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The Israeli Left's Holocaust Denial Connection By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 03, 2004

Apparently telling the truth is a great injustice in the mind of Israeli leftist Neve Gordon. He has filed a malicious SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suit against me for exposing his activities as a contributor to an anti-Semetic internet site and his friendly association with such Holocaust deniers as Norman Finkelstein and Nazi Propagandist Ernst Zundel. He is apparently unhappy that I have criticized his political opinions and his public political activities. He thinks I should apologize for informing the world that Gordon became a “human shield” for those who illegally entered Ramallah to interfere with the Israeli army's siege against Arafat's offices, while Arafat was hiding the murderers of an Israeli cabinet minister in those same offices.

The fact is that Gordon’s connections to anti-Semitism are well established and easy to track. He is an extremist lecturer in political science at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheba, where he is best known for his pronouncements that Israel is a fascist, terrorist, apartheid state.


In his lawsuit, Gordon complains that I have criticized him for praising Finkelstein. He’s right—I did. Recently, Zundlesite (the website of Canadian neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel) published Gordon's article praising Norman Finkelstein, who is almost universally seen as a neo-Nazi, Holocaust Denier and anti-Semite.  In this article, the New York Times compared Finkelstein’s book to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Gordon, however, ended his sometimes harsh, sometimes reverent review as follows:


His book is controversial not entirely because of his mistakes or his piercing rhetoric but because he speaks truth to power. He, and not the Jewish organizations he criticizes, is following the example set by the great Jewish prophets.


I count comparing someone to great Jewish prophets as quite a compliment.


Zundelsite has also published another Gordon article. Which may lead someone to ask; what exactly is Zundlesite, anyway? It is an internet “news” site named for Ernst Zundel, a Germany-born Nazi, Holocaust denier, and anti-Semite.  He makes his living by selling Nazi military paraphernalia. He moved to Canada from Germany when he was 19. In 1978, a Canadian Broadcasting Company journalist revealed that under his middle names, Christof Friedrich, Zundel had become Canada's leading Nazi and Holocaust denial propagandist. Once exposed, Zundel continued his efforts under his conventional name. 


The principal outlet for Zundel's early activities was his Toronto-based company, Samisdat Publishers, Ltd., which produced Zundel originals (like The Hitler We Loved and Why) and Holocaust-denial "classics," (including The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, by Arthur Butz; A Straight Look at the Third Reich and The Six Million Swindle, by Austin App; and Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald: The Greatest Fraud in History, by Richard Harwood). He produces books and articles with other anti-Jewish libels. He is also a white supremacist. For his full bio by the Anti-Defamation League.


"Ernst Zundel epitomizes and sanctions the worst form of Holocaust denial," contends Bernie Farber, a spokesman for the Canadian Jewish Congress.


Zundel was arrested numerous times in Canada and is wanted for criminal activity in Germany. He currently resides in Tennessee. He is fixated on UFOs, believing them to be Nazi secret weapons based somewhere in Antarctica. In 1985, Zundel was charged under Section 177 of the Criminal Code of Canada for "knowingly publishing false news." Among those testifying for the prosecution at the trial were Holocaust survivors, a history professor and even a banker -- since Zundel had claimed that an international conspiracy existed among Freemasons, Communists, international financiers, and "Zionists" (Jews). Speaking for the defense were such leading Holocaust deniers as Sweden's Ditlieb Felderer, France's Robert Faurisson (a close associate of Noam Chomsky, the professor of Cambodia genocide) and Canada's James Keegstra. Felderer, Faurisson and Keegstra have all been convicted in their own countries under hate crimes laws for their Holocaust-denial activities. 


To win, prosecutors had the distasteful task of "proving" that the Holocaust had occurred and the difficult task of proving that Zundel had knowingly lied when he had written that it had not. Nonetheless, Zundel was convicted on February 26, 1985. He was sentenced to fifteen months in jail and three years probation, during which he was prohibited from publishing anything on the subject.


Zundel did not serve his sentence. In January 1987, the Ontario Court of Appeals overturned the 1985 conviction, citing procedural errors during the trial. In June 1987, a new trial was granted. This time British convicted Holocaust denier David Irving testified for Zundel. On November 13, 1988, Zundel was convicted and sentenced to a nine-month jail term. When an appeals court upheld the conviction, Zundel reported to Toronto's Don Jail on February 5, 1990, wearing a striped "concentration camp" costume labeled "Political Prisoner Ernst Zundel." After spending a week in jail, he was released on $10,000 bail pending an appeal to Canada's Supreme Court. On August 27, 1992, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the law banning the spread of false news, saying it was unconstitutional, and Zundel was freed. In February 2001, after being denied Canadian citizenship, Zundel left Canada for the United States.


In August 1996, the Canadian Human Rights Commission opened yet another chapter in Zundel's saga with the law. At issue was an Internet site that bore Zundel's name -- the so-called "Zundelsite" -- which, since mid-1995, had served as an electronic library of Holocaust-denial texts and which incited hatred against Jews. The Canadian Human Rights Tribune ordered that the site be shut down. However, because it was operating from a computer server inside the United States, the Canadian order was not enforceable. At the trial, evidence was presented that Zundel and his wife personally control this website.


On February 5, 2003, officials from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested Ernst Zundel at his home in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for alleged immigration violations. He was deported to Canada and has been in jail ever since. Mr. Zundel is confined to a Toronto detention center because the government is holding him on a national security certificate -- the controversial and Draconian procedure usually reserved for terrorist suspects.


The "Zundelsite" continues to operate as the main vehicle for spreading Zundel's Nazi doctrines. Zundel's wife also continues to send her daily "Z-Grams," which are less devoted to Holocaust denial and more to fulminations against "Jewish power," anti-Semitic and anti-Israel conspiracy theories, and attacks on the U.S. government and the War on Terror.


The Zundelsite isn’t the only anti-Semetic and anti-Israel outlet which publishes Gordon's works. Others include al-Ahram, Radio Islam and David Irving’s site. Gordon is also regular columnist for Counterpunch, an extremist and anti-Israel web magazine that promotes Israel's liquidation. Counterpunch is owned and edited by Alexander Cockburn, who has been very widely denounced (including by the liberal New Republic magazine) as an open anti-Semite.


The publication of Gordon's articles also comes against the background of growing criticism of the activities of far-Left extremists at Israeli universities, especially at Ben-Gurion. Israel's Minister of Education recently announced she was boycotting Ben Gurion University because a radical sociologist faculty member published articles declaring that Israel was practicing genocide against Palestinians. The press in Israel claims there is growing anger at Ben Gurion among Jews around the world. Some have announced they are withholding financial support for the university as long as the faculty extremists operate under university auspices. Mordecai Vanunu, Israel's recently released nuclear spy and traitor, had begun his activities while a member of a communist student cell at Ben Gurion University.


A SLAPP is a harassment suit designed to suppress free speech of one's critics. David Irving tried a similar tactic against Deborah Lipstadt and her editors, when she exposed his anti-Semetic and Holocause denial activities. But the plaintiff must prove that the criticism is false, which Irving failed to do. Thus, Lipstadt was exonerated.


There are severe penalties against those who SLAPP frivolously in many parts of the United States, and the world. Irving was ordered to pay Lipstadt and her editors 150,000 British Pounds in damages.


I hope Neve Gordon is saving his pennies.

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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