Following pressure from Jewish groups the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has taken first steps towards including the Farhud and the Nazi/Arab conspiracy on its Internet site.
A press release issued by the International Sephardic Leadership Council quotes its director Shelomo Alfassa:“We salute this preliminary step by the Holocaust Museum, but it is only a start. We look forward to comprehensive future exhibits that will focus on the Holocaust and its effects outside of Europe particularly in the Arab countries.”
The Farhud (Arabic for violent dispossession), took place in 1941 when Arabs attacked Jews in several Iraqi cities, burning, raping, torturing and murdering members of the Jewish community. This event was the beginning of the end of 2,600 years of Jewish life in Iraq. “The Farhud was a Holocaust-era pogrom that took place outside of Europe, an event the Museum overlooked for political reasons,” said Edwin Black, author of IBM
and the Holocaust and Banking on Baghdad.
On January 18, 2006, a press conference was held at the National Press Club in Washington DC, that night, in front of a standing-room-only crowd, a colloquium was held at The National Synagogue, where several prominentJewish leaders met to discuss remedies to the USHMM’s failure to document the role Islamic groups played in the Holocaust.
Complaints included the fact that the Museum, a federally funded government institution, had never presented an exhibit or sponsored an event confronting Arab or Muslim anti-Semitism or the fate of Jews in Arab countries during the Holocaust. These countries include Jews from Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, as well as others.
A formal complaint and call for investigation was requested by the International Sephardic Leadership Council after it was discovered that the chief historian of the USHMM publicly minimized and obscured, even denied, well-settled historical facts regarding the extensive relationship between the Holocaust-era Arabs and the Third Reich. One of the initial
statements included the erroneous: “There was no collaboration between the
Arabs and the Nazis.”
On the occasion of Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day, April 25, 2006, the International Sephardic Leadership Council once again called on the Museum to explain why they continued to decline to address the historically documented collaboration between Arabs and Nazis during the Holocaust.
Now, after months of calls for action, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has finally acknowledged the relationship between Hitler and the Arab leadership, as well as the Farhud, through information recently posted on the Museum’s Website, authored by Dr. Esther Meir-Glitzenstein of Ben Gurion University.
“It’s important that the Museum teaches that during the Holocaust, the Nazis and the Arabs conspired against the Jewish people. The Mufti's pro-Hitler propaganda played a key role in shaping opinion in the Arab world then, as it remains now. The Mufti's legacy, far from a one-time phenomenon, remains alive and well throughout the region even to this day.” said Carol Greenwald of Holocaust Museum Watch.
Mr. Alfassa added, “We see this as a success, our goal was to ensure that history recorded and taught at the Museum be historically accurate by being fully inclusive, not selective; this is a good start, and the Museum should be applauded for their step in the right direction.”