I get more satisfaction watching Barbie with my Babies than Jewllywood Steven Spielberg garbage about the Jewish "SHOAH"!
NEVER USE TERMS OF THE ADVERSARY IN ANY TYPE OF EXCHANGE!
I am not going to write a book about RAPE when my adversaries used tactics like: YOU RAPED YOUR MOTHER AND OR DAUGHTER!
If I use their terms to defend myself when the onus is on them to prove their allegations I become a RAPE DENIER!
Vocal French Jews changed their minds about their Holocaust, and said there was NO JEWISH HOLOCAUST, but a JEWISH SHOAH!
Monday, February 08, 2010
"Tales of the Holohoax" and Denmark's anti-Muslim cartoons
Satire demonized and criminalized in Britain
by Michael Hoffman
Simon Sheppard (left) and Stephen Whittle now serving prison sentences in Britain
One grows weary of pointing to the disparity between how "Holocaust" revisionists and Muslim haters are treated in the media and the courts both legal and of public opinion. Kurt Westergaard, the artist who drew the anti-Mohammed cartoon in Denmark is a hero of the European Union. His "freedom of expression" is jealously guarded, and used as a pedagogic tool for hammering Muslims concerning the glories of modern Western human rights' standards. When Muslims respond that the Danish cartoon was bigoted and racist, they are dismissed as backward peasants from Neanderthal societies who have yet to learn the rudiments of Enlightenment tolerance.
Meanwhile, revisionist expression concerning Talmudic Judaism or the alleged execution gas chambers of Auschwitz is another matter entirely. In the latter case, the "racist" pejorative is gleefully pinned on revisionists by the media and the courts, thereby acting as a solvent for weakening any claims to apply the western heritage of freedom of the press to revisionist writers or satirists.
Hence, Simon Sheppard, who received a lengthy prison sentence in part for distributing in England this writer's satirical comic book Tales of the Holohoax is described by all British media, from the snooty BBC to the proletarian "Sun" newspaper, as a "racist."
The unjust assignment of this pejorative is the impregnable wall that has been erected to isolate Mr. Sheppard's case from that of the anti-Muslim Danish cartoonists, and causes him to forfeit the civil liberties protections of Europe's supposed guardians of freedom against Islamic fundamentalism. The possibility that Europe might need to be guarded against the racist tyranny of fundamentalist Orthodox Judaism is policed out of consideration.
What precisely is there that is "racist" about the Tales of the Holohoax cartoons? The media do not scruple to attempt an analysis because they are under no pressure or obligation to do so. Satire is only a noble weapon when it is used against "demon Islam," while Judaism and Holocaustianity are sacred dogmas in Europe. Satirizing these sacred cows is a "disgusting hate crime."
Westergaard is portrayed as a defiant saint, while Mr. Sheppard and his partner in "criminal" satire, Stephen Whittle (they are known collectively as the "Heretical Two"), are less than zero in the eyes of the Western gatekeepers of morality and history - "race hate criminals" - in the purple prose of the BBC. The fact that these two have been stigmatized as "racist" is sufficient to render the stigma a reality, even when the facts bear witness to the contrary.
The "revisionist community," with some notable exceptions (Lady Michelle Renouf, Dr. Robert Faurisson, Willis Carto, Herman Otten) is reluctant to mention Tales of the Holohoax in connection with the plight of the "Heretical Two." The publication itself and the heretics who circulated it would now be a cause célébre if the current "revisionist community" had any of the public relations instincts of Ernst Zundel.
In the 2009 Christmas list of imprisoned revisionists and their jailhouse mailing addresses circulated around the Internet and published in certain revisionist newsletters, under the names Sheppard and Whittle the reason given for their incarceration was an oddly generic one: "sought asylum in the U.S." But the reason they were asylum seekers was noticeably absent. By this omission, reference to Tales of the Holohoax and its author were sent down the memory hole -- by revisionists themselves.
I have seen no sustained analogy concerning this writer or Mr. Sheppard, and Mr.Westergaard. And since it has been decided that Tales of the Holohoax shouldn't be mentioned or discussed, no parallels are drawn between this writer's satirical gas chamber cartoons and the anti-Muslim ones in Denmark. A magnificent opportunity is thereby lost.
Culpability for this loss also rests with the Muslim and Arab media who have failed to compare the two sets of cartoons and the fate of the distributors.
No European has gone to jail for satirizing Islam or its prophet. On the contrary, the defiance of the Danish cartoonists is celebrated, rewarded and protected, while Sheppard rots in a British prison for distributing a satire that pokes fun at Talmudic tall tales recycled for modern consumption during and after World War II.
Racist pair lose jail term appeals
The Sun (UK) January 29, 2010
A RACIST man has lost his appeal against the UK's first conviction for inciting racial hatred online. But the Court of Appeal in London did reduce Stephen Whittle's sentence of two years and four months by six months. Another man, Simon Sheppard, who was also convicted of inciting racial hatred, had his term of four years and ten months cut by a year. Whittle, 42, and Sheppard, 52, were jailed at Leeds Crown Court in July last year after they were charged, under the Public Order Act, with publishing racially inflammatory material, distributing racially inflammatory material and possessing racially inflammatory material with a view to distribution. Whittle, from Preston, was found guilty of five offences and Sheppard, of Selby, North Yorkshire, was found guilty of 16. During their first trial in 2008, they skipped bail and fled to California, where they sought asylum claiming they were being persecuted for their right-wing views, but were deported. The police investigation began after a complaint about a leaflet called Tales of the Holohoax, which was pushed through the door of a Blackpool synagogue and traced back to a post office box in Hull registered to Sheppard.
Published material found later included images of murdered Jews alongside cartoons and articles ridiculing ethnic groups. At the appeal, Sheppard's counsel, Adrian Davies, challenged the convictions on the grounds of jurisdiction, the meaning of "publication" and whether the material on the internet was "written material" within the meaning of the Act. He said the articles complained of were posted on a website in California where there was no doubt that they were "entirely lawful and enjoyed the highest degree of constitutional protection under the laws of the United States." There was no evidence that anyone in England and Wales, except for the police officer, who the Crown did not rely on as a member of the public under the Act, had ever read any of them. "Despite this, Mr Sheppard has been sentenced to a longer term of imprisonment than Abu Hamza," he told Lord Justice Scott Baker, Mr Justice Penry-Davey and Mr Justice Cranston. Giving their ruling, Lord Justice Scott Baker said the trial judge was right to hold that he had jurisdiction to try the pair because a substantial measure of the activities constituting the crime took place in England. He said the judge had also correctly addressed the issue of publication - the material in the case was available to the public despite the fact that the evidence went no further than establishing that one police constable downloaded it. And the words "written material" in the Act were sufficiently wide to include articles in electronic form. On the question of sentence, he noted that the judge had said he had rarely seen or read material that was so abusive and insulting in its content towards racial groups in this country. (End quote)
For further research:
The Massacre of Charlie Hebdo in Paris
The Holocaust WarsBy Paul Eisen
The virulently anti-Semitic Zundelsite (www.zundelsite.org) has posted this essay, ("Jewish Power" by Paul Eisen http://www.righteousjews.org/article10.html) which it describes as "brilliant." Of course, Eisen cannot control the use of his work by these scum, but that is hardly the point. The sad fact is that it represents a "brilliant" endorsement of their own ideology of Jew-hating.
Joel Finkel I. Scum
The "scum" to which Joel Finkel refers are Ernst Zündel, currently in solitary confinement in the Metro West Detention Center, Toronto, and Ingrid Rimland, his wife, who owns and runs the Zundelsite - a website dedicated to supporting Zündel, his work and his struggle. All day every day Zündel sits in his cell on a pile of court transcripts (chairs are not permitted), wearing the same orange jumpsuit as all the rapists and murderers, and with the permitted pencil stubs (ball-points are forbidden) he fights his campaigns, writes, draws and meditates on the past, present and future. Meanwhile, from her Tennessee home Ingrid wheels and deals, begs and borrows, plots, posts and publishes to try to get him out, or at least to stop his imminent deportation to his native Germany where he can expect a warrant for his arrest under Germany's severe "hate laws" and a possible five-year sentence.
Ernst Zündel immigrated to Canada in 1958 to avoid the draft (he is a lifelong pacifist), where he has lived for forty-two years. Unlike most Holocaust revisionists (rather an austere, academic lot), Zündel is a hands-on activist - by all accounts , a gentle, good-humored man, kind and honest and with those qualities often found in the strangest places: a fine mind and a good heart. Born in Germany's Black Forest, Zündel sometimes refers to himself as a 'Swabian peasant', and it's true, he does have that about him. But Zündel understands people and, most important, he understands history. He is, to use his own word, a Vordenker - one who thinks ahead of the crowd, one who sees the panorama of life.
For decades now Zündel has battled the Holocaust establishment:
His first brush with Canadian law was when the government sought to remove his special mail privileges. He won that one and has never looked back.
In 1985 Zündel ended up in court when he distributed a booklet, Did Six Million Really Die?, and ran foul of Canada's "False News" Laws:
Despite an impressive defense from revisionist heavyweights such as Robert Faurisson, Mark Weber and David Irving who, having just read the Leuchter report, took the opportunity of the trial to proclaim his conversion to Holocaust revisionism, Zündel was again found guilty and sentenced. But in 1992, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down as unconstitutional the law banning the spread of false news. This decision temporarily put an end to the deportation proceedings launched against Zündel after his 1988 conviction.
For the next few years Zündel continued his struggle despite various assaults, both legal and illegal - prosecutions, violence against his person, arson against his home and possessions.
In 2000, exhausted after the struggles of the eighties and nineties, Zündel moved to the United States, where he married Ingrid, a U.S. citizen. There the couple lived quietly, establishing an art gallery, experimenting in organic agriculture and thinking about future campaigns. Then, on February 5th 2003 Ernst was arrested because, as he was told, he had missed showing up at a scheduled immigration hearing in May of 2001. "Remember what I told you?" He said to Ingrid as they faced together the arresting officers, "That's what they were going to do. Use a bureaucratic excuse to get me." He also told her, as he was led away in handcuffs, where to find her Valentine gift.
In what amounted to a legal kidnapping, Zündel was deported to Canada, where he faces extradition proceedings to Germany where "Holocaust denial" is against the law. There, you can get up to five years in prison for having the wrong opinion or, as they put it, for ". . . defaming the memory of the dead." Two years later Zündel is still in prison as the legal wrangles continue.
". . . you have just arrived at what is sneeringly called a "Holocaust denier."
Ingrid RimlandI had neither heard of Zündel nor the Zundelsite until I received an email from Ingrid Rimland asking permission to post my essay Jewish Power as one of her 'Z-Grams' - the emails she sends out to Zündel supporters all over the world. I agreed, and logged onto the Zundelsite. I appreciated its excellent selection of revisionist literature, but confess to being a little unnerved by its schwarz-weiß-rot livery, runic-style logo and anti-Jewish cartoons. But I carried on until I came across her introduction to my piece.
Message to Ingrid Rimland from a ZGram readerErnst Zündel is a Holocaust revisionist or, a 'Holocaust denier' as some would have it. Like all revisionists, Zündel does not deny that the National Socialist regime targeted Jews or that Jews suffered at their hands, but he does deny specific, albeit key aspects of the Holocaust narrative as we know it. His denial is limited to three areas which should be clearly understood.
Some readers, even those who stand for free speech, may now be reaching for their delete buttons. After all, maybe Zündel should not be penalized for his beliefs, but that doesn't mean that his views must be disseminated, and it certainly does not mean that we have to read them. But free speech is not only the right to think, to speak and to write freely, but also to be given a fair hearing without ridicule and abuse or at least until a proper examination has been made. And you never know, even those who generally find such views repellent, if they were to hear them, even they might hear something worth hearing. So, for those folk prepared to grant to Ernst Zündel the same freedom they grant to themselves, for those who have the curiosity and the courage to pause awhile, this could be an opportunity rarely offered - an opportunity to hear and consider another and hitherto unheard, point of view.
Everybody has a story and everybody has a point of view, and in the matter of the events in Europe from 1933-1945 there are many points of view. The British have a point of view, the Americans have a point of view, the Poles, the Dutch, the Russians, the Serbs they all have a point of view and the Jews certainly have a point of view. But the Germans, too, have a point of view, even those Germans who once called themselves National Socialists, even those Germans who still call themselves National Socialists.
Of wartime suffering we hear plenty. The British in the blitz, Americans in the Pacific, French, Dutch and Danes under occupation, Russians and Poles in the East and of course, Jews in the Holocaust, but who hears about the suffering of Germans: the terror-bombing of German cities with the deliberate causing of firestorms, the only purpose of which was the mass slaughter of civilians? In the 1940 bombing of Coventry around 550 civilians were killed, whilst in the 1945 bombing of Dresden around 35,000 (the lowest figure I could find) were killed. And our response is to twin Dresden with Coventry, which says all you'll ever need to know about 'balance'. Who cares or even knows about the deportations of millions of Germans from their generations-long homes in the East, the rape and pillage of Berlin and other cities and the hunger and deprivation endured for years and years after the defeat of National Socialism? Who remembers the ten million Germans and Austrians who died in World War 2? Who much cares about Germany post World War 1 - the injustices of Versailles, the hunger, hopelessness, degradation and humiliation? So who will try to understand how it might have felt when a leader came along - a veteran of the war, a brave soldier by all accounts (twice wounded; Iron Cross First-Class), a fellow sufferer, one of their own, a man who promised peace, stability and well-being and the restoration of pride and honor - and, most incredibly of all, at that time kept his promises?
The Hitler we loved and why…
Ernst Zündel was once involved in the publication of a book called The Hitler We Loved and Why, but Ernst Zündel was not the only German who loved Hitler and is probably not the only German who still loves Hitler. Millions of Germans loved Hitler, who for twelve years impacted on them as no German has or probably ever will, and, though they never say so, must, deep down still cherish his memory.
In his book Setting the Record Straight: Letters from Cell #7 Zündel tells of a visit he made back to Germany to his aged mother still living in their Black Forest home. They were sitting there, at the table eating supper, just the two of them. It was dark, the clock ticking away on the wall as it had done for years, when his mother said to him,
"You know, Ernst, you would never have been born if Adolf Hitler had not come to power."
And she told him how because Hitler kept his promises of bringing work, peace, stability and honour to a ravaged German people, thousands of families who had felt unable to have children, now felt able to have them.
"You are one of those children" she said.
Ernst Zündel the Holocaust denier is a German nationalist and, by his own admission, a racialist. He is an admirer of Hitler and is nostalgic for the National Socialist period of German history. He is anti-Jewish. He is also interested in UFO's. So Ernst Zündel is easily dismissed as a crank, a Nazi, or as Joel Finkel would have it, as 'scum'.
But Ernst Zündel is a Holocaust denier because he believes the Holocaust narrative falsely defames his people and their history. He is a racialist because race, for him - a cultural, emotional and spiritual, as well as biological determinant - is vital and precious in the life of human beings, and that his own white and German race, as he would term it, is, as is every other race, something to be cherished and preserved. He is a patriot who loves his country, his people, their language, culture and history. He remembers Adolf Hitler for the national regeneration he brought. He knows that he committed terrible crimes but asks that he be judged as any other historical figure like Stalin or Napoleon, no more, no less, and that National Socialism be judged also on its merits and demerits. He believes, as do many others (including many, if not most, Jews), that there exists some kind of Jewish spirit or sensibility, but further believes that this Jewish spirit, so often creative and energizing can, if unchecked and unbalanced, be damaging and corrosive to any society, and he grieves for the damage he believes it has caused to the world he loved.
But Ernst Zündel does not hate Jews because Ernst Zündel doesn't hate anyone. Ernst Zündel has never committed an act of violence, nor has he ever called on anyone else to commit an act of violence. Ernst Zündel has never discriminated against anyone, nor has he called on anyone else to discriminate against anyone. Ernst Zündel has never stifled anyone's freedom of expression, nor has he ever called on anyone else to stifle anyone's freedom of expression. Ernst Zündel looks on his enemies as they try to silence, prosecute, imprison, bomb and burn him, with bewilderment, sorrow and some anger because, as he has said, "sometimes I simply run out of cheeks to turn".
II. The War for the Truth
It bears repetition that the denial of the Holocaust revisionists does not extend to the entire Holocaust narrative. Revisionists do not deny that the National Socialist regime brutally persecuted Jews. They do not deny that Jews in Germany were discriminated against, violently assaulted, dispossessed, imprisoned in camps and expelled. They also do not deny that Jews in countries occupied by Germany or within the German sphere of influence were also pitilessly assaulted, dispossessed and subjected to brutal deportations many to forced labour camps where many hundreds of thousands died. Nor do they deny that many Jews were executed by shooting in the East.
But they do deny the Holocaust narrative as we know it in three specific areas.
The Revisionist case is broadly as follows:
"Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber…"
Robert Faurisson 
Nothing seems to fit about the gassing story. The numbers of victims crammed into the space, the design and construction of the gassing facilities, the lack of protection for the attendants, the implausibility surrounding the rate of cremation, the huge errors, omissions and disparities in eye-witness accounts - all these and more, when added to the near total absence of hard affirmative evidence, makes one wonder why anyone believed such a story in the first place. No one has yet been able to explain how a gas chamber worked. No one has been able to explain how pellets of Zyklon B were poured into holes that do not and never have existed. No one has been able to explain how the Sonderkommando (special detachment) of Jewish prisoner/attendants was able to enter a gas chamber immediately, (even wearing gas masks which do not offer anything like proper protection especially when the wearer is active), after a mass gassing to remove the bodies, even though such an environment would have been an ocean of hydrogen cyanide. The deadly gas would have still been everywhere and particularly in the soft tissue of the corpses. In effect, no one has been able to take up the Faurisson challenge: "Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber!"
The established Holocaust narrative can, and to a degree, has survived the successful promotion of two of the three revisionist claims. The debate between "intentionalists" and "functionalists" within the establishment in effect concedes that there may not have been a definite intention on the part of the German state to exterminate all the Jews. Similarly by downgrading the Auschwitz figures, the establishment has accepted at least the possibility of downgrading the overall figure of six million. But with the issue of the gas chambers there is simply nowhere to go. To paraphrase Faurisson: no gas-chamber, no Holocaust.
The Holocaust Establishment
Anti-revisionists, Holocaust affirmers, exterminationists - the range of labels on offer reflects the difficulty in naming the opposition. Even the word "opposition", like the phrase "anti-revisionist" itself is misleading because it implies a reflexive, defensive posture. Although establishment writers do often find themselves responding to revisionist initiatives and do often sound rather defensive, the words "opposition" or "anti-revisionist" also suggest that they are the weaker party or that they have not themselves taken the initiative. This is not the case. Few narratives, true or false, have been promoted more forcefully or more widely than the Holocaust, and few lobbies have been stronger, better resourced and enjoyed such complete dominance over the accepted discourse. The same holds true for the term 'affirmers'. The Holocaust narrative may well turn out to require affirmation, but you would never know it looking at the huge amount of 'affirming' material currently available. Finally the term 'exterminationist', usually used by revisionists to describe their opponents, though strictly accurate, is rather sneering and demeaning in tone. So we will adopt the relatively neutral term of 'Holocaust establishment'.
For over sixty years there has been no shortage of material promoting the establishment view of the Holocaust - books, articles, films, plays, poems, TV programs, academic studies, conferences, memorials, museums - all supporting and promoting the established narrative, and it is only recently that the establishment has felt the need to respond to the claims of the revisionists. As before, for those who wish to research the subject, the following starting points are recommended:
The establishment has attempted to respond to specific revisionist claims, but only sporadically. They claim that extermination and cremation facilities were indeed perfectly capable of processing the numbers claimed, and that all claims are well supported by hard evidence. Any reader can study the evidence, which is freely available on the internet, but the debate has degenerated somewhat into a yes-it-is, no-it-isn't squabble - one which could possibly be resolved by the appointment of some kind of judicial body with powers to call on expert witnesses.
But there still remains the problem that there is just not all that much available evidence to support the Holocaust narrative and what is available is often far from satisfactory - documents are often "ambiguous", witnesses are often "confused" or "traumatized", and buildings and installations are often "demolished". Instead of denying the undeniable, the establishment has chosen rather to offer explanations. The lack of documentary evidence is explained by the fact that the final solution was top secret so not only were written communications kept to an absolute minimum but were also written euphemistically. Thus "special treatment" must mean extermination and "evacuation to the East" must mean deportation to a death camp. Similarly, no one has yet been able to come forward and take up Robert Faurisson's challenge to show him or draw him a gas chamber, because anyone who saw a gas-chamber obviously did not live to tell the tale. The gassing facilities at Auschwitz-Birkenau shown to so many visitors over the years are now conceded to be "post-war reconstructions", but only because the original gas chambers were destroyed in 1944 to remove the evidence in the face of the advancing Soviet forces. Finally the statements of survivors and perpetrators, whilst conceded to be confusing and contradictory, are so because of the traumatic conditions under which these terrible events were observed and the sheer quantity of these statements, and often their poignancy as well, qualify them as acceptable evidence.
But whether because of the lack of evidence or not, the establishment has, in the main, been less concerned with refuting specific revisionist claims than with questioning the right of revisionists to make them. For many Holocaust writers, and indeed for almost the entire intellectual establishment worldwide, the Holocaust happened and that is that. In 1979 in response to Faurisson's questioning of the gas chambers, thirty-four French intellectuals published an appeal in Le Monde, the second sentence of which stated, "We must not ask how such a mass murder was technically possible - it was technically possible because it happened." For most establishment figures to even discuss the issues is to concede to revisionism legitimacy it does not deserve.
Rather then dealing with revisionist claims, Lipstadt has focused on the revisionists themselves: their credibility, qualifications, motivations, affiliations and methods. In her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, she traces the development of revisionism from the late forties to the early nineties and aims to demonstrate that the revisionists are overwhelmingly anti-Semitic with long connections to fascist, white supremacist and generally racist organizations, that their motivation is nothing less than to rehabilitate the Hitler regime specifically, and fascism and anti-Semitism generally, and their scholarly veneer is just that; a cover for their racist and intolerant views.
Despite the favorable balance of power and their successes both inside and outside the courtroom, neither Professor Lipstadt nor the rest of the Holocaust establishment are actually doing all that well. Revisionism and its influence has grown steadily and the revisionists exhibit a confidence and sureness of touch whilst the establishment seems at times to be somewhat rattled. And the revisionists are not without guile. Identified as the eternal underdogs in this struggle, they have adopted a devastatingly effective passive-aggressive posture - a wide-eyed innocence in claiming that revisionism has no ideological base and is simply a method for seeking the truth. Nonetheless, whatever their ideological motivations, they have in the main confined themselves to scholarly investigation conducted in a responsible manner and have, with devastating single-mindedness, piece by piece, proceeded to unpick the hitherto sacred Holocaust narrative.
Take the case of Raul Hilberg. In 1961 Hilberg published The Destruction of the European Jews. In this book, seen as a foundational text of the Holocaust, Hilberg describes an undertaking personally supervised by Hitler, who issued two effective orders to set the genocide in motion. These orders were acted upon by various administrative agencies, especially in the police and military which prepared, organized and executed this vast criminal enterprise. For twenty-five years this view remained substantially unchallenged until in 1976 Arthur Butz published The Hoax of the Twentieth Century and in 1978-1979 Robert Faurisson published two articles in Le Monde claiming that the Nazi Gas chambers could not have existed. A panel of experts was assembled to assert that the gas chambers did exist, and among the experts was Raul Hilberg. Just before the start of the proceedings Hilberg gave an interview to the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in which he acknowledged there were no existing documents to prove the existence of the gas chambers or that the extermination of the Jews was conceived and planned by the National Socialist regime. On February 22nd 1983 in New York, at an event organized by the Holocaust Survivors Foundation, Hilberg said,
The Holocaust establishment has often preferred to respond less with argument and more with power. Largely due to pressure from Jewish organizations, Holocaust revisionism is subject to legal penalty in Israel, France, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Poland, and Spain. Laws in these countries make it a crime for anyone, regardless of their credentials or the factual basis of their views, to question or revise any aspect of the history of World War II or the Holocaust in a manner that goes beyond the standards established by the governments of those countries. Also some countries punish revisionism without even having such laws (USA, Great-Britain, Netherlands etc). In the U.S. a California judge took against the IHR "judicial notice" of the existence of the Nazi gas chambers. In France, in 1949-1950, forty years before the specific law of July 13 1990, revisionists had been sentenced for their writings.
In addition in these and most other countries in the western world, even where not technically illegal, revisionism has carried the risk of severe penalty including loss of employment and social exclusion of many kinds. Finally revisionists have been on the receiving end of much violence, both threatened and real. All leading revisionists suffer legal assaults, all suffer social and professional exclusion, and many have suffered physical attacks. Holocaust revisionism today is, quite simply, held as witchcraft was held in previous times - to be a Holocaust denier is to place oneself on the outside of civilized society on a level with a pedophile.
This exercise of power has yielded victories. Revisionism has been kept out of the main media; revisionists have been denied access to the discourse, and the establishment has achieved a couple of stunning retractions such as this one from Joel Hayward, who in 1993 wrote a thesis in which he endeavored (and in my view, succeeded) to faithfully describe the state of the revisionist/establishment conflict.
And of course the internet has changed everything. Revisionist material, previously unseen, is now available at the click of a mouse and you don't have to go into some dubious bookshop to get it. Online booksellers who have elected to stock revisionist materials have inevitably given it a new respectability. E-mails and newsgroups have widened and speeded up the debate. So much more can be said, so much quicker and to so many more people and for the moment at least, no one can stop you saying it or reading it.
Reading the revisionist literature one senses a confidence, not only that revisionists believe themselves to be right but also that the future lies with them. In 1988, at the time of the second Zündel trial and in reference to Ernst Zündel himself, Robert Faurisson wrote:
This must surely be the establishment's strongest weapon - the sheer incredibility of the revisionist proposition. How could such a deception have taken place? How could all those survivors be so wrong in their testimonies? How could all those perpetrators be so wrong in their confessions? How could all those documents, unspecific as they are, have been falsified? Arthur Butz called his groundbreaking revisionist study "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century", but a hoax of this size and nature just defies belief. Conspiracy theories rarely convince, nor do those who propagate them, so surely the sheer absurdity of the revisionists' claim tells us all we need to know. If revisionism is to have any credibility at all, it must demonstrate how, if false, the Holocaust narrative, as we know it, came to be.
The first reports of the mass slaughter of Jews by the Germans were propagated in the spring of 1942 by Jewish and Zionist agencies and published in the Jewish press. These entirely uncorroborated reports received immediate and unmatched credibility by being broadcast (on one occasion in Yiddish) back into Poland by the BBC, and by repetition in the American press, particularly the New York Times. They spoke for the first time of extermination, but not only by gas. According to these reports Jews were being steamed to death, suffocated to death, pressed to death and electrocuted as well as being gassed. It is only later in reports compiled by the Soviet authorities, when they liberated the camps of Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944 and 1945, that gassing emerges as the main method of slaughter and even later, as just one element in the shower-gas-cremation sequence which now lies at the heart of the Holocaust narrative.
It is with these Soviet reports, plus others from the World Refugee Board, that the now-familiar extermination narrative emerges. The victims disembark from trains for selection. Those designated for extermination are taken to complexes designed to look like disinfection facilities. There they are separated into sexes and led to undressing rooms where they undress. Then they are led, 600-700 at a time, into huge rooms resembling shower rooms. When the rooms are crammed full, Zyklon B pellets are dropped from apertures in the roof and, as the temperature rises, hydrogen cyanide gas is released. The victims take about five to fifteen minutes to die, watched all the time through glass peepholes in the doors by SS personnel. An interval of about half an hour is allowed for the gas to clear, assisted by a ventilation system, after which a Jewish Sonderkommando (special detachment) enters with gas masks, rubber boots, gloves, hooks and hoses to disentangle, hose down and remove the bodies. The bodies are taken to mortuaries, where gold teeth etc. are extracted with pliers, and they are then transported to crematoria where they are burned to ashes. If the number of corpses should prove to be too great for the cremation facilities, then those remaining are taken to be burned in specially designed open pits.
But if such a narrative is false, it is interesting to speculate as to how it took the form it did. Possible answers may be found in the 50-100 year history of Europe prior to the events under investigation. This period saw huge movements of people westwards, many of them Jews and many of them migrating to or through Germany. All over central and western Europe, but particularly in Germany, there was a problem with, and a fear of epidemics, particularly of typhus - and many of the receiving authorities, and particularly the German authorities, were intent of developing and implementing mass disinfection and disinfestation procedures. These included mobile and stationery mass steam and shower baths and mobile and stationery facilities for the disinfestation of clothing by gas. The gas used for disinfestation was of course hydrogen cyanide gas in the form of Zyklon B pellets.
This use of gas for delousing and disinfestation must be set against the background of the very real use of poison gas as a weapon in the Great War and in various other areas of conflict both real (such as by the Italians in Abyssinia) and imaginary (as by the Martians in The War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938). It should also be noted how after the introduction of gas onto the battlefield in 1915, stories of homicidal gassings of civilians began to appear in atrocity propaganda. In March 1916 the Daily Telegraph reported that the Austrians and Bulgarians had murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbians using poison gas.
At roughly the same time cremation was increasingly being used for the disposal of bodies and particularly for the mass disposal of epidemic victims. Cremation as a means of corpse disposal was widely promoted by the German National Socialist regime - a regime noted for its modern attitudes to technology - and it was also universally used in its euthanasia programme. One result of the use of cremation in these euthanasia killings, was that it fed the general suspicion that cremation was used to conceal the cause of death by gas poisoning (deaths in the euthanasia programme are now thought more likely to have been by lethal injection) which was widely (and falsely) believed to cause disfigurement. So cremation became associated with attempts to deceive the population about the cause of death. In effect, all these techniques of disinfection and cremation, considered to be at the very cutting-edge of modernism by enlightened western Europeans, were viewed by large sections of the European masses - and particularly by immigrants, usually poor, conservative and deeply superstitious, and even more particularly by the eastern Jewish masses with their additional religious concerns about mass undressing and cremation etc - with the deepest suspicion.
It's not so crazy if you put yourself in the shoes of a poor Jewish immigrant fleeing the conditions of Tsarist Russia. You arrive exhausted and terrified together with a mass of similarly exhausted and terrified folk at a German border station where you are confronted with uniformed guards and officials shouting at you in a language you barely understand. They want to separate you from your men- and women-folk, to undress you and to put you into large cold and forbidding chambers. You've heard the stories as you stand naked and shivering under the showerheads and wait for what you have been told will be water, but for what a part of you fears will be gas. An account from a surprising quarter illustrates the point - Ingrid Rimland:
So when the western armies came across the German concentration camps at Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald sites at which it is now known that there were no mass extermination facilities, and saw the now familiar images of skeletal, diseased inmates and piles of discoloured corpses and discovered sealed rooms, showers and crematoria which we now know had been used only for disinfection and disinfestation, and encountered inmates who were prepared to tell them tales of mass exterminations, they were both able and willing to interpret it all in terms of what they had heard, rather than what, in this instance at least, was the truth.
Whatever conditions might have been in the German camps throughout the war, by 1945 and the final defeat of Germany the system, and particularly the camp system, had collapsed and conditions were catastrophic and it was the results of this collapse which the western armies came across. The Americans and the British saw these things, and, most critically, filmed and photographed them, as clear evidence of a planned genocide, rather than what they were: the result, particularly in the form of typhus epidemics, of a breakdown of Germany generally and the camp system in particular, under the onslaught of the allied saturation bombing.
Although it cannot entirely be ruled out that some of these authorities knew that they were propagating a myth, it seems most likely that the Jewish authorities who first spread reports of exterminations, were reacting only from a real concern for their fellow-Jews, known to be under ferocious assault by the Germans who, at the time of those first reports, were ratcheting up their assault on the Jews by beginning brutal deportations to the East. But what of the other authorities involved - the Americans, the British and the Soviets? These authorities surely would have been happy to accuse the Germans of absolutely anything and possibly not averse to a little falsification of the evidence if needed. After all, these same authorities had been perfectly prepared to continue to accuse the Germans of the massacre of over 4000 Poles at Katyn - a deed they knew full well had been perpetrated by the Soviet NKVD. In fact, the only cases where there is any evidence of contrived fabrication occur at the liberation of the camp at Majdanek by the Red army, at which time the Soviet authorities closed the site for a month and then presented to the world some highly questionable evidence of mass extermination of Jews. A similar conscious fabrication may also have taken place at Auschwitz. In any event, intentional or not, all was now ready for the story to take off.
Any story, true or false, is easily spread if there are fabricators, peddlers and believers, and this is all the more so if all three are combined. The Holocaust had plenty of all three. Moving down the chain of command we find plenty of examples at the Nuremberg trials where the alleged crimes of the vanquished were formalised by the victors. The Nuremberg investigators, as they worked their way through the mountains of alleged eyewitness testimonies, believed that there were gas chambers as they strove to establish the truth. The army interrogators, as they punched and pummeled their way through the hapless defendants, believed that there were gas chambers and that they were merely trying to get at the truth. The lawyers, as they presented highly questionable documents as hard evidence, believed that there were gas chambers and that they were only trying to get at the truth. And the survivors of the deportations, raw and traumatized, full of unimaginable feelings including hatred and a thirst for revenge, were surely perfectly capable of believing that there were gas chambers and that they were only telling the truth. After all, was not all Europe, including the camps, rife with reports of gas chambers and anyway, had not so-and-so seen them? And as for the defendants, many unsure of the truth themselves and possibly themselves totally bewildered by the extermination claims, they may have seen it in their best interests to go along with he what the court had ready decided. Some may even have found some comfort in their moment of world-class notoriety as they mounted the gallows and anyway, stopping the pain was motivation enough: the solitary confinement and sleep deprivation, the floggings, the threats to family and loved ones and the constant humiliations - perhaps it was just easier to confess.
Nor do we need much to persuade us that the Jewish leadership might have been ready and willing to propagate and believe such a tale. Jews suffered terribly under National Socialism - nobody denies that, neither revisionist or non-revisionist. They had been persecuted, expelled and assaulted. They had been forcibly deported and incarcerated in brutal labor camps where thousands upon thousands had died from exhaustion, malnutrition and maltreatment. In the East many Jews had been shot. Jews had little reason to love the Germans.
Nor would it be the first time that Jews have accepted and propagated stories, true, false or a mixture of both, of their suffering. The Holocaust is only the latest, albeit the worst of a series of tragic calamities to have befallen the Jewish people, and Hitler sits well with Pharaoh, Amalek, Haman, Tomas de Torquemada and Bogdan Chmielnitski - all enduring hate-figures in the Jewish martyrology. Nor would this be the first time that Jewish chroniclers (or any other chroniclers for that matter) have used some poetic license in describing their suffering. The Talmud tells that at the time of the destruction of the second temple - held in Jewish history to be the one historical precedent for the Holocaust - the Romans slew 'four billions," the blood of the Jewish victims was so great that it became a 'tidal wave carrying boulders out to sea', and staining the water for four miles out. The bodies of the Jews were used as 'fence posts' and Jewish children were "wrapped up in their Torah scrolls - and burned alive all 65 million of them." In a context like this, the utterances of Elie Wiesel, become a little more understandable.
Once momentum is achieved, all that is needed is an extended game of Chinese whispers to result in a Holocaust narrative, conceived in the real and terrible wartime suffering of Jews, portrayed as imagined in newsreels and photo-reportage, framed and formalized at Nuremberg and subsequent trials and then, most critically of all, later turned into religious dogma. Set all this in the context of a western world obsessed by Jews and its own ambivalence about Jews and Jewish suffering, a Jewish population traumatized by its very real and recent suffering, an immensely influential Jewish culture which places suffering at the core of its self-identity, and a Zionist leadership desperate to win world sympathy for a Jewish state in Palestine, and the idea of such a story, even if false, gaining near universal acceptance, really isn't that hard to believe.
After all, people once believed the earth was flat and sat on the back of four elephants riding on a turtle. They believed the earth was the centre of the universe and persecuted skeptics with the same fervor and with about as much justification as they do today's Holocaust revisionists. People today believe that JFK was assassinated by a lone gunman with a magic bullet. They believe in astrology and fortune telling, in bodily auras and out-of-body experiences. They believe that the Children of Israel were guided in the desert by a pillar of smoke by day and of fire by night, that Jesus was born of a virgin, died and was resurrected, and that the Prophet Mohamed ascended to heaven after seeing Mecca and Jerusalem. Why, they even believe that Palestine was a land without a people for a people without a land! So what is so hard to believe about the planned and premeditated slaughter of six million Jews by modern industrial methods, loaded in their millions onto trains and taken to industrialized killing centers where they are done to death thousands at a time in huge slaughter halls, their bodies burned to ashes and their bones ground into dust? People believe in heaven and they believe in hell - so why not the hell of the Holocaust?
III. The War for the Spirit
A friend and colleague in solidarity with the Palestinians wrote:
For what they're worth my views are: Writing without prejudice about Holocaust revisionism must inevitably give it some credibility but in my view, for reasons now obvious, this is deserved. Holocaust revisionism is not inextricably linked to fascism, racism and anti-Semitism, though I can see how it might seem that way. Revisionist scholarship inevitably gives increased credibility to National Socialism, in that it allows the possibility that the National Socialist regime was not quite as unspeakable as it has been painted. Whether this is deserved or not depends on the result of the scholarship. As for whether National Socialism is worse than the many other ideologies that are considered worthy of unbiased study, the answer is that I don't know.
But we are entitled to search for the truth. The real crime committed by the National Socialists - the exclusion, disempowerment, deportation, enslavement, death by omission and by commission and expulsion of a people simply because they were that people - was a terrible one. One does not need gas chambers to make the targeting of Jews, just because they are Jews, extraordinary and unacceptable. Nonetheless, if this targeting did not extend to extermination, if there were no gas chambers and if six million Jews did not die, then we should know it and, if necessary, address the implications. If there is some reason why we should not investigate this matter, then the onus is on those who would deny us that right, to say why. Those who would deny us that right have tried to say why, but in my view they have failed miserably.
But what does it matter how many Jews were murdered and in what way and with what intention? A murder is a murder and one murder is one murder too many. What difference will it make whether the Holocaust is proven or not? Will it have any affect whatsoever on the status and attitudes of Israel or on its behavior towards the Palestinians - issues on which we pressingly need to focus?
But the Holocaust is not just murder. Nor is it just mass murder. Nor is it even just genocide. There have been plenty of murders, mass murders and even genocides, but none have been memorialized like the Holocaust. The Holocaust is held to be the worst crime in human history, and this is not because more people were killed or because they were killed more brutally or more senselessly. Three million Polish Jews are held to have died in the Holocaust. Three million Polish non-Jews also died in the same period of history - yet the Jews, as evidenced by the memorialisation accorded them, are seen as more important. Fifty million people died in the Second World War, including twenty million Russians, ten million Germans and Austrians and six million Jews. Yet only the Jews warrant a "Holocaust."
Is this because it was only Jews who were targeted for obliteration simply because they were Jews, and because it was only Jews who were exterminated in such a cool, premeditated and modern fashion by such an advanced, liberal and enlightened nation in the heart of Christian Europe? If the revisionists should prove their case that Jews were not targeted for extermination, that there were no gas-chambers and there was no six million, would there then be no Holocaust? Would Jews become just more tragic victims of a tragic period of history, on a par with the millions of other victims, including the thousands upon of thousands of German civilians slaughtered in the terror bombing of German cities by the western allies?
The revisionist community has probably said just about all it can say and proved all it can prove and have probably made the case sufficiently to at least cast doubt on the veracity of the Holocaust narrative. Future historians may well reject the Holocaust as history, but the Holocaust may yet go on, no longer as history but as ideology and even theology. Even though the evidence may lead us to accept that there never was intent to eliminate every single Jew from Europe, or any gas-chambers at Auschwitz, or anything near six-million victims, this may not make one iota of difference any more than archeological evidence might prove that there was no Exodus from Egypt and medical science might throw doubt on the virgin birth.
Because there is another possibility - that the suffering of the Jews is held to be the worst crime in human history not because of the nature of the crime but because of the nature of the victims. Maybe Abe Foxman had it just about right when he wrote:
But the Holocaust is not confined to Jews. The Holocaust is not only the central martyrdom and therefore a religious focus in modern Jewish history but also, if not in world history, then certainly in American and European history. All over North America and Western Europe: Holocaust museums - cathedrals to the new religion with their own priests and priestesses; Abe Foxman, Deborah Lipstadt, Elie Wiesel, Simon Wiesenthal, abound - the biggest and best in Washington DC with all the other symbols of American nationhood and power. Holocaust Chairs at major universities, memorials, foundations, conferences and symposia, books, magazines, films, TV documentaries. The further we travel in time from the actual events the greater the sacralisation. But these are only the outward manifestations. The Holocaust, the ultimate in suffering is a paradigm for all Jewish suffering and for all intolerance, discrimination and hatred against Jews and this is in itself is a paradigm for all suffering and all intolerance, discrimination and hatred against all people. That's why a major Holocaust Museum in the U.S. is able to style itself as simply "The Museum of Tolerance", and that's why those who dare to challenge the Jewish claim to a particularity of suffering are nearly always accused of "intolerance" or of "promoting hate". The Holocaust may be the ultimate symbol of Jewish power, the most visible means by which the Jewish will in this world is enforced and displayed to a cowering non-Jewish world. It proclaims that Jews are suffering and Jews are innocent so Jews can do what they like and, by association the state of the Jews is also suffering, is also innocent and can also do what it likes.
The Emperor's new clothes
But the world doesn't jump because it feels sorry for Jews. As Israel Shamir says, compassion and guilt may get you a free bowl of soup but not a lot else, and certainly not the ninety billion deutschmarks paid in reparations by the Federal Republic of Germany to the infant state of Israel, the billions of dollars paid by successive US governments to maintain that state, nor the free pass given to Israel by just about everyone to do pretty much what it likes to the Palestinians. The power of the Holocaust is not the power to arouse pity and compassion in the rest of the world. Anyone can see that Israel has no need of our pity or compassion and neither have Jews. Israel is not weak and Israel is not innocent and neither are Jews. What is harder to see is how anyone could ever have thought otherwise. Could it even be the same with the Holocaust? Is it not by now plain that there is very little evidence to support the Holocaust narrative, that the extermination narrative just doesn't add up, and that the issue of the gas-chambers could, as Ingrid Rimland reminded us, be settled easily by forensic investigation.
The reason is the same reason why courtiers have, since time began, acted as if a stark naked emperor was beautifully attired - because they have to. The power of the Holocaust is the same power as enabled a few thousand Englishman to rule hundreds of millions of Indians; a few hundred French aristocrats to rule a few million French peasants and a Czar and a few hundred Russian nobles to rule millions of Russian serfs. It is the same power that all over the world and throughout human history has enabled the prosperous few to rule over the impoverished many. It is the very essence of power in this world; the power of bluff. As the unclothed Emperor can force people to believe that he is clothed, so the Jewish and Holocaust establishments can make us believe that black is white in the Holocaust narrative and that Jews and Israel are suffering and innocent. And if they can't make us believe it, they can at least make us say that we believe it. To the wannabee dissenter, the power behind the Holocaust says this, "Watch it! If we can enforce this we can enforce anything!"
But why should we care if Jews choose to create for themselves such a mythology, even if that mythology has been accepted by so many others? The answer is: we must care because if the Holocaust is false, then there are those who suffer under that falsehood. First, if the special status of Jews is removed, then the equal status of every single non-Jew who died in that same time, till now demeaned and denigrated, is immediately restored to its rightful and equal place. And there are other victims too. The German people stand accused and found guilty of having committed the worst crime in human history. The Poles, Ukrainians, Latvians, Lithuanians etc. etc. stand accused and found guilty of aiding, abetting and even applauding the commission of the worst crime in human history. Add to them the Catholic Church and the Pope, the Americans and British who stand accused and found guilty of not having done enough to prevent the commission of the worst crime in human history. Add to them Christianity and Christians who throughout the ages stand accused and found guilty of laying the foundations for the commission of the worst crime in human history. And finally you may as well throw in pretty much the entire non-Jewish world accused and guilty of what amounts to simply not being one of the chosen victims of the worst crime in human history, and therefore condemned forever to hush their voices whenever the word 'Jew' is mentioned and to stand silently as the myth of Jewish chosenness in the Holocaust is propagated.
The weapons of the poor…
There is one other victim: a present, pressing, ultimate victim. The Palestinian people -denied, denigrated and abused by a power which uses the Holocaust as a shield behind which any and every atrocity may take place - are surely the primary sufferers under the Holocaust.
On March 22 2001 Robert Faurisson wrote a paper for the proposed Beirut Conference on Revisionism and Zionism, which he knew would never be presented. He was right. The conference was cancelled due to external pressure, largely by Jewish groups. In his paper for the first time, Faurisson addressed the Arab world. First he put it to them that an intelligent adversary may say that they fear something when they don't, and that they don't fear something when they do. Thus their enemies' firepower is deflected from those places where it may do real damage to those areas where it can do little damage.
Then he listed those things that Zionists do not fear: They do not fear military power - they've more than enough of their own and anyway, they know that anyone who has military power is far more likely to support them rather than oppose them. They do not fear anti-Semitism - on the contrary they feed on it to create sympathy for their cause. They do not really fear denouncers of Holocaust exploitation - the Norman Finkelsteins and the Peter Novicks - so long as they do not challenge the Holocaust itself. After all, the fiercest critic of something can (albeit often unwittingly) become its staunchest guardian - (If Norman Finkelstein says it, it must be true.) They do not even fear anti-Zionism since Zionism, like Jewish power itself, has the wondrous ability to transform itself into anything it wants - left/right, religious/secular, one-state/two-state - all provide fertile ground for Zionism and Jewish particularity. Nor do they much fear attacks on the founding myths of Israel - that is, all of them except one. Finally, they do not even fear being called Judeo-Nazis. On the contrary, being labeled by one's adversaries as a Nazi merely affirms that 'Nazi' is the very worst thing imaginable.
He then told his audience what Zionists do fear: They fear the weapons of those who have nothing left to lose - the poor and the weak. They fear the stones and suicide bombers of the Palestinian Intifada - and they fear the weapons of that other Intifada - the words of the revisionists.
Postscript: On March 2nd 2005 Ernst Zündel was deported to Germany where he faces a five year prison sentence for Holocaust denial.
 Complaint under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights Against Canada - January 4, 2005.
 Robert Faurisson, Press Conference, Stockholm, March 1992.
 Paul Rassinier, Le Drame des Juifs européens, Les Sept Couleurs, 1964, reprinted by La Vieille Taupe, Paris, p. 79.
 Klara Obermueller Weltwoche series, "Auschwitz und die 'Auschwitz-Lüge'", 9, 16, and 23 December 1993, 3 articles.
 Deniers, Relativists and Pseudo-Scholarship - Deborah Lipstadt. Published in Dimensions, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1991.
 Extract from the Denial of Holocaust (Prohibition) Law 5746/1986 passed by the Israeli Knesset July 8th 1986 quoted in Hayward P 25. http://www.resistance.com/Hayward/hay1.html
 Elie Wiesel, Night, 1960, in The Night Trilogy, 1985, pp. 40-43).
 Abraham Foxman quoted in Peter Novick "The Holocaust in American Life" by Peter Novick, published by Houghton Mifflin Co. 1999. Pp.195; 199.
 Paper written by Robert Faurisson for Beirut Conference on Revisionism and Zionism - March 2001.
Paul Eisen – pauleisen.blogspot.co.uk Dec 5, 2012My family were ordinary folk – ‘twice-a-year Jews’ we used to call them. But like most of us second and third generation, upwardly mobile, North London Jews, our Jewishness filled our lives. And, at that time, that meant Zionism and the Holocaust. For me, my family and our friends, a post-Holocaust Israel meant quite simply ‘never again’.
But, while seemingly ordinary, my family was also rather extraordinary. My father was unusually tolerant and free-thinking, and my mother too was unusually lively in her thinking. A born rebel, there was nothing she loved more than to burst a balloon. As for me, I started off, first as the family tsaddik – awfully concerned with God and my Jewishness (though always strangely at odds with other Jews) – then the family dissident-intellectual. By young adulthood, you would have found me somewhere on the Zionist left – unquestioning in my support for the Jewish state but wishing it would not behave quite so badly and stop embarrassing me in front of my friends. However, when it came to the Holocaust, my faith was unwavering.
This is me in 1978 at Yad Vashem:
Then through the museum and its unfolding narrative: Concentration, Deportation, Selection, Extermination. It wears you out, it really does. Like countless others, we stand dumb in front of the little slave-labourer’s shoe in the glass case and also like countless others, we know we’ve had enough.
Then to the shrine itself: The bunker with its dulled metal floor, off-centre the smoky flame flickers, through the hole in the roof, a trickle of black smoke, a world destroyed. Then outside, from the gloom into the brilliant Mid-Eastern sunshine and up the few steps, and there it is: after the fall, redemption and the future – the blazing panorama of Jewish Jerusalem. We Jews really do do these things awfully well.
From We Stand with Israel by Paul EisenThat was 1978 and I didn’t then know what I now know: that, as I came out of that bunker – that universally known symbol of Jewish suffering, and took in that perfect view – I was looking straight at that completely unknown symbol of Palestinian suffering, the village of Deir Yassin. Of course, I didn’t know then about Deir Yassin, and even if I had known, I probably wouldn’t have much cared.
Thinking back, I suspect my response would have been something like: Ah yes, Deir Yassin, the one stain on an otherwise unblemished Zionist record. (The line had come, pretty much verbatim from my reading (age eleven) of the blockbuster Exodus.) And anyway, I would have reasoned, was not the fevered anguish of the Zionist leadership (later referred to by me as ‘Jewish breast-beating’) yet more evidence of an essential Jewish moral grandeur?
Sure, I’d known about Deir Yassin – both the village and the massacre – but I had not known, nor probably wanted to know, about the close to five hundred other destroyed or depopulated Palestinian villages or about the seventy known massacres which accompanied the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Like the child who does not, cannot, or will not see the lamb chops on his plate as skipping round the farmyard, so for now, I did not, could not and would not see those refugees, terrorists or biblical shepherds on my TV screen as those same folk – those safely de-personalized and de-humanized ‘Arabs’ – who had lived in what was, and as far as I was concerned, had always been, Israel.
But I must not blame myself. I do not blame myself. Even after digging through the accumulated layers of indoctrination to which any Jewish child could expect to be subjected, this was still some story. After two thousand years of exile, an ancient people return to their ancient homeland – a land given to them by God, or, (for the more secular amongst us), by History.
Because mine was no run-of-the-mill Zionism. What was claimed by so many Jews (particularly of the anti-Zionist, Marxist variety) to be an essentially political ideology, just a Jewish version of imperialism or an add-on – an essentially practical solution to an ever-present anti-Semitism, was for me – and I now know, deep-down, for most Jews – a deep, emotional, spiritual, even religious affiliation. For my Zionism was a true sense of my Jewishness – a feeling that came deep from within Jewish history and even destiny – a feeling that I, with all Jews, had stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and, also with all Jews, had marched through history – a history which, at the time, I had not yet dreamt of questioning.
But question it I did. Here I am again in 1996 on the phone to the first name listed under “Palestine” – PSC: the Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
“Hello, look, I’m doing a bit of research, trying to find the name of a Palestinian village on the site of a particular kibbutz…I used to stay there….”
“Yad David. It’s in the north, about five miles from….”
“Hang on…..” Then fifteen seconds later…
“It’s al Zawiyyeh”
“How did you do that?
“We’ve got a list… It’s from a book. It lists all the villages…”
“Can I get a copy?”
“Well, you may get it in a couple of bookshops… Try Al Hoda on the Charing Cross Road.”
One hour later I arrived at the Al Hoda Islamic bookshop in the Charing Cross Road and headed for the shelves marked ISRAEL(OCCUPIED PALESTINE). This is heady stuff, and there’re some interesting things too, “The Zionist in Literature” is one, with an intriguing essay on Ari Ben Canaan, which I really must read sometime, but nothing really on the villages. Most of it’s about this-way-to-peace or that-way-to-peace, so I’m there about three quarters of an hour before I find what I came for. It’s been misplaced on the wrong shelf – so that’s why I missed it, and it looks like it’s been there for quite a time. Not surprising, when I see the forty-five pound price tag. But it is what I’ve come for, All That Remains by Whalid Khalidi, with the names, locations and the fate of four hundred and sixteen Palestinian villages destroyed since 1948.
“By the end of the 1948 war, hundreds of entire villages had not only been depopulated but obliterated, travellers of Israeli roads and highways can see traces of their presence that would escape the notice of the casual passer-by: a fenced-in area, often surmounting a gentle hill, of olive and other fruit trees left untended, of cactus hedges and domesticated plants run wild. Now and then a few crumbled houses are left standing, a neglected mosque or church, collapsing walls along the ghost of a village lane, but in the vast majority of cases, all that remains is a scattering of stones and rubble across a forgotten landscape.”
There are photos too, mainly of piles of rubble, which, to tell the truth, are a bit disappointing. After all, when you’ve seen one pile of rubble… a few stones… rubble…deserted site… rubble, overgrown with thorny plants… rubble… a few carob trees, piles of stones, crumbling terraces… rubble… a few stones… no landmarks… rubble…rubble… rubble.
But then there is something. As I hold the book in my hands it’s as if I’m holding something important, a record, a testimonial, a symbol of resistance, if you like.
I move on to the business at hand. District of Tiberias, 23 out of 26 villages destroyed… District of Bisan, all 28 villages destroyed… District of Safed, 68 out of 75 villages… Safed! Yad David is near Safed. Then I spot something… Kfar Yitzhak… I know that place. It’s a couple of kilometres from Yad David. I used to cycle there… Founded in 1943 on the site of the village of Qaytiyya… population predominantly Muslim… from agriculture and animal husbandry… had its own grain mill…
…at midnight June 5th 1949 army trucks encircled the village and Israeli troops swept down… rounded up the villagers and dumped them on a hillside south of Safed… villagers treated with brutality… kicks and curses… All that remains are a few stones… much of the lands absorbed by the settlement of Kefar Yitzhak…
I cannot believe what I’m reading, but I manage to turn the page just one more time and see what I’ve come here for:
“Yad David… founded in 1946 one kilometre north of the village of al Zawiyyeh…The village now lies under the cotton fields of Yad David.”
As I’m going out, I show the man the slip of paper on which I’ve written the name al Zawiyyeh and I ask what it means. He looks at the paper. “Corner?” He says as if asking me whether such a thing could really be so. Then, as I’m leaving and just as an afterthought I ask:
“There’s this word I keep seeing. Nakba. What does it mean?”
“al Nakba… the Catastrophe “
From “1996”by Paul EisenIn 1998, I met Dan McGowan founder of the Palestinian solidarity organisation “Deir Yassin Remembered,” but not once in our short conversation or in the extended interview he gave afterwards did Dan mention the proximity of Deir Yassin to Yad Vashem. I read about that later, in the leaflet Dan gave me, on the London Underground, somewhere between Gloucester Road and Holloway Road.
“The Holocaust museum is beautiful, and the message ‘never to forget man’s inhumanity to man’ is timeless. The children’s museum is particularly heart-wrenching; in a dark room filled with candles and mirrors, the names of Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust are read aloud with their places of birth. Even the most callous person is brought to tears. Upon exiting this portion of the museum, a visitor is facing north and is looking directly at Deir Yassin. There are no markers, no plaques, no memorials, and no mention from any tour guide. But for those who know what they are looking at, the irony is breathtaking.”
From “Deir Yassin Remembered” by Dan McGowanFor Dan, a conservative American patriot, no more was needed than to note both the fact and the irony. But for me, with my leanings and obsessions, searching as I was for some meaning to the jumbled mass of my Jewish childhood and to the Holocaust, Israel and Palestine, it was epiphany. Deir Yassin was one thing but Deir Yassin in clear sight of Yad Vashem was quite another.
Of course, it was only much later, long after I had begun to think, write and speak about these things, that I was able to properly articulate even to myself that it was precisely this ‘breathtaking irony’ of Dan’s that had so held my attention. But even if I didn’t then know it, I certainly hung onto it – from that moment I was a messenger who had found his message.
And takers there were a-plenty. Palestinians, long resigned to Jewish suffering being placed at the centre of their own tragedy, were still pleased with the surge of publicity that the story and the resulting Jewish participation brought to their cause, and Jews were, as ever, delighted to have themselves and their suffering once more centre-stage. Deir Yassin gave Palestinians a new and effective narrative for resistance, and Jews an activism, sufficiently challenging to seem courageous and meaningful, but not so challenging as to necessitate any loosening of tribal bonds. And the rest – the Christians, the Marxists and the various non-aligned – well, as usual, they just went along with the Jews.
Now I had it all – Palestinian suffering/Jewish suffering, abused/abuser. Okay, so, my much-loved Jewish victim was now the perpetrator but no matter, Deir Yassin could be viewed only from Yad Vashem – and the suffering of the Palestinian people could be seen only through the prism of my beloved Jewish suffering.
Unfortunately or fortunately (it really does go both ways) it didn’t stop there. Here I am in 2004:
It is understandable that Jews might believe that their suffering is greater, more mysterious and meaningful than that of any other people. It is even understandable that Jews might feel that their suffering can justify the oppression of another people. What is harder to understand is why the rest of the world has gone along with it.And…
That Jews have suffered is undeniable. But acknowledgement of this suffering is rarely enough. Jews and others have demanded that not only should Jewish suffering be acknowledged, but that it also be accorded special status.
Jewish suffering is held to be unique, central and most importantly, mysterious. Jewish suffering is rarely measured against the sufferings of other groups. Blacks, women, children, gays, workers, peasants, minorities of all kinds, all have suffered, but none as much as Jews. Protestants at the hands of Catholics, Catholics at the hands of Protestants, pagans and heretics, all have suffered religious persecution, but none as relentlessly as Jews. Indians, Armenians, gypsies and aborigines, all have been targeted for elimination, but none as murderously and as premeditatedly as Jews.
Jewish suffering is held to be mysterious, and beyond explanation. Context is rarely examined. The place and role of Jews in society – their historical relationships with Church and state, landlords and peasantry – is hardly ever subject to scrutiny, and, whilst non-Jewish attitudes to Jews are the subject of intense interest, Jewish attitudes to non-Jews are rarely mentioned. Attempts to confront these issues are met with suspicion, and sometimes hostility, in the fear that explanation may lead to rationalisation, which may lead to exculpation, and then even to justification.
From Speaking the Truth to Jews by Paul EisenAnd again a few months later…
The issue (of Jewish suffering) is complex and cannot be fully debated or decided here, but the following points may stimulate thought and discussion.
During even the most terrible times of Jewish suffering such as the Crusades or the Chmielnitzky massacres of seventeenth century Ukraine, and even more so at other times in history, it has been said that the average peasant would have given his eye-teeth to be a Jew. The meaning is clear: generally speaking, and throughout most of their history, the condition of Jews was often far superior to the mass of the population.
The above-mentioned Ukrainian massacres took place in the context of a peasant uprising against the oppression of the Ukrainian peasantry by their Polish overlords. As has often been the case, Jews were seen as occupying a traditional position of being in alliance with the ruling class in their oppression of the peasantry. Chmielnitzky, the leader of this popular uprising, is today a Ukrainian national hero, not for his assaults on Jews (there are even references to his having offered poor Jews to join the uprising against their exploitative co-religionists – the Jews declined) but for his championing of the rights of the oppressed Ukrainians. Again, the inference is plain: outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence, though never justified, have often been responses to Jewish behaviour both real and imaginary.
In the Holocaust three million Polish Jews died, but so did three million non-Jewish Poles
Similarly, the Church burned Jews for their dissenting beliefs but then the church burned everyone for their dissenting beliefs. So again, the question must be asked: what’s so special about Jewish suffering?And…
The Holocaust, the paradigm for all anti-Semitism and all Jewish suffering, is treated as being beyond examination and scrutiny. Questioning the Holocaust narrative is, at best, socially unacceptable, leading often to social exclusion and discrimination, and, at worst, in some places is illegal and subject to severe penalty. Holocaust revisionist scholars, named Holocaust deniers by their opponents, have challenged this. They do not deny a brutal and extensive assault on Jews by the Nazi regime, but they do deny the Holocaust narrative as framed by present day establishments and elites. Specifically, their denial is limited to three main areas. First, they deny that there ever was an official plan on the part of Hitler or any other part of the Nazi regime systematically and physically to eliminate every Jew in Europe; second, they deny that there ever existed homicidal gas-chambers; third, they claim that the numbers of Jewish victims of the Nazi assault have been greatly exaggerated.
But none of this is the point. Whether those who question the Holocaust narrative are revisionist scholars striving to find the truth and are shamelessly persecuted for opposing a powerful faction, or whether they are crazy Jew-haters denying a tragedy and defaming its victims, the fact is that one may question the Armenian genocide, one may freely discuss the Slave Trade, one can say that the murder of millions of Ibos, Kampucheans and Rwandans never took place and that the moon is but a piece of green cheese floating in space, but one may not question the Jewish Holocaust. Why? Because, like the rest of the Jewish history of suffering, the Holocaust underpins the narrative of Jewish innocence, which is used to bewilder and befuddle any attempt to see and to comprehend Jewish power and responsibility in Israel/Palestine and elsewhere in the world.
Jewish Power by Paul EisenIt was while writing the above and more that I came across Joel Hayward’s ill-fated M.A. thesis The Fate of Jews in German Hands 1933-1945< http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres8/hay.pdf >. That Hayward recanted mattered not one jot, and his credibility was only enhanced by his own clear astonishment at what he was writing – an astonishment fully matched by my own at what I was reading. That the Holocaust was exploited and abused, I had understood, but its veracity? No way. Now, for the first time ever, there could be doubts.
Holocaust DenierIt’s always worth defining your terms. Not that it does that much good – the inquisitors will see what they want to see and claim what they want to claim. But for the record here’s what I do and do not question. First, what I do not question:
· I do not question that the National Socialist regime brutally persecuted Jews.
· I do not question that Jews in Germany were discriminated against, violently assaulted, dispossessed, imprisoned in camps and expelled and that many Jews died as a result.
· I do not question that Jews in countries occupied by Germany or within the German sphere of influence were pitilessly assaulted, dispossessed and subjected to brutal deportations, many to forced labour camps where many hundreds of thousands died.
· I do not question that many Jews were executed by shooting in the East.
But enough of this negativity – here’s what I do question:
· I question that there ever was an official plan on the part of Hitler or any other part of the National Socialist regime systematically and physically to eliminate every Jew in Europe.
· I question that there ever existed homicidal gas-chambers.
· I question the figure of six million Jewish victims of the Nazi assault and I believe that the actual figure was significantly less.
And finally, one more thing I do not and do question: I do not question the horror of what was done to Jews by National Socialists or the right of Jews (including myself) to regard that horror any way they wish. I do, however, question their right to compel the rest of the world to feel the same.
Deny the Holocaust!For my money, a child of six can see that something’s not right about the Holocaust narrative, and the science simply confirms what I already suspect. But I differ from the Holocaust Revisionists. They are scholars – historians and scientists who apply ‘truth and exactitude’ to determine the truth or otherwise of the Holocaust narrative. I’m no scholar. I care nothing for the chemical traces in brickwork or the topological evidence for mass graves. But I’ve read the literature, and it just doesn’t add up.
That Jews suffered greatly from 1933-1945 is not in question, but the notion of a premeditated, planned and industrial extermination of Europe’s Jews with its iconic gas-chambers and magical six million are all used to make the Holocaust not only special but also sacred. We are faced with a new, secular religion, a false god with astonishing power to command worship. And, like the Crucifixion with its Cross, Resurrection etc, the Holocaust has key and sacred elements – the exterminationist imperative, the gas chambers and the sacred six million. It is these that comprise the holy Holocaust which Jews, Zionists and others worship and which the revisionists refuse.
Nor is this a small matter. If it was, why the fuss, why the witch-hunt, why the imprisonment of David Irving, Ernst Zündel and Germar Rudolf? And it’s not just them. What may be a massive lie is being used to oppress pretty much all of humankind. The German and Austrian peoples who, we are told, conceived and perpetrated the slaughter; the Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Rumanian, Hungarian, peoples etc. who supposedly hosted, assisted in and cheered on the slaughter; the Americans, the British, the French, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Italians (but not the Danes and the Bulgarians) etc. who apparently didn’t do enough to stop the slaughter; the Swiss who earned out of the slaughter, and the entire Christian world who, it seems, created the faith-traditions and ideologies in which the slaughter could take place, and now the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim peoples who seemingly want to perpetrate a new slaughter – in fact, the Holocaust oppresses the entire non-Jewish world and indeed much of the Jewish world as well. Stand up and have done with it.
So here’s something else. The Holocaust revisionist scholars and researchers are dedicated and skilled students of historical evidence, and for them‘Holocaust denier’ is but a term of abuse to be hurled as ‘witch’ might have been hurled in the Middle Ages. But for me, ‘Holocaust Denier’ is a label I accept. This is not because I don’t think anything bad happened to Jews at the hands of the National Socialists – for what it’s worth the real story of brutal ethnic cleansing moves me far more than any ‘Holocaust’ – and it’s certainly not because I think any such assault is right and proper. No, I deny the Holocaust because, as constituted, exploited and enforced, the Holocaust narrative is a false and abusive god, and I wish to put as much moral distance between it and myself as I can.
Speaking the Truth to JewsBy Paul Eisen
Many arguments can be advanced in favour of a Jewish state in Palestine, from the simple right of the Jewish people to national self-determination, the right of Jews to return to their ancestral homeland, and the need of a suffering and persecuted people for a haven where they can be safe and secure.
Jews can define themselves as they wish. If they feel themselves to be a nation, then they are a nation. But, in accordance with the dictum, that 'your freedom to swing your arm ends where your finger touches my nose', it is when this self-definition impinges on others that the problems begin. It is then that others may ask whether this Jewish sense of nationhood-often an emotional and religious matter based on a perceived sharing of history and even of destiny-can ever be realised politically. What it boils down to is this: Jews, like any other people, may have the right to establish and maintain a state of their own, but, do Jews have the right to establish and maintain a state of their own in Palestine, already the home of the Palestinians? All this may, and will be argued, but what is beyond dispute is that, for Jewish national self-determination and statehood, it is the Palestinians who have paid a terrible price.
By 1947-48, Palestinians had been reduced to a state of anxiety and insecurity, and in 1948, when the State of Israel was established, a traditional Palestinian society was no match for its democratic, egalitarian and fiercely ideological foe. As a consequence, an entire way of life was obliterated. At least 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and into exile, more than 450 of their towns and villages were destroyed or pillaged and people who had lived a settled life for generations ended up either in tents in Lebanon, Syria or Jordan, or as a bereft and traumatised diaspora in every corner of the earth.
Nor was all this an unintended by-product of war. Although the idea that the Palestinians just 'ran away' has, in the main, been dispelled, we are still left with many stories, obfuscations and downright lies about where responsibility lies for this ethnic cleansing. The critical issue now centres on the question of intentionality.
The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, like most instances of ethnic cleansing, was intentional, premeditated and planned. But we need not bother looking for direct documentation. Although there is mounting evidence for the desires and intentions of the Zionist leadership to cleanse the land of Palestinians, the architects of the Nakba left no 'smoking gun'. There was no written order, because there was no need for a written order. Like other instances of ethnic cleansing, the expulsion of the Palestinians was done on 'understandings'. As Ilan Pappé has noted, every local Haganah commander, and all the men under their command at every village and town, knew exactly what was required. Sometimes a few shots in the air would be sufficient, and sometimes a full-blown massacre was needed. However, the result was always the same.
This was the original sin. Since then, the sin has been compounded many times over, as Israel has continued its assault on Palestinians and Palestinian life. From border raids and massacres to the occupation and the settlements, to the slaughter of 20,000 in Lebanon, through provocations, closures, expulsions, demolitions, arrests, torture and assassinations, right up to the chicaneries of Oslo and the Roadmap where Palestinians were to be bamboozled into going into their cage quietly, Israel and Zionism have sought to destroy the Palestinians, if not always physically, then certainly as a people in their own land.
"...While we babble and rave…"
But for most Jews things are not so simple. Defending the indefensible is never easy, and many Jews, intellectually sophisticated, secular and liberal in their instincts, require more than just careful selections from the Bible to justify what is being done to the Palestinians. These Jews have had, over the years, to tell themselves a lot of stories. For some this has been easier than for others. For some, perhaps the majority, it has been simple enough to swallow the Israeli and Zionist line whole: Jews came to a land inhabited only by rootless peasants, and battled against overwhelming odds to establish their state. Since then, Israel, an island of Western decency in a sea of Arab decadence and decay has had to battle for its very survival. But for some, after 1967, and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the illegal settling of the land, and, later, the war in Lebanon, the Intifadas, and the work of the new Israeli historians in uncovering the truth of Israel's birth, the story has had to be revised.
"End the occupation!"
Many Jews, now aware of the injustice associated with the establishment of Israel, but still unable to relinquish their belief in Israel's essential innocence, have congregated around the slogans: "End the occupation!" and "Two states for two peoples!" That there is no 'occupation', and that there will never be a true Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, are simply denied.
The long-term Zionist strategy for the conquest of Palestine was always to wait for what Ben-Gurion called 'revolutionary situations', meaning situations which would provide cover under which the take-over of Palestine could be completed. The first of these 'revolutionary situations' presented itself in 1947 and 1948, when, under the cover of the conflict, 78 percent of historic Palestine was transformed into Israel. Another such situation presented itself in 1967.
Israel in 1967 was not the innocent party threatened with annihilation by the Arab states (though its population probably thought it was). Israel had been preparing for such a war for years. Neither was Israel's victory anything other then totally expected by anyone who was even a little bit in the know. Like the 1947-48 conflict, the war of 1967 was an opportunity gladly taken for the take-over of the remaining 22 percent of Palestine. This was the fulfilment of Zionism's historic mission.
There is, then, no occupation. There never was an occupation. If there had been an occupation, and the Israelis had the slightest intention of ending it they would have done so years ago. The fact is, that no Israeli government, either of the left or the right, has ever shown any intention of fully withdrawing back to the 1967 border. No Israeli government, left or right, has shown the slightest inclination to permit anything even remotely resembling a real Palestinian state to be established on the West Bank and Gaza. Any state that could emerge would be tiny, fragmented and weak, being simply a legitimisation of Palestinian surrender. The occupation, in fact, has been a fig-leaf to conceal the reality of the final conquest of Palestine.
Nevertheless, for many Jews the occupation is the bedrock of Israel's essential innocence. Occupations are temporary and can be reversed, and this one, they believe, was the result of a war which Israel did not seek. So, Israel and Zionism are still, at heart, innocent. The Jewish state, established at the expense of another people's national life, is still blameless. It is the occupation that has 'forced' Israel into the role of oppressor, and if only Israel would withdraw to the borders of 1967 all would be as it had been, only better: the gains of 1948 would then be secured, Jews would have their Israel with its 'moral foundations', and the Palestinians would be contained within a bantustan with a semblance, but not the reality, of justice. For many Jews, this would mean that they could have both their empowerment and their consciences.
The sin of moral equivalence
To talk about 'a cycle of violence' in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians is to commit the sin of 'moral equivalence.'
Conceived in the Israeli and Jewish peace camps, taken up by the mainstream and pretty much the entire solidarity movement, and now underpinning all acceptable discourse on Israel and Palestine, is the notion that the conflict in Israel/Palestine is not the brutal dispossession and oppression of one people by another, but a tragic conflict between two equal, but conflicting rights. This notion emerged after 1967 when doveish, more moderate Zionists, realising that the story of a blameless innocent Zionism could no longer be sustained, but still unable to acknowledge Israel's guilt, after years of denying the very existence of the Palestinian people, began to concede that the Palestinians also had a story which ought to be heard.
In this new narrative Israel is not guilty, because no one is guilty, and Israel is not the oppressor, because there is no oppressor. Everyone is an innocent victim. Variations on the theme include the I've suffered, you've suffered, let's talk approach, and what has been called the psychotherapy approach to conflict resolution, You feel my pain and I'll feel yours. Proponents of this theory say that the two sides are not listening to each other. If only each side would hear the other's story a solution would surely be found.
But it is not true that neither has heard the other's story. Palestinians have heard the Zionist story ad nauseam, and they have certainly heard enough about Jewish suffering. It is not, then, both sides that need to listen: it is Israelis, and Jews who need to listen.
But, as is heard so often from inside the Jewish and Israeli peace camps, both sides have a point of view, and both sides must be heard; both sides have suffered, and right or wrong is never on one side only. This, of course, is true, but did these same Jews, then struggling against apartheid and now campaigning for the 'justice' of a disempowered statelet for Palestinians on a mere remnant of what was once their homeland-and many were the same Jews-say then that we had to see both sides of the picture? They did not. They acknowledged that white South Africans were as deserving of peace and prosperity as black South Africans, but they never lost sight of who was the victim and who was the perpetrator.
Nor are the two sides in Israel-Palestine equal in power, or in moral weight. Israel, a modern Western-style state, with the fourth most powerful army in the world, faces a civilian population with a few poorly armed militias, and enforces a claim which is highly questionable. Jewish claims to Palestine are not only more complex than Palestinian claims, but are also more contentious. Even whilst acknowledging a Jewish connection with Palestine, and even if one might wish to see a Jewish presence there, the historical evidence can hardly justify exclusive Jewish ownership
This recasting of the struggle as a conflict between equals means that Jews do not have to see Israel for what it is: a powerful state, founded and maintained on injustice, oppressing a weak and defenceless civilian population. Instead, they see it for what they would like it to be: a tiny, embattled state, well-intentioned, but caught up in a tragic conflict of equal but opposing rights. So, an assault by the fourth most powerful army in the world on a largely undefended refugee camp becomes just part of a continuing 'cycle of violence', and the imposition of surrender on an exhausted and defeated people can be recast as 'negotiations', or 'peace talks'.
Good cop/bad cop
Zionism's eternal good cop/bad cop routine has for years deflected criticism, and provided for Jews and others a means of reconciling what they see with what they want to see. The good cop is the secular 'left', meaning the Labour Party and its offshoots, descended from the old Labour Zionism of David Ben-Gurion, while the bad cop is Likud, descended from the old revisionists founded by Ze'ev Jabotinsky, and now joined by the religious fanatics and the settlers. And the argument runs, that Israel and Zionism are not themselves responsible for their crimes, but only extremist elements therein. If only the good guys were in power, things would be alright for the Palestinians.
History, however, does not bear this out. The fact is that certainly as much, if not more suffering has been inflicted on the Palestinians by Labour governments and the left, than by Likud and the right. It was Labour Zionism which created the pre-state society that excluded Palestinians, particularly in the organisation of labour. It was Labour Zionists, good, humanistic, left-wing kibbutzniks who directed the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians, and the destruction of their towns and villages. It was Labour Zionism which established the present state with all its discriminatory practices, and it was a Labour government that held the Palestinian citizens of Israel under military government in their own land for eighteen years. Finally, it was a Labour government which conquered the West Bank and Gaza, and first built the settlements, and it was a Labour government that embarked on the Oslo peace process, coolly designed to deceive the Palestinians into surrendering their rights.
The difference between the good cop and the bad cop is not their final destination but only how they get there. Both Labour and Likud, indeed the whole of mainstream Zionism, has as its aim the complete conquest of the whole of Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, with as few Palestinians therein as possible. The only difference is that, whilst Likud and the 'right' understand, as they have always understood, that the only way to achieve this was through force, Labour would prefer, along with the use of force when necessary, to deceive their victims into going into the cage quietly. And, when the good cop has failed, and the victims have proved themselves unwilling to walk into the cage unaided, as they did at Camp David at the end of the Oslo process, what do they do? Why, they call in the bad cop, in this case, the butcher, Ariel Sharon.
The Palestinians have had 100 years of good cop, bad cop, good cop, bad cop. The good cop led them down the Oslo path and made them the generous offer of a tiny, fragmented and trashed statelet on just part of 22 percent of what is their own land, under the political and economic control of Israel, and under the guns of the Israeli military. And, shock, horror, they turned it down. So the Israelis called in the bad cop, Sharon, who has done his worst. Now after more than two years of relentless assault the victim is nicely softened up. So, in comes the good cop. In his hand is a piece of paper. On the piece of paper is a new peace plan. The peace plan offers just that, peace for the victor, but very little justice for the victim. All the Palestinians have to do is to sign, and the pain will go away. There is little doubt that the overwhelming majority of Jews, including many in the peace camp, will be clamouring for them to sign.
A light unto the nations
The notion of 'Beautiful Israel' lies at the very foundations of Political Zionism with roots deep in Jewish history. Zionism, which connects a modern Jewish state in Palestine with its supposed biblical antecedent, never saw itself as just another colonial enterprise, though it certainly was that. But it was much more as well. Zionist thinkers, though generally secular, used Jewish religious sentiment to further their cause, but this was not just cold-blooded political manoeuvring. Like so many ideologues, the early, and also later and present-day Zionists, believed their own stories.
Even for the least observant Jew, Jewish identity is a complex and resonant issue, and Jewishness may be experienced a long way from the synagogue, the yeshiva, or any other formal aspect of Jewish life. Jewish history, inextricably linked with Judaism, is also the bedrock of many secular Jews' sense of Jewish identity. The founders of modern political Zionism, as secular a bunch as one could meet, still had a powerful sense of their history, and even destiny, with all the inevitable emotional and religious overtones. For many of them, and certainly for many of the Jewish masses who offered their allegiance, the founding of a Jewish state in Palestine was, if not overtly religious, still profoundly emotional and spiritual.
Many of the founding fathers of the modern state defined themselves as socialists. Unable to choose between their socialism and their Zionism, they tried to combine the two, believing that Zionism and Socialism could go hand in hand in building a Jewish state, founded on principles of equality and social justice, an absurdity really, since the one stood for universal principles and the other for Jewish ethnic interests. The motto of Hashomer Hatzair (The Young Guard), which formed the core of the 'left-Zionist' Mapam party, "Le tzionut, le sozialism ve le achvat amim" ("For Zionism, socialism, and internationalism") is significant in that Zionism always came first.
Loftier than most run-of-the-mill colonial enterprises, pre-state Zionism did not so much rob the natives-though they certainly did plenty of that-as ignore them. Central to the pre-state society and the state itself were socialist structures such as the Histadrut trades union, which presided over both the organization of Jewish labour and the exclusion of non-Jewish labour. That their lofty socialist principles rarely extended in practice to non-Jews need not be attributed only to cynicism, but also to a moral schizophrenia that has always made Zionism so hard to analyse and therefore so hard to oppose.
But there was another Zionism: Cultural or Spiritual Zionism that envisioned a Jewish community, a spiritual, religious and cultural centre in Palestine, living in peace and equality with the Palestinians. These voices of bi-nationalism, led by such as Ahad Ha'am, Martin Buber and Judah Magnes, were small in number and increasingly marginalised. In retrospect it is hard to see that they had any effect on Zionist policy, or made much difference to present-day Zionist ideology. But these traditions were, and are, very important to Jews theologically and had an enormous cultural effect-the revival and development of the Hebrew language and literature, and the establishment of centres of learning, such as the Hebrew University and the Haifa Technion, were to have a huge and positive effect on the scientific and cultural progress of the pre-state Yishuv and of Israel.
But the theological and cultural effects of this Spiritual Zionism were nothing compared to the effects they had on the marketing of Political Zionism. One need not doubt the sincerity of these voices, nor of those Jews who hold them dear, to note how, with that particular blend of conviction, hypocrisy and self-delusion on the part of Political Zionists, they have been used to mystify and obfuscate, and so better promote, a far less scrupulous vision. Many leftist Zionists, such as those in Hashomer Hatzair, took great pains-whilst working for a Jewish majority through immigration, directing and participating in the ethnic cleansing of 1948, and subsequently building their socialist and utopian (but only for Jews) kibbutzim on stolen Palestinian land-to cloak themselves in the rhetoric of bi-nationalism. The sincerely held beliefs of Buber, Magnes, Ahad aham and others were used to give Zionism that messianic, moral tinge which has done so much over the years to bamboozle us all. Today, these traditions are often cited as evidence of Zionism's essential goodness, and many Jews today now look back on them with nostalgia, and cling to them for comfort, and also to conceal from themselves and others Political Zionism's manifest character.
These moral ambiguities are evident, not only in the divisions within Israel, the Zionist establishment and the Jewish community world-wide, but also often within many individuals. Zionism, the drive for the return of an ancient and suffering people to their God-given homeland, is for Jews a compelling ideology. This surge of power to the powerless, this messianic story of return, the utopianism, the intensity, the near religious fervour of Zionism, blended with enormous dollops of self-delusion, constitute a heady mix which has gone straight to the head of many an otherwise sober and rational Jew, and has led to some strange and contradictory behaviour: left-wing Jews at solidarity demonstrations calling over loudhailers for justice for Palestinians, whilst at the same time vigorously defending Israel's right, as a Jewish state, to discriminate officially against non-Jews; the 'progressive' Rabbi Michael Lerner claiming that Israel cannot be discriminatory, since it accepts Jews of all ethnic backgrounds, and that the establishment of Israel with the attendant obliteration of Palestinian society amounts to 'affirmative action' for Jews; and the appearance at Palestine solidarity rallies of organised Jewish youth in full Zionist regalia, blue shirts with stars of David on their badges and flags, carrying placards calling for an end to the occupation.
It is within these ambiguities and contradictions that so many Jews have found places of refuge from the moral condemnation of the crimes committed in their names. When confronted with the crimes of Israel and Zionism or the charge that Israel and Zionism are, by definition, discriminatory, many Jews will answer "Ah, but that's not the Israel I love," or "That's not the Zionism in which I believe."
Speaking the truth to Jews
It is understandable that Jews might believe that their suffering is greater, more mysterious and meaningful than that of any other people. It is even understandable that Jews might feel that their suffering can justify the oppression of another people. What is harder to understand is why the rest of the world has gone along with it. That Jews have suffered is undeniable. But acknowledgement of this suffering is rarely enough. Jews and others have demanded that not only should Jewish suffering be acknowledged, but that it also be accorded special status. Jewish suffering is held to be unique, central and most importantly, mysterious.
Jewish suffering is rarely measured against the sufferings of other groups. Blacks, women, children, gays, workers, peasants, minorities of all kinds, all have suffered, but none as much as Jews. Protestants at the hands of Catholics, Catholics at the hands of Protestants, pagans and heretics, all have suffered religious persecution, but none as relentlessly as Jews. Indians, Armenians, gypsies and aborigines, all have been targeted for elimination, but none as murderously and as premeditatedly as Jews.
Jewish suffering is held to be mysterious, and beyond explanation. Context is rarely examined. The place and role of Jews in society-their historical relationships with Church and state, landlords and peasantry-is hardly ever subject to scrutiny, and, whilst non-Jewish attitudes to Jews are the subject of intense interest, Jewish attitudes to non-Jews are rarely mentioned. Attempts to confront these issues are met with suspicion, and sometimes hostility, in the fear that explanation may lead to rationalisation, which may lead to exculpation, and then even to justification.
The Holocaust, "the ultimate mystery"
The stakes in this already fraught game have been raised so much higher by the Holocaust. Is the Holocaust 'The ultimate mystery, never to be comprehended or transmitted', as Elie Wiesel would have us believe? Are attempts to question the Holocaust narrative merely a cover for the wish to deny or even to justify the Holocaust? Was Jewish suffering in the Holocaust greater and of more significance than that of anyone else? Were the three million Polish Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis more important than the three million Polish non-Jews who also died? Twenty million black Africans, a million Ibos, a million Kampucheans, Armenians, aborigines, all have perished in genocides, but none as meaningfully as the six million Jews slaughtered in the only genocide to be theologically named, and now perceived by Jews and the rest of the Western world to be an event of near religious significance.
Whether there is anything special about Jews is not really relevant. What is relevant is that a large part of the Western world, even the most secular part, seems to believe that there is, or are not confident enough in their disbelief to say so. Similarly, whether the world believes that Jewish suffering is qualitatively and quantitatively different from all other suffering is also irrelevant. The fact is that most people seem compelled to agree that it is, or to remain silent.
Christianity occupies a central place in Western culture and experience and Jews occupy a central place in the Christian narrative, so it is no surprise that Jews and Jewish concerns receive a lot of attention. The Western world, though largely secular but still Christian in its cultural foundations, seems at times obsessed with Jews, and unable to see them for what, in the words of Richard Rubenstein, they may well be, "a people like any other whose religion and culture were shaped so as to make it possible for them to cope with their very distinctive history and location among the peoples of the world." Jewish life seems at times to be at the very heart of Western concerns. And this goes way beyond the religious contexts. From Jewish history, stories of struggle from the Hebrew Bible, such as the Exodus from Egypt, have become paradigms for other people's struggles and aspirations. The emigration of Jews from Eastern Europe into their Golden Land in America has become as American a legend as the Wild West. Jewish folklore and myth, stereotypes of Jewish humour, food, family life-all are deeply woven into the fabric of Western, particularly American, life.
Christian attitudes towards Jews are complex and contradictory: Jesus was born a Jew and died a Jew, and yet, traditionally, His teachings supersede those of Judaism. Jesus lived amongst Jews, His message was shaped by Jews, yet He was rejected by Jews, and, it has been widely believed, died at the behest of Jews. So, for many Christians, Jews are both the people of God and the people who rejected God, and are objects of both great veneration and great loathing. Jewish suffering at the hands of the Christian majority is a matter of great shame and guilt. Yet still, in the minds of some Christians, and possibly buried deep within many more, are notions that the suffering of Jews is, for the killers of a God, deserved. This ambivalence is reflected in the secular world too, where Jews are widely admired for their history and traditions and for their creativity and success, yet are also regarded with some suspicion and dislike for their exclusivity and supposed sense of their own 'specialness'. Jews seem either loved or hated, and, now since the Holocaust, publicly at least, they seem loved, or at least if not loved, then certainly, indulged.
During much of their history in Europe Jews were persecuted, culminating most recently in the slaughter in the death camps. The relationship between that ultimate slaughter and the centuries of antisemitism that preceded it, the relationship of the Church to that antisemitism, and the intensity and duration of persecutions of Jews throughout history, all of this is appropriate for examination. The nature of those persecutions may also be investigated, and even the possible collusion by Jews themselves in their own victimhood, all may be subject to proper scrutiny. But, just as in the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians there can be no argument about who are the victims and who are the perpetrators, there can be no doubt that, for much of their history in Europe, Jews were victims. Western society, both Christian and secular, bears a heavy responsibility for Jewish suffering, and this responsibility is now rightly being taken very seriously indeed.
But what, when these legitimate feelings of responsibility are employed to conceal rather than reveal the truth? What, when Christian and other responsibility for Jewish suffering is used to justify the oppression of another people? What, when even the issue of who is the victim and who is the perpetrator becomes confused, when yesterday's victim becomes today's perpetrator, and when today's perpetrator uses its past victimhood to justify its present abuse of another people?
The establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, coming just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz in January 1945, marks, for Jews, the transition from enslavement to empowerment. This empowerment of Jews took place not only with the establishment of Israel, but also continuously, from the mass emigration of Jews to the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to the present day. Today in the West Jews enjoy unparalleled political, economic and social power and influence. Jews are represented way beyond their numbers in the upper echelons of all areas of public and professional life-politics, academia, the arts, the media and business. Even more than the political and economic power which Jews possess, however, is the social power. Jews have a moral prestige derived from their history and traditions as a chosen, and as a suffering people. In these more secular times, however, especially since the Holocaust, it is as a suffering people, that Jews occupy their special place in Western culture.
We see this in both public and private life. Public statements involving Jews or Israel so often include the almost obligatory reference to past Jewish suffering. And in private conversations whenever the subject arises, voices are lowered reverentially and words are carefully chosen. Who is able, when discussing the present suffering of Palestinians, to avoid inserting a reference to the past suffering of Jews? As if no matter what Jews do, account must always be taken of their own suffering. And who, when discussing the amount of Holocaust memorialisation that has taken place in the West-memorials, foundations, academic chairs at universities, study programmes, days of remembrance-who is able to avoid nervously inserting the words, 'quite rightly' into their sentences?
On being cursed as an antisemite
Jews have not been just passive recipients of all this special treatment and consideration. The special status accorded to Israel's behaviour in Palestine, and Jewish support for it, is not something that Jews have accepted reluctantly. On the contrary, Jews and Jewish organisations have demanded it. And at the heart of this demand for special consideration is the demand that the whole world, whilst recognising the uniqueness of Jewish suffering, should join with Jews in their fears about antisemitism and of its resurgence.
Antisemitism, in its historic, virulent and eliminationist form, did exist and could certainly exist again, but it does not currently exist in the West in any significantly observable form. Jews have never been so secure or empowered, yet many Jews feel and act as if they are a hair's breadth away from Auschwitz. And not only this, they require that everybody else feel the same. So soon after the Holocaust this is perhaps understandable, but less so when it is used to silence dissent and criticism of Israel and Zionism.
Jews, individually and collectively, use their political, economic, social, and moral power in support of Israel and Zionism. In their defence of Israel and Zionism Jews brandish their suffering at the world, accusing it of reverting to its old antisemitic ways. They claim that criticism of Israel and Zionism is in fact criticism of Jews. Just as the Jews were, in the past, the objects of classic antisemitism, so Israel, the state of the Jews, is the object of a new, modern antisemitism. They will concede that Israel, like any other state in the world, is not exempt from criticism, but they do claim that Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is so exempt. In effect, we may criticise Israel for what Israel does, but not for what Israel is.
But what is Israel? Defenders of Israel claim that Jews, like any other people, are entitled to national self-determination and statehood, and that to deny Jews that which is granted to all other peoples is discriminatory. Thus anti-Zionism is, in effect, antisemitism. But, even leaving aside the fact that Israel was established on the expulsion and exile of the Palestinians, is Israel as a Jewish state merely giving to Jews that which is given to all other peoples? Is Israel, a state which officially defines itself as for one ethnic group alone, the same as other states? Israel is the state of the Jews and of only the Jews. In its immigration, land, planning and housing laws and practices, military recruitment regulations and many other laws, practices and customs, Israel officially and unofficially, overtly and covertly, discriminates against non-Jews. In any other context, with any other people this would be deemed discriminatory and perhaps even racist. Of course, one may agree or disagree with any of this but is such agreement of disagreement necessarily antisemitic?
Is a Jewish state acceptable in this day and age? Are the Jews a people who qualify for national self-determination, or are Jews a religious group only? Post-Holocaust, does the Jewish need for a state of their own perhaps even justify the displacement of the Palestinians? Are Jews who wield power to serve what they perceive as their own ethnic interests and to support Israel to be held politically accountable? What is antisemitism? Is anti-Zionism antisemitism? All this and a great deal more could and should be debated. What need not be debated is this: that every complexity and ambiguity of Jewish identity and history, every example of Jewish suffering, every instance of anti-Jewish prejudice, however inconsequential, is used to justify the crimes of Israel and Zionism. Every possible interpretation or misinterpretation of language, and every kind of intellectual sophistry is used by Zionists to muddy the waters and label the critic of Israel and Zionism an antisemite. Words and phrases become loaded with hidden meanings, so that even the most honest critic of Israel has to twist and turn and jump through hoops to ensure that he or she is not perceived to be an antisemite.
And the penalties for transgression are terrible. For those who do not manage to pick their way through this minefield the charge of antisemite awaits, with all its possibilities of political, religious and social exclusion. No longer a descriptive term for someone who hates Jews simply for being Jews, 'antisemite' is now a curse to hurl against anyone who criticises Jews, and, increasingly against anyone who dares too trenchantly to criticise Israel and Zionism. And for those Jews of conscience who dare speak out, for them there is reserved the special penalty of exclusion from Jewish life and exile.
Zionism and the State of Israel now lie at the very heart of Jewish life and so many Jews, even if unaffiliated officially to Zionism, have supported it, and continue to support it in its aims. Indeed, almost all the organised Jewish establishments throughout the world, in Israel, Europe and North America have used, and continue to use their power, influence, and, most importantly, their moral prestige, to support Israel in its attempts to subjugate the Palestinians. And the rest of the Western world, by its support for these efforts, and by its silence, is complicit in these crimes.
Marc Ellis' 'ecumenical deal', which translates also into a political deal, says it all. It goes like this: To the Christian and to the entire non-Jewish world, Jews say this: 'You will apologise for Jewish suffering again and again and again. And, when you have done apologising, you will then apologise some more. When you have apologised sufficiently we will forgive you ... provided that you let us do what we want in Palestine.' The situation in Israel/Palestine gets worse and worse. The hatred against Israel and the West grows and grows. Increasingly, Jews are perceived as complicit with power and injustice. There is growing rage. Meanwhile Jews themselves retreat further and further behind the walls of a blind and misplaced group solidarity. Albert Camus, at a gathering of Dominican friars, commenting on Pope Pius XII's manner of addressing the Holocaust, wrote,
What the world expects of Christians is that Christians should speak out loud and clear, and that they should voice their condemnation in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could arise in the heart of the simplest man or woman.
On 14 November 2001 Marc Ellis, addressing a meeting at the General Synod of the Church of England, closed with the words:
This article is a chapter in Speaking the Truth about Zionism and Israel, edited by Michael Prior and published by Melisende (London) March 2004.
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