Muslim Leaders’ Historic Visit to Auschwitz

On January 23, Sheikh Mohammad al-Issa, the chairman of the influential Saudi Arabia-based Muslim World Society, led a group of Islamic clergymen on a visit to Auschwitz. The visit, writes Edy Cohen, suggests a tectonic shift in Muslim attitudes toward the Holocaust, which has often been downplayed or altogether denied. More typical is the reaction of the Lebanese journalists who filed a complaint in court about a prominent Shiite cleric from their country who joined Issa—accusing him of “contact with the Zionist enemy, contempt for the Islamic religion, and inciting war between Muslims.” Cohen explains:

Many if not most Arabs are only able to see the genocide [of European Jews] in terms of the problems it ostensibly caused Arabs, namely the Palestinians’ loss of the “country” they never had. . . . One of the first cases of public Arab denial of the Holocaust was when [Arab countries] put pressure on West Germany over the issue of German reparations to Holocaust survivors and the state of Israel. In a rare show of unity, the Arab states demanded that Bonn not compensate individual Jews or Israel but should instead give the money to the Palestinians. The Arab League even threatened to sever ties with and boycott West Germany, claiming the Jews were responsible for World War II.

The . . . most common theory belongs to the school of Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority. In . . . his doctoral dissertation, [he] claimed that the Holocaust was a Jewish conspiracy that began when Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, collaborated with Hitler to kill as many Jews as he could in order to justify the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel.

Sadly, in the absence of proper education, many Arabs believe at least one of these conspiracy theories. In Arab countries, not only do [schools] not teach the truth about the Holocaust, but they encourage suspicion toward all books and histories that deal with the subject. The Muslim delegation’s visit to the death camp was considered impossible just a few years ago. There is no doubt that the new openness in Israel’s relationships with the Gulf States contributed to making this historic event a reality.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Arab anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, Holocaust remembrance, Israel-Arab relations, Muslim-Jewish relations, Saudi Arabia


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University