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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:01 PM
Original message
Why they deny the Holocaust
A pretty good piece. I have two comments:

1.) None of this should be taken as "justifying" anything, other than the need to get the facts out, both present and historical.

2.) This ought to make it clear that Muslims are not in some intrinsic way anti-semitic, or otherwise natively more hateful than any other humans. Their governments however, like ours, leave much to be desired. One would do better to make common cause with the Muslim people against their governments, rather than to make of them the enemy and the problem.


ONE DAY IN 1994, when I was living in Ede, a small town in Holland, I got a visit from my half-sister. She and I were both immigrants from Somalia and had both applied for asylum in Holland. I was granted it; she was denied. The fact that I got asylum gave me the opportunity to study. My half-sister couldn't.

In order for me to be admitted to the university I wanted to attend, I needed to pass three courses: a language course, a civics course and a history course. It was in the preparatory history course that I, for the first time, heard of the Holocaust. I was 24 years old at that time, and my half-sister was 21.

In those days, the daily news was filled with the Rwandan genocide and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. On the day that my half-sister visited me, my head was reeling from what happened to 6 million Jews in Germany, Holland, France and Eastern Europe.

I learned that innocent men, women and children were separated from each other. Stars pinned to their shoulders, transported by train to camps, they were gassed for no other reason than for being Jewish.

LA Times
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. go to NPR.org archives, there was a discussion about the Holocaust in the Middle East.. the Arabs
protected the Jews from the Nazi's.. one Mosque leader actually carved the last name of a Jewish family on his family's tomb stone in the cemetery to provide the evidence to establish the family as Muslim to protect them, they were targeted for a concentration camp in that area of the middle east.

there were concentration camps all over the middle east, Jews were being shipped to the middle east

the interview was just yesterday or the day before.. you can stream it from NPR or download it
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Sherman A1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I heard part of it while driving
It seemed to be a good piece.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. That was a good piece
The name of the book is "Among the Righteous". That was such a compelling story, about the Imam from the Grand Mosque in Paris who engraved the name of a Jewish singer's father on a tomb stone to provide evidence that the man was a Muslim.

The author of the book is Robert Satloff.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. It's a very good article
and though of course you're right that Arabs are not intrinsically anti-semitic, or anymore hateful than any other peoples, the article is a testimonial to the inculcation of anti-semitism in some Arab cultures. Yes, we should find common cause with them, but it's clearly not only their governments- it's become a deeply rooted cultural problem. The other thing I'd like to note, is that it's perfectly understandable as to why the autor, as a young woman knew nothing of the Holocaust, but Ahmadinejad doesn't get a pass.

From the article:

With great conviction, my half-sister cried: "It's a lie! Jews have a way of blinding people. They were not killed, gassed or massacred. But I pray to Allah that one day all the Jews in the world will be destroyed."

She was not saying anything new. As a child growing up in Saudi Arabia, I remember my teachers, my mom and our neighbors telling us practically on a daily basis that Jews are evil, the sworn enemies of Muslims, and that their only goal was to destroy Islam. We were never informed about the Holocaust.

Later, as a teenager in Kenya, when Saudi and other Persian Gulf philanthropy reached us, I remember that the building of mosques and donations to hospitals and the poor went hand in hand with the cursing of Jews. Jews were said to be responsible for the deaths of babies and for epidemics such as AIDS, and they were believed to be the cause of wars. They were greedy and would do absolutely anything to kill us Muslims. If we ever wanted to know peace and stability, and if we didn't want to be wiped out, we would have to destroy the Jews. For those of us who were not in a position to take up arms against them, it was enough for us to cup our hands, raise our eyes heavenward and pray to Allah to destroy them.

Western leaders today who say they are shocked by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's conference this week denying the Holocaust need to wake up to that reality. For the majority of Muslims in the world, the Holocaust is not a major historical event that they deny. We simply do not know it ever happened because we were never informed of it.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-al...
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oblivious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. We simply do not know it ever happened because we were never informed of it.
I have often wondered about that. I live in Hong Kong and I find the same thing here. I have a current Form 5 (Grade 11) world history textbook on my bookshelf. The two-year course has extensive treatment of the events leading up to WWII, the war, and related events subsequent to the war, but only one very short paragraph about the Holocaust. And the exam these students are being prepared for is basically the same as the one we had when HK was a British territory.

And only a relatively small percentage of kids study history. The science and business classes don't even read that paragraph. Is it likely students in the Middle East get any more than this? I've never seen any TV documentaries on the Holocaust here, so I guess it would be the same in places like Iran.

So I wonder how much of this is just plain ignorance as opposed malevolence (though I acknowledge the malevolence is there among certain groups)
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I take it as a given thing that all governments brainwash their
citizens, or almost all, or try the best they can at it. History in particular tends to get a very colored treatment in early education, anywhere you go, and that is (in my opinion) the single biggest defect in public education systems. If you don't get a good appreciation of where we are and how we got here, most of the rest of your "thinking" is going to be gravely flawed as a consequence.

As I say every so often here, evil is a sub-category of stupid.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:40 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. I don't think we were ever taught about the Holocaust at school...
..apart from reading Anne Frank's diary and a few fleeting mentions of it here and there. It was those episodes of the World At War about the Holocaust that I watched as a young kid which taught me what the Holocaust was..

The OP was a good one and made the very good point that there needs to be more education...
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
5. The gist of the article...
"As a child growing up in Saudi Arabia, I remember my teachers, my mom and our neighbors telling us practically on a daily basis that Jews are evil, the sworn enemies of Muslims, and that their only goal was to destroy Islam. We were never informed about the Holocaust.

"Later, as a teenager in Kenya, when Saudi and other Persian Gulf philanthropy reached us, I remember that the building of mosques and donations to hospitals and the poor went hand in hand with the cursing of Jews. Jews were said to be responsible for the deaths of babies and for epidemics such as AIDS, and they were believed to be the cause of wars. They were greedy and would do absolutely anything to kill us Muslims. If we ever wanted to know peace and stability, and if we didn't want to be wiped out, we would have to destroy the Jews. For those of us who were not in a position to take up arms against them, it was enough for us to cup our hands, raise our eyes heavenward and pray to Allah to destroy them.

"Western leaders today who say they are shocked by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's conference this week denying the Holocaust need to wake up to that reality. For the majority of Muslims in the world, the Holocaust is not a major historical event that they deny. We simply do not know it ever happened because we were never informed of it."

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-ali16dec16,0,...

The writer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali (of Somalia), ends with a plea for Holocaust education. She also cites an interesting stat: there are about 20 million Jews in the world today, and about 1.5 billion Muslims. One of her points, I think, is that the Jews are a very small and vulnerable population, and that the hatred of Jews that is fomented by some Muslim governments could lead to a second holocaust against the Jews. She does not quite say this, but it is implied.

I have my own theory about Holocaust-deniers--that is, those who know about the Holocaust but deny its facts--and especially Muslims who do so. And it is this: They feel that Jews use the Holocaust to justify Israel's injustice to the Palestinians. If you criticize Israel, some Jews accuse you of being anti-Jewish, i.e., of sympathizing with the Nazis and approving of the Holocaust. Being a hater of Jews, sympathizing with Nazis, and approving of the Holocaust are terrible accusations. They silence criticism. So the Muslims have a real serious PR problem in the western world--they find it difficult to be heard on the matter of Israel's injustice to the Palestinians because they keep running into the great sympathy that westerners have for the Jews due to the Holocaust. We know it happened. It's well-documented. And some of us know that it was the culmination of thousands of years of persecution of the Jews in Europe. The Nazis didn't invent prejudice, cruelty, or pogroms against the Jews. (It is essentially a Christian prejudice--it began around the 5th Century AD, when Christianity took a big right turn toward male domination, centralized doctrine and monolithic organization--and one of the first things that a key figure in those events--"Saint" Cyril of Alexandria--did was to confiscate Jewish property and drive Jews from the once tolerant city of learning and light.) This is also why many westerners sympathize with Israel--the Jews having a homeland, a safe place (where all Jews are welcome and where Jewish refugees can flee to)--although, as safe places go, the Middle East was not a great choice. It was chosen because it is truly the Jewish homeland, where the Jewish race and religion were born. But it was from the beginning highly controversial among neighboring Arab and Muslim states, and within Palestine itself, of course--which has led to Israel becoming a small medieval fortress of a nation, bristling with armaments, and now laced with walls--an untenable position.

Anyway, I think the deafness in western ears to any criticism of Israel from the Arab/Muslim world has doubled back on itself, and has become hatred--and ultimately Holocaust denial--compounded, as this writer points out, with vast ignorance about the Holocaust. Imagine being raised within an insular Muslim country, and growing up hearing a lot of hatred and slander against Jews--some rightful criticism, but a lot of it not; fact and fiction mixed together--so that Jews are your childhood bogeyman; and then, later, after you've grown up, learning of the Holocaust. You might well be inclined to deny it. ('What have they invented now, to justify their crimes against Palestinians?') It's not news to westerners. It is to many Muslims (according to this writer). And those who do know--the leaders, the educated, those who can travel--it is convenient for them to foster this bogeyman (for one thing, to serve their own greed and power), and, for some, who are sincere, they find that they cannot be heard in the western world. I think, too, as often happens with bogeymen, the Jews and Israel are taking the heat for a lot of other injustices of the west against Middle Eastern and other Islamic peoples that are more the doing of western countries than of Israel. (For instance, the US always allying itself with the dictators and totalitarian monarchs in M/E countries--a particular sore point with Iranians, who saw their democracy destroyed by the US/UK and a horrible pro-west dictator installed to rule over them, for 25 years of torture and repression, until the MULLAHS freed them of it!)

Solution: Israel needs to dis-ally itself from the US--and post especially from the despised Bush Junta--and start looking to regional security and development for all Middle Eastern peoples. And it needs to begin with a fair settlement for the Palestinians. Is there no wisdom left in Israel? How can you create a stateless population of refugees and not expect endless trouble?

Sometimes naive solutions hold the grain of hope for the future. This writer says education--informing people about the Holocaust. And I say Israel must remedy its own injustice, and stop using the Holocaust to justify its own dubious actions. I admit this is naive. A dream. A hope. I pray it will come true.

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Nothing wrong with dreams
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 02:27 PM by cali
though I think the dis-allying part is a bit silly. And the question asking "is there no wisdom left in Israel?" is both patronizing and untrue. Nor is Israel solely responsible for creating a stateless population.

I agree that Israel bears the greater burden of responsibility when it comes to the I/P problem, but the Palestinians are not without responsibility themselves. It will take both parties to create a solution.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. yes israel is responsable.....for all problems
In many Arab states, the middle class is disappearing. The rich get richer and the poor get still poorer. Look at the schools in Jordan, Egypt or Morocco: You have up to 70 youngsters crammed together in a single classroom. How can a teacher do his job in such circumstances? The public hospitals are also in a hopeless condition. These are just examples. They show how hopeless the situation is for us in the Middle East.

Who is responsible for the situation?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most important reasons why these crises and problems continue to simmer. The day when Israel was founded created the basis for our problems. The West should finally come to understand this. Everything would be much calmer if the Palestinians were given their rights.

Do you mean to say that if Israel did not exist, there would suddenly be democracy in Egypt, that the schools in Morocco would be better, that the public clinics in Jordan would function better?

I think so.


http://www.worldpoliticswatch.com/article.aspx?id=395

Pierre Heumann of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche spoke with Al-Jazeera Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Sheikh in Doha. This revealing interview appears here in English for the first time.
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. A Useful And Perceptive Article, Mr. Mildred
You are quite correct that the root of the problem is Arab and Moslem governments using Anti-Semitism in the classic manner it served European authoritarians, to distract and deflect the people's discontent from their own mis-rule. It is highly unlikely the people in charge of these governments, and their clerical suporters in many instances, do not know what they are engaged in. The people they rule, and the creed they follow, are no more prone to this sort of hate than any other similarly sized collection fo human beings.

"I'm not really bad...I'm just drawn that way...."
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Lithos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 02:25 AM
Response to Original message
11. Very good
Thank you for sharing this.

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