Israeli-Arab activist in mission to tackle Iran over Holocaust

An Israeli-Arab lawyer plans to travel to Iran next month to preach his message at an official conference that all Muslims need to appreciate the true magnitude of the Holocaust.

Khaled Mahameed, who started the Arab world's first Holocaust museum in Nazareth, has been invited to address the conference, Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision, in Tehran on 11 and 12 December.

Mr Mahameed said yesterday his challenge to the questioning of the Holocaust by the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would be: "Do not deny or even argue about the authenticity of the Holocaust ... You are not helping the Palestinian people. You are hurting their cause."

Mr Mahameed was invited to attend the conference after sending copies of articles he had written on Jewish suffering in the Second World War to various Iranian contacts as a correction after the President's views were reported.

He has also established a modest private exhibition in the first floor of his house of 80 harrowing photographs purchased from Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial and museum to the victims of the Holocaust, in Jerusalem, with captions he has translated into Arabic. A leaflet he has written gives a sympathetic and factual account of the horrors.

He said he intended to ask for an interview with the Iranian President in which he would try to persuade him to change his views. He said he had sent a copy of his book, The Palestinians and the State of the Holocaust, to President Ahmadinejad four months ago.

A text on the wall of his museum declares: "The Palestinians are the only people in the world who for the sake of providing shelter to the Jews have paid their homeland as a price for the sins and the deeds of the Nazis."

But Mr Mahameed also believes that Arab understanding of the Holocaust is an important step to a lasting peace between the Palestinians and Israel. He is passionate in arguing that Palestinians cannot expect Jews to appreciate the suffering of Palestinians displaced or driven out of their homes in the war of 1948 unless they first start to understand what he is acknowledges is the far greater Jewish catastrophe of the Holocaust.

He also rejects the statement by President Ahmadinejad that Israel should "relocate" to Europe because of European guilt for their suffering. "Israel is a fact on the ground," he said. "You cannot end the problem by switching the button off to the time before the establishment of the Jewish state."

Mr Mahameed, preparing to face harsh criticism for his views when he visits Tehran, was studying the Koran for sympathetic references to the Jews. He said these included depiction of the Jews as victims of persecution by the Egyptian Pharoahs, who killed their children and took their women as slaves.

Mr Mahameed revealed in May last year that his decision to set up the museum, which has its own website, had meant the neglect of his legal practice, a start-up cost of £2,400, the ridicule of some fellow Muslims, the indifference of Nazareth's (Christian Arab) mayor and a deep rift with his own brother.

He said: "People say I am a crazy for making this issue the centre of my life. They should realise that I am serving the Palestinian cause. The world will not see our Nakba [the "disaster" or flight of Palestinians from their homes in 1948] before we could feel for their Holocaust."

Affirming that six million Jews died in the Holocaust, Mr Mahameed's website, www.alkaritha.org, says: "We believe that the Arabs have no adequate information about the Holocaust, or have minimal information ... And because of that the majority of the Arab people denies the Holocaust."

* President Ahmadinejad has told the Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, that Iran is ready to consult with Italy on Middle East issues, Mr Prodi's office said yesterday. The letter came a day after France, Italy and Spain presented a Middle East peace initiative, asserting that Europe must try to end years of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie