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Cross Posted at The Progressive Zionist

Last week the Palestinian Authority took a positive step in the direction of understanding by sending an adviser to President Abbas, Ziad al-Bandak (The President's adviser on Christian Affairs) to tour the Nazi Death Camp at Auschwitz. Now this is a very important thing as one of many criticisms of the P.A. as that it has traded in Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic memes.

Indeed as was quoted in the International Business Times

“Last week, I visited the West Bank and Israel, where I met people from varied walks of life," Ed Husain, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council of Foreign Relations, wrote recently on the Arab Street blog. "In conversations with young Arabs, I was saddened to hear that Holocaust denial continues to be part of the normative mindset among so many in such an important part of the world. Their grievances with the modern state of Israel are real, but this does not give them the mandate to rewrite history.

“These are not fringe conspiracy theories," he added. "I’ve heard similar rejections of the Holocaust from political leaders in the Middle East, academics, youth leaders and imams. The virus is so widespread that it impacts Muslims living in Europe. For several years, the Muslim Council of Britain refused to attend Holocaust Memorial Day.”

So, the visit by Mr. al-Bandak is positive as he will no doubt be able to communicate back to the P.A. and President Abbas about the horrors of the Holocaust.

HOWEVER, winners in the last Palestinian election (2006) HAMAS has a different take on this. Rather than looking at this for the bridge building attempt that it was, or just keeping their mouths shut... Hamas had this to say:

“It was an unjustified and unhelpful visit that served only the Zionist occupation," said Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman.

Barhoum also repeated Hamas’ belief that the Holocaust was a fabrication, by claiming that the visit by Bandak was “a marketing of a false Zionist alleged tragedy."

Also.. there is this:
....
A comment piece published by the Hamas-run Filastin newspaper also criticised Mr Bandak's visit.

"What is the wisdom in such a simple step that supports the Jews and their crimes?... Neither the Jews nor we believe that Hitler killed six millions Jews," the article read.

In 2009 the Hamas-led administration in the Gaza Strip resisted attempts to introduce lessons about the Holocaust in UN-run schools.

What makes this particularly disturbing (as if Holocaust Denial was not disturbing enough) is that Hamas is and has been the government in the Gaza Strip after winning the National Palestinian Elections in 2006 with 44.45% of the vote. However, their "star" has fallen with the Palestinian electorate and now they trail (or as of June 2012) Fatah 49% - 44%

STILL with 44% of the vote they remain a popular force. In this case the P.A. did the right thing. Reaching out to understanding the other side of the conflict. That should be applauded. Hamas on the other hand should be roundly condemned and shunned for this racist and mind bendingly idiotic commentary.

Originally posted to volleyboy1 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 02:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team Shalom.

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