Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Palestinians need to adopt the Holocaust" [Updated]

[Posted by reader_iam]

Update at bottom.

Cathy Y points to a thought-provoking article about Khaled Kasab Mahameed. Mahameed is an Israeli Arab lawyer who established the Arab Institute for the Holocaust Research and Education in Nazareth and has been sharply criticized by Arabs and Jews. Recently, he was invited to speak at Iran's Holocaust (Denial) Convention, but then was refused a visa.

From the Forward article:
“I remember since I was 6, my father always said we are paying for the horrors of the Holocaust.”

His parents were internal refugees, Israeli Arabs who fled from the village of Ilajoun. He was born in Umm al-Fahm, not far away. “My father lived in Ilajoun until age 17, then the state was created and they were expelled to Umm al-Fahm,” he said, adding that his family lost 40,000 dunams of land, or about 10,000 acres. “The kibbutzim took it.”

Mahameed sees a symbolism in his life. He senses that teaching his people about the Holocaust is his calling.

“We are 13 children, and I am number six,” he said. “Like 6 million.” He paused, then added: “Not by chance I was born on the sixth of May, the day the Nazis were defeated. I come to defeat the remains of the teachings of the Nazis. I also want to neutralize the feeling of persecution among the Jews.”

Almost counter-intuitively, Mahameed argues that the Palestinians cannot win by talking of Israeli atrocities, but rather by acknowledging the atrocities perpetuated against the Jews.

“Palestinians talk about Israelis killing 1,000 or 2,000 in Sabra and Shatila,” he said, referring to a massacre that happened under Israeli watch after the 1982 Lebanon War. “But the Israelis have 6 million. I say, Palestinians need to adopt the Holocaust. The result of adopting the Holocaust is that then they don’t need to be violent against the Jews. That’s the power of the Holocaust. So let’s bring information to the Palestinians about the Holocaust.”

But he also believes that Jews need to make an effort: “I also request from the Jews to overcome the Holocaust. Yes, it was a horror, but why let Hitler continue to dictate our lives?”

Mahameed isn't alone in his attitude, as it happens. This article focuses on a couple of men with similar views, including an Iranian.
"How do we benefit from Holocaust denial?" Iranian reformist Abbas Abadi wrote in an article published in an Iranian newspaper.

"Does this denial contribute to the lack of legitimacy for Israel's crimes against the Palestinians? Doesn’t this denial only contribute to the interest of Hitler and the Nazis?

"Even if I were a Palestinian, there is no better way to confront Israel's crimes than condemning the Holocaust and taking every opportunity to mention it. I don’t remember that in all the years that passed (before Ahmadinejad's rule) an Iranian official denied the Holocaust, as the Iranians did not need to deny the Holocaust in order to condemn Israel's crimes."

Voices of hope, or mere spitting in the wind?

Updated: I ended up too wrapped in holiday stuff to do any more separate posts this afternoon, so I'm just going to throw a couple of links out for your consideration and, perhaps, dot-connecting:

Britains Are Nazis, Too
Jews far more likely to be victims of faith hatred than Muslims (referring to England and Wales).