By: Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Hamas's demand that the UN not include Holocaust education in schools in Gaza drew widespread international criticism last week. But the refusal to educate children about the Holocaust is not unique to Hamas. It follows the Holocaust-denying precedent set by the Palestinian Authority under Fatah and articulated by numerous PA religious and political leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas.
In the latest news, Hamas demanded that the Jewish Holocaust be deleted from the UN-prepared human rights curriculum for 8th grade, according to the PA daily Al-Ayyam. The next day, PA TV reported that a UN representative "strongly denied rumors that UNRWA will be teaching the subject of the Holocaust as part of its curriculum." [PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 1, 2009]
But Holocaust denial and distortion are already common components of Palestinian ideology. In the newest Palestinian schoolbooks produced by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, there is no mention of the Holocaust or of racial discrimination against Jews, although the subject of the Second World War is treated in detail.
For PMW's report on the lack of Holocaust education in PA schoolbooks, click here.
For PMW's latest report on Palestinian schoolbooks, click here.
As well, Fatah political and religious leaders have either denied or minimized the Holocaust on official Fatah-controlled television and in official PA daily newspapers. And PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on "the secret relationship between Nazism and Zionism."
To see excerpts from Abbas's thesis, click here and here.
Examples from the PMW archives of Palestinian Holocaust denial and distortion follow the news items below.
The following is an excerpt from the PA daily Al-Ayyam on Hamas's opposition to teaching the Holocaust:
Headline: "Gaza: Activists accuse UNRWA of attempting to teach about Jewish Holocaust in curriculum for human rights"
"Director of the education department of the aid agency [UNRWA], Mahmoud Al-Hamdiat, denied that there was any intention on the part of the agency to teach material on the subject of the Holocaust...
Activists protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees accused UNRWA of an attempt to teach about the Jewish Holocaust in the human rights curriculum. The activists, representing the Hamas people's committees of the various districts of the Gaza Strip, expressed their anger in the face of this development. They demanded the removal of this material from the 8th grade human rights curriculum.
Coordinator of the people's committees in the Gaza Strip, Hussam Ahmad, told Al-Ayyam that the scientific material included in the curriculum was formulated in a manner favorable towards the Jews... Ahmad warned of a trend towards creating a generation that shows sympathy towards the Jews and towards [concerning] the Holocaust. He stated that the refugees' committees would continue to carry out various activities to deter the agency from its decision.
It should be noted that the peoples' committees of the refugees in the Gaza Strip sent a memorandum to [director of UNRWA operations, John] Ging, demanding the deletion of the subject of the Jewish Holocaust from the human rights study material for 8th grade."
[Al-Ayyam, Aug. 31, 2009]
The following is the transcript of the PA TV news item reporting on UN's assurance that there is no Holocaust material in the human rights curriculum:
"UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen Abu Zayd, strongly denied rumors that UNRWA will be teaching the subject of the Holocaust as part of its curriculum. At a press conference held in Gaza today, she stated that the human rights curriculum will not be altered. Abu Zayd, who accompanied Christian Berger, the European Commission Representative, on a tour of the fishing harbor in Gaza, said that UNRWA is developing the human rights curriculum [in its institutions] and is developing study material dealing with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights..." [PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 1, 2009]
The following are examples of Palestinian Holocaust denial and distortion from the PMW archives:
Abd Al-Rahman Abbad, Secretary General of the [Palestinian] Organization of Clerics and Disseminators of Islam:
"[The Israeli separation fence is a symptom of] the Jewish mindset, a mindset controlled by the [idea of the] ghetto. The ghetto means living in an isolated neighborhood only for Jews. That's why they cannot live with other groups because they believe that their culture and religion obligate them to have contacts only among themselves, based on an attitude of superiority towards others. That's why they did not live, for example, in the West, in separate neighborhoods, but lived in what is called 'a ghetto.' The ghetto was not forced upon them, as is thought, rather, they were the ones who forced it upon themselves. This [separation] fence is not just one fence, there are many fences. Look at the [Israeli] city Lod, for example, or Ramle. There is no mixing between different population groups who are all Israeli citizens. There is separation. The reason for this is the Israeli mentality, the ghetto mentality, the mentality of rejection of 'the other', and refusal to coexist with him...
[Jews] exaggerate every action that other [nations] do against any Jew in the world. In this context is the Holocaust issue, which the whole world still [deals with]. There is a place [in Israel] called 'Memorial for Holocaust and Heroism,' which tells of the killing of 6 million Jews, but it is known that in all of Europe there weren't 6 million Jews." [PA TV (Fatah), July 17, 2009]
Note: The Organization of Clerics and Disseminators of Islam is headed by Ikrima Sabri, former Palestinian Authority Mufti under Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.
Click here to view
"Various groups in Israel expressed their disappointment at the speech delivered yesterday by Pope Benedict XVI at the Yad Vashem Institute for the commemoration of the so-called memory of those who died in the Nazi Holocaust." [PA TV (Fatah), May 12, 2009]
Najat Abu-Bakr, Fatah member of Palestinian Legislative Council (PA Parliament):
"This enemy [Israel] constantly commits new holocausts, everywhere and at all times." [PA TV (Fatah), March 3, 2008]
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Narrator: "'The disabled and handicapped are a heavy burden on the state,' said the terrorist leader, Ben Gurion [Israel's first PM]. The Satanic Jews thought up an evil plot [the Holocaust] to be rid of the burden of the disabled and handicapped, in twisted criminal ways. While they accuse the Nazis or others so that the Jews would seem persecuted, and try to benefit from international sympathy, they were the first to invent the methods of evil and oppression."
Amin Dabur, head of the Palestinian "Center for Strategic Research":
"About the Israeli Holocaust - the whole thing was a joke, and part of the perfect show that Ben Gurion put on, focusing on [bringing] strong and energetic youth [to Israel], while the rest - the disabled, the handicapped, and people with special needs - they were sent [to die]... if it can be proven historically. They were sent [to die] so there would be a Holocaust, so Israel could 'play' it for world sympathy."
Narrator: "The alleged numbers of Jews [killed in the Holocaust] were merely for propaganda." [Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), April 18, 2008]
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Ibrahim Mudayris, Official, PA Ministry of Religious Trusts and Religious Affairs:
"In the Nazi war, possibly some [Jews] were killed, possibly some were burned, but they're exaggerating [the Holocaust] in order to win over world media, and world sympathy." [PA TV (Fatah), May 13, 2005]
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