Where are the Voices of Conscience?
April 21, 2003
Everyone seems to be standing in line to shake his hand, to give him a hug, wish him luck, and help him on his way to eternal fame and glory. George Bush will invite him to the White House. Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. And even our Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, in Jerusalem. He is considered to be a moderate, something of a statesman, the ideal peace-partner.
A dream come true. Or is it. There are a few problems in the way of this perfect man. Mahmoud Abbas, otherwise known as Abu Mazen, was a founder of Arafat’s Fatah, the backbone of the murderous PLO terror organization. One might expect that over the years, perhaps his ideas and views have mellowed. However, that does not seem to be the case.
For example, several quotes taken from interviews with Abu Mazen, translated and posted by “The Middle East Media Research Institute” (Memri – www.memri.org):
1. The Right of Return means a return to Israel and not to the Palestinian state… because it is from there that [the Palestinians] were driven out and it is there that their property is found
2. “We were not prepared to limit the number of refugees who would be allowed to return, even if they had proposed a number of three million refugees
3. The lands occupied [by Israel] in 1967 must be returned. All the Arab countries that fought Israel have regained their lands and therefore, it is our right to get our lands back as well. We consider Jerusalem an occupied territory.
4. I challenge the assertion [that there has ever been a Jewish temple.]
Presently, Abu Mazen’s candidacy for Prime Minister may be in jeopardy, because he is insisting that Muhammad Dahlan be appointed minister for internal security in his government. Abu Mazen and Muhammad Dahlan have been known to very close, for quite a long time. Who is Dahlan? Just a few examples:
1. Dahlan is known to have ordered the bomb attack on the children’s school bus in Kfar Darom, an explosion that cost two Israeli lives and the legs of the three Cohen children.
2. He personally ordered production of tens of thousands of mortars, used to attack communities in Gaza; mortars which have also hit Sderot and other Israeli communities outside of Gaza.
3. Together with Jibril Rajoub in Hebron, Dahlan orchestrated the beginning of the current Olso War, commanding Arafat’s forces in Gaza.
This is one of Prime Minister Abu Mazen’s closest associates, so important that he would forfeit his position should the Dahlan appointment not be approved by Arafat.
On March third of this year Abu Mazen said, “We have not said that we will stop the armed struggle,” thereby renewing his commitment to armed combat against Israelis. Only four days later, on a Friday night, terrorists murdered Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz in Kiryat Arba. Recently Mrs. Bernice Wolf, Dina Horowitz’ mother filed a complaint with the Israeli police against Abu Mazen, charging him with incitement to murder.
But perhaps the most stinging indictment against this terrorist politician is his doctoral dissertation The Other Side: The Secret Relationship between Nazism and the Zionist Movement. According to Memri: “In the introduction to his 1984 study, Abu Mazen referred to well-known Holocaust deniers, raised doubts that gas chambers were used for extermination of Jews, and claimed that the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust might be “even less than a million.” Abu Mazen claimed that the Zionist movement had a stake in convincing world public opinion that the number of victims was high; thus, it would achieve “greater gains” after the war when the time came to “distribute the spoils.”
The central claim Abu Mazen sought to prove is that the Zionist movement, with all its factions, conspired against the Jewish people and collaborated with the Nazis to annihilate it, because the movement considered “Palestine” the only appropriate destination for Jewish emigration.
Abu Mazen wrote, “Many scholars have debated the question of the 6 million figure, and reached perplexing conclusions, according to which the Jewish victims total hundreds of thousands.”
A few days ago Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal announced his retirement, saying, “I found the mass-murderers I sought, and I have lived longer than the others. If there are those whom I haven’t sought, they’re now too old to be tried.” He continued, “”It’s hard to get the public to really understand the crimes that these people committed. I still have to struggle with people and groups who say that the Holocaust never happened.”
This being the case, it is difficult to understand why the Wiesenthal Center has refused to release a full English translation of Abu Mazen’s thesis. Despite requests by major Jewish organizations around the world, the Center has consistently refused to acknowledge that it even has a copy of this document.
One would expect such renowned people, such as Wiesenthal and Holocaust survivor-author, Nobel Laureate Elie Weisel, to publicly renounce Abu Mazen and his Holocaust-denial writings. In a book titled “One Generation After” in 1965, Weisel writes, “Had all of them (Holocaust survivors) remained mute, their accumulated silences would have become unbearable: the impact would have deafened the world…Still, the story had to be told. It needed to be told for the sake of our children, so that they will know where they come from, what their heritage is.”
The original title of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” was “Un die velt hot geshviegen”–“And the World Was Silent.” Why is Mr. Wiesel silent now? In 1966, Elie Wiesel published “The Jews of Silence.” It was an indictment of the reticence of world Jewry to speak out about the plight of our brethren behind the Iron Curtain. Why is Mr. Wiesel a “Jew of silence” on the issue of Holocaust denial now?
When President Ronald Reagan announced that he would visit the Bitburg Cemetery where some SS-men were interred, Mr. Wiesel pleaded with the President not to go, famously telling him that the President’s place is not that place. I would say the same: Mr. Wiesel, your place is with those of us who shun Abu Mazen and refuse to deal with a man of such monstrous theories.
George Bush, Tony Blair and Ariel Sharon are about to join hands with a terrorist who believes that Jerusalem belongs to the Arabs, that a Temple never existed, that millions of so-called refugees should be allowed ‘back’ into ‘Israel proper’, and that during World War Two, only a “few hundred thousand Jews were killed.” Next week we mark “Holocaust Memorial Day,” in memory of the millions of dead. What would be more appropriate at this time than a full condemnation of Mahmoud Abbas and his denial of the Holocaust? I call on the voices of conscious of the Jewish people to cry out, denouncing the denial of our people’s heritage, decrying the refutation of the mass slaughter that decimated between six to seven million Jews, some sixty years ago. Perhaps the cultured world isn’t interested in hearing a voice from Hebron, but the voices of Simon Wiesenthal and Eli Wiesel would be hard to ignore.
With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder