Battling Holocaust denial is having a moment like it hasn’t had since historian Deborah Lipstadt mounted her vigorous defense in court some 20 years ago. Everywhere, that is, except in the Palestinian Authority.
In recent weeks, both Twitter and Facebook announced new policies banning Holocaust denial on their platforms. The latest social media behemoth to speak out is Tik Tok, saying on October 21: “we’re proud that we have already taken steps to keep our community safe, for example, by not permitting content that denies the Holocaust.”
What’s more is that Holocaust denial is now being labeled what it truly is. A Twitter spokesperson recently said in a statement, “We strongly condemn antisemitism, and hateful conduct has absolutely no place on our service.” Thus, one of the most important social media companies in the world properly linked Holocaust-denial to Jew-hatred.
But more can and should be done.
Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s record of peddling Holocaust denial is abominable. And yet, Abbas is still accorded legitimacy by many in the Jewish establishment. First, disgraced ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Abbas in New York in February in Manhattan, and then Ronald Lauder – president of the World Jewish Congress – met with Abbas in Ramallah this month on October 10.
Why do they turn a blind eye to Abbas’s history of Holocaust denial? Why does the UN?
Abbas began a Holocaust statement a few years back with these words: “The Palestinian people, who suffer from injustice, oppression and denied freedom and peace, are the first to demand to lift the injustice and racism that befell other peoples subjected to such crimes.”
Think for a moment about what he was really saying. The Palestinian Arabs, he claimed, are the victims of “injustice and oppression” – that is, by the Israelis. Therefore, the Palestinians naturally sympathize with other people who have been the victims of “such crimes.” Then he cited an example of such a “heinous” crime: the Holocaust.
So: The Jews were victims of crimes inflicted by the German Nazis. The Palestinians are, right now, victims of similar crimes, inflicted by the Israelis. The Palestinians recognize the Holocaust is “heinous” because they are the victims of other heinous crimes –perpetrated by the Nazi-like Israelis.
It doesn’t require a magnifying glass or a genius to understand this. It just requires looking at Abbas’s full statement – not just the half the Washington Post and some others decided to highlight.
What many don’t realize is that Abbas’s previous statements about the Holocaust reflect a peculiar kind of Holocaust denial. He never claimed that Jews weren’t killed by the Nazis. What he claimed was that the number of those killed was much less than six million; that David Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders actually collaborated in the killings so there would be enough victims to generate world sympathy for Zionism; and that the Zionists inflated the number of victims after the war to score political points.
Nor are Abbas’s statements about the Holocaust some youthful fling with extremism. They constitute his PhD dissertation, written at Moscow’s Oriental College. In 1983, when he was 48 years old, he published the dissertation as a book with the title The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and the Zionist Movement.
He wrote that Zionist leaders collaborated with the Nazis by giving “permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine.” And more: “Zionism not only gave this permission but was seeking more victims in order to maintain equality with the sacrifices of other nations during the war.”
Abbas continued: “Since Zionism was not a fighting partner, 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…. Having more victims meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over.”
Interviewed by the Lebanese Television station Al Mayadeen in January 1983, Abbas reiterated, “I challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionism and Nazism before World War II.”
Nothing in Abbas’s so-called “reversals” after he became chairman of the Palestinian Authority reversed any of his previous assertions. After all, killing “a few hundred thousand” people is also “heinous.”
Abbas’s “reversals” on terrorism are no different. The list of ways in which Abbas fails to oppose terrorism is well-known and obvious: like failing to outlaw terrorist groups and giving financial rewards to the families of terrorists.
Abbas and his comrades in the leadership of the Palestinian Authority are not friends of the Jewish people or the state of Israel. Lauder and Olmert need to answer for their mistake of meeting with Abbas and giving him legitimacy. There are six million reasons to seek the end to Abbas’s political career as soon as possible. And they can pick which: the six million souls of the Jewish martyrs extinguished in Europe by the Nazis or the six million Jews who today live in Israel while Abbas and the PA support ongoing terrorism against them.