Al-Jazeera’s Holocaust minimalization

I won’t call this video, which Al-Jazeera posted on its website (and then removed it) an exercise in Holocaust denialism, as it admits that there was some imprisonment and killing of Jews by the Nazis. But what it emphasizes (click on screenshot below) is that the Jews get singled out for special remembrance because of their academic connections, financial and media resources, and so on. There’s also a clear implication that the “six million Jews killed” figure is exaggerated, and the commenter does not offer, when enumerating up the possibilities, the possibility that that figure was accurate (the three alternatives given are “no Holocaust,” “exaggerated Holocaust”, and “Zionists blew the Holocaust out of proportion because it helped them establish Israel”).

As the video says, “Nevertheless, the number of victims of the Holocaust remains one of the most prominent historical debates to this day.” There isn’t much debate about numbers, though: the Nazis killed about six million Jews and eleven million others if you count Soviet citizens and Soviet prisoners of war. This has been established repeatedly by historical scholarship.

The video also makes the claim that there was a pact between Nazis and Jews to make it easy for Jews to move to Palestine and get out of Germany if they surrendered their property to the Nazis. The Haavara Agreement did allow about 60,000 Jews to leave, but that was a desperation move by people facing death—hardly some kind of collaboration between Zionists and Nazis.  But Al-Jazeera uses that to say that “Hitler supported Zionism.” What better way to combat Zionism than to say that Hitler supported it?

The whole theme is how Jews both used and perhaps engineered the Holocaust so that Israel would be the big winner from it.

The outcry following Al-Jazeera’s posting of this video led them to take it down immediately and then beginning to file copyright-infringement claims against those who reposted the video. That itself is telling; why would they have it taken down if it’s accurate and they stand by it? What it shows (and I was naive enough to doubt this a few years ago) is that Al-Jazeera is a palpably anti-Semitic organization and spreads shameful videos like this to its Arab audience, though not its English-speaking one. Only the anti-Semitic propaganda of state media in the Middle East is more hateful.

Despite the video being taken down right and left by Al-Jazeera, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) still has has it on their site (click on screenshot below), and has English subtitles. Lest you think it’s distorted, I’ll bet a lot of dosh that this is an accurate translation. Why else would Al-Jazeera be desperate to hide this video from the public? But, as always, the Streisand Effect applies.

Here’s the MEMRI description:

AJ+ Arabic, an online media platform run by the Qatari Al-Jazeera Network, posted a video on May 18, 2019 about “the story of the Holocaust” on Twitter and Facebook. The video was titled: “The Gas Chambers Killed Millions of Jews – That’s How the Story Goes. What Is the Truth behind the Holocaust and How Did the Zionist Movement Benefit from It?” The video is narrated by Muna Hawwa, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian who lives in Qatar and works as a producer for the Al-Jazeera Network.

The whole transcript is here.

34 Comments

  1. Rita Prangle
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Given the increase of anti-semitic incidents in the US, I wonder if Al-Jazeera was testing the waters by showing this video to it’s English-speaking audience in order to gauge the reaction.

    What is the “Streisand Effect”?

  2. DW
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    It always amuses me that the same people who claim the holocaust didn’t happen are also the people who wouldn’t have a problem with it happening…

    On the numbers thing, does it really matter all that much? If some sort of exhaustive research (and possibly time travel) discovered that four or five million were killed, would that really change anything? Once you’re talking about deaths in the millions, the exact number kinda becomes less relevant. You’ve already achieved peak evil at that point and it’s quite clear they were trying to exterminate the jews as a whole. (And Romani, too)

    I think it’s that they know full on denialism won’t fly, so they’re trying a “softer” denialism instead. I’ve also seen some claim that most of the deaths were from disease and starvation because the allies had bombed the nazis so much that they didn’t have enough anymore. It’s just trying to create a wedge of denial to build on later.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted May 20, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      What it also does is force Jews to defend the figure, and rally to it, even though as you say it’s not particularly relevant. And once they’re forced to rally to that six million figure and defend it more and more fiercely it becomes easier and easier for denialists to poke pointless little holes in it and whittle away at it, and portray Jews as dogmatists.

      Thus, if any discoveries in the future demonstrate that the figure was perhaps a slight overestimate then the denialists can seize on it and say ‘look, the whole edifice is crumbling, they hitched their wagon to the six million figure, and now we find out that it’s wrong’.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 20, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      I do understand your point but in some context I think the number does matter. What was done to them should be recorded as accurately as possible for all of human history lest we forget.

      About the only thing possible for us to do for so many of the victims of the Holocaust is to record for history that they existed and were murdered during the course of what may be the most reprehensible episode of human history, even if a number in a tally is all that we have left of them. Remembrance of and respect for the dead doesn’t of course do anything for the dead, but I believe it can do a whole hell of a lot for the living.

  3. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I’m repeatedly horrified and annoyed when seemingly intelligent people I know tell me that I ‘should be watching Al Jazeera, it’s much more accurate than the biased UK media’. Several very left-wing family friends have told me this. They say the same thing about RT – ‘it tells you what the elites don’t want you to hear’ – although Al Jazeera is the channel that has done the best job of camouflaging its agenda and repackaging itself to suit the anti-colonialist, anti-west agenda of the far-left.

    • TJR
      Posted May 20, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      The answer to your friends is to say “No, they tell you exactly what the elites want you to hear. Russian and third world elites, that is.”

      It never ceases to amaze me the number of lefties who fall for ruling class propaganda like this, just as long as it isn’t their own ruling class.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted May 20, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Here is a very good article about Soviet propaganda and how it lives on in Left’s narrative about Israel and Jews:
        http://fathomjournal.org/soviet-anti-zionism-and-contemporary-left-antisemitism/

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted May 20, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          You find Islamists, neo-Nazis, anti-government far-right militants and far-left anti-war activists sharing exactly the same bullshit Bilderberg/NWO conspiracy theories about Jews. The only differences are in just how extreme they go in their conspiracies.

  4. Jon Gallant
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Al Jazeera is most unlikely to produce a video about the idyllic years (1941-45) that Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, spent in Berlin as an esteemed guest of the Third Reich, honorary Chairman of the Islamisches Zentralinstitut in Berlin, and radio broadcaster for the Nazi government.

    In November, 1943, Mr. al-Husseini made clear his view of a central element of Nazi ideology as follows (from Wiki):
    “It is the duty of Muhammadans [Muslims] in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries… . Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world.[200]”

    What puzzles me is that the clear record of the Mufti’s collaboration with the Axis in World War II—starting with a chummy meeting with Mussolini in 1941 before he went on to Berlin—is not better known. I suppose mere mention of this history is considered indelicate, if not (gasp!) Islamophobic.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 20, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      A very similar relationship was established between Nazis and the Vatican. Beginning with Moussolini’s granting of statehood to the Vatican, to buy there silence and cooperation. The Vatican’s position on the Holocaust ranges from pulling a blind eye, to, in the case of some priests, actual collaboration in the killing of Jews. At the end of the war the Vatican was a busy way station for Nazis fleeing to South America with their loot.

    • Mark R.
      Posted May 20, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I knew about the Vatican relationship with the WW2 fascists and Nazis as rickflick described, but I was unaware of this al Husseini nut. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    • Murali
      Posted May 20, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Herbert Samuel, the British high commissioner for Palestine in the a920s, appointed Amin al-Husseini as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. At the time, Amin al-Husseini’s was a known to be antisemitic and known to have incited violence against Jewish people.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Minimizing the number of Jews killed is generally considered part of Holocaust denial. Certainly no one can deny that some Jews were killed, but the deniers say it was far less than six million.

  6. Jim batterson
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Highly recommend Recently published general and up to date book by emory university professor deborah lipschitz: “antisemitism – here and now”. She engages in letters with a jewish undergrad student of hers at emory and a non-jewish law professor colleague. Easy read by a subject matter expert.

  7. Malgorzata
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    sub.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    No one has benefited more from the Holocaust than the Jews. Anyone who can say that is really full of it. It’s like saying Hiroshima really benefited from that nuclear bomb. Got rid of all the poor neighborhoods and removed all the old buildings. It was a nice urban renewal project.

  9. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I note that while she mentioned ‘work camps’ where Jews among others, were worked to death, she completely fails to mention the ‘Vernichtungslager’ where Jews were simply gassed (nor the diesel trucks with exhaust directed to the inside). That is a very different kind of crime/idea from ‘work camps’.
    She did not mention, as Jon mentioned above, the smooching of the Grand Mufti.
    And her comparison of present Israeli policies, which could arguably be seen as not really up to the best UN levels, with the Endlösung is completely unconscionable.
    It is a snake-nest of truths, half-truths and plain falsehoods.

    The fact that Al Jazeera has a different narrative for English speakers and Arabic ones stinks of taqiyya (dissimulation in the service of the Faith) from miles away.

  10. BJ
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised it doesn’t say in fine print at the end, “This message was approved by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib”

    • Leigh
      Posted May 20, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Good example of why readership might be down and why comments are few, especially comments by women.

      • Posted May 20, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Not all women stand for these two ladies. I do not.

      • BJ
        Posted May 20, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Wait, what’s the connection between talking about antisemitism and women? Is it sexist to call out antisemitism when it comes from women, like some people say it’s Islamophobic to criticize Islam?

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted May 20, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I must say, I can’t recall either of those two women accusing the Jews of exaggerating the holocaust. An odd move, to drag them into the conversation in such a way.

      • BJ
        Posted May 20, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know what they think about the Holocaust, but i know what they think about other things concerning Jews…

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted May 21, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

          So what do they have to do with a video about holocaust denial? I don’t really see the connection.
          They share the same religion as this woman and have been outspokenly critical of Israel – does that make them holocaust deniers?

          Some proportionality would be good, even if people don’t like the two of them.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 20, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        In any event it would be OK to get them on record about the matter.

  11. Posted May 20, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    According to common definitions as encoded in various law (including of Australia, but under hate speech), holocaust denialism looks like this (clipped from Wikipedia, to give an idea).

    Austria: “whoever denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse(s)” Belgium: “denies, grossly minimises, attempts to justify, or approves the genocide” Czech: “denies, puts in doubt, approves or tries to justify Nazi or communist genocide” France: “those who have disputed the existence of one or more crimes against humanity” Germany: “approves of, denies or downplays an act committed under the rule of National Socialism” Greece: “approves, ridicules or maliciously denies the existence or seriousness of crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, the Holocaust and other crimes of Nazism” Poland: “He who publicly and contrary to facts contradicts the crimes mentioned in Article 1, […] crimes perpetrated against persons of Polish nationality and Polish citizens of other ethnicity, nationalities in the period between 1 September 1939 and 31 December 1989: – Nazi crimes,- communist crimes, – other crimes constituting crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes” [selection only]

    The gist is that many laws make no distinction between denial, ridiculing or downplaying. Al Jazeera’s video could be illegal in some countries. It’s of course preposterous to paint the Nazis as sympathetic to any Jewish cause, because anti-semitism was a core element of the party early on. Even the socialist wing (purged before 1934) was of a brand of antisemitic socialists who equated Jews with capitalism, making the NSDAP early on an antisemitic alliance across the spectrum. Antisemitism was one of the few constants.

    It is correct though that the Holocaust has unique attention among all the atrocities and genocides, and that is only partially explainable by the industrially organized nature, and scale of it. It looks like it is used by all ex colonial powers to whitewash their own history by finger pointing. Nobody knows of King Leopold’s rule, like the gruesome severed-hands-for-rubber trade that lead to widespread dismemberment and so on. And that’s Belgium, hardly the best known colonial power that comes to mind.

    Of course, Jews themselves are entirely justified to give the Holocaust most attention, since it concerns them. Likewise, the former Axis Powers, foremost Germans must give it most attention, too. However, I don’t see much concern in other former Axis nations, though. Austrians always look like they have nothing to do with anything.

    I have to play a little contrarian though, because what is told by US sources regards WW2 is constant propaganda, too. In reality, the US was THE major war profiteer, and swooped in only at the eleventh hour to prevent the Soviets to gobble up Europe, and after they stripped off everything they could. They sucked the Brits and other Allies dry, and then took over the good assets, scientists, patents from Germany (well into post war, and way more than they’ve sent back as Marshall Plan), but told everyone that heroic Americans fought a “Just War”. And then credited scientific advances to themselves, or to aliens.

    The allies also turned away fleeing jews, or in case of the Brits even sunk them, according to historian Keith Jeffrey. Given the air recon the Allies had and the massive scale, it’s impossible to believe the Allies knew nothing of the Holocaust. They flat out didn’t deem it important to disrupt it. which is another dark aspect that is conveniently ignored. I am a bit of two minds about pointing fingers at spin from others and think Americans need to heed more to the Chomsky Rule.

  12. Posted May 20, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I follow the advice of the people mentioned by Saul and frequently read articles from the Al-Jazeera site. Because of this, unfortunately, the Holocaust denialism does not surprise me at all.

  13. Teresa Carson
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t read all of the comments in their entirety (sorry, I’m at work), but I have to say that anyone who quibbles about the number of Jews and other people who were killed by the Nazis has never been to a Holocaust museum or a concentration camp or looked at the meticulous records maintained by the Germans. I was able to go to Dachau in the winter of 1975. The museum there has enlarged pages from some of the ledgers. The idea that someone like an accountant was carefully noting the gender, nationality, occupation, age and other descriptors of every single person who was being slaughtered or put to work in the camp was and is horrifying to me. I doubt that I will ever forget the memories of what I saw there. Since then, this type of information has become more readily available, so anyone who does not accept the Holocaust of the Holocaust is willfully ignorant.

  14. Rich Sanderson
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Worth remembring that Mehdi “cattle” Hasan works for AJ, and is always trying to lecture liberals, ex-Muslims, Humanists and the like, about how “racist” they are.

    He can feck off.

  15. Maurice Beck
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Here is what I don’t get about holocaust deniers; if they hate Jews that much, they should be happy that the Nazis killed six million Jews. They should be shouting it from the rooftops, “Hooray, the Nazis killed six million Jews!!!!!!”

    In fact, you would think holocaust deniers would want to exaggerate the number of Jews shot, gassed, starved, and tortured. “Six million? Nah, the Nazis were the master race. It wasn’t six million! At least ten, fifteen million, for sure!”

    Instead of denying six million dead Jews, they should not only be happy about the death of six million, but they should be rejoicing, considering how much worse it could have been had the six million lived? How many more Jews would there be after three generations of the descendants of six million. Thirty million, forty million, FIFTY MILLION MORE JEWS? Just think how much more holocaust deniers would have suffered with that many more Jewish descendants around to persecute them. Even with so few survivors, the Jewish, Atheist, Communist conspiracy of international bankers and media moguls still dominate the world. I’m talking to you George Soros!

    In fact, holocaust deniers should lament, “Why not ten, why not twenty, why not thirty million?” It was supposed to be the final solution, after all.

  16. W.Benson
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Al Jazeera says it has suspended the two journalists and removed the video and reporting from all its pages. AFP on Yahoo! reports “Al Jazeera completely disowns the offensive content in question and reiterated that Al Jazeera would not tolerate such material,” added Yaser Bishr, the executive director of the digital division.
    https://news.yahoo.com/al-jazeera-suspends-two-journalists-over-holocaust-report-180047455.html

  17. Neil Wolfe
    Posted May 20, 2019 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who…

  18. JB
    Posted May 23, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    If anyone was in cahoots with Hitler during WWII it was the Arab Palestinian leader Amin al-Husseini who met with Hitler several times and tried to extend the Final Solution from Europe to the Middle East since he too was rabidly antisemitic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amin_al-Husseini). This is a history modern Palestinians now distance themselves from. Rashida Tlaib recently spoke of how proud she is that her Palestinian forebears helped Jews immigrate to the nascent Israel during the Holocaust, thereby saving them from being massacred. Uhh… no.


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