More Than Seventy Years Later Nazi Broadcasts To The Muslim World Are Still Making An Impact There
March 14, 2016
By EMERSON VERMAAT
Between 1941 and 1945 the Nazis were very active and effective inbroadcasting anti-Semitic propaganda to the Arab world and North-Africa. These broadcasts in Arabic were transcribed and translated into English in the American Embassy in the Egyptian capital of Cairo during the Second World War – under the direction of Alexander C. Kirk, U.S. ambassador to Egypt from March 29, 1941, until March 29, 1944, and his successor Pinkney Tuck.
Years later, Jeffrey Herf, professor in the Department of History at the University of Maryland and a fellow of the Middle East Forum (MEF), studied these texts and published his findings in 2009 in his book "Nazi Propaganda to the Arab World." "In 1977, the State Department files of the American Embassy in Cairo in the U.S. National Archives in College Park, Maryland, were declassified. As far as I have been able to determine, this book is the first work to use them, or certainly to use them extensively. The Cairo transcripts demonstrate that the Arabic language radio barrage was far more extensive than a focus on the Mufti alone would suggest."
The so-called "Mufti" was Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and a notorious anti-Semitic hate cleric who was granted asylum in Nazi Germany between November 1941 and April 1945. Many of his inciting radio messages were also broadcast from Berlin. "Kill the Jews whereever you find them," was one of his favorate calls on his extensive Arab audience – on March 4, 1944, that is. "This pleases God, history and religion," Nazi collaborator Al-Husseini added. "This serves your honor. God is with you."
Herf continues: "Very importantly, the ‘Axis Broadcasts in Arabic' transcripts also document the intersection of broadcast propaganda with German military strategy – both in periods of euphoria over prospects of imminent victory and in times of rage and despair in the face of setbacks from 1943 on. Radical anti-Semitism was a central component throughout the broadcasts." "The Cairo transcripts offer unprecedented documentation of the merging of National Socialism with radical Islamist anti-Semitism and its diffusion to the Middle East, as well as of the incitement to violence and murder purveyed in the Arabic-language radio broadcasts from Nazi Germany." By January 1942, there were 60,000 shotwave radios in Egypt, 10,000 in Iraq, 20,000 in Syria, 500 in Saudi Arabia, 40,000 in Palestine, 70,000 in Algeria and 45,770 in Morocco. "These radios were often heard in cafés and other public places and were crucial to propaganda efforts in the Middle East because rates of illiteracy in the region were so significant," Herf notes.
In the September/October 2010 issue of the leading American bimonthly "Foreign Affairs" Herf warned that wartime Nazi broadcasts are still making impact on the Muslim world. Sayyid Qutb, a frustrated Egyptian ideologue of the anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood, published the essay "Our Struggle With the Jews" in the early 1950s. Herf: "This viciously anti-Semitic text, which was published again by the Saudi government in 1970, repeats many themes from the Nazi radio broadcasts and from Husseini's ideology – namely, that Jews have always been the ‘enemy' of Islam and sought its destruction and that therefore they deserved the punishments inflicted by Allah and carried out by Hitler. Over the years, Qutb's essay has become a canonical text for Islamists."
Qutb also wrote other books on the "Palestine question," the need for the introduction of Sharia law and the obligation of Muslims to participate in the violent jihad against "infidels" and kill "apostate" Muslims. Qutb spent two years in the United States, but returned to Egypt as a deeply frustrated and angry man: he now was a strong opponent of the West and of America in particular.Egyptian president Gamel Abdel Nasser put Qutb in jail accusing him of having plotted against him. Qutb was executed by hanging in 1966. Just like Qutb,Nasser was an anti-Semite, but he was also a secularist.
The Palestine terrorist organization Hamas was and still is directly inspired bythe works of Qutb. In an important essay on Sayyid Qutb in the Summer 2004 issue of the journal "Terrorism and Political Violence" John C. Timmerman writes: "Hamas adopted Qutb's views on the totality of Islam in all spheres of life from which there could be no deviation as well as his message that rulers perceived as unjust or un-Islamic could be overthrown"
Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri (an Egyptian jihadist) and their Al-Qaeda organization were also inspired by Qutb. Zimmerman observes: Qutb's enormous influence on Al-Qaeda and the radical Islamist movements has been acknowledged in the memoirs of Ayman Al-Zawahiri."
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and his murderous thugs of the so-called "Islamic State in Iraq an Syria" (ISIS or IS) have equally been influenced by Qutb's anti-Western and anti-Semitic Islamist worldview. Qutb, too, wanted to establish an"Islamic State" ruled by Sharia law – a dangerous utopia.
Paul Berman's book "The Flight of the Intellectuals" (2010) shows how seventy-year-old anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda and the calls by Haj Amin Al-Husseini to annihilate the Jews are still making an impact on many Arabs in the Middle East. He quotes Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a highly influential Egyptian hate cleric living in Qatar. Al-Qaradawi is an important ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood. "He is famous for preaching on Al-Jazeera," Berman writes. This anti-Semitic fanatic appeared on TV in January 2009 and praised Hitler for carrying out the will of Allah: "Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the (Jews) people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though he exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place."
Berman then comments: "Those phrases about Hitler doing God's work did not make their way into Qaradawi's oratory from some little-known corner of the Koran. Here was a present-day televised echo of precisely the kind of ranting that Herf had quoted and summarized in his study of Arabic language Nazi propaganda – the very argument about Hitler and Islam that, in the 1940s, went beaming outward to the shortwave radios of the Arab world."
In a response in "Foreign Affairs" (September/October 2010), Berman adds:"And Qaradawi has called for a renewal of Hitler's efforts: ‘Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one." Qaradawi is very popular in North Africa, Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Qatar. Many Muslim immigrants in Europe (notably in Sweden, Britain,Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Spain) and North America also listen to his disgusting messages of hate.
Anti-Semitism is rampant in North Africa, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon,Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. A lot of immigrants and asylum seekers from these countries are anti-Semites. That is why mass immigration from the Muslim world poses a very serious risk to our cultural and religious identity and to the Jews living in Europe. The so-called "clash of civilizations" is not a fiction. It is real. As Daniel Jonah Goldhagen rightly observes in his book ‘The Devil that Never Dies": "This does not mean that all Arabs or all Muslims,either living in the countries of their ancestry or in now non-predominantly Arab or Islamic countries are anti-Semitic, but an enormous number of them are, and they are a substantial population on the move."
Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands and specializes in the topics of crime, terrorism and anti-Semitism.
Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 9-11, 213 ("Kill the Jews wherever you find them...")
Jeffrey Herf, The Nazis' Arabian Nights, in: Foreign Affairs, September/October 2010, Volume 89, Number 5, p. 148.
John C. Timmerman, Sayyid Qutb's Influence on the 11 September Attacks, in:Terrorism and Political Violence, Summer 2004, Volume 16, Number 2, p. 239 (Hamas), p. 241 (Al-Zawahiri).
Paul Berman, The Flight of the Intellectuals (Brooklyn, NY: Melville House 2010), p. 77, 78 (Al-Qaradawi), p. 96 ("The calls by Amin Al-Husseini to annihilate the Jews…")
Paul Berman, Islamism, Unveiled. From Berlin to Cairo and Back Again,Foreign Affairs, September/October 2010, p. 145 (Al-Qaradawi).
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, The Devil that Never Dies. The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism (New York: Little , Brown and Company, 2013), p. 197.