"Just like Hitler fought the Jews, we are a great Islamic nation of jihad, and we too should fight the Jews and burn them."
— Hisham Shamas, political science student, at a symposium hosted by Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV at Lebanon's largest and only government-run university, Université Libanaise, November 29, 2005
In June 1944, a Red Cross delegation was invited by Nazi Germany to Theresienstadt, a "spa town" where elderly German Jews could "retire" in safety, according to Nazi propaganda. However, it was really a transit camp for Jews on their way to Auschwitz.
In preparation for the delegation's visit, the camp underwent a beautification program, with gardens planted and barracks renovated. The Nazis produced a film using Jewish prisoners to show the world how well they were being treated (the entire "cast" would later be sent to Auschwitz). Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans, and it is known by historians as an "an elaborate hoax."
Taking a page directly from the Nazis' propaganda playbook some 62 years later, the terror organization Hezbollah is manipulating the press in the same way. Hezbollah's press officer, Hussein Nabulsi, has been giving Western press and broadcast outlets, including CNN, the Boston Globe, and the Chicago Tribune, daily tours of bombed-out Hezbollah-controlled southern Beirut.
During the July 18 broadcast of Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room" on CNN, Mr. Nabulsi took a CNN correspondent, Nic Robertson, to a bombed-out area he said was "only inhabited by innocent civilians." Mr. Robertson was overtly sympathetic to Hezbollah's claims, telling viewers, "We didn't see any evidence of military infrastructure."
Mr. Roberston's sympathy for Hezbollah later was criticized on multiple blogs; even the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources," Howard Kurtz, asked his colleague, "To what extent do you feel like you're being used to put up the pictures they [Hezbollah] want?"
In a report for the July 21 Boston Globe, Thanassis Cambanis wrote about his tour of the same area with Mr. Nabulsi, who admitted that his office — Hezbollah's press office — which he said was located in a "civilian area," was bombed. The Globe reporter wrote that the area "is full of obvious Hezbollah targets, including the organization's headquarters, its media office … nestled among thousands of civilian homes."
Just as the Nazis had their weekly newspaper, Der Stürmer — which was a significant part of their propaganda apparatus, spreading venomous anti-Semitic caricatures and themes, including the blood libel and the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" — Hezbollah has its own radio station and TV channel, Al-Manar.
Al-Manar is similarly a vehicle for spreading classic anti-Semitic subject matter, from Nazi forgeries to the blood libel and attacks on Judaism. The channel also frequently airs programs devoted to the killing of Jews and destruction of Israel. (See www.memritv.org to view examples.)
Hezbollah celebrates Holocaust denial, as well. "Jews invented the legend of the Holocaust," the leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said on April 9, 2000. During an appearance on Al-Manar on February 3, Sheik Nasrallah called Europe's leading Holocaust denier, Roger Garaudy, "a great French philosopher." On February 23, Sheik Nasrallah appeared on Al-Manar and praised another leading European Holocaust denier, David Irving, for having "denied the existence of gas chambers."
While Hezbollah has embraced much of Nazi Germany's anti-Semitism, it is not the heir apparent of the Third Reich. That distinction belongs to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which today has set out to launch World War III.
Just as Nazi Germany used its cohorts in France and Italy to carry out its killing, Hezbollah is following orders from its master Iran, which created it on February 16, 1985. Hezbollah's official manifesto includes a picture of "our leader," Ayatollah Khomeini, on its back cover. A Washington Post article from that year reported that Iranian Revolutionary Guards were "carrying out their missionary work, indoctrinating the Lebanese Shiites in the spiritual and political teachings of Khomeini."
As the Iranian parliament speaker, Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, told the Iranian News Channel on July 18, "To Nasrallah we say … the blood of Imam Khomeini rages in his veins."
Sheik Nasrallah's deputy, Sheik Naim Qasem, quoted the Iranian regime in explaining his organization's position on Israel and jihad in a June 2, 2002, interview on Al-Manar: "Muslims should annihilate Israel. ... Imam Khomeini said, ‘The goal of this virus [Israel] that was planted in the heart of the Islamic world ... The solution is in annihilating the virus.'"
Anyone who has witnessed Iranian crowds chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" during religious rallies led by the country's ayatollahs, or at Lebanese rallies led by Sheik Nasrallah, can see how similar they are to the rallies Nazi Germany held — only then, the chants were "Heil Hitler."
Mr. Stalinsky is the executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute.