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Tehran's Holocaust Denial Conference
By: P. David Hornik
Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The oldest hatred keeps getting renewed.
Iran, which has often proclaimed its intent to carry out a second Holocaust, this time against the Jews concentrated in Israel, will be holding a Holocaust-denial conference on December 11-12.

A certain illogic is evident: if you yourself find Jews so loathsome that you seek to exterminate them, why is it implausible that someone else should have had the same idea and acted on it, especially when so many people including all reputable historians say that is exactly what happened just six decades ago?

 

The illogic is compounded by the fact that just last August Teheran held an international Holocaust-cartoon contest in which the allegedly fictitious event served as material for the cartoonists’ creations.

 

Nevertheless, the website of Iran’s Foreign Ministry announces that the conference, to be called “Study of Holocaust: A Global Perspective,” aims to “create opportunities...for a suitable scientific research so the hidden and unhidden angles of this most important political issue of the 20th century become more transparent.” The ministry’s Institute for Political and International Studies is organizing the conference and calling on “researchers” to participate.

Topics will include “anti-Semitism, Nazism and Zionism: collaboration or animosity; the concept of Holocaust and its roots; views of revisionists; denial or admittance of gas chambers” as well as “the laws against those who deny Holocaust and killing of the Palestinians.”

A psychological issue is whether the seekers of a new Holocaust really disbelieve in the old one or just want to divest today’s Jews of the moral, political, and financial power they think the old Holocaust confers on them. On a more emotional level, the Iranian (and other) Holocaust deniers could be motivated by aggression toward the victims of Hitler’s Holocaust, seeking both to “murder” them a second time by denying their deaths while also mocking those deaths in cartoons and the like. This sense of aggression toward long-dead victims would only underline the severity of the hatred toward the still-living, somewhat-militarily-powerful Jews of Israel.

Teheran may now be the epicenter of such attitudes, but they radiate extensively from it to the Arab and Muslim worlds and beyond. In Europe, where Holocaust denial is still mostly considered in poor taste, the impatience with Israel’s continued existence is very much in vogue as seen, for instance, in a recent BBC symposium on whether Israel will continue to exist in fifty years, or in the poll of EU countries three years ago that ranked Israel “the greatest danger to world peace.” In America, prestigious scholars and former top officials push the view that Israel is (with its supporters) the crux of America’s foreign policy problems and the cause of the world jihad movement.

In such a climate, it is no surprise that neither Teheran’s cartoon contest in August nor its upcoming denial convocation have drawn much attention. It also makes sense that the current leading second-Holocaust proponent, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has not only not been charged or penalized for his repeated calls for politicide and genocide—manifestly illegal under the UN Charter—but was received as an honored guest at the UN itself and the Council on Foreign Relations and granted a chummy Mike Wallace interview by CBS.

After not-quite six decades, the world, apart from still-substantial support in America and a few pockets of it elsewhere, has pretty much had it with the Jewish state and is content to trade or endlessly negotiate with Iran as it quite openly and brazenly pursues that state’s destruction. The depth of such animosity lies beyond psychological conjecture.

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P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva. He blogs at http://pdavidhornik.typepad.com/. He can be reached at pdavidh2001@yahoo.com.