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August 27, 2015

Like a Bourbon: Palestinian Leader Questions Holocaust

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas questioned the Holocaust while nevertheless comparing Israelis to the Nazi regime that murdered millions of Jews in an Aug. 23, 2015 speech.

In remarks broadcast on official PA television, Abbas told a group of Polish journalists visiting Ramallah: “They [Jews] say they made sacrifices in World War II—we respect what they say.” As Palestinian Media Watch notes in their report on the Fatah leader’s comments, Abbas with that wording presents the Holocaust as “something Jews say” happened.

The PA president and Fatah movement head then proceeded to compare the world’s sole Jewish state—reestablished in the wake of the Holocaust and that has provided refuge to millions of Jews who faced antisemitism in other lands—to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime:

“They [Israel] should not treat us the way they were treated [by the Nazis]. We must not be a victim of the victim. I did not do anything bad to him.”

Abbas was born in 1935 in British Mandatory Palestine. The genocide of European Jewry took place between 1939 and 1945. However, Abbas has sanctioned terrorist attacks against Israelis and helped finance the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre that killed 11 Israeli athletes, one of whom was also an American citizen. As Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat’s right-hand man for decades, Abbas was complicit in PLO terrorism generally.

Often described by U.S. and some Israeli officials as a peace partner, Abbas in his comments also ignored the role that Palestinian Arab leadership played during World War II. Before Arafat, the most notable representative of Palestinian Arab nationalism was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem.

During World War II, al-Husseini was forced by the Allies to flee to Berlin for having supported Hitler and the Axis powers. The mufti personally met with Hitler in November, 1941 and thanked the Nazi leader, stating: “The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely…the Jews.”

“The objectives of my fight are clear,” the Mufti wrote in his diary after the meeting. “Primarily, I am fighting the Jews without respite, and this fight includes the fight against the Jewish National Home in Palestine” (The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism, Conor O’Brien, 1986).

Yugoslavia later sought to indict al-Husseini as a war criminal for his role in recruiting Muslim volunteers into the ranks of Hitler’s SS, who went on to murder Jews in Croatia and Hungary.

The next generation of Palestinian leaders, led by Arafat, would transition from working with Hitler to being clients of the Soviet Union and its communist-bloc satellites. It was under Soviet sponsorship that Abbas, then a mid-ranking PLO emissary, completed his Ph.D. from the Oriental College in Moscow.

Abbas appears to be rehashing allegations from his Soviet-era dissertation charging Zionist collaboration in Nazi persecution of European Jews and revisionist denigration as to the scope of the Holocaust.

That work, later published as a book, was entitled “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” as CAMERA has previously documented (“Where’s the Coverage? Abbas is No Angel,” May 20, 2015). In it, Abbas claimed the figure of six million murdered Jews in the Holocaust to be a “fantastic lie” and a “myth”—statements he would try to distance himself from after being elected PA head.

Characterizing anti-Zionist, rejectionist Palestinian Arab leadership in the 1930’s and 40’s, the usually sympathetic head of the Arab Legion, British General Sir John Glubb, once remarked, “Like the Bourbons, [they] have learnt and forgotten nothing in the past 10 years” (The Road to Jerusalem: Glubb Pasha, Palestine and the Jews, Benny Morris, 2003).

It seems little has changed.

The Palestinian Media Watch report on Abbas’ remarks can be found here.—Sean Durns

Posted by ER at August 27, 2015 02:21 PM

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