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Nazi Propaganda: The Syrian Education System

by Gad Nahshon

Recently, the Syrian government has launched a new anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish propaganda campaign of denying the Holocaust. The country, which gave refuge to Nazi criminals, is arguing that the Zionist idea is a Nazi idea. Many observers of the Middle East affairs were surprised to hear from Syria that the Zionist 'invested' the Holocaust in order to blackmail the gentiles. But the experts such as Dr. Meyrav Wurmser are not surprised. Dr. Wurmser even demonstrated in her new research: "The Schools of Baathism - a study of Syrian schoolbooks (MEMRI - Washginton DC, 2000) that the Syrian denial of the Holocaust stems from the anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish propaganda to be found inside the official Syrian public education system. Her book was published with the help of MEMRI, is an important contribution to our understanding of the Syrian society and politics. The book has an appendix of selections from Syrian text books (fourth to eleventh grades). Her research is well documented and based on primary resources.

Dr. Wurmser, a noted scholar who serves as the executive director of MEMRI (The Middle-East Media Research Institute, Washington DC), also explains the ramifications of this propaganda inside the Syrian classrooms on the future peace between Syria and Israel. She also explains that Syria is not only Assad's state, a terrible state, a police state, and a bloody dictatorship but also a Baath state: a state with a Marxist-Muslim mixture like ideology. One cannot ignore the historical long 'love affair' between Soviet Russia, U.S.S.R. and Syria.

Dr. Wurmser writes in her illuminating research: "Syria's educational system performs the state initial engagement and indoctrination of youth into Baathist ideology. From the ideology emerges the intensity of the hatred of Israel, the West, and the Jews. At the same time, it exposes the fragility of the Baathist system because its ideology has trapped Syria into a war it cannot afford and a peace its regime cannot survive." The following points explain the outcomes of Dr. Wurmser's research:

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