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Holocaust Denial in the Arab Imagination - Dissertation Sample

07 Mar 2017Dissertation Samples

There are few more sensitive historical topics than the discussion of the Nazi genocide that scarred the end of World War Two. Today, sixty years after the exposure of the mass murders in concentration camps (where towns such as Treblinka and Auschwitz are etched in the memory as infamous centres of human destruction) the Holocaust retains a power to shock; at the time, therefore, it must have seemed absolutely incredulous.

“The problem for both Jews and non Jews outside of Nazi dominated Europe was to take in the enormity of what was happening. For some of those who read the reports, there was also an unwillingness to take them in.”

Denial has thus been at the root of the Holocaust debate since the very genesis of the subject yet subsequent despotic regimes have, however, underlined the inherently cruel nature of authoritarian states where an external enemy is tantamount to oxygen, keeping the dynamics of the regime alive. The truth about Stalin’s Purges, the unprecedented horror of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, the atrocities committed by several autocratic military juntas in Latin America as well as the modern day state sponsored racial prejudice in Zimbabwe have all served to highlight the verity of the Holocaust and the extent of official homicidal tendencies given certain external conditions. In theory, therefore, time ought to have made it easier to accept the truth behind the Nazi extermination camps; in reality, the opposite has been the case.

Within this context of ongoing twentieth century strife, the emergence of a school of thought that advocated denial of the existence of the Holocaust seems absurd – barely deserving of academic attention in a counter response to its ludicrous claims. Certainly this would be the case if this denial would have been kept within the confines of North America and Europe. Ernst Zundel and Roger Garaudy, two of the most prominent exponents of Holocaust denial in the West, have both been widely discredited, their ‘studies’ exposed as only a means through which to express their deep seated right wing political views.

Yet the transference of these opinions to the Middle East completely alters the complexion of the discussion, more so concerning the contemporary state of international relations between the West and the Islamic and Arabic regimes in the region. The result is that Israel remains in the spotlight in the Middle East at the very moment when diplomats, advisors and statesmen all wish to see progress in the region and for the peace movement to move away from its obsession with Israel and the Holocaust. The greatest threat posed by Holocaust denial is, therefore, the perpetuation of an argument that hinders all attempts at reconciliation between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East.

For the purposes of the following essay, a chronological approach to the analysis must be adopted whereby it will be shown that recent international tensions have only served to further ostracise Judaism in the minds of the Arab world. The study will examine the nature of the Holocaust in the 1940’s and the way in which its racist doctrine has since been distorted and modified to fit Arabian notions of anti-Semitism that differ inherently from European pogroms of the past.

The spectre of Nazi Germany must necessarily remain near the forefront of the discussion as the organic similarities between the authoritarianism of National Socialism and the restriction of freedom in the Middle East make the existence of state sponsored political hatred a fact of everyday life within such repressive ideological conditions. A conclusion will be sought after highlighting the historical nature of Holocaust denial in the Middle East – a phenomenon that appears to have reached its zenith in very recent years, an argument that is inexorably connected to the broader geo political disagreements pertaining to the Palestinian Question within Israeli borders.

The Holocaust

This study does not aim to describe the full horrors of Nazi extermination policies or the motives behind the Final Solution. Anti Semitism was clearly rife throughout Europe during the economic hardship of the interwar years and intensive scrutiny of documentation shows that the extermination camps arrived by what Ian Kershaw calls a process of “fulfilling the prophecy”, namely the affirmation of Hitler’s speech to the Sportpalast in Berlin on 30 January 1942, a political testament that unequivocally advocated genocide.

“This war will not come to an end as the Jews imagine, with the extermination of the European Aryan peoples, but the result of this war will be the annihilation of Jewry.” 

That the Jews were considered expendable assets by the Western powers is at the nexus of the contemporary debate about how much the Allies knew about what was taking place at the Nazi extermination camps. What is certain is that, within the upper echelons of power, European Jewry was not considered as important as European citizenry in terms of international help in the closing months of the war. Though the Germans expressed unparalleled hatred towards Judaism, the point ought to be noted that anti-Semitism was a common feature of Western society. At the same time, sentiment in the Arab world was historically one of less hatred towards the Jews, although the seeds had already been sewn that tilled the land upon which religious hatred was to germinate via nineteenth century European imperialism.

“Arab Anti Semitism grew under the two pronged influence of European ideas and Moslems’ feelings of being ever more threatened by the Jews. Zionism was perceived as the spearhead of Western imperialism seeking to gain a foothold in the Middle East in order to dominate it.” 

Jews and Arabs enjoyed a cultural symbiosis before the arrival of the Europeans in the Middle East. The broader issue of Jewry only became highly significant in the Arabian consciousness after 1947 with the formal exodus of European Jews to Palestine, although the British state had opened the territory up to Jewish asylum seekers since 1917. This bequeaths a more significant argument relating to the Holocaust. Unlike in Western historiography, which views World War Two as a battle between good and evil, as well as authoritarianism versus freedom, the Arabs hold no such view of the conflict.

Its main legacy, in the Arabian consciousness, has been the settlement of displaced European Jews in Palestine, a move which completely altered the cultural, political and even religious temperament of the region. Viewing the following discussion through the lens of European history will not bring the study to a conclusion. In this sense ‘world’ war is a misnomer in the context of the Arabian consciousness.

To understand how the Holocaust denial viewpoints came to fruition in the area one must first comprehend that Nazi ideology did not die with Hitler in his Berlin bunker in May 1945. Although most of the key players within the Nazi political hierarchy did not live to see the Nuremburg Trials, the mass exodus of fascist ideologists not just from Germany but also from Austria, Italy, France and Spain ensured that the core principles of Nazism lived on. Many fled to South America; many escaped to the Middle East. In addition, the suicide of Hitler, Himmler and the worst exponents of anti-Semitic racism only added further fuel to the mythology of Nazi Europe whereby much of the literature on Germany between 1933 and 1945 paints the picture of, “a gleam of sinister beauty the world had not seen since the days of the ancient Assyrians.” 

Extreme, fascist anti-Semitism had many admirers in the Arabian world for many different reasons. Hard-line Christians and Moslems alike had long hated the Jews for the alleged betrayal of Christ at the hands of Pontius Pilot. It must be remembered that Islam not only recognises Christ but that it sees him as one of the Almighty’s Prophets. In this sense, initial Arabian grounds for anti-Semitism were remarkably similar to the religious reasons employed by Christians throughout history.

Nazism was harvested upon fertile ground within extremist circles in the Middle East for further reasons, outside of strict religious doctrine. The Germans were popular in the region because they were seen as the natural enemy of the British, the imperial power that controlled the contentious area of Palestine and thus the power that had first implanted Judaism in the region. The Middle Eastern states of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Egypt did not declare war on Germany until as late as February 1945 when the ultimate defeat of the Axis powers became inevitable. Anti British sentiment was, and remains, rife in certain parts of the Arab consciousness and acted as a catalyst for German sympathisers in the region, planting in the process the first seeds of Holocaust denial. 

It can be seen how, by the end of 1945, extremist Arabian states were aligned to key parts of Nationalist Socialist doctrine pertaining to the Jews without really having a history of anti Semitism in the Middle East; yet Jews and Arabs had far more in common with their cultures than either did with the capitalist, secular societies of modern Europe. Clearly, the links between Nazism and Arabian denials of the Holocaust during the first half of the twentieth century are insufficient in terms of explaining how the phenomenon has come to develop in the nursery of the Arab mind during the second half of the century.

Attention must now be turned to contemporary reasons for Holocaust denial in Arabian states of the Middle East, in particular the ongoing discord that centres upon Jewish occupation of holy Palestinian lands backed by the hegemonic power of the West that acts as the hub of contemporary Arabian anti-Semitism. 

Arab Israeli Discord

The settlement of an ethnic, racial or religious group of peoples into a land that has not historically been in their possession inevitably leads to intense social, political and cultural problems. The precarious state of Northern Ireland ought to be issued as a remainder as to the truth behind this statement, the discord in that corner of Western Europe beginning during Elizabethan times making it a much more deep rooted and long held problem that the Palestinian Question. As was the case in Belfast, the key to the burgeoning sense of alienation felt by the original occupiers of the land was due to the backing of a major power in terms of the newly arrived peoples. Much of the reasoning behind the sense of hatred many Arabs feel towards Jews stems from this sense of defeatism whereby Israel appears to be legislatively and militarily aided by key Western states, particularly the United States.

More importantly, the kind of Jews migrating to Palestine after the end of World War Two were of a completely different religious and political ilk to the Jews that had lived peacefully with the Arabs for the previous thousand years. Israeli Jews after 1947 were increasingly European in their outlook, accentuating divides between the Yiddish and Arabian cultures and insisting in a very European way (that no doubt reminded Arabians of the worst excesses of colonialism a hundred years beforehand) of stamping their authority upon the region characterised by a discernible lack of empathy for indigenous Palestinians. As a result, violence and ethnic hatred emerged in the region faster than any analysts dared to envision, leading to the defeat of the Arabs by the Israelis in 1948 and the far more damaging Six Day Arab Israeli War in May 1967 where Israel used the full military force of the West against their Arabian neighbours.

The spectre of aggressive Israeli geo political action has in fact been the chief reason why extremist claims such as the Holocaust denial have been able to exist in the Middle East as the Jews have evolved from unwanted occupiers to oppressive regional tyrants. Israeli militarism in Gaza is one of the chief motivating factors behind Arabian extremism and it is widely accepted that there will be no peace in the broader Arab world without first addressing the broader Palestinian Question. Every terror strike and retaliation lends the hardliners motivation to continue their campaigns of hate. Although Holocaust denials have been prevalent in the Arabian consciousness since before the 1967 conflict, there is no doubt that there has been a sizeable increase in the denials within the past decade, an era that has witnessed the nadir of Arab Israeli discord.

“The demonisation of the Jews, or the ‘other’, as reflected in various Arab writings on European anti-Semitism was by and large a function of the Arab–Israeli conflict culminating in the justification of Nazi actions against the Jews. The justification motif was more prevalent well into the 1970s, when the conflict was perceived as an existential one that necessitated the annihilation of the State of Israel.”

The 1970’s and 1980’s thus witnessed a burgeoning sense of fundamentalism in the Middle East, one that went largely unnoticed by Western Governments. Two important events in 1979 served to alter the complexion of Arabian strategies pertaining to the outside world. The unsuccessful Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the religious revolution in Iran both constituted a schism within localised politics in the Middle East which have greatly assisted Holocaust denial claims due to the autocracy of the terror networks and militant regimes bequeathed by these two events.   

“The emergence on the world stage of the Ayatollah Khomeini suggested the potency of another way of envisioning governance and human destiny that rested on traditional values and the primacy of religious leaders and institutions in shaping the life of society.” 

Therefore, while Arab Israeli relations plummeted during the 1990’s, a certain kind of religious centric, aggressive politics had long taken hold in many states of the Middle East that fostered denial of the Holocaust and other hateful campaigns against the Jews. Joining Afghanistan and Iran in the accession of fundamentalist regimes since 1979 have been Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, releasing in the process pent up extremism in North African Islamic states such as Algeria as well. The spread of extremism has in fact facilitated the expansion of the ideals of Holocaust denials so that it has become a key part of the hard-line Arabian doctrine in the region.

The important point to note is that Holocaust denial is a relatively recent phenomenon, one that could not have taken place without a significant change in the cultural climate of the Middle East taking place first. It is a cumulative phenomenon that has become more extremist and vitriolic in tandem with the perceived hopelessness of the Palestinian plight against the militarily superior Israeli State. An analysis of the linear arguments relating to Holocaust denial must now be attempted to see how denial of the Holocaust has been used as a tool to construct a sense of Zionist hatred that is harboured deep within certain parts of the wider Arabian consciousness.

Denial

Clearly, ‘denial’ is a subjective term that has no one generic answer in relation to the attempted Nazi extermination of European Jewry. Most Holocaust deniers claim there was an exaggeration of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis in their concentration camps with the number of six million Jews murdered appearing to be the source of antagonism, certainly amongst Holocaust denial advocates in Europe and North America. In comparison to the combined totals of those murdered for political beliefs (specifically the estimated fifty million people killed during the ‘war of annihilation’ in the East where the SS Einzatzgruppens inadvertently triggered the Final Solution because of the desperate need to discover an alternative means to execute prisoners other than firing squads due to poor morale) anti Semites feel that the plight of the Jews has been blown out of all proportion.

While some deniers advocate the exaggeration of Jewish claims of suffering, others even claim that the entire episode is a fabrication of history: it is a broad spectrum that depends ultimately on the level of extremism employed within the mind of each singular denier. However, Michelle Picheny highlights three key criteria that, historically, Holocaust deniers have used to back up their spurious racial and religious theories.

“First, deniers argue that the Nazis never had any plan for annihilating Jews, and that the means supposedly used for annihilation were technologically impossible. Second, deniers contend that those Jews who were killed were killed for justifiable reasons. Third, deniers maintain that Israeli and Jewish leaders and scholars have perpetuated the hoax of the Holocaust to serve their own material and political interests.”

It is difficult to comprehend the lengths that Holocaust deniers must go to in order to underscore their beliefs. The Nazis were the original ‘desktop murderers’ of the twentieth century, detailing the entire extermination process from an administrative epicentre that was as meticulous in its detail as it was murderous in its ideology.

Although no single document exists that incited the Final Solution (yet Heydrich’s correspondence with Goring dated July 1941 has been cited as the main document that acquiesces the Final Solution), the coded language used by key Nazi administrators leaves little to the imagination and those documents that did survive desperate German attempts at sabotage during the final days of the war highlight not only the number of Jews sent to the concentration camps in the East but also from which nation each doomed train of prisoners hailed from.

The greatest theoretical documentary ally for Holocaust deniers is the lack of evidence linking Hitler with the Final Solution though the basic intricacies of any dictatorship, where the leader cannot be seen to support internationally unpopular policies such as genocide, more than compensates for the apparent lack of impetus from the Fuhrer in this matter. As if any more proof were needed, the Allied soldiers who liberated the camps as well as those prisoners that survived add up to a substantial body of evidence that details pictorially and verbally the suffering inflicted within the camps.

The Holocaust is therefore one of the best detailed atrocities in modern history with far more literature available on the subject than, for instance, the Japanese genocide in Manchuria in 1936 or Stalin’s Purges in the 1930’s. The only route to denial is via conspiracy. Holocaust denial must logically be tied to theories of conspiracy because deniers must claim that the entire Western bloc was behind the perpetuation of the myth of Jewish suffering during World War Two. Holocaust denial must be (by definition) the greatest conspiracy in the history of the world. Furthermore, it is an inherently American phenomenon linked to the two thousand year old suspicion relating to Judaism and global financial capital.

“It can thus be seen that Holocaust denial is a conspiracy theory that seeks to place Jews behind an international movement to promote a falsehood for monetary gain. In this way, Holocaust denial is no different than many other previous forms of anti-Semitism, which imputed to Jews monetary greed as well as a conspiratorial air.”

The American angle of the ‘conspiracy factor’ is an important point to remember and one that is intrinsically tied to contemporary reasons for the perpetuation of Holocaust denial in the Arabian consciousness. The links between Judaism and the corridors of power of Western Governments is one that is consistently accented in the Middle East where the USA, in particular, is seen as an enterprise founded and funded solely by Jewish capital. Certainly, the bias hitherto exposed by Washington in relation to the ongoing Arab Israeli conflict where, traditionally, America has turned a blind eye to Israeli barbarism in the region, has done little to alleviate the dominant connection between Judaism and the West as characterised by aggressive geo political imperialism that has tarred international relations in the Middle East since the middle of the nineteenth century.

Paradoxically, the absurdity of Holocaust denial claims is where the very strength of the movement resides. The lengths a denier has to go to reveal the extent of his or her hatred, whereby they are willing to risk ridicule rather than accept the full force of historical fact, underscores how deep the hatred of Zionism is in the contemporary Arabian consciousness.

“On the Holocaust three positions are not infrequently found in the Arabic media: it never happened; it was greatly exaggerated; the Jews deserved it anyway. On the last point, some more enterprising writers add a rebuke to Hitler for not having finished the job. No one has yet asserted that the destruction of the World Trade Centre never happened, though with the passage of time this will not be beyond the capacity of conspiracy theorists… the most popular explanation attributes the crime, with minor variations, to their favourite villains – to Israel.” 

In the West, accusations such as the above quotation pertaining to 9/11 would be ridiculed yet in the Middle East these are serious views, promulgated by respected academics and news casters. The same trend is visible concerning the denial of the Holocaust. Whereas deniers in Europe have been largely ostracised and silenced, deniers in the Middle East occupy positions of academic and cultural authority and are therefore able to air their views with increasing consistency and voracity. Moreover, in their attempts to deny the existence and the extent of the Holocaust, Arabian deniers turn the tables back upon the Jews by claiming that is they who are the Nazis as the following extract from the Syrian media explains. 

“The countries of the world, that fiercely condemned the crimes of Nazism, [should] adamantly oppose the new Nazi Plague that breeds in Israel and whose poisons and dangers are being spread wherever it reaches.” 

Although these views are challenged from within Arabian intelligentsia, the dominant paradigms remain those that are considered to be on a par with whichever government is in power. With right wing, fundamentalist regimes prevalent in Syria, Jordan, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Holocaust denial viewpoints have received a warm welcome, part of a broader consensus to make the Jews feel as unwelcome as possible in the Middle East with the ultimate aim of facilitating the denouement of the Jewish State. Attention must now be turned to the tools of propaganda at the disposal of these autocratic Arabian powers to see how such a historically inaccurate concept as denial of the Holocaust is able to survive in the Middle East. 
Contemporary views of the Holocaust: Tools of Arabian Propaganda and Mythology as Fact in Lieu of Freedom of Speech

“Now, with the surge in Muslim fundamentalism, Arab anti Semitism has returned to the Koran. The Jews are no longer an inferior people that should be kept in inferior status and their lives protected; they are enemies of Islam and must be obliterated.”  

All of the ingredients that combined to ensure that the Holocaust took place in the 1940’s appear to be in place in parts of the contemporary Arab world, namely the key criteria of a lack of democracy (and freedom of information), an economically deprived populace and, most importantly, the expression of religious fanaticism as political ideology. Islam is the most peaceful, law abiding religion on the planet according to the strictest interpretation of the Koran yet hardliners have distorted its doctrine to make a political movement that generally goes against the grain of the entire teachings of Allah. As Ian Kershaw notes the cumulative nature of the Nazi extermination of the Jews, so in the Arab world a sense of escalation can be detected that implies a lack of leadership but also a broad base of popular support for anti-Semitism, which renders attempts at forecasting future implications notoriously difficult.  

The fact that Jews are in such a prominent position within the corridors of power of the world’s last remaining superpower only further allies Arabian notions of a conspiracy to maintain Jewish hegemony throughout the world. Hatred appears to be increasing rather than decreasing with the linkage between America and Israel growing ever more robust and examples such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq only further aiding a sense of siege mentality taking place in the contemporary Arabian consciousness. Thus, the economic and political reality of globalisation that the United States wishes to export across the globe is seen in the Middle East as an unholy matrimony of American capitalism and international Jewry with the aim if fighting an ideological and religious war of destruction against Islam.

The most concerning current trend for Israel has been the way in which Western anti-Semites have increasingly used Arab states as a haven in which to harbour their racist viewpoints, often asking for help from Arabs in the first instance. Wolfgang Fröhlich, for instance, sought refuge in Iran in May 2000 when he became aware that his arrest by Austrian authorities was imminent for claiming the impossibility of using Zyklon B gas to execute the Jews in the Nazi death camps. Far more damaging to Arab Israeli relations was the scandal that accompanied a 1995 book entitled, The Founding Myths of Modern Israel by French author Roger Garaudy, which necessitated his trial and conviction by French courts in 1998.   

“Before, during and after the trial, he was hailed as a hero throughout the countries of the Middle East – the trial was covered by media from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. Formerly Roman Catholic and Communist, Garaudy had converted to Islam in 1982 and married a Jerusalem born Palestinian woman, but this alone did not explain the outpouring of support he received; the ‘revisionist’ message of his book – whose Arabic translation was a best seller in many of the region’s countries – clearly resonated across the region.”    

As the two factions have split, so Arabia has been seen as the spiritual home of anti-Semites throughout the world. It is the one part of the world where Holocaust denial viewpoints will not only get aired but also garner widespread support; the exodus of Western deniers will clearly continue for as long as the current political and religious status quo is maintained in the Middle East.

Before attempting a conclusion a point must be made, one which may appear to be pedantic at first but one which is of the utmost importance in the context of this discussion. When two opposing world views collide as they have done over the past thirty years in Palestine there are inevitably great problems in interpreting the primary sources from both of these locations, namely the highly contentious aspects of Israeli and Arabic ‘evidence’. Both factions distort the truth in order to gain an advantage over the enemy, with Holocaust denial replicated in the biased reportage witnessed in the West in relation to Arab Israeli discord in the Middle East, as the following British newspaper article suggests.

“Up to sixty Palestinian activists and numerous civilians, including two children killed last week have been gunned down by Israeli death squads or missile-firing Israeli helicopter pilots. The White House has gently chided Israel about these attacks, but already this week the BBC has been using the phrase ‘targeted attacks’ for the policy of murder. The Palestinian killing of Israelis, however, is regularly referred to accurately as ‘murder’ or ‘assassination’.”

Although by no means condoning the denail claims regarding the Holocaust, the fact must be accepted that the entire Palestinian and Jewish question is marred by bias and deliberate factual error on both sides. For every Arab who believes that the Holocaust was a fabrication of world history there is similarly a Westerner who belives that all Moslems are terror suspects. Until the tradition of forgery and lies can be eradicated from political discourse in the Middle East, a peaceful solution to the broader issue of intra state co operation appears very unlikely.

Furthermore, one must not overlook the power of religion in the region. Though anti-Semitism in the Nazi State was a racial affair, it is every bit as much a religious disease in the Middle East where the Israeli State is seen as inferior on a spiritual as well as an ethnic level. By delaring the suffering of what they percieve to be their greatest physical and ideoligcal threat to be inconsequential, Arabs make a point for all of Islam; everybody who follows the faith. Historians must be careful not to cloud their comprehension of the discussion with Western style judgement.

“The secularised mentality fails to appreciate that for many people in the world, religious faith is a primary identity. It is a given, not a choice.”

Conclusion

History is such an important topic precisely because it is not as black and white as most people would initially believe. One people’s history is another people’s fantasy and in extreme cases the two opinions may never in fact meet. As a result, history has often been used as a political tool with which to justify a radical, sometimes inflammatory cultural policy. This is often called ‘revisionist’ history with the example of Ireland most frequently cited as, hitherto, the most prominent example of mythology becoming historical fact. In this way a famine can become a starvation, and a settlement an invasion, which bequeaths enormous, wide ranging consequences for all subsequent schools of academic thought.

In this way, the Holocaust has been used in mainstream Arabian intelligentsia as a vehicle with which to drive the Israelis out of Palestine. By questioning the validity for Jewish presence in the Middle East in the first place, Arabian anti-Semites are able to continue their ideological war with Judaism from a distorted moral angle with the incitement of ‘good’ versus ‘evil’ adding further propaganda support to the denial argument. The following excerpt, called Holy War and Victory, is from Abd al Halim Mahmoud, the former Rector of Cairo’s Al Azhar University; the views are sadly symptomatic of much of the teachings within hard line Arabian colleges and universities.

“Among Satan’s friends – indeed his best friends in our age – are the Jews. They have laid down a plan for undermining humanity, religiously and ethically. They have begun their work to implement this plan with their money and their propaganda. They have falsified knowledge, exploited the pens of writers and bought minds in their quest for the ruination of humanity.” 

This is the kind of language used by the Nazis during the 1930’s. It is the kind of language employed solely to keep thought at bay. One can only wonder to what extent such inflammatory anti-Semitic literature can have on the uneducated numbers of the Arab world when it has had such an impact concerning the seduction of the well educated Arabian youth. The widespread lack of freedom of information and freedom of speech in hard-line Arab states like Jordan, Syria and Egypt makes the task of preventing the dissemination of denial all the more problematic.

In much the same way as the Nazis were able to seduce the German people into participation in murder via propaganda and the politicisation of everyday life, so certain Arabian states are able to deny the existence of the Holocaust through the same authoritarian political means in addition to using religion as a tool of state sponsored hatred, just as Hitler married Communism with Judaism to from a wicked, mythical hybrid that posed a fundamental threat to the German nation. 

Although it is important to re iterate that Nazism does not live on in the Middle East, there remain fundamental ideological similarities that remain significant barriers to progress in the Middle East. Aside from a lack of democratic tradition that is able to foster religious and racial toleration, the greater Arabian desire to resist global social and cultural advances mirrors Nazi political policy which, contrary to popular belief, was not the industrial capitalist monolith as witnessed during the zenith of the German war machine, 1939 43. Both regimes have been exposed as essentially Medieval in their outlook. 

“The acquisition of Lebensraum was expected to open the way to a vast new wave of German eastward colonisation comparable to that of the Middle Ages, making possible a significant degree of de urbanisation and de industrialisation.”

The chief area of difference is the motivating factor behind anti-Semitism in the Middle East where the newly created state of Israel has been viewed as the construction of evil in Arabia. Whereas the Nazis willed the destruction of the Jewish people, Arabian anti-Semites desire the destruction of the Jewish state. Viewed in this context, the Palestinian Question has more in common with the Irish Question than the worst excesses of the Nazi State where the key to progress is a protracted process of compromise with the formation of an independent Palestinian State constituting the most critical of the immediate queries that require answering.

The development of a struggle that is currently described on the ground of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in the Middle East is a worrying trend that will inevitably ensure the perpetuation of Holocaust mythology in the Arabian consciousness. This is mirrored in Western propaganda, highlighting a drift away from consensus on both sides at the exact moment when there ought to have been a move towards co operation. The Holocaust will not be a topic open to realistic academic discussion in the Middle East until discrepancies on both sides have been addressed, which is in fact the aim of current policy makers in the region.  

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • M.G. Bad et al, Myths and Facts: a Guide to the Arab Israeli Conflict (Jane & Bane Ltd; London, 2002)
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  • R. Falk, A Worldwide Religious Resurgence in an Era of Globalisation, quoted in, F. Petito & P. Hatzopoulos (Edtd.), Religion in International Relations: the Return from Exile (Palgrave Macmillan; New York, 2003)
  • Post Holocaust and Anti Semitism – the Development of Arab Anti Semitism (an interview with Meir Litvak), quoted in, Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs (Jerusalem; February 2003)
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