July 25, 2020

Voices on Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East


Nazia, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, by Barry Rubin & Wolfgang G. Schwanitz

Here’s a roundup of four pieces which have appeared in the the media recently about the book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (click for full preview), by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, now available through Amazon.com.

As of this week, we are pleased to report that, as of May 11, this book is ranking #80 for sales in two categories on Amazon.com:

    Number #80 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics >Middle Eastern
    Number #80 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics >European

Scroll down for further voices from scholars and critics around the world.

From Zionism, the Grand Mufti, and the Holocaust

By Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, Ami Magazine cover feature

The provocative title of a review in Tablet Magazine,“Did Zionism Cause the Holocaust? A New Biography Says Yes.” was more than enough to pique my curiosity about the newly released book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz.

Any claim that Zionism may even indirectly have caused the Holocaust is highly inflammatory and subject to almost universal Jewish condemnation. Could there actually be a scholarly work, particularly one co-authored by the late Barry Rubin, considered one of the leading Middle East scholars of his generation, advancing such a controversial thesis?  Read more… (full PDF)

[Appears here with permission from Ami Magazine]

From The Obscenity of Blaming Zionism for the Holocaust

A response by Wolfgang G. Schwanitz to a review in Tablet Magazine.

In his February 3 review in Tablet Magazine, David Mikics misrepresents our book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East.  It is not a biography of the grand mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Amin al-Husaini, though one is in the making, and the reviewer fails to show how it compares to related works.  Read more… (full PDF)

[Appears here with permission from Tablet Magazine]

From The Palestinians and the Holocaust

By Petra Marquardt-Bigman

According to the recently published book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang Schwanitz, it was either al-Husseini himself or one of his aides and relatives who visited Sachsenhausen in June 1942 together with three other Arab officials (p.2); there is also credible information indicating that one year later, “Eichmann personally took al-Husaini to visit the Auschwitz and Maidanek concentration camps.” (p. 164)  Read more… (link to Jerusalem Post website)

From Palestyńczycy i Holocaust

By Petra Marquardt-Bigman

W opublikowanej niedawno książce Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East Barry Rubin i Wolfgang Schwanitz piszą, że albo sam al-Husseini, albo jeden z jego bliskich współpracowników i krewny, odwiedził w czerwcu 1942 r. Sachsenhausen razem z trzema innymi funkcjonariuszami arabskimi (s. 2); istnieją także wiarygodne informacje, że w rok później “Eichmann osobiście zabrał al-Husseiniego na wizytę w obozach koncentracyjnych Auschwitz i Majdanek”. (s. 164)  Read more… (link to Listy z naszego sadu blog)

Finally, a roundup of recent scholarly and critical comments…

Gene Santoro, World War II History Magazine, (5/6 2014)83, Arlington, Virginia:

The odd-couple marriage between Nazis and Arab nationalists has come under increasingly revealing scrutiny over the last decade. Here, fresh research from previously unexamined archives explicitly ties that frightening nexus to today’s Middle East.

David Pryce-Jones, National Review Online, March 10, 2021, Author of Treason of the Heart: from Thomas Paine to Kim Philby:

Rubin and Schwanitz take care to make a necessary distinction: al-Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husaini and his successors and imitators are not themselves actual Nazis, but the process of interaction led them to adopt whatever they found congenial in that inhuman ideology. Thoroughly researched and closely argued, this book exposes the reality that the selfsame follies and crimes that wrecked the continent of Europe are now wrecking the Muslim Middle East.

David Mikics, author of Slow Reading in A Hurried Age, Tablet Magazine, February 3, 2021:

Rubin and Schwanitz do an illuminating job showing the extent of the partnership between Germans and Islamists; this is by far the best part of their book. Germany had a long history of encouraging Jihadism even before Hitler’s rise to power… the story of Germany’s effort to spark a Muslim uprising against British rule during WWI, as well as the alliance between Germany and the genocidal Ottoman government, is grippingly told here… [A Response here]

Professor Emeritus Jacob M. Landau, Author of Pan-Turkism, Hebrew University of Jerusalem:

This book is a model of original research and the ultimate scholarly study of German-Arab and German-Muslim cooperation during the first half of the twentieth century, covering both World Wars. It is a major contribution in the field, a magnum opus.

Efraim Karsh, Author of Islamic Imperialism, King’s College, University of London:

In this hugely important book Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz show that not only did Nazism enjoy widespread popularity in the contemporary Middle East, but its profound effects on pan-Arabist and Islamist thinking, as well as the evolution of Palestinian Arab nationalism, continue to reverberate throughout the region to date. A must read.

Benny Morris, Author of One State, Two States, Ben-Gurion University, Be’er Sheva

Rubin and Schwanitz have done a major, double service - by tracing the historical links between Islamist jihadism and German policy from the Wilhelmine to the Nazi eras; and by highlighting the common (anti-democratic, anti-liberal and anti-Semitic) ideological basis of Nazism and Islamism during the Second World War. The center-piece of their study is the description of the mid-20th century alliance between the Nazis and militant Arab nationalists, which still affects current Middle Eastern politics and policies.

Petra Marquardt-Bigman, Author of Amerikanische Geheimdienstanalysen über Deutschland 1942-1949, The Jerusalem Post Blog, April 27, 2021:

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has repeatedly paid homage to al-Husaini, which inevitably casts a shadow over today’s news [Sunday, April 24, 2021] that for the first time, Abbas issued a special statement for Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day describing the Holocaust as “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era.” This statement shouldn’t be dismissed lightly, since it will no doubt trigger furious reactions by all those who insist that the Palestinian “nakba” was a comparable tragedy. Nevertheless, those who will now rush to praise Abbas for this statement should pause for a moment and consider how much more could be achieved for the prospects of genuine reconciliation and peace if the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world were finally willing to confront their own historical connections to the Nazi era.

Yossi Klein Halevi, Author of Like Dreamers, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem

Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East is a welcome addition to the short list of indispensable books on the Arab-Israeli conflict. We owe a great debt to Barry Rubin and to Wolfgang G. Schwanitz for revealing an urgent story the international community should have known but somehow missed — a story that is a key to understanding how we got to this current moment in the Middle East.

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