Experts reveal the Israel connection to Arab Holocaust denial, and the Palestinian role in the genocide of half a million Jews in Hungary. Arutz Sheva7 Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar, 17/04/15
A conference on Holocaust denial in the Muslim world was held at Bar-Ilan University this week ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, featuring numerous academics, several journalists, and Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch.
At the event Arutz Sheva got a chance to speak with Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University, a renowned expert of Arabic and the Arab world.
Kedar argued the Arab world denies the Holocaust "because any acknowledging that the Holocaust actually was is in their view legitimizing Israel, and giving Israel (a reason) to live and to exist."
"They deny the Holocaust, they deny the Jewish history, they deny the Jewish connection to this country," he explained.
While much of the Arab world denies the Holocaust, Dr. Kedar noted that alternately some are taught about the Holocaust, but they are taught to think poorly of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler not for his genocide, but rather "because he didn't finish the job with the Jews."
Dr. Nesia Shemer, also of Bar-Ilan University, told Arutz Sheva about the position of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, and "the most influential and important Muslim leader in our days."
Shemer noted that al-Qaradawi "argues that the Holocaust did happen, but it was a divine punishment from God to the Jews because of their sins." He also minimizes the genocide, claiming only a million or a million-and-a-half Jews were murdered, and that the "real Holocaust is that of the Palestinians."
What should the response be to this widespread Holocaust denial and corruption of fact?
According to Kedar, the Arab world and the world at large should be confronted with pictures and other historical evidence proving the Holocaust.
He said those documents should include "especially those of the mufti (of Jerusalem) Haj Amin al-Huseini, who actually incited the Nazis to burn the Jews in general, and he actually took a very active part in the extermination of half-a-million Jews in Hungary in 1944."
HOLOCAUST DENIAL IN THE ARAB WORLD The problem is in the hearts and minds of Arab youth. Jerusalem Post Opinion Seif Husseini, Emily Schrader, May 9 2018 Seif Husseini is the head of Arabic social media at StandWithUs. Emily Schrader is the digital director of StandWithUs.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shocked the world this week with his latest antisemitic speech blaming the Jews for the Holocaust (among other things). Even The New York Times is condemning his statements. A quick glance at Arabic social media, however, shows it’s not just Abbas – Holocaust denial is widespread in the Arab world.
What is surprising, however, is that the Western world is only now starting to take note of Arabic-language Holocaust denial. The bigotry of low expectations is something we can no longer ignore.
If you really want to know what anyone thinks, take a look at their online footprint. Nowhere is that more obvious than with online Arab antisemitism. Holocaust denial is rampant, conspiracy theories abound, and misinformation (or as it’s more popularly termed these days, “fake news”) is an everyday occurrence.
StandWithUs Arabic is one of the leading Arabic-language pages on Facebook in the field of Israel education, engaging millions of Arabic speakers each month. It has become a tool both for monitoring trending misinformation and educating the community with facts.
As a result of the massive reach of the material, it has garnered significant attention from newspapers such as Al Watan in Egypt, which named it one of the “most dangerous pages for Egyptian youth” in 2016.
In our roles as the digital director and the head of Arabic social media at StandWithUs, we have seen and monitored how the plague of Holocaust denial affects the Arabic world. Ironically, Arabic social media related to the Holocaust generally falls into one of two contradictory categories: 1. Holocaust denial; and 2. using the Holocaust and/or Nazism to claim Israel is committing the same crimes against the Arab world or Palestinians.
On a daily basis, StandWithUs Arabic receives shockingly ignorant comments about the Holocaust, in addi- tion to hateful comments about Hitler and the like. One recent comment reads, “I wish you were right and all of them died. Jews are the reason for all the destruc- tion Muslims have.” Another commenter adds, “The number [killed in the Holocaust] is exaggerated; the real number does not exceed 500,000 and all of them died from diseases and hunger. That is what the history says.” A third commenter writes, “The Holocaust is the biggest lie in history... they burned the dead bodies because they were afraid that the diseases will spread.”
Hitler is regularly praised and used to make antisemitic statements (frequently against Israel) on social media, and the fact that Holocaust denial negates their glorification of Hitler is of little relevance to them. For example, if statements like “Hitler should have finished the job” can be found, and “Hitler was a great man,” then how does it follow that there was no Holocaust?
Then again, when has antisemitism ever been logical.
Search Arabic social media and you will find endless viral videos of public figures denying the Holocaust and even claiming it was in fact the Jews who perpetrated the Holocaust, against the Germans. This opinion was recently broadcast on mainstream TV in Egypt, by Egyptian historian Bassem Shamma. In another viral video with hundreds of thousands of views, Abu Itzhak Elhuweny claims that Hitler said, “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some so the world would know why I was killing them.” Statements which would be appalling in the West reflect mainstream opinion in the Arabic world – with millions of views, thousands of shares and hundreds of comments in agreement.
Of course not everyone in the Arabic world believes such things, but the fact that any world leaders do, and that it is considered by a great many people to be a perfectly normal position, is totally unacceptable. So why is the world silent on Arabic-language Holocaust denial? Why do we continue to see such racist low expectations of the Arabic world?
Much has been said about the role of social media giants in monitoring and deleting this type of hateful content – but the problem runs much deeper than the content. The problem is in the hearts and minds of Arab youth. When this kind of rhetoric is deemed culturally acceptable, is it any wonder we see world leaders like Abbas, who practically has a PhD in Holocaust denial, running the show for the Palestinians?
While StandWithUs Arabic is working continuously to do Holocaust education, there is only so much we can do when world leaders in places like Iran and the West Bank espouse this type of ignorant hate speech. Organizations like StandWithUs are critical to education, but we are part of a cause which needs much more support. The world must unite against this hate speech from the top down and learn to teach not only tolerance, but the truth about the Holocaust in the Arab world. That means holding leaders and public figures accountable on a global scale for teaching antisemitic hate speech, conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial.
EU AND U.S. URGED TO EXCLUDE HOLOCAUST DENIERS IN ARAB WORLD FROM PRO-DEMOCRACY FUNDING
In a meeting with senior officials of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anne-Marie Revcolevschi, President of the Aladdin Project, called on France and the European Union to ensure that EU financial aid for democratic development in Egypt and other Arab countries would not benefit NGOs, political parties and media that promote Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and religious intolerance. She made the same demand in separate letters to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton.
The Aladdin Project’s request comes in the wake of statements made by Ahmed Ezz El-Arab, a vice chairman of Egypt’s Wafd Party, in an interview with the Washington Times in Budapest earlier this month. Ezz El-Arab told the interviewer that the Holocaust was “a lie” and Anne Frank’s diary “a fake”. The Arabic website of the Wafd Party later posted an article endorsing Ezz El-Arab’s remarks.
“We must not betray the genuine advocates of democracy and freedom-loving youth in these societies by giving financial aid to purveyors of racial hatred and Holocaust denial,” Revcolevschi told Pierre Boussaroque, advisor to French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on human rights and judicial issues, and Francois Zimeray, France’s Ambassador-at-Large for Human Rights.
The European Union is spending 50 million euros to promote reforms in the areas of democracy, human rights and justice in Egypt over the next two years. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) unveiled in March a program for "democratic development" in Egypt with a budget of 65 million dollars.
“It is important to note that Ezz El-Arab does not speak for all Egyptians. While Holocaust denial is indeed a problem in that society, we have also seen courageous statements on the Holocaust by leaders such as Dr. Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ahmed El-Tayyeb, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Az’har, and secular intellectuals such as Aly El-Samman and Tarek Heggy,” Revcolevschi added.
SAUDI-BASED MUSLIM BODY REJECTS HOLOCAUST DENIAL 'History is indeed impartial no matter how hard forgers tried to tamper with or manipulate it' Haaretz, Ron Kampeas Jan 27, 2018
Mohammed al-Issa, former justice minister, head of the Muslim World League (MWL) speaks during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Paris, France, November 23, 2017
Holocaust rescues: Countries and communities that prominently resisted Nazi efforts to deport their Jews
A Saudi-based Muslim group rejected Holocaust denial in a letter to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“History is indeed impartial no matter how hard forgers tried to tamper with or manipulate it,” said the letter sent Jan. 22 to the museum by Mohammad Al Issa, the secretary general of the Muslim World League, five days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day. “Hence, we consider any denial of the Holocaust or minimizing of its effect a crime to distort history and an insult to the dignity of those innocent souls who have perished. It is also an affront to us all since we share the same human soul and spiritual bonds.”
The letter was posted Thursday on the site of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Al Issa suggested the letter was prompted in part by his friendship with the think tank’s director, Robert Satloff, who has written extensively about North African Muslims who protected Jews during the Holocaust.
Writing separately, Satloff described meeting Al Issa last month when he led a delegation of lay leaders of his think tank to Saudi Arabia. A former justice minister, Al Issa had taken over the Saudi-funded Muslim World League in 2016. Satloff wrote that the league had been a linchpin in propagating “a radical, hate-filled, anti-West, anti-Semitic version of Islam.” Al Issa expressed a willingness to visit the Holocaust museum the next time he was in Washington.
The appointment of Al Issa appears to be of a piece with Saudi Arabia’s pivot westward under its new crown prince, Muhammad bin Sultan, Satloff said.
“Taking his lead from Muhammad bin Salman, the current crown prince who has vowed to cleanse his country of extremism and return it to ‘moderate Islam,’ Al Issa seems to have a specific mandate to transform the MWL from an organization synonymous with extremism to one that preaches tolerance,” he said.
Al Issa did not specify Jews as victims of the Holocaust in his letter to the museum director, Sara Bloomfield, but instead spoke of “this human tragedy perpetrated by evil Nazism” and “our great sympathy with the victims of the Holocaust, an incident that shook humanity to the core, and created an event whose horrors could not be denied or underrated by any fair-minded or peace-loving person.”
The Muslim World League, which was founded in 1962, is funded principally by Saudi Arabia’s government. President Donald Trump, visiting Saudi Arabia in June, encouraged it and other Sunni Arab countries to combat radical Islam.
Holocaust denial has proliferated for decades in the Arab and Muslim worlds, sometimes encouraged by official government bodies, including in the past by Saudi Arabia. President Barack Obama in his 2009 speech to the Muslim world delivered in Cairo said the perpetuation of Holocaust denial was an obstruction to better relations with the West.
ABSTRACT Researchgate Nitza Davidovitch, Ariel University, Nissim Dana
While Holocaust denial existed even during the Holocaust itself, this phenomenon has substantially expanded and diversified over the past decades. This ranged from the advent of technologies that shifted the debate to new platforms and forums, to Israel’s comparison to Nazi Germany, to Islamist-driven Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism on European streets. Paradoxically, concurrently with the intensification of Holocaust denial by Arabs and Muslims, they have made massive use of Holocaust symbols, language, and discourse in their national struggle. This article presents this paradox ‒ Arab Holocaust denial and Holocaust memory manipulation ‒ in an attempt to identify ways and means to address this phenomenon against the backdrop of the Arab‒Israeli conflict.