Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another Take on Iran and Holocaust Denial

From the Weekly Standard's Matthias Küntzel:-

Up until now, Holocaust deniers have wanted to revise the past. Today, they want to shape the future: to prepare the way for the next Holocaust.

In his opening speech to the conference, the Iranian foreign minister, Manucher Mottaki, left no doubt on this point: If "the official version of the Holocaust is called into question," Mottaki said, then "the nature and identity of Israel" must also be called into question. The purpose of denying, among all the Nazis' war measures, specifically the persecution of the Jews is to undermine a central motive for the establishment of the state of Israel. Auschwitz is delegitimized in order to legitimize the elimination of Israel--that is, a second genocide. If it should turn out, however, that the Holocaust did happen after all, Ahmadinejad explains that it would have been a result of European policies, and any homeland for the Jews would belong not in Palestine but in Europe. Either way, the result is the same: Israel must vanish.

This focus explains why the conference's sponsors attached so much importance to the participation of a delegation from the Jewish sect Neturei Karta. Although it does not deny the Holocaust, the sect welcomes the destruction of Israel. That objective was the common denominator uniting all the participants in the conference. In his closing speech, Ahmadinejad formulated it with perfect clarity: "The life-curve of the Zionist regime has begun its descent, and it is now on a downward slope towards its fall. . . . The Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated."

and it continues:-

Yet it's all confusing. Why, if Iran wishes Israel ill, does it deny the Holocaust rather than applaud it? Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial has been especially well received in the Arab world, where it has won praise from Hezbollah, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas. Yet in the Arab world, Hitler is admired not for building highways or conquering Paris, but for murdering Jews. How can Holocaust denial be most prevalent in a region where admiration for Hitler remains widespread? To unlock this paradox it is necessary to examine the anti-Semitic mind.

Holocaust denial is anti-Semitism at its most extreme. Whoever declares Auschwitz a myth implicitly portrays the Jews as the enemy of humanity: The assumption is that the all-powerful Jews, for filthy lucre, have been duping the rest of humanity for the past 60 years. Whoever talks of the "so-called Holocaust" implies that over 90 percent of the world's media and university professorships are controlled by Jews and are thereby cut off from the "real" truth. No one who accuses Jews of such perfidy can sincerely regret Hitler's Final Solution. For this reason alone, every denial of the Holocaust contains an appeal to repeat it...

...Obviously, from a logical point of view, enthusiasm for the Holocaust is incompatible with its denial. Logic, however, is beside the point. Anti-Semitism is built upon an emotional infrastructure that substitutes for reason an ephemeral combination of mutually exclusive attributions, all arising from hatred of everything Jewish. As a result, many contradictory anti-Jewish interpretations of the Holocaust can be deployed simultaneously: (1) the extermination of millions was a good thing; (2) the extermination of millions was a Zionist fabrication; (3) the Holocaust resulted from a Jewish conspiracy against Germany that Hitler thwarted and punished; (4) the Holocaust was a joint enterprise of the Zionists and Nazis; (5) the Zionists' "Holocaust industry" exaggerates the murder of the Jews for self-interested reasons; (6) Israeli actions against the Palestinians are the "true" Holocaust--and so on.

We are dealing here with a parallel universe in which the reality principle is ignored, and blatantly contradictory fantasies about Jews all have their place so long as they serve to reinforce anti-Semitic paranoia and hatred: a universe in which the laws of reason have been abolished and all mental energy is harnessed to the cause of anti-Semitism. ..

...Irrespective of the leeway that Ahmadinejad has, for the time being, left the Iranian Jews, his rhetoric is steeped in an anti-Semitism that is unprecedented for a state leader since World War II. Ahmadinejad does not say "Jews" are conspiring to rule the world. He says, "Two thousand Zionists want to rule the world." He says, "The Zionists" have for 60 years now blackmailed "all Western governments." "The Zionists have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural, and media sectors." "The Zionists" fabricated the Danish Muhammad cartoons. "The Zionists" are responsible for the destruction of the dome of the Golden Mosque in Iraq.

The pattern is familiar. Ahmadinejad is not a racist social Darwinist who, Hitler-like, wants to eliminate every last trace of "Jewish blood." The term "half-Jew" is not used in Islamist discourse. But he invests the word "Zionist" with exactly the same meaning Hitler poured into "Jew": the incarnation of evil. ..

...Shiite Islamism confronts us with an adversary who reviles the achievements of modernity as Satan's work, who denounces the international system created after 1945 as a "Jewish-Christian conspiracy," and who therefore wishes to overturn the accepted historiography of the postwar period. At the start of the Holocaust deniers' conference, Foreign Minister Mottaki explained that the problem is the "wording of historical occurrences and their analysis [are written from] the perspective of the West." As against this "Western" historiography, Islamism wants to create a new historical "truth," in which the Holocaust is declared a myth, while the Twelfth Imam is deemed real. Whereas the delusional worldview of Holocaust denial is elevated to the norm, any deviation from it is denounced as a symptom of "Jewish domination." ...

...Even as he is conducting his religious war, Ahmadinejad is also playing the role of a global populist. The alarm cannot be sounded loudly enough. If Iran is not put under pressure without delay and forced to choose between changing course and suffering devastating economic sanctions, the only remaining alternatives will be a bad one--the military option--and a dreadful one--the Iranian bomb.


Al S. E. said...

President Ahmadinejad's views are summarized on this website:

beniyyar said...

I read this article and I noticed that the historical animosity between the Persians and the Jews as recorded in Megillat Esther was never mentioned. I don't feel that this miraculous victory by us over Haman and his ilk is what drives the genocidal present day Iranians/Persians but I have no doubt that Ahmanjihad and the mullahs who run Iran are entirely aware of it and none too happy about it either!