December 16,, 2006
The Independent (UK)

Different Narratives in the Middle East

No, Israelis are not Nazis. But it's time we talked of war crimes

by Robert Fisk

Oh how - when it comes to the realities of history - the Muslims of the Middle East exhaust my patience. After years of explaining to Arab friends that the Jewish Holocaust - the systematic, planned murder of six million Jews by the Nazis, is an indisputable fact - I am still met with a state of willing disbelief.

And now, this week, the preposterous President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad of Iran opens up his own country to obloquy and shame by holding a supposedly impartial "conference" on the Jewish Holocaust to repeat the lies of the racists who, if they did not direct their hatred towards Jews, would most assuredly turn venomously against those other Semites, the Arabs of the Middle East.

How, I always ask, can you expect the West to understand and accept the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 men, women and children from Palestine in 1948 when you will not try to comprehend the enormity done the Jews of Europe? And, here, of course, is the wretched irony of the whole affair. For what the Muslims of the Middle East should be doing is pointing out to the world that they were not responsible for the Jewish Holocaust, that, horrific and evil though it was, it is a shameful, outrageous injustice that they, the Palestinians, should suffer for something they had no part in and - even more disgusting - that they should be treated as if they have. But, no, Ahmadinajad has neither the brains nor the honesty to grasp this simple, vital equation. . . .

As for the West's reaction to Ahmadinajad's antics, Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara was "shocked" into disbelief while Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded with more eloquent contempt. Strangely, no one recalled that, the holocaust deniers of recent years - deniers of the Turkish genocide of 1.5 million Armenian Christians in 1915, that is - include Lord Blair, who originally tried to prevent Armenians from participating in Britain's Holocaust Day and the then Israeli foreign minister, Shimon Peres, who told Turks that their massacre of the victims of the 20th century's first Holocaust did not constitute a genocide.

I've no doubt Ahmadinajad - equally conscious of Iran's precious relationship with Turkey - would gutlessly fail to honour the Armenian Holocaust in Tehran. Who would have thought that the governments of Britain, Israel and Iran had so much in common?


Enver Masud, "Holocaust Remembrance Veils Criminal Policies," The Wisdom Fund, April 22, 2001

Robert Satloff, "Muslim Heros of the Holocaust," ForaTV, November 19, 2006

Mary Beth Sheridan, "Muslims Mark Solidarity With Jews: Event Held Days After Iranian Meeting That Denied Genocide," Washington Post, December 21, 2006

Bill Glucroft, "The Jewish state's fixation with preventing annihilation actually undermines its security,", August 17, 2009

Jonny Paul, "New booklet reveals Muslim acts of heroism during Holocaust," Jerusalem Post, July 8, 2010

"Exhibit honors Muslims for saving Jews from Shoah," Jerusalem Post, April 20, 2013

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