Vile Hitler Comparison

Dear HonestReporting Member,

“Der Spiegel,” the most prestigious German weekly, has published an article, “Arafat Knows Tunis Already,” which compares Ariel Sharon to Adolf Hitler. The article is written by Rudolf Augstein, a publisher of Der Spiegel and a prominent figure in German journalism over the past few decades.

The comparison begins as follows: Sharon wants to turn Palestine into an Israeli protectorate. Now Sharon is making Arafat personally responsible for the terrorist acts, keeps him a prisoner and waits for his political end. Hitler did the same thing after his pact with Stalin, says Der Spiegel, when he waited patiently for the fall of the Chamberlain government.

Der Spiegel says that one is allowed to make such statements in France (here Augstein quotes from the French Le Monde), but it is forbidden to say so in Germany — i.e. the Germans have to abstain from saying the truth about Israel because of the political correctness imposed by their treatment of Jews during World War Two.

Augstein has been spewing anti-Jewish diatribes for many years. Writing in the March 19, 1996 issue of Der Spiegel, Augstein said:

“The experience [after the 1967 war] that they [the Jews] were no longer the ‘underdogs’ driven by the urge to make money, but highly competent warriors, technicians, scientists and agricultural experts, must have completely alienated them from their founder Theodor Herzl… The idea gained ground that they, the Zionists, supported by the financial power of Jewish voters in the United States, were the morally and technologically superior race… THE race.”

A full translation of the December 2001 article appears below, and online at:,1518,173002,00.html Thanks to HonestReporting member T. Adler for alerting us to this story, and for providing the translation.

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Leserbrief zum Artikel Rudolf Augstein: Arafat kennt Tunis bereits (ID: 173002)

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========== SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT ============

To the Editor:

Rudolf Augstein bases his Dec. 17 assault on Israel on various historical incidents. Unfortunately, his historical analogies and comparison of Ariel Sharon to Hitler and Yasser Arafat to Chamberlain are revisionist, warped — and morally repugnant.

Arafat, after all, is the author of countless speeches, covenants, and manifestos legitimizing the killing of Jews and the destruction of Israel. Augstein tries to personalize the conflict: “Sharon makes Yasser Arafat personally responsible for the terror.” But that is not only Sharon’s opinion. It is also the opinion of former Prime Minister Barak and Foreign Minister Ben-Ami — both Laborites — and the opinion of President Bush, Secretary of State Powell, and other senior American officials.

Arafat has not been under “constant duress” as Augstein claims.

There was no Israeli pressure on him when he went to Camp David in 2000 and rejected Israel’s unprecedented offers for peace. The concessions on land, settlements and Jerusalem were not enough for Arafat? He could have counter-offered, but he chose a path of war instead — chosen even before he went to Camp David, evidence shows. There was no pressure forcing him to launch 15 months of attacks against Israel.

Arafat is not “denied the right of decision” by Israeli tanks, but by his belligerency and refusal to meet his eight years of commitments to arrest terrorists, confiscate weapons and resolve differences through negotiations. He could have made many decisions for peace over the years, particularly during the 15 months of this “intifada.”

Since Arafat arrived in the territories from Tunis, he has inflicted upon the Palestinian people a despotic and corrupt government, and upon the Israeli public a ruthless willingness to unleash terrorism. How does Augstein know that Arafat’s successor will be more radical? If his successor truly cares about his own people, he may actually be better than Arafat. It is hard to imagine how he could be worse.

============ DER SPIEGEL ARTICLE ==============

DER SPIEGEL – December 17, 2001,1518,173002,00.html


By Rudolf Augstein

Ariel Sharon wants to wage war; he has no longer left any doubt about it. He wiped out two decades of endeavors for peace. In his eyes, Yasser Arafat is the person mainly to blame for his having to withdraw from Lebanon in 1982. Sharon wanted to make Lebanon an Israeli protectorate. He would still fix a protectorate over Palestine today if he were only allowed to do so.

While this can be said [openly] in France, in Germany it obviously cannot. The French daily “Le Monde” said last Friday: “Sharon wants to leave Arafat no other choice but to acknowledge an actual protectorate in which the Palestinian security forces would be transformed into assistants of the Israeli army and police.”

Prime Minister Sharon makes Yasser Arafat personally responsible for the terror. Now he keeps him a prisoner and waits for his political end.

Similar things happened in history, under different conditions. After Hitler had made his devil’s pact with Stalin, he waited with extreme patience the fall of the Chamberlain government. The Foreign Office took great pains to explain to him that Chamberlain’s place would only be taken by a worse enemy, Winston Churchill.

Similarly, if Arafat fell, his followers at the top of the Palestinian Authority would certainly be more radical.

Before the Six-Day War in 1967, the whole Western world was decidedly friendly to Israel. At that time, a Der Spiegel reporter was a guest of the Israeli General Staff under General Yitzhak Rabin.

He reported a war was expected which would not be too long, but short, so that the great powers no longer attack like in 1956 during the Suez adventure. What it came down to from today’s perspective was a war — short enough — waged in order to negotiate the only real chance for peace.

Ever since, the Palestinians have been constantly humiliated, until today’s hopeless situation: Arafat has been locked in Ramallah and deprived of the right of decision through the deployment of tanks. The majority of the Israelis seem to stand on Prime Minister Sharon’s side on that score.

Now it looks as if Israel wanted to force the Palestinian President Arafat to go to a different country. Tunis he knows already.

Arafat was constantly under duress and hardly had the opportunity to make serious mistakes, but in this respect most German newspapers beg to differ.

The French “Liberation” writes that Sharon does an extremely bad service to his country
when he tries to convince the Palestinians by force of arms that they could also feel fine in a protectorate under Israel’s leadership.

This wipes out all the unconventional procedures attempted so far. Negotiations are no longer possible under Sharon. The Americans are still paying lip service to the Palestinian President, but for internal reasons they are incapable of confronting Sharon.

According to Foreign Minister Balfour’s Declaration from 1917, which wasn’t an unselfish act either, a homeland for the Jews was supposed to be arranged in Palestine. Now the attempt is made to arrange a secure homeland state for the Palestinians who have been partly expelled from it.

But take it easy: According to “Die Welt” [one of the most important German daily newspapers, known for its pro-Israeli bent], the bridges between Israel and the Palestinians are not completely broken yet, as long as Israel delivers electricity and water to the Palestinians. Exhilarating prospects.

In 1917 Jerusalem had a population of 20,000. The Turks wanted to expel them out of the city according to the model of the Armenians they had “transferred.” The German general Erich von Falkenhayn, who was the commander of the area at that time, prevented this, not necessarily out of philo-Semitism. He just hated any kind of disorder in his area of command.

That is how the victorious General Rabin, later murdered by a Jewish terrorist as the first leading Israeli, could say the simple truth 30 days before his death: “We did not come into an empty country.”



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