As we enter one of the most solemn days of the year, Yom HaShoah, much of the liberal media has been fixated on PA President Mahmood Abbas’ ‘denunciation’ of the Holocaust. The BBC have described Abbas comments as ‘‘the strongest that he has made publicly on the Holocaust’’ – while one prominent New York Rabbi has called Abbas’ recognition of the Holocaust as ‘‘heartfelt and genuine.’’
It is saddening that Abbas’ comments should come as news in the first place. In my mind, it is the equivalent of admitting the Earth is round. The Holocaust is an undeniable fact – that recognising truth should come as a commendable surprise is a perverse reality.
But that is merely an aside – unfortunately, Abbas is yet to recognise the truth, or at least his actions question the ‘genuine’ nature of his words. Putting it simply , Abbas has been complicit in perpetuating Holocaust denying propaganda for most of his career. Here are but a few examples:
1. Dr Abbas’ 1982 PhD thesis engaged in some of the worst Holocaust ‘revisionism,’ claiming the Shoah was a Nazi-Zionist plot in order to facilitate Jewish emigration to Palestine. Abbas further claimed the number of Jews killed was grossly exaggerated.
2. In recent years, Abbas has denounced his thesis – declaring it was written while ‘at war with Israel,’ further asserting ‘today I would not have made such remarks.’ In spite of this, Abbas as recently as 2013 has spoken of a WWII era Nazi-Zionist alliance, and has claimed he has more than 70 unpublished books on the subject.
3. Abbas’ statement made a horrifically warped moral comparison between Palestinian suffering and the Holocaust. As Abbas put it, the Holocaust represented a ”concept of ethnic discrimination and racism” – and ”the world must do its utmost to fight racism and injustice in order to bring justice and equality to oppressed people wherever they are, [including] the Palestinian people, who suffer from injustice, oppression and denied freedom and peace.” In other words, Abbas is peddling the typical trope that Israel has forgotten its own history by acting like Nazis, and doing to others what had been done to them. This trivialisation of the Holocaust somewhat waters down Abbas’ claim that it was ‘the most heinous crime in history.’ Comparing the suffering (much of it self-inflicted) of one people to the genocide of another, belies a distinct lack of a moral compass. It is moral relativism to the extreme.
4. The Palestinian Authority has made several such comparisons before (in a far more blunt manner). As the PA Foreign Affairs Ministry declared as recently as January 2014 (a statement on International Holocaust Memorial Day), ”there have been several chapters of catastrophic evil in human history that must be confronted and prevented from recurring… among them are the apartheid regime that blatantly dominated South Africa; the Israeli occupation regime and the domination of another nation, as in the case of the Palestinian nation.” Again, Abbas sanctions somewhat disgraceful and exceedingly offensive comparisons to genocide.
5. Abbas has chosen to form a government with Hamas, a terrorist group which has issued statements describing the Holocaust as ”an alleged and invented story with no basis.” Children in Gaza are educated to that effect. As the Hamas leadership declared to UNWRA officials, ”we refuse to let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists.”
5. Holocaust denial is also widespread in the official Palestinian Authority media. For instance, the Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda newspaper has described gas chambers as ‘concocted’ ‘stories’ – adding that the Holocaust in general was a ‘malicious fabrication by the Jews.’
6. Mahmood Abbas has described the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, as ‘my hero.’ The Mufti was a close ally of Hitler, and both a key architect and perpetrator of the ‘Final Solution.’
Until Mahmood Abbas properly recognises the sheer uniqueness of the tragedy of the destruction of European Jewry; until he stops educating his people that it never happened; until he firmly rejects conspiracy theories regarding ‘Zionist-Nazi’ alliances; and most of all, until he rejects the terror of Hamas, the statements of ‘Dr’ Abbas (if we can call him that) are not to be taken seriously.