Guardian

Guardian engages in Rouhani Revisionism in report on “Holocaust” remarks


Suppose you were taking a college class on the history of the 20th century and during one lecture the topic of the Holocaust was introduced. Then, in the middle of a class discussion, one student explained to the lecturer that, in his view, though some crimes were committed against Jews (and other groups) by the Nazis, the scope of the killings is still unclear and needs further research by historians and scholars.  Suppose that this student further opined that such crimes committed by the Nazis (whatever the scope) shouldn’t be exploited by Jews today to justify sixty years of usurping the land of another group and committing murderous crimes against them.

What kind of reaction would you expect from the lecturer and the students upon hearing such views?  The chances seem high that the student would be condemned for lending credibility to Holocaust revisionism and evoking the Holocaust in the context of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians – remarks which would arguably fall within the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism.  As the Wall St. Journal noted recently, responding to reports of comments made by Iran’s new president in an interview with CNN that included questions about the Holocaust:

Pretending that the facts of the Holocaust are a matter of serious historical dispute is a classic rhetorical evasion. Holocaust deniers commonly acknowledge that Jews were killed by the Nazis while insisting that the number of Jewish victims was relatively small and that there was no systematic effort to wipe them out.

Whilst CNN’s translation of Hassan Rouhani’s much publicized remarks during his interview with Christiane Amanpour on Sept. 24 has been challenged by the Wall St. Journal and Al Monitor – both of which insisted that, contrary to the CNN translation which relied on an Iranian government interpreter, Rouhani never used the word “Holocaust” – opting instead for the more euphemistic term “historical events” –  here are the relevant remarks by Iran’s president based on CNN’s Sept. 25 transcript:

I have said before that I am not a historian personally and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust as such, it is the historians that should reflect on it.

But in general, I can tell you that any crime or – that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people, is reprehensible and condemnable, as far as we are concerned.

And just as even such crimes are – if they are to happen today against any creed or belief system or human being as such, we shall again condemn it.

So what the Nazis did is condemnable. The dimensions of whatever it is, the historians have to understand what it is. I am not a historian myself, but we – it must be clear here, is that when there is an atrocity, a crime that happens, it should not become a cover to work against the interests or – or justify the crimes against another nation or another group of people.

So if the Nazis, however criminal they were, we condemn them, whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn, because genocide, the taking of the human life, is condemnable and it makes no difference whether that life is a Jewish life, a Christian or a Muslim or what.

For us, it’s the same. It’s the taking of a human life and an innocent human life is (INAUDIBLE) in Islam. It’s actually something that we condemn and our religion also rejects.

But this does not mean that, on the other hand, you can say, well, the Nazis committed crimes against, you know, a certain group, now, therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it. This, too, is an act that should be condemned, in our view.

So there should be an even-handed discussion of this.

Here is the Sept. 25 Guardian report on Rouhani’s remarks:

Capture

The Guardian celebration of Rouhani’s faux ‘acknowledgement’ relied entirely on quotes from the CNN transcript, and characteristically hasn’t been updated or revised to note to their readers the major dispute over the translation which came to light the day after their Sept. 25 story.  Interestingly, however, their story, written by , did include one observation by an Iranian-born Israeli named Meir Javedanfar which helps to explain how the remarks have been contextualized by media outlets friendly to the Iranian regime.

Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian politics lecturer at Interdisciplinary Centre (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel, interpreted Rouhani’s remarks as the limit he could go within the political and cultural constraints placed upon him.

Rouhani pushed the envelope as far as it could go, Javedanfar said, without infuriating the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other conservatives back home.

And, that’s really the point:  Holocaust deniers and revisionists typically understand that their animosity towards Jews and Israel can be seen more as more credible, and less morally suspect, if the historical understanding of the Nazi Holocaust – which serves to evoke sympathy for Jews – can be undermined.  Frankly acknowledging the systematic, and historically exceptional, attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe would necessarily draw unwanted focus on the extreme antisemitism permeating Iranian life which has inspired their leadership to call for the annihilation of the Jewish state, and would provide credibility to those insisting that a nuclear armed Iran represents an existential threat to six million Jews, and must therefore be resisted at all costs.

‘Counter-revolutionary’ rhetoric which serves to evoke sympathy for the Jewish state, no matter how obliquely, would indeed, as Javedanfar argued, “infuriate” the supreme leader, and so any pronouncements by Rouhani which touch upon the politically inconvenient topic of the Holocaust must invariably include questions about the “scope” of the Nazi crimes, and further be contextualized with the Jewish state’s ‘comparable’ “crimes” against the Palestinians. 

Rouhani’s political dilemma in allowing Iran to achieve its nuclear ambitions with minimum Western resistance is to steer a careful course which avoids offending Khamenei while simultaneously staying in the good graces of the sympathetic Western liberal media. 

The Guardian’s fawning coverage of the “moderate”, “dovish” Iranian president thus far indicates that he has passed the latter challenge with flying colors.

52 replies »

  1. The Guardian article is completely accurate. What does it take to get through to the mind of a Zionist that the US us completely fed up with fighting wars for Israel? We want diplomacy and talks and peace with Iran. And we are fed up with all this demonizing of Iranian leaders that Zionists are behind. That article by CIF is so lame. Anyone who ever attended a college knows that kind of discussion is perfectly acceptable. The Holocaust is not a justication for Cast Lead or war crimes of Occupation, it is not OK to seek to do to the Palestinians what was perceived as done to Jews in Germany. And people everywhere are speaking about Israels crimes against humanity in Palestine. We cannot change the past, but the present we live.

    • @ sherrimunnerlyn:

      “it is not OK to seek to do to the Palestinians what was perceived as done to Jews in Germany.”

      I and every past Israeli government agrees with you.
      This is why Israel is not engaged in such things.
      This is why This is why Palestinians are so much better off than Sunnis in Iran for example.
      Or Arabs in Syria, or Christians in Egypt.

    • Holocaust denial of an Antisemite
      “it is not OK to seek to do to the Palestinians what was perceived as done to Jews in Germany.”
      Fascinating how they blossom thanks to a more and more defunct educational and public system promoting undereducated idiots..

    • @ sherrimunnerlyn
      Parroting your lefty dogma ignores certain facts. Here are just a few. From 1967 to 1975, the number of Palestinians working, living and training in Israel, jumped from zero to 66,000, and by 1986, to 109,000. This represented a considerable percentage of the Palestinian labor force. What about the rest of the Palestinian labor force which works regularly in Israel? Founded in the West Bank under Israeli control, two industrial programs employ nearly half the Palestinian workforce.
      Per capita GDP earnings grew throughout the West Bank from $165 in 1968, to $1,340 in 2005 (compared with Iraq, which had a GNP per capita in the same period of 599 $, Yemen $ 604, or Egypt, $ 1,255.) Until 1999 Palestinian income per capita was almost double the per capita income in Syria, over four times the per capita income in Yemen and achieved 10% . Only Lebanon and the oil-rich Gulf states, were ahead of the Palestinian population.
      Life expectancy has also rocketed due to israeli medical care, given free. And education? Well, in the early days there was not even one University in the West Bank and Gaza. Within twenty-five years there were seven higher education institutions, with an enrollment of nearly twenty thousand students. The illiteracy rate dropped to only 14%, compared to 69 % in Morocco, 61% in Egypt, 45% in Tunisia, or 44% in Syria.
      And there’s a lot more …………….!!

      In other words, sherri, the ‘Palestinians’ are living in the land of milk and honey – thanks to Israel! (Study carried out by King’s College, London)

      Question: Why are all you lefty dogmatists so stoopid?

    • I KKKnow what you mean, Sherri. When America marched into Vietnam, it was all because of tohse Joos.

      Have you Jasshole? I bet you two could make some brain dead babies. Which is great beKKKause we Yids would love to steal some more organs.

    • sherrimunnerlyn gives a good example of the way the modern anti-Semite thinks.
      She wants the US to stop fighting wars for Israel, even though such wars have never happened,
      She wants peace with a totalitarian theocracy which does commit crimes against humanity and would like to get its hands on the bomb, and she wants it at any price,
      She’s extremely thin-skinned about pointing out the depravity of the Iranian leadership and state apparatus,
      She falsely alleges that a) Israel used the Holocaust to justify Cast Lead, and b) that Cast Lead and the plight of the Palestinians in general are somehow comparable to the Holocaust.
      Wars happen all the time, countries protect their citizens all the time, and when they do innocents die, usually in greater numbers than when the Israelis respond, and “people everywhere” don’t generally compare those things to the Nazi’s genocide against the Jews. When people like sherrimunnerlyn do equate the Jewish State’s attempts at self-preservation with the Nazi war machine, that’s anti-Semitism.

      • Jeff, permit me to make a small update (in bold) to one part of your comment:
        that Cast Lead and the plight of the Palestinians in general are somehow comparable to the Holocaust (which probably didn’t happen, or if it did, it really wasn’t that bad)

  2. This is an interesting analysis of the Iranian position. The answer I believe to anyone who a) attempts to minimise the Holocaust, and b) conflates the Holocaust with the ‘dispossession’ of the Palestinians is as follows:

    The ‘Palestinian’ population of Palestine at the end of the Second World War was very small. The partition was agreed by the UN but that resolution was rejected by the Palestinian Arabs and their allies which has directly led to the current situation through a process about which we are all familiar. Nonetheless today there are over 5 million ‘Palestinians’ as compared with between 1 to 2 million previously. Their population has increased many times over and they are for the large part still living in ‘Palestine’ as was. 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs are actually Israeli citizens and have never had that citizenship revoked. Four million or so Arabs now wishing to be known as Palestinians live under a considerable degree of self-rule.

    In short there is absolutely no comparison between the dispossession, denial of citizenship and ultimate murder of 6 million Jews in Europe and the experience of Palestinian Arabs since 1948. The key to being able to make this comparison though depends entirely on re-defining the Holocaust under the description “historical events”.

  3. Rouhani:

    “I have said before that I am not a historian personally and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust as such, it is the historians that should reflect on it.
    …the Nazis committed crimes against, you know, a certain group, now, therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it.”

    So, hang on, are you a hostorian or aren’t you?
    Shouldn’t we leave the fact (or fiction) of whether or not any one usurped anyone else’s land to historians?

  4. The problem with this CiFW article is that it assumes/suggests from the outset that Rouhani is a Holocaust denier.

    • We all know that Rouhani is lying about Iran’s breathless rush for nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel, so it’s highly likely he’d lie about other things, too. Like, the Holocaust. Denying it or calling it into question is an affront to the truth.

      • We all know that Rouhani is lying about Iran’s breathless rush for nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel

        Really?

        … so it’s highly likely he’d lie about other things, too. Like, the Holocaust.

        Sorry. That simply does not follow.

        A dubious assumption on the basis of an ungrounded statement.

        • Pretz, few questions:

          Is Rouhani a shadey politician?
          Did he admit in the past the things which Bibi said he did?
          If so, there is already a big question mark on his ability to be reliable.
          Do we agree on this?

          Bibi gave facts in his speech.
          Call it bad timing or bad diplomacy it ain’t matter and does not refute the facts presented.

          What do we have on the other corner?
          Some one throwing a bone at hinting that Jews were wronged at some point in history by the Nazis.
          Great, so were the Czechs and the Italians and the English.
          It is not the same though.
          The length and amount of persecution through out Europe carried out during WW2 was not only the Nazis fault.
          Fascists participated and most countries deported their Jews without even fighting against the deportation requests.

          This is what the holocaust was all about and Rouhani’s attempt to equate this with atrocoties commited else where is avoiding the question.
          It is shameful to admit this matter even needs debating, but sure enough he states just that.

          We all know who the master of Iran really is and so Rouhani is irrelevant.

  5. Whether he said “holocaust” or “historical event ” when he actually said some wonderful things looks a little sour and casts Israelis who support Netanyahu’s increasingly isolated stance in the very hawkish light that was sneered at in yesterdays CIFWatch article.

    He said there will be no WMDs . Compared to last year when Ahmedinejad was crowing about I think we have reasons to be cheerful.

    • The problem there Jasper is that we both know you are praying that Rouhani is lying about not wanting to attain WMD a

    • Winston Churchill was isolated when he criticized Hitler, but he was proved to be right in the end. Same will be the case with Netanyahu’s criticism of Rouhani. And like Hitler’s Germany, Islam’s Iranian Republic will lose, too!

      • Correct!
        It also says tonnes about your countrymen when you are being booed after attempting to say some injustice happened to the Jews.

        • It says a lot about those individuals/organisations doing the booing – but not about the entire people, surely.

          • It says a lot about the society as a whole. Yes it does.
            It shows one of 3 options:
            a) They agree with the booing and accept it.
            b) They couldn’t care less how they are portrayed.
            c) They are unable to protest against these statements (probably the most accurate option).

            And you think that a society with either option is one we should approach with open arms and accept their leaders?
            Go and speak to some Iranians in excile while you’re at it.
            Loads are in Germany.

    • You and your ilk might have reasons to be cheerful, demonstrating the obedient role of useful idiots, like your forgoers, the fellow travelers of the Sovietunion.

    • Jasper: “when he actually said some wonderful things”

      Yes, I love it when despots say wonderful things. It makes the world so… progressive. I remember those old bastards on World At War saying how they voted for Hitler because of all the ‘nice things’ he said.

      You sound more and more like some demented old geriatric excusing their bigoted values with sugar coated bullshit. Shallow to the core Jasper.

    • Jasper:
      “…when he (Rouhani) actually said some wonderful things…”

      Yes, at least the train run on time…

    • Quite interesting, but my suspicion is the fierce opposition in Congress, the isolationist mood of the people and the financial limitations of the economy and the state budget still waiting for recovery are contributing to the failures of an administration whose view of the world as the reign of fair and even negotiations is delusional. Especially for a power like the USA.with the power projection as policeman of the world which Obama just withdraw at the UN.
      The question is it modesty out of sheer economic shortcomings the USA face or is it ideologically motivated whether promoted by the isolationist mood of the people or progressive illusions of the administration.
      The NSA leaks are surely backfiring at the position of the USA, but maybe at the state of world security, too.
      Clearly the Obama administration is backpedaling from their open Islamist support, since the Libyan murder, and after loosing out to the Egypt military, It didn`t start with the red line in Syria. The Obama administration is fighting for some success, be it just sitting at the tables with an Islamic terror regime avid of nucklear weapons.
      The instrumentalizing, sponsoring and containing of Islamists already backfired in the nineties, when the Taliban and Al quaida took over in Afghanistan, after the US sponsored victory of the mudjahedeens, where despiteused the divide et impera-method one faction swallowed up all the others, after years of infight.

      But the opposition can`t be let off the hook, as Bolton does, to whom it is more important to destroy, to obstruct the care reform, now called Obamacare which was already cut down by the radicak opposition of Tea parties who prefer to call for social self responsibility, individualism and self reliability, but to fight for every state subvention they can get, be it farming, energy or Pentagon`s investitions. There were also signs of the republican economically liberal faction, McCain f.e., to collaborate with Islamists, in hope of big deals. The checks and balances-system is coming to an end, the bipartisanship obviously too.
      Hypocrites ante portas wherever you look.

  6. “What kind of reaction would you expect from the lecturer and the students upon hearing such views? The chances seem high that the student would be condemned for lending credibility to Holocaust revisionism ”

    The reaction might be as you suggest – but that doesn’t mean that it would be reasonable or appropriate. All historical judgements are subject to review and revision. There is absolutely no reason why accepted versions of the Holocaust should be preserved from re-examination. If the results of such reviews can be shown as false from the evidence, that’s fine – but to discourage scholars from even questioning the accepted version is simple Philistinism.

    • @ Sencar
      You wrote: ‘All historical judgements are subject to review and revision.’

      So, we could apply that to, say, the origins of Al Qur’an, …. yes?

      • I know nothing about “the origins of Al Qur’an” but if there are conflicting views on the subject then they of course should be subject to academic examination.

        I am currently reading J S Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ for a lecture course I am following. Amongst many profound thoughts in defence of free speech Mill wrote this:

        “though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions, that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.”

        This applies to the facts of the Holocaust as to those of any other historical event.

        • Sencar, I believe we (Society) have already covered the Holocaust enough and reviewed the evidence provided to us by survivers, inmates, escaping prisioners, camp guards, Nazi high ranking officer’s documents to conclude what took place.

          Any one disputes this has an agenda.
          Do you?

        • sencar the same J.S. Mill who also wrote in the same work “On Liberty”, the following ” Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.”

          Now let me see where have I heard the ‘end justifies the means’ argument before.
          Your attempt at philosophy is as fraudulent as your attempt at statistics Brian.

        • “Mill who also wrote in the same work “On Liberty”, the following ” Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians”

          Mill took the common view of his time that some societies were too primitive to “be capable of being improved by free and equal discussion”. He was wrong but that does not invalidate his general argument against ‘silenc[ed] opinion’. You don’t need to have studied philosophy to appreciate that point, Gerald, just to be open to simple logic.

        • You asked : Why only the Qur’an?

          Because all the rest of the major religions in the world have had their texts dismantled sentence by sentence – except Al Qur’an. It’s long overdue. That’s why!
          And Al Qur’an is riddled with errors and weaknesses – grammatical errors, contradictions, plagiarism, etc..

    • There is absolutely no reason why accepted versions of the Holocaust should be preserved from re-examination.

      Any particular aspect(s) you have in mind there?

  7. Sencar
    All antisemites have a deep attachment to questioning the extent of the Holocaust or whether it happened at all . Revisionism or denial it goes with the territory and you’ve proved the point with that comment .
    Rather than trolling here , why not engage with Combat 18 , Storm Front or MPAC UK . You will be among like minded individuals