When it comes to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, many in the radical Muslim community choose to exploit imagery related to the Holocaust in an attempt to gin up animosity towards Israel. One of the promoters of this offensive practice, Affad Shaikh, is a representative of a well-known Islamic organization, CAIR. Recently, Shaikh took the offense to a new level – or in this case, a new low – by evoking an infamous Nazi propaganda-driven anti-Jewish libel and by posting to the web a defaced photo of a familiar Holocaust victim.
Since the beginning of the Gaza attacks, the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR has been on the attack, as well – against Israel. This makes sense, given the group’s deep connection to Palestinian terrorists – CAIR was created by Hamas operatives and CAIR was recently named in a federal Hamas fundraising trial.
One of the CAIR leaders who has been extremely vocal in his anti-Israel rhetoric is Affad Shaikh, the Civil Rights Coordinator of CAIR-Los Angeles (a.k.a. CAIR-California). Upset at the Gaza situation, Shaikh has posted numerous anti-Israel messages on different blog sites.
Shaikh is involved with – what he calls being a “collaborator” for – various blogs. One fittingly goes by the name Anti-“Israel,” a site which broadcasts articles written by leaders of Hamas. In a January 8th article published by Anti-“Israel,” entitled ‘This Brutality Will Never Break Our Will to Be Free,’ the head of Hamas Khaled Meshaal admitted to Hamas’s use of rockets against Israelis. He wrote, “Our modest, home-made rockets are our cry of protest to the world.”
Another blog Shaikh collaborates with is Muslamics. On December 30, 2008, he authored a piece for Muslamics entitled ‘Is There a Purpose to Dialogue?’ The post contained a photograph of an individual holding a sign with the words, “DEATH TO ALL JUICE” [read JUICE meaning JEWS]. This, while Shaikh demeaned Israel and stated that Muslim groups should end their full participation in interfaith gatherings with Jews, calling the gatherings a “facade.”
Continuing his anti-Semitic theme, on January 20th, Shaikh called for a boycott of Israeli-related telecommunication corporations, complaining in Muslamics that “AT&T is just another Zionist controlled company.” He then commented, “[I]t’s part of the whole telecommunication conspiracy take over by the Zionist. [H]aven’t you heard about the protocols of zion?”
The Protocols of Zion (a.k.a. Protocols of the Elders of Zion) is an infamous anti-Jewish libel used to incite hatred against Jews. The book was first published in the early 1900s and later was employed by Hitler as a justification for his plot to exterminate the Jews. In bringing up the Protocols, in relation to Israel, Affad Shaikh has offered a chilling scenario for not only Israeli Jews, but for all Jews everywhere.
Symbols of the Holocaust have unfortunately been exploited in an effort to generate hatred against the Holocaust’s main victims, the Jews. Many times these images are used to equate Jews with their former attackers, such as the frequent poster seen at anti-Israel rallies depicting a Star of David (Jewish Star) equated with a Nazi swastika.
On January 20th, the same day as his Protocols statement appeared, Shaikh took aim at a familiar face of the Holocaust, Anne Frank. Within his own blog, This American Muslim, Skaikh penned a piece entitled ‘What Would Anne Frank Think of Gaza?’ Within it, he posted a bloodied graphic of Frank with a keffiyeh draped around her neck.
About the picture, Shaikh published the following thought from an acquaintance: “I tried to search for the artist on the Internet, but couldn’t find it. Kudos to you, mysterious artist.”
Annelies Marie Frank was a young German Jewish girl, who perished in a concentration camp at the hands of the Nazis. Her diary, a chronicle of her experiences while in hiding, is one of the most widely read books throughout the world. To depict her wearing a Palestinian symbol of violence, dripping in blood, for most, would be seen as beyond offensive.
Trying to “draw parallels” with the Holocaust, Shaikh refers to Gaza as “the present day concentration camp called Gaza.” His words ring hollow on at least two counts.
1. Jews were targeted by the Nazis for the simple reason that they were Jews, nothing more. They were rounded up, packed in boxcars, sent to camps, and systematically murdered with the goal of total annihilation of a race/religion. With regard to Israel’s war in Gaza, Hamas, a terrorist organization, is the target – no one else. Women and children have been killed, because they have acted as ‘human shields’ for Hamas. It is Hamas’s hands that are filled with their blood, not Israel who wishes to avoid civilian casualties whenever possible, even at the cost of her own soldiers’ lives.
2. Shaikh is employed by an organization which has an affiliation to Hamas, the group Israel is fighting. Considering this fact, Shaikh’s statements on the matters discussed can only be viewed as being highly biased, if not entirely dishonest.
CAIR’s Affad Shaikh and others like him have twisted a tragedy of history and the facts of today to reach a new low. Using the Holocaust to discredit Jews with manufactured lies is appalling and perverse. It is no different than the Nazi propaganda of the ‘30s and ‘40s. Those who use it show that their affinity rests with the aggressor and not the victim.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.