Wiesenthal Center Asks Icrc to Cut Ties to Red Crescent
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Wiesenthal Center Asks Icrc to Cut Ties to Red Crescent

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged the International Committee of the Red Cross to sever all connections with the Palestinian Red Crescent, so that it does not find itself condoning an affront to the memory of 6 million Jewish Holocaust victims.

An article published in the July 1990 edition of the Palestinian Red Crescent’s official organ, Balsam, called the existence of gas chambers a Jewish hoax to bilk money for Israel from Germany, along with other anti-Semitic canards.

The article was brought to the attention of ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga by the European representative of the Wiesenthal Center, Shimon Samuels, who met with him Tuesday at the ICRC’s Geneva headquarters, and in a letter signed by Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, the center’s dean and associate dean respectively.

Sommaruga’s response to Samuels was that while he sympathized with the center’s point of view and regretted the article, the ICRC could not intervene in the affairs of the 148 separate societies affiliated with the Red Cross.

He said that to “enter into the controversy would endanger ICRC action in the field,” and advised Samuels not to press the issue too hard in today’s climate.

Sommaruga told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he saw no point in giving publicity to an obscure journal virtually unknown in most of the world.

The Palestinian Red Crescent enjoys observer status with the ICRC, as does Israel. The ICRC moreover recognizes the Red Crescent, the Red Cross equivalent in Islamic countries, but not the Magen David Adom, its Israeli equivalent.

Samuels pointed that out to the ICRC chief. He reminded him of the meager help rendered Holocaust victims and Nazi persecutees by the Red Cross during World War II, and also brought up the fact that after the war, the Red Cross helped German war criminals get passports to escape to South America.


The Palestinian Red Crescent is headed by Fathi Arafat, a medical doctor and the brother of Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Dr. Arafat is listed as “general supervisor” on the masthead of Balsam, published in Nicosia, Cyprus, so he must be held responsible for its contents, the Wiesenthal Center said.

Balsam published a seven-page article, authored by Rim Arnov, which quoted extensively from Holocaust revisionists. Among those cited was French historian Robert Faurisson, whose 1976 book claiming there were not and could not have been gas chambers at Nazi concentration camps has been discredited by scholars.

Claiming that Israel could not survive without huge infusions of funds from Germany, the article charged that “the lie concerning the gas chambers enabled the Jews to establish the State of Israel.”

It complained that anyone who questioned the Holocaust was threatened and subjected to ridicule by the pro-Zionist press.

According to the article, Jews have controlled the French media since the Revolution in 1789. “The Jews own 75 percent of the publishing houses in France, 100 percent of the press and 90 percent of the film and theater industries,” it alleged.

“Jews regard themselves as the landlords of humanity, and the Nuremberg courts were manned mainly by Jews and their friends, who were directed by President Roosevelt’s legal adviser, Samuel Rosenman,” the Balsam piece said.

In their letter to Sommaruga, Hier and Cooper wrote: “In the name of the victims of the Holocaust, and in the name of our 380,000 members, we urge you to condemn this terrible provocation and to immediately discontinue the ICRC’s relationship with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

“The international community in general, and the ICRC in particular, did not do enough to help the victims of the Holocaust in life. It should, therefore, take the lead in safeguarding their memory.”

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