January 23, 2004 FEATURE Holocaust denial: the state of play HOLOCAUST denial decreased in the United States in 2003, but increased among Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
These were two of the findings of Holocaust Denial: A global survey — 2003, a report released last month by the Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Philadelphia.
The report attributes the decrease in activity to “ongoing legal conflicts between the two major US promoters of Holocaust denial — the Institute for Historical Review and Liberty Lobby founder Willis Carto”. However, it noted that British Holocaust denier David Irving spoke in more than 25 US cities throughout 2003.
Other major developments include a visit by former PA prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to the White House. Abbas is the author of The Other Side: The secret relationship between Nazism and the Zionist movement, which downplays the atrocity of the Holocaust.
In October, former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sparked international outrage on the eve of his retirement when he alleged Jews “rule the world by proxy”. But Dr Mahathir conceded in his speech to the Organisation of Islamic Conference that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
The following is a snapshot of Holocaust denial around the world in 2003.
ON January 8, Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock denied David Irving’s request for a visa on account of his “past and present criminal conduct and past and present general conduct”. Irving was previously denied entry to Australia in 1993 and 1996.
In June, Melbourne Underground Film Festival director Richard Wolstencroft came under fire over his decision to screen the 1993 documentary In Search of Truth in History which features a speech by Irving. The screening was eventually cancelled at the 11th hour.
In July, the Federal Court upheld a ruling against Adelaide Holocaust revisionist Dr Fredrick Toben ordering him to remove any material which refutes the Holocaust or the existence of gas chambers from his Adelaide Institute website.
In December, Tasmanian Holocaust denier Olga Scully resumed distributing anti-Israel and Jewish conspiracy material.
THE controversy over Joel Hayward’s Canterbury University thesis, “The Fate of Jews in German Hands: An historical enquiry into the development and significance of Holocaust revisionism”, entered a new chapter in 2003 when Canterbury lecturer Thomas A Fudge authored an article titled “The Fate of Joel Hayward in New Zealand Hands: From Holocaust historian to Holocaust?”
A 1999 investigation concluded that there was no evidence that Hayward’s thesis was motivated by racism or malice.
Fudge’s article was initially accepted for publication by History Now, the journal of the Canterbury University History Department, and printed in its May 6 edition.
However objections from faculty staff prevented the edition from being distributed. His article was published by the New Zealand Herald and other newspapers in July 2003.
IN June, the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, published an article which accused Zionist leaders of conspiring with Nazis to exterminate anti-Zionist Jews.
On July 25, former PA prime minister Abu Mazen became the first Holocaust denier to be invited to the White House. His book, The Other Side: The secret (relation)ship between Nazism and the Zionist movement, downplays the number of Jewish victims and accuses Jews of collaborating with their Nazi oppressors.
He wrote: “Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions — fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand.”
In August, Hamas newspaper Al-Risala published an article by senior Hamas official Dr Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi, in which he wrote: “It is no longer a secret that the Zionists were behind the Nazis’ murder of many Jews, and agreed to it, with the aim of intimidating them and forcing them to immigrate to Palestine.”
In September, Hafez Barghouti, editor-in-chief of the PA’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida — which has published numerous articles denying the Holocaust — was part of a delegation of 10 journalists from the Middle East to meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
THE impact of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), the leading Holocaust denial organisation in the United States, was diminished in 2003 due to ongoing financial problems, devoting much of its resources to assisting imprisoned Canadian Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel.
Consequently, the IHR was unable to publish its Journal of Historical Review. The last issue was published in late 2002.
In April 2003, the Barnes Review announced that it is the exclusive distributor for Jewish Supremacism, a new book by Holocaust denier and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
British Holocaust denier David Irving spoke to audiences in numerous cities. However, speeches scheduled in Louisville and Kentucky were cancelled due to “outside pressure”. Irving returned to the US in August to host his annual “Real History USA Convention”.
ON February 5, Ernst Zundel, 63, was arrested in Tennessee, USA, and deported to Canada. Zundel, a German citizen, lived in Canada for more than 40 years but was unable to obtain Canadian citizenship, because he was regarded as a national security threat.
Zundel was convicted by a Canadian human rights tribunal in January 2001 of promoting hatred against Jews through his website, which was subsequently dismantled. It was reposted on a different server later in the year.
In November, Amnesty International denied requests from the IHR to adopt Zundel as a “prisoner of conscience”. The organisation said it did not “adopt persons who are imprisoned for ‘hate speech’”.
On August 8, the Canadian Jewish Congress petitioned the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission, urging rejection of a request to include the Arab television network Al-Jazeera — which includes Holocaust-denial programs — among the satellite television stations available to Canadian viewers.
EGYPT AN article in the November 17 issue of the Egyptian weekly newspaper Al-Usbu reported the opening of a manuscript museum in the newly-renovated Alexandria library. The article defended a decision to include an early Arabic translation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the exhibit, positioned next to a Torah scroll. Museum director Dr Yousef Ziedan said: “In reality, an analysis of samples from the purported gas chambers has proven that these were sterilization chambers, without a sufficient quantity of cyanide to kill.”
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
THE Zayed Centre for Co-ordination and Follow-up — a now-defunct Arab League-sponsored think tank that promoted Holocaust denial — was at the centre of controversy in 2003 after Harvard Divinity School graduate student Rachel Fish launched a campaign against the university’s acceptance of a $US2.5-million gift from President Zayed to endow a chair in Islamic studies.
AUSTRIAN Holocaust denier Wolfgang Fröhlich was arrested in Vienna on June 21 in connection with the publication of his 368-page manuscript, The Gas Chamber Lie.
ON September 9, Belgian Holocaust denier Siegfried Verbke was sentenced to a suspended prison term of one year and deprived of his civil rights for 10 years following his conviction for distributing pamphlets denying the Holocaust.
ON July 7, the European Court of Human Rights rejected an appeal by French philosopher Roger Garaudy against his conviction for Holocaust denial. Garaudy’s original conviction was based on passages in his book, The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, in which he disputed the existence of gas chambers in Nazi death camps.
ON February 18, Cambridge University Union revoked its invitation to David Irving to take part in its annual Free Speech Debate.
The Holocaust-denying magazine The Revisionist resumed its print edition in February. From 2001-2003, it had only been available online.
IN response to international criticism, the Romanian Government issued a statement on June 17 acknowledging that Romania “was guilty of grave war crimes, pogroms, and mass deportation of Romanian Jews” during World War II. On October 22, President Ion Iliescu announced the establishment of a national Holocaust Remembrance Day.
ON January 13, Swiss Holocaust denier Gaston-Armand Amaudruz surrendered to Swiss authorities over his 2000 conviction for violating the law that makes it illegal to “deny, grossly minimise or seek to justify genocide or other crimes against humanity”.
Holocaust denier Albert “Ahmed” Huber said in a July 12 interview that he now serves as the liaison between European neo-Nazis and Islamic organisations in Europe. “I am very happy that the right-wing world... understands that the Holocaust was a big fraud and the European neo-Nazi should join Islamic organisations to fight Israel, the Jews and America,” he told JTA. The Swiss Ministry of Justice is currently investigating Huber, following the inclusion of his name on United Nations’ terrorism lists.