(JNS.org) A few days ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the official Palestinian Authority (PA) newspaper published an op-ed claiming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has preserved it [racism] and acquired it genetically from the days of the Nazis and the Aryan race," Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported.
"Instead of Netanyahu disassociating himself from any act that would remind him of Hitler's racism, he imitates it and wants to replicate it against the people of Palestine, its inhabitants and nation and even against the citizens of the State of Israel themselves!" the article in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida stated.
According to PMW, it is not uncommon for Palestinian rhetoric to compare Israel with the Nazis. Another PA editorial, published in 2013, stated that "history is a great lie written by the victors... Had Hitler won, Nazism would be an honor that people would be competing to belong to."
Itamar Marcus, the director of PMW, cited three factors in explaining the impact of the PA’s comparison of Israel to the Nazis.
"First, there is no Holocaust education in the PA," Marcus told JNS.org. "For Palestinians, especially youth and young adults, Nazis are some undefined demonic evil people who committed the ultimate horrific crimes against humanity. Second, this is exactly the way the Palestinian Authority demonizes Israel and at times Jews. Israel is said by official PA sources to be doing the most horrific crimes against the Palestinian civilians—including doing medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners, ethnic cleansing, intentionally committing massacres against Palestinian civilians, spreading AIDS and drugs and the list goes on. Third, the comparison of Israel to Nazis by official PA sources and PA officials is very common."
"Put these components together and you have a Palestinian population, especially youth and young adults, who are totally convinced that Israel is identical or worse than the Nazis. Given that it is this population that Israel will have to have peace with in the future the political ramification are tragic," he added.
Unlike the Palestinian Authority, which acknowledges that the Holocaust occurred, the Iranian government continues to deny it. In September 2013, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that statements by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were mistranslated when Khamenei reportedly told Iranian air force officers in February 2006 that the Holocaust is a myth. But an investigation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) found that the original statement appearing on Khamenei's Persian-language website was accurate and indeed denied the Holocaust.
"A more important topic is one that shames Western culture in terms of freedom of speech... This same freedom of speech – which they [i.e. the West] constantly champion—does not permit anyone to question the topic of the myth of the Jewish slaughter known as the Holocaust. On this topic there is no freedom of speech!" Khamenei said, based on a new translation by MEMRI.
Last month, Khamenei's office posted social media statements praising the late Roger Garaudy, a convicted French Holocaust denier, in time for the anniversary of Garaudy's 1998 trial. The office referred to Garaudy as "the Muslim French warrior."