In so many words, they asked, “What Holocaust?”
According to JTA, Hamas condemned the United Nations for switching to a new textbook for Gaza schoolchildren that includes a chapter on the Holocaust.
“In an open letter sent Sunday to the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which runs schools for 200,000 Gazan children, Hamas called the systematic murder of Jews during the Holocaust ‘a lie invented by the Zionists’ and said it would ‘refuse to let our children study’ it,” JTA reported.
One Hamas religious leader in particular, Younis al-Astal, called the teaching of the Holocaust to Palestinian children a “war crime” and “marketing a lie and spreading it,” according to the Associated Press.
Even if you believe that Hamas has legitimate reasons for opposing the State of Israel, what plausible explanation can they make for being Holocaust deniers other than anti-Semitism? The Holocaust happened before Israeli statehood, and many of its survivors never even made aliyah.
There may well be some misguided people who believe their anti-Israel positions are not the same as anti-Semitism, but their arguments are seriously crippled when the people they profess to support make indefensible remarks such as these.
The fact is that many modern day anti-Semites hide behind the less offensive, more socially acceptable title of anti-Zionism. It’s not the Jews they dislike, it’s those evil Israelis.
Then why is the so-called anti-Zionism of the Arab media stoked by programs of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and cartoons of hook-nosed Jews that resemble the ones that appeared in Nazi-era newspapers?
The saddest part of this whole anti-Zionism debate is that Jews who openly take a stance against it risk being labeled reactionaries or, worse, of exploiting the Holocaust to evoke world sympathy for political gain.
But that’s a risk Jews must take to tell the truth and expose anti-Semites for who and what they are. Anti-Semites don’t play fair when they attack Jews. They never have. It should come as no surprise.
We hope the United Nations stands its ground on the textbooks, but its track record for backbone is not so great, especially when it comes to Israel.