Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin
Rabbi Yitschak RudominCourtesy
Blood libels and lies hurled at Israel and Jews
Among the demonstrations and criticisms of Israel one can sometimes hear and see exaggerated shouts and signs from demonstrators and even from leaders of countries that Israel is somehow behaving like the Nazis and that Israel's prime minister is like Hitler. This is a blasphemy and blood libel against the Jewish People who were the biggest victims of Nazism and Hitler during the Holocaust. Israel's critics refuse to see the absurdity of their false and historically stupid allegations and go so far as to accuse and put Israel on trial for allegations of "genocide" when in fact nothing of the kind is remotely true or happening. Most of the demonstrators and critics of Israel ignore or are ignorant of the real history of who was in fact really guilty in following in the footsteps of the Nazis and Hitler.
The roots of Arab and Islamist attraction to the Nazis
Until the First World War (1914-1918) most of the Middle East was controlled by the Turkish Ottoman Empire that was hated by the Arabs. Turkey controlled the areas where Israel and its neighbors are found today, basically for four hundred years from 1517 to 1917. Turkey was on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary, known as the Central Powers, that were defeated by the Allies consisting of Great Britain, France, Russia and the United States. After the First World War the British and French divided the Arab lands of the former Turkish Middle East between each other according to the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.
The Arabs of the Middle East were then under British and French control and hated it. The rise of Fascism and Nazism in Italy and Germany and of Bolshevism and Communism in Russia after the First World War influenced Arab nationalism and fanaticism to resist British and French Imperialism and Colonialism after the Second World War (1939-1945), continuing with ongoing Arab and Islamic radicalism into the present.
The Arabs also hated that during this time the Jewish People were experiencing a national awakening expressing itself in the popularity of Zionism and that because of anti-Semitism in the world, including in Arab lands, there was a growing desire by the world's Jews to return to their ancient natural Biblical homeland in the Land of Israel and be independent.
The Arabs in the British Mandate of Palestine and in surrounding areas were under British and French domination, and so could not stop the successes of Zionism and the growing Aliyah of Jews to the Land of Israel. The Arabs were horrified that in recognition of the Jewish contribution to the war effort against Imperial Germany, during the First World War the British government issued the famous Balfour Declaration in 1917:

"The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British Government in 1917 during the First World War announcing its support for the establishment of a 'national home for the Jewish people' in Palestine, then an Ottoman region...The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 November 1917 from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the press on 9 November 1917." (Wikipedia)

Thus the stage was set in the Middle East for a long-standing rivalry between the Jews of Palestine in the tiny Land of Israel versus growing Arab nationalism and radicalism in the Middle East. Eventually, the Jews had a tough job to both fight off the yoke of the British who blocked mass Jewish immigration and refused to let go of Palestine between the First and Second World Wars until they moved out in 1948, as well as face the brunt of the menace of German Nazism that sought to kill all the Jews everywhere.

Many Arabs welcomed the rise of Nazi Germany and saw it as an ally against both the hated British and French colonizers and imperialists as well as a welcome ally against the Jewish Zionists who were settling in increasing numbers in the British Mandate of Palestine. Even after Nazi Germany lost the Second World War, some Arab states welcomed former Nazis into their midst to help the Arabs fight the Jews of the State of Israel. The Arabs also formed an alliance with Communist states such as the former USSR and its Eastern Bloc puppet states that armed the Arabs in their wars against Israel. They took part in training Arab soldiers and officers in the art of warfare that was aimed at fighting Israel.

The mass Exodus of Jews from Arab and Islamic countries after the Second World War was due to the rise of Jew-hatred, hostility and violence that was directed by both ordinary Arabs on the streets and Arab governments against the Jews in their midst. After the Second World War it became unsafe to live as a Jew in Arab countries that had become hotbeds of Arab nationalism and Jew-hatred. Jews were persecuted, some were murdered, beaten and raped, their properties were looted and confiscated and living conditions deteriorated to the point that the only solution available was mass migration to other countries.

About one million Jews from Arab countries left homes and communities they had lived in for millenia. Most chose to move to Israel that welcomed them with open arms. The immediate historical parallel in the world prior to the mass exodus of Jews from Arab and Islamic lands in the late 1940s and 1950s was the way Nazi Germany expelled the Jews of European countries they occupied in the late 1930s and early 1940s to concentration camps and gas chambers. After the world became aghast at the horrors of the Holocaust, the international climate did not allow mass executions of the Jews by the Arabs, leaving only the mass expulsion of Jews from Arab lands.

After the Second World War both Egypt and Syria gave refuge to former Nazi officers and scientists who helped them advance military and political means to fight against the new Jewish state of Israel.

Nazi influence on the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas

Hamas is a product and branch of the Muslim Brotherhood that was founded in the 1920s:

"The Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna in 1928...it permits 'the stigmatisation of other Muslims as infidel or apostate, and of existing states as unIslamic, and the use of extreme violence in the pursuit of the perfect Islamic society'; this doctrine continues to inspire many Jihadist movements...Hamas is an off-shoot of the Brotherhood that continues to use violence...In 1938 it demanded from Egypt's Jews to either adopt an openly anti-Zionist stance or to face 'hostility'...In the years preceding World War II the Muslim Brothers grew connections with Nazi Germany, maintained via the Deutsches Nachrichtenbüro in Cairo and Amin al-Husseini [the Mufti of Jerusalem], who himself received funds from the Abwehr.

"Being interested in strengthening a militant anti-British organization, Germany may have funded the Brotherhood as early as 1934. One later British source claimed that in 1936 alone, Germany transferred over £5.000. al-Banna and other members of the Brotherhood voiced admiration for aspects of Nazi ideology, including its militarism and its centralization revolving around a charismatic leader...Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (1936-2004) became one of the Muslim Brotherhood's leaders in Gaza...Hamas was established in 1987, and has its origins in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement." (Wikipedia)
Israel and Jews have felt the sting of Hamas but the Nazi influence on Arab and Islamic radicalism has gone further and far deeper than Gaza's Hamas terrorists. While the Allies of Great Britain and the United States were fighting the Nazi Germans and the Fascist Italians in North Africa, the local Arabs were not active participants in the fighting but looked longingly to Nazi Germany as their potential "savior" from the hated British and looked on reluctantly and disappointingly as the British and Americans defeated the Germans and Italians and the Vichy French.
Areas of North Africa and the Middle East controlled by Axis members and allies of the Nazis such as Fascist Italy that controlled Libya and Vichy France that controlled Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Syria shared Nazi Germany's anti-Semitic outlook and at various points in time subjected the Jews living in those countries to draconian discriminatory measures including incarceration in concentration camps.
Nazi and Fascist influence on Arabs in North Africa and the Middle East

The following is taken from the Wikipedia article on "Relations between Nazi Germany and the Arab world":
"Nazi Germany used collaborators throughout the Arab world to support their political goals. The cooperative political and military relationships were based on shared hostilities towards common enemies, such as the United Kingdom, the French Third Republic, along with communism, and Zionism. Another foundation of such collaborations was the antisemitism of the Nazis and their hostility towards the United Kingdom and France, which was admired by some Arab and Muslim leaders, most notably the exiled Palestinian Arab leader, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini.
In public and private, Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler made complimentary statements about Islam as both a religion and a political ideology, describing it as a more disciplined, militaristic, political, and practical form of religion than Christianity is, and commending what they perceived were Muhammad's skills in politics and military leadership.
Massive programs of propaganda were launched in the Arab world, first, they were launched by Fascist Italy and later on, they were launched by Nazi Germany. In particular, the Nazis had considerable impact on the new generation of political thinkers and activists.

The two most noted Arab politicians who actively collaborated with the Nazis were the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, and the Iraqi prime minister Rashid Ali al-Gaylani.

The British sent Amin al-Husseini into exile for his role in the Palestinian revolt of 1936–39. The ex-Mufti had agents in the Kingdom of Iraq, the French Mandate of Syria and in Mandatory Palestine. In 1941, al-Husseini actively supported the Iraqi Golden Square coup d'état, led by Rashid Ali al-Gaylani.

After the Golden Square Iraqi regime was defeated by British forces and Assyrian levies, Rashid Ali, al-Husseini and other pro Nazi Iraqi veterans took refuge in Europe, where they supported Axis interests. They were particularly successful in recruiting several tens-of-thousands of Muslims for membership in German Schutzstaffel (SS) units, and as propagandists for the Arabic-speaking world. The range of collaborative activities was wide. For instance, Anwar Sadat, who later became president of Egypt, was a willing co-operator in Nazi Germany's espionage according to his own memoirs. Adolf Hitler met with Amin al-Husseini on 28 November 1941.

The following excerpts from that meeting are statements from Hitler to al-Husseini: Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine, which was nothing other than a center, in the form of a state, for the exercise of destructive influence by Jewish interests...This was the decisive struggle; on the political plane, it presented itself in the main as a conflict between Germany and England, but ideologically it was a battle between National Socialism and the Jews. It went without saying that Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle, because platonic promises were useless in a war for survival or destruction in which the Jews were able to mobilize all of England's power for their ends...the Fuhrer would on his own give the Arab world the assurance that its hour of liberation had arrived. Germany's objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power.

Amin al-Husseini became the most prominent Arab collaborator with the Axis powers. He developed friendships with high-ranking Nazis, including Heinrich Himmler, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and (possibly) Adolf Eichmann. He contributed to Axis propaganda services and he also contributed to the recruitment of both Arab Muslim and non-Arab Muslim soldiers for the Nazi armed forces, including three SS divisions which consisted of Bosnian Muslims. He was involved in planning 'wartime operations directed against Palestine and Iraq, including parachuting Germans and Arab agents to foment attacks against the Jews in Palestine.' He assisted the German entry into North Africa, particularly the German entry into Tunisia and Libya. His espionage network provided the Wehrmacht with a forty-eight-hour warning of the Allied invasion of North Africa. The Wehrmacht, however, ignored this information, which turned out to be completely accurate. He intervened and protested to government authorities in order to prevent Jews from emigrating to Mandatory Palestine. There is persuasive evidence that he was aware of the Nazi Final Solution.

The SS had established a special unit of 22 people in 1942 'to Kill Jews in North Africa'. It was led by the SS functionary Walter Rauff, who helped develop the mobile gassing vehicles the Germans used to murder Russian prisoners and Jewish people in Russia and Poland. A network of labor camps was established in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.

A secret clique of anti-British officers as well as prime minister Ali Maher were the precursor to the 1952 Egyptian coup d'état, with many of the same officers involved, including future president of Egypt Anwar Sadat.

Sadat attempted to collaborate with the Axis during the war. His memoirs, Revolt on the Nile (1957) and In Search of Identity (1977), describe how he saw the military as the key to sparking revolution in Egypt, similar to the Urabi Revolt. There were meetings and talk among junior officers as early as 1939 about a potential revolt, with Sadat describing how he wanted to make Egypt 'a second Iraq'.

After the Abdeen Palace incident Sadat furthered his plans for a coup. He met with the Islamist leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Hassan al-Banna. Sadat then met with two German agents in Cairo to discuss his plan, but was caught by the British and sentenced to two years in prison.

The German ambassador to Iraq, Fritz Grobba, led a policy of spreading Nazism in Iraq. A local branch of the Nazi party was formed for the German diaspora in Iraq, while trade between Germany and Iraq from 1935 to 1938 doubled.

Several emerging movements in the Arab world were alleged to have been influenced by European fascist and Nazi organizations during the 1930s. The fascist pan-Arabist Al-Muthanna Club and its al-Futuwwa (Hitler Youth type) movement, participated in the 1941 Farhud attack on Baghdad's Jewish community.

Ba'athism has been criticized by Western observers as similar in form to Nazism, specifically regarding its historic anti-semitism, authoritarian and nationalist tendencies. The historian Stephen Wild in his 1985 paper National Socialism in the Arab Near East between 1933 and 1939 briefly draws a direct line between these two ideologies. He cites the fact that Michel Aflaq, one of the founding fathers of Ba'athism, purchased a copy of Alfred Rosenburg's The Myth of the Twentieth Century. He also quotes Sami al-Jundi: Whoever has lived during this period in Damascus will appreciate the inclination of the Arab people to Nazism, for Nazism was the power which could serve as its champion, and he who is defeated will by nature love the victor. We were racialists, admiring Nazism, reading its books and the source of its thought, particularly Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Fichte's Addresses to the German Nation and H.S. Chamberlain's Foundations of the Nineteenth Century which revolves on race. We were the first to think of translating Mein Kampf."

Communism influences and arms the Arabs

With the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis at the end of the Second World War, not only did the United States come out of it as a victorious world power but so did the Communist USSR led by dictator Joseph Stalin. At first the Soviet Union thought it could curry favor with the many Socialist leaders of the Zionist movement in Israel in an anti-British alliance but this connection between the Communists of the USSR and the Socialists of the newly independent Jewish state of Israel was not to be as the Communist tyrant Stalin became paranoid and put Soviet Jews on trial in the years before his death in 1953 and as the new Arab Baathist regimes in Egypt, Syria and Iraq, themselves influenced by Nazism, turned to the USSR for military and international support.

The USSR supplied the Baathist ruled Arabs of Egypt, Syria and Iraq with all sorts of state of the art weaponry from tanks, to jets to missiles and these Arab states were quick to provoke Israel into military confrontations especially during the 1967 Six Day war and the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Soviet advisors fought alongside their Arab clients sealing the bond between the Communist USSR led by Russia and the Baathist Arab regimes of Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

The Soviet Union was not just a Communist empire it was also a ruthless totalitarian state with banishment to Siberian Gulags for its opponents and ruled by a secretive tight knit oligarchy based in the Politburo. The Arab rulers of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Libya admired and emulated the centralization of power in the hands of a clique of rulers backed by their armed forces. The style of governments of the Communist USSR and its Communist Warsaw Pact client nations was a centralized tyrannical set up that did not permit dissent as befits classical dictatorships.

In addition, the ideology of Communism that included an anti-Western outlook, hating the free speech and open economies of Western countries was something that the Communists and the Arab states had in common. Supposedly the Baathism that the rulers of Egypt, Syria and Iraq subscribed to was a melding of Socialism, Nationalism, and Islamism all rolled into one. The Communists of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries also called themselves Socialists, after all the USSR stands for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The only real factor that differentiated Arab Baathism-Socialism from Soviet Communism-Socialism is that the Arabs are Muslims and it would be that factor, as Baathism withered, that would inspire the radicalism of those Arabs who have chosen to go down the path of Radical Islam that has also been labelled as Islamofascism by some political commentators going full circle to the influence of classical Fascism and Nazism on the Arabs and Islam.

Conclusion

When Communism arose and took a stranglehold of Russia in 1917 it continued to conquer other lands near its borders and suppressed the millions of Jews under its control making Judaism illegal with its official state policy of atheism. No one would have imagined that Communism would implode and collapse in the now defunct USSR in 1991. The Jewish People survived the Russian dominated USSR Communist monster that armed the Arabs and threatened its own Jews with cultural extinction and persecution. Eventually the Jews of Russia would be released and head to Israel. The Nazi German threat that arose in 1933 seemed at first like an armed uber-goliath juggernaut that would conquer the world. However, by 1945 Nazi Germany was crushed and reduced to rubble but at a high cost for the Jewish People of six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. Nevertheless by 1948 the Jewish People had recouped and successfully re-established their own Jewish state of Israel in their own ancient Biblical homeland of the Land of Israel.

Communism in the USSR and Nazism in Germany at their peak seemed like frightening godzillas and insurmountable hurdles from the time of their rise and when they marched across the globe "triumphantly", but with the help of God they were defeated and crumbled and the Jewish People continued to live on and thrive. Likewise with the current threat the Jews face from the seemingly insatiable hatred and rage of radical Islamic forces and states who are following in the footsteps of Nazism's and Communism's hate for Jews and Judaism they will eventually suffer the same fate of their ideological mentors that were and will be crushed and defeated by the will of God.

Communism, Nazism and Islamic radicalism, and all the false "isms" of modernity, are the real "hollow men" of the modern age offering nothing but failed illusions, disappointment, suffering and death to humanity while Jews and Judaism and their Torah have always been and will always be a Light unto the Nations and God's Chosen People destined to lead the world to the true Messianic Age and the End of Times when all humanity will acknowledge the truth of the God of the Jews, the Holy One Blessed Be He.

Rabbi Yitschak Rudominwas born to Holocaust survivor parents in Israel, grew up in South Africa, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is an alumnus of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and of Teachers CollegeColumbia University. He heads the Jewish Professionals Institute dedicated to Jewish Adult Education and Outreach Kiruv Rechokim. He was the Director of the Belzer Chasidim's Sinai Heritage Center of Manhattan 19881995, a Trustee of AJOP 19941997 and founder of American Friends of South African Jewish Education. 19952015. He is also a docent and tour guide at The Museum of Jewish Heritage A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Downtown Manhattan, New York and author of The Second World War and Jewish Education in America: The Fall and Rise of Orthodoxy. Contact Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin at izakrudomin@gmail.com