Palestinian Holocaust Distortion: The Zionists ‘Exaggerated’ the Number of Holocaust Victims
by Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Holocaust distortion is Holocaust denial’s ugly cousin — and it has been willingly adopted by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Instead of denying the Holocaust outright, the PA now “only” distorts the horrific scale of the attempted genocide against the Jews, denying documented historical truths.
A regular columnist for the official PA daily exemplified this in a recent column that protested the inclusion of Holocaust studies in Arab curricula.
Even while acknowledging the Holocaust as a real event in history and mentioning Anne Frank as “one of hundreds of stories of the Holocaust, which tell the suffering of the Jews in the period of Nazi rule,” columnist Ramzi Oudeh minimized the number of Jewish victims, accusing the “Zionists” of inflating numbers to create support for the establishment of the State of Israel:
Without commenting on the Zionist exaggeration of the [number of] victims of the Holocaust in order to obtain the world’s sympathy and support for the Zionist state, we do not deny that the Holocaust is a fact.
Related coverageMarch 30, 2023 10:27 am
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 5, 2023]
The writer repeated the baseless claim that Jews have overstated the number of victims later in the article, claiming that there is no Holocaust denial in the Arab region, but only opposition to “the exaggeration in the number of its victims”:
The main excuse for this haste [i.e., of Arab states including Holocaust studies in their curricula] to satisfy the Zionists was a struggle against denial of the Holocaust among members of the Arab region. This is a baseless excuse, as no one — including the Arabs — denies the Holocaust, even if some of them oppose the exaggeration in the number of its victims or its circumstances. [emphasis added]
The allegation that the Jews inflated the number of Holocaust victims is not a new PA invention. Already in 1984, now PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas wrote in his thesis — “The Other Side: The Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement” — that the number of murdered Jews was “a few hundred thousand”:
Mahmoud Abbas: “Having more victims meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over. However, since Zionism was not a fighting partner — suffering victims in a battle — it had no escape but to offer up human beings, under any name, to raise the number of victims, which they could then boast of at the moment of accounting…
It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement … is to inflate this figure so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions — fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand.” [emphasis added — translation by the Simon Wiesenthal Center)
Abbas’ thesis is taken as fact in the PA, as was illustrated by an official PA daily columnist in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida who wrote on December 30, 2021, that Abbas’ book “exposed the great lie” of six million murdered Jews: “[Abbas’ book] emphasized that there is an exaggeration of the events of the Nazi Holocaust, and also exposed how the Zionist organization invented the myth of 6 million killed Jews, which it described as ‘a great lie.’”
One of the definitions of Holocaust distortion by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is: “Gross minimization of the number of the victims of the Holocaust in contradiction to reliable sources.”
Palestinain columnist Ramzi Oudeh further minimized the Holocaust when arguing that Arabs don’t need to learn about it because other “cases of ethnic cleansing” have taken place since. Among these he included the alleged “genocide” of Palestinians as “the most prominent incident of genocide”:
We do not deny that the Holocaust is a fact. However, as Arabs we are not required to include it in the school curricula, or even in the museums dealing with this human tragedy, as for the last several hundred years, dozens of cases of ethnic cleansing have been committed in the world, such as the genocide in Armenia at the start of the last century, or the genocide against the Tutsis in Burundi [i.e., the Rwandan genocide] at the end of the last century. It may be that the most prominent incident of genocide is what has happened and is still happening to the Palestinian people at the hands of the Zionists for more than 70 years. [emphasis added]
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 5, 2023]
Others in the Arab world are also against teaching the Holocaust to students. Official PA TV broadcast a former Lebanese minister stating his opinion that inclusion of Holocaust studies in Arab curricula is “unfortunate”:
Former Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ghazi Aridi: “Unfortunately — I say this with full sincerity — there are Arabs who intend to approve a Holocaust studies program in their schools, and to turn this topic into a foundational chapter in their studies, under the headline of the Abraham Accords.”
[Official PA TV, “From Beirut,” Jan. 13, 2023]
The author is a senior analyst at Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article first appeared.