Things have been getting really tense in Lebanon as of late. Tensions with Israel have been rising, and with the news that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will likely indict members of Hezbollah for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, the domestic front isn’t looking so great lately either.
I haven’t been paying nearly as much attention to the situation as I should, but you know who has? Qifa Nabki. He has had a string of posts dealing with the STL lately. I strongly suggest going over there to check out the recent developments, if you don’t already.
Otherwise, I have a review of Gilbert Achcar’s newly translated book, The Arabs and the Holocaust-The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives in this last weekend’s edition of The National:
While in 1956 the former French Prime Minister Guy Mollet considered Gamal Abdel Nasser to be a “Hitler on the Nile”, and David Ben-Gurion called Menechem Begin “a Hitler type” in 1963, these comparisons emerge more from the realm of political hyperbole than historical argument. The trend of painting Arabs (and Muslims) as Nazis, reinforced most recently by the neoconservative popularising of the neologism “Islamofascism,” can also be seen in depictions of Saddam Hussein in 1991 and 2003, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today. For some, all of these men are Hitler, Israel is European Jewry, and it is perpetually 1938.
Although the two often go hand in hand, there is clearly a distinction to be made between distasteful analogy and the historical argument put forth in what has become a cottage industry of recent books, websites and “expert analysis” purporting to draw a straight line from Hitler to Saddam, Hizbollah and Hamas by way of Hajj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
The use of the Holocaust to tar Israel’s enemies in the Middle East has ebbed and flowed, becoming much more common after the 1973 surprise attack by Egypt and Syria, later dying down in the wake of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the subsequent Sabra and Shatilla massacres and the first Intifada – an event that pitted stone-throwing Palestinians against the Israel Defense Forces. But in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, we have seen a fierce renewal of the Arab-Nazi narrative. And it is onto this ideological battleground that Gilbert Achcar jumps with his fascinating new book, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.
Go read the rest here.