Ahmadinejad 224 ap.
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It's tempting to pooh-pooh Allah's self-appointed diminutive spokesman, clad in his ubiquitous oversized gray jacket, flashing nervous grins and serially lip-licking. Teheran tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even when accorded the prestige of Columbia's Ivy League podium, appeared too much of a buffoon to be accorded even semi-serious intellectual credibility.
But this dismissive temptation must be overcome in a hurry. As Ahmadinejad's role-model - the discordantly loud German corporal with the little toothbrush mustache - demonstrated all too horrifically, even ostensible buffoons can embed outright fallacies into seemingly cogent foundations for whichever odious constructs they later pile up on them. Their spurious agenda looks a tad more plausible and less atrocious if its premise is accepted.
Indeed, regardless of Columbia president Lee Bollinger's face-saving apologetics, nobody challenged Ahmadinejad's deceptive underlying hypothesis. Some of his Holocaust-themed jibber-jabber - as distinct from blatant Holocaust-denial - sounded almost axiomatic. Just note the difference between the jeers triggered by Ahmadinejad's assertion that there are no homosexuals in his fiefdom and the applause that followed his contention that Palestinian Arabs "are forced to pay for the Holocaust," which - if it at all took place - "was in Europe and they had nothing to do with it, but are suffering for it."
How utterly appealing this humbug is to the supposedly enlightened politically-correct set, eager to posture as iconoclastically slaughtering our sacred cows. How good they look lending an unbiased ear to "the other side." It'd be quasi-tolerable if their showy "impartiality" weren't synonymous with ignorance. But, alas, it's easy for Ahmadinejad to recycle worn old canards to a crowd for whom history is at most malleable post-modernist plasticine. There are no solid incontrovertible facts, no truths and untruths, no justice and injustice, merely self-serving projections from assorted valid vantage points.
What do Columbia's students know about Israel's creation and that event's Holocaust-connection? What do they know about the Arab role in the Holocaust? Nothing, and they'd rather not get clued-in. Too much information could - Allah forfend - brand them as illiberal.
While in-your-face Holocaust-denial may be counterproductive in the West, soft-spoken Muslim extremists habitually present Arabs as Nazism's true victims. It's substantially more effective than fiery "throw-the Jews-into-the-sea" oratory. Ahmadinejad merely plagiarizes claims long promoted on campuses like Columbia: The Christian world whined about Jews and sought to expiate its guilt at the expense of peace-loving Arabs by thrusting the Jewish state into their midst.
THIS GOES over big with credulous do-gooders and the intellectually indolent who hanker for facile formulas, especially the sort that wallop Jews from yet another direction. There's particularly perverse satisfaction in accusing Jews of Nazi bestiality. It not only serves to tar reviled Israel, but serves to divert attention from the inextricable links between preexisting Arab enmity to the burgeoning Jewish state (pre-Holocaust) and the Nazi final solution to the "Jewish problem."
Turning the light on Arab-Nazi collusion can be as devastating to demagogues as the realization that the Jewish state was already in the making before World War II. Were it established just a decade earlier, incalculably more Jews would have found asylum. The Jewish state wasn't the product of the Holocaust. Its independence was delayed by it.
Israel's delayers and the foilers of any minimal attempt to shelter Jews fleeing from Hitler's hell prominently included Arabs. Just by denying haven to unquestionably the most desperate refugees ever, Arabs share irrevocable culpability. Thus the blood of nearly 800 helpless souls on the sunken ship Struma stains Arabs indelibly, but that's merely one isolated example.
Arab connivance is far more fiendish. Their then-adulated leader, Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini (still posthumously revered), spent the war as Hitler's personal guest in Berlin, recruited Muslim SS volunteers, hobnobbed with Himmler, Eichmann et al. and made sure no Jew escaped death. He directly contributed to the bitter fate of Hungarian Jewry even as German hegemony crumbled. The Allies declared Husseini a wanted war criminal.
But Haj Amin wasn't the odd-man-out. He gave expression to his people's overwhelming vehemence. Already in 1937 Josef Goebbels praised Arab "national and racial awareness," noting that "in Palestine they hoist Nazi flags and deck their homes with swastikas and portraits of Hitler."
Arabs were among the first to latch onto Nazi ideology. Undisguised fascist parties proliferated, from Syria's Nationalist-Socialists headed by Anton Saada to Ahmed Hussein's Young Egypt. Haj Amin was the kingpin. His association with Nazi Germany predated his avid wartime activities. His bloody 1936-39 uprising was funded by Hitler and keenly abetted by German Templars resident here since the 19th century.
During the war local mufti disciples hoarded arms and trained to assist Rommel's invading Afrika Korps. They harbored German paratroopers, engaged in espionage, disseminated Third Reich propaganda and greeted each other with Nazi salutes, accompanied by Heil Hitlers.
Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah directly descends from Husseini's forces and its ongoing ties to neo-Nazis are amply documented. Suffice it to say that Mein Kampf tops PA best-seller lists, rivaled only by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
But perhaps most significant are the names given to Arab newborns in 1942 to honor Rommel, who, it was hoped, would overrun the region and deliver all its Jews into their enemies' hands. Many Israelis knew Nablus antiquities dealer Abu-Rommel. He derived his moniker from the name he conferred upon his firstborn. Salim el-Mahri, for many years chief of Fatah's Force 17, was called Abu-Hitler because he named his eldest son after the fuehrer and his second Eichmann. Currently Kabatiyeh's terror chieftain proudly dubs himself Abu-Hitler too.
All the above, nonetheless, doesn't prevent Arabs from posing as faultless underdog bystanders. They cynically draw parallels between the darkest days of the Holocaust (which maybe never was) and misfortunes they brought on themselves (largely because they aspired to continue from where Hitler left off). Delegitimizing Israel's birth justifies cheering what Hitler did, vowing to complete his job, and yet insisting, in the same breath, that nothing untoward happened to Jews between 1939-45.
Such inherent contradictions complement each other in the worst traditions of anti-Semitic dialectics. But Columbia's self-congratulating free-thinkers (numerous Jews among them) dislike dwelling on uncool parochial "Jewish moans."