The virus of Holocaust denial is alive and well in the Arab and Muslim world. It goes hand in hand with Jewish nakba denial, argues Lyn Julius in JNS News.
On the day that the world commemorated the 70th anniversary of the
liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, the U.K. liberal
newspaper The Guardian declared in an editorial :
“The Arabs, meanwhile, cannot be blamed for feeling that Europe’s
blood debt to the Jews was paid with what they see as their territory.”
myth of the Arabs as innocent bystanders, who had no responsibility for
the Holocaust—and indeed, paid the price for a European crime when
Israel was established—is widely believed.
The Arabs, like other third-world peoples, are only ever seen as
victims of Western oppression and colonialism. They cannot themselves be
guilty of oppressing others.
The West self-righteously deplores the old European anti-Semitism of
the “far right.” But a new Green-Brown-Red anti-Semitism—encouraged by
an alliance of the Far Left, the Greens and Islamist sympathizers—is
studiously downplayed, ignored by the media, or blamed on Israel.
Truth be told, the virus of Nazi anti-Semitism was exported to the
Arab and Muslim world as early as the 1930s. It gave ideological
inspiration to Arab nationalist parties like the Ba’athists in Syria and
Iraq and paramilitary groups like Young Egypt, founded in 1933.
Anti-Jewish conspiracy theories are the central plank of the
totalitarian Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, and their
ideological cousins, Islamic State, who sought to impose Allah’s kingdom
on Earth through jihad and forced conversion of non-Muslims.
The Holocaust was, in the words of author Robert Satloff,
as much an Arab story as a European. In spite of efforts to trumpet the
stories of individual “righteous” Muslims who rescued Jews
(particularly in Albania), scholars continue to uncover evidence of Arab sympathy and collaboration with Nazism.
Walter Doehle, German consul in Jerusalem, wrote in 1937:
“Palestinian Arabs in all social strata have great sympathies for the
new Germany and its Führer..…If a person identified himself as a German
when faced with threats from an Arab crowd, this alone generally
allowed him to pass freely. But when some identified themselves by
making the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute, in most cases the Arabs’ attitude
became expressions of open enthusiasm, and the German gave ovations, to
which the Arabs responded loudly.”
When Tunisia came under direct Nazi occupation between November 1942
and May 1943, at least 2,000 Jews were sent to work in labor camps. The
reaction of Tunisia’s Muslim majority was, according to Satloff,
“Gestures of support and active assistance for the minority being
displaced, disenfranchised, plundered and conscripted into forced labour
were very rare. Arab passers-by would publicly insult and physically
Although he was not the only collaborator with Nazism—Fawzi
al-Qawuqji, Rashid Ali al-Kelani, Abu Ibrahim al-Kabir, Hassan Salama
and Arif Abd al-Raziq spring to mind—the role played by Palestinian
leader and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini in fomenting
anti-Jewish incitement and violence, not just in British Palestine but
across the Arab world, is key. From 1931, he conflated “Zionists” with
“Jews.” Any Jewish community became fair game for collective punishment—and still is.
The Mufti met with Hitler in Berlin in November 1941 to discuss the
extermination of the Jews in the Middle East. He spent the rest of the
war as a guest of the Nazis.
Adolf Eichmann’s deputy Dieter Wisliceny (later executed as a war
criminal) in his Nuremburg Trials testimony stated, “the Mufti was one
of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate
the extermination measures.”
On a visit to Auschwitz, the Mufti reportedly admonished the guards
running the gas chambers to work more diligently. Throughout the war, he
broadcast regularly on German radio to the Middle East, preaching his
pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic message to the Arab masses back home.
Had the Allies not liberated Tunisia from the Nazis, Libya from the
Italian fascists, and Algeria and Morocco from the Vichy regime in 1943,
it is a fair bet that the local Arab population would not have lifted a
finger to halt the deportation of the Jews of Palestine and the Arab
world to death camps.
Arguably, North African states, having not yet achieved independence,
were not responsible for Jewish suffering: anti-Jewish measures were
implemented by the Vichy regime and the Italian fascists. But the Iraqi
government cannot so lightly be let off the hook. Iraq, independent
since 1932, was the scene of a pro-Nazi coup in 1941, leading inexorably
to the Farhud,
the Iraqi-Jewish Kristallnacht. In this two-day orgy of murder, rape,
mutilation and looting, up to 600 Jews were killed, according to British
archival records. The exact figure will never be known.
The Palestinian Mufti played a central role in plotting the pro-Nazi coup in Iraq.
The Mufti was personally responsible for the deaths of 20,000
European Jews murdered in the Nazi Holocaust. He organized the killing
of 12,600 Bosnian Jews by Muslims, whom he recruited to the Waffen-SS
Nazi-Bosnian division. He personally stopped 4,000 children, accompanied
by 500 adults, from leaving Europe and had them sent to Auschwitz and
gassed; he prevented another 2,000 Jews from leaving Romania and 1000
from leaving Hungary for Palestine—they too were sent to death camps.
Only three years after the end of World War ll, the members of the
Arab League were bent on emulating the Nazis. They set about making the
Arab Middle East judenrein (free of Jews). They applied Nuremberg-style laws, criminalizing
Zionism, freezing Jewish bank accounts, instituting quotas, imposing
restrictions on jobs and movement. The result was the mass exodus and
spoliation of a million Jews. Yet very few Arabs acknowledge they are to
blame for the so-called Jewish nakba (catastrophe). Holocaust denial
goes hand-in-hand with Jewish nakba denial.
In 1945, the Mufti of Jerusalem should have been tried as a war
criminal at Nuremberg. He was indicted, judged and convicted by
Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity, arising from his pivotal role in
the Handschar and Skandeberg SS divisions which deported Balkan Jews
from Kosovo, Macedonia and Thrace. But the Allies shrank from offending
Not only has the virus of Nazi anti-Semitism never left the Arab and
Muslim world, it has grown exponentially. Muslim immigrants have carried
the the virus of Jew-hatred back into European countries. Saudi
petrodollars have financed the spread of Islamism, with its implicit
That is why today, in the Arab and Muslim world, Holocaust denial is alive and well.
The ghost of Nazi-inspired, anti-Jewish bigotry was never exorcised
from the Arab world. In fact Arabs became its torch-bearers. On Jan. 14,
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose university thesis was
an exercise in Holocaust denial, shocked all right-thinking individuals
with a speech dripping with anti-Semitism, and blaming the Jews for
their own deaths in the Holocaust.
Eichmann himself hoped his “Arab friends” would continue his battle
against the Jews who were always the “principal war criminals” and
“principal aggressors.” He hadn’t managed to complete his task of “total
annihilation,” but the Muslims could still complete it for him.