The Pitfalls of Holocaust Education in the Arab World

Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates announced that its elementary and secondary schools will begin teaching about the Shoah. This is undoubtedly “good news,” writes Lyn Julius, while warning of four potential negative consequences that must be guarded against:

One is that some supporters of the Palestinians misappropriate the Holocaust to draw a false comparison to the Palestinian nakba. The flight of some 700,000 Arabs from soon-to-be Israel, however, was not due to systemized mass murder, but rather the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The second danger is that teaching the Holocaust tends to portray anti-Semitism as a purely European phenomenon. It shifts the focus away from Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism, perpetuating the myth that Jews and Arabs had always lived in peace and harmony before Israel’s establishment. As Matti Friedman put it, most Jews are in Israel because of the Arabs, not the Nazis. They arrived as refugees from riots, the Arab League’s Nuremberg-style discriminatory laws, arbitrary arrests, human-rights abuses, and forced dispossession.

The third danger is that Arabs could be misleadingly portrayed as “innocent bystanders” to the Holocaust who “paid the price” for a European problem through the creation of Israel. . . . The fourth danger is that teaching the Holocaust will ignore active Arab collaboration with the Nazis, and the specific role played by the Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. . . . It is necessary to understand the connection, often erased for reasons of political correctness, between the Nazis, their Arab sympathizers, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read more at JNS

More about: Holocaust, Israel-Arab relations, Israeli history, United Arab Emirates

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas