In his August 31, 2009 column in the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, Khaled Al-Ashhab wrote that the Nazis had never singled out the Jews as a target for extermination, and that the Jews who died during the war were no different from the Christians and Muslims killed as a result of the hostilities. As for the stories about deliberate massacres and crematoria, he wrote, these were invented by Israel. Al-Ashhab also lamented the fact that some Arab writers commit the "silent crime" of repeating these Israeli claims.
Following are excerpts from the article:
"Just before dawn on September 1, 1939, the German warship Schleswig-Holstein launched a massive bombardment [on the Polish army base of Westerplatte], which lasted for two days and heralded the beginning of World War II. Then the Nazi army invaded Poland, and later many other European countries, in a war that lasted six years and cost the lives of over 60 million people, more than two thirds of them from Germany and the Soviet Union.
"Despite the catastrophes, bloodshed and destruction caused by the war; despite the careful documentation [of the war] by historians who lived through it or followed [its events]; despite the almost completely accurate statistics, which confirm beyond a doubt that the Jews who were killed in the war were killed [simply] because they were from one of the countries that took part in the war, and not because they were Jews - for the number of Jews, Muslims and Christians killed in the war is exactly proportionate to their relative number within the European societies in which they lived; despite the fact that the motivations of the parties who [fought] in the war are clear, obvious and known - despite all this, Israel found an opportunity to distort at least some of the reasons and goals of the war, and to claim that it was motivated by hatred of Jews and that the death of the Jews was [both] its goal and its outcome.
"[Israel] even went so far as to create false impressions, and invented stories about crematoria and massacres aimed exclusively at Jews. It repeated these stories every day for 60 years, until the Europeans almost forget their own victims, and how numerous they were.
"Though the Arabs had almost no part in this war, they too were harmed by it, just like the other nations of the world. But they are not preoccupied with their own victims, beyond [what is warranted by] basic human interest.
"[However,] today, 60 years after the outbreak of the war, when [people] remember it and discuss it in the press, on satellite channels and on websites as part of analyses, studies or memoirs, there are some Arabs... who enlist - consciously or out of ignorance - in the ongoing Israeli attempt to distort the events of the war and to falsify established historical facts by exaggerating the number of Jewish victims, while the other victims are either forgotten or ignored, despite their large number and their considerable significance.
"If you ask [these Arabs] why [they do so], they will accuse you of callousness, extremism, or even of Nazism or antisemitism.
"One Arab writer even stated in an article that half the victims of the war were Jews, and that three quarters of the atrocities and massacres that occurred during the war were perpetrated against the Jews. The paper did not once mention the tens of millions of other victims, and the destruction of entire countries and societies.
"[The task of] professionally shaping political opinion [requires] a deep knowledge of politics, culture, geography, history, psychology, and so on. Anyone not aware of this is ignorant of the silent crime that he is committing."