Tuesday, January 3, 2006

English Arabic Daily Al-Hayat on Arab and Iranian deniers

Hazem Saghiya, a columnist for Al-Hayat, the London Arabic Daily, writes about the Arab and Iranian Leaders Who Deny the Holocaust. His key comment is: "[This] is discussed only in intellectually and educationally retarded milieus."

He seems to recognize the damage this kind of rhetoric does to the Arab/ Palestinian cause.

He attacks Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi 'Akef, Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. For the entire article see MEMRI website. The following are excerpts, in the original English:

"Mahdi 'Akef has joined Khaled Mash'al, who, in his turn, had joined [Iranian President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in denying the existence of the Nazi holocaust that targeted the European Jews. The issue is no longer tackled or discussed, except in intellectually and educationally retarded milieus.


"For the millionth time, the truth must be reiterated: the stance towards the Holocaust is not linked to the stance towards Israel. Those who connect the two are either staunch Zionists who consider that the attitude towards the Hebrew State is automatically the same towards the Holocaust, and vice versa; or Jewish haters who consider that acknowledging the Holocaust is tantamount to supporting Israel, and leave no space for contradicting it.

"Most importantly, the 'culture' of denying the Holocaust - which is, among other things, the outcome of lack of education - has grown to occupy a dominant position in public Arab and Islamic life. Although the issue was about to come to an end and be confined to narrow margins that gather utter fanaticism with utter retardation, the heavy, poisoned Iranian rain blew on us and was welcomed, quite avidly, by the eager Arab deserts.



David said...

Wearing a somewhat paranoid hat, I suspect that this drive is nothing to do with ignorance or a lack of understanding of history: apart from anything else, holocaust denial literature is much harder to access than mainstream literature, and one doesn't come to lead a country through stupidity. I am inclined to the view that this is all part of a dual anti-israeli propaganda initiative: a 'reasonable' one for the West, pitched in conciliatory language, combined with an 'extreme' one for local consumption. Why then, express 'extreme' views in Western languages? Once the assumption is made that the potential for compromise exists (the function of the 'reasonable' view), expressing the extreme view leads to a movement of the centre of debate towards it, as attempts are made to find a compromise that rejects it but not whoever expresses it. The usual warning that this is happening is when the tag 'we must understand what leads them to express these extreme views' or something similar becomes uttered. Gradually, the extreme views become less extreme, and the ridiculous evidence for them becomes more acceptable as a 'legitimate point of view' even by those people who think it's wrong. I recall (probably less well than you) 1930s discussions about Goering being the reasonable face of Nazism, and the method seemed to work on Lord Halifax.

Olah Chadasha said...

Well, then, what does it infer about the Arab world? If, as he says, that denying the holocaust is only associated with the uneducated and "retarded", then would that mean that all the Arab elites and countries that have bought into this latest craze are uneducated and retarded? Why was it welcomed so openly? There are many educated people in the Arab world, and they are taking in Iran's declarations agains the holocaust with open arms? So, what's the motive behind it? Either they believe the holocaust happened or they don't? Or, this may be a case of emotion and teaching over-riding logic and reason. They are educated, but their anti-Jewish/anti-zionist teachings have taught them that logic doesn't it exists when it comes to matters of the Jews.

For me, this author does nothing to answer these pertinent questions. He actually brings up more problems.