On April 12, 1945, General Eisenhower visited Ohrdruf, a subcamp of Buchenwald. Upon his return to the United States, he emphasized the importance of spreading the truth about the Holocaust:
I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to “propaganda.”
The words of Eisenhower still ring true seventy-seven years later. In February 2022, Sheffield Hallam University in England reinstated Shahd Abusalama, an associate lecturer, after she defended a student’s poster that said: “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust.” On Twitter, Abusalama wrote that she understood why the student used the term Holocaust in reference to Israel’s strikes in Gaza. To her, it was a way to arouse responses from the Europeans concerning the Palestinians and evoke a new refrain of “Never Again.” Never mind the fact that Israel’s military actions in Gaza are in response to indiscriminate rocket fire from Hamas or that efforts are made to minimize civilian casualties through precision strikes and roof-knocking.
We ingrained the phrase “never forget” into our collective psyche to prevent another Holocaust from occurring. Yet, has the Holocaust lost its significance? On social media and college campuses, anti-Zionists have made it a habit to compare the plight of Palestinians with the Holocaust. Historian Deborah Lipstadt describes such comparisons between Jews in Israel and Nazis as a form of “soft-core denial,” also known as Holocaust inversion.
From 1939 to 1945, over six million Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime and their collaborators. Throughout Europe, Jews were dehumanized, sent to concentration camps, and murdered in gas chambers. However, anti-Israel activists on college campuses contend there is a “Palestinian Holocaust.” They accuse Israel is committing genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians ever since the founding of the Jewish state.
Referring to the “Nakba,” anti-Zionists falsely claim that over 700,000 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. I. F. Stone, a Zionist advocate and left-wing political journalist of the 1940s, describes a particularly horrifying account of how several Nazi collaborators who were part of pro-Nazi Arab military units arrived in Palestine to battle the newly founded Jewish state. About the Arab refugees who fled from the fighting, Stone states, “While the Arab guerrillas were moving in, the Arab civilian population was moving out.” It is ironic that Shabtai Levy, the mayor of Haifa, pleaded with Arab leaders to remain in their homes. They told Levy that the Arab Higher Committee, chaired by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Nazi collaborator Haj Amin al-Husseini, ordered them to leave.
Some also accuse Israel of racism and oppression and “upholding Ashkenazi elite power in Tel Aviv” against Ethiopian Jews. When referring to the Israeli-Arab population, Israeli ministers apparently want to cap “the red line” for Arabs to 20% of the population, or the Jewish character of Israel will be in jeopardy, a patently false claim.
In contrast to anti-Israel claims, Israel has saved around 25,000 Ethiopian Jews from religious oppression, war, and famine over several airlifts. New York Times columnist William Safire writes that “the first time in history, thousands of black people are being brought to a country not in chains but in dignity, not as slaves but as citizens.” In 2020, the Arab population in Israel comprised 1.96 million people, or 21.1% of the population, compared with 20.2 percent in 2008. Since 1960, the Palestinian population has increased by 2.65% every year. Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship also have the same rights as all Israelis and participate in Knesset elections.
From 9.5 million Jews in 1933 to 3.5 million in 1950, the Jewish population of Europe was drastically reduced following World War II. Compared to the German Jewish population in 1935, Jews were stripped of their German citizenship and political rights due to the Nuremberg Laws. Despite this factual evidence, anti-semitic groups, like SJP, have made it common practice to fabricate facts about the Holocaust on social media and even to harass Holocaust survivors.
In discussing Palestinian leadership during WWII, it is distressing to learn that the Palestinians collaborated with the Nazis. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a figure mentioned earlier, was invested in Hitler’s vision to annihilate the Jewish people. He encouraged Muslim recruits to join the SS regiments in the Balkans, promoted Nazi propaganda in the Arab world, leading to the 1941 Farhud, the murder of approximately 200 Jewish Iraqis, and later the expulsion of the rest of the community in Iraq. Al-Husseini even toured death camps in Europe and met with Adolf Hitler. In 2021, the PA leadership recognized the Grand Mufti as a role model, naming schools after him and honoring him on social media. With 63% of millennials and Gen Z’ers in the United States not having the basic knowledge that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, it could be easy for anti-Israel groups to persuade them to deny the Holocaust or even promote Nazi propaganda.
The Holocaust is an essential topic for college students to learn about. It is unconscionable that Shahd Abusalama, a university professor at a major university in the United Kingdom, would defend the appropriation of the Holocaust, one of the darkest chapters in Jewish history, to unfairly villainize the world’s only Jewish state. Furthermore, the actions of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC), who are willing to part with the truth to make unfounded claims about the actions of the State of Israel and comparing it to Nazi Germany, must be condemned.
This article was originally published in Algemeiner.
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