Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

The Evil of Holocaust Denial

I am a champion of a two-state peace in Israel, Palestine. I have argued that the U.S. should be talking with our adversaries in Iran and I have been very discouraged at the return of Iranian hardliners after reformers had made so much progress in pushing Iran toward true democracy.
But all that aside, I must say that the Holocaust denial conference organized by Iranian president Ahmadinejad has sickened and outraged me. My next door neighbors growing up, the Goldbergs, were Holocaust survivors with numbers tattooed on their arms. My maternal grandfather saw the liberation of some of the death camps at the end of WWII. The Nazis themselves kept meticulous records of this most systematic of genocides. Holocaust denial, along with Holocaust relativizing, is now widespread in the Middle East and part of a growing anti-Jewish plague (fed by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict) around the world. It must be denounced wherever it raises its ugly head.

The U.S. is not blameless: we turned whole ships of fleeing Jewish refugees from our shores and we refused to divert any planes from the war effort to destroy either the death camps or the train tracks leading to them. And anti-Semitism was common enough among my own fellow Baptists that many here initially cheered Hitler prior to the war. And anti-Jewish beliefs are still common throughout the world. None of this justifies the policies of the state of Israel toward the Palestinians (as many Jews themselves point out)–but neither does the actions of Israel justify the evil of Holocaust denial or the resurgence of anti-Judaism and anti-semitism. I am sickened beyond belief.

December 14, 2006 - Posted by | antisemitism, holocaust, human rights.


  1. Michael: I agree with most of this post but am not informed enough to know if I agree with the part where Israel is culpable for all the ills of the Palestinians not having a recognized state. Maybe I read that wrong.
    But one thing I noticed is your ticker counter on the cost of the War in Iraq. While I see the cost is outrageous and wonder where all that money is going, I also wonder if we (Americans) had not entered into Iraq, would the Iraqis have been better served to live under the genocidal regime of Saddam Hussein? I have no idea if we, indeed, made up the intelligence that brought us together as a nation to storm Iraq in search of WMD’s. But it is evident that Saddam needed to go. Just as Hitler did. That’s just my opinion. (I didn’t realize the Americans wouldn’t bomb the death chambers or the railroads. Thanks for that history lesson.) My uncle died in WWII when his ship was hit by a suicide Japanese airplane. All my uncles served in WWII and my Dad was a POW for their cause. I hate war! I don’t know how talking to the Iranians will benefit us, but I agree that we should. Blessings to you, SelahV

    Comment by SelahVhttp://whatmatters2eternity.blogspot.com | December 15, 2006

  2. Selah, I am not blaming Israel for all the Palestinian’s woes. I do object to the occupation of any land beyond the pre-1967 borders, as per numerous UN resolutions.

    Hitler was a threat to the whole world. Hussein, while brutal, was contained. Daily life is now worse for Iraqis than under his brutal rule. It would have been possible to get rid of Saddam without invading–by supporting nonviolent revolution (which is what took down Slobodan Milosevic after he survived civil war and NATO). There were also plans to coax Saddam into exile. Bush wanted this war for no good reason.

    As for why we should talk to the Iranians, its because talking to enemies is the only way out of a cycle of death. Iran had a democratic government after WWII, but it was more socialist than the U.S. liked, so we sent in the CIA, toppled the government and installed the Shah–our pet dictator. (We have done this all over the world numerous times.) This was part of Cold War politics. Even Jimmy Carter, whom I admire, supported the Shah and his brutal govt. against the indigenous movements for democracy. That allowed Ayatollahs to take over–and we’ve been in a mess ever since.
    But there have been internal movements for reform in Iran and by 2000 the reformers were moving so fast that Iran was passing up Turkey in terms of moving toward true democracy! Then in 2001 Bush called them part of the Axis of Evil, the reformers lost the next elections and Ahmadinejad led the hardliners back to power–and here we are. Refusing to talk gets one nowhere.
    Bush considers direct talks to be “a reward for good behavior” (his words), but Jesus considered talking to enemies a command.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | December 15, 2006

  3. Michael: You seem to know much more than I do about this. So I’ll just agree for the most part. I’m probably more passive than I am assertive. When we sent in the CIA to topple the government in Iran after WWII, who was in power, Dems or Reps? And who do you consider responsible for Vietnam? I know this is off topic, but I am really interested in your take. and sometimes I miss stuff like this. Can you recommend something in your archives that speaks as succinctly as you do?

    After 9-11, I think a lot of things were said that could have been omitted. I remember reading and seeing reports on the Iranians move toward democracy and wondered what happened. So you say it is because of that one statement in the speech Bush gave that turned the people around in their voting? Gollee! Wonder what one statement will turn the tide for Americans in ’08. I remember, “Are you any better off than you were?” one time. And “It’s the economy, stupid!” another time. This should be interesting.

    Speaking of someone going from left to right…don’t ya think the Dems are getting more to the middle? And thus so will the Reps? And then what will we have? What kind of legislation do you think will come of it? Judge appointments? Whoa! I am way off topic now. Sorry, you don’t have to answer me. SelahV

    Comment by SelahVhttp://whatmatters2eternity.blogspot.com | December 15, 2006

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: