The Palestinians really don’t like mention of the Holocaust. It upsets them, but not because they are full of sympathy for murdered Jews. No, mention of the Holocaust upsets them because it may make others sympathize with the Jews, and with Israel as the Jewish state. And that will never do. They are horrified that the UAE is now going to include a unit on the Holocaust in its schools. What happens when young Emiratis are subjected to such courses? Will they be more understanding of Jews and the need for a Jewish state? Will they lose their anti-Zionist fervor, as Palestinians fear?
Some Palestinians, and other Muslim Arabs, have been known to deny the Holocaust altogether. They applaud the best-known Holocaust denier, the Englishman David Irving, who claims that there never were any gas chambers. They quote approvingly the Frenchman Robert Faurisson, who was banned in France for teaching that there was no Holocaust. Nick Griffin, the leader of the far right British National Party, who has expressed similar views, has met with Palestinian – and Arab – favor. These deniers don’t deny the existence of certain “camps,” but do deny they had anything to do with killing. One Holocaust denier described Auschwitz as follows: “It was an internment center and part of a large-scale manufacturing complex. Synthetic fuel was produced there, and its inmates were used as a workforce.”
But most Palestinians have ceased to deny the Holocaust altogether. There is simply too much evidence. They admit that yes, “some Jews died, but really, the number of dead Jews has been greatly exaggerated by Zionist propagandists.” More on this variation on outright Holocaust denial – call it Holocaust minimization or Holocaust distortion – can be found here: “PA Holocaust distortion: The Zionists ‘exaggerated’ the number of Holocaust victims,” by Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch,
Holocaust distortion is Holocaust denial’s ugly cousin — and it has been willingly adopted by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Instead of denying the Holocaust outright, the PA now “only” distorts the horrific scale of the attempted genocide against the Jews, denying documented historical truths.
A regular columnist for the official PA daily exemplified this in a recent column that protested the inclusion of Holocaust studies in Arab curricula.
The columnist, Ramzi Oudeh, is deeply disturbed that the UAE has decided to include Holocaust studies in its curriculum, and wants to make sure that no other Arab state follows suit.
Even while acknowledging the Holocaust as a real event in history and mentioning Anne Frank as “one of hundreds of stories of the Holocaust, which tell the suffering of the Jews in the period of Nazi rule,” 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, we do not deny that the Holocaust is a fact.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 5, 2023]
The writer repeated the baseless claim that Jews have overstated the number of victims later in the article, claiming that there is no Holocaust denial in the Arab region but only opposition to “the exaggeration in the number of its victims”:
“The main excuse for this haste (i.e., of Arab states including Holocaust studies in their curricula) 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.”
So Ramzi Oudeh claims that the UAE is including Holocaust studies as part of its curriculum because it believes too many Arabs “deny the Holocaust,” but, Oudeh says, that is a “baseless excuse,” as no Arabs deny the Holocaust; they only oppose the “exaggeration” in the numbers. This is nonsense. Of course many Arabs have denied the Holocaust altogether, but when that became untenable in the Western world, they graduated to expounding a variant on the theme – Holocaust minimization. That ie very thing that Ramzi Oudeh himself is guilty of when he writes about that supposed “exaggeration in the number” of Jewish victims.
The allegation that the Jews inflated the number of Holocaust victims is not a new PA invention. Already in 1984, now PA Chairman Abbas wrote in his thesis “The Other Side: The Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement” that the number of murdered Jews was “a few hundred thousand”:
Mahmoud Abbas is the most important Holocaust minimizer in the world today. Yet in the West, little notice has been taken of his doctoral thesis, turned into a book, whose nauseating contents he has never disclaimed. Why has there been such solicitousness for Mahmoud Abbas? There can be little doubt that if his Holocaust-minimizing were widely known, it would make it much harder for Western leaders to treat Abbas as a worthy interlocutor, rather than as the scandalous liar and antisemite that he so clearly is.
Mahmoud Abbas: “Having more victims meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over. However, since Zionism was not a fighting partner — suffering victims in a battle — it had no escape but to offer up human beings, under any name, to raise the number of victims, which they could then boast of at the moment of accounting…
In this tortured passage, Abbas seems to be saying that after World War II, the Zionists deliberately exaggerated the number of Jews killed by the Germans so they could “join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war.” But the Jews were not at any “negotiation table” after World War II, to divide the “spoils of war” in the Middle East. The Zionist claim to the Land of Israel was based on 3500 years of a Jewish presence in that land. More recently, that claim is based as well on the Mandate for Palestine, that dates to 1922; the Mandate for Palestine, confirming the Jewish right to a certain territory “between the rvier and the sea,” had nothing to do with the later German murders of six million European Jews. Abbas is confusing World War II with World War I. After the First World War, the victorious powers did engage in assigning parts of the former Ottoman territories to Great Britain and France as Mandatory authorities; these countries did not claim to own these lands, but assumed the task of helping to guide the people in those territories to independence. Abbas continues:
It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement…is to inflate this figure so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions — fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand.”
(Translation by the Wiesenthal Center)
[Mahmoud Abbas: “The Other Side: The Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement”, Feb. 15, 1984]
Abbas’ thesis is taken as fact in the PA, as was illustrated by an official PA daily columnist who wrote that Abbas’ book “exposed the great lie” of 6 million murdered Jews:
“[Abbas’ book] emphasized that there is an exaggeration of the events of the Nazi Holocaust, and also exposed how the Zionist organization invented the myth of 6 million killed Jews, which it described as ‘a great lie’.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 30, 2021]
Abbas has never distanced himself from his Holocaust minimization, never apologized for claiming that “many scholars…reached [the] stunning conclusions—fixing the number of Jewish vicims at only a few hundred thousand.” I have always wondered why, when Western politicians and journalists have had a chance to meet with Abbas, not one has ever questioned him point-blank about his grotesque minimization of the number of Jewish victims. His flustered and angry response would convey a great deal to the public. Very few people in the Western world know of Abbas’ writings on the Holocaust. He’s been protected by the media; that protection should stop.
One of the definitions of Holocaust distortion by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is:
“Gross minimization of the number of the victims of the Holocaust in contradiction to reliable sources.”
Columnist Ramzi Oudeh further minimized the Holocaust when arguing that Arabs don’t need to learn about it because other “cases of ethnic cleansing” have taken place since. Among these he included the alleged “genocide” of Palestinians as “the most prominent incident of genocide”:
“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.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 5, 2023]
The gassing, shooting, burning, starving, and working to death, of every last Jewish man, woman, and child, by the Germans, took place not just in Germany, but in every country that the Germans occupied. The Armenian genocide was far smaller, with 1.5 million victims. The Turks who committed it did not seek to kill Armenians outside of Turkey, unlike the Germans who sought to kill Jews everywhere they could. The Rwandan genocide took place within the context of a civil war between Hutus and Tutsis; about half a million Tutsis were slaughtered, but the Hutus did not pursue Tutsis once they had left Rwanda; their aim was to rid the country of the Tutsis, but not necessarily to kill them wherever they went.
In satanic scope, and in horror, there has been nothing in human history like the German mass-murders of the Jews that we call the Holocaust.
As for Oudeh’s remark about the “most prominent incident of genocide” being that carried out by the Zionists against the Palestinians, it’s a preposterous claim. Consider the population figures. In 1949, there were 156,000 Arabs in Israel within the Green Line. Now there are two million. In 1967, in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, there were 900,000 Palestinians. In 2023, there are now three million Palestinians. Genocide? What genocide?
Others in the Arab world are also against teaching the Holocaust to students. Official PA TV broadcast a former Lebanese minister stating his opinion that inclusion of Holocaust studies in Arab curricula is “unfortunate”:
Former Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ghazi Aridi: “Unfortunately – I say this with full sincerity – there are Arabs who intend to approve a Holocaust studies program in their schools, and to turn this topic into a foundational chapter in their studies, under the headline of the Abraham Accords.”
[Official PA TV, From Beirut, Jan. 13, 2023]
Unlike Palestinians Ramzi Oudeh and Mahmoud Abbas, the Lebanese Ghazi Aridi is neither a Holocaust denier, nor a Holocaust minimizer. He simply wants the Arabs to avoid the topic altogether. He is particularly upset that the UAE intends to make study of the Holocaust part of its schools’ curriculum. He worries what teaching the Holocaust to impressionable young Arabs might do to their determination to fight the Zionists. It could undo all the good work that has been done for decades to teach them to hate Jews. Think of all the effort that has gone into celebrating the lives of Palestinian terrorists, by naming streets, schools, hospitals, and sports competitions after those who massacred two dozen Israeli schoolgirls, blown up elderly Jews at a Passover seder, murdered 11 Olympic athletes, commandeered a bus and killed all of its passengers in the Coastal Road Massacre, persuaded a suicide bomber to blow himself up along with Israeli mothers and their children at a Sbarro pizzeria, murdered a mother and all four of her children, including a baby, as she drove them home from school. Think of how Palestinian childrens’ programs show tiny tots lisping their murderous hatred of Jews – “I want to stab a Jew” – as they make stabbing motions with their pretend knives. All that work might be undone if Arabs were to study the Holocaust, and began to understand that Jews have been the victims of the greatest crime in human history. That, of course, will never do.