Hitler’s Plan to Exterminate Middle Eastern Jewry

While its story is less well known in the U.S. than that of the West European or Pacific theaters, North Africa constituted a crucial front in World War II, and the Middle East figured large in combatants’ strategic calculations, especially during the German general Erwin Rommel’s campaign to push the British out of Egypt. The covert aspects of this part of the war constitute the subject of a recent book by the Israeli journalist Gershon Gorenberg. In his review, Efraim Halevy writes:

The battle in North Africa also has critical significance for the Jews of the Middle East, including in Mandatory Palestine. Gorenberg explains that had Rommel tasted victory in Cairo, a German SS unit charged with carrying out “executive measures” would have been sent in the general’s wake to exterminate the 75,000 Jews of Egypt and subsequently the half-million Jews in Palestine, the 25,000 Jews of Syria and Lebanon and, if Rommel realized his “oriental strategy” of conquering the entire Middle East, the close to 100,000 Jews of Iraq.

One of the many stories told by Gorenberg relates to a group of Egyptian officers who were preparing for Cairo to fall to Rommel, whose forces were close to overrunning Allied positions. One of them was a young signal officer, Anwar al-Sadat, who was caught together with his diary that proved he had been sending messages to the Germans. Sadat was a member of a group of young officers who had teamed up to discuss the pros and cons of the two warring European powers. They determined that the Germans, then advancing successfully on Cairo, stood the best chance of success and would emerge as the ultimate winners. . . .

That same group of officers discussed in the book—led by Gamal Abdul Nasser—ultimately seized power in post-war Egypt.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Fathom

More about: Holocaust, Mandate Palestine, Middle East, World War II

 

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority