Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Anti-Zionism Redux

A writer at Ziopedia, one Andrew Winkler, published an essay entitled The Last Taboo. What is that last taboo? Holocaust "revisionism," of course.

What does Mr. Winkler have to say? Not much that's new. What I see are a lot of the same tired old excuses for "revisionism," and I don't see any actual claims against the normative historiography of the period, which suggests that perhaps Mr. Winkler is just trying to stir the pot.

Read more!

You can read the whole essay at the above link. Here are the key points:
The Jewish Holocaust is one of the few remaining taboos in Western society, on par with incest and pedophilia.
Actually, for Holocaust deniers to consort with pedophiles would be social climbing, for what I've seen of deniers. But I've already digressed…
The taboo quality of the Jewish Holocaust in Western society is being enforced no differently from taboos in Polynesia: failure to comply results in social and economic ruin, incarceration, physical attack, sometimes even loss of life.
And this is what is called an appeal to pity. The poor, poor denier is put in a situation where, because s/he has put forward an extremely insulting "point of view," s/he may have ruined his/her life. Boo-hoo-hoo.

I'm not going to defend throwing deniers in jail, both because of my libertarian leanings and because I think it gives deniers undue exposure. But if they are ruined economically or socially, then so be it. Oh, and I'd defy anyone to identify a single person who has ever been murdered over their beliefs about the Holocaust.
Believing that the Jewish Holocaust as we know it . . . actually occurred, determines whether a person is considered a Nazi and Anti-Semite (in other words utterly evil and a danger to society) or not.
Well, whether anti-Semites are inherent dangerous to society is subject to debate, and evil is, I suppose, a relative term, but the fact is that Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic on its very face. To believe in Holocaust denial, you must believe that Jews conspired to tell a lie to the Gentiles of the world. This is classic anti-Semitism – the wily Jew pulling a fast one on the hapless goy. It was anti-Semitic when the claim was using the blood of Christian children to make matzohs and it's anti-Semitic when you replace the "truth about Passover" with the "truth about the Holocaust."
Reports of the murder of six million Jews understandably generated considerable sympathy and support for the idea of the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine and still helps deflecting criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestine people and its neighbours.
This is all well and good, and I certainly wouldn't deny that the Holocaust certainly won more sympathy for Zionism than it had before the rise of the Third Reich, but the Peel Commission recommended partition as early as 1936 – a full five years before mass killing of Jews began. So the idea that the creation of the State of Israel directly depended on the Holocaust is simply wrong. The Holocaust may have expedited the process, but that's about all.
Less obvious is the interest of the political left in gaining moral superiority over the political right.
Actually, the segment of the political spectrum among whom Holocaust denial is currently attracting the most adherents is the political left. For years, Holocaust denial was the province of Nazis, neo-Nazis, and their apologists. Thanks to the New Left's embrace of anti-Zionist as a basic platform plank, Holocaust denial found a crack for the thin edge of the wedge.
And last, but not least, there is the interest of the Allied powers, especially Russia, the US and the UK, of justifying their war crimes committed against the German people during World War II.
Actually, the U.S., U.K., and Soviet Union committed their war crimes largely without knowledge of the Holocaust.
Who worries about the deliberate destruction of 90% of German civilian buildings resulting in the killing of 600,000 civilians when hearing about the gassing of six millions Jews?
First of all, no credible historian claims six million Jews were gassed, so just back it up right there.

Second, and more importantly, that German infrastructure was destroyed and German civilians killed (the latter being the issue; if we destroyed Germany's infrastructure, then we did it because they began a destructive war by invading Poland) is unfortunate, but it's the risk that a nation takes when it moves headlong into war without considering possible consequences – like the idea that they could lose. And while I would be loath to conduct a moral calculus regarding the number of civilian casualties, I would remind the reader that the entire Axis lost 4 million civilians, while the Soviet Union alone lost five times that many.
The continued existence of the Holocaust taboo . . . makes it virtually impossible for world opinion to hold Israel responsible for its treatment of the Palestine people.
It most certainly does not. There are literally hundreds of critics of Israel, many of them Jewish, who do not question the historical validity of Holocaust historiography and still are anti-Zionists. It doesn't stop Normal Finkelstein, for one person, and it never stopped Edward Said, for another. The best Palestinian critics of Zionism are those that acknowledge the Holocaust occurred at the scale that historians agree that it did and denounce Israel for not knowing better.
Any criticism of Israel’s policies is stifled by wholesale claims of Anti-Semitism, implying that the critic is trying to ‘finish off’ Hitler’s job of exterminating the Jewish people.
The second part of that statement is sometimes false, but it is largely true, however, when dealing with the far right wing, not to mention certain Islamist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, who would not be satisfied merely with the dismantling of the State of Israel, but would like to see its Jewish population physically eliminated to boot.
US air strikes wouldn’t be possible without the belief in US military and political circles that the killing of civilians in air warfare (‘collateral damage’) is not a war crime, a belief that has its roots in the unpunished strategic bombing of Germany and Japan during World War II.
And this is related to Holocaust denial how, exactly? Particular as regards Japan?
Historical revisionism is not about denying the truth.
Yes, it is. The vast majority of Holocaust deniers know full well that the Final Solution was carried out an immense cost of Jewish lives. They merely deny it to push forward their reactionary political agendas, knowing that to do so in the face of millions of dead bodies wouldn't play in Peoria.
It’s about establishing the truth, regardless of the outcome. The failure of the political left to embrace Holocaust revisionism is depriving it of the potentially most powerful weapon against its political enemies.
See above. It's clear the writer has no idea what he's talking about.
It should stop fighting against its political enemy of 60 years ago and start using all available means to fight today’s battles.
Using lies, deceit, half-truths, and logically fallacious arguments to spread a blood libel is not the right or proper way to advance a political agenda, particularly a political agenda that has validity, such as justice for Palestinian people or ending the war in Iraq. Instead, by tying the issue to the "real truth" about the Holocaust, the writer dilutes his own arguments, leaving the vast majority of reasonable people believing (probably accurately) that he is nothing but a hater of Jews.

4 comments:

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Quote
>Any criticism of Israel’s policies is stifled by wholesale claims of Anti-Semitism, implying that the critic is trying to ‘finish off’ Hitler’s job of exterminating the Jewish people.

While the second part of that statement is sometimes false, the first part never is.
End quote

Andrew, are you sure that this is what you meant to say?

Andrew E. Mathis said...

Actually, it isn't. Whoops.

Time for an edit.

a.m.

Anonymous said...

Great post, it is good to keep an eye on such nasty people and their connections

Andrew E. Mathis said...

He's responded, and I'll follow up in a few days.