HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

ktma_-_yellowBy Richard Mather… 

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the UN resolution which set January 27 as an international day of commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust, and the seventieth anniversary of the Soviet liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1945.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of six million Jews, a million Gypsies, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people and 9,000 homosexuals by the Nazis and their collaborators.

For Jews in particular, the commemoration is especially poignant. Following a delegitimisation campaign during the  1930s when Jews were slandered and persecuted, the Nazis went on to murder two-thirds of European Jewry between 1941 and 1945. By the end of the Second World War, six million Jews had died, with many perishing in the camps set up by the Nazis to systematically annihilate Jewish men, women and children.

While Auschwitz-Birkenau has become the defining symbol of the Holocaust, this year’s observance coincides with two other milestone events: the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the founding of the United Nations.

Ten years ago, the UN passed a resolution to mark January 27 as an international day of commemoration to honour the victims of the Shoah. An initiative of the State of Israel, Resolution 60/7 came after a special session was held in 2005 when the UN General Assembly marked the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

Prior to the resolution, there had been national days of commemoration, such as Germany’s Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism and the UK’s Holocaust Memorial Day observed every January 27 since 2001.

As well as establishing January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Resolution 60/7 urges every member nation of the UN to honour the memory of the victims of the Shoah, and encourages the development of educational programs, thereby helping to prevent future acts of genocide. It also urges member nations to preserve sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration camps, labour camps and prisons.

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So has the world learned the lessons of the Holocaust? Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, do we live in a world where the insidious threat of anti-Semitism has been vanquished or is Judeophobia still a problem to be reckoned with?

While it is unlikely that Europe’s Jews face another Holocaust, the problem of anti-Semitism remains. The murder of Jews in France and the rhetoric of Jew-hatred emanating from some mosques and Islamic websites are manifestations of a resurgent anti-Semitism. Moreover, the rise of neo-Nazi groups in Greece and Hungary, Jew-baiting on the radical Left, and the boycotts initiated by the BDS movement, are further problems facing contemporary Jews.

Even before Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 (when European anti-Semitism reached an unprecedented post-1945 high), a survey found that one in four Jews in Europe had suffered anti-Semitic harassment in 2012-13. According to the study, around half of all Jews living in France, Belgium and Hungary were considering emigrating because they no longer felt safe in their respective countries.

According to the Jewish Agency, 2,254 French Jews moved to Israel during the first five months of 2014, compared with 580 in all of 2013 – an increase of 289 per cent, with many emigrants citing Muslim anti-Semitism as the reason for making Aliyah. Aliyah, of course, is a testament to the success of Zionism, but it is also a sad indication that Europe has still not learnt to cherish its Jewish communities, even after the horrors of the Holocaust.

Until very recently, the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe has received little attention, partly because much of the abuse is carried out by Muslims who hide behind the banner  of Islamophobia. Muslims who attack Jews in Paris and elsewhere claim it is retribution on behalf of their Palestinians. And the liberal elite, which should have learned the lessons of the Holocaust, tacitly agrees.

Indeed, the liberal fashion for the one-sided criticism of Israel – in addition to the growing culture of anti-Zionist hate speech on campuses and mosques – must be addressed or more and more Jews will be targeted by jihadists. For the sake of a healthy body politic, legislators, the media, influential thinkers and Muslim community leaders must say “no” to anti-Semitism in all its forms – and this includes inflammatory anti-Israel rhetoric.

If we have learned one thing from the Holocaust, it is that the defamation of an entire people – whether it be “the Jews” or the State of Israel – usually ends in murder. The slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust, the killing of French Jews in a kosher supermarket and the recent massacre of four rabbis in Jerusalem – all these events had their origins in words –lies, hate speech, deceit and propaganda.

Europe and the wider world must remember this simple lesson – that anti-Jewish rhetoric such as “death to Israel” usually results in the murder of Jews. When influential Muslim leaders call for jihad against Jews, then bloodshed is inevitable. Iran’s genocidal call for Israel to be “wiped off the map” is a clear statement of intent: the extermination of Israeli Jews. For the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel faces an existential threat – the mass murder of of Jews in a nuclear attack.

So, seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, we live in a world where anti-Semitism is still a pressing problem for the Jewish people. Another Holocaust in Europe is unlikely but this does not mean that Jews are safe and secure. Far from it. Many Jews are afraid of the violence in Europe and are making Aliyah. Meanwhile, the State of Israel is being pressured by a hostile world to radically compromise its security in order to reach a final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

Will the world ever learn? Probably not.

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DO BRITISH JEWS HAVE A FUTURE?

Israel_-_Boycott,_divest,_sanctionBy Richard Mather… 

Speaking at a service in London to commemorate those killed in the terror attacks in Paris, British Home Secretary Theresa May has said the UK must redouble its efforts to “wipe out anti-Semitism.”

She added: “I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom would say they were fearful of remaining here in the United Kingdom.”

So do Jews in Britain have a future? Yes, they do, but only if the British – especially politicians and the media – do something about their Israelophobic bigotry.

The driving force behind contemporary anti-Semitism is anti-Zionism. This prejudice usually involves prejudicial, stupid and vitriolic condemnation of Israel, with absurd characterisations of the Jewish state as an apartheid nation that tortures Arab children.

This is little different from accusing Jews of poisoning wells or using the blood of Christian children to make Passover bread.

Far too often, universities, political institutions, charities, churches and media outlets provide a platform for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists to disseminate their hatred of Zionism and therefore Jews.

If Theresa May is really committed to safeguarding British Jews, then she will speak out against the one-sided criticism of Israel and the culture of incitement before innocent Jews are killed in a kosher supermarket in London or Manchester.

In other words, the anti-Zionist hate speech must be challenged at the highest level.

ZIONISM – RECLAIMING THE NARRATIVE

?????????????By Richard Mather… 

Zionism is a noble aim. It is the ultimate expression of Jewish identity and sovereignty. But because of Islamic supremacists, Palestinian nationalists and left-wing Jew-haters, the words “Zionism” and “Zionist” are dirty words. People use the word “Zionist” as an insult, in the same way the words “fascist” and “Nazi” are hurled at anyone who dares to disagree with them. In the media and in political discourse, the word “Zionism” has acquired (unfairly) implications of “oppression” and “racism.”

Zionism – both as word and as concept – needs to be reclaimed by those who support Israel. “Zionism” and “Zionist” must be relegitimised so that they can be once again used in public discourse without negative connotations. But first of all, we must understand what Zionism is and grapple with the complexity of the term. After all, it means slightly different things to different people.

So what is Zionism? Zionism derives from the word Zion, which is the Hebrew name for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and was the seat of the first and second Holy Temple. It is the most holy place in the world for Jews, seen as the connection between God and humanity. At its simplest, Zionism is a nationalist movement of Jews that supports the creation of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the Eretz Israel.

Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism, formed the World Zionist Organization and promoted Jewish migration to “Palestine” in an effort to form a Jewish state. His vision was to secure international legitimacy for the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own and actually building the national home.

Anti-Semites, however, fail to see the positive connection between Jewish nationalism and Zion. Instead, they derive their definition of Zionism from the notorious anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purports to describe a Jewish plan for global domination. It is still widely available today, especially in the Middle East. Indeed, many Arab and Muslim regimes and leaders have endorsed the book as authentic. The 1988 charter of Hamas infamously states that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion embodies the global plan of the Zionists.

In order to circumvent the erroneous definition of Zionism found in the The Protocols, we must understand the many different and positive types of Zionism that have inspired and galvanised Jews throughout history.

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Ancient Zionism is the name given to the biblical origins of the Jewish people’s connection to the Eretz Israel. The first “Zionist” was God who ordered Abraham to leave his father’s home and to travel to Canaan, where God said, “To your offspring I will give this land” (Genesis 12:3-7) and “I will give to you and to your offspring […] the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession (17:8). The key text of Ancient Zionism is the Tanakh. The yearning for the land of Israel can be found in the Jewish songbook, the Psalms: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem” or “when the Lord brings about our return to Zion, we will be like dreamers.” Jewish benedictions (blessings) also hope for the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

The bond between people and land is expressed through the literature of the Bible (and subsequent Jewish writings) and was strong enough to maintain a sense of national identity following the destruction of Judea and Jerusalem by the Romans in the first century. As a people, the Jews left Israel neither spiritually nor physically. Even after the Roman invasion, a remnant of Jews remained, particularly in Galilee.

Over the centuries individual Jews or Jews in their hundreds returned to the land of Israel. A Jewish community in Hebron was founded in the seventh century. In 1210, several hundred rabbis, known as the Ba’alei Tosefot, re-settled in Israel. In 1263, Rabbi Nachmanides established a Sephardic community in Jerusalem.  Spanish Jews came to Eretz Israel in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 16th century, large numbers of Jews migrated to the northern city of Safed, which became a major centre of Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah. and Polish Hassidic Jews arrived in the 18th century. Between 1808 and 1812 disciples of Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer settled in the Galilee before settling in Jerusalem. In the 1830s, Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, an Orthodox German rabbi, was in favour of the Jewish re-settlement of the Land of Israel in order to provide a home for the homeless eastern European Jews that would support itself by agriculture. He also favoured a Jewish military guard for the security of the Jewish colonies. Kalischer spearheaded a movement called the Lovers of Zion, the inspiration for what became known as practical Zionism (see below).

Religious Zionism maintains that Jewish nationality and the establishment of the State of Israel is a religious duty derived from the Torah. As opposed to some ultra-Orthodox Jews who claim the redemption of the Land of Israel will occur after the coming of the messiah, religious Zionists maintain that human acts of redeeming Eretz Israel will bring about the messiah. Religious Zionists form the backbone of the settler movement in Judea and Samaria.

Political Zionism stressed the importance of political action and deemed the attainment of political rights in “Palestine” a prerequisite for the fulfilment of the Zionist enterprise. Political Zionism is linked to the name of Theodor Herzl, who considered the Jewish problem a political one that should be solved by overt action in the international arena. His aim was to obtain a charter, recognised by the world leadership, granting the Jews sovereignty in a territory owned by Jews. The Basle Program, drawn up in accordance with these principles, states that Zionism aims to establish “a secure haven, under public law, for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.” Organisational and economic mechanisms such as the Zionist Organization and the Jewish National Fund were established to carry out this program. Interestingly, Herzl wasn’t particularly interested in reviving Hebrew as a national language. Indeed, some Zionists professed a preference for German.

Practical Zionism emphasised the practical (rather than the political) means of attaining Zionist goals, such as immigration to Eretz Israel, rural and agricultural settlement and educational institutions. This approach originated in the Hibbat Zion or Lovers of Zion movement in the 1880s. This movement, which preceded Herzl’s political Zionism, was established in Eastern European countries in the early 1880s. After Herzl’s death in 1904, practical Zionism gained strength. The champions of this doctrine were the members of the Second Aliyah, who settled in Palestine at this time. They founded rural settlements, some along cooperative principles. They built modern towns and established the first industrial enterprises.

Later on a combination of these two main approaches was produced and is known as Synthetic Zionism. This is a doctrine that coalesced at the eighth Zionist Congress (1907). Chaim Weizmann (who later became the first President of Israel) was its principal champion. This merger advocated political activity coupled with practical endeavour in Eretz Israel. It also stressed Zionist activity in the Diaspora, such as modernised education, collecting money for the Jewish National Fund and active participation in national and local elections.

Cultural Zionism was an ideology espoused by Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg in the late 19th and early 20th century. He believed that the Zionist movement should place its emphasis on the development of a Jewish national culture. Although national independence was important, the majority (or a significant bloc) of Jews would remain outside of the land of Israel.  Therefore, Israel should become a cultural and spiritual centre that is beacon to the world. He promulgated the view that Hebrew should be revived as a spoken language for “Palestinian” and diaspora Jews in order to create a genuine Hebrew literary culture. In this regard, Ginsberg was highly influential, especially since Herzl didn’t have much use for Hebrew.

Labor Zionism was the belief that a Jewish state would not be created simply by appealing to the international community or to Britain, but rather that a Jewish state could only be created through the efforts of the Jewish working class settling in Eretz Israel and constructing a state through the creation of a progressive Jewish society with rural kibbutzim, cooperative agricultural communities and an urban Jewish proletariat. Originally proponents of socialism and a Greater Israel, modern Labor Zionists, such as the Labor Party, tend to be favourable towards capitalism and the two-state solution.

Revisionist Zionism was initially led by Ze’ev Jabotinsky. His foremost political objective was to maintain the territorial integrity of the historical land of Israel and to establish a Jewish state with a Jewish majority on both sides of the River Jordan. The idea of partitioning the land was anathema and so Jabotinsky and his followers rejected proposals to divide “Palestine” into an Arab state and a Jewish state. Revisionist Zionism supported firm military action against the Arab gangs that attacked the Yishuv in Palestine. This hardline position led to split in the movement and some members established the Irgun, a paramilitary group. Predominantly secular in outlook, revisionist Zionists supported economic liberalism and opposed Labor Zionism. Revisionism is the precursor of the Likud Party.

Revolutionary Zionism views Zionism as a revolutionary struggle to ingather the Jewish exiles from the Diaspora, revive the Hebrew language as a spoken language and re-establish a Jewish kingdom in the Land of Israel. As members of Lehi (a militant Zionist group) during the 1940s, many adherents of Revolutionary Zionism engaged in guerrilla warfare against the British administration in an effort to end the British Mandate of Palestine and pave the way for Jewish political independence. Many revolutionary Zionists envisaged a kingdom of Israel rather than a state, with a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. Revolutionary Zionists generally espouse anti-imperialist political views, thereby defying left/right categorization.

Christian Zionism (formerly known as Restorationism) is a belief among some (especially conservative evangelical) Christians that the return of the Jews to the land of Israel is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. Some Christian Zionists believe that the “ingathering” of Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus.

Muslim Zionism is very rare but growing. Pro-Israel advocacy groups such as Arabs for Israel and British Muslims for Israel have been formed within the past ten years. Individual Muslims who dare to publicly support Zionism are former radical Islamist Ed Husain and the Bangladeshi journalist Salah Choudhury. And there are a number of Muslim clerics (such as Britain’s Imam Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini) who believe that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land is in accordance with the teachings of Islam (see Qur’an 5:21). Kurds, Berbers and Circassians (all of whom are non-Arab Muslims) have voiced support for Israel. The Arab Druze population in Israel is highly supportive of Zionism. Many Druze have attained top positions in Israeli politics and serve in the Israel Defense Forces. There is also a growing number of Arab Christians in Israel who recognize the Jewish character of Israel and want to enlist in the IDF.

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What does Zionism mean today? Is it still relevant? In my mind, the importance of Zionism is demonstrated by the growing number of Jews leaving France for Israel.

Indeed, the persistent stain of anti-Semitism in the fabric of European society demonstrates the importance of the Zionist project. Following the attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris in which four Jews were killed, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home.” He has a point.

Is Israel any safer than France? Perhaps not. After all, terror attacks in Jerusalem and rockets from Gaza are occasional hazards. But at least Israel is home. And it’s a home where Jews have the right to govern themselves, to practice their religion and maintain their identity. Isn’t this what Zionism is about?

Of course, America is always an option for those who wish to leave Europe. But America has its own problems with anti-Semitism, anti-Israel boycotters and Islamic terrorism. Put simply, Israel is the only place in the world where the Jewish people are free to live as Jews. The importance of this cannot be underestimated, especially at a time when Islamic terrorism is plaguing the West.

Some may argue that leaving Europe is an admission of defeat. I would argue that it is an opportunity to live in a society where Jewishness is the norm, not the exception. I would also add that returning to Israel would greatly help the Jewish state gain the upper hand in the demographic stakes.

Zionism has nothing do with global domination or oppression of the Palestinians. It is about one thing and one thing only: the survival of a Jewish homeland in a world where anti-Semitism refuses to go away.

EUROPE’S LOSS IS ISRAEL’S GAIN

_59208978_parisjewishschool_apBy Richard Mather…

France has a big problem and I am not talking about the future of the eurozone. I am talking about the ugly problem of anti-Semitism that has seen French Jews flee their native country for the safety of Israel (and the UK).

Natan Sharansky, chair of the Jewish Agency, says that 2,254 French Jews moved to Israel during the first five months of 2014, compared with 580 in all of 2013 – an increase of 289 per cent. And in light of recent events the number of Jews leaving France is expected to rise.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is calling on French Jews to “come home to Israel” after the spate of Islamist terror attacks in France.

“To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home,” he said in a televised statement.

Many of those who make Aliyah cite Muslim anti-Semitism as the reason for leaving France.

To illustrate the point, a recent report by the Service de Protection de la Communaute Juive (SPCJ) contains the shocking observation that in the days following the Toulouse murders in March 2012, there was an average of nine anti-Semitic incidents every 24 hours. After the bombing of a kosher supermarket in Sarcelles, there were a further 28 incidents in the following week.

The report by the SPCJ makes it clear that the number of anti-Semitic attacks outweighs the number of other racist attacks. In fact, the increase in anti-Semitic acts in France in 2012 was more than eight times higher than the increase of other racist and xenophobic acts. This clearly shows that France has a problem with anti-Semitism, rather than racism in general.

Another survey, this time from the European Jewish Congress, found that France had more anti-Semitic incidents in 2013 than any other country in the world, with Jews the target of a staggering forty per cent of all racist crimes in France.

French Jews speak of a climate of fear. Most of the attacks take place on the street and on public transport. Many Jews say they are afraid to read Hebrew books on the trains or wear a Star of David in public. Paris is the worst place to live if you are Jewish. Indeed, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the capital vastly outstrips Judeophobic incidents in Marseille, Lyon and Strasbourg.

But even in places where there are fewer anti-Semitic incidents (such as Marseille), the attacks are disturbing and are strangely reminiscent of fascist Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. The following is an excerpt from the SPCJ report:

A Jewish young man and his friend is yelled at by a group of individuals: “We are for Palestine; we don’t like Jews; we’re gonna kill you. We’re gonna exterminate you all.” The two men keep walking when about 10 individuals storm onto them. The victim is hit on the head, which makes him fall. He is then kicked all over the body while on the ground. They steal his gold Star of David. He suffers from a sprained neck, an internal haemorrhage and needs stitches near the eye.

This is shocking but typical of the wave of anti-Semitic attacks sweeping Europe. But the media is eerily silent on the issue. It’s as if newspapers and TV broadcasters don’t quite believe this is happening. Or perhaps they just don’t care.

While many French Jews have got on a plane to Israel to escape the violence, some have sought sanctuary in the UK, which is surprising given the level of British hostility towards Jews and Zionists. Even so, many French Jews have decided that London is a good place to be, with St John’s Wood and South Kensington being the most favoured places of refuge.

Britain’s former chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, has spoken out against Judeophobia in Europe, saying that “the position of Jews in Europe today is very difficult.” He has expressed deep concern that the legal question marks over circumcision and shechita have left Jews wondering whether it is possible to remain in Europe.

The sad truth is that Europe has never looked after its Jewish communities. Even after the Holocaust, the political establishment prefers to demonise the Jewish people, particularly settlers in Judea and Samaria. And instead of spending money on tackling anti-Semitism, the EU donates millions of euros to the feckless Palestinians who spend the cash on anti-Semitic textbooks in order to indoctrinate Arab schoolchildren.

I sincerely hope that those Jews who have sought sanctuary in the UK find peace and quiet in the suburbs of St John’s Wood and Kensington. But anti-Semitism in Britain – often masquerading as anti-Zionism – is a real and growing problem. An unholy mix of left-wing Israelophobia, Islamic Jew-hatred and political apathy over the fate of Jews in Judea and Samaria has severely distorted political discourse in the UK. Indeed, there is not a single mainstream national newspaper that is friendly towards Israel. Nor is there a mainstream political party that has the guts to stand up to the Palestinian lobby.

So, I will not be too surprised if French Jews in England realize their mistake and decide to make Aliyah. Of course, Europe’s loss will be Israel’s gain. And here lies the paradox. Muslim anti-Semites long for the day when “Palestine” (i.e. Eretz Israel) is Judenrein. But their hatred of Jews is having the opposite effect. More and more Jews are going to Israel. The fact that Muslims and their anti-Zionist fellow travellers are responsible for Jews making Aliyah is an unsettling irony.

THE MUSLIM-NAZI AXIS: A POLITICAL HISTORY

Palestinians hold a sign depicting a swastika during clashes at Qalandiya checkpointBy Richard Mather… 

It’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion […] The Mohammedan religion […] would have been more compatible to us than Christianity. (Adolf Hitler, August 1942.)

It is no secret that most contemporary Muslim states and Islamist radical groups  are quasi-fascistic and anti-Semitic. Oppressive, violent, irrational and pathologically obsessed with destroying the Jewish state,  these modern-day fascists have inherited a great deal from the Nazis.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Mein Kampf and the notorious anti-Semitic tract Protocols of the Elders of Zion were translated and widely read in Arab countries. These books are still very popular in the Middle East.

In his day, Hitler was celebrated in large parts of the Arab world, with some newspapers likening him to Muhammad.

The Syrians were particularly susceptible to the influence of Nazism. The Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) pressed for the establishment of a single Syrian nation state spanning the present day Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, Cyprus, Kuwait and the Sinai, as well as parts of Turkey and Iran. Hitler had a similar expansive vision for Europe. The Syrian Social Nationalist Party’s emblem, the red hurricane, was taken from the Nazi swastika.

The political philosophy that has dominated Syria and until recently Iraq is Ba’athism. A secular Arab nationalist ideology , Ba’athism endorses a one-party state that enforces itself on the masses by means of authoritarianism and repression. The Ba’athists were fascinated by Nazism and translated Mein Kampf into Arabic. Sami al-Jundi, Member of the Syrian Ba’athist Party admitted the Ba’athists were racist. “We were immersed in reading Nazi literature and books […] Anyone who lived in Damascus at that time was witness to the Arab inclination toward Nazism.” Indeed, several shops in Syria in the early months of the second world war displayed posters declaring, “In heaven God is your ruler, on earth Hitler.” After France’s defeat in 1940, Arabs in Damascus were heard chanting, “Allah’s in Heaven and Hitler’s on earth.”

According to his own memoirs, Anwar Sadat, who later became president of Egypt, willingly collaborated with Nazi spies. In fact, Sadat was a member of the Arab ultra-nationalist Young Egypt Party which consciously modelled itself on Nazism. The paramilitary wing of the party was known as the Green Shirts, in tribute to Hitler’s Brown Shirts and Mussolini’s Black Shirts. The Young Egypt Party, which  owed its raised arm salute and its slogan, “One Folk, One Party, One Leader”, to the Nazis, pressed for the boycott of Jewish businesses and abuse of Egypt’s Jewish communities. Gamal Abdel Nasser,  who was president of Egypt from 1956 until 1970, was also a member of the party. It was Nasser who, with the assistance of former Nazi officers and officials, drove Egypt into a unsuccessful war with the Israelis in 1967.

Many Arab leaders in the 1930s and 1940s sought alliances with Hitler and the Nazis. One example is the alliance between the Tunisian Arabs army and the Nazis, who between them murdered hundreds of Jews in North Africa. There were Nazi-inspired pogroms in Algeria in the 1930s, and massive attacks on the Jews in Iraq and Libya in the 1940s.

Hitler admired Islam’s partiality for violence and colonial expansion.  According to the Nazi leader, the Muslim religion is “perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament” and described it as a cult that “glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone.” What is less well known is Hitler’s support for the Palestinian Arabs. This support was motivated by anti-Semitism and a suspicion of Britain’s colonial rule in the Middle East. In a speech made before the Reichstag in 1939, Hitler opined that Palestine is “occupied not by German troops but by the English” and accused British troops of oppressing the Arabs for “the benefit of Jewish interlopers.”

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It cannot be doubted that Nazis ideology had a profound effect on Arab and Muslim behaviour in the Middle East. But did Islam exert an influence on leading Nazis?

At least one Muslim theologian has claimed that he influenced Hitler. Before the creation of Pakistan, Muhammad Inayat Allah Khan wanted a separate state for Indian Muslims. In 1926 – several years before Hitler’s rise to power – Khan met Hitler in Berlin. According to Khan,  Hitler “discussed Islamic Jihad with me in details.” Khan also claimed that Hitler’s Brown Shirt movement was modelled on Khan’s own vision for an Islamic grassroots movement called the Khaksars.

Himmler was particularly struck by Islam and he wasted no time in exploiting Muslim anti-Semitism in the Middle East to further the Nazi cause and undermine British rule.  He was impressed by Islam’s attitude towards war, which made Muslim jihadists natural allies of Nazi soldiers. The creation of a Bosnian Muslim Waffen-SS division also appealed to Himmler, partly because Bosnian Muslims provided the missing link between National Socialism and Arabism. Under the guidance of Husseini,  the 13th Hanzar Division of the SS was created in 1943 and was largely comprised of Bosnian Muslims.  The Hanzars participated in the massacre of Serbian Jews and Christians, and volunteered to join the hunt for Jews in Croatia.

Hitler, like Houston Stewart Chamberlain before him, was a great admirer of Islam, which he believed was vastly superior to Christianity. According to Albert Speer, Hitler imagined an alternate history in which Islamized Germans would have been the crowning glory of the Muslim empire. The dream of a German-led Islamic caliphate may explain his own drive to create a Greater Germany, a kind of Nazi Ummah without any Jews.

Once Hitler came to power, he set about stripping the Jews of their citizenship. Since the Muslim conquest of Spain and the Middle East, Jews were dhimmis  or second-class citizens. Depending on the time and the place, Jews were barred from public office and made to wear distinctive clothing, both of which foreshadow Nazi legislation. And like the Nazis, Muslims had the option of simply killing the Jews en masse, which is exactly what happened in Granada in 1066, when 4,000 Jews were massacred.

Maimonides, the great 12th century Jewish scholar, was shocked by the level of violence and discrimination meted out by Muslims. Islam, he said, had done the most harm to the children of Israel. “None has matched it in debasing and humiliating us,” he wrote in an epistle to the Jews of Yemen.  His letter cites the “imposed degradation”, “the lies” and “their absurdities,” which are “beyond human power to bear.” He continues:

“We are not spared from the ferocity of their wickedness and their outbursts at any time. On the contrary, the more we suffer and choose to conciliate them, the more they choose to act belligerently toward us.”

Fast-forward to the 18th and 19th centuries when Jews were systematically expelled and/or massacred by Muslims. Between 1770 and 1786, Jews were expelled from Jedda in Saudi Arabia. Massacres took place in Morocco (1790), Baghdad (1928), Iran (1839, 1867), Syria (1840, 1848, 1850, 1875, 1890), Lebanon (1847, 1862, 1874), Jerusalem (1847), Egypt (1844, 1870, 1871, 1873, 1877, 1882, 1890, 1891, 1901–08), and Turkey (1864, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1872, 1874).

There were also more innocuous – but still shocking – incidents that deprived the Jewish people of dignity. In Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001, Benny Morris writes that one symbol of Jewish degradation was the phenomenon of spitting and stone-throwing at Jews by Muslim children. The victims of these abuses were in no position to retaliate.

Pogroms, humiliations, expulsions, massacres. Islam’s disregard for the Jews was a shocking precursor to the Third Reich’s treatment of the Jewish people. However, such similarities do not prove that Hitler’s genocide hatred was directly influenced by Islam.

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The Armenian example

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? (Adolf Hitler, August 1939.)

It has already been argued that Hitler’s attitude towards the Jews was partly influenced by the rabid anti-Semitism of Haj Muhammud Amin el-Husseini, the exiled Mufti of Jerusalem and spiritual leader of the Palestinians. Husseini not only urged Hitler to spread fascism in the Middle East, he also stands accused of helping to initiate the Holocaust, if testimony given at Nuremberg in June 1946 by Dieter Wisliceny can be trusted.

But would Hitler have carried out the ‘Final Solution’ in the first place if there hadn’t been a recent precedent? It is impossible to answer, but the fact that Muslim colonialists had succeeded in wiping out more than a million Armenian Christians just a couple of decades ago, must have had some effect on Hitler’s vision for a Jew-free Europe. And the fact Husseini was an Ottoman staff officer during the Armenian genocide may also have played a part.

The Armenian Christians had come largely under Ottoman rule during the 15th and 16th centuries. Like the Jews, the Armenians were second-class citizens and were subject to the cruel urges of their oppressors. British ethnographer William Ramsay writing in the late 1890s after having visited the Ottoman Empire, described the conditions of the Armenians:

“Conceive the inevitable result of centuries of slavery, of subjection to insult and scorn, centuries in which nothing belonged to the Armenian, neither his property, his house, his life, his person, nor his family, was sacred or safe from violence – capricious, unprovoked violence – to resist which by violence meant death.”

Even before the disaster of the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian people were being slaughtered.  Between 1894 and 1909, around 250,000 Armenians were murdered by Muslim Turks.

During and just after the first world war, Ottoman Turks systematically killed up to 1.5 million Armenians in what has been dubbed the forgotten Holocaust.  Starting in 1915, the Ottomans systematically uprooted Armenians from their homes, forcing them to march for hundreds of miles, without food and water, to what is now Syria. Not surprisingly, many Armenians died on the journey or in the Syrian desert. Rape was commonplace.

The massacres were horrific. Mass burning, drowning and poisoning were among the methods used by the Ottomans to eliminate the unwanted Armenians.  Other forms of torture were employed, too gruesome to mention. In a grim foreshadowing of the Nazi atrocities, the poisonings were carried out by doctors and sometimes involved the use of gas.  The Turks also prefigured the Nazis in the use of infrastructure. Many  Armenians were crammed into cattle cars and sent away. Many were kept in concentration camps.

And it wasn’t just the Armenians who were targeted. In 1914, ethnic Greeks were uprooted in order to make room for Muslims from the Balkans. Torture, rape and forced conversions were routine. Between 1914 and 1925, as many as 750,000 Assyrians were slaughtered by the Ottomans and their Turkish successors. This led to a large-scale migration of Assyrian people into Syria, Iran, and Iraq, where they were to suffer more violence at the hands of Arabs and Kurds.

The hatred of the Armenians and other minorities is eerily prescient of how the Nazis treated the Jews and other ‘inconvenient’ populations. The desire to create an exclusive Muslim-Turkish empire in Asia Minor presages Hitler’s attempt to create an Aryan empire in Europe. The Armenians (and Greek and Assyrians) were robbed of their dignity and subjected to terrible acts of cruelty. And in the end, they were victims of the world’s first systematic case of ethnic cleansing.

How could Hitler have failed to be impressed?

IV

The shared ideology of Nazism and Islamism did not disappear after the 1940s. There was an influx of several hundred SS and Gestapo officers  into Arab countries following the war, including Eichman’s deputy, Alois Brunner. Following the Second World War, Nazis war criminals collaborated with Arabs in Cairo and Damascus in an effort to reverse Israel’s independence. Husseini was also involved in providing safe havens to former Nazis. He was visited three times after the second world war by Francois Genoud, the Swiss financier of the Third Reich and the ODESSA, the Organization of Former SS Members. The purpose of the ODESSA was to facilitate the escape of SS members to South America and the Middle East. (Genoud set up a sham import-export company in Morocco and Egypt that circulated anti-Semitic propaganda.)

The Egyptian army made full use of Nazi expertise.  With the aid of Luftwaffe pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel and SS commando Otto Skorzeny, the army recruited Nazi fugitives who went on to fill key posts in Egypt. According to the Israelis, around 80 former Nazi officials military experts and SS officers, were active in the Egyptian military and police. Another 200 scientists from Germany and Austria were employed at an aircraft and missile centre in Egypt.  In 1956-57, 4,000 Jews were expelled from Egypt and many more were stripped of citizenship. Three years later, many synagogues – as well as Jewish orphanages, schools, hospitals – were shut down. In 1967, Jews were barred from public office.

Having escaped to Egypt, Husseini used his influence to persuade the Arabs to reject the UN’s partition plan. He also encouraged the participation of Egypt in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

On June 1st, 1946, US intelligence in Cairo sent a report to Washington about a statement made by Hassan Al-Banna, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, to the Arab League. Banna praised Husseini as a “hero who challenged an empire and fought Zionism, with the help of Hitler and Germany. Germany and Hitler are gone, but Amin Al-Husseini will continue the struggle.”

As the world’s attention shifted to the US standoff with the Soviets, the legacy of the war against the Jews in Europe had gone underground in the Middle East, only to re-emerge gradually in the 1960s, reaching a crescendo in the first years of the 21st century.

Final thoughts

The absorption of Nazi themes, literature, propaganda and personnel before, during and after the war has had a disastrous effect on stability in the Middle East. The multi-pronged attack on Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 were all motivated by Arab nationalism and anti-Semitism. Even today, newspaper cartoons throughout the Muslim and Arab world rely heavily on Nazi propaganda. Editorial cartoons routinely depict Jews (not just Israelis) as spiders, vampires and octopuses. Another frequent depiction is that of the bearded Orthodox Jew with a hooked nose and dressed in black, which is reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. Jews are depicted as inhuman and an enemy of both Islam and humanity. Some cartoons repeat the well-worn canard that the Jews killed God. Another motif is that Jews are in control of the United States and the media. Other themes include the rich Jew, the blood-drinking Jew, and Jews as killers of children. All of these motifs can be found in Nazi literature.

WHAT IS ISLAMOFASCISM?

Islamofascism_6By Richard Mather…

Louay Abdul-Jood, a Syrian activist who survived imprisonment by Islamic State alongside James Foley has spoken of physical and psychological torture at the hands of the group.

Mr Abdul-Jood’s captors reportedly accused him of “being secular” and of being in an extra-marital relationship.

“Most of the prisoners were not treated with beatings, but were mostly subjected to psychological methods – putting a knife close to your neck saying that you will be slaughtered,” he told Radio Free Iraq.

The treatment of Mr Abdul-Jood and the murder of James Foley reveals the brutality of the Islamofascists, who are sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa.

So what is Islamofascism and how did it come into being?

The term “Islamofascism” is included in the New Oxford American Dictionary. It is defined as a term “equating some modern Islamic movements with the European fascist movements of the early twentieth century.”

The similarities between the European fascism of the 1930s/1940s and the Islamist movements of the 21st century are not hard to miss. Hostility to modernity, a nostalgia for a lost golden age, the suppression of free speech, a paranoid fear of “the Jews” and a fixation on real and/or imagined humiliations are common to both.

Celebrated journalist Christopher Hitchens defined the rhetoric and activities of some Muslims as “fascism with an Islamic face.” He dubbed described Islamofascism as a “cult of murderous violence” that glorifies death, terror and destruction. The atrocities of Islamic State bear witness to this cultish ideology.

Islamofascism is an expression of perpetual outrage. Logic is swept aside by an irrational and overheated emotionalism.

Exponents of Islamofascism are fundamentalist, violent and apocalyptic in their mission to reshape the world under the banner of Allah and/or Palestinianism.

Hamas and Hitler

A perfect example of contemporary Islamofascism is Hamas, which currently has control of Gaza. Hamas was formed in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which itself established by an admirer of Hitler and the Nazis and received funding from the Third Reich.

Hamas’s 1988 charter calls for the replacement of Israel and the Palestinian Territories with an Islamic Palestinian state. According to the charter, Hamas members are Muslims who “raise the banner of Jihad.” Much of Hamas’s ideology relies heavily on Nazi themes. The charter, which incites violence against Jewish people, states that “our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious”. In support of this call to action, the charter cites anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, the thrust of which is that Zionists are responsible for all kinds of disasters, including the French Revolution.

While Hitler was bent on reviving a Greater Germany and cleansing Europe of the Jews and Slavs, many fundamentalist Muslims want to revive the Caliphate in which non-Muslims are either killed or demoted to second-class citizenship. Muslim fundamentalists hold the racist doctrine that the presence of non-Jews (especially Israelis) in the Ummah or hoped-for caliphate is a violation of Islam. It is particularly infuriating to the Islamofascists that Arab regimes have been unable to dislodge the State of Israel.

Islamofascism and the Quran

At root level, Islamofascism has absorbed anti-Jewish statements in the Quran, which contains descriptions of Jews being transformed into apes and pigs as punishment for not obeying Allah. Another source of contemporary hatred is the hadiths, a collection of Islamic traditions attributed to Mohammed. The hadiths characterise the Jews as ritually unclean, as well as liars and murderers. The most notorious – and perhaps the most widely-quoted hadith, is this one:

“The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call: Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

Belief in this hadith, which is enshrined in the Hamas charter, is widespread among the Palestinian Arabs. A 2011 survey by the Israel Project found that three-quarters of Palestinians accept this teaching. At an event earlier this year marking the 47th anniversary of the founding of Fatah, the current Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein, reiterated the Islamic belief that murder of Jews is one of the aims of Islam.

The attitude towards the Jews in Islamic tradition is neatly summed up in Anti-Semitism: myth and hate from antiquity to the present by Frederick M. Schweitzer and Marvin Perry. The authors assert that in the hadiths, the Jews are “debased, cursed, anathematized forever by God and so can never repent and be forgiven.” The hadiths characterise the Jews as ritually unclean, and as liars and murderers.

There are a number of anti-Semitic slurs in the Quran. Several verses describe the transformation of Jews into apes and pigs as punishment for breaking the Sabbath or “worshipping evil.” Before ordering that every adult male of a particular Jewish tribe be killed, Mohammed referred to the Jews as “brothers of monkeys.” The slaughter of Jews in Granada in 1066 was motivated by a poem that included the line. “Many a pious Muslim is in awe of the vilest infidel ape.” So it is no surprise that today’s Islamists refer to Jews as the “descendants of apes and swine”, or why Hamas says that contemporary Jews are sub-human.

Final thoughts

Islamofascism is a crime against humanity and a serious threat to Judeo-Christian civilisation. It is responsible for the deaths of millions over the centuries – from the first evangelising missions of Mohammed to the Armenian genocide to the recent terror attacks in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Post writer Seth F Frantzman has this to say: “Adding up the number of victims from attacks patterned along the lines of the one carried out in Kenya, or the ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims in places such as Egypt and Northern Nigeria, would bring the number up to tens of thousands in the past decade – millions in the past century. This is a “soft” genocide.”

Islamofascism is a sociopathic political ideology that kills, rapes, terrorises, maims, enslaves, molests, kidnaps and tortures its victims. As such, the West must do everything in its power to stop this cancer spreading. It is no exaggeration to say that Islamofascism is the new Nazism and as such it must be plucked from the earth and destroyed.