The Holocaust: A tool for abuse and distortion

Holocaust related issues are on the rise, but many of them are distortions, such as those where Israelis are labelled Nazis.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld ,

Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld

Historical events usually fade with time. Not so the Holocaust and related issues, which are increasingly appearing in the public domain. In previous years, one annual summary was sufficient for a fairly complete overview of Holocaust-related issues.  However, last year the selection was so great that I had to limit myself to several issues from the main categories.[1]

This trend has continued. By the end of April this year, a large number of such events have already appeared in the public domain.

A major category is made up of events where Israelis are labeled as Nazis.  This year it was revealed that Mehmet Kaplan, the Swedish Green Party Minister of Housing had done so in 2009, a disclosure which led to his resignation.[2]

The non-existent Palestinian state’s new status as a UN non-member observer state gave its ambassador the opportunity to bring its hate mongering to that podium. Riyad Mansour distorted Holocaust history when he compared Israel’s designation of Palestinian murderers as “terrorists” to the Nazis using the same “terrorist” label for those responsible for the Warsaw uprising, something which in fact did not happen.[3]

Israeli Arab parliamentarian Haneen Zoabi has used a similar false analogy, comparing Israel to Germany in the 1930s.[4]

The German town of Bayreuth gave a tolerance award to the American Civil Rights group Code Pink, members of which had compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler. Furthermore members of that group had participated in a conference of Holocaust deniers.[5]

An Italian Jewish sportscaster David Guetta was accosted by Italian soccer supporters in London after their club Fiorentina lost a game there. They chanted “David Guetta, a train for Mauthausen awaits you.’”[6]

Comparisons with Hitler and the Nazis are not only aimed at Israel. Two former presidents of Mexico have joined the bandwagon, comparing US presidential candidate Donald Trump to Hitler.[7] 

The British Labour Party under its new leader Jeremy Corbyn, who calls terrorist organizations his friends, has by now become a multifaceted source of anti-Semitic slurs. It has been reported that Corbyn has a longstanding relationship with the Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.[8]

Distortion of Holocaust-related issues is just one aspect among many. Vicky Kirby, a former Labour parliamentary candidate tweeted in 2014 that Hitler was the “Zionist God.” She had previously expressed her views, in 2011, that “[Jews have] got big noses” and "We invented Israel when saving them from Hitler, who now seems to be their teacher." Kirby had then been suspended from the party but was later re-admitted. Her suspension was lifted with a cautionary warning. She has since again been suspended pending further investigation of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.[9]

In 2005 Ken Livingstone, a former Labour mayor of London, had called a Jewish journalist “a concentration camp guard”.[10] This year, Livingstone claimed that “Hitler supported Zionism” in 1932 before going “mad and killing six million Jews.”[11] 

A Muslim Labour Party councilor in Luton, Aysegul Gurbuz, tweeted that Adolf Hitler was the “greatest man in history.” She hoped Iran would use a nuclear weapons to “wipe Israel off the map.”[12] Gurbuz denied having written the tweets, asserting that they had been posted by her sister, and has since been suspended from the Labour party pending investigation.

When a Turkish hairdresser resident in Austria, Ibrahim B., quoted Hitler in his Facebook posts saying “I could have annihilated all the Jews in the world, but I left some of them alive so you will know why I was killing them...,” the Austrian Prosecutor deemed this to be a legitimate expression of criticism of the Jewish State.[13]

Jean-Marie Le Pen, former leader of the French National Front party is a regular when it comes to Holocaust minimization.  He was fined again this year for calling the gas chambers a “mere detail” of World War Two history.  He has been saying this in various ways at irregular intervals since 1987.[14]

Another recurrent motif is that some people liken themselves entirely unjustifiably to Jewish Nazi victims. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff compared attempts to impeach her over corruption scandals to the Nazi persecution of Jews.[15]

Making the Hitler salute is yet another recurring phenomenon. In Brussels, 450 extreme right wing hooligans of various first league football clubs did so in March.[16] In the same month the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik made the Hitler salute on entering the courtroom.[17]

Some mentions of the Holocaust are not anti-Semitically intended. They are just extreme distortions which demonstrate the large number of confused Europeans, including those in the highest positions.  These include Belgian Minister of the Interior Jan Jambon, who compared the harboring of murderous Muslim terrorists in Belgium to the hiding of the Jews in the Holocaust.[18]

Of a very different nature are findings from new research about the Second World War. It has become known that the Dutch State Railways (NS) received 2.5 million Euro during the war for transporting Jews to the Dutch transit camp Westerbork and from there to the German border on their way to extermination.[19]

The German historian Harriet Scharnberg showed that Associated Press entered into an agreement with Nazi-ruled Germany about self-censoring. This enabled the Associated Press to remain open in that country until the US entered the war in 1941, the only Western news agency to be granted permission to do so.[20] The Associated Press has denied part of this claim.[21]

Former FBI agent Robert Wittman is now publishing a book on his latest coup - the recovery of the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, one of the architects of the Final Solution, and the Nazi who oversaw much of the looting of art works during the Second World War.[22]

Many of the above abuses of Holocaust terminology and history concern Europe. They are a further proof, in addition to many others, that anti-Semitism is endemic in Europe. The significant increase in such events may be seen as a reflection of the current uncertainty and instability in the West.

Sources:

[1] www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-Holocaust-in-the-public-domain-442991, See also http://jcpa.org/article/the-abuse-of-holocaust-memory-in-2011-2012/

[2] www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/1.715020

[3] www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Palestinian-UN-ambassador-compares-Israel-to-Nazi-Regime-452548

[4] www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Zoabi-sees-shocking-similarities-between-Israel-and-1930s-Germany-451887

[6] www.jta.org/2016/02/28/news-opinion/world/young-soccer-fans-accost-jewish-italian-sportscaster-in-london?utm_source=Newsletter+subscribers&utm_campaign=980933322e-Daily_Briefing_2_29_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2dce5bc6f8-980933322e-25372681

[7] www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-trump-idUSMTZSAPEC2S8JNRJU

[8] www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3187428/Jeremy-Corbyn-s-links-notorious-Holocaust-denier-revealed.html

[9] www.ibtimes.co.uk/vicki-kirby-suspended-labour-party-pending-big-nosed-jew-tweets-investigation-1549607

[10] www.theguardian.com/media/2005/feb/12/pressandpublishing.londonpolitics

[11] www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/30/livingstone-muddies-history-to-support-hitler-and-zionism-claims

[12] www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3531852/Labour-councillor-20-suspended-claims-called-Hitler-greatest-man-history-latest-anti-Semitic-scandal-hit-Corbyn-s-party.html

[13] www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Austrian-prosecutor-Call-to-kill-Jews-is-legal-criticism-of-Israel-390760

[14] www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/06/jean-marie-le-pen-fined-again-dismissing-holocaust-detail

[15] www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Brazils-president-likens-impeachment-calls-to-Nazi-treatment-of-Jews-450011#xtor=EPR-1-[Newsletter]

[16] www.hln.be/hln/nl/957/Binnenland/article/detail/2659021/2016/03/27/Honderden-hooligans-maken-amok-aan-Beursplein.dhtml

[17] www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/15/anders-behring-breivik-norway-court-inhuman-treatment-utoya

[18] www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210884#.VyW17vl967R

[19] www.volkskrant.nl/economie/-ns-verdiende-2-5-miljoen-aan-jodentransport~a3838547/

[20] www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/30/associated-press-cooperation-nazis-revealed-germany-harriet-scharnberg

[21] www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/business/media/associated-press-nazis.html

[22] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/authors/the-devils-diary-how-an-fbi-agent-uncovered-the-secrets-of-hitle/


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