(From Oct 2009)
Do I have to claim that the concentration camps did not exist to be loaded down with that term? No. Should I proclaim that the gas chambers never had any material existence for me to be given that title? Of course not. Do I need to be of the viewpoint that the Nazi Endlösung (“Final Solution”) was a figment of someone’s diseased imagination? No.
All I need to do is to say, in effect, that the Holocaust was a detail in history, one that needs to be regarded as another historical event, and be subject to the same scrutiny.
Is that happening? Will it happen?
As I pointed out in a post I wrote over two and a half years ago on the subject, of course not.
Let me re-emphasise something I’ve said repeatedly over the years, but, to all appearances, not often enough: being against the state of “Israel”, (whose existence I don’t recognise; I admit to bias on that point), is not the same as being anti-Jew. There are many Jewish organisations that are against the existence of the state of “Israel”, and there are “Israelis” who have turned against their government. And as I’ve also pointed out, the Semitic peoples include Arabs as well as Jews, and – since the Jews have intermarried and converted very extensively over the last few thousand years, unlike the Arabs – the latter are far more Semitic today than the Jews themselves.
So, what is “anti-Semitism”? What does it mean?
I don’t have any problem with the idea that desecrating Jewish cemeteries and daubing swastikas on synagogues is a stupid and juvenile crime; it’s a crime just as bad as leaving a pig head outside a mosque, for instance. But as I said, the crime is just as bad. It’s not worse. It’s not different. It’s the same crime.
Why am I emphasising this, over and over again?
It’s because ever since the Second World War ended, the Holocaust has ceased to be what it was – an attempt by a spectacularly nasty regime to exterminate the Jewish population under its control, along with Gypsies, Communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Social Democrats, trade unionists and just about anyone else whom the regime didn’t like – and become a blanket excuse for another spectacularly nasty regime to oppress a people who never did it any harm, to dispossess them of their ancestral lands, to impose mass punishments on them, to bomb and bulldoze them in the name of “security”, and to invade, occupy, and annex parts of other nations on the premise that at some vague time in the prehistoric past such lands were “promised” by a deity to its “chosen people.”
A pretty useful excuse, don’t you think?
As I said up above, the Holocaust – which, in case you’re wondering, I do not deny happened, and which in my opinion has been underestimated in scale if anything – was a historical event, and needs to be studied as such. But by placing it above and beyond historical discussion and scrutiny, the state of “Israel” and certain European governments have achieved the following:
1. They have made it into the equivalent of a religious event. As I said in a post a while ago, a religious event demands blind faith and a complete refusal to discuss it in rational terms. Any claim made on behalf of the event becomes an article of faith and immune to discussion. While this can be tolerated in terms of obscure theological discussions – after the end of the Spanish Inquisition you can’t be burned at the stake for saying the sun doesn’t go round the earth, for example – here we’re discussing a religious event that is being used as a tool to subjugate and oppress millions of people.
2. They have placed it, quite explicitly, beyond the purview of free speech. Now I have a theory: it says that if you explicitly prevent a certain thing from being discussed, you’re trying to hide something; that something almost certainly would tend to show that those who wish to discuss it may have ideas worth discussing, even if those ideas are erroneous. If, for instance, cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad can be published with a bomb for a turban and this be called free speech, why shouldn’t the Holocaust be open to the same sort of discussion? Is it because there’s something being hidden behind the official story? If there isn’t, why not simply allow free and open discussion of the event and have done with it?
3. They have made an explicit claim: the sufferings of other peoples being open to discussion, but not the Holocaust, makes the latter event more significant, more important, more meaningful and more relevant than the sufferings of other people. The Holocaust, therefore, is more important than the Naqbah of the Palestinians, more important than the Nanjing Massacre or the Rwandan massacre, more important than the Congolese Civil War, more important than the Armenian genocide by Turkey or the killings by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, more important than the mass annihilation of the native peoples of Tasmania and the Americas, and so on. If this isn’t racism, then racism has to be redefined.
4. They have made of the Holocaust a target for everyone opposed to the crimes of the state of “Israel”. If you make a shield of something, then the slings and arrows of outraged misfortunates will impact on your shield. This is only logical.
5. By using the Holocaust as a shield and excuse for its crimes, the state of “Israel” is mocking and disrespecting the sufferings of the concentration camp inmates, Jews and non-Jews alike, at least some of whom are still alive to this day and many of whom, it would be safe to assert, would have been disgusted and horrified by the crimes being committed in their name; crimes which seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to those committed on them by the Nazis seventy years ago.
It could be asked – and has been asked – what is there to discuss about the Holocaust? Aren’t the basics known well enough? Isn’t Auschwitz still standing, and don’t thousands of people visit the gas chambers for themselves? So what is there to discuss?
I’m not a historian, of course; I’m just a blogger. But my humble brain can, quite on its own, think of several reasons why the Holocaust needs to be debated and studied in detail and not in an echo chamber.
1. If the Holocaust is discussed openly, the doubts of those who deny it happened can either be laid to rest or be exposed for the sham they are, like the beliefs of Creationists and flat-earthers. In that case, anyone who still doubts it happened can be referred to the discussion and if they persist in their doubts, the reasons for so persisting will be clear to all.
2. What were the actual numbers killed in the Holocaust? As I mentioned here, the numbers of Jews, alone, killed has been estimated to vary from, approximately, 4.1 million to 5.7 million (the latter the figure claimed by the World Jewish Congress). What were the numbers of others killed? It is known that at least 3 million Russian prisoners also died in the camps, along with Gypsies and others. Is the Holocaust a purely Jewish tragedy? If so, how was a Jewish camp inmate different from, let’s say, a Social Democrat? If not, why should the Jews be considered to have a monopoly on the term?
3. What happened to the perpetrators of the Holocaust? How many of them were actually punished? How many others were, because of their knowledge or other reasons, sheltered and protected by the very same nations who now proclaim Holocaust denial to be a crime?
4. If the Holocaust is the reason cited for the necessity of the existence of “Israel”, was that state created as a response to the Holocaust? If not, is the fact that Jewish immigration to Palestine had been going on in an organised manner and the Balfour Declaration had said that Jewish homeland would be set up there of any significance? In that case, does the Holocaust become a post facto justification?
5. To what extent was the Holocaust responsible for the terrorist actions of Jewish militia like the Irgun and Stern Gang in the “war of independence” of “Israel”, including the massacre of Arab civilians in such places as Deir Yassin? Did the Holocaust justify the killing and expulsion of people who hadn’t the faintest thing to do with it?
6. The state of “Israel” claims that everything it does is to ensure the Holocaust doesn’t happen again. This, substantially, is why it can invade other nations, turn Occupied Gaza and the West Bank into gigantic concentration camps, bomb schools and hospitals, and build an Apartheid Wall. Since it can do all this in the name of preventing another Holocaust, a study of the original event is required to answer these questions:
i. The original Holocaust was conducted in Europe on Jewish populations that were dispersed, unarmed, hated by most of the people around them, and was carried out by a regime that was in complete military and political control of most of Europe. Are those – or similar – circumstances in existence now in West Asia?
ii. If the answer is no, what circumstances are actually in existence? Can a united, very heavily armed Jewish state with a large nuclear arsenal, which in turn is backed by the world’s strongest military power in every way possible, be so damaged by guerrillas armed with crude home-made rockets and AK47s that another Holocaust is possible?
iii. If the answer to that is no, is the so-called state of “Israel” justified in its policies in the name of preventing another Holocaust? Or would its policies be more correctly called a land-grab under the tutelage of a cabal of rabidly fundamentalist rabbis who deny that the native peoples of those lands are human beings?
iv. Is a weak, isolated Iran, separated from the state of “Israel” by the territories of two nations, one a colony of “Israel’s” biggest backer and the other, Jordan, so lacking in independence that it’s a colony in all but name, such a major threat that it could cause another Holocaust, in whatever form? If no, are there other reasons for targeting Iran? What are they?
7. Are the policies of the state of “Israel” a mirror-image of the policies of the Nazis in the earlier stages of the Holocaust, when the Jews had been driven into ghettoes and dispossessed of almost all they had? If not, then in what way are the policies of “Israel” better?
I know that none of these questions will be discussed, let alone answered, and if raising these questions makes me a Holocaust denier, well, I’ve travelled that road before.