The Al Jazeera media network on Saturday removed from one of its channels an Arabic-language video that questioned Holocaust history, accused Jews of exploiting the massacres of their European communities in order to establish the State of Israel, and suggested that Zionism itself is derived from Nazi ideology.
The seven-minute video, published on the network’s AJ+ channel Friday, drew sharp condemnation from the Foreign Ministry and the World Jewish Congress, which both denounced the video as promoting anti-Semitism in the Arab world.
“The main ideology behind the ‘State of Israel’ is based on religious, national, and geographic concepts that suckled from the Nazi spirit and its main notions,” says Al Jazeera journalist Muna Hawwa in the video. She also suggests Jewish control of the media is the reason that so much attention is given to Jewish victims of the Holocaust even though others also suffered.
On Saturday, Al Jazeera, which is funded by Qatar, tweeted that “Al Jazeera Media Network deleted a video produced by AJ+ Arabic because it violated the editorial standards of the Network.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon responded on Twitter, “This Holocaust denying video should not have been produced at all. Good that you deleted it.”
1/2 Holocaust Denial on Al-Jazeera Network: Israel Is Biggest Winner from Holocaust; It Uses the Same Justification to Annihilate the Palestinians (Thread…) pic.twitter.com/y8eJxXdZy8
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) May 19, 2019
In the video, Hawwa describes the Nazi persecution of Jews, saying they were forced from their homes and moved into ghettos, lost their jobs, made to wear yellow stars, were sent to “detention centers” and “were worked to death in forced labor.” The video apparently makes no mention of the deliberate mass murder of the Jews by the Nazis.
An English translation of some of the video was provided Saturday by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute.
“The persecution and the suffering — the much-regurgitated narrative of the Holocaust sorrows — paved the way for the Jewish immigration to Palestine,” Hawwa says. “Israel is the biggest winner from the Holocaust and it uses the same Nazi justifications as a launching pad for the racial cleansing and annihilation of the Palestinians.
“The victims of the Nazis… exceed 20 million people,” Hawwa continues. “The Jews were part of them. So why is there a focus only on them? The Jewish groups had financial resources, media institutions, research centers, and academic voices that managed to put a special spotlight on the Jewish victims of the Nazis.
“Greece, the Serbs, Yugoslavia, and the Romani people have all suffered but the German reparations to those victims cannot be compared to the payments to Israel which in turn devoured the reparations of all the Jewish victims to Nazism,” Hawwa declares.
“Nevertheless, the number of victims of the Holocaust remains one of the most prominent historical debates to this day,” she continues. “People are divided between those who deny the annihilation, other who think that the outcome was exaggerated, and others yet who accuse the Zionist movement of blowing it out of proportion in the service of the plan to establish what would later be known as the ‘State of Israel.'”
On Saturday the Foreign Ministry said the video aimed to inculcate the Arab world with anti-Israel sentiment.
“This AJ+ ‘explanation’ of the Holocaust is the worst kind of pernicious evil,” the Foreign Ministry tweeted. “That’s how Al Jazeera brainwashes young people in the Arab world and perpetuates hatred of Israel and the Jews.”
The Foreign Ministry’s Arabic Twitter account also posted a rebuttal of some of the core claims made in the video.
أكاذيب شبكة الجزيرة (الجزيرة بلس) حول الهولوكوست
فيما يلي رد وزارة الخارجية الإسرائيلية على شريط فيديو معاد للسامية نشرته شبكة الجزيرة (الجزيرة بلس)، والذي يحاول التقليل من أهوال المحرقة ضد الشعب اليهودي.. يتبع pic.twitter.com/C7QrkKsbX2
— إسرائيل بالعربية (@IsraelArabic) May 18, 2019
“The following is the response of the Israeli Foreign Ministry to an anti-Semitic video published by Al Jazeera satellite channel Al Jazeera Plus, which attempts to minimize the horrors of the Holocaust against the Jewish people,” the ministry wrote, listing and countering each “lie” in the video.
The World Jewish Congress said in a statement Saturday that it “is outraged by and strongly condemns the Al Jazeera network’s decision to publish a horridly offensive article accusing Jews of exploiting the Holocaust for their own interests.
“This appalling, unabashedly antisemitic piece, which the network removed after strong protest from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, crossed all lines of decency and entered into the realm of blood libel,” the WJC said.
In 2017 Israel threatened to close the local offices of Al Jazeera, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing the broadcaster of incitement behind deadly terror attacks. Some regional Arab states have shuttered the broadcaster’s offices, accusing it of inciting violence.