June 21, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 926

Palestinian Intellectual on Arab Holocaust Denial

June 21, 2005
Palestinians, Iran | Special Dispatch No. 926

Palestinian intellectual George Catan, who resides in Syria, is a regular columnist for the liberal website and recently published an article on the phenomenon of Holocaust denial in the Arab world. The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

Despite the Use of the Extermination of the Jews as Justification for Establishing the State of Israel, It Was Still a Crime Against Humanity

"The Nazis' extermination of millions of Jews in Europe in World War II is a matter of debate among Western historians and writers. Some of them are of the opinion that the number of victims and the methods of extermination have been exaggerated. Relying on this minority [among the historians], Arab authors have cast doubt on the Holocaust's having taken place, and have concluded that it is a spurious myth that was invented by world Zionism in order to justify the establishment of its state in Palestine. They rely in particular on the thinker Roger Garaudy [a French holocaust-denier and convert to Islam] who published on the subject of 'The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics.'

"There are those who cast doubt on the official reported number of victims, [claiming] that [the real number] is much less than six million, or that the millions who were exterminated in accordance with the theory of the supremacy of the Aryan race were not just from among the Jews but were also from among other peoples, or that it has not in practice been proven that gas chambers were used for execution in Nazi detention camps, and that the gas chambers were used to sterilize the soldiers' personal clothing and equipment in order to prevent the spread of epidemics. In addition, [they claim that] the crematories that are found there were not used for extermination, but rather for burning the bodies of the dead -- both those of the prisoners and those of the Germans -- in order to prevent the spread of diseases.

"They go on to accuse the Zionist movement of colluding with the Nazis, holding meetings between Zionist leaders and senior German officials before the war broke out in order to demand that the emigration of Jews [to Palestine] be made easier, as a common interest of the Nazis and the Jews. [Some] accuse the Zionist leaders of having participated in the extermination, since their interest was to leave it to the remaining Jews [in Europe] to save themselves [without the help of the Zionists], in order to convince the world that the only solution to [the problem of] saving the Jews was to support the establishment of their state.

"Despite the use of the Nazis' extermination of the Jews of Europe as one of the justifications for the establishment of the state of Israel at the Palestinian's expense, it was [still] a crime against humanity.

"A smaller number of victims does not lessen the ugliness of this crime … also, the fact that the crime was not aimed only at the Jews does not lessen its ugliness, and likewise the type of method used for the murder, whether it was gas, cremation, shootings, aerial bombings, or leaving the prisoners to die of starvation and thirst in the detention camps which lacked any sanitary facilities…"

"Condemning [The Holocaust] as a Crime Against Humanity is Important, Despite the Fact that the Arabs and the Palestinians Paid a Heavy Price"

"Even if the Arabs didn't have any part in the tragedy that visited the Jewish people, that does not mean that [they should] deny it or consider acknowledgement of its having taken place to be normalization with the Zionist enemy. Condemning it as a crime against humanity is important, despite the fact that the Arabs and the Palestinians paid a heavy price for this tragedy in that their land was stolen. The tragedy of the nakba [the consequences of the 1948 war and the establishment of Israel] and the wars that followed it do not justify the denial of the first tragedy, but rather demand humane solutions to the second, Palestinian, tragedy, which is still an open wound…

"Extermination, generally speaking, is a means of uprooting the other once and for all, because of motives of fanaticism and ethnic or religious discrimination against other outlooks and cultures. Discrimination against others starts when one considers the other to be worthless; this is an attitude that permits any action against him. Just as the theory of the supremacy of the German race over the other nations was the pretext for the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews and the peoples of Europe, there are extremist nationalist and religious movements among many peoples that see themselves as better, as more deserving to live, as more racially pure, as having the best and most advanced culture, as being more learned, or as having an eternal mission.

"The Arabs and the Muslims Are No Exception… [They Too Have] People Who Believe That They Are the Best Nation of All"

"The Arabs and the Muslims are no exception. There are among them people who believe that they are the best nation of all, or that they are a believing society, while the rest of the world is a heretical society, and thus one should [wage] jihad, which can turn into extermination and uprooting of those who don't take the side of the Domain of Belief [dar al-iman]. Even the Jewish religion is not free of incitement against 'the goyim ' or of the claim that the Jews are the chosen people. [These theories] supply a pretext for the expulsion and extermination of other peoples and religions as a solution adopted and implemented by extremist groups, just like the [activities of] terrorist groups affiliated with Al-Qaida in Iraq act towards the Shiites, who make up two thirds of the Iraqi people…"

Spreading Democratic and Secular Concepts and Curricula Will Pave the Way for Stopping Any Act of Extermination in the Future

"The cooperation of all of humanity in getting rid of the Nazi monster, in prosecuting its senior officials, and in compensating and commemorating its victims should serve as an example when facing all of the tragedies of mass extermination that have visited various peoples in recent history as one of the means of preventing their recurrence in the future…

"The failure of the international community to date in stopping acts of extermination around the world does not lessen the importance … of creating public opinion against their recurrence and of enacting laws to punish their perpetrators. The U.N. was right to establish the international criminal court of law and to prosecute those responsible for the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, [and it also] acted responsibly to prevent the continuation of the slaughter in Darfour, in Sudan.

"Spreading democratic and secular concepts and curricula around the world and educating the coming generations to respect human life and other people who are different from them in politics, ethnicity, or creed, and, likewise, turning disagreements into a culture of dialogue, peaceful competition, symbiosis of civilizations and cultures and the ending of conflicts among them, [would all] pave the way … for the international community to bring its force to bear as quickly as possible in order to stop any [act of] extermination that may occur in the future…"

[1], May 25, 2005.

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