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Friday, December 15, 2006

Holocaust Denial Is No Joke

The Iranian Holocaust Conference is sordid and cynical, but we must take it seriously.


Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Click image to expand.Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki

On Monday, the Iranian foreign ministry held an international conference. There's nothing unusual in that. Foreign ministries hold conferences, mostly dull ones, all the time. But this one was different. For one thing, the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust dealt with history, not current politics. Instead of the usual suspects—deputy ministers and the like—the invitees seem to have included David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader; Georges Thiel, a Frenchman who has called the Holocaust "an enormous lie"; and Fredrick Töben, a German-born Australian whose specialty is the denial of Nazi gas chambers. The guest list was selective: No one with any academic eminence, or indeed any scholarly credentials, was invited. One Palestinian scholar, Khaled Ksab Mahamid, was asked to come but was then barred because he holds an Israeli passport—and also perhaps because he, unlike other guests, believes that the Holocaust really did happen.

In response, the United States, Europe, and Israel expressed official outrage. The German government, to its credit, organized a counterconference...


MrKen never ceases to be amazed at the intellectual dishonesty shown by much of humanity. As this article in Slate explains---

"...the victims of the Holocaust have written hundreds of books, and the scholarship on the Holocaust has run into billions of words. There are films, photographs, documents, indeed whole archives dedicated to the history of the Nazi regime: We all know what happened..."

But, of course Holocaust Deniers have already reached their preordained conclusion. These cynical, dishonest individuals have their own agenda---

"...Of course, Holocaust denial also has broader roots and many more adherents in the Middle East, which may be part of the point: Questioning the reality of the Holocaust has long been another means of questioning the legitimacy of the state of Israel, which was indeed created by the United Nations in response to the Holocaust, and which has indeed incorporated Holocaust history into its national identity. If the Shiite Iranians are looking for friends, particularly among Sunni Arabs, Holocaust denial isn't a bad way to find them..."

"...Earlier this year, in a distinctly eerie
open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he ( Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) lauded the great achievements of German culture and assaulted "the propaganda machinery after World War II that has been so colossal that [it] has caused some people to believe that they are the guilty party." Such views hearken back to the 1930s, when the then-Shah of Iran was an admirer of Hitler's notion of the "Aryan master race," to which Persians were meant to belong. Ahmadinejad himself counts as a mentor an early revolutionary who was heavily influenced by wartime Nazi propaganda. It shows...

To read more of this Slate piece, please follow the link:

http://www.slate.com/id/2155328/

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