Monday, May 18, 2009

40% Of Israeli Arabs Believe Holocaust Never Happened (Updated)

From Haaretz:
Some 40.5 percent of Israeli Arabs believe the Holocaust never occurred, according to the results of a University of Haifa poll released Sunday.

The survey shows that Holocaust denial among Israeli Arabs has become more prevalent in recent years. In 2006, 28 percent of Israeli Arabs polled denied that the Holocaust occurred.

The annual poll of Jewish-Arab relations, which was conducted by Professor Sami Samuha, also found that only 41 percent of Israel's Arab minority recognize the country's right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, as opposed to 65.6 percent in 2003.

Moreover, only 53.7 percent of the Israeli Arab public believe Israel has a right to exist just as an independent country, according to the poll, down from 81.1 percent in 2003.
Besides the fact that Holocaust denial increased from 28% to 40.5% over 3 years, there also was a corresponding drop in the acceptance of Israel--as a Jewish state and even in general.

So what is behind the numbers?
"This radicalization in the positions of Arabs was caused by a series of factors such as the Second Lebanon War, the stalemate in the negotiations with the Palestinians, the failure to implement the conclusions of the Or committee, closing the case against the Border Police troops who shot dead the Israeli Arab protesters in October 2000, and more," Samuha said.
No Samuha may very well be right that as a result of events Israeli Arabs have become less accepting of Israel's right to exist, but would that affect their acceptance of whether a historical fact happened or not? [see update below]

Maybe. It could make them more likely to distrust Israel and by extension whether the Holocaust happened. But it could also be hearing Ahmadinejad talk about it.

It would be interesting to get numbers worldwide about whether Holocaust denial is also on the upswing. If so, then that would tend to support what Samuah is saying, that increased negative feelings about Israel--as when Israel reacts against terrorist attacks--increases Holocaust denial. There are already indications that it increases Anti-Semitism.

Then again, an increase in acts of Anti-Semitism and the volume of Anti-Semitic propoganda is not necessarily the same as an increase in belief.

Anyone know of a poll that measures worldwide Holocaust denial?

UPDATE: Sure enough, in a second, updated version of the article:
Prof. Sammy Smooha, who conducted the survey, said he believes the 40.5 percent denial rate reflects a protest more than actual disbelief in the Holocaust.
Granted that it would be odd for anti-Israel feeling to create more disbelief in a historical event, but I still think that the effect of attacks on the historicity of the Holocaust in Iran play a part.

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