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January 28, 2014 4

Al Jazeera Poll Goes “The Opposite Direction” On The Holocaust

Al Jazeera Holocaust poll

A screen­shot of the poll on Al Jazeera’s website

Update – Jan­u­ary 31, 2014: Accord­ing to the results pro­vided on Al Jazeera’s web­site, 95.4% of those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the poll agreed that Bashar Al-Assad crimes in Syria are worse than Hitler’s crimes. 46,641 par­tic­i­pants voted.

The pan-Arab satel­lite tele­vi­sion net­work Al Jazeera is con­duct­ing a poll ask­ing its view­ers to vote on whether they believe Syr­ian pres­i­dent Bashar Al-Assad’s “crimes” are worse than Hitler’s “Nazi crimes.”

The poll, posted on Al Jazeera’s web­site on Jan­u­ary 24, runs through Jan­u­ary 30, when the results will be broad­cast on one of Al Jazeera’s most pop­u­lar live shows, El-Itidjah el-Mouakass [The Oppo­site Direc­tion]. The show often fea­tures debates between guests about top­ics raised in its polls.

While the ongo­ing con­flict in Syria has been one of the most heated issues dis­cussed on the show in recent months, Al Jazeera’s poll ques­tion reflects the degree to which the Holo­caust is mis­un­der­stood and mis­rep­re­sented in the Arab world.

The premise of the poll is inap­pro­pri­ate because it com­pares the death of more than six mil­lion Jews who were not part of any armed con­flict and were anni­hi­lated for no rea­son other than their faith and cul­ture to the human­i­tar­ian cri­sis and vio­lence in Syria.

The show’s host, Dr. Faisal Al-Qassem, posted a link to the poll on his per­sonal Face­book page to encour­age his more than three mil­lion fol­low­ers to par­tic­i­pate in the poll.

Iron­i­cally, most of the com­ments on Al-Qassem’s Face­book page express out­rage against the premise, but for all the wrong rea­sons. “Unlike Bashar, Hitler killed the Jews and not his own peo­ple,” one com­ment reads, sug­gest­ing that Hitler’s crimes are some­how more justified.

Sim­i­larly, other com­ments state that there is no way to com­pare the two at all because, unlike Bashar, “Hitler was defend­ing his people.”

These com­ments and oth­ers demon­strate how the lessons of the Holo­caust are woe­fully mis­un­der­stood, or worse, are grotesquely dis­torted in the Arab World. The poll ques­tion adds to this prob­lem and to the triv­i­al­iza­tion of the Holo­caust, which con­tin­ues to go unex­am­ined in main­stream Arab media.

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