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World Jewry
http://www.virtualjerusalem.com/news/worldjewry/?disp_feature=/hNaa0c.var
Holocaust Deniers to Convene in Lebanon
by The Anti-Defamation League


According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Beirut, Lebanon will be the
site of a major conference of Holocaust deniers scheduled to begin on March
31.

Co-sponsored by the California-based Institute of Historical Review (IHR),
the leading American association of Holocaust deniers, it will be the first
major organized conference on Holocaust denial to be held in an
Arabic-speaking nation.

The conference, titled "Revisionism and Zionism," signals a major shift in
strategy for the Holocaust denial movement, which once primarily focused its
anti-Semitic propaganda on Europe and the United States. In the past, the
IHR has held its annual gatherings closer to home, in places such as Los
Angeles or Orange County, Calif.

"The persistent drumbeat of Holocaust denial is moving to the Middle East,
where the deniers are reaching out to Islamic regimes to find sympathy for
their anti-Semitic and racist views," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National
Director. "The Holocaust deniers have spread their message in the United
States. They have met with like-minded anti-Semites in Europe. Now they are
fomenting anti-Semitism in Muslim states where there is a sinister track
record for the use of Holocaust denial against Israel. For the Holocaust
deniers, the already charged Mideast environment is fertile ground for their
views."

Conference organizers are not publicizing the location of the four-day
conference, saying only that it will convene somewhere in Beirut. IHR has
stated that any visitors, including journalists, who arrive in Lebanon with
passports containing an Israeli visa or stamp will not be admitted into the
country. IHR has also indicated that, in a departure from past meetings,
they will be presenting lectures in Arabic, French and English in
partnership with another Holocaust denial group, the Association V?rit? et
Justice of Switzerland. Jurgen Graf, the president of this group, fled to
Iran in November 2000 after his appeals of a 1998 Swiss conviction for
inciting racial hatred were denied.

Holocaust Denial: A Daily Diet for Arab Media

Anti-Semitism and racial theories still play an important cultural role in
many Middle Eastern countries, where anti-Semitic stereotypes and canards
are an almost daily occurrence in the state-run media. Holocaust denial has
become part of this daily diet in Egypt, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the
Palestinian Authority and Qatar, who use it as a means to foment
anti-Semitic hatred among their people.

Holocaust denial, which has become one of the most important vehicles for
contemporary anti-Semitism, is especially attractive to the ideologies of
anti-Israel Arab and Muslim groups. They believe Holocaust denial can
undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish State by claiming that the Holocaust
is a historical fabrication created to win sympathy for Jews and Israel.

Fertile Ground for Hate

After suffering several legal defeats and other setbacks in Europe, where
hate speech is illegal in several countries, Holocaust deniers now see the
Middle East as a fertile ground to spread anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews.
The denial movement may have been emboldened by the recent renewal of
Israeli-Palestinian tensions and the breakdown of the peace process.

Several nations in the region, including Lebanon, have unofficially taken up
the cause, in the media and in speeches by political and religious leaders.
Some of the most notorious figures in the denial movement, including Mark
Weber and Ernst Zundel, have been given significant airtime on Iranís
official radio station, IRIB. In May 2000, the Iranian embassy in Vienna
granted refuge to another Holocaust denier, Wolfgang Frohlich. French
Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy received major support from Middle Eastern
countries during his trial in 1998. He received a heroís welcome when he
toured the region after the trial. Holocaust denial has also been expressed
in the media controlled by the Palestinian Authority and on Radio Islam, an
anti-Israel radio station that broadcasts from Sweden.

(c) 2001 Anti-Defamation League

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