MK Barakeh in Auschwitz
Photo: Itzik Harari, Knesset

MK Barakeh: Arab schools must teach Holocaust values

Hadash chairman, who visited Auschwitz concentration camp earlier this year, tells Ynet 'the lesson of never again racism, fascism, oppression and persecution must be learned everywhere'

About two months after returning from a memorial ceremony at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, Knesset Member Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) stressed Monday that the values of the Holocaust must be taught in Arab schools.


Atef Moadi, head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee's education committee, shares this opinion. In practice, this doesn't really happen.


A window overlooking piles of children's shoes are the strongest memory MK Barakeh was left with after the trip. "Naturally, the entire visit was emotional, but the windows with piles of children's shoes was the most difficult point," he told Ynet on Holocaust Day. "Every shoe is beyond any fascist and any Nazi and that is the place I have been carrying every since."


According to MK Barakeh, the lesson of the Holocaust must be learned. "The lesson of never again racism, fascism, oppression and persecution are universal values which must be learned everywhere, and the Holocaust is one of the strongest of them."


Barakeh added, however, that he had traveled to Auschwitz because it was important for him to take part in the international Holocaust Day events and in the "Zionist schmaltz of the March of the Living".


"I don't feel any connection to the commercialization of Holocaust Day and the attempt to commercialize it for Zionist purposes. For me, whoever links the establishment of the State of Israel to the Holocaust links the Holocaust to the Palestinian people's Nakba (catastrophe). Our mission in 2010 is to be loyal to the values of 'never again' and end the Palestinian people's tragedy."


'Learn beyond history lessons'

The head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee's education committee expressed a similar opinion. "The Holocaust must be learned beyond history lessons. The Education Ministry must appoint a joint steering committee to debate the matter," Moadi told Ynet.


Earlier, he said, he stood in silence during the two-minute siren in memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, as he has done every single year.


"I stand to attention every year and I have no problem with it. Every Palestinian Arab living here in his homeland has a sense of solidarity with the Holocaust and we have no problem learning and reviving the memory of the Holocaust every year, beyond what is learned in history lessons."


The Education Ministry must think about how to include the Holocaust issue in the educational system, and the Education Ministry must appoint a joint steering committee to consider this, but on the other hand, stop alienating our Nakba, removing our narrative, start thinking about ways to include our own holocaust in the educational curriculum."


In practice, it seems most Arab schools do not mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, and their students' rate of participation in activities commemorating the Jews' annihilation is slim.


According to figures released in late 2009 by the Knesset's research and information center, 134,672 students from all across the country took part in activities commemorating the Holocaust, only 1,595 of them from the Arab sector.


The youth delegations to Poland had an even poorer presence of Arab students: Only 150 compared to 15,814 Jewish students.


פרסום ראשון: 04.12.10, 15:03
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