Musings on current events, books and random themes
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Iranian Holocaust Denial
I have wondered why Holocaust denial plays such a big part in the ideology and public statements of the Iranian Islamic regime.
The article cited below by R. M. Gerecht has clarified some of this for me. The main points he makes are:
"Holocaust revisionism permeates and defines the Iranian regime. Former PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad famously supported a research mission to Poland in 2005 to investigate whether millions of Jews could have died at Auschwitz. (Poland's foreign ministry turned down the request.) Today, in addition to Supreme Leader Khamenei, commanders of the Revolutionary Guard Corps—who oversee Iran's nuclear program and terrorist operations—embrace Holocaust-denial with gusto.
Even the "moderate" president elected last year, Hasan Rouhani, danced around the subject of the Holocaust in his interview last September with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, saying it was up to historians to decide—as if they hadn't already—the true "dimensions" of Nazi slaughter. Mr. Rouhani didn't deny that the Germans killed Jews, but he grouped them with other victims of Nazi barbarism.
The Tehran regime's Holocaust reflections spring in great part from two sources. First, a passionate belief in the awesome conspiratorial power of Jews, whom the Iranians allege have long malignly pulled the strings in the U.S. Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, once the "moderate" mentor of Mr. Rouhani, can wax on, as he once did in a Friday sermon, about how "Jewish capitalism" controls America and, via America, the West. For Mr. Rafsanjani, Judaism as a religion and Zionism as a movement are both "immersed" in imperialism, against which the "most fundamental danger . . . is the Islamic world."
Many Iranian revolutionaries appear to be a bit flummoxed by the contradiction of the all-powerful Jews losing more than half their number to the Nazis. The common refrain that one hears among pan-Arab nationalists and Muslim Brotherhood types—that Hitler didn't go far enough—isn't widespread among Iran's Islamic militants. For them, Holocaust denial restores some logic to history: If they can assert that Hitler did not kill six million Jews, the Holocaust can be labeled a narrative spun by Jews to engender guilt and special advantages over Muslims and others. In that light, Holocaust denial is both moral and politically essential.
The second main reason for denying the Holocaust: Doing so implicitly negates the need for Israel's existence....."