The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Holocaust Denial Today
Manuel Prutschi, Canadian Jewish Congress

It should therefore not surprise us that Holocaust denial is also anti-Zionist. The term Zionist rather than Jew is often used in Holocaust denial lexicon. Israel figures prominently as the conspirator and benefactor state. The Palestinian people appear in tandem with the German people as the two communities victimized by the Jews. The aim is to bar the Jewish state from its legitimate place in the community of nations, in the same way that Nazism denied, and neo-Nazism intends to deny, Jews their rightful place in the societies of the diaspora. The integral inclusion of anti-Zionism in Holocaust denial makes it uniquely dangerous. Of all antisemitic ideologies, Holocaust denial has brought about the convergence of the radical right and the radical left. Right and left are elements as anathema to one another as fire and water yet Jews are able to work such miracles even among their enemies.

A number of radical leftists in France are intimately connected to Holocaust denial. They include Serge Thion, who is a defender of both Rassinier and Faurisson. Thion is linked with the Marxist publishing house "La Vieille Taupe" (The Old Mole), founded by Pierre Guillaume. Guillaume is the publisher of many of Faurisson's works and has now associated himself with Henri Roques. The most shocking association of all is that of the world-famous Jewish linguist and radical Noam Chomsky. Chomsky has described the Holocaust as "the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history". Yet this did not lead him to prevent a piece he had allegedly written purely to uphold the right of free speech from being used as an introduction to one of Faurisson's books. It also did not stop him from giving Guillaume publication rights in France to one of his important books. As Professor Werner Cohn has pointed out in his pamphlet "The Hidden Alliances of Noam Chomsky", Guillaume's publishing house is a very obscure one and, if it has any credibility at all, it has it in good measure as a result of the connection with Chomsky.

A number of radical leftists, because of their antagonism towards Israel and their anti-Zionism, have become Holocaust deniers or, at the very least, are not loath to associate with deniers. In the same way that the neo-Nazis have to deny the Holocaust to whitewash Nazism, radical leftists have to deny the Holocaust to undermine the strongest justification for the creation and the existence of the State of Israel. And the radical leftists also resort to the Orwellian inversion of images. Israel is described as a Nazi state and accused of perpetrating genocide on the Palestinians.

There is also, as Paul Berman has pointed out, a certain strain of the left which mistrusts the west under all circumstances, and so it has come to mistrust the west on the whole matter of World War 11 as well. As far as these leftists are concerned there is no difference between bourgeois democracy and bourgeois Nazism and fascism. Furthermore, twentieth century genocide flies in the face of Marxist optimism and the assurance of the inevitability of historical progress. Marxist optimism can only be saved if the various genocides that we have witnessed in the twentieth century can be portrayed as "rumours" rather than realities.

In the convergence of the left and the right, in Holocaust denial the circle, paralleling Rassinier's own life, has finally been closed.

Paul Berman, in his analysis of Holocaust denial, has written that "It has long been known that in times of acute social crisis antisemitism takes to the streets. The corollary now looming into focus is that in times of acute ideological crisis, antisemitism takes to the intellectual presses." Our examination of Holocaust deniers in Europe and North America clearly indicates that one can take Berman some steps further, to say that antisemitism has not only infiltrated certain intellectual presses but has become the preserve of a portion of the western intelligentsia Holocaust deniers are in the main university-educated teachers, academics, writers, professionals. They are not exactly like flat earthers. They are not mere kooks or inconsequential eccentrics dealing with a rather bizarre but harmless theory.

Holocaust denial is a matter of concern to the Jewish community, certainly, but in fact it should be of concern to all who prize democracy. The ultimate aim or consequence of Holocaust denial is the collapse of the open, pluralistic societies which we have all built together and hold so dear.

[In Edmond Y. Lipsitz, ed. Canadian Jewry Today: Who's Who in Canadian Jewry. Downsview, Ontario. J.E.S.L. Education Products, 1989, pp. 30-36.]

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