Egypt party leader: Holocaust is ‘a lie’

9/11 was ‘made in USA,’ he says

BUDAPEST — A leader of Egypt’s top secular party says the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were “made in the USA,” the Holocaust is “a lie” and Anne Frank’s memoir is “a fake” — comments sure to roil the post-revolution political debate in the Arab world’s most populous country.

Ahmed Ezz El-Arab, a vice chairman of Egypt’s Wafd Party, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times last week while in the Hungarian capital attending the Conference on Democracy and Human Rights.

He denied that the Nazis killed 6 million Jews during World War II.

“The Holocaust is a lie” Mr. Ezz El-Arab said. “The Jews under German occupation were 2.4 million. So if they were all exterminated, where does the remaining 3.6 million come from?”

Mr. Ezz El-Arab said he accepted that the Nazis killed “hundreds of thousands” of Jews. “But gas chambers and skinning them alive and all this? Fanciful stories,” he added. [AUDIO: On the Holocaust]

Mr. Ezz El-Arab also attacked the authenticity of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which he said he studied as a doctoral student in Stockholm. “I could swear to God it’s a fake,” the Wafd leader said. “The girl was there, but the memoirs are a fake.”

Established in 1919 and disbanded in 1952, the Wafd Party was refounded in 1983 under reforms instituted by then-President Hosni Mubarak to allow token opposition to his dominant National Democratic Party.

After Mr. Mubarak’s ouster in February, Wafd emerged as arguably the second-most powerful political party to the Muslim Brotherhood, a formerly banned Islamist group.

Last month, Wafd announced it would run jointly with the Brotherhood and 16 other blocs in September’s parliamentary elections to present a united front as Egypt forges a new government.

“For four years, in alliance, we can build a constitution based on certain principles that guarantee human rights, citizenship, no religious trend whatsoever,” Mr. Ezz El-Arab said. “Once this is established, everybody can go to the ballot box and try his luck.”

Many in Israel have expressed concern that a democratic Egypt might cancel its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

But Mr. Ezz El-Arab, who chairs Wafd’s foreign-relations committee, said there is “no chance at all” that would happen. “Egypt will not go to war unless it’s attacked,” he said.

As for Iran, with whom Egypt is normalizing relations, Mr. Ezz El-Arab assailed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also has denied the Holocaust.

“He’s a hateful character, so whatever he says can be criticized,” the Wafd leader said. “What he says about the Holocaust is true, but he doesn’t say it because it’s true. He says it out of hatred to the Israeli state.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad hosted a Holocaust-denial conference in 2006 to protest the ban in many European countries on questioning the Nazi genocide — laws that Mr. Ezz El-Arab criticized.

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About the Author

Ben Birnbaum

Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.

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