The Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2003

WHERE IS AMERICAN JEWRY?

By Michael Freund

If all goes according to plan, an unrepentant Holocaust-denier will be driven up to the White House this Friday, emerge from his chauffeur-driven limousine, and receive a warm and hearty welcome from the leader of the Free World.

He will walk the halls where men such as Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan once stood, and proceed to hold an official meeting with the President of the United States, with all the honor and distinction such an event necessarily confers.

He will not be grilled about his assertions that the Jews "inflated" the numbers of the Holocaust's victims, and he is unlikely to be asked about his denial of the existence of gas chambers at places such as Auschwitz.

Instead, this man who saw fit to compare Zionism with Nazism, who did not hesitate to ridicule the memory of those who were murdered, will be accorded all the respect and admiration that his hosts can muster.

Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen's visit to the White House this Friday will therefore mark the moral low point in George W. Bush's Presidency. That such a person would be welcomed in the Oval Office, and at the president's invitation, no less, is an astonishing act both of moral insensitivity and political cynicism.

For, despite having ample opportunity, Abu Mazen has never repudiated the views he expressed in his 1982 doctoral thesis on the Holocaust, written at Moscow's Oriental College and later published under the title, "The Other Side: The Secret Relationship between Nazism and the Zionist Movement".

The closest he came to doing so was in an interview with Maariv, when he said that he had written such things because "we were at war with Israel," as though that might possibly explain his fabrication of history. While asserting that he would not make such claims today, Abu Mazen nonetheless failed to acknowledge that his entire thesis was based on petty falsehoods and hateful deceit.

Presumably, because he stands by what he wrote.

And for that reason alone, Abu Mazen's visit to the White House should have provoked a storm of protest. No US president would dare play host to the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, nor would he usher in to his office a proponent of apartheid. American Jewish organizations should be up in arms over this affront to the memory of the Holocaust and its victims.

But there is no storm, and there is unlikely to be much of any protest. For all their talk of combating anti-Semitism and safeguarding the lessons of the Holocaust, most American Jewish groups are staying remarkably silent on this particular issue.

Take, for example, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a group headquartered in New York.

On March 19, 2003, the ADL issued a statement regarding the proposed appointment of Abu Mazen as Palestinian Prime Minister. Not only did the statement fail to mention his record of Holocaust denial, it did not even call upon the Palestinian leader to repudiate it or retract it. Instead, the group which bills itself as "the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism" described Abu Mazen's elevation to his new post as a step which "offers hope" that the Palestinian Authority will reform itself.

Since when does the dubious expectation for internal Palestinian political reform trump the need to preserve the memory of the Holocaust?

Then there is the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which issued a statement on May 9 regarding the creation of the post of Palestinian Prime Minister. Once again, there was no mention of Abu Mazen's repugnant world-view, nor of his refusal to acknowledge the German slaughter of the Jews.

The only thing which the defenders of Jewish pride and honor at the AJC saw fit to say was that, "To be a credible and responsible partner, the new Palestinian Prime Minister must hold a position of real authority."

Management advice. That's the best they could come up with at the American Jewish Committee.

Even the vaunted American Israel Public Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC, has shied away from the issue.

In a March 17 article entitled "Yes, Prime Minister", which appeared in the organization's bulletin Near East Report, AIPAC ignored Abu Mazen's track record on the Holocaust and instead opined that his "appointment could lead to positive developments".

Only two major Jewish organizations, the Zionist Organization of America and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, have been true to their mandates and to their calling and pointed out the need for Abu Mazen to make amends for his remarks.

[Freeman Center Editor's Note: There are several other organizations that have been in the forefront of the telling the truth about Abbas and the PA as well as the suicidal nature of Oslo/Road Map. TheyFreeman Center For Strategic Studies, Americans For A Safe Israel and Amchai.]

As Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center said in a May 29 release, "It is time for Prime Minister Abu Mazen to publicly denounce Holocaust Denial to his constituency and to install leaders in Media and Education Ministries who are prepared to teach Palestinian children the truth about their Jewish neighbors".

Clearly, both the ZOA and the Wiesenthal Center understand what other Jewish organizations, and even President Bush himself, seem to have forgotten: that a peace grounded in falsehood will have no chance of enduring.

Overlooking Abu Mazen's lies and distortions may be politically convenient, but it is both short-sighted and appalling.

So long as the Palestinian premier perpetuates lies about the Jewish past, he can hardly be considered a reliable partner for its future. And, if he is unable to grant Jewish dead even a modicum of respect, it is hard to imagine that his conduct towards the living will be any better.

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The writer served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister's Office.

(c) The Jerusalem Post



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