To stop the defamation of the Jewish people... to secure justice and fair treatment to all
Holocaust Denial: From East to West
Differing Arab Views of the Holocaust
1970s-1990s: Beginning of Denial in Middle East
1990s-2001: Normalizing Denial
Western Deniers in the Middle East
Banned in Beirut: The 2001 IHR Conference
In Their Own Words:
Middle Eastern Holocaust Deniers
Holocaust Denial in the Middle East:
The Latest anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Propaganda Theme

A longtime phenomenon in the West, Holocaust denial now regularly occurs throughout the Middle East—in speeches and pronouncements by public figures, in articles and columns by journalists, and in the resolutions of professional organizations. While some voices oppose this deliberate distortion of the historical record, the main tenet of Holocaust denial—that Jews invented the Holocaust story in an attempt to advance their own interests—appears to be an increasingly accepted belief for large numbers of people in Arab and Muslim states. The growing affinity for the Middle East demonstrated by Western Holocaust deniers—hard-pressed by anti-hate legislation in their native countries—underscores the fact that the Middle East is one of the few regions in the world today where governments do not condemn, and sometimes even sponsor, such anti-Semitic propaganda.

The effort to deny the basic facts of the Holocaust has its roots not in the Middle East but in Europe and the United States, and it stretches back, if not to the Nazis themselves, then to the years immediately following World War II. To make their claims credible, Holocaust deniers are forced to reject enormous volumes of historical evidence. Holocaust Denial: From East to West >>

The Arab perception of the Holocaust has never been monolithic, and has often been influenced by the vicissitudes of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Hatred of Israel has led some Arabs to embrace Nazism itself, and to applaud its attempted genocide of the Jews. 

But now another approach to the Holocaust has arisen in the Middle East: to deny it ever occurred. In some cases, Holocaust denial is actively sponsored by national governments, such as Iran and Syria. In other Middle Eastern countries, however, denying or minimizing the extent of the killing of Jews during World War II has been adopted by opposition parties and dissident factions that oppose attempts at normalizing relations -- legal, diplomatic, economic -- with Israel or the United States.
Differing Arab views on the Holocaust >>

The first flickerings of Holocaust denial in the Middle East began in the 1970s,  when the German born Holocaust Denier,  Ernst Zundel, published a four-page pamphlet entitled, "The West, War, and Islam," and sent it to the heads of state of several Middle Eastern countries.   In the 1980's, indigenous Middle Eastern sources began to develop. The Palestinian, Mahmoud Abbas suggested that the number of Jewish victims of the Holocaust was far fewer than six million. In July 1990 the PLO-affiliated Palestinian Red Crescent published an article  claiming that Jews concocted "the lie concerning the gas chambers."
1970s-1990s: Beginning of Denial in Middle East >>

In the 1990s, Holocaust denial became de rigeur in popular media throughout the Middle East and the Palestinian Authority. This is true even in Egypt and Jordan, the two Arab countries which have taken steps to normalize relations with Israel.
1990s-2001: Normalizing Denial>>

In recent years Western Holocaust deniers have turned to the Arab world for help when facing prosecution in various countries for illegal activities. Wolfgang Fröhlich and Jürgen Graf have sought refuge in Iran, and Roger Garaudy was hailed as a hero throughout the Middle East when he faced persecution by the French government for inciting racial hatred. Other Western Holocaust deniers have also sought entrée to the Middle East, including Mark Weber and Bradley Smith.
Western Deniers in the Middle East >>

One of the most important signs of the growing ties between Western Holocaust deniers and the Arab world came to light in December 2000, when the Institute for Historical Review announced that its fourteenth revisionist conference would take place in Beirut, Lebanon, in early April 2001. Encouragingly, an international controversy ensued and the conference was eventually banned by the Lebanese government.
Banned in Beirut: The 2001 IHR Conference >>

Although Holocaust denial has traditionally been limited to the fringe movements of Western neo-Nazis and white supremacists, it has in recent years found a new home in the Middle East. There the potent anti-Semitic assumptions that Holocaust denial is founded upon—most importantly the myth of the world Jewish conspiracy—make it a political weapon of choice for those who would increase their own influence at the expense of Israel and regional stability. Whether wielded by governments, opposition parties, professional organizations or journalists, Holocaust denial in the Middle East is a troubling and still-evolving phenomenon that bears continued watching in the future.

Middle - Eastern Deniers in Their Own Words: Examples of expressions of Holocaust denial in major Arab media >>

Related Materials
Printable Version
      (PDF Format 800 kb)
Requires Acrobat Reader
e-mail to friend E-Mail This
Anti-Semitism and the Arab Conflict
by Abraham H. Foxman
Arab Anti-Semitism
Holocaust Denial Online Guide
Home | Search | About ADL | Contact ADL | Privacy Policy

© 2013 Anti-Defamation League