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The PA and the Holocaust

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |

When it comes to the Holocaust, the Palestinian Authority has a dilemma about which bogus narrative to adopt. On the one hand, the PA denies the Holocaust ever happened, or at the very least, that the numbers of Jews murdered were entirely exaggerated. On the other hand, the PA uses the Holocaust to compare Israel to the Nazis and to accuse Israel of conducting a Holocaust against the Palestinians.

Over the years, Palestinian Media Watch has exposed scores of examples of the PA Holocaust denial, distortion and abuse.

One of the most outrageous lies the PA added this year was that Jews were trained by the Nazis in concentration camps to kill “without feeling anything” and that the Germans would deliberately free Jews from the concentration camps and “prepare them” for combat against Arabs in Palestine:

Researcher and author Aziz Al-Asa: “Many of the Jewish fighters during the Nakba (i.e., establishment of Israel, 1948) came from GermanyThey were trained to carry out despicable acts of murder here without feeling anything, without using their humanity… Imagine that the Jewish soldiers used to kill and weep loudly… The Zionist movement reached an agreement with the German government that it would take the young people from the [concentration] camps, the young Jews, train them, and prepare them.”

[Official PA TV, Debunking the Zionist Narrative, Feb. 4, 2023]

Statements such as these do not appear in a vacuum. While PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is welcomed around the world as a respected leader, the reality is that Abbas is one of the vilest anti-Semites who blames the Jews for their own murder. Spewing one of the age-old tropes, according to Abbas, Jew hatred, centuries of massacres, and the Holocaust are not due to the Jewish religion but rather “due to their social role that was connected to usury, and banks, and so forth...”:

"Jews who migrated to eastern and western Europe were subjected to massacres by some state every 10 to 15 years from the 11th century until the Holocaust… Why did this happen?...

The hatred of the Jews is not due to their religion, but rather due to their social rolethe Jewish problem that was common in all the states of Europe against the Jews was not due to their religion, but rather due to their social role that was connected to usury, and banks, and so forth..."

[Official PA TV, April 30, 2018]

Since these are the views of Abbas, it is not surprising that the PA would tell Palestinians that the Holocaust was the price the Jews paid for their evil behavior - their “conspiracies and wickedness”:

Official PA TV host: “In this episode, whose title is “Hitler’s Rise to Power in Germany,” we’ll talk about the very sensitive periods between 1929 and 1935. This is the period in which Zionism was diminished and nearly ended and disappeared… The preparations began leading to World War II in Europe, and this is the period in which the Zionist movement paid the price for its conspiracies and wickedness, there in the European states.”

[Official PA TV, From the Israeli Archive, Jan. 23, 2021]

Abbas’ Fatah movement also plays an integral part in the PA’s Holocaust denial, distortion and perversion. According to a loathsome video produced by Fatah’s Commission of Information and Culture, ostensibly explaining the events of the Holocaust, Jews have feelings of superiority and see non-Jews as animals and snakes. Accordingly, the Jews themselves decided to separate from other Europeans and chose to live in isolated ghettos. In these ghettos, Fatah’s history lesson continues, Jews schemed to “enslave humanity,” by accumulating wealth and power, and even cooperated with the Nazis to burn Jews for profit:

"In Europe, the [Jewish] tribe established camps and residential areas, crowded ghettos in order to separate from other people out of arrogance and disgust for non-Jews, who do not reach their status, and who according to their [Jews'] worldview are snakes and sons of snakes. There [in the ghettos] they schemed to exploit the others' material and human resources... The people of the world began to hate the [Jewish] tribe's ghettos and the warehouses for export of hate and exploitation. [The Jews] were hated because of their racism and their filthy behavior - and not because of their superiority, or their intelligence, or their being religious, or their being better. Zionism was born from the womb of exploitation, while taking advantage of this hatred [towards the Jews] and turning it once again into a colonialist tool. The rich people of the [Jewish] tribe led the project to enslave humanity and exploit it, while trading in the blood of their own people, enjoying their weakness, and creating ties with those [Nazis] who burned them, in order to turn them into a tool of production and to accumulate wealth.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, July 15, 2019]

In an environment such as this, it was not entirely surprising when, speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Aug. 16, 2022, Abbas declared that Israel “has committed 50 holocausts.” Responding to the international community’s swift condemnation of Abbas’ hate speech, the PA official mouthpiece praised Abbas for speaking the “truth”: 

Editorial by the official PA daily: “President Mahmoud Abbas – he is not afraid to say the truth… The truth is painful, and the frantic Zionist racist incitement campaign against President Mahmoud Abbas proves this.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 21, 2022]

Following in the steps of Abbas a regular columnist for the official PA daily exemplified the PA historical distortion when he protested the inclusion of Holocaust studies in Arab curricula.

While acknowledging the Holocaust as a real event in history columnist Ramzi Oudeh minimized the number of Jewish victims, accusing the “Zionists” of inflating numbers to create support for the establishment of the State of Israel:

Without commenting on the Zionist exaggeration of the [number of] victims of the Holocaust in order to obtain the world’s sympathy and support for the Zionist state (sic., the number of victims of the Holocaust is very well documented), we do not deny that the Holocaust is a fact. However, as Arabs we are not required to include it in the school curricula, or even in the museums dealing with this human tragedy, as for the last several hundred years dozens of cases of ethnic cleansing have been committed in the world, such as the genocide in Armenia at the start of the last century, or the genocide against the Tutsis in Burundi (i.e., the Rwandan genocide) at the end of the last century…

The problematic matter that spurred me to write this article is not the Holocaust in and of itself, for as I wrote above, I do not deny it, but rather [it is] the direction taken by one of the Arab states that are competing among themselves over normalization [with Israel]. It imposed on its students to learn about the Holocaust as part of its curriculum, and not only that, for recently a Holocaust museum was established in this state (refers to the United Arab Emirates, one of the states to sign the Abraham Accords; see note below -Ed.). The main excuse for this haste to satisfy the Zionists was a struggle against denial of the Holocaust among members of the Arab region. This is a baseless excuse, as no one – including the Arabs – denies the Holocaust, even if some of them oppose the exaggeration in the number of its victims or its circumstances.

There is no doubt that putting the Holocaust into the curricula must relate to the need to reject ethnic cleansing of the members of any people or religion in the world. On the other hand, it must connect this massacre [the Holocaust] to the Zionist movement’s success in exploiting the Holocaust and increasing its danger in order to frighten the world’s Jews and encourage their immigration to Palestine, so as to colonize it and avoid the danger of eradication… It is also necessary to connect the nature in which the Zionist movement exploited the Holocaust to blackmail the world’s states and forced them to pay billions of dollars as compensation to the Jewish victims, to the fact that it denies the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees, whom it uprooted from their homes, and whom until now it opposes their return and refuses to compensate them!"

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 5, 2023]

While Odeh’s claims reflect a concise version of the PA ideology regarding the Holocaust, it does not prevent the PA from simultaneously claiming that the Jews were merely expelled from Europe and that the magnanimous Palestinians gave the hungry, sick, and diseased Jews water to drink and oranges to eat, but the Jews “betrayed the hand that was extended to help them.”

Official PA TV host: “How was the expulsion (i.e., the Nazi genocide) of the Jews carried out? German [Nazi] Minister of Propaganda Goebbels, together with Hitler, disseminated that the Jews are like rats: They spread diseases, rob the wealth of Germany, and must be expelled... They reached the land of Palestine hungry, sick, lacking everything, infected with typhus and malaria. We gave them fresh water to drink and fed them oranges, and they betrayed the hand that was extended to help them.”

[Official PA TV, From the Israeli Archive, Feb. 2, 2021]

Needless to say, this portrayal of a generous welcome is a complete distortion of history. In fact, while Jews were fleeing Europe following the rise of the Nazi party in 1933, Arabs regularly attacked and killed Jews in British Palestine, climaxing in an intensive Arab terror campaign from 1936-1939. The Arab terror convinced Britain to cut off almost all Jewish immigration in May 1939 – the infamous British White Paper, which cut off the logical place of refuge, condemning countless Jews to death.

The following are just some of the reports published by PMW dealing with the PA attitudes towards the Holocaust:

The following is a longer excerpt of the article by Ramzi Oudeh, Secretary-General of the International Academic Campaign against Israel

Headline: “Teach your children about ECAAP (i.e., an invented acronym of “Ethnic Cleansing and Apartheid Against Palestinians”) and resistance to the occupation!”

“Many people were moved by the story of the young German Jewish girl Anne Frank and her family, whom the Nazi forces persecuted and arrested them in their hiding place in Amsterdam, and in the end they were murdered in the Nazis’ detention camps. Frank wrote her memoirs (sic., she had kept a diary), and they have been translated into more than 65 languages. Her hiding place became a museum and a pilgrimage site for those who oppose the policy of ethnic cleansing and identify with children in wartime. This is one of hundreds of stories of the Holocaust, which tell the suffering of the Jews in the period of Nazi rule.

Without commenting on the Zionist exaggeration of the [number of] victims of the Holocaust in order to obtain the world’s sympathy and support for the Zionist state (sic., the number of victims of the Holocaust is very well documented), we do not deny that the Holocaust is a fact. However, as Arabs we are not required to include it in the school curricula, or even in the museums dealing with this human tragedy, as for the last several hundred years dozens of cases of ethnic cleansing have been committed in the world, such as the genocide in Armenia at the start of the last century, or the genocide against the Tutsis in Burundi (i.e., the Rwandan genocide) at the end of the last century. It may be that the most prominent incident of genocide is what has happened and is still happening to the Palestinian people at the hands of the Zionists for more than 70 years. The studies of Ilan Pappé (i.e., anti-Zionist Israeli historian and former member of the Jewish-Arab communist party Hadash) and Benny Morris (i.e., Israeli historian) are among the most important scientific testimonies to the systematic ethnic cleansing by the Zionist forces in 1948…

The problematic matter that spurred me to write this article is not the Holocaust in and of itself, for as I wrote above, I do not deny it, but rather [it is] the direction taken by one of the Arab states that are competing among themselves over normalization [with Israel]. It imposed on its students to learn about the Holocaust as part of its curriculum, and not only that, for recently a Holocaust museum was established in this state (refers to the United Arab Emirates, one of the states to sign the Abraham Accords; see note below -Ed.). The main excuse for this haste to satisfy the Zionists was a struggle against denial of the Holocaust among members of the Arab region. This is a baseless excuse, as no one – including the Arabs – denies the Holocaust, even if some of them oppose the exaggeration in the number of its victims or its circumstances.

There is no doubt that putting the Holocaust into the curricula must relate to the need to reject ethnic cleansing of the members of any people or religion in the world. On the other hand, it must connect this massacre [the Holocaust] to the Zionist movement’s success in exploiting the Holocaust and increasing its danger in order to frighten the world’s Jews and encourage their immigration to Palestine, so as to colonize it and avoid the danger of eradication. This is at a time when Israel has committed ECAAP (i.e., an invented acronym of “Ethnic Cleansing and Apartheid Against Palestinians”) of the most severe level for 70 years, while murdering the Palestinians and uprooting them in cold blood. It is also necessary to connect the nature in which the Zionist movement exploited the Holocaust to blackmail the world’s states and forced them to pay billions of dollars as compensation to the Jewish victims, to the fact that it denies the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees, whom it uprooted from their homes, and whom until now it opposes their return and refuses to compensate them!

It may be that many schoolbooks in the world contain moving stories about the Holocaust, such as the story of Anne Frank, but it is a duty to also put content in these schoolbooks about the Zionist ECAAP and the legitimacy of the resistance to the occupation.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 5, 2023]