Arabs, Zionism, and the Holocaust

In Zionist propaganda, Israel is presented as the safe haven of the Jewish people, who have long been persecuted throughout history. However, in reality, Israel is arguably the least safe place in the world for Jews, as Israel is in constant conflict

Gilbert Achcar
Photo by Anne Alexander

with her neighbors. Waging wars of imperialism against neighboring Arabic nations, Zionists in Israel have taken to using the Holocaust as justification for Israel’s aggression, culminating in the demonization of the Arab as the modern Nazi. In his talk at Rutgers University on November 10, Gilbert Achcar, author of The Arabs and the Holocaust, debunked myths of Arab support for Nazis and discussed the modern exploitation of the Holocaust by Israel.

It’s a universal fact that Germans perpetrated the Holocaust. Only the most delusional would contest this fact. The Holocaust, a terrible tragedy, expressed to many the immediate need to create a Jewish state to protect the Jewish people; hence Israel’s current existence. However, the chain of Zionist logic was missing a prominent link.

Why should Arabs, who had no hand in the Holocaust, bear Germany’s punishment? To answer this question, Zionists have maintained an assault on history, portraying Arabs as Nazi supporters and sympathizers.

Zionists have attempted to forge this link through Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. A notable Nazi sympathizer, al-Husayni met with and supported Hitler. However, al-Husayni was merely an anomaly, as Achcar explained. Arabic popular opinion strongly opposed the Nazis. According to Achcar, a total of six thousand Arabs, including North Africans, fought for the Nazis in World War II. In contrast, nine thousand Arabs from Palestine alone fought for the British military during the war. In North Africa, a quarter of a million North African Muslims fought for the French forces against the Nazis. Moreover, there are countless cases of North African Muslims sheltering Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution. Clearly Arabs were far from supporting the fascism of Nazi Germany.

Due to this faulty and ultimately weak link, Zionists have refocused their aim on modern Arab anti-Semitism, using this as the basis for Nazi comparisons. However, as Achcar points out, much like white racism and black racism in the West, European and Arabic anti-Semitism are not mutually exclusive, as one extends from the comfort of power while the second is largely a reaction against the oppressor’s racism. European anti-Semitism revolves around the delusional myth that Jews control all of society and seek ultimate control of the world. These fantasies were exhibited in the infamous and racist Russian text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In contrast, Arabic anti-Semitism is largely reactionary, arising from Zionists using the Holocaust as a tool to legitimize Israel’s prolonged occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian land. In his book, Achcar quotes Avraham Burg, the former president of the Jewish Agency and of the World Zionist Organization, Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, and President of the Knesset (the Israeli legislature), who reflects on Israel’s usage of the Holocaust as propaganda:

We have taken the Shoah (the Holocaust) from its position of sanctity and turned it into an instrument of common and even trite politics. We turned the Shoah into a tool at the service of the Jewish people. A weapon, indeed; mightier than the Israeli Defense Force itself. The Shoah has become our exclusive property… (pg. 292)

The Holocaust must no longer be used to vindicate the humanitarian crisis in Palestine. Genocide does not justify ethnic cleansing. Rather than tarnish the memory of the Holocaust’s victims by using their names to commit murder, we must heed the primary lesson of the Holocaust: oppose and fight hatred and racism in all its forms.