Egyp­tian party leader: ‘Holo­caust is a lie’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY BEN BIRN­BAUM

BU­DAPEST | A leader of Egypt’s top sec­u­lar party says the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks were “made in the USA,” the Holo­caust is “a lie” and Anne Frank’s mem­oir is “a fake, com­ments sure to roil the post-revo­lu­tion po­lit­i­cal de­bate in the Arab world’s most pop­u­lous coun­try.

Ahmed Ezz El-Arab, a vice chair­man of Egypt’s Wafd Party, made the re­marks in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Times two weeks ago while in the Hun­gar­ian cap­i­tal at­tend­ing the Con­fer­ence on Democ­racy and Hu­man Rights.

He de­nied that the Nazis killed 6 mil­lion Jews dur­ing World War II.

“The Holo­caust is a lie” Mr. Ezz El-Arab said. “The Jews un­der Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion were 2.4 mil­lion. So if they were all ex­ter­mi­nated, where does the re­main­ing 3.6 mil­lion come from?”

Mr. Ezz El-Arab said he ac­cepted that the Nazis killed “hun­dreds of thou­sands” of Jews. “But gas cham­bers and skin­ning them alive and all this? Fan­ci­ful sto­ries,” he added.

Mr. Ezz El-Arab also at­tacked the au­then­tic­ity of “The Di­ary of Anne Frank,” which he said he stud­ied as a doc­toral stu­dent in Stockholm. “I could swear to God it’s a fake,” the Wafd leader said. “The girl was there, but the memoirs are a fake.”

Es­tab­lished in 1919 and dis­banded in 1952, the Wafd Party was re­founded in 1983 un­der re­forms in­sti­tuted by then-Pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak to al­low to­ken op­po­si­tion to his dom­i­nant Na­tional Demo­cratic Party.

Af­ter Mr. Mubarak’s ouster in Fe­bru­ary, Wafd emerged as ar­guably the sec­ond-most pow­er­ful po­lit­i­cal party to the Mus­lim Brother­hood, a for­merly banned Is­lamist group.

Last month, Wafd an­nounced it would run jointly with the Brother­hood and 16 other blocs in Septem­ber’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tions to present a united

But Mr. Ezz El-Arab, who chairs Wafd’s for­eign-re­la­tions com­mit­tee, said there is “no chance at all” that would hap­pen. “Egypt will not go to war un­less it’s at­tacked,” he said.

As for Iran, with whom Egypt is nor­mal­iz­ing re­la­tions, Mr. Ezz El-Arab as­sailed Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad, who also has de­nied the Holo­caust.

“He’s a hate­ful char­ac­ter, so what­ever he says can be crit­i­cized,” the Wafd leader said. “What he says about the Holo­caust is true, but he doesn’t say

Ahmed Ezz El-Arab, a vice chair­man of Egypt’s Wafd Party, de­nied that the Nazis killed 6 mil­lion Jews dur­ing World War II. “The Holo­caust is a lie” Mr. Ezz El-Arab said. “The Jews un­der Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion were 2.4 mil­lion. So if they were all ex­ter­mi­nated, where does the re­main­ing 3.6 mil­lion come from?”

front as Egypt forges a new gov­ern­ment.

“For four years, in al­liance, we can build a con­sti­tu­tion based on cer­tain prin­ci­ples that guar­an­tee hu­man rights, cit­i­zen­ship, no re­li­gious trend what­so­ever,” Mr. Ezz El-Arab said. “Once this is es­tab­lished, ev­ery­body can go to the bal­lot box and try his luck.”

Many in Is­rael have ex­pressed concern that a demo­cratic Egypt might can­cel its 1979 peace treaty with Is­rael. it be­cause it’s true. He says it out of ha­tred to the Is­raeli state.”

Mr. Ah­madine­jad hosted a Holo­caust-de­nial con­fer­ence in 2006 to protest the ban in many Euro­pean coun­tries on ques­tion­ing the Nazi geno­cide, laws that Mr. Ezz El-Arab crit­i­cized.

“It’s a shame that the West, the cra­dle of lib­er­al­ism, should have a crim­i­nal law in­crim­i­nat­ing any dis­cus­sion of any his­tor­i­cal fact,” Mr. Ezz El-Arab said. “It’s a sa­cred cow. The ‘6 mil­lion’ is a sa­cred cow.”

Amr Bar­gisi, a for­mer Wafd youth leader, said that while Mr. Ezz El-Arab him­self does not have a ma­jor con­stituency in Egypt or within the party it­self, his views on the Holo­caust do.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of Egyp­tians think the Holo­caust never hap­pened,” Mr. Bar­gisi told The Times. “The fact that his pres­ence in the party hi­er­ar­chy hasn’t caused any ob­jec­tions tells you some­thing about the far­ci­cal na­ture of Egyp­tian pol­i­tics.”

In the in­ter­view, Mr. Ezz ElArab also said that Osama bin Laden was not be­hind the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

“He could not have the knowhow or the abil­ity to do it,” he said, even though he called the dead al Qaeda leader “an Amer­i­can agent.”

“If he had the abil­ity, one plane only land­ing on the Knes­set would give more ef­fect,” Mr. Ezz El-Arab said.

Asked who was re­spon­si­ble for the at­tacks, Mr. Ezz El-Arab iden­ti­fied the CIA, Is­rael’s Mos­sad in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, and the “mil­i­tary-in­dus­trial com­plex.”

Mr. Ezz El-Arab spoke of “the in­tel­li­gent Amer­i­can elite that is rul­ing” and said it had re­sponded to the “disas­ter” of Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush by elect­ing Barack Obama pres­i­dent: “Obama is a nice face that has been brought up, the black rab­bit taken out of the Amer­i­can hat when it was needed.”

Mr. Ezz El-Arab also claimed that, dur­ing the U.S.-led in­va­sion of Iraq, “Amer­i­can sol­diers with dou­ble Is­raeli na­tion­al­ity and Jewish re­li­gion” stole Jewish an­tiq­ui­ties from the Baby­lo­nian ex­ile pe­riod and had them re­buried in Jerusalem to ce­ment the Jewish his­tor­i­cal claim on the city.

“It’s not a kind of mon­u­ment rob­bery for sell­ing in the black mar­ket,” he said. “The things they took from Ba­bel, they took with the in­ten­tion, to my judg­ment, of dig­ging it un­der the Aqsa mosque [site of Jerusalem’s Tem­ple Mount] so that when it’s dis­cov­ered, they say, ‘Here was the tem­ple.’ ”

De­spite the claim, Mr. Ezz ElArab said he thinks that there once was a Jewish tem­ple in Jerusalem and that Is­raeli Jews de­serve to stay put.

“The Jews are there,” he said. “Good or bad, they are there. You can­not as a hu­man be­ing think of ex­ter­mi­nat­ing 6 mil­lion or 5 mil­lion or what­ever. That’s crazy.”

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