Edwin Black is the author of 10 books, including IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation, Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives, and Financing the Flames: How Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terror in Israel.
He will discuss four of his recent works the weekend of Nov. 7-9 as scholar-in-residence at Congregation Tifereth Israel of Lower Bucks County in Bensalem, Pa.
The community weekend commemorates the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nov. 9-10, 1938, pogrom in Germany and Austria generally acknowledged as the start of the Holocaust, which Black’s parents survived.
Black spoke about the topics of his lectures in a Sept. 18 interview with NJ Jewish News.
NJJN: You begin the weekend with a Friday evening speech titled “Inside Iran’s Nuclear Warhead-The Details.”
Black: There has been a 15-year march toward a nuclear weapon by Iran…. It is now so advanced that it can be mobilized in a seven-week period. Iran has the warhead, it has the delivery system, and all it is waiting for is the “gunpowder,” which is highly enriched uranium. Iran is now distilling so much enriched uranium that they can quickly reconfigure machines and accumulate the 90 percent weapons grade they need for a warhead they have already developed and are ready to deliver.
Iran is a nation that is ready to drop a nuclear bomb.
NJJN: Will it be aimed at Israel?
Black: I think Israel will preempt at a moment no one can predict. Those who know do not tell, and those who tell do not know. But I can tell you Israel will be able to see these missiles as soon as they lift off and will intercept them.
NJJN: Can any kinds of negotiations prevent this from happening?
NJJN: On Saturday afternoon you are discussing “The History of Oil Addiction and a Plan for Interruption.” What is your solution?
Black: The solution is to understand our society must adopt a multiplicity of solutions to disengage from oil. The many solutions include natural gas vehicles, but only a few thousand are sold in this country each year. We need electric vehicles. We have ethanol fuels and methanol fuels. There are now over 17 million flex-fueled cars in the United States that can run equally well on gasoline or any other liquid fuel.
NJJN: So why have these ideas not been implemented. Is it the power of the oil lobby?
Black: It is too easy to say it’s the oil lobby. It is Detroit and the unions, which want to keep the system the way it is, because improving the system endangers the oil-based economy. We never needed to be addicted to oil but because we are addicted to oil we have war, we have economic instability. ISIS is selling $10-$20 million a week of illicit oil. We are dancing with the enemy.
NJJN: Your talk on Saturday night is “How IBM Co-planned and Co-organized the Holocaust.”
Black: IBM, with the punch of a card, was able to coplan all phases of the Holocaust. They raced to the opportunity, and those phases were identification of the Jews, their exclusion from society, the confiscation of their assets, ghettoization, and extermination. There was an IBM facility in every concentration camp, and IBM has never been brought to account.
[Editor’s note: In a 2001 statement on its website, IBM said it takes the allegations “very seriously and looks forward to and will fully cooperate with appropriate scholarly assessments of the historical record.” But the statement went on to say that IBM does not have much information about this period or the operations of its German subsidiary during World War II. “Most documents were destroyed or lost during the war.”]
NJJN: Your final talk on Sunday morning is “How Charitable Organizations and Taxpayers Finance the Flames of Confrontation in Israel.” What charities are you referring to?
Black: The New Israel Fund and other charitable organizations which are not engaged in charitable work in Israel. They are taking American taxpayers’ money to get Israeli soldiers prosecuted in foreign jurisdictions and international tribunals and are trying to erase Jewish identity from the Jewish state. They support boycotts through the BDS movement and many other activities. But it is also doing many fine things, such as helping to equalize disadvantaged communities and seeking shelter for battered women. Much of what the New Israel Fund is doing is outstanding charity.
[Editor’s note: Naomi Paiss, vice president for public affairs at the New Israel Fund, told NJJN, “As Mr. Black knows, the New Israel Fund never funds organizations with BDS programs or who participate in universal jurisdiction programs.”]
NJJN: Can you tie your topics together and discuss how they affect Jews?
Black: If there is one thing that bonds all four of these things together it is corporate money. It is corporate money that financed IBM’s organization of the Holocaust. It is corporate money that made it possible to become addicted and remain addicted to oil, regardless of the consequences. It is corporate money. We participate in a corporate monetary system that has no compunction about financing genocide.