Original Thinking: Misuse of Holocaust to slander Israel

International Holocaust Remembrance Day should serve as a reminder that, unless we maintain our alertness and prevent the spread of anti-Israel libel couched in Holocaust terms, the same threat that consumed our forebears in Europe could consume us in our homeland in the deadly realization of delegitimization.

Protester burns Israeli flag with swastika on it 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Protester burns Israeli flag with swastika on it 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Holocaust remembrance should honor the victims but recently its use has been perverted by the enemies of the Jews and the Jewish state and, in its perverted form, is being used as a club to demonize and delegitimize Israel, the Jewish state.
When the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, rushed to pledge his allegiance to Adolf Hitler he did so out of an anti-Semitic desire to destroy the Palestinian Jews and replace them with an Arab nation.
Palestine was a barren Ottoman backwater that was revived by the Zionist enterprise of creating the legitimate national home of the Jewish people as unanimously and legally decreed by the world at the League of Nations in 1922. Fast forward to today and the numerous statements of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that reek of anti-Semitism.
Abbas received a doctorate from the Moscow Oriental College in Holocaust denial based on a confused theory that the Zionists (Jews) cooperated with the Nazis in the murder of Jews. In 1983, he wrote the book The Secret Relationship between Nazism and the Zionist Movement, in which he claimed that the Nazi gas chambers were never used to kill Jews, but only to disinfect them. He reduced the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust to 890,000 and further theorized that they were murdered in a joint effort between Jewish leaders and the Nazis.
In his deteriorating anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, Mahmoud Abbas writes that Adolf Hitler only decided to kill Jews after David Ben-Gurion provoked him into doing it by “declaring war on the Nazis” in 1942.
It is interesting to note that the BBC news profile of Abbas covers up his Holocaust denial. It describes him as “A highly intelligent man who studied law in Egypt before doing a PhD in Moscow. He is the author of several books....” The profile fails to describe the thesis of his PhD or the subjects of his books.
The New York Times calls Abbas “a lawyer and historian. He holds a doctorate in history from Moscow Oriental College. His topic was Zionism.” “Zionism” and not “Holocaust Denial.”
The blatantly anti-Semitic Mahmoud Abbas is called a “moderate.” This despite the fact that he has repeatedly said that he will never recognize the Jewish state, “not in a thousand years.” He has also called for a Palestinian state in which not one Jew will be allowed citizenship, which would thereby make a Palestinian state the first official “Judenrein” state since Nazi Germany.
The Jerusalem Post published a report by Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon on January 22 quoting Mahmoud Abbas in an interview with Al-Mayadeen, a Lebanese TV station affiliated with Hezbollah and Iran, as saying that the Zionist movement had links with the Nazis before the Second World War.
Abbas claims to have “70 more books I still haven’t published” on the supposed links between the Zionist movement and the Nazis. “I challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionism and Nazism” said Israel’s “moderate peace partner.”
Is it any wonder that proponents of the Palestinian cause lapse into using Holocaust imagery to slander Israel and to create an obscene metaphor that positions Israel as Nazis and Palestinians as Holocaust Jews? The statement, on January 24, 2013, from British Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, that “Jews, who suffered levels of persecution during the Holocaust, within a few years of liberation from the death camps are inflicting atrocities on Palestinians on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza,” is replete with anti-Semitic accusations. There you have it: Jews left concentration camps and almost immediately began beating up, starving, and executing Palestinian Arabs, according to Ward’s fantasy.
Neither did Ward back off too much when confronted with outrage from his political party. In a lame defense he said, “Well, I’m accusing Jews who did it. If you’re a Jew who didn’t do it then I’m not accusing you.”
Notice his constant reference to Jews, not Israelis. This is the certain sign of an anti- Semite.
What I found disturbing about this incident is that those who condemned Ward for his juxtaposition of Jews and the Holocaust and the Palestinian problem did nothing to show that neither Jews, nor Israel, were treating Palestinians, in any way, shape or form, as the Jews has been treated by the Nazis.
Nobody showed him that, had the Palestinians not been so steeped in their anti- Semitic rejectionism of living alongside a Jewish state and passionately avowed to remove the Jewish state from their midst, they would have achieved their state by now.
THE INFLUENCE of the Holocaust on the Arab-Israel conflict positions Israel as the evil Nazis even as the Islamists and Palestinian Arabs apply Nazi doctrine and threats against Israel. Listen to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and read the Hamas and PLO charters to understand this truth.
Goebbels-type demonization and imagery are frequently used by pro-Palestinian, anti- Israel groups as throwaway slogans that reveal the anti-Semitic roots of their cause.
Greta Berlin, the founder of the “Free Gaza Movement,” is an anti-Semite, and has often used Holocaust parallels in her efforts to cloak Israel in Nazi clothes.
On her Free Gaza Facebook page a video appeared headed with the message that “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of Jews.” Under this video appeared the following message, “The word ‘Nazi’ is a combination between National Socialist Party and the Zionist Party.”
When pressed by other pro-Palestinian organizations, that were embarrassed by this open display of anti-Semitism, she made a lame excuse about a “technical error” and claimed those who criticized her were “on a witch hunt.”
On a pro-Palestinian “Our Land” Facebook page, Greta Berlin posted a personalized introduction about Zionist-Nazi collaboration that read: “Finally people are coming to confirm what many of us have known for many years. Not just that The H [Holocaust] was exploited by the Zionists to create Israel, but that – in large measure – it was aided, abetted and to a large degree created by them to create an ineluctable tide of world opinion for the establishment of a Jewish ‘safe haven.’” Let me repeat that. In her own words, she wrote that “many of us have known for many years... that the Holocaust was exploited by Zionists [Jews] to create Israel.” With this, she not only implicated herself as a rabid anti-Semite, but eerily echoed the thoughts and words of Mahmoud Abbas, often portrayed as Israel’s reasonable and moderate peace partner.
When questioned by me on a recent online televised debate, Greta Berlin, together with an Arab named Rami from Lod and Mahmoud from Amman, Jordan, all admitted that their individual solutions to the problem were the same: a Palestinian state in place of Israel. Deep in the heart of those who use Holocaust metaphors is the ambition to do away with Israel; the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem in the Middle East.
Based on their recent history, statements and actions, I suggest Israel’s enemies look in the mirror and see who are today’s Jew-haters, and who are behaving like modern-day Nazis.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day should serve as a reminder that, unless we maintain our alertness and prevent the spread of anti-Israel libel couched in Holocaust terms, the same threat that consumed our forebears in Europe could consume us in our homeland in the deadly realization of delegitimization.
The writer is the author of the book Israel Reclaiming the Narrative. He is also the special consultant on delegitimization issues to the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at the Netanya Academic College.