Politically Correct Holocaust Denial

The heading of Abbas's doctoral thesis was: "Zionist Leadership and the Nazis." The introduction dealt with, among other topics, "the secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist movement leadership." It further raised doubts that gas chambers were used to kill the Jews.

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David Bedein,

David Bedein
David Bedein
David Michael Cohen
This past week, the Israeli government issued vehement denunciations of the conference convened by the Iranian government in Tehran to promote the denial of the mass murder of the Jews in World War II, an act of Holocaust denial.

This reporter asked the spokespeople of the government of Israel if they would also denounce the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) for the Holocaust denial that has been an integral part of his legacy. However, the government of Israel would issue no such denunciation.

Abbas wrote his doctorate in 1982 in Moscow, at the Institute for Oriental Studies. At the time, the institute was headed by Yevgeny Primakov, a Jew, an Arabist, an avowed friend of Saddam Hussein and other Arab rulers, and eventually, the prime minister of Russia. Of all these qualities, Abu Mazen has emphasized mainly Primakov's Jewish origins.

The heading of Abbas's doctoral thesis was: "Zionist Leadership and the Nazis." The introduction dealt with, among other topics, "the secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist movement leadership." It further raised doubts that gas chambers were used to kill the Jews. He argued that the gas chambers were not used to kill people, but only to disinfect them and burn bodies to prevent disease.

Abbas's dissertation was adapted into a book and published in Jordan in 1984. It is currently in use in the Palestinian Authority education system, under the direct control of the PA president.

Abbas claimed in his work that the Zionist leadership was interested in convincing the world that a large number of Jews were killed during the war in order to "attain larger gains" after the war and to "divide the booty." His primary claim is that the Zionist movement and its various branches worked hand-in-hand with the Nazis against the Jewish people, collaborating with them for the Jews' destruction, because the Zionist leaders viewed "Palestine" as the only legitimate place for Jewish immigration. Despite professing such outrageous views, which he has never publicly retracted, Abu Mazen has nevertheless been hailed by the media and politicians alike.

On May 31st, 2003, two months after Abbas became the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, correspondents from the Israeli media confronted him with his thesis. This meeting came in the wake of the appeal of two organizations, the Zionist Organization of America and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which pointed out the need for Abu Mazen to make amends for his remarks.

As Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center wrote in a May 29, 2003 press release, "It is time for Prime Minister Abu Mazen to publicly denounce Holocaust Denial to his constituency and to install leaders in Media and Education Ministries who are prepared to teach Palestinian children the truth about their Jewish neighbors."

Yet, in that May 31st, 2003 meeting with Israeli reporters, Abbas would not apologize for or retract any of the Holocaust denial thesis that he had written. Since that time, Abbas has consistently refused to distance himself from his Holocaust denial.

However, the Israeli government is not pushing him to do so. Neither is the American government. After all, there are political considerations. The Israeli and American governments are currently involved in negotiations with Abbas. In other words, to deny the Holocaust in Tehran is reprehensible; to do so in Ramallah is acceptable.

You might call this the first case of "politically correct" Holocaust denial.

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