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 does it 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 sensitive folks, honest deniers are met with bemusement. The venom of honest deniers is too sharp for Western palates.
Iran’s Mullahs and Ayatollahs are honest deniers who cater for the sophisticated palate. They know that America’s and Europe’s progressives want to believe that moderates govern Iran, and the Mullahs give them what they want. They do a convincing job. One Ayatollah who’ll never mark Holocaust Remembrance Day employs words of catchy finesse. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei because of a certain subtlety, is a more dangerous denier 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 at the end of the day is an honest denier good for a polite chuckle. Western progressives want to be pitched in round about terms – Eve’s serpent would stand a good chance with them. Ruled by the heart, they are bowled over by moral sentiments.
Englishman David Ward, MP is a good example of a denier who appeals to sophisticates.
“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, and so is Ward’s tweed-jacketed friend, 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 to how those gentlemen contrive to deny the Holocaust without denying it, 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) they downgrade the Nazi genocide to “persecution” and “treatment.”
I mean, plenty of people are persecuted unbelievably or treated appallingly; yet many of them live to tell the tale. Their plight is worlds away from the methodical extermination of six million, not sparing the newborn.
Notice too how the Ward-Wilkie type shifts victimhood: Jews don’t suffer atrocities, they commit them. We are led to think not too badly of the Nazis. They treated Jews “appallingly”, like third-class citizens; denied them rights and opportunities, deprived Jews f the basics, imprisoned them without trial, worked them long hours for low pay, subjected Jews to curfews and check points, gave them cramped quarters and fed them bad food, locked up or eliminated the troublemakers. Most certainly those are hardships.
But they give no hint of the elements that made the Holocaust a stand-alone genocide: working people to death, exterminating millions by factory methods, liquidating populations town by town, ghetto by ghetto and butchering Jews randomly in fits of fury.
The play on words by the clever denier is deliberate; I know because I asked Professor Wilkie. Wilkie wasn’t able to explain his peculiar pairing of Holocaust victims and abused Palestinians – a neat sleight of hand. And note how deftly the well-camouflaged deniers drum up support. They deflate the Holocaust to a massive crime while they inflate Palestinian Arab suffering to a massive crime to make the two level pegging. We’re led to think that what the Nazis did to the Jews gave Israel the impetus for making Palestinian Arabs go through similar hell. Here we have another application of the famous cycle of violence trick: Palestinians do something to Israelis who retaliate by doing something equally horrific.
Is it possible? Jews turning the tables, Jews becoming Nazis? British 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 of the two is more dangerous: the clever denier or the foolish?
We are about to see. America and Europe are awash with progressives. They are academics and politicians; celebrities and champions of change (Linda Sarsour); groups with a grudge (Me Too, Women against Trump, LGBT, Antifa, BLM). Even in Congress the word ‘Nazi’ is scattered like confetti. Trump and supporters are Nazis for not wanting waves of ‘asylum seekers’ to crash the border, or for ‘insurrection’ by invading the Capitol.
Worst of all perhaps is when Israeli slings ‘Nazi’ at Israeli; not of course for committing genocide. The Israeli Holocaust down-grader is not that big a fool. Haaretz columnist, Adira Haas is a good model. No one, she says, has the right to rank and rate suffering. Whether the death camps or Gaza border clashes, suffering is suffering. Hail Holocaust denial with a twist of moral doctrine.
Whatever their method, those who deny the Holocaust without denying it have been effective. The progressive media – even CNN and the New York Times have bought into the Holocaust denial game.
Here we must observe something that is beyond cunning. Jews are not the direct object of hatred. Israelis treat the Palestinian Arabs badly. This back door invites us to enter. We are tempted, because Israelis give Israel-haters good reason. If they hated Israel viscerally they would not be enlightened and only a few suckers would be attracted. But when haters attack Israel in a round-about way, via sympathy for Palestinian "victims", sympathy is aroused and people are drawn. When hatred is clothed to look enlightened, disgust for Israel has a glow.
Those who deny the Holocaust without denying it have thought it all 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.
Steve Apfel is an authority on anti-Zionism and Covid /public health policy, having authored scores of essays, two books and a manuscript. His blog ‘Balaam’s curse,’ is followed in 15 countries on 5 continents