The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/syrian/press/NY_Times.000131

Syrian Newspaper Calls Holocaust a 'Myth'

By Reuters  DAMASCUS, Syria (Reuters) - An official Syrian newspaper on
Monday described the Holocaust as a myth, accusing Israel of exaggerating
the extent of the Nazi slaughter of Jews to gain Western support and contain
its opponents.

"Why does Israel insist on bringing up this alleged Holocaust policy?" the
editor of the state newspaper Tishreen, Mohamed Kheir al-Wadi, wrote.

"I believe Israel and the Zionist organizations have two aims. The first is
to receive more money from Germany and other Western establishments on the
pretext of compensation for the Holocaust.

"The second aim is to invest the myth of the Holocaust and accuse anyone
opposed to Zionism and its expansionist policies of anti-Semitism."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office had no immediate comment on the
article, but the Jerusalem office of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal
Center called the comments "government-sanctioned Holocaust denial."

The center's Israel director, Efraim Zuroff, said the article appeared
designed to touch a raw Israeli nerve at a time of difficulty in peace talks
between Syria and the Jewish state.

"The only explanation for such a thing is that the Syrians are upping the
ante and trying to disparage Israel in one of Israel's most sacred
principles," Zuroff told Reuters.

"We view this with particular severity because this reflects a deeply
ingrained anti-Semitism and does not bode well for the peace process. You
can't make peace with a country that denies the Holocaust," he said.

The unusually strong Syrian attack at a sensitive time in Middle East peace
negotiations followed a major conference on the Holocaust which ended in
Stockholm last week.

Participants from 48 countries pledged to ensure that World War Two
atrocities, including the Nazi slaughter of Jews, remained in the spotlight.

The newspaper charged that Israel had convened the conference to further
Jewish lies about the Holocaust in the face of credible voices questioning
it, including that of the controversial British historian David Irving.

"Zionism is erasing from human memory 50 million Nazi victims and
concentrating on the suffering of Jews, although historical facts prove that
Zionism leaders then collaborated with the Nazis for the Jewish problem to
get worse," Tishreen said.

"Zionism hides these dark pages of its history, blackens them completely
and invents stories about the Holocaust and exaggerates it to astronomical
levels," it said.

Syria and Israel agreed to restart peace negotiations in December and
concluded two rounds of talks in the United States.

But a third round failed to go ahead this month after Syria said it had not
received guarantees from Israel indicating willingness to withdraw from the
whole of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel wants to discuss security arrangements and other elements of a peace
deal first.

Syria maintains that Israel is not showing real intent to make peace,
accusing it of continuing to oppress the Palestinians and expanding its
arsenal using Western aid.

"Israel, which is presenting itself as heir to the victims of the
Holocaust, committed and keeps on committing against the Arabs crimes that
are uglier than the ones committed by the old Nazis.

"The Nazis, for example, did not drive out a whole nation from their
homeland and did not bury people alive, which is what the Zionists did,"
said Tishreen.


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