Interview with political scientist, Dr. Matthias Kuentzel: “Nazi influence upon the Middle East is nevertheless almost systematically overlooked by Middle East and Islam schola
“Significant elements of Nazi Germany’s influence on the Middle East have remained until today. This also affects current conflicts in the region.
Dr. Matthias Kuentzel is a German political scientist and author of numerous books. One of them deals with Jihad and Anti-Semitism. He lives in Hamburg.
“In the mid-1930’s, moderate Palestinian Arab forces which were seeking coexistence with the Zionists had not yet been marginalized. That changed with the vast Nazi support for the Islamists. The Mufti destroyed or forced out moderate Palestinians in the Arab uprising of 1936-1939. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt used the riots in Palestine for anti-Semitic campaigns which enabled them to become a huge organization. Their membership jumped from 800 in 1936 to 200,000 in 1938.
“In April 1939, Germany began to broadcast anti-Semitic propaganda in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Hindi. Its modern shortwave station Radio Zeesen, was received in the Arab world better than any other. From 1939 to 1945, it broadcast professional anti-Semitic programs on a daily basis. They were mixed with quotes from the Koran and Arabic music.
“The Allies were presented as being dependent on the Jews, who were portrayed as Islam’s biggest enemy. The program would announce: ‘The Jew is our enemy and killing him brings pleasure to Allah.’ In this way, German propaganda radicalized existing Jew-hatred among Muslims.
“Various testimonies from that period indicate that these broadcasts were widely heard. An Arab informer for the Jewish Agency related that he passed a café in Jaffa on 7 October 1939. Many Arabs stood around listening to Radio Zeesen. So did people on nearby balconies.
“Iranian author Amir Cheheltan wrote that it was common for passersby to stand on the sidewalks at the entrance of tea houses in Teheran listening to Radio Zeesen broadcasts on the progress of the German army. He wrote, ‘These broadcasts inspired the fantasy of the masses on the street. Each German victory represented a defeat of the colonial powers, the Soviet Union and Great Britain, which they applauded.’
“Radio Zeesen contributed to growing segments of the Arab world seeing the Middle East conflict through the anti-Semitic perspective of the Germans. When Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, its main Middle East agents were at the pinnacle of their power.
“The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt had about 500,000 members. In 1946, they hailed Al-Husseini, who had actively supported the Holocaust. They called him ‘a hero’ who, with the help of …read more