Where the Nazi "Big Lie" Endures
click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​




Where the Nazi

Where the Nazi "Big Lie" Endures

Why today's Arab anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish propaganda strongly resembles that of the Third Reich.

by

"If today's Arab anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish propaganda strongly resembles that of the Third Reich, there is a good reason." So writes Joel Fishman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in "The Big Lie and the Media War against Israel," an insightful piece of historical research.

Fishman begins by noting the topsy-turvy situation whereby Israel is perceived as a dangerous predator as it defends its citizens against terrorism, conventional warfare, and weapons of mass destruction. A 2003 survey, for instance, found Europeans seeing Israel as "the greatest threat" to world peace. How did this insane inversion of reality -- the Middle East's only fully free and democratic country seen as the leading global menace -- come to be?

Fishman's answer revisits World War I, which is not a surprise, as post-cold war analysts increasingly recognize the extent to which Europe lives still under the shadow of that disaster, whether in its renewed policy of appeasement or its attitudes towards its own culture. Back then, the British government first exploited advances in mass media and advertising to target both the enemy's and its own civilian populations, hoping to shape their thinking.

The Central Powers' publics heard messages designed to undermine support for their governments, while Entente publics were fed news reports about atrocities, some of them false. Notably, the British authorities claimed that Imperial Germany had a "Corpse Conversion Factory" (Kadaververwerkungsanstalt), that plundered enemy dead soldiers' bodies to produce soap and other products. After the war's conclusion, when the British learned the truth, these lies left a residue of what Fishman calls "skepticism, betrayal, and a mood of postwar nihilism."

This British disinformation campaign had two disastrous implications for World War II. First, it prompted the Allied public to be skeptical concerning German atrocities against Jews, which bore a close resemblance to the imaginary horrors the British had disseminated, so that reports from Nazi-occupied territories were regularly discounted. (This explains why Dwight D. Eisenhower arranged for visits to the concentration camps immediately upon their liberation, to witness and document their reality.)

Second, Hitler admiringly noted the British precedent in his book, Mein Kampf (1925): "At first the claims of the [British] propaganda were so impudent that people thought it insane; later, it got on people's nerves; and in the end, it was believed." A decade later, this admiration translated into the Nazi "Big Lie" that turned reality on its head, making Jews into persecutors and Germans into victims. A vast propaganda machine then drummed these lies into the German-speakers' psyche, with great success.

The defeat of Germany temporarily discredited such methods of inverting reality. But some escaped Nazis carried their old anti-Semitic ambitions to countries now at war with Israel and attempting to murder its Jewish population. Thousands of Nazis found refuge in Egypt, with smaller numbers reaching other Arabic-speaking countries, notably Syria.

Fishman examines particularly the case of Johann von Leers (1902-65), an early Nazi party member, a protégé of Goebbels, a lifelong associate of Himmler, and an overt advocate of genocidal policies against Jews. His 1942 article, "Judaism and Islam as Opposites," lauded Muslims for their "eternal service" of keeping Jews "in a state of oppression and anxiety." This von Leers escaped Germany after 1945 and a decade later turned up in Egypt, where he converted to Islam and became political adviser to Nasser's Department of Information. There, Fishman recounts, he "sponsored the publication of an Arabic edition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, revived the blood libel, organized anti-Semitic broadcasts in numerous languages, cultivated neo-Nazis throughout the world, and maintained a warm correspondence encouraging the first generation of Holocaust deniers."

Such groundwork proved its value after Israel's historic victory in the Six Day War of 1967, a humiliating defeat for both the Soviet Union and its Arab allies. The subsequent Soviet-Arab propaganda campaign denied Israel the right to defend itself and inverted reality by relentlessly accusing it of aggression. Precisely as Hitler had analyzed in Mein Kampf, if these impudent claims were at first thought insane, in the end they were believed.

Today's political madness, in other words, is directly linked to yesterday's. Might some of today's anti-Zionists be ashamed to realize that their thinking is, however repackaged, but an elaboration of the genocidal deceptions espoused by Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler? Might they then abandon these views?

This article originally appeared in the New York Sun.

Published: May 5, 2007


Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Jerusalemheart, May 23, 2010 12:30 PM

enemies plot should be more exposed to be known

This article is good for all to know. Let more people know the ways how the evils made it to work on their plan. I have read some articles that many Nazi members escaped to the U.S. And after world war 2, the U. S. government even fled many Nazi memebers to keep staying in Germany without punishment in order to work for CIA to spy on east Berlin. Many runaway Nazi memebers could have organized anti-Israel in the U.S., Europe and Australia. And it could be very possible that some of the Nazis may have even converted to Jews to work against Jews and had orgnized the leftists to have caused Israel in a big mess that Jewish people can never be united, step by step Israel lost power and land to the Arabs. Can it be avoided again? Praying for Israel all the time. By the way, why this site takes days to put on talk back?

(3) Anny Matar, May 19, 2007 11:15 AM

TO TRY AND EXPLAIN THE ROOT OF ANTISEMITISM IS FUTILE

ANTISMITISM HAS NO ROOTS IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE AS THE GOYM ARAB CHRISTIANS ONE AND ALL SUCKKLE IT WITH THEIR MOTHER'S MILK, NEVER HAS THERE BEEN A TIME WITOUT IT,THE FRIGHTENING THING IS THAT "POST ZIONISTS"(WHATEVER THAT MIGHT MEAN) THINK THAT "BEING WITH IT" WILL EVER BRING THEM RELIEF FROM IT, THEY ARE AND WILL FOR EVER REMAIN THE HATED PEOPLE EVEN IF THEY TRY TO FOLLOW THE MASSES. THE ARAB WORLD WANTS TO SEE THEM MULTIPLY AND THEY DO BECAUSE IT'S "TRENDY "
THE MOST NIGHTMARISH OF BRITISH PROPAGANDA COULD NOT HAVE FORSEEN THAT THEIR HORROR VISIONS WILL BECOME SO VERY VERY TRUE. SOME YEARS AGO IN THE SCHWARZWALD,GEMANY, IN A SMALL SHOWCASE I SAW A PIECE OF SOAP WITH A VISIBLE NOTE BESIDE IT "MADE OF HUMAN FAT" THEY FORGOT TO ADD JEWISH THEY MIGHT HAVE SOLD IT ON THE SPOT.HOW THE ARABS WOULD LIKE TO DO THE SAME !!!!

(2) behrouz kia, May 6, 2007 10:36 AM

There is Arab propaganda every where

Sir,
It is enough to watch CNN few minutes, not hours and you realize how much Arab propaganda there is on the western Media. Just watch the advertisements from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc. and you see how much money goes in to western media from Arabs who run also Al Jazeera, Quds news papers and hundred of others and if you cut this money off, there be a lot less money going into the pocket of all those TVs and newspapers. So west is closing its eyes, counting the dollars and lat the anti-Israel propaganda go on air. Unfortunately, people like me, living in Turkey or countries in East, have no choice but watch CNN, BBC World and read Time and Newsweek etc. and get ear washed by the news. During the recent war in Lebanon, nothing came out of Israel, all CNN reporters where sending news from Lebanon and how Israel was killing the children and now we know a lot of the pictures ans even films were fakes, anti-Israel fakes, and not one mentioned that Hezbollah, just like Hammas are putting the children and women in harms way but keeping them under arm where the rockets are and where the fight is, so they could get killed and blame Israel for the deaths.
behrouz

(1) H. BALLHORN, May 6, 2007 9:04 AM

ANOTHER PIECE OF POISON

ANTISEMITISM IS A DISEASE OF MANY CAUSES
THIS IS ONE OF THEMANOTHER

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub
Sign up today!