[Marxism] Holocaust 'revisionist' carnival in Iran

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 11 12:01:51 MST 2006


NY Times, December 11, 2006
Holocaust Deniers and Skeptics Gather in Iran
By NAZILA FATHI

TEHRAN, Dec. 11 — Holocaust deniers and skeptics from around the world 
gathered at a government-sponsored conference here today to discuss their 
theories about whether six million Jews were indeed killed by the Nazis 
during World War II and whether gas chambers existed.

In a speech opening the two-day conference, Rasoul Mousavi, head of the 
Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Political and International 
Studies, which organized the event, said it was an opportunity for scholars 
to discuss the subject “away from Western taboos and the restriction 
imposed on them in Europe.”

The foreign ministry had said that 67 foreign researchers from 30 countries 
were scheduled to take part. Among those speaking today are David Duke, the 
American white-supremacist politician and former Ku Klux Klan leader, and 
Georges Thiel, a French writer who has been prosecuted in France over his 
denials of the Holocaust.

Mr. Duke’s remarks late this afternoon are expected to assert that no gas 
chambers or extermination camps were actually built during the war, on the 
ground that killing Jews that way would have been much too bothersome and 
expensive when the Nazis could have used much simpler methods, according to 
an advance summary of his speech published by the institute.

“Depicting Jews as the overwhelming victims of the Holocaust gave the moral 
high ground to the Allies as victors of the war, and allowed Jews to 
establish a state on the occupied land of Palestine,” Mr. Duke’s paper 
says, according to the summary.

One of the first scheduled speakers, Robert Faurisson of France, also 
called the Holocaust a myth created to justify the occupation of Palestine.

The conference is being held at the behest of Iran’s president, Mahmoud 
Ahmadinejad, who likewise called the Holocaust a myth last year, and 
repeated a well-known slogan from the early days of the 1979 revolution in 
Iran, “Israel must be wiped off the map.” He has spoken several times since 
then about a need to establish whether the Holocaust actually happened.

Most of the speakers at the conference today praised Mr. Ahmadinejad’s 
comments.

Bendikt Frings, 48, a psychologist from Germany, said he believed Mr. 
Ahmadinejad was “an honest direct man,” and said he had come to the 
conference to thank him for what he had initiated.

“We are forbidden to have such a conference in Germany,” he said. “ All my 
childhood, we waited for something like this.”

Toben Feredrick, from Australia, said Mr. Ahmadinejad has opened an issue 
“which is morally and intellectually crippling the Western society.”

“People are imprisoned in Germany for denying the Holocaust,” he added.

Mr. Feredrick said he was jailed for six months in 1999 because of his 
ideas, and that a court in Germany has ordered him arrested if he speaks 
out publicly again denying that the Holocaust took place.

Other Western “revisionists” presented what they called new facts about the 
Holocaust at the conference, which also attracted attendees from some 
ultra-Orthodox Jews belonging to anti-Zioinst sects that reject the state 
of Israel. One participant wearing the traditional long black coat and hat 
of such groups wore a badge saying: “A Jew, not a Zionist.”

It was not entirely clear how the lineup of speakers at the conference was 
set. The Institute’s website had invited scholars and researchers to submit 
papers in advance for consideration, but revealed little about how they 
were evaluated. The Iranian foreign ministry also provided little 
information about participants, saying that it feared they would be 
prosecuted by their home countries.

The conference included an exhibition today of various photos, posters and 
other material meant to contradict the accepted version of events, that the 
Nazis murdered millions of Jews and other “undesirables” in death camps 
during the war. New captions in Persian on some familiar photos of corpses 
at the camps argued that they were victims of typhus, not the German state.

Anti-Zionist literature, including a 2004 book by the American author 
Michael Collins Piper, about Zionist influence in America, was offered for 
sale to visitors at the conference. So, apparently, was a video recording 
of 12 Holocaust survivors telling their stories, suggesting that the views 
represented at the conference may not have been entirely one-sided.

The conference prompted outrage in the West. The German government summoned 
the Iranian charge d’affaires in Berlin to complain. The French Foreign 
Minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, warned that the conference would be 
strongly condemned if it propagated claims denying the Holocaust.

Iran also organized an exhibition last summer of cartoons about the 
Holocaust, which outraged Jews inside Iran and out.

Iranian Jewish leaders reacted angrily to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s 
Holocaust-denying comments last year, issuing a statement saying that his 
words were spreading fear among Jews in Iran.

“We consider the Holocaust as a fact and a disgrace for humanity,” Haround 
Yashayai, a leading voice among Iranian Jews, said today. “We cannot say 
that such a conference cannot be held here. We have condemned similar 
events in the past, and see no reason to condemn it again.”

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