2011-06-02

Arab Nazis

From the BBC's Sarah Ehrlich:
Farhud memories: Baghdad's 1941 slaughter of the Jews

On 1 June 1941, a Nazi-inspired pogrom erupted in Baghdad, bringing to an end more than two millennia of peaceful existence for the city's Jewish minority. Some Jewish children witnessed the bloodshed, and retain vivid memories 70 years later.

Heskel Haddad, an 11-year-old boy was finishing a festive meal and preparing to celebrate the Jewish festival of Shavuot, oblivious to the angry mob that was about to take over the city.

Thousands of armed Iraqi Muslims were on the rampage, with swords, knives and guns.

The two days of violence that followed have become known as the Farhud (Arabic for "violent dispossession"). About 800 Jews were killed, spelling the end for a Jewish community that dated from the time of Babylon. Only 180 bodies were identified, but the Israeli-based Babylonian Heritage Museum says about another 600 unidentified victims were buried in a mass grave.


Go to the original for the full, horrific details - but also for the stories of brave Arab individuals who did what they could to protect the innocent from the mob.

The BBC piece does not address the long history of anti-Jewish violence in the Arab world prior to the Nazi era. Nevertheless, this article is an important first step. It demolishes the notion that Israel is to blame for Arab Jew-hatred. Also, the article helps to put the Arabic word "Farhud" into circulation. The word needs to be part of the vocabulary of international discourse.

It is important to expose the link between Nazism and Arab anti-Semitism, as this article does. That the Nazis did horrific things to humanity in general and the Jews in particular is well known; "Nazi = evil" is not a controversial statement.

But Nazis are a "safe target". They were white, nominally Christian Europeans acting on a professed ideology of white supremacism; so it's easy to conflate them with the likes of the KKK. Best of all, they lost the war! There is no significant presence of Nazi sympathizers in today's academic or cultural establishments. ('Twasn't always so; but that's another story.) Unlike the Communists, for example - or the Islamists.

Exposing the Nazi-Islamist ties may be the most important thing we can do to disrupt the narrative that paints Israel as the heir to the Nazi mantle.

Nazism is not yet dead in the Middle East.

JPost: Newspaper reports Nazi party forming in Egypt.

A group of Egyptian political activists have announced plans to set up a local version “of the Nazi party,” an Egyptian newspaper reported on Thursday.

Citing a leftist Egyptian news portal, the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily said that “the party’s founding deputy is a former military official,” and that the party would be aimed at bringing “together prominent figures from the Egyptian society.”

The report cited founding member Emad Abdel Sattar as saying that the unestablished party “believes in vesting all powers in the president after selecting him or her carefully,” and that “preparations are under way to choose the most competent person to represent the party.”

Go to the article for full details. But pay special attention to what Mordechai Kedar, of Bar-Ilan University, says about Nazi-inspired groups in the Arab world:

Historically, he said, the German Nazi party saw three attempts to copy it in the Arab world in the 1930s in Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. The Egyptian party of that time was led by former president Anwar Sadat, who went on to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

“They were copying the extreme nationalism of Germany, before the Second World War, and before the word ‘Nazi’ became a coarse word,” Kedar said.[My emphasis - aa.]

Strategy Page has more.

This is ironic on many levels. While Arabs love to call Israelis "Nazis", it is the Arab world that is the true heir to the Adolph Hitler's vision of how the world should be. A major weapon in the Arab arsenal is anti-Semitism. For a long time, even before World War II, the racial hatred tactic was particularly popular in the Arab world. This was partly the result of Islamic radicalism, which pushed hatred of all non-Moslems, not just Jews. But as more Jews began moving into Jerusalem and surrounding areas in the late 19th century, more of the Moslem racial animosity was directed at Jews.