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British historian Sir Martin Gilbert: 'Anti-Semitic Propaganda Of Hamas & Radical Islam Is Similar To That Of Nazis'

'Moderate Arab States Are Playing With Fire By Not Checking Shocking Anti-Semitic Campaigns'

'Iran's Ahmadinejad Poses Threat Similar To Hitler Before World War II'

British historian Sir Martin Gilbert

The eminent British historian Sir Martin Gilbert sees a direct connection between the Anti-Semitic campaign being waged by radical Islam including Hamas and that of Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. Visiting Jerusalem for the International Book Affair, Sir Martin was interviewed by Yaacov Achi-Meir on Channel One television. The author of more than seventy books, Gilbert is the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill.

Sir Martin Gilbert sees a 'direct connection' between the anti-Israeli & anti-Semitic propaganda of radical Islam and that of Nazi Germany. The Jewish historian notes that many senior Nazi propagandists fled to Egypt, Syria and the Arab world after World War II. He said that much of today's anti-Semitic propaganda in the Arab media 'mirrors exactly the Nazi images'. In his view, leaders of 'moderate Arab states were playing with fire' by not checking the shocking propaganda. He noted the Oslo Accords signed by Israel and the Palestinians forbids such anti-Semitism. When asked if Iranian President Ahmadinejad was a second Hitler in calling for wiping Israel off the map, Sir Martin said the Iranian leader must be thwarted. He compared the current situation of Ahmadinejad's quest for nuclear weapons with that of Hitler's occupation of the Rhineland and Czechoslovakia that was unopposed by the West. The historian said the West has the strength to stop Iran and must decide at what point to call a halt to Ahmadinejad's plans.

Interview with Sir Martin Gilbert

(Interviewer: Yaacov Achi-Meir, Channel One television)

A: I think there is a connection, and in fact there is sort of quite a direct connection. As you know, many senior Nazis and Nazi propagandas made their way to the Arab world, to Egypt and to Syria, after the Second World War, and as we saw in the cartoons in the Muslim press, far more offensive than any cartoon against Muhammad that I've seen, we've seen in the cartoons in the Muslim press, the Arab press, really terrifying anti-Semitic images, which mirror exactly the Nazi images and mirror images which the Soviet Union used to produce when it was attacking Israel. So I think there are these parallels, and I think it is very important for moderate Muslims and for the Muslim states, the rulers, to understand that this is playing with fire, to create an image among your populus that the Jew and the Israeli is someone who could be crushed and squashed and demonized and destroyed.

Q: Do you include the Hamas in your assessment? In your similarity or in your analogy?

A: I don't see anything in what I've read about Hamas to go to the contrary of that.

Q: What do we have to do, Sir Martin Gilbert, if we have a so called Nazi movement or a similar to a Nazi movement here, very close to our doorstep, in Israel?

A: Well, I think that obviously the first burden falls on Fatah, falls on Mahmoud Abbas, falls on His Presidency to try to, as they were pledged to do, and as at one point they appeared to be doing, to reduce the power of Hamas, to reduce the private armies, to reduce the propaganda. One has only to read, for example, the Oslo Accords and the things in them, which put very strict obligations on the Palestinian Authority not to pursue this demonizing of Israel and demonizing of the Jews. If the Palestinian Authority can't do it, if Abbas and His Presidency can't do it, well then, I don't know what will happen. I don't know what will emerge. Can the international community use its pressures? Can the United States? Can the European Union? Can the Quartet? I think a lot of responsibility now falls on them, and I get the impression, for example, that my Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is very conscious of this, very conscious of the dangers which Hamas, and all demonization of Jews, whether it is from other Muslim states or whether it is indeed from Muslims in Britain. It is a very dangerous situation. We know about it and we must address it.

Q: It is very shocking, Sir Martin Gilbert, that an eminent historian like you draws this analogy between the Hamas, between the radical, the extreme elements within the Islam, and the Nazi movement.

Palestinian Mufti Al-Husseini and Adolf Hitler

A: That is why I think that what we call moderate Islam, which certainly exists - Islam as a faith has all the virtues - that it is really up to moderate Islam rulers: the clerics, the preachers, the pronouncers. But the latest preaching here in Jerusalem is really astonishing, the violence against Israel. These are people, what we call "men of the cloth": imams, priests. There has to be from there, from moderate Islam, perhaps from the great Madrasas, perhaps from the great religious academies in Islam, there have to be some means of them saying "this is not the right way forward, this is not Muhammad's way, this is not the way of truth", otherwise of course there is tremendous danger if inflammatory statements are allowed to go unchallenged by the very people against whom they are addressed.

Q: A danger to the state of Israel or a danger maybe to the west? There is this talking about a clash of civilizations.

A: I very much follow Prof. Daniel Pipes' view that this is not just some even debate between different opinions, but it is a debate between civilization on the one hand and barbarism on the other. And anybody who subscribes to the barbaric doctrines, of which obviously the destruction of Israel and the destruction of the west are both barbaric, has to be combated; has to be challenged at every level, whether it is educational, whether it is political or whether it is diplomatic. It does not have to be military, but always, of course, one has to bear in mind that in the past all the great tyrants have had to be challenged in the end militarily.

Q: Some Israeli politicians, and not only Israeli politicians but also politicians and statesmen in the west, portray Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, as a second Adolf Hitler.

A: Well, one hopes he isn't, but again, if he has his plans, these plans have to be thwarted. I suppose we are in a situation, possibly in 1936, when Hitler went into the Rhineland, and then the London Times, that great paper, said "well, he is only going into his back yard". So each step was "only his back yard". Czechoslovakia - well, that was merely "part of what he had the right to have".

Q: Part of the Munich agreement.

A: So essentially the west has to decide, I think the phrase is "the red line" - at what point do we call a halt? And that point may be very close.

Q: What should the west do?

A: I am not the west. I can't say. The west has all the power, it could have all the unity, it has tremendous strength and it has to exert it.

Transcript by Dar Translations
972-2-6414722 | dar_doc@smile.net.il


David Essing

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