Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jewish Holocaust / Holocaust Denial / Holocaust Education

Arabs Have a Complex Relationship with the Holocaust
By Gilbert Achcar
The Guardian, May 12, 2010
"The issue of Holocaust denial in the Arab world has been widely covered in the media. Every public display of Holocaust denial by an Arab source is prominently reported and construed as further evidence of the pro-Nazi inclinations that Arabs, or Muslims, hold in their deepest hearts, especially when they are hostile to Israel. The deliberate provocations that the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stages regularly contribute considerably to fostering this image. There is no dispute that Holocaust denial has been on the rise in Arab countries during the last two decades. ... Yet western-style Holocaust denial -- that is, the endeavour to produce pseudo-scientific proofs that the Jewish genocide did not happen at all or was only a massacre of far lesser scope than that commonly acknowledged -- is actually very marginal in the Arab world. Rather, manifestations of Holocaust denial among Arabs fall for the most part under two categories.
On one hand, there are Arabs who are shocked by the pro-Israel double standard that is displayed in western attitudes towards the Middle East. ... On the other hand, there are Arabs who express Holocaust-denying views out of exasperation with the increasing cruelty of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. Unable to retaliate in kind, they believe that they can harm Israel symbolically in this way. ... Much less reported, however, are public acknowledgements by Palestinians of the Holocaust and of the universal lessons it bears for all persecuted peoples and groups. When researching my book, The Arabs and the Holocaust, I found innumerable reports about the enunciation by Palestinians or other Arabs of insanities about the Holocaust, while I noticed that expressions of Palestinian compassion with the victims of the Holocaust were barely reported, if not blatantly ignored. During my public talks in various countries, every time I told the audience about some of the most impressive examples and asked if they had heard about them, I encountered general surprise. [...]"

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