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In Europe and America after 1945, Nazism and antisemitism were totally discredited. In complete contrast, in the 1940’s radical Islamists in the Middle East, led by the Muslim Brothers, "hatred of Jews as Jews acquired" "striking respectability." The history of Nazism does not end in 1945 in the Middle East. It underwent permutations as it was adapted to the Islamic radical mindset, and flourished in the Arab world for decades, until the present time. The radical anti-Semitism of the Nazi regime was adopted by Hassan al-Banna and his successor Sayyid Qutb, to reinforce and popularize their "extremist interpretations of the Koran."
The inculcation of Nazi anti-Semitism into the Egyptian population was a permanent outcome of the Third Reich’s war efforts Egyptian society had been listening to daily radio broadcasts from Nazi Germany since 1939, weekly antisemitic publications of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as their paramilitary rallies and Friday sermons, the fascistic rallies of Young Egypt, and the secret activities of the Cairo office of the Nazi party. The lies that Jews were controlling with world and threatening Islam were widely taken as truth. Post-war Egypt was infused with pro-German sentiment.
During the war, there was a popular street song, "Allah in heaven, Hitler on earth." Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar as-Sadat, later presidents of Egypt, as members of the Egyptian General Staff during the war offered their support to Rommel. It was estimated by a secret report during the war that 90% of Egyptian intellectuals and government employees supported the Axis powers over the West.
Fleeing Nazi officers were given asylum in Egypt to "continue their war against the Jews." Holocaust denial was the enforced public ideology. "The anti-Jewish holy war (was) pursued simultaneously in three areas – the villages of Palestine, the cities of Egypt and the headquarters of the United Nations."
Americans in the post-war period were very aware of the Arab role in supporting the Third Reich in both Europe and the Middle East. In 1947, with memories of Nazism fresh in their minds, the Hon. Robert Wagner, mayor of New York, with Fiorella LaGuardia, Paul Tillich, Prof. Reinhold Neibuhr, and two dozen other prominent citizens, published a slender report entitled "The Arab War Effort." The tendency to forget the lessons of the past has always been one of man’s most dangerous characteristics," the report begins:
One of those hard earned lessons is simply this: that appeasement does not work. The enemies of human freedom could neither be bribed nor cajoled. …Yet now in 1947 we seem to be returning to the policy of appeasement in dealing with precisely those Arabs leaders who did their utmost to aid the Axis powers. …It is not claimed that the facts stated in this document constitute a revelation. They do not appear to be in dispute in any responsible quarter. There seems, however, to be a tendency to ignore them as not longer politically relevant. This (is) unfortunate, for the data herewith presented point to conclusions that are still valid with regard to the political reasoning prevalent among the Arab peoples."
Mayor Wagner and his co-authors wrote that the Arab populace, not simply a few leaders, were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazis: "…sympathy with the Axis powers were widespread among the common people of the Arab countries… these feelings permeated the majority of the population, while the leaders often cooperated directly with the Axis. Fascist and Nazi ideologies were not so much imitated as paralleled in the Arab world; they fitted into modes of thought already in being and were taken up by existing political clubs and associations."
On November 29, 1947, for the second time the Palestinian Arabs were offered a state of their own, next to a Jewish state. As in 1937, the Palestinian Jews accepted the division, and al-Husseini, still in Egypt, rejected it on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs. "Hajj Amin…made it clear to other Arab leaders that, as soon as British forces were withdrawn, the Arabs should with one accord fall upon the Jews and destroy them." New archival findings show that other Arab leaders expressed acceptance of the partition of the Palestinian Mandate into a Jewish and Palestinian Arab state, but only in private. These included Abdullah, the Emir of Jordan; Abdd al-Rahman Azzam, the head of the Arab League; the Egyptian Prime Minister, Sidqi Pasha; and Prime Minister of Iraq, Muzahim al-Pashashi, who expressed the fear that publicly voicing his support for a Jewish state "would cause a revolt in Iraq."
They were cowed by the power of the Muslim Brothers. There was an anti-Jewish demonstration of 100,000 Muslims in Egypt, applauding speeches calling for bloodletting, and destroying Jewish and European buildings. In 48 hours, the Brothers recruited 2000 fighters to prevent the creation of a Palestinian and Jewish state.
On May 14, 1948, Egypt joined Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in ordering their armies to attack the newly proclaimed state of Israel, only a few hours old. The General Secretary of the Arab League declared, in Islamizied terms familiar from the Third Reich, "this war will be a war of annihilation and lead to a terrible massacre, about which people will speak in the future as they do about the massacres of the Mongols or Crusaders."
In Egypt, where previous to the Nazi propaganda machine there had been no anti-Semitism, on the night of May 14 arrested 2,000 Jews. There were also "innumerable assaults on individuals, instigated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood."
The Brotherhood was a threat to the Egyptian constitutional government following Egypt’s defeat by the Israelis in January 1949. The Brotherhood had reached the million member mark. It owned factories, had its own weapons, schools, hospitals, military units. A Muslim Brother murdered the Prime Minister, Mahmud Fahmi al-Nugrashi.
Fighting for its own survival, the Egyptian government banned the Brotherhood, systematically persecuted members and assassinated al-Banna in the street, in February 1949. Arrested members continued to radicalize their message in the prisons, while exiled members spread their form of Nazified fanatical Islam throughout the Middle East.
In Iran, the future Ayathollah Khomeini came under the influence of representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, discussing al-Banna’s writings with them for days at a time. He became a daily listener to the Persian-language broadcasts of the Third Reich from Zeesen, along with a large group of mullahs who would gather on his terrace every evening to listen to the German broadcasts.
Both the Muslim Brothers and the Mufti Of Jerusalem, el-Husseini were funded and trained by the Third Reich, although only Husseini was a Nazi and a member of the Reich leadership. Their success depended on the other. "In this wartime alliance, al-Banna operated as a warlike priest using the Palestinian conflict to unite the Islamic world for a new Caliphate, while the Mufti acted as a sophisticated tactician…pursuing mass politics with the most modern means of propaganda…sharia terror and the formation of gangs…. It was this interplay between the Egyptian-urban and the Palestinian-rural elements that helped the Banna-Husseini tandem to extend its influence through the Arab world."
The issue of Palestine was crucial for al-Banna in recruiting Egyptians to his cause of rejecting modernization and reviving jihad because he was able, through false claims that the Jews were attacking al-Aqsa mosque and desecrating the Koran, in turning it into a holy war, that would justify martyrdom and bring the promise of heaven. Within Palestine, moderate Arabs, led by the Nashashibi clan rejected al-Banna’s anti-western, anti-prosperity campaign. They preferred a homeland of their own, with neighboring a Jewish state. Here, al-Banna succeeded through el-Husseini’s success in murdering, torturing and silencing Arab moderates.
Al-Banna’s major contribution was to define the cohesion of the Arab world by opposition to Israel. "Hatred of the Jews has become the most important shared bond." The antisemitism of the Muslim Brotherhood is not an ancillary feature of modern jihadism. Starting in 1936 it became the core feature. Before 1936, there were different groups blamed for the destructive force of modernization and the liberation of women: Communists, the West, Christian missionaries, Arab hedonists, Zionists, the Suez Canal Company. Al-Banna’s rage at change had interchangeable targets. In 1936, the Jews became the culprit and the rallying cry. Al-Banna culled the Koran for passages hostile to Jews, mingled with his false photos of Moslems tortured by Jews, false rumors of Jewish threats to Islam, elements borrowed from Nazi antisemitism, Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elder’s of Zion conspiracy theories about Jews. By 1945, this had matured into a Nazi-inspired world conspiracy theory and annihilationist antisemitism. Holocaust denial was disseminated, and Jews were made into fearful symbols of world domination by the decadent West. "The ideological convergence of the Muslim Brothers and National Socialism reached its culmination." "The delusion suppressed in Germany after May 8, 1945, found its most fruitful exile in the Arab world, where the Muslim Brothers now disposed of a million followers."
In the decades that followed, al-Banna’s heritage, this convergence of Islamic fascism and Nazi antisemitism continued to develop and spread, underground in the 1950’s and 60’s, and with the support of Abdel Nasser after the humiliating Egyptian defeat in the ’67 War.
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser as a teenager was a member of the Young Egypt movement, which modeled itself on National Socialism, with fascist salutes, torchlight processions, mass marches modeled on those of Nazi Germany and a cult of the leader. In the 1940s, his career was launched under the patronage of the Hitler’s most prominent supporter in Egypt, General Aziz al-Misri. Al-Misri was friends with al-Banna, who arranged meetings in 1941 between him and Nasser’s friend, Anwar as-Sadat. In 1941 Sadat joined the Muslim Brotherhood’s military wing. In 1943 Nasser and other Egyptian army officers joined. From 1943 to 1948, they had weekly meetings with the Brotherhood’s military chief, Mahmud Labib, and took part in clandestine military training.
The July 22 Free Officers coup brought Nasser to power, and of the 14 putschists, ten had declared their loyalty to the Muslim Brothers. "The new rulers made no secret of their Nazi sympathies…Egypt became the El Dorado of former Nazis who decamped there in droves in the 1950’s. The Free Officers welcomed them with open arms." Anwar as-Sadat, in 1953, wrote a public tribute to Hitler: "My dear Hitler, I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart….you may be proud of becoming the immortal leader of Germany…a new Hitler rises up in your wake."
In an interview in Deutsche Nationalzeitung, in 1964, Nasser reiterated his support for Nazi Germany and denied the Holocaust, in these words: "During the Second World War, our sympathies were with the Germans…The lie of the six million murdered Jews is not taken seriously by anybody."
This was a more radical brand of Muslim Brotherhood Islam that evolved under the influence of Sayid Qutb (pronounced Kootup), who rose to leadership in the organization in 1952. In Qutb’s influential brand of Islamic fascism, there is only one primary enemy of islam: the Jew. His 1950 text, Our Struggle with the Jews, was republished in 1970 and disseminated world wide by Saudi Arabia. It is a seamless blend of traditional Islamic Jew-hatred, supported by Koranic texts, and Nazi antisemitic conspiracy theories. Qutb wrote: ...the Jews again returned to evil-doing and consequently Allah ...brought Hitler to rule over them."