It is against this background that bin Zayed’s visit and words must be seen, and which make them impressive.
For years... Holocaust denial.. held sway in large parts of the Mideast where it was also common to believe that the West created Israel as a form of “compensation” for the Holocaust. Since many in the region also... deny... any historical Jewish claim to Israel, if you deny the Holocaust, then you wash away any possible justification for the creation of the State of Israel.
Seen in this context, the UAE foreign minister’s visit to a Holocaust memorial was the logical next step following his country’s courageous decision to sign a peace deal with Israel, a move that recognized the Jewish state’s legitimacy. Once you recognize Israel’s legitimacy, there is no need to deny the Holocaust.
Bin Zayed’s visit was seen largely as a respectful gesture toward Israelis and as a way to signal a desire to build a different kind of relationship with Israel than that which exists between Israel and Jordan and Egypt.
But it was more than that. This visit, covered in the ...Arabic press..., also sent an important message to the Arab world about the need to look truthfully at the past, and that nothing is gained by denying history.
Just as bin Zayed delivered his remarks last month at the White House signing ceremony in... Arabic... – ensuring that... his people... heard ...what he said about the agreement – so too did he sign the guest book in... Arabic...
Peace, as the failure of the Oslo Accords showed, will not take root simply because leaders sign agreements.... Attitudes ...need to change, hearts and minds addressed... Bin Zayed’s visit to the Berlin Holocaust Memorial is a laudable indication that the... Emirates intend to do just that...