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memri
February 14, 2000 No.
72

The Syrian Press on Peres, Haider, the Jews and the Holocaust

Anti-Semitic statements appear frequently in the Syrian press. In November 1999, Jbara Barghuthi, in his article, "Shylockof New York and the Industry of Death" - published in the Syrian Arab Writers Association weekly - revived the notorious blood libelwhich accuses Jews of using the blood of Christians and Muslims to make Matzah, the unleavened bread eaten at Passover.[1]

However, anti-Semitic statements and Holocaust denial have recently increased in the Syrian press, due to several factors: thetrial of British Holocaust denier, David Irving, the Joerg Haider affair, and the international conference in Stockholm on theHolocaust. Comparisons between the Holocaust and "the Zionist massacres" - equating Zionism with Nazism - is a consistent threadrunning through the articles of all the Syrian writers. Among the commentators on this issue are the editors of the regime's newspapersand the elite of Syrian writers

Syrian Media Response to Peres
Some writers responded to statements attributed to Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation, Shimon Peres at an international conference in Davos, Switzerland. According to the Arab press, Minister Peres stated that Israel is an island of cleanliness and wealth in an ocean of dirt and poverty.

Fayez Al-Sayegh, member of the Syrian Negotiating team at Shepherdstown and Director General of the Syrian News Agency, responded: "About what filth and wealth does Peres speak...? Is he talking about the cleanliness of the brains that ruled Israel, which was established on Arab land following the banishment of its original inhabitants, their expulsion, and their murder in a series of horrible massacres? What is the Holocaust in comparison with these massacres? The Davos Conference turned the Holocaust into school text-book material for the coming generations of [the participant countries] and set an annual memorial service in which they would kneel in front of the Holocaust memorial, despite the problematic historical nature of the Holocaust, whose terrorizing spectacles and the stories about its magnitude have been denied by writers and historians, including Israelis."[2]

The Editor of the daily Al-Thawra, 'Amid Al-Khuli also responded to the statements attributed to Peres: "[The Israeli threats to attack in Lebanon and the statements made by Minister Peres] are two phenomena that the world had thought it buried in Berlin when it buried Hitler. The world thought that these two attitudes had already fallen with the fall of Nazism and its leaders. However, it seems that they still exist, in one way or another, in that land called 'Israel'..."[3]

Syrian Media Defends Haider
Al-Khuli rescues Austria and condemns Israeli interference in Austria's domestic affairs: "This is a dangerous precedent... [Israel interfered] because Haider belongs to the Freedom Party which Israel does not like, and also because he may have non-pro-Israeli goals and a social vision that that does not correspond with Israeli racism..."[4]

Tishrin columnist 'Izz Al-Din Al-Darwish wrote: "Israel enjoys playing the game of interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries under the guise of what it calls anti-Semitism... This Israeli anti-Semitism, which reached the level of material blackmail, as happened in Germany and then in Switzerland, under the slogan of the Nazi crematoria, continues today in regard to Austria..."

"This is not the first time Austria suffers from such Israeli blackmail. In the past, this blackmail was launched at Austrian President Kurt Waldheim on the basis of the same false allegations. However, the Austrian people were on guard, supported Waldheim, and foiled the Zionists' interference..."[5]

Classic anti-Semitism from Syria
Chairman of the Arab Writers Association in Syria, Dr. 'Ali 'Aqleh 'Ursan writes: "The covetous, racist, and hated Jew Shylock, who cut the [pound of] flesh from Antonio's chest with the knife of hatred, invades you with his money, his modern airplanes, his missiles, and his nuclear bombs. You must face a hard question: 'Do you, Christians and Muslims, wish to live, survive and fulfill your convictions...? Or are you Abraham's bleating lambs on the threshold of the Jewish altar, who are led to be sent to the Hereafter?' You will always be the 'Goyim' [gentiles], that the sons of snakes [i.e. the Jews] despise and permit their blood, their belongings, and their land..."[6]

Zionism, Nazism & the Holocaust
The Editor of the daily Tishrin, Muhammad Kheir Al-Wadi, in an editorial, denied the existence of the Holocaust and compared Zionism to Nazism. Al-Wadi claimed that "the Zionist leaders cooperated with the Nazis" and that Israel, "which presents itself as the inheritor of the Holocaust victims, committed and still commits crimes much worse than those committed by the Nazis."[7]

The Editor of the Syrian Party newspaper Al-Ba'ath, Turki Saqr also compared Zionism to Nazism: "...They vainly talk about the struggle against the Nazi occupation in Europe and boast if they have any relationship to one of the fighters [against the Nazis], even if their relationship to him is of a hundred generations, in order to blackmail European governments for hundreds of millions of dollars. They have already blackmailed and they demand more."[8]

Holocaust Denial
'Isam Al-Khadhr, a columnist for Al-Ba'ath, writes under the title "The Zionist Legends and the Biggest Illusion that is Being Marketed Again": "The English Historian David Irving's description of the so-called Jewish Holocaust by the Nazis in gas chambers as a big lie was enough to shake the foundations of Europe and turn Irving into a target for a campaign of slander..."

"It is not the first time a western intellectual faces a fierce attack based on ideological terrorism for trying to [refute] the Zionist Holocaust stories. The experience of the renowned French philosopher, Roger Garaudy, and the slanderous Zionist attacks on him after he questioned the mendacious Holocaust stories, occupied Europe only recently..."

"No one in Europe dares criticize this criminal plan [referring to the 'Colonialist plan to establish Israel'] and expose its aggressiveness against the Arabs and their land. Whoever thinks of resisting this plan, [discovers that] 'anti-Semitism' and 'Holocaust denial' become his hanging tree. Therefore, the West remained silent on the barbaric massacres committed by the Zionists on the Arab land... all the blood that was spilt could not release the European tongues that were paralyzed by fear of [the lie about the Holocaust. This lie] has turned into a nightmare terrorizing Europe. All this, without any proof or logical foundation [for the Holocaust], with the exception of illogical stories that nobody is allowed to question."

"Furthermore, it is a paradox how the European mind, which is described as scientific, open, and objective... loses its courage and objectivity once it gets near illusions about the 'Holocaust.' It is wrong that a court in Bologna, a fortress of Catholicism, fines and imprisons a Catholic clergyman who posted 300 crosses next to Auschwitz, in commemoration of the victims of WWII from his community, only because Zionism saw it as an insult to the Jewish victims. The only interpretation for this is an insult to Poland, which sacrificed six million of its sons. Those millions are not worthy of commemoration, according to the Zionist perspective, in contrast to the Jewish victims of whom nobody knew anything during the war. If these Jewish victims were subject to objective scientific examination, as Irving did, it turn out that they were nothing but the biggest illusion in history. This illusion has been marketed and sold for over half a century, without anyone resisting. It was inflated and became a sacred taboo that cannot be touched..."

"One thing must be said: the lie of the Holocaust is being re-marketed in order to blackmail Europe... and in order to use it in the subjugation of the Arabs to the Zionist hegemony. However, history, as well as the future, cannot be shaped with lies, even if these lies are of the caliber of the 'Holocaust' lie, the greatest lie in History." [9]


[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 66, "Anti-Semitism in the Syria Media," (December 22, 1999).

[2] Al-Thawra (Syria), February 2, 2000.

[3] Al-Thawra (Syria), February 5, 2000.

[4] Al-Thawra (Syria), February 5, 2000.

[5] Tishrin (Syria), January 26, 2000.

[6] Al-Usbu' Al-Adabi (Syria), February 5, 2000. Dr. 'Ursan's articles were also translated in MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 64, "Domestic Syrian Criticism on Resumption of Negotiations with Israel" (December 14, 1999) and Special Dispatch No. 70, "Pros & Cons of a Treaty with Israel, A Syrian Perspective" (January 31, 2000).

[7] Tishrin (Syria), January 31, 2000. MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 71, "Holocaust Denial in the Syrian Media" (February 2, 2000).

[8] Al-Ba'ath (Syria), February 3, 2000.

[9] Al-Ba'ath (Syria), February 7, 2000.