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.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Arab World, Holocaust denial, Holocaust remembrance

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria