his
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