In a 1984 book published in Arabic and entitled The Other Face, Mahmoud Abbas argued that the Holocaust was in fact a product of collaboration between Zionist leaders and Nazi Germany. He also claimed, as an aside, that the number of Jews killed during World War II was “likely much smaller” than six million, “perhaps less than a million.” Not to leave any stone unturned, the book, which has never been translated, asserts that Jews never suffered persecution in Arab lands. Edy Cohen notes the likely origins of the book’s primary thesis:
Throughout the entire work, Abbas presents a blanket indictment of Zionism and its leaders, from David Ben-Gurion on down. In effect, Abbas charges that they are war criminals who collaborated with the Nazis and those responsible for the Holocaust. He further claims that the Zionists encouraged anti-Semitism in Europe in order to increase aliyah to the land of Israel and accelerate the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
The Zionists, [in Abbas’s view], took part in the slaughter. They intentionally thwarted many efforts to rescue Jews. They encouraged hatred of Jews so the Nazis and others would take revenge by expanding the scope of the extermination. And they did all of this in collaboration with the Third Reich. In effect, Abbas claims there was a Zionist conspiracy against the Jewish people. Moreover, he claims that this has never been revealed because all those who tried to expose the conspiracy were assassinated by the Israeli government. . . .
Abbas’s thesis . . . is, from beginning to end, pure fantasy. But it did not spring fully formed from Abbas’s head. Upon investigation, I came to the unequivocal conclusion that Abbas’s book is based on Nazi and neo-Nazi propaganda disseminated in Argentina by Adolf Eichmann and his friend, the pro-Nazi Dutch journalist Wilhelmus Antonius Sassen. . . . Eichmann and Sassen claimed that the Holocaust was a lie, and that there were no gas chambers or crematoria in Hitler’s Europe. In 1957, Sassen interviewed Eichmann on the subject, and their conversations eventually comprised 659 typed pages. . . . [A] significant part of these conversations present claims identical to those of Abbas.