The Abuse of Holocaust Memory Chapter Seven: Holocaust Inversion: The Portraying of Israel and Jews as Nazis

Holocaust inversion seeks to delegitimize Israel by associating it with the epitome of evil and criminal behavior, Nazi Germany. It attacks and humiliates the Jewish people by equating them with the perpetrators of the brutal genocide whose goal was the complete extermination of the Jews. It also serves to sanitize Germany’s huge crimes and those of other European countries by accusing Israel of acting similarly.

The false accusation of Holocaust inversion — the portraying of Israel, Israelis, and Jews as Nazis — is another extreme distortion of history. Those who apply this anti-Semitic concept claim that Israel behaves against the Palestinians as Germany did to the Jews in World War II. “The victims have become perpetrators” is one major slogan of the inverters. As mentioned earlier, Holocaust inversion is part of the broader distortion category of Holocaust equivalence. By shifting the moral responsibility for genocide, Holocaust inversion also contains elements of Holocaust denial.

Holocaust inverters come, to a large extent, from Muslim circles. Many others come from the extreme Left in the West. A variety of Western mainstream public figures have also made Holocaust-inversion statements, including politicians, academics, authors, journalists as well as the occasional Jew or Israeli.

Actually, the world’s current major contemporary propagators of Nazi-type ideologies live outside Europe. The most powerful ones can be found mainly in the Muslim world. Palestinian anti-Semitic incitement, often genocidal, is part of a broader picture of a widespread, partly theocratic, Muslim totalitarianism.

Definitions of Anti-Semitism

In 2001, Irwin Cotler, who later became Canada’s justice minister, identified the anti-Semitic character of Holocaust inversion. He pointed to several relatively new aspects of anti-Semitism such as calls for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people, the portrayal of Israel as a Nazi state, and the discriminatory treatment of Israel through denial of equality before the law.1

Natan Sharansky, when he was the Israeli minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora affairs, developed a simple formula that he called the “3D test” to help distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism: demonization, double standards, and delegitimization.

Sharansky included the portrayal of Israel as a Nazi state within his definition of “demonization”: “When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel’s actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz — this is antisemitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel.”2

The EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism

In its 2004 report on anti-Semitism, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) noted the lack of a common characterization of anti- Semitism. This led to the EUMC working definition, which has subsequently been widely accepted.3 It states: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews…. In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”

The document that contains this working definition also offers examples of contemporary anti-Semitism. One of these is: “Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.”4

This text also states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.” It lists examples of how anti-Semitism can manifest itself toward Israel:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize …
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy with that of the
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of 5

The core motif of classic anti-Semitism was that Jews embody the most extreme malevolence. During the post-World War II era, the Nazi regime has become the paradigm for absolute evil. Comparing Israel’s conduct with Nazi actions is a new mutation of the ancient anti-Semitic theme.

Anti-Zionists as Anti-Semites

Wistrich writes:

“Anti-Zionists” who insist on comparing Zionism and the Jews with Hitler and the Third Reich appear unmistakably to be de facto anti-Semites, even if they vehemently deny the fact! This is largely because they knowingly exploit the reality that Nazism in the postwar world has become the defining metaphor of absolute evil. For if Zionists are “Nazis” and if Sharon really is Hitler, then it becomes a moral obligation to wage war against Israel. That is the bottom line of much contemporary anti-Zionism. In practice, this has become the most potent form of contemporary anti-Semitism.6

French linguist Georges-Elia Sarfati points out that the term anti-Zionism was pioneered by the Soviet Union’s Information Ministry after the Six Day War. Researching the matter, he found that the word did not appear in dictionaries until the 1970s. He observes that “a number of key equations dominate the anti-Zionist discourse. The master one — which transversally commands all others — is ‘Zionism equals Nazism.’… the anti-Zionist propaganda conveys that you have only to be against, for instance against Nazism — and who is not? — to be an anti-Zionist.”7

Fishman asserts that “inversion of reality” constitutes the basic principle of current anti-Israeli propaganda, noting:

One of its most frequent expressions has been the accusation that the Jewish people, victims of the Nazis, have now become the new Nazis, aggressors and oppressors of the Palestinian Arabs. Contemporary observers have identified this method and described it as an “inversion of reality,” an “intellectual confidence trick,” “reversing moral responsibility,” or “twisted logic.” Because Israel’s enemies have, for nearly half a century, repeated such libels without being challenged, they have gradually gained credence.8

Manifestations and Motivations

Holocaust inversion manifests itself in many ways. It is expressed in speech, writing, and visual media, including cartoons, graffiti, and placards. It employs sinister characterizations of Israel and Israelis, Nazi symbols, and sometimes uses Nazi genocidal terminology to describe Israel’s actions.

The motivations of the Holocaust inverters are manifold. The most extreme aim at the destruction of Israel and seek to lay the infrastructure for its moral delegitimization  through  demonization.  Many  Western  Holocaust  inverters also aim to bolster the Arab and Palestinian cause by demonizing Israel. Other Westerners seem to act out of anti-Semitic motivations. They show little or no interest in the frequent murdering of Palestinians by other Palestinians, nor in the plight of Palestinians killed and persecuted elsewhere — for instance, in Iraq. This indifference also pertains, of course, to the murdering of Israelis by Palestinians. Yet  other  perpetrators  know  little  about  the  Holocaust,  the  Nazis,  and contemporary Israel. They are influenced by the media and other societal elites who are Holocaust inverters.

Relieving Guilt Feelings

Absolving one’s ancestors of guilt is another motif of many Holocaust inverters. The Holocaust was far from being exclusively the work of Germany — which incorporated Austria — as well as several nations allied with it. Large numbers of Europeans in occupied countries collaborated with the Germans. The most effective way to neutralize this burden is to shift the moral responsibility to Israel by claiming that what was done by the perpetrators is widespread and now practiced primarily by Israelis and Jews.

This malicious identification of Israelis as Nazis is intended to free Europeans of their remorse and shame for their centuries-long history of lethal anti- Semitism. Above all, it liberates Europeans from any residual guilt they might have experienced in the wake of the Shoah. If the Israelis — who are, after all, mostly Jews — can be depicted as Nazis, then not having helped them during World War II might not have been such a terrible thing. Or, if one does not want to go that far, one can at least seek to prevent Jews from taking the moral high road in comparison to Europe, as a result of what others did to them during the Holocaust.

Durst related European expressions with anti-Semitic undertones to guilt toward the Holocaust. “If the guilty person is bad, the Jewish victim becomes good. The moment it can be shown the latter is bad too, the ‘other’ — that is, the European — is relieved of his guilt feelings. To claim that Israelis behave like Nazis reduces the sin of the grandparents. Then the children of the victims can no longer be the accusers. This equalizes everybody.”9

Jeffrey Gedmin, the American president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, observes: “It is very helpful for a certain ideology in European political culture to see the Palestinians as helpless underdogs being repressed by the Israelis. This thesis enables many Europeans to relativize, or even balance, Europe’s guilt.”

He adds:

This reflects further European hypocrisy…since there is no passion in either Germany or Europe for independent Kurdish or Basque states. There is no concern for Tibetan underdogs. One can only conclude that the reasons Europeans consider the Palestinian cause for independence central are their cultural bias, burdens of the past and anti-Semitic feelings. It would be much more logical to see the Israelis as underdogs, a small democracy in a large, hostile Arab environment.10

Visual Forms of Holocaust Inversion

An effective way to grasp the main modes of Holocaust inversion is by analyzing posters and cartoons. These rely on familiar and immediately perceived core stereotypes of hatred, of which the number is limited. Such an iconography must appeal to ideas with which the public at large is familiar. This pertains particularly to Arab societies where so many people are illiterate.

In many anti-Israeli demonstrations, banners are carried showing the Star of David as equivalent to the swastika. This phenomenon is international. At a demonstration in the Place de la République in Paris on 7 October 2000, a placard carried the slogan “Stop the Jewish Hitlerian terrorism!” Below the words a Star of David was drawn as equaling a swastika.11

That same year a placard in French at a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Brussels read: “The years change, the executioners change.”12 Under it was a Star of David, an equal sign, and the SS symbol. At the September 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban (hereinafter Durban conference), among numerous similar examples, supporters of the Palestinians carried a banner saying “1940s Hitler, 2000s Sharon.”13

Another example among many occurred at a 2002 demonstration in Washington, where a young woman who appeared to be Arab held a placard designed as the Israeli flag, reading “Hitler & Sharon are the same.” A swastika appeared on the flag instead of the Star of David.14

In cartoons, too, this equation is a frequently recurring theme. At the Hamashahri Holocaust-cartoon exhibition in Teheran, a drawing by the Algerian Choukri Bellahadi showed an Israeli flag turning into one with a swastika.15

Israeli Leaders Resemble Hitler

Comparisons between Israelis and Nazis, and of swastikas and the Star of David, are especially commonplace in the Arab world. For many years the ADL has been monitoring and reporting on anti-Semitic cartoons in the Arab media. In his book on Arab anti-Semitic cartoons, the Belgian political scientist Jöel Kotek devotes a section to Holocaust inversion. In 1996, the major Egyptian daily Al- Goumhouriya published a cartoon showing Hitler saying to Shimon Peres: “I made a mistake by not appraising the importance of American support.”16

Israeli leaders shown as being like Hitler or Nazis is a regularly recurring motif. A cartoon in the Egyptian daily Al-Akhbar in 2000 shows Israel’s then- prime minister Ehud Barak dressed as a Nazi with a Hitler mustache.17

Ariel Sharon was perhaps the Israeli prime minister most often depicted as a Nazi. In four pictures, the well-known Lebanese cartoonist Jabra Stavro, in Lebanon’s Daily Star in 2002, transformed Sharon with his white hair into Hitler with a mustache and black hair. A Star of David on Sharon’s collar is also transformed into a swastika.18 The Teheran exhibition included a caricature by Bahraini Mohammed Amano showing Sharon in Nazi uniform wearing a skullcap.

These phenomena are far from limited to the Arab world. In Norway, anti-Semitic cartoons appear regularly in several of the major papers. In July 2006, the Dagbladet daily, Norway’s third largest paper, carried a drawing by Finn Graff of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a Nazi.19 To add insult to injury, this cartoonist was made a knight in the prestigious Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav by King Harald V for his contribution as an artist.20

Israel Worse than the Nazis

Sometimes cartoons even present Israelis as worse than Nazis. Kotek says: “A 1993 cartoon in the Syrian daily Teshreen shows one soldier with a Star of David on his helmet and another with a swastika on his helmet. The caption reads: ‘The Security Council has studied the case of genocide of the Palestinians.’ The long list is of Israeli crimes; the small list of Nazi crimes.”21

The claim that Israel is worse than the Nazis also appeared in the Hamashahri competition. The Moroccan cartoonist Naji Benaji was awarded a special prize for his drawing of two bottles. One, on which “Holocaust” is written, contains a few skulls; the second carries the Palestinian flag and is filled with skulls.22

The number of cartoon variations on the core motif of Holocaust inversion is virtually unlimited. Kotek cites the Brazilian Carlos Latuff as a well-known anti-Semitic caricaturist who has been producing such works for many years.23 He won a shared second prize in the Teheran competition for a cartoon showing an Arab as a concentration-camp inmate.24

A 2002 cartoon in the Greek daily Ethnos, close to the then-ruling Pasok socialist party, has become a classic of twenty-first-century anti-Semitism. It shows two Jewish soldiers dressed as Nazis, with Stars of David on their helmets, thrusting knives into Arabs. Its caption reads: “Do not feel yourself guilty, my brother. We were not in Auschwitz and Dachau to suffer, but to learn.”25

These were preceded in 1988 by the Kuwaiti paper Al Rai-Al Aam, which published a caricature of a soldier with a gun, kippa, and long nose shoving a child into a furnace. The image alluded to both the Shoah and the ancient anti- Semitic blood libel that Jews use children to bake matzo.26

The British Roots of “Zionism Is Nazism”

Wistrich points out that Holocaust inversion has British roots:

It is important to remember that in the 1940s the “Zionism is Nazism” libel was rather popular among highly placed Englishmen. True, the Nazi-Zionist equation was predominantly a Soviet contribution to postwar antisemitism. But it did not originate there. Indeed, a number of Britishers can claim first- class honors in this field. An example is Sir John Glubb Pasha, who was commander of the Arab Jordanian Legion fighting against Israel in 1948. He was an upper-class conservative Englishman and a lifelong Arabophile, with a special love for desert Arabs. He was also a  convinced  anti- Semite.

Glubb was obsessed with the idea that Jews had anticipated Hitler’s master race theory. Nazism, in his view, was a pale copy of the Hebrew original as revealed in Old Testament sources. In memos he sent to London he branded Jews as Nazis who combined their East European fanaticism with a narrow Hebraic cast of mind, based on biblical vengeance and hatred. He described Israel from the outset as a Nazi state, as the historian Benny Morris has demonstrated.

Glubb was not alone. One can find in British documents similar statements from high-ranking officials in the Palestine administration. Most probably when all the papers of the High Commissioner for Palestine from the last years of the Mandate are revealed, further statements of this kind will come to light. One figure high up in the Palestine administration was Sir Edward Grigg, later Lord Altrincham. He referred to what he called the National Socialist character of what became the Israeli Labor Party (Mapai) and of the Hagana (the core of the Israeli army). He saw in the Zionist youth movements a copy of the Hitler Youth.27

Toynbee, European Communists

The well-known British historian Arnold Toynbee, a notorious anti-Semite, claimed in his major work A Study of History that the Israeli treatment of Arabs during the 1948 war was morally comparable with the Nazi treatment of the Jews. He repeated this accusation in a 1961 debate with the then Israeli ambassador to Canada, Jacob Herzog, who asserted that the Nazi murder of six million Jews was incomparable with the unfortunate uprooting of Arab communities.28

Presenting Israelis as Nazis was also widespread in the communist world. In 1968, Simon Wiesenthal stated that East Germany’s news service was far more anti-Israeli than that of other communist countries. This was because of the former Nazi propagandists it employed. “On 14 July 1967, for example, a cartoon appeared in the Berliner Zeitung, depicting a flying Moshe Dayan, with his hands stretched out toward Gaza and Jerusalem. Next to him stood Adolf Hitler in an advanced state of decomposition. He encouraged Dayan with the words: ‘Carry on, colleague Dayan!’”29

In a famous 1968 open letter, British philosopher Bertrand Russell accosted Polish prime minister Wladyslaw Gomulka: “By some twisted logic, all Jews are now Zionists, Zionists are fascists, fascists are Nazis and Jews therefore are to be identified with the very criminals who only recently sought to eliminate Polish Jewry.”30

The West European Mainstream

The Holocaust-inversion theme has appeared in the West European mainstream for several decades. Leading European politicians such as the late Swedish Social Democrat prime minister Olof Palme31 and the late Greek socialist prime minister Andreas Papandreou both accused Israel of using Nazi methods.32

In recent years such charges have become more widespread. American congressman and Holocaust-survivor Tom Lantos described the distortions of the Holocaust at the 2001 Durban conference. He also noted that at a preparatory emergency conference in Geneva in June 2001, the UN high commissioner for human rights and former Irish president Mary Robinson “refused to reject the twisted notion that the wrong done to the Jews in the Holocaust was equivalent to the pain suffered by the Palestinians in the Middle East. Instead she discussed ‘the historical wounds of anti-Semitism and of the Holocaust on the one hand, and the accumulated wounds of displacement and military occupation on the other.’”33

Senior members of the Greek Socialist Party often use Holocaust rhetoric to describe Israeli military actions.34 In March 2002, parliamentary speakerApostolos Kaklamanis referred to the “genocide” of the Palestinians. He was backed by the government spokesman, Christos Protopapas, who said that Kaklamanis spoke “with sensitivity and responsibility, expressing the sentiments of the Parliament and Greek people.”35

One only has to read the judgment of the International Court of Justice on the Srebrenica mass murder to understand what genocide is and how perverse the genocide accusations against Israel are.36

In April  2002,  Franco  Cavalli  spoke at a  demonstration  of  the  Swiss- Palestinian Society in Bern. He was then parliamentary leader of the Social Democratic Party (SP), which is part of the Swiss governing coalition. He claimed that Israel “very purposefully massacres an entire people” and undertakes “the systematic extermination of the Palestinians.” At the rally Israeli flags were torched.37 That same year British poet and Oxford academic Tom Paulin told an Egyptian newspaper that Jewish settlers in the West Bank are “Nazis and racists [who] should be shot dead.”38

Using Nazi genocidal language for Israel’s actions is another tool of Holocaust inversion. The most effective way to sanitize Germany’s immense crimes is to accuse Israel of acting similarly. In 2002, Norbert Blüm, a former German Christian Democrat minister of labor, charged that the Jewish state was conducting a “Vernichtungskrieg” — a “war of destruction” against the Palestinians. This is the Nazi expression for a war of extermination.39 The Christian Democrat Party expelled parliamentarian Martin Hohmann in 2003, months after he called Israelis a nation of criminals, using the expression “Taetervolk” — “a nation of perpetrators” — a term commonly reserved for Nazi Germany.40

Holocaust inversion has made major inroads in the Western world, as shown, for example, by German survey data. The major GMF poll in 2004 interviewed 2,656 representatively selected German-speaking people in the country.41 Sixty- eight percent agreed that: “Israel undertakes a war of destruction against the Palestinians.” Fifty-one percent agreed that: “What the state of Israel does today to the Palestinians, is in principle not different from what the Nazis did in the Third Reich to the Jews.”42

On 26 January 2007 — one day before the United Nations’ International Day of Commemoration for the victims of the Holocaust — the 192-member UN General Assembly approved a resolution by consensus, introduced by the United States. It condemned “without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust.” It did not mention any country. Iran reacted by stating that the Holocaust should be examined to determine its scope. Mario Palavicini, the delegate from Venezuela, supported the resolution but also inverted the Holocaust by saying that Israel’s “excesses under the pretext of legitimate defense has led to a new holocaust against the Palestinian people.”43

Inverting Holocaust Remembrance Day

In Spain in 2006, there was an attempt to invert the day of official Holocaust remembrance. Susana Leon Gordillo, a member of Prime Minister Zapatero’s ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) and mayor of the Madrid suburb of Ciempozuelos, decided to commemorate the “genocide of the Palestinian people” in his town. At the request of the Spanish Foreign Ministry, “Palestine Genocide Day” was canceled. References to the affair were taken off the Ciempozuelos municipality website.44

The ADL condemned the mayor’s Holocaust-inversion attempt and addressed him in a letter:

Your attempt to equate the industrialized mass murder of six million Jewish women, men and children, as well as millions of others, with the situation of the Palestinian people is shameful. It reflects an extremely disturbing tendency, which is particularly visible in Europe to dishonor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and de-legitimize the State of Israel by seeking to eradicate the clear moral difference between the Holocaust and the loss of Palestinian lives as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict.45

There are some Jewish Holocaust inverters as well. One is Sara Roy, a senior research scholar at the Harvard University Center for Middle Eastern Studies. A child of Holocaust survivors herself, she used a Holocaust Memorial Lecture to suggest that Israelis are Nazis, saying: “Within the Jewish community it has always been considered a form of heresy to compare Israeli actions or policies with those of the Nazis and certainly one must be very careful in doing so.” She then insinuated that they are comparable, quoting as proof — a figment of Palestinian propaganda — that “Israeli soldiers openly admit to shooting Palestinian children for sport.”46

Fishman, in an essay on the Cold War origins of contemporary anti-Semitic terminology, lists a variety of Israelis, academics and others, who have made Holocaust-inverting remarks.47

Comparing Palestinians with Shoah Victims

Many Holocaust symbols have also been inverted. In Amsterdam in February 2007, graffiti appeared showing Anne Frank with a keffiya. One regularly finds cartoons or pictures comparing Palestinian cities and towns with the Warsaw Ghetto,48 and attempts to compare the killing of the Palestinian child Mohammed al-Dura — who probably died from a Palestinian bullet — with the iconic Jewish child raising his hands in the Warsaw Ghetto.49

Comparing the situation of the Palestinians with that of the Jews in ghettos or concentration camps is by now a regular manifestation of Holocaust inversion. Portuguese Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago, a communist, compared the blockaded Palestinian city of Ramallah with Auschwitz.50 While visiting Brazil he declared that the Jewish people no longer deserve sympathy for the suffering they endured during the Holocaust.51

Wistrich notes that the Anglican Church Times chose to mark Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Day with a particularly malevolent article by the Rev. Richard Spencer, who described events in Ramallah as a “suffering and deprivation that I could only imagine in Auschwitz.”52

In another case of Holocaust inversion by a Protestant representative, Doris Pagelkopf, vice-chairperson of the Young Women’s Christian Association, declared in 2005, after a visit to the Palestinian Authority: “I have strongly felt the correlation with the Second World War. During that time Hitler tried to exterminate the Jews and today a group of Israelis are trying to remove the Palestinians from the country.”53

In 2007, representatives of all twenty-seven German Catholic bishoprics visited Israel. They also went to Ramallah, after which one of the bishops, Gregor Maria Hanke said: “During the visit we saw at Yad Vashem the pictures from the Warsaw Ghetto and in the evening we are traveling to Ghetto Ramallah.” The German embassy in Tel Aviv expressed its consternation about his remarks.54

The 2008–2009 Gaza War

The Gaza war of December 2008–January 2009 again brought to the fore many examples of equations of Israel with Nazi Germany. In Rome, thousands marched carrying signs that “showed swastikas superimposed on the Star of David.”55

The umbrella body of Belgian Jewish organizations, the CCOJB, noted that a supposedly “peaceful” demonstration against Israel during the war had turned into a major outburst of anti-Semitism on the streets of Brussels. Banners showed Jews as devils, or equated them with Nazis; others referred to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Yet other signs compared Gaza with Auschwitz. The CCOJB stated that these were both morally and legally condemnable.56

At the end of 2008, the Israeli embassy in Norway protested against a comparison of the situation in Gaza with the Warsaw Ghetto by the mayor of Tromsö, Arild Hausberg of the Labor Party.57

Trine Lilleng, a first secretary in the Norwegian embassy in Saudi Arabia, sent an email from her account in which she juxtaposed pictures of slain children in Gaza with “photos of Holocaust victims in seemingly correlating situations.” The Norwegian daily Aftenposten printed some of these juxtapositions.58 If one analyzes these pictures, one sees that they concern very different situations.

A spokesman of Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial institute, came out with a strong condemnation of Lilleng and stated:

That a Norwegian Foreign Ministry official is disseminating such distortions is appalling and smacks of anti-Semitism…. Instead of working toward understanding, she is fanning the flames of hatred.… There is no comparison between the systematic plan, based on a murderous ideology, to murder every single Jewish person, everywhere, and a long political and military conflict between two peoples.… Coming on the heels of other examples of anti-Semitic incitement, it raises red flags as to what is apparently happening in Norway.

The Yad Vashem  spokesman  added  that  such  “manipulative  abuse”  of  the Holocaust inevitably leads to violence.59

When Norwegian foreign minister Støre came to Israel a few weeks later, he was interviewed by the daily Maariv. He was quoted as saying that Lilleng was no longer in Riyadh.60 One would indeed have expected that Norway would not want to have a Holocaust inverter as a diplomatic representative.

This would have been even more embarrassing in view of the fact that, by March 2009, Norway was chairing the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. It later turned out, however, that contrary to what had been reported, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry had maintained Lilleng in Riyadh and that in July 2009 she was still employed at the embassy there.61

The Nazareth Holocaust Museum

Attorney Khaled Mahamid, an Israeli Arab, has founded a Holocaust museum in Nazareth. The ADL, while praising the existence of an Arab museum in Israel commemorating the Holocaust, expressed its deep concern that its approach undid much of the benefit it could have.

The ADL statement continued that the museum was based on the false premise  that  the  Palestinian  people  are  paying  the  price for European guilt over the Holocaust by having what they believe is an illegitimate Jewish state in the heart of the Arab world. By placing the PLO flag at the museum as well as posters of Palestinian refugees and photos of Palestinian victims of violence juxtaposed next to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, Mr. Mahamid also seeks to create a totally inappropriate connection between the plight of the Palestinians and the Jewish Holocaust victims.62

The Arab World

Holocaust denial and Holocaust  inversion  are  frequently  found  together  in the Arab world. This is seemingly strange yet reflects the perpetrators’ aim of maximum demonization of Israel. Nordbruch points out that “articles denouncing Zionism as Nazism often include Holocaust denial as well.”63

The aforementioned Hamas Charter is one of a large number of Arab sources that are permeated with Holocaust inversion. Its article 20 states: “The Nazism of the Jews does not skip women and children, it scares everyone. They make war against people’s livelihood, plunder their moneys and threaten their honor. In their horrible actions they mistreat people like the more horrendous war criminals.”

The charter is repetitive; its article 31 says: “The Nazi Zionist practices against our people will not last the lifetime of their invasion, for ‘states built upon oppression last only one hour, states based upon justice will last until the hour of Resurrection.’”64

The Muslim World and the Nazis

Even superficial analysis shows that the main ideological similarity to Nazi thought and behavior is nowadays found in parts of the Muslim world. The influence of neo-Nazi movements in the Western world is small compared to the prominence of Nazi-like ideas among Muslim societies.

Bauer says:

Today for the first time since 1945, Jews are again threatened, openly, by a radical Islamic genocidal ideology whose murderous rantings must be taken more seriously than the Nazi ones were two and more generations ago. The direct connection between World War II, the Shoah, and present-day genocidal events and threats is more than obvious. The Shoah was unprecedented; but it was a precedent, and that precedent is being followed.65

The dominant example of a  Muslim  genocide  promoter  is  Ahmadinejad. His genocidal threats and incitement against Israel have deep roots both in fundamentalist Iran and among radical Muslim figures in other countries.66 By highlighting this, one better understands the criminal worldview of Holocaust inverters.


  2. Nathan Sharansky, “Foreword,” Jewish Political Studies Review, V 16, Nos. 3–4 (Fall 2004): 5–8.
  3. European Monitoring Centre on Racismand Xenophobia, “Manifestations ofAntisemitism in the EU 2002–2003” (Vienna). For background on the process, see Michael Whine, “International Organizations: Combating Antisemitism in Europe,” Jewish Political Studies Review, V 16, Nos. 3–4 (Fall 2004).
  4. Michael Whine, “The Berlin Declaration and the EUMC Working Definition of Anti- Semitism: Progress in the Struggle in Europe,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 41, 1 February
  5. Ibid.
  6. Robert Wistrich, “Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism,” Jewish Political Studies Review, V 16, Nos. 3–4 (Fall 2004): 29.
  7. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Language as a Tool against Jews and Israel,” interview with Georges-Elia Sarfati, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 17, 1 February
  8. Joel Fishman, “The Big Lie and the Media War against Israel: From Inversion of the Truth to Inversion of Reality,” Jewish Political Studies Review, V 19, Nos. 1–2 (Spring 2007): 60.
  9. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Europe: From Guilt Feelings to Repackaging Anti-Semitism,” interview with Nathan Durst, in Europe’s Crumbling Myths (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2003), 135.
  10. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Experiencing European Anti-Americanism and Anti-Israelism,” interview with Jeffrey Gedmin, in Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Adenauer Foundation, 2005), 149–150.
  11. Gerard Rabinovitch, “Petit lexique du prêt à penser,” Observatoire du Monde Juif, 2 March 2002 [French].
  12. Fighting Anti-Semitism (Jerusalem: Minister for Diaspora and Jerusalem Affairs, Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism, and Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2004).
  13. Tom Lantos, The Durban Debacle: An Insider’s View of the UN World Conference against Racism (Jerusalem: Institute of the World Jewish Congress, 2002), 17.
  14. Fighting Anti-Semitism.
  15. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Ahmadinejad, Iran, and Holocaust Manipulation: Methods, Aims, and Reactions,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, 551, 1 February 2007.
  16. Al-Goumhouriya, 24 April 1996, cited in Joël et Dan Kotek, Au nom de l’antisionisme: L’image des Juifs et d’Israël dans la caricature depuis la seconde Intifada (Brussels: Éditions Complexe, 2003), 62 [French].
  17. Al-Akhbar, 3 October 2000; Kotek, , 60.
  18. Teshreen, 15 April 1993; Kotek, ibid., 63.
  19. Cartoon by Finn Graff, Dagbladet, 10 July 2006, cited in Erez Uriely, “Jew Hatred in Contemporary Norwegian Caricatures,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 50, 1 November 2006.
  1. (the official royal website).
  2. Kotek, Au nom de l’antisionisme, 63.
  3. Gerstenfeld, “Ahmadinejad, Iran”.
  4. Kotek, Au nom de l’antisionisme, 161.
  5. Gerstenfeld, “Ahmadinejad, Iran”
  6. Ethnos, 7 April [Greek]
  7. Kotek, Au nom de l’antisionisme, 83.
  8. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Antisemitism Embedded in British Culture,” an interview with Robert Solomon Wistrich, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 70, 1 July 2008.
  9. “Moral Numerical,” Time, 10 February 1961.
  10. H. Brinks, “Political Anti-Fascism in the German Democratic Republic,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 32, No. 2 (1997): 207–217.
  11. For sources, see Joel Fishman, “The Cold War Origins of Contemporary Anti-Semitic Terminology,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, 517, 1–16 May 2005, n. 1.
  12. Per Ahlmark, “Palme’s Legacy 15 Years On,” Project Syndicate, February 2001.
  13. Moses Altsech (Daniel Perdurant, ), “Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Greek Society,” ACTA, 7 (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1995), 10.
  14. Lantos, Durban Debacle, 17.
  15. Simon Wiesenthal Center, “Twenty Months of Antisemitic Invective in Greece: March 2002–October 2003,” 14 October 2003.
  16. Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University, Antisemitism Worldwide, 2002–3, 2004.
  17. htm.
  18. “Israel-Kritik oder Antisemitismus?” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26 April 2002 [German].
  19. Giles Foden and John Mullan, “When Authors Take Sides,” The Guardian, 27 April 2002.
  20. “Der Vorwurf des Antisemitismus wird auch als Knuppel benutzt,” Stern, 18 June 2002.[German]
  21. “Hohmann vor Parteigericht der CDU,” Die Welt, 21 April 2004. [German]
  22. Aribert Heyder, Julia Iser, and Peter Schmidt, “Israelkritik oder Antisemitismus? Meinungsbildung zwischen Öffentlichkeit, Medien und Tabus,” in Wilhelm Heitmeyer, , Deutsche Zustände 3 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2005), 144ff. [German]. GMF stands for Gruppenbezogene Menschenfeindlichkeit (Group-Targeted Misanthropy).
  23. Ibid., 151.
  24. Alexandra Olson, “U.N. Adopts Holocaust Denial Resolution,” The Guardian, 27 January 2007.
  25. Itamar Eichner, “‘Palestinian Genocide Day,’ instead of Holocaust Day,” Ynetnews, 31 January 2007.
  26. ADL, “Spanish Mayor’s Decision to Commemorate ‘Palestinian Genocide’ on Palestinian Holocaust Memorial Day ‘Shameful,’” Press Release, 26 January 2007.
  27. Sara Roy, Second Annual Holocaust Remembrance Lecture, Baylor University, 8 April 2002.
  28. Fishman, “Cold War Origins.”
  29. Kotek, Au nom de l’antisionisme, 49.  Ibid., 115.
  30. AP, “Author Compares Palestinian City to Nazi Death Camp,” Miami Herald Tribune, 27 March 2002.






Manfred Gerstenfeld                                                                                                                 115

  1. ADL, “Portuguese Nobel Laureate’s Remarks on Jews and the Holocaust Are ‘Incendiary and Offensive,’” Press Release, 15 October
  2. Church Times, 24 January 2003, quoted in Robert Wistrich, “European Anti-Semitism Reinvents Itself,” American Jewish Committee, 2005.
  3. Centre Simon Wiesenthal Europe, “Le Centre Wiesenthal proteste contre l’atteinte à la Shoah et le parti pris de l’YWCA sur de Proche Orient,” Press Release, 22 March The quotation is translated from French.
  4. Eli Ashkenazi, “German Bishop Compares Ramallah to Warsaw Ghetto,” Haaretz, 7 March
  5. JTA, “Explosive Device Found at Florence Chabad,” 18 January
  6. Comité de Coordination des Organisations Juives de Belgique (CCOJB), “Dépôt de plainte pour la manifestation du 11 janvier 2009,” Press Release, 17 February [French]
  7. Skjalg Fjellheim, “Israel raser mot Hausberg,” Nordlys, 31 December [Norwegian].
  8. Kristjan Molstad, “UD-ansatt sammenligner Israel med nazistene,” Aftenposten, 21 January [Norwegian]
  9. Etgar Lefkovits, “Yad Vashem Blasts Norwegian Diplomat’s Comparison of Gaza Campaign to Holocaust,” Jerusalem Post, 21 January
  10. Shalom Jerushalmi, “Anachnu lo Antishemim,” Maariv, 8 March [Hebrew]
  11. Cnaan Lipshiz, “Did Norway Promote a Diplomat Who Compared Israelis to Nazis?”

Haaretz, 22 July 2009.

  1. “Tehran Rejects Israeli-Arab Seeking to Prove Shoah,” Ynetnews, 11 December
  2. Goetz Nordbruch, “The Socio-Historical Background of Holocaust Denial in Arab Countries,” ACTA, 17 (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2001),
  4. Yehuda Bauer, “Reviewing the Holocaust Anew in Multiple Contexts,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 80, 1 May
  5. Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Ahmadinejad Calls for Israel’s Elimination and Declares War on the West: A Case Study of Incitement to Genocide,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, 536, 1 November

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