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Was Abu Mazen a Holocaust Denier?

Abu Mazen (aka: Mahmoud Abbas) is the newly appointed prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. He has a controversial past. In his doctoral thesis he denied that the Holocaust had left 6 million Jews dead. Below is a sampling of comments regarding his views on the Holocaust.

New PA ´Prime Minister´ Denies Holocaust (IsraelNews.com 3-03)

The Memri Institute for monitoring media in the mid-east reports that Arafat’s newly appointed ‘prime minister’ for the PA, Mahmud Abbas completed a doctoral thesis in 1982 titled “The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement”.

In his thesis, Abbas wrote that the estimated number of Jews killed during World War II was “less than one million.” Abbas stated that the Zionist leadership collaborated with the Nazi regime to “facilitate the wide-spread destruction” of Jews. Abbas’ ‘research’ was later printed by a publisher located in Amman, Jordan.

In an introduction to his work published in 1984, Abbas raised doubts regarding the existence of the gas chambers. He asserted again that the number of Jews killed during the war was about one million.

Abbas claimed in his work that the Zionist leadership was interested in convincing the world that a large number of Jews were killed during the war in order to “attain larger gains” after the war and to “divide the booty.”

Abbas’ primary claim in his thesis is that the Zionist movement and its various branches worked hand in hand with the Nazis against the Jewish people, collaborating with them for the Jews’ destruction because the Zionist leaders viewed “Palestine” as the only legitimate place for Jewish immigration.

Last week, before his recent appointment to be Arafat’s number two man, Abbas called for terrorist groups to murder Jewish civilians living in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

Who Is Abu Mazen? (USA Today 3-25-03) By Ellen Hale

Born in the village of Safed, in what is now northern Israel, Mazen and his family fled to Syria during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He laid floor tiles for a living, became a teacher and earned a law degree from the University of Damascus. He then earned a doctorate in history from Moscow's Oriental College. Mazen remains a passionate devotee of classical Arabic music and poetry.

He is married, has two sons (one died of a heart attack last year) and seven grandchildren, with whom he is sometimes seen frolicking at his office in Ramallah, in the West Bank. There, he serves as the second in command behind Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization (news - web sites). The two have a workable, if not always amicable, relationship.

Mazen has written several books, one of which claimed that only 1 million Jews -- not the 6 million historians estimate -- were killed in the Holocaust. He has since recanted that account and was one of the first Palestinian leaders to recognize Israel.

Most important to many here, especially Israelis and the international community, has been his criticism of the intifada (or uprising) that has claimed some 2,000 Israeli and Palestinian lives in the past 30 months. The uprising, he says, ''should never have been militarized.''

The Nazism of Abu Mazen (EnterStageRight.com 4-21-03) By Charles Morse

Who is this so-called moderate Abu Mazen? He was the author of a book which at the present time seems to have slipped through an Orwellean memory hole called The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism. In this book, as reported by Israeli editor Arie Stav in the 1995 issue of the Israeli journal Nativ, Abu Mazen refutes the Nazi Holocaust as "The Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed." Additionally, Abu Mazen writes that he believes that there were only about 890,000 Jewish victims in Nazi Germany and that these victims were actually the victims of a Zionist-Nazi plot.

How many Arab leaders today embrace these bizarre and sickening Nazi type conspiracy theories? An Arabic translation of Mein Kampf has been widely disseminated in the Arab world since shortly after World War II and Adolf Hitler's definition of Zionism is well known and often quoted. In Mein Kampf, Hitler said of Zionism "They [Zionists] do not have any intention to establish a Jewish state in Palestine in order to settle there. They only fight for one place in which they [can base] a central organization for carrying out their global plot, a city of refuge for criminals and a training center for the scoundrels of the future."

Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is often referred to as the founder of the so-called Palestinian national movement. The Mufti spent World War II in Berlin where he was the Prime Minister of a Nazi-Muslim government in exile. Hitler greeted the Mufti as a head of state and promised him that after he won the war in Europe he would conquer the Arab world and solve the Jewish problem in Palestine. Photos and testimony have the Mufti touring the death camps and letters exist of the Mufti imploring Nazi's and pro-Nazi heads of state to exterminate their Jews.

Israelis Approve of Mazen (Guardian 3-19-03) By Chris McGreal

The Israelis have praised Mr Abbas as a man committed to ending violence and corruption. He has long been a critic of the intifada.

The government had previously denounced him for "supporting terrorism", and he was widely vilified as a "Holocaust denier". But now the Israeli army has suddenly removed from its website extracts from a thesis and book by Mr Abbas that question whether the Nazis used gas chambers to exterminate Jews, and which said that the number murdered was "less than a million".

Mr Abbas also suggested that the extermination of Jews was a conspiracy between Zionists and the Nazis. "The Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule to arouse the government's hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them and to expand the mass extermination," he wrote.

Mazen Denounced the Intifada (NYT 3-15-03)

Although Mr. Abbas wrote a despicable Holocaust-denying dissertation years ago, he has been a persistent voice for reconciliation and the most important Palestinian to denounce the current intifada.

Anti-Defamation League's Position on Mazen's Appointment (ADL 3-19-03)

The appointment of Abu Mazen as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority offers hope that the PA may finally be serious about political reform and about stopping the violence and moving to serious negotiations with Israel.

At the same time, there is also reason to raise significant questions and to express skepticism about Palestinian intentions that only time and actions can answer. Will Abu Mazen have real power, or will it be a subterfuge for continuing control by Arafat? Does Abu Mazen, who as recently as 2001 spoke about the need for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, himself have intentions of moving the Palestinians in a new direction, or will we hear old, tired, and dangerous messages? Will Abu Mazen appoint individuals who are committed to change - internal within the PA and external in terms of the violence and hatred of Israel - or will the same anti-peace faces resurface?

Ultimately, the test as to whether real negotiations can resume will lie in the end of Palestinian terror and the emergence of leadership with real power free of Arafat's control. Will Abu Mazen's appointment be the beginning of that turning point?

Editor's Note: The ADL statement did not mention the Holocaust.

Anti-Defamation League Article on Holocaust Deniers (ADL Date Unknown) By Ernst Zundel

In 1983, in an early public example of denial from an indigenous Middle Eastern source, a Palestinian named Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) wrote The Other Side: The Secret Relationship between Nazism and the Zionist Movement. In the book, Abbas suggested that the six million figure was "peddled" by the Jews but that in fact "the Jewish victims may number six million or be far fewer, even fewer than one million." In 1995, reports of the book's existence reached the Western press, largely because of the public prominence that Abbas had attained as the chief PLO architect of the Oslo peace accords and cosigner of the 1993 Declaration of Principles in Washington. The California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center publicly called for Abbas to clarify his position on the Holocaust, but no clear statement was forthcoming. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, Abbas tried to frame the issue in terms of realpolitik. "When I wrote The Other Side...we were at war with Israel," Abbas said. "Today I would not have made such remarks...Today there is peace and what I write from now on must help advance the peace process."