Mark Weber: Anti-Holocaust Intifada
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An Anti-Holocaust Intifada Grows among the Arabs
Journal of Historical Review
Institute for Historical Review
At a time when Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation is
stiffening and the brutality of Zionist oppression is becoming ever
more obvious, Holocaust revisionism is catching fire across the Arab
world. "The trend among public opinion in the Arab world today," one
prominent Arab journalist recently wrote, "whether we like it or not
-- is to question the veracity of the accepted wisdom about the extent
of the killing of Jews by the Nazis."[see note]
An influential Israeli-American journalist, Yossi Klein Halevi, while
predictably misrepresenting Arab attitudes toward the Holocaust, and
exaggerating Arab sympathies for Hitler, agrees on the rise of
revisionism among Arabs:
The Arab world has become obsessed with the Holocaust, and two camps
have emerged. One camp, which includes the government-controlled
newspapers of Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, argues
that the Holocaust never happened; the other camp, which includes at
least one government newspaper in Egypt, acknowledges that the
Holocaust did happen and is grateful to Hitler for implementing it.
Indeed, nowhere except in the Arab world is both Holocaust denial and
admiration for the Final Solution as mainstream, including among
intellectuals.... Hiri Manzour [Khairi Mansur], columnist for the
Palestinian Authority-controlled newspaper Al Hayat al Jadida, April
13: "The figure of six million Jews cremated in the Nazi Auschwitz
camps is a lie for propaganda." [see note]
Elli Wohlgelernter, writing in the Jerusalem Post, similarly lamented
the growing acceptance of Holocaust revisionism. In an article
littered with factual errors, Elli dismissed revisionist scholars as
"deniers" who claim "that Chelmno, Dachau and Auschwitz were merely
disinfection sites."[see note] Referring to Deborah Lipstadt, the
well-known Jewish critic of Holocaust revisionism, he wrote:
Her fear for the future are [sic] Arab students walking around saying
they know there was no Holocaust, because they learned it in their
textbooks. "A colleague of mine said: 'The bombs last a minute, and
they can do terrible damage. But this stuff is an incendiary device
that lasts generations.'"
Contributing significantly to this trend was the publicity surrounding
preparations earlier this year for a four-day conference on Holocaust
revisionism and Zionism in Beirut, Lebanon, which the Institute for
Historical Review helped to organize and promote. Three influential
Jewish groups -- the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation
League, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center -- publicly demanded that
Lebanese authorities ban the meeting, and the U.S. government brought
covert pressure on Lebanon to ban it.
Shortly before the conference was to begin on March 31, Lebanon's
prime minister announced that it would not be permitted. (See the
January-February 2001 Journal.)
The worldwide media attention paid the Beirut conference, and its
cancellation under Zionist and official U.S. pressure, greatly boosted
Arab awareness of Holocaust revisionism, including the work and impact
of the Institute for Historical Review.
Activism in Jordan
Nowhere has recent support for revisionism been more open and ardent
than in Jordan, where the Jordanian Writers Association (JWA) and
numerous scholars and journalists have done much to promote awareness
of Holocaust deceit. Prominent in this effort has been Dr. Ibrahim
Alloush, who is active in the JWA and the Association against Zionism
and Racism (AZAR). Dr. Alloush writes a regular column for the popular
Jordanian weekly Assabeel, and is editor of the Free Arab Voice web
During a packed, standing-room-only AZAR meeting on April 7 in Amman,
the Jordanian capital, which had been called to show solidarity with
the Palestinian resistance to Zionist occupation, speaker after
speaker rose to express support for revisionist historians, and to
condemn Arab intellectuals who had called for the banning of the
The JWA succeeded in holding a meeting devoted to Holocaust
revisionism in Amman on May 13. About two hundred persons packed JWA
headquarters for the gathering, entitled "What Happened to the
Revisionist Historians Conference in Beirut?" This much-anticipated
meeting had been postponed twice: once in April after Jordanian
authorities expressed concern that it might harm relations with the
United States while the country's monarch, King Abdullah, was visiting
Washington, and again earlier in May.
The attendees called on colleagues in other countries to join in
supporting the work of revisionist historians in uncovering lies and
exaggerations in the Holocaust extermination story. Historical
revisionism, explained journalist Hayat Atiyeh in her address to the
meeting, is not an ideology but a position, supported by facts and
meticulous analyses, about a historical event -- "the Holocaust."
Revisionists include Muslims, leftists, Jews, and Christians, she
said, and many revisionists have been fined, fired from their jobs,
socially ostracized, and even assassinated for their dissident views
on the Holocaust. During the 1980s, Atiyeh continued, experts carried
out scientific examinations of the alleged gas chambers in which Jews
were reportedly killed during the Second World War, and found that
they could not have operated as described in the extermination myth.
Another journalist, Arafat Hijazi, noted that Israel's first prime
minister, David Ben Gurion, had used the Holocaust to justify the
creation of the "Zionist entity." Hijazi also told the meeting that
Jews had exaggerated the number of their people killed in the Second
World War, and misrepresented how they perished.
In his address to the meeting, Ibrahim Alloush quoted at length from a
detailed statement by French revisionist Robert Faurisson, that
Faurisson had prepared for delivery at the cancelled Beirut
conference. (See pages 13-22 in this issue of the Journal.)
Zionists, Alloush told the meeting, have succeeded in portraying
themselves in Western public opinion as a people who were so
victimized in the Holocaust that they practically deserve free license
from the West to act with impunity against anyone at any time. The
myths of the Holocaust are extremely important to the Zionist
movement, Alloush continued, explaining that Jewish claims about
unique persecution and systematic extermination during the war are
used to justify a need for their own safe haven in Israel. This myth
basically provides a justification for the rape of Palestine, he said.
"In human history, the argument of the uniqueness of Jewish deaths
provides a justification for Israel and the Zionist movement to
violate every ethical and legal code in the book, and to persecute
opponents, like the revisionist historians and the Arabs, without any
reprimand, even with sympathy, from the West," said Alloush.
Revisionists do not deny that Jews died in the Second World War,
Alloush stressed. On the contrary, revisionists affirm "that hundreds
of thousands of Jews died, along with the forty-five million who
perished in that war." Revisionist scholars apply science to prove
that gas chambers were not used to exterminate Jews systematically, he
continued. Crematories, on the other hand, were used to "dispose of
the corpses of people of different nationalities to circumvent plagues."
News reports and commentary on the May 13 JWA meeting appeared in many
newspapers, and Zionist groups, including the influential Simon
Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League, were quick to
denounce the conference. Extensive videotaped portions of the JWA
meeting were broadcast on June 30 and again on July 2 on Lebanon's
Hezbollah satellite television channel "Al Manar."
On June 20 the Free Arab Voice distributed by e-mail an editorial
essay, "The Modern Relevance of Nazi-Zionist Cooperation," along with
"Zionism and the Third Reich," an article by Mark Weber reprinted from
the July-August 1993 Journal of Historical Review.
IHR Open Letter
In a statement issued in mid-March, fourteen prominent Arab writers
called on authorities in Lebanon to ban the "Revisionism and Zionism"
conference in Beirut. But the widely publicized declaration soon
proved something of an embarrassment for at least two of its backers.
Edward Said, a prominent Palestine-born scholar who [taught] at
Columbia University in New York City, repudiated the statement two
weeks later, saying that he had been deceived about its content. In a
semi-public letter, he explained that he had never, in fact, approved
any call to ban the conference. Another signer, Elias Khoury,
expressed embarrassment that Israel's ambassador to France publicly
praised the Arab intellectuals' statement. A third signer, Mahmoud
Darwish, publicly repudiated the statement on July 15.
The IHR responded to the statement with an "Open Letter to 14 Arab
Intellectuals" (see pages 6-7 in this issue of the Journal). Written
by IHR director Mark Weber, and headed "No to Censorship!, No to
Bigotry!," it has been widely published in the Arab world. It appeared
in the Saudi Arabian daily paper Al Watan, April 25, in Al Arab Al
Yowm, one of Jordan's three major daily newspapers, May 8, and in the
influential Beirut daily paper An Nahar, May 9. It was also published
in Arabic in the Jordanian weekly Assabeel, April 25-30, one of the
country's largest-circulation magazines, and in the Kuwaiti weekly
magazine Al-Mujtamaa, May 26. The IHR Open Letter also appeared in at
least two on-line Arab periodicals, Aljareeda and Al Shaab. (The IHR's
Open Letter is posted on the "Beirut 2001" section of the IHR web
site, along with numerous press reports on the on-going Middle East
struggle for revisionism.)
On the evening of May 15, coincidentally the fifty-third anniversary
of the founding of Israel, Holocaust revisionism was the subject of
the popular current affairs show, Opposite Directions, broadcast on
the Arabic-language satellite television channel "Al Jazeera." Free of
government control or censorship, this independent channel is well
regarded across the Arab world, reaching some thirty million viewers
from Morocco to Bahrain.
Representing the anti-revisionist view on the live, two-hour show was
a Tunisian intellectual who lives in Paris, Al Afif Lakhdar, who
defended the March statement by the fourteen Arab intellectuals. The
show's main revisionist speaker was Hayat Atiyeh, who had addressed
the May 13 JWA meeting in Amman. She spoke effectively, making her
points with lucid arguments and convincing references. Displaying
photographs of Palestinian victims of Zionist oppression, she told
viewers: "This is the real holocaust. The other one is a fake." Atiyeh
also showed a photograph of Robert Faurisson after a nearly fatal
attack against him by Jewish thugs, as well as photos of an attack
against a book store in Paris that sold revisionist books.
Ibrahim Alloush participated by telephone, explaining the importance
of revisionism to Arabs. Also joining the discussion by telephone,
Robert Faurisson deftly rebutted Lakhdar's argument that Arabs would
lose support in the United States and Europe if they embraced
Holocaust revisionism. "If you want to avoid any trouble with
Zionists," said Faurisson, "surely it is better to forget about
discussing the Holocaust."
During the broadcast, viewers were invited to respond to an on-line
poll on the "Al Jazeera" web site. Viewers could respond affirmatively
to one of three questions:
1. Do you think that Zionism is worse than Nazism?
2. Do you think that Zionism is the same as Nazism?
3. Do you think that Zionism is better than Nazism (not as bad)?
The results, made public at the conclusion of the broadcast, showed
that more than 84 percent thought that Zionism is worse than Nazism,
over 11 percent think that Zionism is the same as Nazism, and only 2.7
percent think that Zionism is better, or not as bad, as Nazism.
As even the show's moderator declared, the broadcast was a resounding
victory for the revisionists.
A Legacy of Skepticism
In spite of the worldwide, decades-long Holocaust campaign, enforced
in several European countries with laws that criminalize "Holocaust
denial," millions of people around the world have never accepted the
claim of six million Jewish wartime victims. Thirty-seven years ago,
for example, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser said in an
interview that "No one, not even the simplest man in our country,
takes seriously the lie about six million murdered Jews."[see note]
In 1996-1998 this skepticism was manifest in an outpouring of support,
especially from Arab and Muslim countries, for French scholar Roger
Garaudy when he was indicted and then punished for daring to challenge
Holocaust claims in his book on The Founding Myths of Modern Israel.
Mohamed Heikal, for decades perhaps the most influential journalist in
the Arab world, endorsed the revisionist view of the Holocaust issue
in his foreword to the Arabic edition of Garaudy's controversial
As the growing trend among the Arabs suggests, popularly and scholarly
revisionist rejection of the Holocaust is going to play an increasing
role in the moral and intellectual struggle against Zionism, Israel,
and their founding myths.
1. Rami Khouri, a Palestinian journalist based in Amman and former
editor of the Jordan Times, in "A View from the Arab World," Toronto
Globe and Mail, May 22, 2001, p. A15.
2. Yossi Klein Halevi, "Dance of Death Overtakes the Arab World,"
Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2001.
3. Elli Wohlgelernter, "In a State of Denial," Jerusalem Post, June
4. Nasser interview with the Deutsche (Soldaten und-)
National-Zeitung (Munich), May 1, 1964, p. 3. Quoted in: Robert S.
Wistrich, Hitler's Apocalypse (London: 1985), p. 188.
5. "Heikal's Foreword to the Arabic Edition of Garaudy's Founding
Myths," Journal of Historical Review, November-December 2000, pp. 30-35.
Certain liberal-left groups and personages that threaten to remove
solidarity with Palestine or the Arab cause against Zionism, because
of questioning the hollowcause or having strategic alliances that
violate the outdated right-left divide are either dogmatically
confused or aren't really friends of the cause anyway. If we can
persuade them thats great. Look at how crappy Leftists are about
admitting how Zionist-controlled they are and how responsible they are
for the creation of the Zionist entity, to be whining about who
anti-Zionists make their alliances with! (contributor's comment)
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