The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism
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|Original title||al-Wajh al-Akhar: al-'Alaqat as-Sirriya bayna an-Naziya wa's-Sihyuniya|
|Publisher||Dar Ibn Rushd|
The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism (Arabic: al-Wajh al-Akhar: al-'Alaqat as-Sirriya bayna an-Naziya wa's-Sihyuniya) is a book by Mahmoud Abbas, published in 1984 in Arabic. It is based on his CandSc thesis, completed in 1982 at Patrice Lumumba University (now the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia) under the title The Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement, and defended at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
In the book, Abbas argues that the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust had been exaggerated. He further claimed that those Jews which were killed by the Nazis were actually the victims of a Zionist-Nazi plot aimed to fuel vengeance against Jews and to expand their mass extermination. The book also discussed topics such as the Haavara Agreement, in which the Third Reich agreed with the Jewish Agency to facilitate Jewish emigration from Germany to Mandate Palestine.
Portions of The Other Side have been considered as Holocaust denial by critics, especially the parts disputing the accepted number of deaths in the Holocaust as well as the accusations that Zionist agitation was the cause of the Holocaust  a charge that Abbas denies.
When Abbas was appointed the Palestinian prime minister in 2003, he wrote that the "Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind" and that he does not deny it, and said that "When I wrote The Other Side … we were at war with Israel. Today I would not have made such remarks". However, in 2013 he reasserted that part of his thesis that "the Zionist movement had ties with the Nazis". In 2014, he stated the Holocaust was the “most heinous crime in the modern era”.
Study at Patrice Lumumba University
Abbas attended at Patrice Lumumba University to prepare and present his doctoral thesis. The institute's director at the time, Yevgeny Primakov, appointed a Soviet specialist on Palestine, Vladimir Ivanovich Kisilev as Abbas' dissertation adviser. They communicated with mostly in English and Arabic. In an interview with the magazine Kommersant 20 years later, Kisilev remembers Abbas as a well-prepared graduate student, who came to Moscow with an already chosen research topic and a large amount of already prepared material.
The title of Abbas' thesis is The Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement or, in Russian, "Связи между сионизмом и нацизмом. 1933–1945". In 1984, a book based on Abbas' doctoral dissertation was published in Arabic by Dar Ibn Rushd publishers in Amman, Jordan under the title al-Wajh al-akhar : al-`alaqat al-sirriyah bayna al-Naziyah wa-al-Sihyuniyah.
Content of the thesis and book
It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure [of Holocaust deaths] so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure [six million] in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions — fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand.
In the book, he wrote:
Following the war, word was spread that six million Jews were amongst the victims and that a war of extermination was aimed primarily at the Jews . . . The truth is that no one can either confirm or deny this figure. In other words, it is possible that the number of Jewish victims reached six million, but at the same time it is possible that the figure is much smaller, below one million.
Abbas quotes historian Raul Hilberg to support his claim that fewer than one million Jews were killed. However, Rafael Medoff of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies denied the assertion that "The historian and author, Raoul Hilberg, thinks that the figure does not exceed 890,000", and said this is "utterly false". He wrote that "Professor Hilberg, a distinguished historian and author of the classic study The Destruction of the European Jews, has never said or written any such thing."
Additionally, he claimed that Zionist activities antagonized the Nazis and contributed to hostilities:
The Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule to arouse the government's hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them and to expand the mass extermination.
The thesis also discussed topics such as the Haavara Agreement of 1933, in which the Third Reich agreed with the Jewish Agency to enable Jews to emigrate from Germany directly to Mandate Palestine, which he sees as evidence of collaboration.
A global survey of Holocaust denial, published by David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in 2004, describes the book as "denying the Holocaust".
Political controversy and Abbas' clarifications
After Abbas was appointed prime minister of the Palestinian Authority in 2003, the Israel Defense Forces removed excerpts from the Abbas book from its website, including quotes questioning the use of gas chambers and talking of less than one million victims.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center called for Abbas to clarify his position on the Holocaust in 1995, but he did not do so at that time. Abbas' reported defence when asked about the book was telling: "When I wrote The Other Side… we were at war with Israel. Today I would not have made such remarks… Today there is peace and what I write from now on must help advance the peace process."
In his May 2003 interview with Haaretz, Abbas stated:
I wrote in detail about the Holocaust and said I did not want to discuss numbers. I quoted an argument between historians in which various numbers of casualties were mentioned. One wrote there were twelve million victims and another wrote there were 800,000. I have no desire to argue with the figures. The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind. The Holocaust was a terrible thing and nobody can claim I denied it.
According to the Ma'an News Agency, in an interview in 2013, Abbas defended his doctoral thesis regarding the relationship between the Zionists and the Nazis and said he "challenges anyone who can deny that the Zionist movement had ties with the Nazis before World War II."
- al-Wajh al-Akhar: al-'Alaqat as-Sirriya bayna an-Naziya wa's-Sihyuniya. Publisher: Dar Ibn Rushd, Amman, Jordan. 1984.
- National Library of Australia Catalogue detail.
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- Huggler, Justin (30 April 2003). "Palestinian PM has friends in Israel, enemies at home". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2011.