A Palestinian leader considered to be second-in-command after Chairman Yasser Arafat claimed in a pair of doctoral theses that the number of Jewish men, women and children killed by the Nazis during World War II is a fiction perpetuated by Jewish leaders and the West.

The secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, discussed in a 1982 paper “the secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist movement leadership.” In a separate paper written two years later, Mazen “raised doubts that gas chambers were used for extermination of Jews and claimed that the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust might be ‘even less than a million,'” according to an interpretation published by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.

Insinuating that the “Zionist movement” would benefit from exaggerating the number killed in Nazi death and concentration camps, Mazen accused Jewish leaders and the West of lying so “Zionists” would achieve “greater gains” after the war when the time came to “distribute the spoils.”

“Mazen’s intention was to undermine the legitimacy of the Zionist movement by proving that during a critical stage in the history of the Jewish people – the rise of Nazism and World War II – the Zionist leadership stopped at nothing to achieve its aim of establishing a Jewish state,” MEMRI analysts wrote.

Mazen said “the truth [about the Nazi crimes] has another aspect” that the West preferred to disregard. Rather, the West was working to hide “a basic partner in crime” – in this case, the Zionist movement.

Pointing to an alleged convergence of interests between Nazis and Jews, Mazen, in his 1984 paper – a dissertation for Moscow’s Oriental College that was published in Arabic by Dar Ibn Rushd publishers in Amman, Jordan – said the Zionist movement sought to conspire “against the Jewish people” and collaborate “with the Nazis to annihilate it,” because the movement considered “Palestine” the only appropriate destination for Jewish emigration.

“It might be imagined that Zionism would do all it could, materially and otherwise, to save the Jews, or at least to keep them [alive] until the end of the war,” Mazen wrote. “It might have been expected that it would arouse world public opinion and direct its attention to the massacres carried out against the Jews so that the governments would act to rescue them from their bitter fate.”

However, the Zionist movement “did the exact opposite of what could have been expected,” he claimed. Instead, it “sabotaged various aid plans and withheld information regarding the bitter fate of Europe’s Jews ‘in order to free itself from the need to take necessary action,'” the MEMRI analysis said.

The PLO official himself added, “the Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule in order to arouse the government’s hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them and to expand the mass extermination.”

He also accused the Western nations of skewering the truth about the Holocaust because they won the war and were able to “sketch the final picture” of the war’s outcome and define “the crimes committed.”

“They locked up details, facts and crimes that they didn’t want to exist; they ignored names, important people, institutions, organizations and countries that they chose to ignore. In the end, they charged the Nazi leaders with all the crimes that were committed during the war. …” wrote Mazen, according to MEMRI’s translation.

How many killed?

The PLO official questioned the number of Jews that were killed in comparison to all the casualties reportedly produced during the war.

Throughout the war, “40 million people of different nations of the world were killed,” he wrote. “The German people sacrificed 10 million; the Soviet people 20 million; and the rest [of those killed] were from Yugoslavia, Poland and the other peoples. But after the war, it was announced that 6 million Jews were among the victims and that the war of annihilation had been aimed first of all against the Jews, and only then against the rest of the peoples of Europe.”

Mazen continued: “The truth of the matter is that no one can verify this number, or completely deny it. In other words, the number of Jewish victims might be 6 million and might be much smaller – even less than 1 million.”

He went on to accuse Jewish leaders of “inflating” the number of Jews killed to “ensure” great post-war gains.

“This led [the Zionist movement] to confirm the number [6 million], to establish it in world opinion, and by doing so to arouse more pangs of conscience and sympathy for Zionism in general,” he said, adding that “many scholars have debated the question of the 6 million figure and reached perplexing conclusions, according to which the Jewish victims total hundreds of thousands.”

To underscore his point, Mazen quoted Canadian author Roger Delarom, who once wrote, “To date, no proof whatsoever exists that the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi concentration camps reached 4 million or 6 million. Zionism first spoke of 12 million exterminated in these camps, but then the number decreased greatly, to half, that is, only 6 million.

“Then the number decreased further, and became 4 million, as the Germans could not have killed or exterminated more Jews than there were in the world at that time. In effect, the true number is much smaller than these fictitious millions,” Delarom wrote, as quoted by Mazen.

According to the MEMRI translation, Mazen also compared Zionism to Nazism, claiming both zealously believed in the “purity” of their own race and that Jewish leaders betrayed “the Jewish people” as other “leaders have betrayed their people and their country and sold them to their enemies” throughout history.

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