Thursday, October 21, 2010

Academics rewrite history in SOAS whitewash

With thanks: Amie

So-called respectable academics continue to rewrite history in order to absolve the Arabs and Palestinians from any complicity with Nazism and turn the tables on Israel. Richard Millett wrote about the latest Orwellian effort at SOAS for Harry's Place. The panel to discuss Gilbert Achcar's book The Arabs and the Holocaust was not exactly unbiased, featuring Achcar himself, Nur Masalha and Idith Zerthal.

On Tuesday two hundred students attended SOAS to hear Gilbert Achcar, a Professor of International Relations at SOAS, talk about his new book The Arabs and the Holocaust: the Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.

Achcar claimed:

1. The Arabs bear no responsibility at all for the Holocaust.
2. The Israelis have Nazified the Palestinian people.
3. This Nazification has come about by Israel’s broadcasting of the Mufti’s connections with Hitler during WW2.
4. The Israelis must apologise for the Nakba (the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948) for there to be peace.
5. The Israelis are today still frozen with fear by Holocaust.
6. Any anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Arab world is purely a result of Israel’s aggression or Israel’s societal shift to the right.

He presented the Arab and Israeli narratives, as he saw them, on the conflict as follows:

Arab – Israel is a Zionist colonial enterprise where the “ethnic cleansing” of 1948 was a defining moment. The expansion of this colonial state continued after the 1967 war and continues to this day with the oppression of the Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza.

Israeli – Zionism was a response to anti-Semitism and Israel was created as redemption for the Holocaust. The Arabs are like the Nazis. There was no ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and the 1948 War was purely a defensive one.

Achcar didn’t refute the Arab narrative but did refute the Israeli one.

He said that there had been a total lack of sympathy with Nazism throughout the Arab world and no military actions were undertaken by the Arabs with the Axis powers but Israel needs to acknowledge its role in the Nakba and its oppression of the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Arabs must acknowledge the role of the Holocaust on the Israeli psyche.
Mohammad Amin al-Husayni (The Mufti) cleared by Achcar of all charges of conspiring with the Nazis

Mohammad Amin al-Husayni (The Mufti) cleared by Gilbert Achcar of any responsibility at all for the Holocaust

Next to speak was Palestinian author and journalist Nur Masalha.

Masalha said “we are not responsible for the Holocaust. We are its indirect victims. We paid for the Holocaust and we are still paying for it. The Jews were its victims but we are also its victims. We are the Jews of the Jews. We have become the Jews of history” and he spoke of “concentration camps in Gaza”.

He claimed the Mufti was not an anti-Semite and that as Jews and Muslims had fought in several wars together this was proof that there was no history of anti-Semitism in the Middle East.

He thought that a Holocaust denier in France would go to prison and in the UK would lose his job but if you deny the Nakba in the UK, like the current Chief Rabbi did, you go to the House of Lords.

Last to speak was Idith Zertal of the Institute for Jewish Studies, University of Basel. Again we heard that the Arabs had nothing to do with the Holocaust. She said that too much had been said about the Mufti and that the Palestinians are the scapegoats of the Israelis.

She also felt that Israelis are so helpless in the face of such an event like the Holocaust, and how it was allowed to happen, that Israelis are transferring their rage onto the Palestinians.

She said that even the Poles share in this Israeli “rage” because as so many Israeli youngsters visit Auschwitz they think the Poles exterminated the Jews.

How I wished for a Melanie Phillips or a Geoffrey Alderman to be on the panel.

The audience asked the usual banal questions including on the prospect of a one-state solution, while a few felt the urge to label themselves “Jewish” before comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.

I also contributed:

1. How can Achcar claim that the Palestinians had no responsibility for the Holocaust? The Arabs had persuaded the British to shut the door of British Mandate Palestine to Jewish immigration leaving the Jews to their fate at the hands of the Nazis. (There was also the 1937 Peel Commission which offered the Jews just 20% of British Mandate Palestine. Had the Arabs accepted even more Jews would have escaped the Nazis).

Achcar told me that all nations had shut their doors to the Jews including “racist Britain”.

Evenso, that doesn’t absolve the Arabs from all responsibility for the Holocaust!

2. Israel does bear little, if any, responsibility for the 1948 Nakba as UN Resolution 181 created two states; one for the Jews and one for the Palestinians. The Arabs rejected it and chose war instead.

Achcar countered that the Palestinians had a right to resist the takeover of “their country”.

3. Jews were not treated well in Arab countries. They were dhimmi (tolerated and protected but subordinate) and one million were expelled after Israel’s creation compared to the 750,000 Arabs that left British Mandate Palestine/Israel. There was also the Farhud of 1941 during which 175 Iraqi Jews were massacred.

Achcar answered that it was debatable as to why the Jews had “migrated” but it was nothing compared to the fate of the Palestinians. He also said that despite being dhimmi Jews had always fared better in Arab and Muslim countries than in Western countries.

4. As for Nazification if anything it was the Arabs who were doing this of Israel with slogans like “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza” and talk of Palestinians in concentration camps. Even Nur Masalha had just mentioned concentration camps.

Masalha replied that it was the British who invented concentration camps so he, of course, was not referencing the Holocaust.

Achcar did however dispute Masalha’s astonishing claim that the Mufti was not an anti-Semite. He said the Mufti was anti-Semitic as evidenced by his radiobroadcasts from Berlin inciting Muslims to kill the Jews wherever you find them. But, Achcar said, this had all come to nothing anyway.
Hizbollah fighters: According to Gilbert Achcar the Nazi salutes are purely down to Israel's behaviour.

Hizbollah fighters: According to Gilbert Achcar the Nazi salutes are purely down to Israel’s behaviour.

However, I would suggest, it isn’t the Holocaust that keeps Israelis locked in a state of fear but these murderous pronouncements of intent by the Mufti which have been taken up by Hamas and Hizbollah.

The Hamas Charter explicitly calls on Muslims to kill Jews and Sheikh Nasrallah, the head of Hizbollah, said that “if all the Jews gather in Israel it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide”.

But not once were Hamas or Hizbollah even mentioned. There was no acknowledgment of any Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. There was no acknowledgment of the ethnic cleansing of one million Jews from Arab countries who had to leave everything behind them.

Quite incredibly, all three speakers painted the Arab nations, and the Palestinians in particular, as innocence personified.

Read post in full

Cross-posted on Cifwatch (with thanks: Independent Observer)


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Idit Zertal is so crazy that she tried to deny Nazi responsibility for Kristallnacht

Anonymous said...

From Berman’s The Flight of the Intellectuals:
“The crucial event in the mufti’s military career was something that ultimately failed to take place—a turning point in the world war precisely because it failed to turn. In 1941 the Afrikakorps, under Field Marshall Rommell, landed in Libya…An Axis triumph over the whole of North Africa and the Middle East became easy to imagine….An image of German success would have aroused an excitement. And, if everything had gone to plan, excitement would have burst into flame, in the form of an Arab uprising on behalf of the Axis—something like Rashid Ali’s coup d’etat in Iraq in 1941, except better timed , and taking place in Egypt and other locations closer to Rommel’s triumphant advance. (87-88)
…in 1942, a Nazi plan to undertake a mass extermination in the wake of Rommel’s expected victories had already been drawn up. It was not just a matter of Hitler’s vague promises to the mufti. One of the most dreadful commanders of the Holocaust was Walther Rauff…Rauff put together another yet another unit, the Einsatzgruppe Agypten, consisting of seven SS officers and a larger group of non-commissioned men, who stood by in Athens, ready to depart for Egypt and Palestine… One of Rauff’s SS officers was the liaison and security chief for the mufti. (pp. 95-6)
The Mufti ever only ever criticized the Nazi policy when he feared the Jews might escape the Holocaust. He was on friendly terms with Heimlich Himmler, whom he admired. Their friendship, however, was strained when in 1943 Himmler wanted (as a propaganda stunt and in return for the release of twenty thousand German prisoners) to permit five thousand Jewish children to emigrate—and therefore survive. The Mufti, who, according to a German government official ‘would prefer all of them (the Jews) to be killed’ fought tirelessly against this plan. With success! The children were dispatched to the gas chambers. The mufti showed special interest in reacting to decisions by the governments of Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary to allow some thousands of Jewish children accompanied by responsible adults to leave for Palestine. … Another success! Already issued emigration permits were withdrawn and the salvation of the Jewish children prevented. (pp. 94-5)
So, during WWII preparations were being made by the massive Muslim Brotherhood to exterminate the Jews. In the event, Rommel was turned back. But oh, what success the Mufti had in Europe!

bataween said...

Permit me to quote this apposite comment from mettaculture on Harry's Place:
Gilbert Achcar’s claim that there was no Arab sympathy for the Nazis not only commits the dreadful post modernist sin of essentialising (Arabs) but he commits worse, what was once a fatal sin for an academic, dishonesty and of the crudest kind.

Extensive archival evidence from the British, French American and German Nazi intelligence services reveals the depth and strength of Pro Nazi sympathies and support in the Arab World and of Nazi and Axis propaganda and support for the Arab and Muslim world.

The Arab and Muslim support for the Axis came directly from countries including Iraq and Iran and from indirectly through Arab support for Vichy occupied Lebanon and Syria and North Africa (including direct anti Jewish measures).

Militant islamist and Arab nationalist opinion was often extremely pro Nazi and positioned the Palestinian issue as central to their cause during the 1920s and 1930s often consciously reflecting and absorbing Nazi anti-Imperialist ideology.

The 1936 Arab revolt in Palestine received extensive Italian funding and support and significant aid from Nazi Germany which included money,weapons and aircraft.

If Achcar wishes to talk in the language of narratives, though he seems to invoke collective ‘racial’ ie Arab responsibility or rather lack of it, then surely he must realise that the anti-imperialist narrative is not autocthonous to the middle east but a Western import seeded in leftist but most particularly fascist and Nazi ideology carefully crafted in propoganda made with the aid of prominent Arab pro Nazis to fuse Modernist totalitarian ideology with anti-imperialism (British and Zionist) and radical Islam.

Though it is right not to dwell on the figure of the Mufti to the exclusion of all the other Arab and Islamist interlocutors who shared his views, a measure of both his influence and of the fertile reception given to Nazism by many prominent Arabs is seen in the reaction to his return to the Arab world;

On June 11, 1946, Hassan al-Banna, [leader of the Muslim Brotherhood].. sent the following statement to officials of the Arab League.

“Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimin [the Moslem Brotherhood] and all Arabs request the Arab League on which Arab hopes are pinned, to declare that the Mufti is welcome to stay in any Arab country he
may choose and that great welcome should be extended to him wherever he goes, as a sign of appreciation for his great services for the glory of Islam and the Arabs…

The hearts of the Arabs palpitated with joy at hearing that the Mufti has succeeded in reaching an Arab country.

The news sounded like thunder to the ears of some American, British and Jewish tyrants.

The lion is at least free and he will roam the Arabian jungle to clear it of the wolves…

What a hero, what a miracle of a man. We wish to know what the Arab youth, Cabinet Ministers, rich men, and princess of Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Tunis, Morocco,, and Tripoli are going to do to be worthy of this hero.

Yes, this hero who challenged an empire and fought Zionism, with the help of Hitler and Germany.

Germany and Hitler are gone, but Amin Al-Husseini will continue the struggle…

God entrusted him with a mission and he must succeed…The Lord Almighty did not preserve Amin for nothing.

There must be a divine purpose behind the preservation of the life of this man, namely the defeat of Zionism.

Amin! March on! God is with you! We are behind you!

We are willing to sacrifice our necks for the cause. To death! Forward March.

And all this before the creation of the state of Israel Gilbert Achcar you miserable dissembling excuse for an academic.

Read some f***ing history Gilbert and learn where your Arab and islamist narratives were written.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the racist Arab Gilbert Achcar's revisionism.

For me it is enough that he is featured in that grabage blog "Electronic Intifada"

Noted historion J. Herf said: "The pairing in the sentence repeats Achcar’s assumption that Zionism and anti-Semitism are equally repugnant forms of racism.",1


See more:
Racist Arab anti-Zionist [G. Achcar] has a “book” out about Arabs & the Nazis. What’s next in revisionism?

Anonymous said...

Recommended info at: (please let the page upload, large data).

Content include:

Pan-Arabism & Nazism

* Irony of non-Aryan "inferior" Arabs', Bosnians' races

* Arab Nazi Parties

* Grand Mufti

* Rashid Ali

* Ummar

* Al-Banna / Muslim Brotherhood

* Reza Pahlevi - Iran

* Ibn Saud / S. Arabia

* King Farouk / Egypt

* Shakib Arslan

* Young Egypt

* Ahmad Shukairy

* Baath - Khairallah Tuflah

* al-Miqdadi

* Al-Sabawi

* al-Muthanna Club & al-Futuwwa (Iraq)


* Najjada

* Handschar

* Admiration, worshipping & adopting Nazi propaganda

* Contemporary

bataween said...

thank you, this is very informative