The “big lie” is an expression Adolf Hitler coined to describe his technique of telling a lie so colossal that no one would ever suspect it was false. He first described this concept in his autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf, which outlined his plans for ruling Germany. He surmised most people would never think of fabricating massive untruths so they would not believe others had. In other words, Hitler understood that people would see the world through the lens of basic honesty and would assume that same trait in others.
Use of Propaganda
Hitler used propaganda to convey the big lie and garner the support of the masses. Successful propaganda spoke to people’s emotions more than their intellect, was limited to a few points, and harped on slogans. He said repeating simple slogans was necessary for the masses to retain them.
Hitler’s words ring with a chilling truth. Despite his plan’s evil intent, he knew how to get it past the people. When he became the head of state in Germany, Hitler implemented his strategy precisely. He fabricated the “big lie” of the evil Jew causing Germany’s troubles, and he used propaganda to instill it in people’s minds, preparing the way for the extermination of the Jewish people.
Hitler’s strategy is still working today. Mein Kampf was translated into Arabic back in the 1930s and has been one of the all-time best sellers throughout the Muslim world since. Mein Kempf means “my struggle” within the Nazi context, while jihad, a major tenant of Islam, also means “struggle.”
Not coincidentally, Muslim leaders, such as Iran’s supreme leader, have adopted Hitler’s strategy. They are also propagating the “big lie” of the evil Jews (particularly Israelis), using emotionally charged slogans and antisemitic cartoons to gain people’s support and prepare the way for the final destruction of Israel. This strategy is not limited to Iran but is at epic proportions throughout the rest of the Muslim world, where conspiracy theories run rampant, and people believe all types of lies about Israel and the Jewish people.
Genocide—a Modern-Day “Big Lie”
One “big lie” circulating today related to Israel’s current war with Hamas is that Israel is committing genocide. Let’s first define genocide to determine who is committing genocide against whom.
The legal definition of genocide was codified in the 1948 Convention of the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, the first international treaty of the post-WWII United Nations, created in the shadow of the Holocaust. It prohibits acts committed with an “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group” by killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm, “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
The term “genocide” is being used today for its emotional and political power, evoking an ultimate unsurpassable crime—and those propagating it know full well how it resonates with the Jewish people. They are deliberately using it to equate what happened to the Jews in the Holocaust with Israel’s military actions of self-defense after the October 7 atrocities. It pokes at a deep wound all Jews have, delegitimizes Israel’s military campaign, and ultimately denies Israel’s right to exist.
Yet Hamas’ founding covenant documents a long-term plan and intent for the destruction of the Jewish people in a way comparable to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Who Is Really Attempting Genocide?
Israel is defending its right to exist and following international humanitarian war law while doing so. Israel is not attempting to destroy the Palestinian people. Hamas, however, wants to wipe Israel off the map and has made it clear it won’t stop until that happens, saying October 7—when terrorists killed and mutilated more than 1,400 innocent people—will happen again and again. Hamas, not Israel, violated the 1948 Genocide Convention on October 7 and has continually been clear on its intent: to destroy Israel. Hamas’ end goal is genocidal.
Christians must not remain silent but arm themselves with the facts and speak up against this evil campaign. We must also call for a robust effort at the government level to bring international compliance with standards of education and press that are free from antisemitism.