Unprecedented Holocaust Commemorations in Cairo and Abu Dhabi

For many decades, Holocaust denial in various forms has run rampant in the Arab world, and education about the subject has been meager. But last week, both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates held unprecedented official commemorations of the Shoah. Robert Satloff, who has done extensive research about the Holocaust in North Africa and about Arabs who saved Jews from persecution, spoke at both events about his hope that

the full picture of the different roles that Arabs played during that terrible time [will] unlock the door to an honest, open, candid discussion with Arabs about the Holocaust. That is because only with an honest, open, candid discussion—such as the one we are having today—can we fulfill the requirement that the United Nations has set out for this day: to remember what happened and to recommit ourselves to the promise of “Never Again.”

I learned that the Holocaust was an Arab story too. . . . What I mean is that a story whose main setting was in Europe also happened in Arab lands—racial laws, confiscation of property, forced labor, hostage taking, deportation, execution. And that, just as in Europe, ordinary people in Arab lands played roles. A certain number helped the persecutors, a larger number watched from the sidelines, and a small group risked their lives to protect Jews. In fact, based on my research, the percentage of rescuers compared to the total number of Jews killed in Arab lands was almost exactly the same—no more, no less—as it was among Europeans.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Arab World, Holocaust denial, Holocaust remembrance

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism