Boy, things are really getting out of hand. Here’s how the European double standard on free speech paradoxically legitimizes and strengthens Holocaust revisionism. Europe defends Islamophobia in the name of freedom of expression, while denying that same freedom to the anti-Semites. In juvenile retaliation, Iran demands access to Auschwitz to conduct lugubrious pseudo-scientific “experiments” of the kind the professional deniers (“revisionists”) have already surreptitously carried out, and which they love to cite with great glee. How comforting that this once-marginal crowd is now emulated by a regionally powerful government with a seat at the United Nations. From Italy’s AKI, Feb. 20:
Poland harshly criticised Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s announcement that he would send a delegation to the European country “to verify the real dimension of the Holocaust.” The influential Warsaw-daily Gazeta Wyborcza defined “inadmissible” the hypothesis of a visit by the delegation to former concentration camps “to look for information supporting an absurd and hallucinating thesis.” Polish foreign minister Stefan Meller for his part called “crazy the Iranian committee’s idea to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau to count the dead.”
The commitee managing the museum of Auschwitz also said it was against the visit.
“We will never allow the delegation headed by Ahmadinejad to visit this centre,” the museum said in a statement. “We preserve the memory of over one million victims and mean to block the way to anyone wanting to shed doubts on the Holocaust.”
Iran’s president said in December last year that the Nazi mass murder of Jews during World War II was a “myth.”
In his statements, Ahmadinejad said that “some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces, and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail.” British historian David Irving is currently on trial in Austria for claiming that the mass extermination of the Jews by the Nazis did not happen.
Some Iranian “researchers” have already been busy at Auschwitz, it seems. From Reuters, Feb. Feb. 15:
LISBON – Iran’s ambassador to Portugal told a Portuguese radio interviewer it would have taken the Nazis 15 years to burn the corpses of 6 million people, a remark reflecting the denials of the Holocaust made by his president.
“When I was ambassador in Warsaw, I visited Auschwitz and Birkenau twice and made my calculations,” ambassador Mohammed Taheri said in an interview with Portuguese state radio RTP on Tuesday.
“To incinerate 6 million people, 15 years would be necessary,” he said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has repeatedly denied that the Holocaust, the Nazis’ killing of 6 million Jews during World War Two, took place. He has also called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”
More than 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died at Auschwitz-Birkenau, a death camp set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland.
“When our president wants to talk about the Holocaust with historians and scientists, the whole world is against him,” Taheri said, referring to plans by Ahmedinejad to organize an academic conference on what happened in the Holocaust.
“Historians need to get together to give their opinions,” the envoy added.
Taheri said the publication by European newspapers of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, outraging many Muslims and provoking widespread protests, was an Israeli conspiracy designed to cause conflict between Muslims and Christians.
“We think that this is a conspiracy by Zionists who want to put Muslims against Christians in Europe,” he said.
Iran’s best-selling newspaper, Hamshahri, has responded to the Muslim outrage over published cartoons of the Prophet by organizing a competition for cartoons about the Holocaust, saying it is a test of the West’s vaunted freedom of speech.
So, is Norman Finklestein still arguing that the Holocaust deniers are just (as he approvingly quotes Peter Novick) “a tiny band of cranks, kooks and misfits” that the “Holocaust Industry” blows out of proportion to advance ulterior motives?