Whilst the debate rages on at Fulcrum about whether Ben White, a journalist who understands antisemitism and thinks Hezbollah is nationalist movement, should really be writing articles about jihad, Engage has an interesting post up this week about whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is guilty of incitement under the Genocide Convention.
The writer argues:
The enduring lesson of the Holocaust and that of the genocides that followed is that they occurred not simply because of the machinery of death, but because of the state-sanctioned incitement to hatred. As international tribunals have recognized and affirmed, the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers; it began with words. These are the chilling facts of history.
Strangely enough, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust. He first did so back in 2005 when he claimed:
“They have created a myth today that they call the massacre of Jews and they consider it a principle above God, religions and the prophets.”
Ben White however argued back in 2006:
The President’s remarks, as detailed on the official Iranian news agency website, did not actually denote a disbelief in the genocide perpetrated against the Jews during World War II
Perhaps the clue was that Ben White was following the official Iranian news agency, which is none-too-reliable. And, reading the official Iranian news agency might also explain why Ben White considered that Ahmadinejad was actually right to refer to the Holocaust as a myth:
Even more relevantly, given the use of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism as a propaganda tool of Zionist apologists, historian Richard Slotkin has described the process whereby historical events become ‘myth’ thus:
Stories drawn from a society’s history that have acquired through persistent usage the power of symbolizing that society’s ideology and of dramatizing its moral consciousness- with all the complexities and contradictions that consciousness may contain.
This is extremely pertinent to the use of the Holocaust, not only in terms of the Western consciousness and relations with Israel, but also in relation to Israel’s national identity. The Holocaust comes to symbolize the intrinsic anti-Jewish racism of ‘Gentile’ societies, and therefore proving the need for a Jewish state. More disturbingly perhaps, the Holocaust acts as a standard for human depravity set so high, that any treatment of the Palestinians is justifiable, as long as it falls short of what was experienced by the Jews in Nazi Europe.
Ben White’s claim that Ahmadinejad wasn’t a Holocaust denier back was undermined somewhat when Ahmadinejad hosted a Holocaust “review” conference only a few months later, to which many rather unsavoury characters were invited. Maybe that’s why Ben White removed the article from his own website.
I wonder if Fulcrum will be posting any more Ben White articles anytime soon.