Guess The Anti-Semitic Publication

The following title appeared in a certain news site:

Is there any similarity between Nazi and Zionist propaganda films?

Can you guess which one of the following was it?

  1. Stormfront
  2. PressTV
  3. Maan
  4. Pravda

If you guessed any of the above, you are wrong.

It was Haaretz.

Mind you, the article it headlines deals with a Zionist film that to some appears to draw from Nazi films, not that Zionism drew from Nazism, as the title implies.

Several critics noted the parallels between the Nazi and Zionist documentaries, says historian Dr. Ofer Ashkenazi of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. But he says the picture is more complex than that. All these years later, we can take another look at “Labor” and reevaluate its connection not only to Nazi propaganda films, but to other, earlier works as well ? particularly considering the sources of inspiration drawn upon by Lerski, whose previous credits included the special effects in Fritz Lang’s highly influential 1927 movie “Metropolis.”

“The movie was filmed in Mandatory Palestine by a group of Jewish immigrants from Germany,” he says. “And even though its creators were bourgeois Berliners with a critical attitude toward Jewish nationalism, the movie was constructed as a paean to socialist Zionism. Through close-up shots of man and machine, unusually high or low filming angles and editing to fit the intricate soundtrack by the composer Paul Dessau, the movie glorifies the principles of the Zionist Labor movement: manual labor and activity; bringing intellectual and technological progress to a backward land; the birth of the ‘New Man’ in Eretz Israel and of a new kind of Jewish community; even the erotic dimension of the Zionist project. When the movie came out, some critics raved that it was ‘the poetic version of Eretz Israel’ and that it marked a victory for ‘the Zionist aesthetic.’”

However, adds Ashkenazi, there were also some who complained that the movie was too strange and complicated: “The United Israel Appeal people, who financed the production, were disappointed with the result. They thought the movie failed in its attempt to present effective propaganda for the Zionist vision. At the time, and for many years afterward, too, many critics and scholars pointed out ‘fascist’ elements in the movie and saw a disturbing resemblance to documentary short subjects produced in the 1930s by the Nazi Party. Not just to Riefenstahl’s ‘Triumph of the Will,’ but mainly to ‘simpler’ productions of the Kulturfilm genre, which aspired to offer an ‘authentic’ portrayal of life in a resurgent Germany. One of these films, for example, was “Die Ehre der Arbeit” ?(“The Honor of Work”?), produced by Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels in the same year that ‘Labor’ was released, and depicting practically the same narrative, with visual imagery that seems like it could have come straight out of Lerski’s film.”

A careful viewing of “Labor” reveals, however, that it does not really correspond with the works of Goebbels and the Nazi filmmakers, but rather with the works of German-Jewish directors from the 1920s, Ashkenazi says. “I think ‘Labor’ is a fascinating and unique film that quotes again and again from movies that were written and directed by Jewish filmmakers like Fritz Lang, Karl Freund and Carl Mayer. By a clever use of fascist ‘cliches,’ Lerski reminds viewers of the anxieties and hopes that characterized the German-Jewish middle class in the years following World War I. He presents socialist Zionism as he would like it to be: an ideological answer to both the sense of crisis that preceded the Nazis and to Hitler’s fascist nationalism.”

It’s no wonder then that Haaretz chose to emphasize a false notion of Zionism equalling Nazism, and it’s even more unsurprising considering this Facebook post:

Haaretz Temple Mount

Islam’s 3rd holiest, yes, but more importantly, Judaism’s holiest site.


Judge Dan

Dan Smith has been exposing anti-Israel fallacies since the first time he opened the world wide web on Netscape Navigator, sometime in the late 90's. His lack of formal journalistic, political and sociological education means he is still capable of objective, unbiased views and opinions. A judge of media, pundits and media pundits.