How to trivialize the Holocaust without denying it

These well camouflaged deniers drum up support by deflating the Holocaust to just a big crime while inflating Palestinian suffering to a big crime until the two are level.

Steve Apfel

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After the snake in the Garden of Eden, Man learnt to do evil’s bidding in tempting and beautiful ways. From then on forbidden fruit was no match for a silvery tongue. On the wings of fine sentiments, depraved causes seduce the human mind; tinny mantras draw utopians in droves; wishful thinking flattens facts on the ground; parroted lies pass for truth. And who is put out of business? – 'Honest" Holocaust deniers, a dying breed outside the Muslim world.

Adel Bin Ahmad is an honest denier. Preacher at the Jeddah mosque, Bin Ahmad is not one to mince words. “The Jews disseminate everywhere the lie of the Holocaust and claim that Hitler killed six million Jews in gas chambers. Although pure falsehood, they have made it part of their history." Crude and over-the-top for the liking of decent folks, honest deniers get away with looks of bemusement. They talk the plain talk because feared hatred for the all-powerful conspiring Jew stalks their world. Your honest denier dispenses with tempting appeals and slick tongue – unless he hails from Iran.

Today’s Mullahs and Ayatollahs must not undermine the faith or propaganda of Western progressives, that Iran is led by a moderate and trustworthy clique. To give credit where credit is due, they do well. One Ayatollah who will never mark Holocaust Remembrance Day speaks with a catchy finesse; making Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei a better propagandist than the hot cleric from Jeddah: "Observe that no one in Europe dares to speak about the Holocaust even though it's not clear what the reality is about it, whether it even has a reality, or how it may have happened." 

Silvery tongue and all, Khamenei is another honest denier who may be good for a titter. Liberals, whether religious or secular, prefer being pitched in more subtle terms – Eve’s serpent would stand a good chance with them. Ruled by the heart big time, they are bowled over by noble sentiments like those of Englishman David Ward, MP:

“I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians …on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza… The suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated." 

Politician Ward is quite unlike your honest denier, as is Ward’s companion in tweeds, Andrew Wilkie of Nuffield College, Oxford: “I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians.” 

Attend closely: people who deny the Holocaust without denying it can be clever. Note how Ward and Wilkie contrive to kill two birds with one foul shot.

A) They upgrade Israeli acts to “atrocities” and “gross abuses” while

B) downgrading the Nazi genocide to “persecution” and “treatment.”

Aren’t lots of people in the world persecuted unbelievably or treated appallingly? Yet many live to tell the tale. Their plight is worlds away from the methodical extermination of six million, not sparing the newborn.

And notice how the Ward-Wilkie type shifts victimhood: Jews don’t suffer atrocities, they commit them. We’re led to think not too badly of the Nazi regime. Jews were “appallingly” treated like third-class citizens, denied rights and opportunities, deprived of the basics, imprisoned without trial, worked long hours for low pay, subjected to curfews and check points, made to cope with cramped conditions and bad food, troublemakers locked up or eliminated. Hardships indeed, but they give no hint of the Holocaust elements: Jews worked to death; exterminated by factory methods, mowed down village by village; slaughtered in fits of fury.

The play on words is not accidental. I know because I asked Professor Wilkie. He was at a loss to explain his peculiar pairing of Holocaust victims and abused Palestinians – a clever sleight of hand. And how expertly these well camouflaged deniers drum up support by deflating the Holocaust to a big crime while inflating Palestinian suffering to a big crime until the two are level pegging. We’re led to think that what the Nazis put the Jews through gave Israel (the Jews’ country) the impetus for making Palestinians go through similar hell. Another cycle of violence.

Is it possible – Jews turning the tables? Jews turning into Nazis?

Famed author Howard Jacobson explains the trick. “What do we think we are doing when we call the Israelis Nazis and liken Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto? We want to wound Jews in their anguished history and to punish them with their own grief. It is as though...Jewish actions of today prove that Jews had it coming to them yesterday. Berating Jews with their own history, disinheriting them of pity is the latest specie of Holocaust denial, more subtle than the David Irving version with its clunking body counts and quibbles over gas-chamber capability and chimney size.”

Which is worse – those clever deniers or the foolish type? America and Europe are swimming in progressive fools who can be academics or rabble rousers or celebrities or “champions of change”, or groups with a grudge like Me Too, Women against Trump, LGBT, Antifa, BLM, and so forth. By design or out of ignorance their fickle gripes cheapen the Holocaust .They call Trump and his supporters Nazis, why? – for not allowing waves of Central American asylum seekers to crash the border.  

When hatred is clothed to look enlightened, disgust for Israel has a glow.
Oftentimes Israelis get the Nazi brand. Why?–not because they commit genocide but because, to the mind of Haaretz columnist Adira Haas, no one has the right to rank or rate suffering, whether it be the death camps or Gaza border clashes: suffering is suffering, no argument  This is what plays inside the heads of Holocaust-denying fools.  

Foolish or clever, people that deny the Holocaust without denying it have been effective. The progressive mainstream media has bought into the lie. How could it do, for heaven sake! Because – and this is beyond sly – Jews are not the direct object of hatred. They stand for treating people badly. This back door invites you and I to enter. We might be tempted to do so, because Israeli ‘Nazis’ give the haters good reason.

If they hated Israel viscerally they would not be enlightened, and few would bond with them. But when they attack the Jewish state in a round-about way, via sympathy for Palestinian victims, sympathy is aroused and draws people to the cause. When hatred is clothed to look enlightened, disgust for Israel has a glow.

People who deny the Holocaust without denying it have thought the whole thing out. By claiming that Israelis are the Nazis of our time they polish up Hitler’s record while tarnishing   Israel’s. Comes a point where the two meet, where like is like, and deniers can say that Jew = Nazi.

What seemed all light nonsense before seems all dark purpose now.

The writer is an economist, a cost accountant and a prolific author of non-fiction and fiction.  Steve blogs at