California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has condemned literature distributed at an event at a local Muslim group's center last week that suggests Jewish leaders in World War II Germany worked with Nazis to get permission to settle in Palestine.
A flier distributed by the International Jewish Anti- Zionist Network – an event co-sponsor – said: "As part of this collaboration, Zionists even kept silent about impending plans to deport Jews into Nazi death camps.
"Zionism both exploited and hinged upon the rise of Nazism, and later, the Holocaust, to transform what had been a small nationalist movement with little support into one capable of achieving statehood, based on support from the U.S. and other imperial powers."
Steinberg said that "in essence, they are saying the Jews orchestrated the Holocaust. Talk about blaming the victims."
About 500 people attended Wednesday's address at the SALAM Islamic Center by Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer, 86, who compared what happened to him and other Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s to Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Mona Alfi of Congregation B'nai Israel – one of 13 rabbis who had asked SALAM to cancel or boycott the event – said Sunday that "there is no comparison" between the ways Jews in pre-war Germany and Palestinians have been treated.
"There are Palestinians in the Israeli government, there are universities with full participation," Alfi said. "There are real political problems between Palestinians and Israelis, but it's not what happened in Germany in the 1930s."
She called the flier alleging some Zionists were Nazi collaborators "a disgusting lie."
"To belittle the murder of 6 million Jews is a very raw subject for us," Alfi said.
In his open letter to Jews, Muslims and civil rights leaders after the event, Steinberg said he was "heartsick and saddened."
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