General Antisemitism

Denying Denial

The ever-estimable Bataween has already addressed on these pages the content of Gilbert Achcar’s CiF article of May 12th. As seems to be generally the case with any CiF article connected in some shape or form to the subject of the Holocaust, the comments generated display a depth to the nature of anti-Semitism which other subjects seem to expose to a lesser degree.

The EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism relates to the subject of the Holocaust in several of its clauses.

“Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).”

Whilst the word ‘amplified’ is not specifically used in the wording of the EUMC Definition, common sense would dictate that its employment could fall into the same clause as “Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

Also not specifically cited in the working definition, the implication that Zionists contributed to the scale and gravity of the Holocaust must at least be classified as tasteless and deliberately provocative in the extreme.

“Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

[recreated from Properbostonian @ 12 May 2010, 4.09PM]

Another point, although not included in the EUMC Definition, is the claim that the Holocaust is used as a method to silence discussion about Israel. This of course is designed to place Jews in a lose/lose situation.

Then of course there is the increasingly popular claim that innocent Palestinians are somehow being punished for the sins of white Europeans during the Second World War which not only distorts the history of the Zionist movement, but attempts to absolve the Palestinians of any responsibility whatsoever for their situation

Holocaust denial (as well as the denial of that denial) is of course not only fuelled by racism, but employed by some as a method of achieving political aims. The propagation of newer lies such as fictitious Israeli ‘massacres’ in Gaza or Sabra and Shatila , the claim that the Palestinians are being made to pay the price for European past sins, or the malicious comparison of Israelis to Nazis are merely different versions of an ideology which is capable of staring the truth of history in the face, but deliberately ignoring what it sees. It is, of course, hardly surprising that the type of people whom General Eisenhower had in mind when he ordered the recording of the horrors of the concentration camps “in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda’ ” would today be capable of ignoring over 1,000 Israeli victims of the second Intifada or eight years of rocket attacks upon Sderot.

The EUMC Working Definition is now six years old. In that time the situation in Europe has not only not improved, it has significantly deteriorated and new expressions of anti-Semitism spout forth from multiple directions, including politicians and the academia, as this article and its comments remind us. Holocaust denial is perhaps one of the more disgusting expressions of anti-Semitism in the modern era. If Europe cannot at least make this particular form of racism socially unacceptable in its society a mere 70 years after the Holocaust took place, then one cannot but feel a renewed deep pessimism as to the future of European society.

16 replies »

  1. From Bataween’s article:
    “After 1948, Arab governments set about making the Arab Middle East Judenrein.”

    There was even an Arab League document planning the cleansing of Jews from Arab lands, in eerie echo of the Wannsee documents planing the Nazi cleansing of Jews from Europe.

    Haj Amin, acknowledged by Palestians as their leader and hero, is thought to have played a pivotal role in turning HItler from emigration to elimination as the “Final Solution.” He also was instrumental in instigating the Einsatzgruppe Aegypt, kept ready and waiting in Athens to implement the “Final Solution” in the Middle East.

    As for the role of North African Arabs themselves in implenting the “Final Solution,” including the deportation of significant numbers of North African Jews to concentration camps in North Africa and to elimination camps in Europe, we have this material published on the site of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

    “At every stage of the Nazi, Vichy, and Fascist persecution of Jews in Arab lands, and in every place that it occurred, Arabs played a supporting role. At times, Arabs were essential to the process. …

    But many Arabs did more than just cheer on the sidelines as Jews were marched off to forced labor. They provided the manpower—guards, foremen, train conductors, and so forth—that made the persecution possible. And, if numerous eyewitness accounts are to be believed, a sizable number often performed their tasks willfully, even eagerly. Sometimes their zealousness was characterized by gratuitous violence that bordered on the sadistic. …

    Arab guards working under German, French, and Italian officers at labor camps were not the only uniformed Arabs to side with the Axis powers. A small army of other Arabs volunteered for service, either directly in special German units or in paramilitary formations that fought with, or supported, Axis forces. …

    One military observer suggested that up to 13,000 Arabs volunteered for service with the Axis powers during the war, …

    … perhaps as many as 2 million Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians, and Libyans as participants in, supporters of, or active sympathizers with the systematic targeting of Jews. One conclusion is clear: Without this measure of Arab support—and, certainly, without this level of Arab acquiescence—the extent of Jewish suffering in Arab lands would have been much less.”

    Of course, the worst denial of all is the complete Arab refusal to even acknowledge – much less do penance, remorse, and indemnify the Jewish people – for 14 centuries of semi-apartheid, including subjugated status, yellow badges, ghettoes, and pogroms.

    Perhaps as penance and indemnification for those 14 centuries, the Arabs owe the Jews not only a state, but moral and financial support of that state.

  2. Perhaps as penance and indemnification for those 14 centuries, the Arabs owe the Jews not only a state, but moral and financial support of that state.


    Better not hold your breath.

  3. “Haj Amin, acknowledged by Palestians as their leader and hero, is thought to have played a pivotal role in turning HItler from emigration to elimination as the “Final Solution.” ”

    Is thought to have? By whom and on what grounds?

  4. HuddsOn:
    “… is thought to have …”
    That’s the Guardian style of argument which is generally used by its favourite writers as Chris McGreal (…are believed to refer to …). There is no need for such sloppy writing when referring to Haj Amin, who exploits during the war are well documented.

  5. Another superbly written and researched article by Israelinurse.

    Of course it enrages the inveterate antisemites that the Shoah is regularly evoked by Jews as an example of the worst episode in 20th century European history. First our enemies tried to deny it, or minimize it, and now they’ve latched onto it in order to repeat the holocaust once again using the Jewish state as principal victim.

  6. MindTheCrap

    “That’s the Guardian style of argument”

    On the contrary, it’s a completely valid “style of argument” which indicates the conclusion has ben proposed as a theory with some substance but cannot yet be considered confirmed.

    The Guardian’s problem is not that it uses such phrases as “is thought” or “is believed” but that it uses them excessively, for too many (if not the majority) if its arguments, and always for anti-Jewish narrative, never for anti-Muslim narrative.

  7. Incidentally, Hudson ought to learn the elementary literacy skills to do his own research. It took all of 10 seconds to locate “By whom and on what grounds?”

    The answer: by the Israeli courts in the Eichmann trial, on the basis of sworn testimony.

    Husseini and the ‘Final Solution’

    In The Mufti and the Führer, Joseph Schechtman wrote: “It is hardly accidental that the beginning of the systematic physical destruction of European Jewry by Hitler’s Third Reich roughly coincided with the Mufti’s arrival in the Axis camp.” Observations like this have caused many observers to conclude that Husseini was a major factor in the development of the “Final Solution.” But when the mufti was questioned about his participation in the Holocaust, he denied any involvement, adding that the “Nazis needed no persuasion or instigation either by me or anybody else to execute their program against the Jews.”

    The primary written evidence on this issue came at the Nuremberg trials in the form of an affidavit that quoted Adolf Eichmann’s deputy, Dieter Wisliceny (who was subsequently executed as a war criminal), saying: “The Mufti was also one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry by the Germans and had been the permanent collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan… He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures.” The affidavit had a few errors, and Husseini denied ever having met Eichmann, but Wisliceny read it over at Nuremberg and verified its substance.

    The affidavit also reported on instances when Eichmann was willing to send Jewish prisoners to Palestine, but Husseini intervened and the prisoners were killed. When pressed by an underling to explain why they could not just be deported, Eichmann reportedly said: “I am a personal friend of the Grand Mufti. We have promised him that no European Jew would enter Palestine any more. Do you understand now?”

    Three letters from the mufti, written in 1944, verify his opposition to sending Jews to Palestine. Addressing the foreign offices of Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania, Husseini wrote: “I beg Your excellency to permit me to draw your distinguished attention to the necessity of preventing these Jews from leaving your country for Palestine; and if there are any reasons which make their withdrawal necessary,” that they be sent to “other countries, as for example Poland, where they would find themselves under active surveillance.” As critics have noted, Jews in Poland at this time were all being executed.

    Of course, this written evidence does not prove that the mufti was an architect of the Final Solution. There is, however, as Joseph Schechtman wrote, “abundant first hand evidence of the part the Mufti played in making foolproof the ban on emigration” of Jews out of Germany. The court in Eichmann’s 1961 trial declared: “It has been proved to us that the Mufti, too aimed at the implementation of the ‘Final Solution,’ vis, the extermination of European Jewry, and there is no doubt that, had Hitler succeeded in conquering Palestine, the Jewish population of Palestine as well would have been subject to total extermination, with the support of the Mufti.”

  8. As usual, an excellent post by Israelinurse.

    However, there is one important factual error. The massacre at Sabra and Shatila (in Lebanon during the 1982 Lebanon/Israel war) was by no means “fictitious”. The massacre was carried out by Lebanese Christian forces allied with the Israelis. The Christian forces acted for their own reasons, principally revenge for the assassination a few days earlier of their leader Bashir Gemayel and many other prominent Christian leaders. They had been sent into the refugee camp/neighborhood by the Israelis to find and arrest or kill PLO fighters, a task that they had carried out several times before in other locations without any massacres. (Of course, in those cases, they had not just seen their political leadership massacred.) The massacre occurred in spite of the Christian forces having promised the Israelis that they would not harm the civilian population.

    An Israeli investigative commission found that several Israeli officials, including then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, bore indirect responsibility for the massacre, principally for ignoring warning signs that, this time, there was likely to be a massacre.

  9. DavdS, you did not read the article carefully. It said:

    “The propagation of newer lies such as fictitious Israeli ‘massacres’ in Gaza or Sabra and Shatila”

    The article is correct. There were no Israeli massacres in Gaza, nor Sabra, nor Shatila.

  10. “…the claim that the Holocaust is used as a method to silence discussion about Israel.”

    The irony is that anti-Israeli activists and pundits are often the first to bring up the Holocaust.

    I’ve come upon numerous instances of the anti-Israeli crowd saying that “Israel uses the Holocaust to silence this opinion” or “Israel justifies this policy by invoking the Holocaust” but not once have I come across an instance where this has happened.

    Whether one agrees with a particular Israeli policy or not, when has an Israeli official used the Holocaust to defend a controversial policy? I can’t think of a single example.

  11. I can only repeat what others have already said: great job, Israelinurse, — as always!
    Those who think about what the Arabs owe Israel: well, how about the properties taken from the Jews who were driven out? The real estate alone amounts to territory about 2-3 times the size of pre-1967 Israel…

  12. Jews and Palestinians should acknowledge each other and their very long historic connection both peoples have to the land. We are Brothers, we are Semites, when this site and others sites stops deriding that connection, it will be a start. Be Pro Israeli Pro Palestian, Pro Two States and Pro Peace

  13. “Incidentally, Hudson ought to learn the elementary literacy skills to do his own research. It took all of 10 seconds to locate “By whom and on what grounds?””

    I do not lack elementary literacy skills. I simply assumed that you must have the requisite information already and so there was little point in duplicating your efforts. It wasn’t intended as a sarcastic or rhetorical question on my part, I’m sorry if it came across that way – just a harmless request for information.

  14. Toko Lemoko,

    I did read the article carefully. The wording of that particular passage was clumsy and potentially misleading. The “massacre” in Gaza was, indeed, fictitious — there simply was none. The Israelis made enormous efforts to avoid civilian deaths and the civilian deaths that did occur were overwhelmingly due to Hamas’ strategy of embedding their fighters in the civilian population.

    On the other hand, the massacre at Sabra and Shatila was very real, but was carried out by Arabs for their own purposes. Israeli involvement was crucial but there is no evidence that the Israelis in charge wanted or expected a massacre to occur and plenty of evidence that they did not.

    Combining the two cases in a single description runs the danger of being accused of denying the historical fact of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. I am certain that this was not Israelinurse’s intent and I was just pointing out the important distinction. I included some historical detail because the Sabra and Shatila case is fairly complex. I have no doubt that, on the Israeli side, the massacre was a serious error with horrible consequences. On the Lebanese Christian side, on the other hand, it was a completely intentional mass murder.

    The fact that Israel gets far more blame for the massacre than the Lebanese forces that intentionally carried it out is a symptom of the massive and poisonous double standards that are routinely applied in the Israeli/Arab conflict. Just ask a random person with some knowledge of the conflict whose name they associate with the massacre. You will almost certainly get back Ariel Sharon’s name in reply (if you get any name at all). Then ask if your interlocutor knows who Elie Hobeika (the Lebanese commander of the forces that carried out the massacre) was. You will almost certainly get a blank stare.

  15. David,

    All that is missing are perhaps a half-dozen words; for example:

    “The propagation of newer lies such as fictitious Israeli ‘massacres’ in Gaza or the fiction that Israel (rather than the Phalange) ordered the massacres at Sabra and Shatila”

    An Israeli commented at the time, “If this is the way one Arab group deals with another, doesn’t the world realise it is just a shadow of what woud happen to us were we ever to lose?”

    For the rest, I agree with you.