It is a cliché to say that Adolf Hitler has become a cliché, and even camp to say that he was a bad man. Perhaps no one in the history of the planet has ever been more universally reviled, or with greater justice, than he. The word “Hitler” is an epithet every place on earth.
Or is it? In the Palestinian territories, Hitler is making a comeback. According to a report issued by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of Palestinian Media Watch, the Teutonic tyrant’s popularity is on the rise. Parents name their children after him (“Hitler Abu-Alrab,” for example), the Voice of Palestine radio station recently gave out cash prizes in his honor, and in 1999, Mein Kampf was a best-seller. Whereas in Europe, Holocaust denial is a crime punishable by jail time, in the Palestinian authority it is considered one of a number of reasonable views. Even the doctoral dissertation of Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas presents a range of opinions on the matter, concluding that “it is possible that the number of Jewish victims reached six million, but at the same time it is possible that the figure is much smaller—below one million.” And this is their chief political leader. We all know Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s current views on Israel—but at least his dissertation took on the rather benign subject of urban traffic management.