“The Zionist movement did not send any assistance, financial or otherwise, for the victims of Nazism and it did not allow any other side to provide any kind of aid. The Zionist movement concealed the information that came from within the ghetto walls and concentration camps, news that shed light on what was really happening. If it had to publish anything, it did so by questioning that information and diminishing its importance.”
“Zionism adopted the Nazi selection principle, when it went to save Jews from the slaughter. It made itself the ultimate arbiter regarding Jewish life, deciding who deserves to live and who deserves to die.”
“The Zionist movement did not make any effort to convince Western countries to take in the Jewish refugees escaping the horrors of the Holocaust. It even placed obstacles I the way of efforts made by Christian groups or by non-Zionist Jews or a number of countries that saw fit to find a solution to this humanitarian problem.”
“All of this wasn’t enough – the Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule to arouse the government’s hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them and to expand the mass extermination.”
From Mahmoud Abbas’ book “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism” (Billsan Publising House, Ramallah, 2011), based on his doctoral dissertation.
The Palestinian Authority’s new media division is putting considerable effort it seems into the construction and maintenance of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ official website. The site is user-friendly and includes information on the familiar parts of Abbas’ resume – from his childhood in Safed to the president’s office in Ramallah. The site details Abbas’ political journey as a Palestinian leader, without forgetting to include all of the awards and citations he has received along the way.
The site is updated often and includes, for example, recent video clips such as Abbas’ speech to the UN General Assembly in September, in which he accused the State of Israel of war crimes and – effectively – of genocide, thus severely damaging, many believe, the chances of reviving the peace talks between Israel and the PA in the foreseeable future.
As one would expect from such a site, it glorifies Abbas’ work, aiming to describe him as a combination of a charismatic leader, a popular and well-liked international figure, a refugee who personally experienced the tragedy of the Palestinian people, and a man of vision. But just as importantly – he is presented as a philosopher with a unique perspective on history, and an important intellectual.
To bolster that last component, the third menu item on the left of the homepage for Abbas’ official website highlights his “Books and Publications.” That link leads to a page with no less than 18 books written by the very prolific Abbas – most dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The books were published by several publishers over the years, but all of them were reprinted in a similar format (size, font, cover) by a Ramallah publisher with funding from the Palestinian Authority in 2011.
One of them, with dark blue cover, is called “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.” Those who don’t want to search for the book in Ramallah book stores can read it, page-by-page in a sophisticated interface on the presidential website – but only in Arabic.
In this book, Abbas wonders, among other things, “How can one believe that the Zionist movement, which set out to protect a nation, would later become the reason for its destruction? History teaches us about (the Emperor) Nero who torched Rome. But Nero was mad, and his madness rids him of the responsibility to his actions. History also teaches us about leaders who betrayed their people and their country and sold them out to their enemies. But these leaders are isolated. They alone carry the responsibility for their actions. But when a large national public movement conspires against its ‘people,’ well that is embarrassing…
“An Arab proverb says: ‘If a dispute arises between thieves, the theft is discovered.’ This is what happened with the Zionist movement. When ‘Labor’ (Mapai) was in power in the State of Israel, it refused to include the revisionists and those started exposing facts and blowing away the smoke screen of lies. We cannot fail to mention that many of the Zionist movement’s people during the war were amazed of the results of the cooperation between the Zionists and the Nazis, and the massive amount of victims struck them with terror… To this one must add that many documents from the Third Reich had reached many hands, which allowed us to present these documents that illustrate the nature of the relations and cooperation between the Nazis and the Zionist movement.”
Abbas has in the past been criticized for being a Holocaust denier. The accusations were based on a translation of excerpts of the introduction to his doctoral paper, which he wrote in Moscow in 1982. There – it was claimed – Abbas cast doubt on the fact six million Jews had been murdered, and even questioned the existence of the gas chambers.
Since then, Abbas has decisively rejected these accusations, claiming that his words were taken out of context and that the accusations were based on biased translations of only parts of the introduction, rather than a reading of the full text.
In May 2003, when he was the Palestinian prime minister, Abbas said in an interview with Akiva Eldar in Haaretz: “I wrote in detail about the Holocaust and said I did not want to discuss numbers. I quoted an argument between historians in which various numbers of casualties were mentioned.
“One wrote there were twelve million victims and another wrote there were 800,000. I have no desire to argue with the figures. The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind. The Holocaust was a terrible thing and nobody can claim I denied it.”
It’s important to note that when the book and the topics mentioned in it were discussed in the Arab media, Abbas spoke differently than he did in the Israeli or American press.
For example, in an extensive interview with Lebanese satellite channel Al Mayadeen in January 2013, Abbas vehemently defended his thesis and his book, saying he was willing to “challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionism and Nazism before World War Two.”
On February 16, 2014, Abbas received a large delegation of Israeli students at his office, as a part of the Palestinian Authority’s PA campaign to the Israeli public.
“Assalamu alaikum,” he said in Arabic to the students and then added in Hebrew “Shalom Aleichem” (both meaning “Peace be upon you”). Abbas was very friendly during that meeting, addressed a series of important issues between the two peoples and even answered a question about the Holocaust:
“How do I deny the Holocaust? Did you read the book? No. So read the book and see if I have denied the Holocaust. I know that millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust,” he said.
To reinforce his statements on the topic, Abbas made a statement via the Palestinian news agency two months later, on April 27, calling the Holocaust “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era.” He added the Holocaust was a result of “ethnic discrimination and racism, which the Palestinians strongly reject and act against.”
But more thorough research, conducted in the past six months by Dr. Edy Cohen, a research fellow at the center for international media at Bar-Ilan University, found that there is a wide gap between the more or less clear-cut statements Abbas makes, declares and publishes in English, and the things he writes in Arabic and that are published by the Palestinian Authority and appear on his personal website.
The fact the books were recently reprinted with funding from the Palestinian Authority and are recommended on the PA president’s official website, negates the claims made by Abbas and his associates several times that this is just a thesis paper released over 30 years ago.
So perhaps it is true that Abbas, as he testifies about himself, does indeed believe the Holocaust was a heinous crime against humanity, but his writing, that are still being printed, twist and distort the historical reality, as experts note.
Ammunition against the Zionists
Abbas wrote his doctoral paper at graduate school in Moscow in the early 1980s. Twenty years earlier, on February 5, 1960, the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (later to be named after Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba) was founded in Moscow, with the declared objective of aiding third world and African countries to access higher education. The goal was to increase the Soviet Union and Communism’s influence in the developing world.
Thanks to good ties throughout the years between the eastern bloc and the PLO, many of the organization’s members went to study at the university. Mahmoud Abbas, then one of the organization’s senior political leaders and in charge of the PLO’s foreign relations, himself went at the university in the early 80s.
When he arrived in Moscow, Abbas already had an undergraduate’s degree from the Institute of Law at the University of Damascus. In Moscow, he was working for a degree in what is known in Russian as “Candidate of Sciences,” similar to a doctorate in social sciences in Western universities.
The Moscow University rector, Yevgeny Primakov, who later became the Russian foreign minister and prime minister, appointed his senior expert on the Middle East, Prof. Vladimir Ivanovich Kiselev, as the Palestinian leader’s dissertation adviser.
Two decades later, Kiselev said Abbas was a well-prepared graduate student, who came to Moscow with an already chosen research topic and a large amount of already prepared material.
According to intelligence received at that time by Israel, Abbas ordered several researchers from the PLO’s large archive, which was functioning at the time in Beirut and funded generously by Arab countries, to gather an intensive collection of material on the Holocaust and “the connections between Zionism and Nazism.”
As part of this collection, numerous publications on the relationship between fascist elements in Europe and the Lehi (“the Stern Gang”) movement before World War II were also examined. According to this intelligence information, the PLO archive received numerous publications distributed at that time by the Communist Party of East Germany, which accused “Western imperialism and Zionism” of collaborating with the Nazis.
These reports were part of extensive propaganda, which was employed during these years, trying to connect the Soviet Union’s primary enemies – the West and the Nazis (see the statements below on this subject by Prof. Dina Porat).
Intelligence shows that a German-speaking official translated these publications into Arabic. Furthermore, one of the directors of the archive, an Israeli Arab who spent many years in an Israeli prison and moved to Lebanon upon his release, translated material from Hebrew. All of this material was put into several detailed reports by PLO archivists and given to Abbas.
According to a former Israeli intelligence operative, “At the time (the early 1980s), these reports were not significant given the sea of information we had received from the PLO, which mostly addressed the issues of weapons and terrorist attacks – and of course this was of more interested to us. We thought we would find this material in some official PLO publication. Only years later did we realize that it was the material that helped Abbas to write his dissertation”.
Abbas completed his Ph.D. in May 1982, shortly before Israel’s invasion of Lebanon; it was approved by the university and received much acclaim. Two years later, in 1984, the doctorate was published as a book in Amman, Jordan. On the cover of the book was an illustration of an Israeli soldier in a helmet bearing the Star of David and behind him a Nazi soldier wearing a hat with a swastika on it.
In later versions of the book, the cover illustration was changed and the soldiers removed. The book itself was republished in Cairo in 1997 and in Ramallah in 2011.
Abbas’ main claims in his doctorate are that Zionist leaders ignored the Holocaust of European Jewry, sacrificing them so that they could claim a national home; that the Zionist movement deliberately and systematically thwarted the rescue of Jews from Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the Baltic countries; that Jews who abandoned their homes in Arab countries did not suffer any harassment or persecution, and that the root of the conflict between them and the Arabs was the privileges that they received from the French and British colonialists.
Read more at YNET NEWS ISRAEL.