Between the years 1941 and 1945 the most horrible crime in history befell the Jewish population. Six million Jews were slaughtered for the simple reason that they were born Jewish. Just over sixty years after those horrific events, the memory of that occasion is under assault.
On December 5 2006, the Iranian government announced details of a conference that questions whether the Holocaust occurred in the first place. Who would have thought that someone as important as the president of a country would pretend that the Holocaust was a myth? Yet that is exactly what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been claiming for over a year. These denials are nothing new for the Iranian regime: former President Rafsanjani purports to believe that only 200,000 Jews died during the war.
Nor is this phenomenon confined to the Middle East. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has recently announced plans to stage the play Perdition. Instead of denying that the Holocaust occurred, this production transfers the guilt for the Holocaust to the victims. According to its author, Jim Allen, “The simple terrible truth is that the Jews of Hungary were murdered not just by the force of German arms, but by the calculated treachery of their own Jewish leaders.” Allen stated that the Zionists worked “hand in glove” with the Nazis and that it was “the Zionist knife in the Nazi fist” that had murdered the Jews.
The abusers of Holocaust memory rely on two strategies. Either they deny that it happened at all, or they admit that it did happen, but “Zionist” Jews were to blame.
Both of these “arguments” are obscene violations of the historical record.
“Right Wing” Holocaust Revisionism
Holocaust denial did not originate with the President of Iran. Its roots trace back to the American isolationist Harry Elmer Barnes. There were earlier deniers but it was Barnes – a far-right historian whose books on Western civilization had been required texts at Harvard and other centres of learning – who became known as the “father of revisionism.” Barnes believed Hitler was “reasonable”: it was the Allies who were responsible for the Second World War!
He shamelessly asserted that the sufferings of the Germans expelled from the Czech and Polish borders after the war were “obviously far more hideous and prolonged that those of the Jews.” In France, the former communist Paul Rassinier argued that the “Zionist establishment” had invented the “myth” of the gas chambers. In 1966 Barnes, influenced by the “distinguished French historian” Rassinier, published a paper entitled Revisionism: A Key to Peace, in which he dismissed the Nazi genocide and asserted that the atrocities of the Allies were “more brutal and painful than alleged extermination in gas ovens”.
Barnes and Rassinier were not alone. Austin J. App, a right-wing English professor, referred to the figure of six million as “utterly unsubstantiated” and as a “smear terrorizing myth.” In 1973, App wrote a pamphlet entitled The Six Million Swindle: Blackmailing the German People for Hard Marks with Fabricated Corpses. In this pamphlet the Holocaust was described as a hoax inspired by Communists and Jews. The Holocaust denial catalogue – with titles such as Was Anne Frank’s Diary a Hoax? and The Myth of the Six Million – started to grow.
In 1974 the denial campaign escalated: every single British MP and a great many prominent academics and journalists received an unsolicited copy of a pamphlet entitled Did Six Million Really Die? The Truth at Last. “Richard Harwood,” the alleged author, was in fact Richard Verall, the editor of the National Front publication Spearhead. In less than a decade, over one million copies of his particular tract were circulating in more than forty countries. Today, of course, like most other Holocaust denial literature, it is available free on the Internet.
In 1976 the first “scholarly” Holocaust denial book appeared. Arthur R. Butz, a professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University, published The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. This 315 page book displayed much of the paraphernalia of academic research, including 32 plates and diagrams and 450 footnote references, all of which was designed to make Butz’s case look plausible.
At roughly the same time, Robert Faurisson, a lecturer in twentieth-century French literature at the University of Lyons II started denying the Holocaust in print, and in 1978, Le Monde published a letter from him entitled “The Problems of the ‘Gas Chambers’ or ‘The Rumour of Auschwitz.’” Like Butz, Faurisson avoided the use of central archival sources on the grounds that they were “communist” and “Zionist”.
Within two years Faurisson had scored a notable propaganda triumph when a French anarchist group published his book Memoire en Defense. This publication contained a preface written by none other than the MIT linguist and intellectual, Noam Chomsky. In that preface, entitled “Some Elementary Comments Concerning the right to Free Expression,” Chomsky portrayed Faurisson as a martyr for the cause of free speech and even described him as “a sort of apolitical liberal.” Subsequently, Chomsky wrote a letter in which he announced:
I see no anti-Semitic implications in the denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust. Nor would there be any anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence. I see no hint of anti-Semitic implications in Faurisson’s work.
By this time, the American neo-Nazi businessman Willis Carto had established the pretentiously titled Institute for Historical Review. The IHR held its first revisionist conference in 1979, foolishly offering a $50,000 reward to anyone “who could prove the Nazis operated gas-chambers to exterminate Jews during World War II”. When the media ignored this crude publicity stunt, the IHR started sending letters out to Holocaust survivors.
Mel Mermelstein, an Auschwitz survivor who received one of these letters accepted the challenge and filed a lawsuit against IHR. At the pretrial hearings, the judge ruled that it was not “subject to dispute” but “simply a fact” that Jews had been gassed to death at Auschwitz. In 1985, the Los Angeles Supreme Court ordered IHR to pay Mermelstein $50,000 plus a further $40,000 for pain and suffering. Moreover, the IHR was forced to sign a letter of apology to Mermelstein for the emotional distress they had caused him and other Auschwitz survivors.
The British “historian” and Hitler apologist David Irving added an interesting twist to this discourse. He argued that there was an equivalence between the actions of the Allies and the Nazis. In his book Hitler’s War, he did not deny the Holocaust but argued that Hitler knew nothing about it. This would change when Irving became involved in the Zundel case.
Ernst Zundel, a German citizen and admirer of Nazism, was prosecuted in Canada for distributing Holocaust denial material but was assisted in his defense by both Faurisson and Irving. This gallery of rogues sent a purported engineer, Fred Leuchter to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek to examine claims about the gassing of Jews. The result was The Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Gas Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, Poland. Leuchter concluded that there had never been homicidal gassings at any of these places.
Both Zundel and Irving used their own publication houses to disseminate his “report.” It was quickly demonstrated that Leuchter had no educational training as an engineer and very limited historical knowledge. Although Leuchter’s credibility had been destroyed, Irving declared himself convinced and began to insist that the gas chambers were a myth.
In 1993, Deborah Lipstadt wrote a book entitled Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, in which she denounced Irving as a “dangerous spokesman” for Holocaust denial. As a result, Irving sued Lipstadt and Penguin, her publishers, claiming that his reputation as a historian had been defamed. The matter ultimately came to the British courts in 2000 and Irving was dealt a crushing blow in the ruling from the judge who cited examples where Irving “significantly misrepresented” the evidence, “pervert[ed] the evidence,” and employed “misrepresentation,” “misconstruction,” “omission,” “mistranslation,” “misreading” and “double standards”.
Irving’s explanations were dismissed as “tendentious,” “unjustified,” “specious,” “distorted,” “fanciful,” “hopeless,” “disingenuous” and “a travesty.” As far as the judge was concerned, “Irving qualifies as a Holocaust denier.” Irving was “anti-semitic,” “a racist” and “a right-wing pro-Nazi polemicist.”
Eventually Irving made another blunder. He decided to travel to Austria where Nazi propaganda and Holocaust denial are illegal. In February 2006, he received a 3-year prison sentence.
“Left Wing” Holocaust Revisionism
In the distortion of Holocaust history, the distinction between the “left” and the “right” is not always clear. We have already seen that the left wing intellectual Noam Chomsky, although not himself a Holocaust denier, was prepared to speak favourably of Robert Faurisson. However, the major tactic of left-wing Holocaust “revisionism” is somewhat different.
In the 1970s, Soviet propagandists regularly accused the Zionists of having collaborated with the Nazis in “organizing the mass destruction of Jews,” of being “accessories to the Nazis’ crimes” and bearing “responsibility for the mass destruction of the Jews.” In the words of one writer, “Not without the help of the leaders of Zionism did hundreds of thousands of ordinary Jews meet their death in the gas chambers.”
According to L. Korneyev – the most prolific of the Soviet “anti-Zionists” – in his book The Sinister Secrets of Zionism (1977):
Together with the Nazis, the Zionists bear responsibility for the destruction of Jews in 1941-1945 in Europe. The blood of millions of victims is on their hands and on their conscience.
Zionism calculated, with the support of Germany… on consolidating [its] positions in Palestine, ensuring its predatory plans in the Middle East with the help of its Nazi partner and “Zionising” and robbing the Jews of Germany.
In his article “Terror – the Weapon of Zionism,” Korneyev stated that “the Zionist leaders were accomplices of the Nazis and accessories to their crimes.” In “Zionism’s Octopus of Espionage,” he claimed that the Mossad’s capture of Eichmann in 1960 was designed “to ensure secrecy over the Zionists’ secret deals and the collaboration of their secret services with the Hitlerites during the war.”
The rather ominously titled, The Dirty Tentacles of the Zionists, by J. Bohatka, wanted to unmask “the true role of the Zionists in organizing the mass destruction of Jews.” And so it went on with the Soviets – Zionist leaders “entered into shameful collusion with the Nazi murdered” (V. A. Semenyuk, 1976). There was a “truly blasphemous agreement between the leaders of international Zionism and the Hitlerites” (V. Mikhanovsky, 1978).
According to Tass in 1978 “The Zionists’ collaboration with the Nazis…led to the catastrophe which cost the lives of nearly 6,000,000 Jews.” By 1980 D. Soifer could argue in The Collapse of Zionist Theories that “The Zionists welcomed the arrival in power of the fascists in Germany” and that “The Zionists helped uncover those of Jewish origin who were hiding from the Gestapo and the police, handed them over to the fascists, and took part in the mass slaughter of Jews.”
In 1979 the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union discussed “the vile deeds of the Zionist traitors and executioners who helped in the extermination of the Jewish population of Europe during the last war.” The Soviet propaganda machine went so far as to produce a series of articles headlined “The Zionists Are Responsible for the Destruction of the Jews of Europe, 1941-1945.”
Despite the fact that Zionists were very active in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, according to Mikhanovsky “the Zionists… did not participate in the resistance movement.” The fact that the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was a Zionist did not stop Soifer from commentating: “Wherever the inhabitants of the ghettos who were condemned to death succeeded in organising uprisings against the fascists, especially in Warsaw in 1943, the Zionists helped the Germans frustrate the uprisings or crush them where they occurred”.
One of the most bizarre claims appeared in a review of an antisemitic film, The Secret and the Overt, in 1975: “It is no longer a secret today that Zionist capital helped to strengthen the Hitler regime in Germany and the fascists’ preparations to attack the Soviet Union.”
In 1976, R. Brodsky and Y. Shulmeister in Zionism – A Tool of Reaction made the point of the Soviet accusations very clear: “The Zionist crimes in the ghettos and in the death camps must be completely uncovered, so that it can be recognised at what price it was that the State of Israel was created… That the State of Israel was created by hands warmed in Jewish blood is indisputable.”
Soon enough, anti-Zionists in the West absorbed the Soviet message. The British Anti-Zionist Organisation (BAZO) was founded in 1975 by Dr. George Mitchell from Glasgow and supported by a number of anti-Zionist Jews in Britain. Tony Greenstein, a supporter of BAZO, distributed their material at National Union of Students (NUS) conference.
The NUS publicly condemned a leaflet entitled Against Zionism as antisemitic. Conference noted that BAZO literature was not dissimilar from that of the fascist National Front and called upon NUS to ban BAZO activities “from its base in Strathclyde Union and any other campus in the United Kingdom.”
BAZO advertised Alfred Lilienthal’s book The Zionist Connection, which had been heavily promoted by the National Front. Lilienthal was infamous for suggesting that the Diary of Anne Frank was a fake; alongside Chomsky, he had signed a neo-Nazi petition falsely representing the Holocaust denier Faurisson as a legitimate researcher who was being persecuted for his “findings.” BAZO also toured Scottish universities alleging that Zionists had conspired with the Nazis. By 1981 the neo-Nazi British Movement was advertising material that was also being distributed by BAZO. Despite these activities, both the left wing Tribune and Socialist Worker accepted advertisements from BAZO.
At one BAZO meeting, trade unionist speaker Joseph Monaghan asked:
Why did the Jews not bomb the ovens at Auschwitz and so stop the killings in the last war? With all the money they have, they could have got an air force. The Holocaust – the killing of six million Jews in Europe – was done by Nazis working with the Jews.
A Soviet-bloc writer who especially influenced anti-Zionist discourse in the West was Klaus Polkehn. This East German propagandist wrote an article in the Journal of Palestine Studies in 1976 entitled “The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany 1933-1941.” According to Polkehn:
During the first days of fascist domination in Germany the Zionists held a direct line to the fascist repression apparatus which developed into loose collaboration between the Zionist leadership and the terror organisations of the Nazi Reich… The Zionist leaders… did nothing against fascism… In practice, they also rejected attempts to save German Jews which did not have as their aim the settlement of Jews in Palestine.
As a result, “the Zionist leaders share the responsibility for the failure to rescue a greater number of European Jewry.”
Polkehn depicted Alfred Rosenberg, the ideological godfather of Nazi anti-Semitism, as a fervent Zionist. He also claimed that Adolf Eichmann visited Palestine in 1937 as a guest of the Haganah – this in spite of Eichmann’s own admission at his trial that one of the reasons he went there to make contact with Haj Amin el-Husseini, the leader of the Palestinian Arabs!
Polkehn’s article was used by Britain’s Socialist Workers Party, as a basis for their leaflet Israel: A Racist State. This tract received wide distribution at British universities and polytechnics in 1977-1978 at the height of the campaign to ban Jewish or Israeli societies on campus on the basis of their “Zionist” nature. The Polkehn article was also used as a source in the BAZO document Nazi-Zionist Collaboration.
The “Nazi-Zionist Collaboration” line entered further into the mainstream in 1983 with the publication of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, by the American Trotskyist Lenni Brenner. Like the Holocaust denier Faurisson, Brenner affected a “scholarly” style. By arguing that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis, he intended to establish that Israel was a fascist and Nazi state. This book also used Polkhen’s article a source.
The neo-Nazi right was delighted with Brenner’s book. An article that Brenner originally wrote for the London magazine Middle East International was subsequently reprinted by the American neo-Nazi publication Spotlight. The Australian far right also approved. Eric Butler, Director of League of Rights, wrote a long letter quoting Brenner’s work.
It would appear that in 1986 the neo-Nazi publishing house Noontide Press reprinted Brenner’s book. Noontide Press specializes in hate literature. Amongst other books Noontide published include The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry by Arthur Butz and Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood. Noontide also publishes The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford’s The International Jew, both of which claim that Jews are plotting to take over the world.
These developments were somewhat embarrassing for Brenner. To the Institute for Historical Review he wrote:
I share not one iota of your mad ideology. I am your implacable opponent. I do not believe you have any right to exist… and I support any and all attempts, by any and all, Zionist or anti-Zionist, to bust up your institute and your meetings.
Brenner may well despise the Institute for Historical Review, and it is true that he cannot be held responsible for the odious political views of his admirers. But it is surely not insignificant that the neo-Nazis hailed his book as “an astounding, bombshell expose.”
The reason for the far right’s admiration for Brenner and other promoters of the Zionist-Nazi conspiracy myth is obvious. The Holocaust is a potent deterrent to far-right recruitment. If the far right can convince the world that the Holocaust was a myth then that they can start to rehabilitate their ideology. Alternatively, if the neo-Nazis can convince people that, yes, the Holocaust happened but the Zionists were responsible for it, then they also benefit. In the first instance they can argue that the Jews are so manipulative that they can deceive the entire world; in the second they can argue that the “Zionists” (i.e. the Jews) are so evil that they are willing to blame the far right when they were complicit in their own destruction. In either case, the Nazis are absolved and the Jews convicted!
A further explanation for the far right’s enthusiasm for the pathological anti-Zionism of the left – to the extent that these far right organisations launch “anti-Zionist” supplements – is that if they can turn the population against “Zionists,” the fact that the majority of Jews are Zionist will turn the population against the majority of Jews.
The far-left academic Norman Finkelstein has a different approach. He discovered in 1997 that “‘The Holocaust’ is in effect the Zionist account of the Nazi holocaust.” In 2000, he published his polemic, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitations of Jewish Suffering.
Neo-Nazis adored this book. Ernst Zundel wrote that “Finkelstein continues his one-man intifada against the Holocaust establishment and vigorously attacks the Holocaust profiteers [in his] ever-so-feisty volume.” David Irving was proud to admit that he had corresponded for years with Finkelstein. The IHR’s Journal for Historical Review bestowed the highest praise on Finkelstein’s work: “the kind of things revisionists have been saying for years… one can find much of… Finkelstein prefigured in the early writings of Butz and Faurisson.”
According to Finkelstein: “Given the nonsense churned out daily by the Holocaust industry, the wonder is there are so few skeptics.” Discussing the reception of his book by Holocaust deniers, Finkelstein stated, “Were it not for the fact that my late parents passed through the Nazi holocaust, I myself would probably would be a skeptic by now. Who can any longer believe a single word coming out of the Holocaust industry?” The author Paul Bogdanor comments:
Finkelstein enjoys cordial relations with neo-Nazis, grants them interviews, allows his books and articles to be posted on their websites, dismisses the findings of legitimate Holocaust historians while heaping praise on the deniers, and repeatedly insists that the deniers’ positions are entirely reasonable, in the light of “profiteering” and “hucksterism” of the privileged Jewish elite.
As Bogdanor points out, Finkelstein referred to Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel as well as others who signed a public statement condemning “Syria’s Denial of the Holocaust” as “Holocaust industry luminaries.” The statement read in part:
[Syria] declared that Israel invented ‘the myth of the Holocaust’ and ‘invents stories about the Holocaust and exaggerates it to astronomical levels’ in order ‘to receive more money from Germany and other Western establishments’ and to silence ‘anyone opposed to Zionism and its expansionist policies.’
As far as Finkelstein was concerned “the Syrian charge is true.”
The nexus between far-right Holocaust deniers and far leftists who claim that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis can be seen in the writings of the former Marxist and convert to Islam, Roger Garaudy. In 1995 he wrote the book,The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, in which he denied that the Holocaust occurred, saying that Jews under Nazi control died of starvation and disease, not poison gas. In 1998 he was fined the equivalent of approximately $40,000 in a French court for “racial defamation” stemming from these claims. It comes as no surprise to me that the IHR advertises both the Finkelstein and Garaudy books on its Internet home page.
Yet another example of the ideological cross-fertilisation of the far right and the far left is the anti-Israel activism of the increasingly notorious Gilad Atzmon. On the one hand Atzmon uses the tactics of the far-right by referring to the “widely promoted” Holocaust narrative; by questioning whether “it is a result of highly sophisticated and orchestrated Jewish propaganda”; by claiming that Zionism is worse that Nazism; and by circulating material by outright Holocaust denier Paul Eisen in which Robert Faurisson is approvingly quoted.
But on the other hand Atzmon uses the tactics of the far-left when he discusses “the extensive collaboration between the Zionists and the Nazis before and during World War II.” What is more surprising is the appalling fact that for years Gilad Atzmon has not only been defended, but actively promoted by the supposedly “progressive” Socialist Workers Party and by the supposedly “anti-racist” Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
In short, it seems that left-wing “anti-Zionists” who rave about Zionist “collaboration” with Nazis are quite prepared to obtain their own arguments from neo-Nazis.
Holocaust “Revisionism” and the Middle East
Not all Holocaust revisionists fall into the conventional left/right categories. Substantial support for Holocaust “Revisionist” propaganda has been provided by anti-democratic forces in the Middle East. Although Arab and Muslim Holocaust deniers advanced arguments that were almost identical to those of the neo-Nazis in the West, they had very different aims. The neo-Nazi deniers want to rehabilitate Nazism. Arab and Muslim deniers frequently claim to be anti-Nazi; their aim is to delegitimise the State of Israel. Whereas the neo-Nazi deniers are an isolated and unpopular fringe movement, their counterparts in the Middle East are often senior politicians, clerics and journalists. Holocaust denial is part of mainstream discourse in these societies.
As early as 1955, Lebanese Foreign Minister Charles Malik was dismissing the massacre of the Jews as “Zionist propaganda.” In 1964 the Egypt’s President Nasser told the editor of the German National Zeitung that “no person, not even the most simple one, takes seriously the lie of the six million Jews that were murdered.” Two notorious writers in the Arab world – Muhammed Kamal Dessouki and Abd al-Tawwab Salman – insisted that the Holocaust was not as “vicious” a crime as the Zionist occupation of Palestine. The number of Jewish victims, they contended, was a fraction of the six million, a figure that Dessouki ridiculed as “fallacious and imaginary.”
By 1976, this campaign had mushroomed to the extent that the Saudi representative to the United Nations felt able to inform the Security Council that Anne Frank’s diary was a forgery and the gas chambers were an invention of “the Zionist mass media.” According to the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, the following year the Saudi regime paid the American neo-Nazi William Grimstad to compile a book entitled AntiZion: A Survey of Commentary On Organized Jewry By Leading Personalities Through the Ages.
This hate-filled screed acclaimed Adolf Hitler as a twentieth-century “German statesman” as well as a “visionary”: the author was “impressed at his moderation” and explicitly stated that “there were no Jews killed in ‘gas chambers.’” Grimstad’s equally despicable tract entitled The Six Million Reconsidered was marketed by IHR. In 1981 copies of both books were posted from the World Muslim League in Pakistan to more than one thousand British politicians, industrialists and trade unionists.
By the 1980s, Western “experts” such as Faurisson were having their work translated into Arabic. The Jordanian government newspaper al-Dustur reprinted an interview with Faurisson from an Italian journal. In the introduction, the newspaper referred to Faurisson as an “eminent” French historian who had “refuted decisively and emphatically in a clear scientific analysis and [with] decisive proofs the existence of gas chambers and crematoria for burning corpses”.
The newspaper announced that the existence of gas chambers “is a major myth, which the Jews launched at the end of the World War II, and the Allies’ media supported and disseminated.” Roger Garaudy, whose book was published in Arabic, was invited to Egypt by the Minister for Culture. Garaudy received widespread coverage in the Arab media, including an hour long interview on Egyptian state television, where he was afforded the opportunity to elaborate on his “research” about the Holocaust.
The line of Zionist-Nazi collaboration also became popular in certain sections of Arab society. In 1983 Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), currently the elected President of the Palestinian National Authority, wrote The Other Side: The Secret Relations Between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement. He argued that the figure of six million was some kind of Zionist conspiracy. He completely falsified references by claiming that the distinguished Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg had put the number of Jewish deaths at no more than 896,000. Hilberg of course had never said or written any such thing. After minimizing the number of Jewish deaths, Abbas then blamed the Zionists for the deaths that did take place.
In his words, “a partnership was established between Hitler’s Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement … [the Zionists gave] permission to … Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine.” Abbas argued that the Zionists actually desired the killing of Jews because “having more victims meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over”.
This particular claim was also used in the play Perdition, so it came as no great surprise that that in 1987, in his capacity as Director of the Department for International and Arab Relations of the PLO, Abbas agreed to finance the legal costs in a defamation case provoked by the play (As Palestinian President, Abbas has found it necessary to moderate his views; in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, he admitted that “the Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind.”)
As David Trafford commented in Searchlight in 2001:
It does the Palestinian cause and the Arab world no favours to be associated with something that, in the West, is the preserve of neo-Nazis and conspiracy cranks. Whether it is the official Palestinian newspaper, al-Hayat al-Jadida, calling the Holocaust a ‘deceitful myth’ or the Syrian government daily Syria Times denying the existence of gas chambers, it is clear that parts of the Middle East, including the highest levels of government and the media, fail to understand the dangers of denying Nazi crimes.
It has not been my purpose here to recount the history of the Holocaust. Countless scholars have already done so; yet “revisionists” of the far right, the far left, and the Muslim world either falsify or dismiss the historical record because of their obsessive need to desecrate the memory of the six million.
The Islamic Republic of Iran provided a platform for those who deny that the Nazis tried to destroy the Jewish people. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which promotes Gilad Atzmon, has already provided a platform for a man who defends Holocaust deniers. And by staging Perdition and hosting the Holocaust falsifier Lenni Brenner as its keynote speaker, the Scottish PSC will be championing the idea that Zionists wanted the Jews to die. By what standard can these “anti-Zionists” call themselves enemies of racism and fascism?
Holocaust Memorial Day exists to protect the memory of the Holocaust and organizations such as the Holocaust Educational Trust carry out excellent work in teaching the history of that tragic era. As the actions of the Republic of Iran and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstrate so shockingly, there is much work left to do.
Jim Allen, Perdition – A Play in Two Acts (press release version, Royal Court Theatre, January 13 1987)
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“Anti-Zionist Group Starts Campaign,” Jewish Chronicle, September 30, 1977.
“Little Southern Comfort,” Jewish Chronicle, March 23, 1979.
“London Offices Are ‘dilatory,’” Jewish Chronicle, April 6, 1979
“Stuermer’ British style,” Jewish Chronicle, April 3, 1981
“Students ban BAZO,” Jewish Chronicle, April 10, 1981.
Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union in Russian 12:54 gmt (also in English 14:44 gmt) 2nd August 1979.
Gilad Atzmon “Beyond Comparison,” Al-Jazeerah August 12 2006 (accessed January 15 2007)
Gilad Atzmon On Anti-Semitism(accessed January 15 2007)
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(accessed January 15 2007)
Event: ‘Gilad Atzmon: Concert & Talk (accessed January 15 2007)
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Dr. Rafael Medoff A Holocaust-Denier as Prime Minister of ‘Palestine’?
Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, Millennium Evening with Elie Wiesel
The author would like to thank Paul Bogdanor for his assistance in preparing this paper for publication.