Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Incitement watch: Hamas denies Holocaust and Israeli-Arab Parliamentarian supports Burgas bombing

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When Hamas is criticised for its antisemitic and genocidal rhetoric, the common trend is to refer to its 1988 charter, which repeats traditional antisemitic conspiracy theories, specifically cites notorious antisemitic propaganda document 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion', and contains some explicit calls to murder Jews. In return, apologists for Hamas have alleged that the charter is no longer a relevant document and accused Hamas detractors of using the document deceptively to demonise an innocent organisation.

Unfortunately, repeated statements from Hamas indicate that the spirit of the charter pervades the organisation to this day. A recent episode concerning Palestinian Authority (PA) official Ziad Al-Bandak is a case in point.

Last week, Bandak, a senior advisor on Christian affairs to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, paid a visit to the site of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. At the camp, he laid a wreath at the memorial to the million Jews who perished in that camp and lit a candle in their memory.

For most, Bandak's visit was a rare but welcome acknowledgement of the horror of the Holocaust by a high-ranking Palestinian official. Unfortunately, not all Palestinians saw it that way.

Hamas-linked website felesteen.ps has quoted Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum giving a rather unsavoury yet unsurprising view on Bandak's visit:

The visit helped Israel to spread the lie of the Holocaust, and does not serve the Palestinian cause. It has been clearly proven that the Israeli narrative [of the Holocaust] is fraudulent. [The Israelis] exaggerate what happened in order to garner international sympathy, which for years has come at the expense of the Palestinians.

Translation via Arutz Sheva

In a similar vein, the website's columnist Issam Shaur wrote:

What sort of wisdom was it on the part of [Abbas's] advisor to make this misguided visit, which supports the Jews and their crimes?... Who among us believes that Hitler burned six million Jews? We do not believe it, and neither do the Jews. The entire world is living [with] a hypocritical deception called the Holocaust, and it is even worse when a senior Palestinian official goes to weep over the fabricated remains of the Holocaust while ignoring the crimes of the occupation state and its sins against his own Palestinian people.

Ziad Al-Bandak's tears, shed openly or not, imply that the Jews are the victims. A senior Palestinian official has testified before the whole world that the Jews' tragedy [actually took place], and we know this is [an act of] perjury that must be rejected.

Such repeated accusations that the Holocaust was invented by Jews in order to justify the founding of Israel only expose Hamas again and again for its truly hateful culture and ideology.

Meanwhile, today's Jerusalem Post editorial quotes Haneen Zoabi, the leader in the Knesset of Israeli-Arab Party Balad, who made a horrifying statement regarding the recent terror attack on a bus full of Israeli tourists in the Bulgarian city of Burgas. In an interview with Israeli Channel 10, Zoabi said:

Israel is not a victim, not even when civilians are killed...

Israel's policy of occupation is at fault. If there was no occupation, no repression and no blockade, then this wouldn't have happened.

As the Post explained, these comments quite clearly imply that thethat Israel bears all responsibility for this attack on the innocent civilian tourists, that it is ok to kill any Israeli at any time, anywhere, for no reason other than that they are Israeli. Presumably, this would not apply only to Israeli nationals, but to all Jews -- as past attacks "avenging" Palestinians have shown that terrorists do not tend to make any distinction between Israelis and Jews living anywhere else (the shooting in Toulouse earlier this year being one example).

The Post goes on to suggest that the real tragedy is not only that a member of the Knesset would so explicitly endorse the murder of the citizens of the country that she is supposed to represent, but that almost nobody raised an eyebrow. The accusations in the editorial make for some damning reading:

We need only imagine the ferocious maelstrom had an Israeli parliamentarian dared hint that indiscriminately murdering Palestinian tots, their mothers, fathers and all other Arab civilians is tolerable because they have it coming. The pandemonium would be nothing less than horrific, as would the bad press tarnishing the Israeli collective.

But this sentiment sounded by an Arab Israeli not only excites no censure, it is probably received sympathetically abroad. It is the very spurious narrative that overseas opinion-molders accept, cultivate and disseminate.

... It is easy to factually refute Zoabi's contentions. Terrorism and massacres were carried out by Arabs against Jews long before the existence of the Jewish state, the start of so-called occupation and certainly without connection to any sort of blockade. Local Arabs sporadically went on ghastly large-scale killing sprees from 1920 onward.
But more chilling than Zoabi's utter mendacity are her moral lapses. ... Zoabi's allegation that Israelis are "occupiers" suffices to justify any and all manner of gruesome punishments for that crime.

... We are not necessarily calling for punitive moves against her sedition and incitement. We are just wondering about the worrisome absence of outrage and revulsion, especially from Israel's Arab sector.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

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