Nasser’s Antisemitic War Against Israel

It was not Israel or Zionism that provoked the 1967 war but the latent anti-Zionism and antisemitism in the Arab world and the fact that Nasser was gripped by the same destructive sentiments that he whipped up in the masses.

By Matthias Küntzel

FATHOM, BICOM's quaterly online journal, March 15, 2017

Introduction: The Road Not Taken

‘It is time to abandon demagogy; war with Israel is impossible!’ This was Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba’s message to the Arab world in March 1965. The Palestinian Arabs, he thought, should take a moderate and flexible approach, including the recognition of the Jewish state on the terms proposed by the United Nation’s partition resolution. Arabs and Israelis ‘would be able to live in harmony after rejecting hatred’, Bourguiba argued. ‘The Palestinian affair calls for a pacific solution in which there would be neither victor nor victim.’[1]

Bourguiba was no friend of the Jewish state. Indeed, he regarded Israel as an imperialist power and encouraged the Palestinian Arabs to return to Israeli territory in order to wage their guerilla war from within. ‘The plan I advocated,’ Bourguiba explained, ‘aimed at placing Israel in an awkward position, at turning the tables and gaining the support of international opinion for our cause.’[2] In April 1965, he nevertheless offered to act as an intermediary in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian refugees and hinted that Egypt’s President Nasser might perhaps join him as the second intermediary in these talks.[3]

Nasser’s reaction, however, was utterly negative. In his 1965 May Day speech President Nasser charged that ‘Bourguiba in his declarations has adopted the same positions as Israel, and the imperialist countries which are bolstering up Israel’ while the Egyptian paper Al Ahram, reputedly Nasser’s mouthpiece, ‘not only repudiated Bourguiba’s proposals out of hand, but imputed that the real author of the proposals was not President Bourguiba, but rather ‘a Western imperialist source’ (read Washington).’[4]

In 1965, Gamal Abdel Nasser was the only Arab leader who could have leveraged Bourguiba’s approach. In April 1955 he had emerged as a spokesman of the non-aligned countries alongside Jawaharlal Nehru and Josip Broz Tito. In September 1955 he defied the West by contracting arms deals with Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. In 1956 he secured Britain’s evacuation of the Canal zone and nationalized the Suez Canal. Since then, ‘millions of Arabs revered him with a religious awe, and global leaders courted him as a spokesman for Third World nationalism.’[5] Nasser was, furthermore, a charismatic speaker. If anyone was able to influence the masses’ opinions about the Middle East conflict, then it was he.

Tunisia’s president Bourguiba was also a leader of international stature. As late as February 1965 he was received with great elation not only in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, but also in Cairo where he was driven in an open car through the streets and was given the opportunity to address a session of the Egyptian Parliament.[6] If Nasser and Bourguiba had worked together in the summer of 1965, they could have changed the Arabs’ attitude towards the Middle East conflict. Nasser, however, repudiated his colleague’s course – he did not want to accept but to destroy Israel. Why? And why did he provoke the fateful Six-Day War some months later?

In this paper, I will (1) recall the road to war and (2) the Soviet Union’s role in the summer of 1967, before examining (3) the antisemitic movements and ideologies that shaped Nasser’s outlook: The Young Egypt Society and the Muslim Brotherhood. Finally, I will focus on (4) the radical anti-Zionism of the ‘Arab street’ as a factor shaping Nasser’s actions.

Part 1: The Road to War

On 13 May, the preliminary events started that led up to the war. On this day, the Soviet Union delivered a warning to the Egyptian government that Israel was massing 10 to 12 brigades on the Syrian border and was about to attack.[7]

On 14 May, Nasser responded by mobilizing Egyptian troops and sending them into the Sinai in order to deter the assumed Israeli aggression against Syria.[8] On the same day, he sent his chief of staff, General Mohammad Fawzi, to Damascus to coordinate with the Syrians. Here, however, a mystery emerged: Fawzi reported back to Nasser that, ‘There is nothing there. No massing of forces. Nothing.’[9]

On 15 May_, General Odd Bull, the chief of staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), whose observers frequented the border area daily, confirmed to UN headquarters that he ‘had no reports of any [military] build-up.’[10] The escalation, however, continued.

On 16 May, Nasser requested the withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from the Sinai. This force, composed of 3,400 UN troops from different nations, was created in 1956 after the Sinai War to deter warfare and ensure free passage through the Straits of Tiran.

On 19 May, UNEF withdrew while the number of Egyptian troops in the Sinai was increased from 35,000 to 80,000.[11] While Soviet papers such as Trud and Izvestia repeated that ‘large Israeli army formations are concentrated on the borders with Syria’[12], on the same day UN Secretary General U Thant informed the UN Security Council that reports from UN observers ‘have confirmed the absence of troop concentrations and significant troop movements on both sides of the [Syrian-Israeli] line.’[13]

On 20 May, Egypt’s ministry of religious affairs declared a state of holy war to liberate Palestine, while in Damascus defense minister Hafez al-Assad said it ‘was time … to take the initiative in destroying the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland.’[14]

On 22 May, Nasser declared the closure of the Tiran Straits to Israeli ships and cargoes – a step that changed the balance of power that had existed since 1956 and was considered a casus belli.

On 25 May, in a speech at Egypt’s Air Headquarters, Nasser proclaimed: ‘The Jews threaten war. We tell them you are welcome, we are ready for war.’[15]

On 26 May, in his speech to Arab Trade Unionists, Nasser explained: ‘We felt we are strong enough, that if we were to enter a battle with Israel, with God’s help, we could triumph. On this basis we decided to take actual steps. … The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel.’[16]

On 29 May, in his speech to National Assembly members, Nasser declared: ‘The issue now at hand is not the Gulf of Aqaba, the Straits of Tiran, or the withdrawal of the UNEF, but the rights of the Palestine people. … We shall triumph, God willing. … We are now ready to confront Israel. … We are now ready to deal with entire Palestine question.’[17] On that day, the Israeli prime minister invited the Soviet Ambassador Chuvakhin to visit the Syrian border to see for himself whether troops were concentrated there. The Soviet ambassador refused.[18]

On 1 June , in Israel a new government of national unity was formed with Moshe Dayan as Minister of Defense. Here, naked fear prevailed. ‘Everyone who receives the Cairo TV must have been wetting themselves in fear for the last few weeks,’ a woman from Tel Aviv wrote. ‘If Nasser wins, we all were born in vain,’ said one circular to mobilized reservists while Haaretz published an article entitled ‘The Danger of Hitler Returns’.[19]

On 2 June 2, PLO leader Ahmed Shuqeiri called on his supporters in the Haram el Sharif Mosque in Jerusalem to conduct a ‘holy war’ against Israel. In a press interview in Amman, Shuqeiri was reported to have said that only a few Jews would survive this anticipated war.[20]

On 5 June , Israel started her pre-emptive strikes against the Egyptian Air Force at 7.45 a.m. – the rest is history.

This timeline shows that a fabricated story served as the pretext for the threatening moves against Israel. In quick succession, Nasser poured his troops into Sinai, evicted the UNEF and closed the Straits of Tiran. No record has been found of the Egyptian leader having any reservations about this quick escalation. The Arab armies on Israel’s borders, encouraged by an anti-Zionist frenzy sweeping the Arab world, were poised to inflict existential damage on the Jewish state. Yet Nasser could not attack first. Russia had warned him repeatedly against firing the first shot.

Egypt’s war strategy was revealed on 26 May by Hassanein Haykal, one of Nasser’s closest confidants: ‘Israel cannot accept or remain indifferent to what has taken place. … This means … that the next move is up to Israel. Israel has to reply now. It has to deal a blow. We have to be ready for it to minimize its effect as much as possible. Then it will be our turn to deal the second blow, which we will deliver with the utmost possible effectiveness. … Let Israel begin. Let our second blow then be ready. Let it be a knockout.’[21]

Part 2: The Soviet Role

For a number of reasons, the Soviet leadership must be held partially responsible for the 1967 war.

First, since 1955, it had supplied the Arab States with large quantities of arms, including modern fighter aircraft, submarines and tanks. Most of this equipment was delivered after the Cairo Summit Conference of Arab leaders in January 1964 had agreed on a program to fight Israel.

Second, it was the Soviet government that spread the rumor about an Israeli troop concentration at the Syrian border – a rumor which triggered the subsequent chain of events. In 1968, Shams al-Badran, Egypt’s minister of war during the crisis, called these rumors ‘hallucinations’.[22] In 1992, 25 years later, even most officials and scholars in Moscow admitted that those reports had not been true.[23]

Third, Soviet propaganda contributed to the political atmosphere that engendered the war. Moscow repeatedly attacked ‘the pro-imperialist policy upheld by the Government of Israel’, claiming that ‘behind all the Israeli actions stand the imperialist circles of the United States’.[24]

The Soviet leadership was, on the other hand, not in favor of Israel’s destruction. Instead, it sought to bring about ‘the implementation of the [original] November 1947 partition plan boundaries, to which the Soviets apparently hoped a weak Israel … would eventually acquiesce.’[25] Thus, Moscow was taken by surprise by Cairo’s demand for the withdrawal of the UNEF troops and even more surprised by the closure of the Tiran Straits.[26] After the latter step the Soviets became concerned that war might break out. They now changed their tactics, attempting to mitigate tensions.[27]

The Soviets had played a dangerous game that had backfired. While they contributed, perhaps decisively, to the political atmosphere that engendered the Six-Day War they later made efforts to avert it. Thus, in the morning of June 5, the Soviets activated the hot line connecting Moscow to Washington and refused to send new weapons to Egypt in the following days.[28]

It is, therefore, clear that Nasser was responsible for creating the circumstances that led to the war. ‘Our basic objective is to destroy Israel,’ he proclaimed on 26 May. Why? Let us now turn to the ideological sources that shaped Nasser’s world-view.

Part 3: The Sources of Nasser’s Antisemitism

Nasser was born in 1918. In 1935 or 1936 he became a member of the Young Egypt Society led by Ahmad Hussein – a radical nationalist movement that was pro-Nazi in several respects. ‘The Second World War and the short period before it fired the spirit of our youth,’ wrote Nasser, ‘and moved our whole generation towards violence.’[29] Leading members of the Young Egypt Society included Ali Maher and Aziz al-Misri, two prominent Egyptian politicians who were known for their anti-British and pro-Axis stance.[30]

In 1937, Nasser entered the Military Academy. In 1938, the core of the Free Officers movement that would take power in 1952 was formed. When in 1942 ‘the Germans were close to Egypt’, recalled Abdel Latif Boghdadi, a member of that group, we ‘thought it our duty to do something against the British. We formed a secret organization in the Air Force to disrupt and impede the British withdrawal from the Western Desert by sabotaging their lines of communication and supply.’[31]

In 1943, Nasser and some of his military colleagues held meetings with Mahmud Labib, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Those gatherings took place once a week and ‘continued uninterrupted until May 1948, when mobilization for the Palestine war [of 1948] occurred.’[32]

In the 1930s the Brotherhood had received financial aid from Nazi Germany because of its antisemitic orientation.[33] Thus, in 1947, Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood’s leader, explained the United Nations decision in favor of a partition of Palestine in antisemitic terms, deeming ‘the whole United Nations intervention to be an international plot carried out by the Americans, the Russians, and the British under the influence of Zionism.’[34] In 1948, the Brotherhood was nevertheless by far the largest political organization in Egypt with at least one million members.[35]

Nasser was among those officers who provided lengthy clandestine training to the Brothers in preparation for the Palestine war of 1948. It was thus no accident that in 1949 Nasser’s name was found on a manual about grenades in a Muslim Brotherhood hideout.[36] After the Free Officers’ revolution had swept away the monarchy and the old power elites in July 1952, ten of the fourteen officers now running the country had, at one time or another, sworn loyalty to the Brotherhood.[37] With good cause the Soviets condemned the ‘reactionary officers’ group’ and their new ‘military dictatorship’.[38]

In 1942, at British instigation, Aziz al-Misri and Ali Mahir had been dismissed because of their explicit pro-German stance; both were reinstated ten years later by the Free Officers: Al-Misri was hailed as the ‘spiritual father’ of the July revolution and the Officers made Ali Mahir the new prime minister.[39]

It was not by chance that Egypt was henceforth to became the El Dorado of former Nazis war criminals and antisemites. One example is that of air force officer Mohammad Radwan. He had managed to reach the German lines during the war. He made his way to Germany, where he was arrested by the Allies in 1945 and then sentenced in Egypt to fifteen years in jail. In 1952, he was released and then employed in the Armed Forces’ Department of Public Affairs.[40] Another is neo-Nazi publisher Helmuth Kramer: He received political asylum in Egypt in 1965 after a German court had found him guilty of ‘spreading Nazi ideas’. According to Kramer, Nasser personally dealt with his asylum request and gave permission for him to continue publishing his books.[41]

Since Moscow had refused to deliver intermediate-range rockets to Egypt in 1959, Nasser invited more than 300 German engineers and scientists who had formerly worked for the Nazi government to develop such missiles. In 1962, missiles were for the first time on display at a Cairo parade. ‘The staff of the Israeli embassy in Paris mourns and the Jews in New York are in fear,’ Al-Ahram rejoiced. [42]

Though Nasser denied being an anti-Semite (‘I have never been anti-Semitic on a personal level’[43]) he emphasized the great relevance of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for an understanding of world affairs and claimed publicly that ‘three hundred Zionists … govern the fate of the European Continent’. Whoever believes such a thing must of course deny the Holocaust. Nasser denied it both directly (‘No one … takes seriously the lie about six million Jews who were murdered’[44]) and indirectly by claiming that ‘Ben-Gurion … has killed as many Arabs as Hitler killed Jews.’[45]

Whoever believes in the Protocols will also seek to destroy Israel. And, indeed, Nasser’s obsession with the Jewish state was a constant theme of his time in power. Firstly, he considered Israel a bridge-head of Western imperialism, a conspiracy theory that gained some credibility after Israel’s involvement in the Suez crisis of 1956.[46] Second, he considered Israel to be expansionist by nature. ‘Arab unity means the liquidation of Israel and the expansionist dreams of Zionism’ he told a crowd in 1965.[47]

Nasser’s background did not of course rule out a later change of course. In 1953, his friend and combatant Anwar al-Sadat praised Adolf Hitler as an ‘immortal leader’ but 26 years later recognized Israel’s right to exist. Why was Nasser incapable of making such a move?

Part 4: Radical anti-Zionism and the ‘Arab Street’

This is where the radical anti-Zionism of the ‘Arab street’ enters the picture. It may well be that it was the mass enthusiasm which flooded Egypt on the eve of the Six-Day War that kept Nasser on the path to war.

The Arab world had reacted ecstatically to Egypt’s Sinai move in May 1967. After the withdrawal of the UNEF troops, Cairo looked more like a carnival than a city preparing for war: ‘The City was now festooned with lurid posters showing Arab soldiers shooting, crushing, strangling, and dismembering bearded, hook-nosed Jews.’[48] The closure of the Straits of Tiran worked like magic: Now, Nasser’s Ahlan Wa-sahlan (‘You are welcome’) reverberated throughout the Arab world. ‘Congratulations and messages of support poured in from all capitals. Delegations began to arrive in Cairo from Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Kuwait and other countries.’[49] Overnight, Nasser’s prestige in the Arab world had soared to new heights.

This enthusiasm, this fervent hope for the destruction of an established state is quite exceptional. In 1945, the Arab League was founded with the goal of preventing the creation of Israel. So far, nothing out of ordinary: many emerging countries initially met with resistance and had to fight for their right to exist. But what followed was altogether exceptional, as Ruth R. Wisse explains:

Israel won its [1948] War of Independence, but … Arab leaders did not acknowledge Israel’s independence. Though the world was now dealing with a Jewish country rather than a dispersed people, the political functions of Israel in Arab politics became almost identical to the functions of the Jew in the politics of Europe. … Arab leaders forged a target and scapegoat.[50]

It was this Arab response that rendered Israel exceptional despite its successful establishment as a state. ‘Zionism was politically unexceptional – dozens of new countries have joined the United Nations since 1948. The exception was anti-Zionism: the organization of politics against the Jewish state.’[51]

Merely anti-Zionism? ‘The Arab side is agitating the masses by purposely not separating Anti-Zionism from antisemitism,’ stated Habib Bourguiba in 1965.[52] He was right: Arab leaders adopted the texts, images, and tactics of European antisemitism. ‘With the ideological inversion that is at the heart of antisemitism,’ observes Wisse, ‘they denied the Jews their country and accused them of denying the Arabs theirs.’[53]

Antisemitic agitation in Arab countries, based on European models, was nothing new, as recent studies of Nazi antisemitic propaganda in the Arab world have proved.[54] For example, from April 1939 to April 1945, daily Arabic language radio broadcasts from Berlin constantly urged their Arab listeners to prevent the birth of a Jewish state and to exterminate the Jews living in Palestine. These antisemitic programs were popular and widely heard. Time and again they claimed that Zionism was inherently expansionist and aspired to destroy Islam. The closer the defeat of Nazi Germany came, the shriller became the broadcasts’ warnings about the consequences for Palestine should ‘World Jewry’ seize its opportunity. What was the significance of this for Nasser’s 1967 decisions?

We know that the Nazis’ radio propaganda continued to reverberate after Germany’s defeat. While the view of the British Foreign Office, which in 1946 ‘spoke of Arab hatred of the Jews being greater than that of the Nazis’, may be exaggerated,[55] it is clear that wartime Nazi propaganda contributed to increased hostility after the war. Certain Arab countries, observed Bernard Lewis, ‘have been the only places in the world where hard-core, Nazi-style antisemitism is publicly and officially endorsed and propagated.’[56]

Historians of the Middle East agree that it was to a large extent the pressure from the ‘Arab street’ that had previously driven a reluctant Arab League into a full-scale war against Israel in 1948.[57] Egypt’s Premier Nuqrashi, for example, was against the military assault that took place in 1948. However, he said he was swayed by public opinion that ‘was all in favor of the war, and considered anyone who refused to fight as a traitor.’[58] In 1948, the Muslim Brotherhood in particular had created an atmosphere in which war seemed the only logical and natural process: ‘The [Brotherhood] Society succeeded in drawing Egypt into a full-scale military initiative in Palestine.’[59] In 1967 this constellation reappeared, but in a new form.

In 1967, 22 years after World War Two, the direct reverberations of Nazi propaganda hardly played a role. Instead, the Arab defeat of 1948 – neither reflected on nor really admitted – seemed to require revenge. At the same time, Arab rulers profited from the prevailing mood by using anti-Jewish scapegoating to divert their peoples’ attention from their own failures. According to Bourguiba’s analysis of 1965, Arabs and Israelis ‘would be able to live in harmony after having mutually ridded themselves of their complexes and their extremists’. This kind of clean-up, however, never began.


Behind the question of whether Nasser could have resisted the ‘Arab street’ in 1967 lies another: why did he incite their mass fury in the first place? In my view, the main cause of both Nasser’s decision and the subsequent enthusiasm of his followers was the antisemitic impulse as it was carried over from the Nazi period to the post-war period and then to the next generation.

It was not Israel or Zionism that provoked the 1967 war but the latent anti-Zionism and antisemitism in the Arab world. Nasser was at one with this mood: he was gripped by the same destructive sentiments that he whipped up in the masses.

It is not Israel and Zionism that have created the exceptional state of affairs we have become accustomed to calling the Middle East conflict: There are many national movements in the world and dozens of new states have joined the United Nations. The exceptional thing that places the Jewish state in an exceptional situation is the 70-year old anti-Zionist and Islamist call to destroy it. No other state in the world is confronted with this kind of call.

‘It is time to abandon demagogy; war with Israel is impossible!’ – after stating that claim, Habib Bourguiba was invited to Israel by Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister at that time. A peaceful settlement of the Palestine issue, declared Meir, is also in the interest of the Arabs, who are in need and insecurity. ‘It is unfair that these peoples would be compelled to sacrifice up to 70 per cent of the national income to prepare for a war that is murderous and would not fix anything.’[60] These words, pronounced more than 50 years ago, are still valid today.

[1] Le Monde, March 9, 1965, p. 4 and March 13, 1965; Jeune Afrique (Paris), March 28, 1965 and New York Times magazine, June 6, 1965, as cited by Yaroslav Bilinsky, ‘Moderate realism in an extremist environment; Tunisia and the Palestine Question (1965-1970)’, Revue de l’Occident musulman et de la Méditerranée. Année 1973, Vol 13, no.1, pp.111-2, See also Robert Stephens, Nasser, A Political Biography, London (Penguin Press) 1971, p. 441 and 455.

[2] Afrika (Munich), Vol VI, No. 1 (July 1965), p.15 as cited by Bilinsky, op. cit., p. 110 and 114..

[3] Bilinsky, op. cit., p. 114.

[4] Le Monde, April 24, April 27 and April 30 1965 and The Arab Observer and Scribe, No. 255, May 10, 1965, p. 1 as cited by Bilinsky, op. cit., p. 115,

[5] Michael B. Oren, Six Days Of War, New York (Ballantine Books) 2003, p. 38.

[6] Bilinsky, op. cit., p. 110.

[7] Richard B. Parker, ‘The June 1967 War: Some Mysteries Explored’, Middle East Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 1992, p. 177.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Oren, op. cit., p. 64.

[10] Bull to Deputy Secretary-General Ralph Bunche, Telegram 803 of May 15, 1967, as cited by Parker, op. cit., p. 180.

[11] Keesings Archiv der Gegenwart (AdG), 5. Juni 1967, p. 13218.

[12] Ministry for Foreign Affairs, The USSR and Arab Belligerency, Jerusalem 1967, pp.73-5.

[13] Jon D. Glassman, Arms for the Arabs. The Soviet Union and War in the Middle East, Baltimore and London (John Hopkins University Press) 1975, p. 40.

[14] Oren, op. cit., p. 78.

[15] Walter Laqueur, The Road to War 1967, London (Weidenfeld and Nicholson) 1968, p. 292 .

[16] Laqueur 1968, op. cit., p. 295. My emphasis.

[17] Laqueur 1968, op. cit., p. 309.

[18] Glassmann, op. cit., p. 40.

[19] Tom Segev, 1967. Israel’s zweite Geburt, München (Siedler) 2007, pp. 341-6.

[20] Stephens, op. cit., p. 480 and AdG, June 5, 1967, p. 13222.

[21] Haykal, in: Al Ahram, May 26, 1967 as cited by Laqueur 1968, op. cit., p. 303.

[22] New York Times, March 3, 1968, as cited by Walter Laqueur, The Struggle for the Middle East. The Soviet Union and the Middle East 1958-68, London (Routledge & Kegan Paul) 1969, p. 52.

[23] Parker, op. cit., p. 181. The reason for the Soviet deception is unclear to this day. Possible explanations are provided by Parker, op cit., pp. 181-3, Ro’i, op. cit., p. 437 und Oren, op.cit., pp. 54-5.

[24] Izvestia and Pravda Vostoka, May 20, 1967, as cited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, op. cit., p. 77.

[25] Ra’i , op. cit., p. 440.

[26] Glassman, op. cit., pp. 40-41.

[27] Yaacov Ro’i, From Encroachment to Involvement. Documentary Study of Soviet Policy in the Middle East, 1945-1973, New York – Toronto (John Wiley Sons) 1974, p. 437.

[28] Stephens, op. cit., p. 490 and Glassman, op. cit., p. 22.

[29] Gamal Abdul Nasser, Egypt’s Liberation. The Philosophy of the Revolution, Washington D.C. (Public Affairs Press), 1956, p. 51.

[30] P.J. Vatikiotis, Nasser and his generation, London (Croom Helm) 1978, p. 61.

[31] Vatikiotis, op. cit., p. 119.

[32] Kirk J. Beattie, Egypt during the Nasser years. Ideology, Politics, and Civil Society, Boulder (Westview Press) 1994, p. 47.

[33] Brynjar Lia, The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt (Reading: Ithaca Press, 1988), p. 175.

[34] Abd Al-Fattah Muhammad El- Awaisi, The Muslim Brothers and the Palestine Question 1928 – 1947, London (Tauris Academic Studies) 1998, p. 195.

[35] El-Awaisi, op. cit., p. 135.

[36] Beattie, op. cit., p. 49-50.

[37] Beattie, op. cit., p. 72.

[38] Ro’i, op. cil, p. 103.

[39] Beattie, op. cit., pp. 45 and 69.

[40] Vatikiotis, op. cit., p. 111, fn 7.

[41] Meir Litvak and Ester Webman, op. cit., p. 278.

[42] Ulrike Becker, Deutsche Raketen für Nasser: Die NS-Luftrüstungsprominenz in Ägypten und internationale politische Konflikte um das ägyptische Rüstungsprogramm, part IV, p. 312 of Becker’s still unpublished dissertation thesis.

[43] Stephens, op. cit., p. 436.

[44] Interview with Deutsche Soldaten- und Nationalzeitung, April 1, 1964, as cited by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Arab Attitudes to Israel, Jerusalem (Keter Publishing House) 1972, p. 277.

[45] Interview with West German media, February 20, 1965, as cited by Gilbert Achcar, The Arabs and the Holocaust. The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives, New York (Henry Holt) 2009, p. 215.

[46] In 1956, France and Britain wanted to reverse Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal by military force. Israel, on the other hand, wanted to stop the guerilla attacks from across the Egyptian border and to open the Straits of Tiran, which had been closed by Nasser to Israeli shipping in 1953. Israel’s limited objectives were achieved: There were no infiltrations from the south into Israel for ten years after Suez, and the Straits were reopened and UNEF installed. Politically, however, this undertaking was distorted to Israel’s detriment: ‘What had been a straight issue between Israel and Egypt now became ‘collusion’ in an imperialist plot’.’ See Laqueur 1968, op. cit., p. 26 and Moshe Dayan, Diary of the Sinai Campaign 1956, London (Sphere Books) 1966.

[47] Harkabi, op. cit., p. 2.

[48] Oren, op. cit., p. 92.

[49] Laqueur 1968, op. cit., p. 96 and Oren, op. cit., p. 84.

[50] Ruth R. Wisse, ‘How Do We Put an End to Antisemitism? No Really, How Do We?’, in: Charles Small (ed.), Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity, Vol. V, New York (ISGAP) 2013, p.22-3.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Speech by Bourguiba on April 23, 1965; see AdG, April 23, 1965, p. 11813.

[53] Wisse, op. cit., p. 23.

[54] Some examples of the new literature are: Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda in the Arab World, New Haven (Yale University Press) 2009, Matthias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred. Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, New York (Telos) 2007 and David Motadel, Islam and Nazi Germany’s War, Cambridge MK (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press) 2014.

[55] Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, New Haven (Yale University Press) 2008, p. 34.

[56] Bernard Lewis, ‘The Arab World Discovers Anti-Semitism’, in: Sander L. Gilman and Steven T. Katz (eds.), Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis, New York and London (New York University Press), p. 343.

[57] Matthias Küntzel, ‘The Aftershock of the Nazi War against the Jews, 1947-1948: Could War in the Middle East Have Been Prevented?’, in: Jewish Political Studies Review, Fall 2016, Vol. 26, Numbers 3 & 4, pp. 38-53. See on .

[58] Fawaz A. Gerges, Egypt and the 1948 war, in: Eugene L. Rogan and Avi Shlaim (Eds.), The War for Palestine. Rewriting the History of 1948, Cambridge UK (Cambridge University Press) 2001, p. 154.

[59] Thomas Mayer, The Military Force of Islam. The Society of the Muslim Brethren and the Palestine Question: 1945-48, in: Elie Kedourie and Sylvia G. Haim, Zionism and Arabism in Palestine and Israel, London (Frank Cass) 1982, pp.110-11.

[60] Archiv der Gegenwart, 21. April 1965, S. 11802.

Please find the original FATHOM publication here.

Picture: Gamal Abdel Nasser (second from right) speaking to Egyptian soldiers in the beginning of the Six-Day War. License: Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons