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Holocaust becoming more acknowledged in Arab world—report

Several countries have seen growing recognition of the Nazis' crimes.

The annual March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Poland, April 28, 2022. Photo by Aloni Mor/MOTL.
The annual March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Poland, April 28, 2022. Photo by Aloni Mor/MOTL.

Recognition and teaching of the Holocaust have spread to countries where they were previously uncommon, including Arab states and countries in Africa, according to a new report.

The report, titled “For a Righteous Cause” and published on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023 by the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, looks at initiatives of governments and citizens around the world to preserve Jewish heritage, teach about the Holocaust, and combat antisemitism and racism in general.

It notes an encouraging trend in several Arab countries where there has been growing recognition of the history of antisemitism and the crimes of the Nazis. Egypt, for example, took part in a session of the U.N. General Assembly in January 2022 that adopted a resolution condemning Holocaust denial. The Egyptian ambassador to the U.N. conveyed the Arab consensus on the resolution.

“This positive trend reflects a significant turnaround in Arab discourse on Jewish history,” according to a statement from the researchers. “This was displayed in quite a few new initiatives, some in the literary sphere, promoting the preservation of Jewish heritage in several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco.”

The report also found an emerging interest in Jewish history and the Holocaust in several African countries, “which see a resemblance between the tragedies experienced by the Jewish people and crimes against humanity perpetrated on the African continent.” For example, the Kigali Genocide Memorial museum in Rwanda, which commemorates the 1994 mass murder of the country’s Tutsi minority, expressed this sentiment.

The report also noted positive developments in Europe, the United States and Canada regarding the teaching of the Shoah and legal initiatives to combat Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

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