Subject: ON THE POLITICS OF LIES, CHARACTER
ASSASSINATION, THE FALSIFICATON OF HISTORY, AND THE FEAR OF GROWING OLD : FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN
INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS,
9 May 2005
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The rigid authoritarian and anti-democratic political culture, of which the George W. Bush administration is only one aspect, is based on the practice of intimidating critics, bribing allies, and employing self-serving individualist rhetoric at all levels. Institutions such as media outlets, academic establishments, churches, etc. are pressured to cooperate in the reproduction of ideas compatible with "neo-liberal" policies, including imperialism abroad and repression at home. The rewards are usually paltry, but the reprisals often are significant.
Decades ago American business
culture was under attack. Resistance to the Vietnam War had awakened
millions of Americans to the "imperfections" of the capitalist
system, and emerging from this discontent came a
positive socialist agenda --thousands of democratic movements were growing and
This has changed. Today, we are witnessing an historic reversal in the arena of class struggle. Capitalists and their propagandists have taken the offensive and are waging war at the local, national, and international levels. The classic behavior of the unprincipled capitalist opportunist has yielded to the militant capitalist ideologue whose mission is to target the opponents of capitalism. This new cultural phenomenon deserves analytical attention.
Please visit the Multinational Monitor web site for a discussion of the historic reversal of the democratic attack on big business :
We at CEIMSA have received a number of articles and essays which speak to this new brand of militancy and the instruments of social control necessary to make it work. Various degrees of self-delusion, which give rise to loyalties, collaboration, and intimidation, can be identified behind the self-serving policies of the Bush administration. These tactics are essential to understand --both at the micro-level and globally-- if we are to respond to the on-going political takeover of the extreme right.
In Item A. we find Ray McGovern's
disclosure of the "smoking gun", the document which proves the Bush
Administration's intention to falsify information as early as 2002 in
preparation for the invasion of
Item B. is an article sent to us
by our research associate, Professor Edward Herman, in which he describes in
historical perspective the harassment and intimidation of Professor Joseph Massad, who teaches courses in Middle Eastern studies at
Item C. is a long article by
Ethnic Studies scholar Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado-Bolder.
Professor Churchill describes in great detail the right-wing influences behind
the "revisionist" movement in holocaust studies in the
And finally, Item D. is a protest piece
against the neo-liberal "reform" of the
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3
from Ray McGovern
Proof Bush Fixed The Facts
by Ray McGovern
"Intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."
Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would see those words in
black and white - and beneath a SECRET stamp, no less. For three years now, we
in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been saying that
the CIA and its British counterpart, MI-6, were ordered by their countries'
leaders to "fix facts" to "justify" an unprovoked war on
It has been a hard learning - that folks tend
to believe what they want to believe. As long as our evidence, however abundant
and persuasive, remained circumstantial, it could not compel belief. It simply
is much easier on the psyche to assent to the White House spin machine blaming
Well, you can forget circumstantial. Thanks to an unauthorized
disclosure by a courageous whistleblower, the evidence now leaps from official
documents - this time authentic, not forged. Whether prompted by the open
appeal of the international Truth-Telling Coalition or not, some brave soul has
made the most explosive "patriotic leak" of the war by giving
London's Sunday Times the official minutes of a briefing by Richard Dearlove, then head of Britain's CIA equivalent, MI-6.
Fresh back in
Blair does not dispute the authenticity of the document, which immortalizes a discussion that is chillingly amoral. Apparently no one felt free to ask the obvious questions. Or, worse still, the obvious questions did not occur.
Juggernaut Before The Horse
In emotionless English, Dearlove tells Blair and the others that President Bush has decided to remove Saddam Hussein by launching a war that is to be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction." Period. What about the intelligence? Dearlove adds matter-of-factly, "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."
At this point, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirms that Bush has
decided on war, but notes that stitching together justification would be a
challenge, since "the case was thin." Straw noted that Saddam was not
threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of
In the following months, "the case" would be buttressed by a well-honed U.S.-U.K. intelligence-turned-propaganda-machine. The argument would be made "solid" enough to win endorsement from Congress and Parliament by conjuring
• Aluminum artillery tubes misdiagnosed as nuclear related;
• Forgeries alleging Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in
• Tall tales from a drunken defector about mobile biological weapons laboratories;
• Bogus warnings that Iraqi forces could fire WMD-tipped missiles within 45 minutes of an order to do so;
• Dodgy dossiers fabricated in
• A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate thrown in for good measure.
All this, as Dearlove notes dryly, despite the
fact that "there was little discussion in
The discussion at
As for the briefing of Blair, the minutes provide further grist for
those who describe the
The meeting concludes with a directive to "work on the assumption
I cannot quite fathom why I find the account of this meeting so jarring. Surely it is what one might expect, given all else we know. Yet seeing it in bloodless black and white somehow gives it more impact. And the implications are no less jarring.
One of Dearlove's primary interlocutors in
But Tenet decided to be a "team player" and set the tone.
Politicization: Big Time
Actually, politicization is far too mild a word for what happened. The
intelligence was not simply mistaken; it was manufactured, with the president
Small wonder, then, to learn from CIA insiders like former case officer Lindsay Moran that Tenet's malleable managers told their minions, "Let's face it. The president wants us to go to war, and our job is to give him a reason to do it."
Small wonder that, when the only U.S. analyst who met with the alcoholic Iraqi defector appropriately codenamed "Curveball" raised strong doubt about Curveball's reliability before then-Secretary of State Colin Powell used the fabrication about "mobile biological weapons trailers" before the United Nations, the analyst got this e-mail reply from his CIA supervisor:
"Let's keep in mind the fact that this war's going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didn't say, and the powers that be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curveball knows what he's talking about."
When Tenet's successor, Porter Goss, took over as director late last year, he immediately wrote a memo to all employees explaining the "rules of the road" - first and foremost, "We support the administration and its policies." So much for objective intelligence insulated from policy pressure.
Tenet and Goss, creatures of the intensely politicized environment of Congress, brought with them a radically new ethos - one much more akin to that of Blair's courtiers than to that of earlier CIA directors who had the courage to speak truth to power.
Seldom does one have documentary evidence that intelligence chiefs chose to cooperate in both fabricating and "sexing up" (as the British press puts it) intelligence to justify a prior decision for war. There is no word to describe the reaction of honest intelligence professionals to the corruption of our profession on a matter of such consequence. "Outrage" does not come close.
Hope In Unauthorized Disclosures
Those of us who care about unprovoked wars owe the patriot who gave this
latest British government document to The Sunday Times a debt of gratitude.
Unauthorized disclosures are gathering steam. They need to increase quickly on
this side of the
In its formal appeal of
We know how misplaced loyalty to bosses, agencies, and careers can obscure the higher allegiance all government officials owe the Constitution, the sovereign public, and the young men and women put in harm's way. We urge you to act on those higher loyalties...Truth-telling is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for speaking out is now.
If persons with access to wrongly concealed facts and analyses bring them to light, the chances become less that a president could launch another unprovoked war - against, say, Iran.
Ray McGovern served 27 years as a CIA analyst and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour.
from Edward Herman :
The New York Times Supports Thought Control: The Massad Case
By Edward Herman
The New York Times has never been a very courageous newspaper in times of political hysteria and threats to civil liberties. When Bertrand Russell was denied the right to fill his appointment at CCNY in 1940, following an ugly campaign by a rightwing Catholic faction opposed to his positions on divorce and marriage, the paper not only failed to defend him, its belated editorial called the appointment "impolitic and unwise" and criticized him for not withdrawing when the going got hot ("The Russell Case," April 20, 1940).
Russell pointed out in a published reply something the editors had missed: that there was a serious matter of principle at stake; that a withdrawal would have been "cowardly and selfish" and would have "tacitly assented to the proposition?that substantial groups should be allowed to drive out of public office individuals whose opinions, race or nationality they find repugnant" (April 26, 1940).
During the McCarthy era also the Times failed to stand by its ex-Communist employees who were willing to tell all to the Times officials, but not turn informers. They were fired, and in its news and editorials the paper failed to oppose the witchhunt with vigor and on the basis of principle. Publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger himself wrote an editorial assailing the use of the Fifth Amendment in appearances before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities (August 6, 1948).
We are in another period of
escalating attacks on civil liberties, with the Patriot Act, a lawless
rightwing administration, open threats to retaliate against judicial failures
to follow rightwing dictates, and perpetual aggression to create the
justification for repressive policies at home. An important additional factor
is the steadily increasing aggressiveness of pro-Zionist forces, both in the
While sometimes allegedly based on the need for fairness, balance and truthfulness, these campaigns are completely one-sided and are invariably aimed at suppressing alternative views and inconvenient facts.
Attacks on critics of Israel are of long standing?individuals like Edward Said and Noam Chomsky have been vilified and threatened for years, and both frequently needed police protection at speech venues, at work or at home. The situation has worsened in the Bush-2 era, in good part because of the cultivated hysteria of the "war on terror" and congenial environment provided by Bush, the strengthening of the rightwing media, and the demands imposed by Israeli policies.
On the latter point, it has long
been noted that increased Israeli violence and land seizure, which causes
greater international hostility to
For these attackers the end justifies any means, including, of course, lies (for one episode in the extensive lying career of Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, see the letter exchange between him and Noam Chomsky, Boston Globe, May 17, May 25 and June 5, 1973).
The Bush-Sharon era has witnessed
the emergence of McCarthyite institutions like Campus
Watch and the David Project, designed to police academic
There are even current proposals to
legislate for "balance" and "fairness" in
It is in this context that we must evaluate the Joseph Massad case, Columbia University's handling of that case, and the New York Times' editorial on "Intimidation at Columbia" (April 7, 2005). Massad, who teaches courses in Middle Eastern studies at Columbia, and is critical of Israeli policies in Palestine, has been under assault from pro-Zionist forces, in class and outside, for years, although running an open class, tolerating hostile and often irrelevant questions, many times by outsiders and "auditors," and with a record of having never thrown anybody out of class for harassment (for documents by Massad and others bearing on this record, see the links provided at the end of this article).
In a decent and honest environment, concern about "intimidation" would focus on the intimidation of Joseph Massad, whose life has been been made very stressful and whose freedom to teach and effectiveness as a teacher has been threatened by this campaign of harassment?and Massad and his students are not alone in victimization by this campaign for the hegemony of an official truth.
But in the indecent and
post-Orwellian world in which we live, Massad is the
intimidator, several students he allegedly treated harshly are the true
victims, and justice demands an inquiry on this alleged intimidation and a
possible disciplining or firing of this intimidator. Thus,
But this committee had no instruction to consider the intimidation of Massad et al., although both the committee and New York Times acknowledge that he and others have had their classes "infiltrated by hecklers and surreptitious monitors, and they received hate mail and death threats" ("Intimidation at Columbia"). Put otherwise, the admitted systematic intimidation of the faculty, clearly a threat to academic freedom and the possibility of honest teaching and research, is off the agenda for an inquiry into intimidation; claims by several students that are disputed and clearly part of a larger campaign of intimidation involving Campus Watch, David Horowitz and other nationally-based intimidators, must be taken seriously.
The committee does not state explicitly that Massad's denial in the classroom case was "incredible" and that Massad (and his three student witnesses) lied, so "credible," undefined, appears to mean not disproved and theoretically possible, and the committee's finding is therefore not only asinine and damaging to Massad, it opens a Pandora's box to future accusations of intimidation.
The "most serious" student accusation, which dates back to the Spring of 2002, was that Massad said to a student "If you are going to deny the atrocities being committed against Palestinians, then you can get out of my classroom." This statement was confirmed by one student and an outsider allegedly present but unnoticed by others. Massad denied the accusation and was supported by three students.
The committee noted that the accusing student didn't leave the classroom, and expulsion was contrary to Massad's policy (with no such case ever reported). The student failed to complain in 2002 and did not mention the incident in her evaluation sheet for the course. The other student accusation was not in a classroom, the time and place were vague, and the alleged statement by Massad, while harsh was conceivable in the heat of a private argument; but the student and incident were not recollected by Massad.
These incidents might have happened, but they might not, and actual incidents might have been rewritten to serve a political agenda. The grievance committee doesn't even mention these possibilities, nor does it place them in the context of continuous harassment and intimidation from the side of the purported victims that might be considered to reduce their "credibility."
A third demonstration of the
grievance committee's bias is its suggestion that the failure of the student
victims to complain earlier resulted from a deficient grievance procedure at
But not only is this a fallacy in that there were several routes to complaint at the time these incidents occurred, which the students failed to tap, the committee fails to note the possibility that the absence of earlier complaints might be because the incident or incidents didn't happen or were later inflated in seriousness, constructed or made serious only as part of the escalating attacks on Massad and other dissidents from the official line.
The committee premises the truthfulness of the complainants and ignores their possible role in a larger campaign of suppression---that is, they fail to recognize that the belated complaints may be part of the process by which "advocacy groups devoted to purposes tangential to those of the university" have been able to accomplish their ends.
Turning to the New York Times editorial, although noting in the penultimate paragraph that the accused faculty members had had their classes infiltrated, disrupted, and monitored by outsiders, and had been recipients of hate mail and death threats, the editors do not criticize Columbia for failing to act to prevent these numerous abuses threatening academic freedom, nor do they even hint that any remedy was called for.
This was apparently acceptable
intimidation, coincidentally carried out against individuals challenging the
official narrative that the New York Times itself has adhered to closely (see
my article on the media's treatment of
Neither the committee nor editors had the integrity to note that the student charges were old and that they might have been constructed as part of an organized campaign of derogation; or that the methods employed in this campaign have not been scrupulous, and that the incidents might have been edited or entirely fabricated.
In its last paragraph the Times
editors contend that the grievance committee's mandate should have extended to
the question of "anti-Israel bias" and that
Joseph Massad is in good company. The editors of the New York Times found Bertrand Russell unworthy of an appointment to CCNY based on his politics and a bandwagon of hostile attacks. Sixty four years later they implicitly call for the removal of Joseph Massad based on his politics and an organized campaign of derogation. As Russell pointed out to the editors back in 1940, it is contrary to the fundamental principles of a free society to drive out of their position "individuals whose opinions, race or nationality they find repugnant."
This point remains valid even where done under the cover of alleged "intimidation" by the victim being driven out.
--" New York Times Supports McCarthyite Witch Hunt," Juan Cole, Informed Comment,
--Ad Hoc Grievance Committee Report, Ira Katznelson, Chair; Lisa Anderson; Farah Griffin; Jean E. Howard; and Mark Mazower, Columbia University (28 March 2005)
--EI EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Massad's statement to
--"Columbia Unbecoming" in
the clear light of day, Monique Dols (
-- Joseph Massad
responds to the intimidation of
--Curriculum reform should start in
--Policing the academy, Joseph Massad (
from the pages of http://www.zmag.org/
Assaults on Truth and Memory: Holocaust Denial in Context
by Ward Churchill
Where scholars deny genocide, in the face of decisive evidence that it has occurred, they contribute to a false consciousness that can have the most dire reverberations. Their message in effect is: [genocide] requires no confrontation, no reflection, but should be ignored, glossed over. In this way scholars lend their considerable authority to the acceptance of this ultimate human crime. More than that, they encourage--indeed invite--a repetition of that crime from virtually any source in the ate or distant future. By closing their minds to the truth, that is, scholars contribute to the deadly psycho-historical dynamic in which unopposed genocide begets new genocides.
-Roger W. Smith, Eric Markusen and Robert Jay Lifton "Professional Ethics and Denial of the Armenian Genocide" 1995
Of all the intellectual monstrosities arising during the course of the late 20th century, one of the most vicious and factually indefensible has been that 'school of historical revisionism" known as "Holocaust denial." Its proponents purport to have "proven" that the systematic nazi extermination of somewhere between five and six million Jews did not occur. Such genocidal dimensions were never really part of the nazi character, they argue. Rather, the whole idea of a Holocaust perpetrated by the Third Reich is instead a colossal and sustained "propaganda myth" contrived for purposes of gaining moral advantage by Germany's politicomilitary adversaries, in combination with an amorphous "International Jewish Conspiracy," during and after the Second World War.
Probably the first purveyor of such tripe was Paul Rassinier, a former French communist party member turned virulent anticommunism cum nazi apologist, who published his seminal work on the topic, Le Passage de la Ligne (Crossing the Line), in 1948. In the main, his position can be reduced to a simple duality: first, that much of that for the nazis are accused accrues from "the natural tendency of its victims to exaggerate"; second, that to the extent atrocities happened at all in the nazi death camps, they were more the responsibility of the victims themselves--who, Rassinier claimed, had been placed "in charge" by their SS keepers--than of the SS or nazism more generally.
Rassinier's themes were quickly picked up by pro-Nazi/anti-Semitic figures in the United States, men such as the evangelical "Christian" publicist W.D. Herrstrom (Bible News Flashes), white supremacist publisher James Madole (National Renaissance Bulletin), open national socialists like George Lincoln Rockwell and Gerald L.K. Smith (The Cross and the Flag), and eminent Smith College historian Harry Elmer Barnes. The latter, with release of his The Struggle Against Historical Blackout in 1947, can be said to have set down the ideological/theoretical framework within which Rassinier, Smith, Herrstrom and their ilk could pretend to at least marginal "scholarly" credibility.
By the late 1950s, the emerging "field" of Holocaust denial in
the U.S. had produced its first genuine "academic specialist," Austin
J. App, a professor of English literature at the University of Scranton and,
later, at LaSalle College. App's tactic was to place Rassinier's
form of "logical" denial on a tentatively "scientific"
footing, developing an obfuscatory "statistical
profile" of pre- and postwar European demography through which
conventional estimates of six million Jewish victims of nazi
exterminators might be challenged as "grossly inflated." This, in
turn, was linked to a polemic against German indemnification of surviving Jews
@g the second half of the 1960s, and throughout the '70s, App's sort of
"scholarship" began to take hold on
A couple of years later in the U.S., an MIT/University of Minnesota graduate named Arthur R. Butz, employed at the time as a professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University, moved things forward by publishing The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry. In this book, it is argued on a supposedly technical basis that the mass gassings and cremations of Jews and others documented during the Nuremberg Trial as having taken place at locations like Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Treblinka "simply could not have occurred," given "the rather obvious technological limitations" of the equipment used. At this point, it is fair to say that all the cornerstones for a comprehensive "rebuttal" of the Holocaust as an historical fact had been laid.
Advent of the Institute for Historical Review
In 1978, the various international strands of Holocaust denial began to be consolidated under the rubric of a Los Angeles-based entity called the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), funded by Willis Carto and headed by a former British National Front officer named William David McCalden.9 In addition to unrestricted access to what had become Carto's own primary periodical publication, The Spotlight, and Noontide Press, his book-publishing concern, the IHR quickly established its own "academic" organ, The Journal of Historical Review, and a book publishing operation under its own imprimatur. Moreover, in 1979, it initiated a series of "scholarly conferences'’ known as International Revisionist Conventions-to bring together and coordinate the activities of deniers the world over.
One of the IHR's first moves was to utilize the mass media to place Holocaust denial squarely before the public by issuing an "open challenge to peddlers of the Holocaust hoax." A $50,000 reward was offered to "anyone able to prove, through the offering of tangible evidence, that a single Jew was ever gassed by the government of the Third Reich."" Although it was later established that the challenge constituted fraud--it having been demonstrated to a court's satisfaction that the IHR never seriously intended to pay the proffered award--it had accomplished its objective: seemingly serious questions concerning the historical fact of nazi genocide had been raised in the public consciousness.
These were concretized to a considerable extent during the 1980s via the
case of Ernst Zundel, a German immigrant to
During the second trial, Christie and Faurisson
brought in yet another expert, prominent British denier David Irving. Between
the three, a strategy was hatched-presumably under a variation of the theory
that it could be established that "the truth is the best defense"
wherein the thesis advanced by Arthur Butz would be
"scientifically" corroborated. For this purpose, they retained the
services of Fred A. Leuchter, reputedly "an
engineer, skilled in the functioning of gas chambers," who, as a
consultant to prison administrations across the
Although it was quickly established in court that Leuchter
lacked even the most rudimentary engineering credentials--his sole degree
turned out to be a BA in history from
Although these were debunked almost as rapidly as their author, with the result that Zundel was convicted and sentenced to serve nine months in jail, the IHR immediately launched an intensive campaign to capitalize on the popular first impression it had achieved.
In this, the institute has relied primarily on the talents of a California-based publicist named Bradley Smith who packaged and promoted Leuchter's discredited material as if were the very essence of 'scientific research"-or at least a tenable "point of view," intrinsically worthy of inclusion in the academic agenda-while concentrating his energy on obtaining ad space trumpeting this notion in campus newspapers across the country. Hence, by 1992, it was observable that the IHR had managed to shift the sordid fabrications comprising Holocaust denial from the outermost lunatic fringe of social discourse into the vastly more legitimate arenas of First Amendment debate and scholarly dialogue.
Although there is a marked tendency in mainstream circles to scoff at the potential public impact of the "progress" made by the IHR and its cohorts since 1978 in their increasingly sophisticated marketing of "bad history," numerous indicators suggest the effect has already been substantial. A spring 1993 Newsweek poll, for example, indicated that nearly forty percent of adult Americans expressed "doubts" as to whether a European Holocaust of the magnitude depicted in standard histories occurred during World War II; a substantial portion questioned whether anything truly definable as genocide happened at all. This, among a population which, in 1950, evidenced nearly universal acceptance of the historical realities involved.
A Firm Rebuttal
Comes now Deborah Lipstadt,
Dorot Chair in Modem Jewish and Holocaust Studies at
Of necessity, the weight of Lipstadt's
presentation rests on providing the information that thoroughly debunks the
sort of intentional misinformation by which deniers have adorned themselves
with a veneer of superficial plausibility. For example, with regard to Paul Rassinier's contention, subsequently developed by Barnes
and App, that the number of Jewish victims of nazi
genocide was deliberately inflated by Zionists in order to "swindle"
an insupportably high level of reparations from the post-war
The government of
The author then proceeds to state the obvious: "It hardly seems necessary to point out that the money the state received was based on the cost of resettling survivors, had Israel wanted to increase the amount of reparations it obtained from Germany it would have been in its interest to argue that fewer than six million had been killed and managed to flee to Israel." From there, she is positioned to expose the assorted pontifications of Barnes as the uninterrupted string of lies and obfuscations they actually are. Turning next to App, she demolishes the tautological and statistical sleights-of-hand by which he purportedly demonstrated that genocide was never part of the nazi agenda.
With these mainly polemical opponents out of the way, Lipstadt trains her guns on the more recent pseudoscientific postulations of others, such as Butz, Faurisson and Leuchter. Here, largely because of the sheer extent and solidity of the base of technical literature available to her in formulating her refutation, she is devastating. By the time she is finished, the author has utterly dismembered every known variation of such shopworn revisionist themes as Zyklon-B being a chemical appropriate only for delousing rather than extermination of human beings, the gas chambers at Auschwitz and elsewhere being "ill designed" to serve the purpose ascribed to them, and the crematoria at such facilities being "inadequate" to handle the volume of corpses "allegedly" run through them.
In framing her responses, Lipstadt does a
further great service by setting out a sort of typology of Holocaust
revisionism. Not everyone involved, she maintains, is as crude as the outright
deniers like Butz, Faurisson,
Leuchter, Carto, Irving and
Zundel. Others, like Rassinier,
Barnes, Hoggan and App, might be better understood as
"minimizers"; that is, those who engage in
a range of sophistries designed to make the magnitude of the Holocaust appear
less than it was. From there, by carefully mixing known facts with their
fictions, the latter group advances false sets of moral comparisons--e.g., the nazi extermination center at Auschwitz was "really no
different" than the concentration camps at Dauchau
(false); and Dauchau wasn't all that different from
the camp at Manzanar in which Japanese Americans were
interned by the U.S. government during the war (true). Therefore the nazi treatment of untermenschen
was "no worse than" that accorded by the
The trick to a proper understanding of Holocaust revisionism, Lipstadt points out, is in seeing how these three somewhat different elements interact in a mutually supportive fashion. This consideration leads her to examine not only the main flow of Holocaust denial and minimization, but its antecedents and certain of its contemporary counterparts. The former brings about an exploration of post-World War I "Germanofilic" revisionism, not only an the part of the young Harry Elmer Barnes, but also a number of other academic luminaries like Sidney B. Fay and Charles A. Beard.44 These are treated in combination with such anti-Semitic/pro-Nazi champions of interwar isolationism as North Dakota Republican Senator Gerald P. Nye, Washington's Democratic Senator Homer T. Bone, California Republican Senator Hiram W. Johnson, Mississippi's Democratic Congressman John E. Rankin, aviation hero Charles A. Lindberg, and industrialist Henry Ford.
Barnes's work [in particular won a broad popular audience in the
This context was as indispensable to the birth and eventual maturation of Holocaust minimization and denial, Lipstadt contends, as the actions and pronouncements of more than a few established and highly visible political figures are to its increasing acceptability. Salient in this regard was U.S. President Ronald Reagan's 1986 official "gesture of reconciliation" with Germany's nazi past, laying a commemorative wreath near the graves of SS troops in Bitburg. At the same time, Reagan informed the press that he would be unwilling to make a similar gesture at the site of a death camp because Germans "have a guilt feeling that's been imposed upon them and I just don't think it's necessary." This, taken in combination with syndicated columns questioning orthodox Holocaust historiography by former Reagan press chief cum presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan,49 should remove any mystery as to how an unabashed white supremacist and outright denier like David Duke might have been deemed a reasonable addition to the state legislature by Louisiana voters in the late 1980s.
The same sort of dynamic is evident in France, where President Francois Mitterand ostentatiously conducted a wreath-laying ceremony
at the grave of Marshal Philippe Petain, head of the
collaborationist World War II Vichy government which, among many other
offenses--he was convicted of treason by a French court in 1945-assisted the nazis in rounding up Jews for deportation and
extermination. Mitterand's symbolic but official
forgiveness of Petain's criminality is reflected far
more concretely in an across-the-board refusal of French lower courts to accept
indictments of former
A similar phenomenon has been manifested in
It is to these much more diffuse, institutionalized and ubiquitous symptomologies of denial, rather than the blatant crudities of Rassinier and Butz, that we must address ourselves, Lipstadt contends, if we are ever to rid ourselves of the hideous implications represented by the deniers themselves. "If Holocaust denial has demonstrated anything," she observes, "it is the fragility of memory, truth, reason, and history." The object, of course, is to affirm and reinforce each of these as natural societal barriers against repetition of that which is being denied and forgotten. "When we witness assaults on truth," she says, "our response must be strong, though neither polemical nor emotional. We must educate the broader public and academe about this threat and its historical and ideological roots. We must expose these people for what they are," most especially when they-like Reagan, Mitterand, Kohl and the intellectuals in their service-occupy positions of elite authority.
Had Denying the Holocaust ended there, or, more accurately, had it been constrained to encompass only the material summarized above, it would be an altogether good and useful book, one which might be recommended to the broadest possible readership. Unfortunately, Lipstadt incorporates a subtext into her final chapter which undoes quite a lot of the good she might otherwise have accomplished. Moreover, she does so with a heavy overload of precisely the distortions, polemicism and emotion-laden prose she herself condemns.
The problem emerges most clearly when, in conjunction with her rebuttal of German conservative historians, she takes up the work of Ernst Nolte, a neoliberal known mainly for his masterly historical/philosophical analysis of fascism, published during the early 1960s. At issue is the evolution of Nolte's handling of the Holocaust in and since the 1976 publication of his Deutschland und der kalte Krieg (Germany and the Cold War), in which he has shown himself to be increasingly prone to an "historicization" of nazi genocide by way of contrasting and comparing it to other phenomena, including the Turkish extermination of Armenians in 1918, the Stalinist program against Ukrainians during the 1930s, the American performance in Vietnam during the 1960s and early 1970s, and the Khmer Rouge "autogenocide" of the mid70s.
Although there is much that is problematic in what appears to have motivated Nolte to bring his usual methodology to bear with respect to the Holocaust-as well as in his attribution of motivations to some of the historical figures he treats (e.g., Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot)-this has been critiqued rather severely by the prominent left social philosopher Jurgen Habermas, in a series of essays which ushered in the so-called Historikerstreit ("Historians' controversy") of 1986 in Germany. It is telling that Lipstadt offers not so much as an oblique reference to Habermas or his arguments. This is because she not especially concerned in Nolte's case with debunking a minimization or denial of the Holocaust at all. Indeed, she acknowledges that he not only affirms its occurrence, but that it occurred in its full dimensions What she has intended instead is to use Nolte as a vehicle upon which to attack comparative methods per se.
This is accomplished via an uninterrupted transition from Lipstadt's solid denunciations of Diwald's, Hillgruber's and Sturmer’s spurious attempts to equate German suffering under the Soviets with that of the Jews under nazism, to her purported rebuttal of Nolte's much broader sets of comparisons, all four of which are thereby lumped together as a unified whole. As the first three men's comparisons are not only inaccurate but immoral, so too are Nolte's and, by extension, comparison by anyone of any phenomenon to the Holocaust. All efforts to contextualize the latter- "relativizing" it-are by definition at least as reprehensible as denial itself in Lipstadt's scheme of things.
These historians are not crypto-deniers, but the results of the work are the same: the blurring of boundaries between fact and fiction... Ultimately the relativists contribute to the fostering of what I call the "Yes, but" syndrome... Yes, there was a Holocaust, but it was essentially no different than an array of other conflagrations in which innocents were massacred. The question that logically follows from this is, Why, -then, do we "only" hear about the Holocaust? For the deniers and many others who are "not yet" deniers, the answer to this final question is obvious: because of the power of the Jews. "Yes, but" is a response that falls into the gray area between outright denial and relativism. In certain respects it is more insidious than outright denial because it nurtures a form of pseudo-history whose motives are difficult to identify. It is the equivalent of David Duke without his robes (emphasis added).
This, from a woman who claims to reject "immoral equivalencies." The wild sweep of her brush not only smears Nolte with the same tar as Hillgruber and Diwald-or Paul Rassinier and David Irving, for that matter-but also such decisively anti-nazi historians as Joachim Fest, who have defended Nolte's comparativist methods while disagreeing with many of his conclusions. By the same token, the splatters extend without nuance or distinction to a host of emphatically progressive scholars like David Stannard, Ian Hancock and Vahakn Dadrian, each of whom has argued the case that one or more other peoples has suffered a genocide comparable to that experienced by the Jews without attempting to diminish the gravity and significance of the Holocaust in the least (if anything, they endeavor to reinforce its importance as an historical benchmark). Even Jewish scholars like Israel Chamey and Richard Rubinstein, and nazi-hunter Simon Weisenthal, who acknowledge similarities between the nazi genocide and those undergone by Armenians, Poles, Gypsies, American Indians and others, are necessarily encompassed within Lipstadt's astonishing definition of neo-Nazi scholarships.
What has happened is that, in her project's final pages, the author has subtly-one might say deceptively-substituted one agenda for another. Without pause or notification, she shifts from the entirely worthy objective of systematically exposing, confronting and repudiating those who deny the existence of the Holocaust as an historical reality to a far more dubious attempt to confirm the nazi genocide of European Jewry as something absolutely singular, a process without parallel in all of human history.69 There is a tremendous difference between the two propositions, yet Lipstadt bends every effort to make them appear synonymous. In effect, any and all "failures" to concede the intrinsic "phenomenological uniqueness" of the Holocaust is to be guilty of denying it altogether.
Hence, a Joachim Fest is to be seen as the "moral equivalent" of a Paul Rassinier, an Ian Hancock as equaling a Richard Verrall, an Israel Chamey equating to an Arthur Butz. All of them being "cut of the same moral cloth," all are to be equally vilified and discredited. Ultimately, only the Truth of the exclusivity of the Holocaust remains unscathed. The fundamental and deliberate distortions of Lipstadt's formulation speaks for itself. It is a lie, or complex of lies, consciously and maliciously uttered, lies of a type which readily conform in their magnitude and intent to those of the very deniers Lipstadt has devoted the bulk of her text to combating. In the end, Denying the Holocaust is thereby reduced by its author to an exercise in holocaust denial.
Uniqueness as Denial
Nowhere is Lipstadt's allegiance to the kind
of duplicitous argumentation deployed by deniers more obvious than when, during
her polemic against Ernst Nolte, she "explains" why the mass
internment of Japanese-Americans by the United States in 1942 is different in
kind, not just from outright extermination programs, but from nazism's policy as a whole: "In [an] attempt at
immoral equivalence, Nolte contends that just as the American internment of
Japanese Americans was justified by the attack on Pearl Harbor, so too was the
Nazi "internment' of European Jews. In making this comparison Nolte
ignores the fact that, however wrong, racist, and unconstitutional the
Actually, what Nolte argues is that neither example is more justified
than the other, a very different position from that of which he is accused.
Secondly, Lipstadt's conversion of Japanese-Americans
into 'Japanese" within the space of a single sentence is illuminating.
Plainly, the misrepresentation-magically transforming a racially-defined group
of American citizens into subjects of a hostile foreign power-is vital to her
position. Equally plainly, an identical notion-that the Jews comprised a
foreign and racially-hostile element within German society-was a crux of Hitlerian ideology. The nazis held, falsely, that Jews thus comprised an
inherent "Fifth Column" within German-held territory, a myth duly
adopted by David Irving and other deniers to justify Jewish internment (but not
extermination, since they claim it did not occur). The
Whatever Nolte's shortcomings, and they are many, it is Lipstadt, not him, who is ignoring facts here, forming a methodological symmetry with the deniers. The same may be said with respect to her cavalier dismissals of any possibility for legitimate comparison between the Jewish experience under the nazis and that of other peoples slaughtered as a matter of state policy during the twentieth century. Take "the brutal Armenian tragedy" of 1918, in which well upwards of a million people were killed and millions more subjected to a "ruthless Turkish policy of expulsion and resettlement." This was "horrendous," Lipstadt informs us, "but it was not part of a process of total annihilation of an entire people," so it is not comparable to the Holocaust.
This "yes, but" conclusion is immediately followed by others. The "barbaric" Khmer Rouge extermination campaign in
The Soviet "collectivization" of the 1930s, in which millions
of people were deliberately starved to death as a matter of developmental
economic policy, is depicted as being "arbitrary" rather than
"targeted [on] a particular group.""' This will undoubtedly come
as a great surprise and comfort to the Ukrainians who have seen themselves as
having been very much targeted by the Soviets, about five of the seven million
estimated deaths by starvation during the winter of 1931-32 alone having
accrued from their ranks." It will likely prove even more startling to the
Kazakhs, who were totally obliterated.113 And, since "no
citizen of the
Such historical misrepresentations of other peoples' suffering aside, the essential claim to uniqueness for the Holocaust put forth by Lipstadt and those sharing her view, is lodged in a double fallacy concerning the experience of their own. The first half of this duality is the assertion that, under the nazis, "every single one of millions of targeted Jews was to be murdered. Eradication was to be total (emphasis in the original) ." This was true, according to senior Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, not just with respect to German or even European Jewry, but worldwide, because nazism set out in a "pseudo-religious" and "pseudo-messianic" fashion to extirpate Jews an a "global, universal, even cosmic" scale (emphasis in the original) .17 As Cornell University professor Steven T. Katz frames things, "the Nazi racial imperative [was] that all Jews must die, and that they must die here and now." And, Bauer concludes elsewhere, "total physical annihilation ... is what happened to the Jews (emphasis added)."119
These characterizations of nazi intent and its impact upon its victims couples readily to the second part of the dualism: nothing meeting this description of the Holocaust has ever happened to anyone else, anywhere, at any time. "To date," says Bauer, "this has happened once, to the Jews under Nazism."90 "The fate of the Jews under National Socialism was [therefore] unique," historian Lucy Dawidowicz continues.91 This is because, as Michael Man-us puts it his book, The Holocaust in History, in cases like that of the Armenians, the "killing was far from universal.1192 Or, as Yehuda Bauer is wont to wrap things up, in every other recorded instance of wholesale and systematic population eradication, "the destruction was not complete.1193
The problem is that neither half of this tidy whole is true. Rhetoric notwithstanding, there is no evidence at all that any nazi leader, Hitler included, ever manifested a serious belief that it would actually be possible to liquidate every Jew on the planet .94 Indeed, there is considerable ambiguity in the record as to whether the total physical annihilation of European Jewry itself was actually a fixed policy objectives What is revealed instead is a rather erratic and contradictory hodgepodge of anti-Jewish policies which, as late as mid-1944, included an apparently genuine offer by the SS to trade a million Jews to the Western allies in exchange for 10,000 trucks to be used Germany's war against the Soviets.15 Contrary to Bauer's irrational contention of a "cosmic" and unparalleled total extermination, approximately two-thirds of the global Jewish population survived the Holocaust, as did about a third of the Jews of Europe.16
This in no way diminishes nazi culpability. There can be no question but that nazism's program for creating a judenrein lebensraum (Jew-free living space) for "Aryans" entailed a substantial reduction in the size of the European Jewish population, thoroughgoing dislocation/expulsion of survivors, and a virtually total elimination of Jewish cultural existence within the German sphere of influence . Nor can there be any serious question as to whether the nazis were willing in the end to kill every Jew who came within their grasp, if that's what was required to achieve the goal. All of this, beyond doubt, qualifies as genocide," but it is a far cry from the uniquely totalizing and obsessive drive to achieve a complete biological liquidation of Jewry attributed to the Holocaust by "scholars" like Yehuda Bauer, Steven Katz and Deborah Lipstadt.
Stripped of the veneer of falsehood and invention with which such propagandists have larded it, the experience of the Jewish people under nazism is revealed as being unique only in the sense that all such phenomena exhibit ur-dque characteristics. Genocide, as the nazis practiced it, was never something suffered exclusively by Jews, nor were the nazis singularly guilty of its practice." In attempting to make it appear otherwise-and thus to claim the privileged status attending and "unparalleled" victimization peddled as being transcendently their own ("accumulating moral capital," as exclusivist Edward Alexander has unabashedly put it) proponents of uniqueness have engaged in holocaust denial on the grand scale, not only with respect to the Armenians, Ukrainians and Cambodians, but as regards scores of other instances of genocide, both historical and contemporary.
By doing so, they have contributed, heavily and often with an altogether squalid enthusiasm, to the invisibility of the victims of this hideous multiplicity of processes in exactly the same way the Jewish victims of nazism have often been rendered invisible even by those whose work falls well short of outright Holocaust denial."' To this extent, Lipstadt and her colleagues have greatly surpassed anything attempted by Rassinier and his ilk. Those who would deny the Holocaust, after all, focus their distortions upon one target. Those who deny all holocausts other than that of the Jews have the same effect upon many. Certainly, the latter is not an ethical or moral posture superior to the former.
Reclaiming the Invisible Victims
The costs of these systematic assaults on truth and memory by those who argue the uniqueness of Jewish victimization have often been high for those whose suffering is correspondingly downgraded or shunted into historical oblivion. This concerns not only the victims of the many genocides occurring outside the framework of nazism, but non-Jews targeted for elimination within the Holocaust itself. Consider, for example, the example of the Sinti and Roma peoples (Gypsies, also called "Romani"), whom Lipstadt doesn't deign to accord so much as mention in her book- Her omission is no doubt due to an across-the-board and steadfast refusal of the Jewish scholarly, social and political establishments over the past fifty years to even admit the Gypsies were part of the Holocaust, a circumstance manifested most strikingly in their virtual exclusion from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
In their zeal to prevent what they call a "dilution" or "de-judaization" of the Holocaust, Jewish exclusivists have habitually employed every device known to deniers to depict the Parramjos (as the Holocaust is known in the Romani language; the Hebrew equivalent is Sho'ah) as having been something "fundamentally different" from the Holocaust itself. The first technique has been to consistently minimize Gypsy fatalities. Lucy Dawidowicz, for instance, when she mentions them at all, is prone to repeating the standard mythology that, "of about one million Gypsies in the countries that fell under German control, nearly a quarter of them were murdered." The point being made is that, while Gypsy suffering was no doubt "unendurable," it was proportionately far less than that of the Jews."
Actually, as more accurate-or honest-demographic studies reveal, the Gypsy
population of German-occupied
Be that as it may, exclusivists still contend that the Gypsies stand apart from the Holocaust because, unlike the Jews, they were "not marked for complete annihilation.""' According to Richard Breitman, "The Nazis are not known to have spoken of the Final Solution of the Polish problem or the gypsy problem." Or, as Yehuda Bauer had the audacity to put it in his three-page entry on "Gypsies" in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust--that's all the space the Sinti and Roma are accorded in this 2,000 page work, the editor of which lacked the decency even to have a Gypsy write the material filling it- "[The] fate of the Gypsies was in line with Nazi thought as a whole; Gypsies were not Jews, and therefore there was no need to kill them all.
Keeping in n-mind the likelihood that there was always a less than
perfect mesh between the rhetoric and realities of nazi
exterminations in all cases, including that of the Jews, the distinctions drawn
here bear scrutiny. As we shall see with respect to the Poles, such claims are
of dubious validity. As concerns the Gypsies, they amount to a boldfaced lie.
This is readily evidenced by Himmler’s
"Decree for Basic Regulations to Resolve the Gypsy Question as Required by
the Nature of Race" of December 8, 1938, which initiated preparations for
the Oicomplete extermination of the Sinti and Roma (emphasis added)." Shortly after this,
in February 1939, a brief was circulated by Johannes Behrendt
of the nazi Office of Racial Hygiene in which it was
stated that "all Gypsies should be treated as hereditarily sick; the only
solution is elimination. The aim should be the elimination without hesitation
of this defective population.""' Hitler himself is reported to have
verbally ordered "the liquidation of all Jews, gypsies and communist
political functionaries in the entire
Heydrich, who had been entrusted with the
"final solution of the Jewish question" on 31st July 1941, shortly
after the German invasion of the USSR, also included the Gypsies in his
"final solution... The senior SS officer and Chief of Police for the East,
Dr. Landgraf, in Riga, informed Rosenberg's Reich
Commissioner for the East, Lohse, of the inclusion of
the Gypsies in-the "final solution." Thereupon, Lohse
gave the order, on
At about the same time, "Adolf Eichmann made the recommendation that the 'Gypsy Question'
be solved simultaneously with the 'Jewish Question'... Himmler
signed the order dispatching
One of the more disgusting means by which Jewish exclusivists have nonetheless attempted to do so, however, concerns their verbatim regurgitation of the nazi fable that, again contra the Jews, Gypsies were killed en mass, not on specifically racial grounds, but because as a group they were "asocials" (criminals) . And, as if this blatantly racist derogation weren't bad enough, the Rabbi Seymour Siegel, a former professor of ethics at the Jewish Theological Seminary and at the time executive director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, compounded the affront by using the pages of the Washington Post to publicly cast doubt as to whether Gypsies can even make a legitimate claim to comprising a distinct people .
Predictably, Yehuda Bauer, no stranger to self-contradiction as he thrashes about, playing all ends against the middle in his interminable effort to "prove beyond all shadow of doubt" the uniqueness of Jewish suffering, presumes to have the last word not once, but twice, and in his usual mutually exclusive fashion. First, completely ignoring the 1935 Nuremburg Laws, which defined Gypsies in precisely the same racial terms as Jews, he baldly states that "the Gypsies were not murdered for racial reasons, but as so-called asocials ... nor was their destruction complete." Then, barely two pages later, he reverses field entirely, arguing that the Sinti and Romani were privileged over Jews-and were thus separate from the "true" Holocaust-because a tiny category of "racially safe" Gypsies were temporarily exempted from death. Besides trying to have it both ways, it is as if this leading champion of exclusivism were unaware of the roughly 6,000 Karait Jews who were permanently spared in accordance with nazism's bizarre racial logic.
To be fair, there are a few differences between the Jewish and Gypsy
experiences under nazism.
For instance, the Sinti and Roma have a noticeably
better genetic claim to being "racially distinct" than do the Ashkenazic Jews of Europe. One upshot was that the racial
classification of Gypsies was much more stringent and rigidly adhered to than
that pertaining to Jews. By 1938, if any two of an individual's eight
great-grandparents were proven to be Gypsy "by blood," even in part,
he or she was formally categorized as such. This is twice as strict as the
criteria used by the nazis
to define Jewishness. Had the standards of
"racial identity" applied to Jews been employed with regard to the Sinti and Roma, nine-tenths of
All during the 1930s, while Gypsies as well as Jews were subjected to
increasingly draconian racial oppression, first in
The Western democracies have been harshly-and properly-criticized for
their failure to intervene more forcefully to prevent the genocide of the Jews,
even to the extent of allowing greater non Jewish refugees to find sanctuary
within their borders. The fact is, however, that nothing at all was done to
save the Gypsies from their identical fate, and in this connection
international Jewish organizations have no better record than do the
governments of the
Or, to take an even more poignant another example: National Public Radio
The attitudes underlying such gestures are manifested, not merely in
Jewish exclusivism's sustained and concerted effort
to expunge the Parrajmo from history, but, more
concretely, through its ongoing silence concerning the present resurgence of nazi-like antigypsyism in Europe.
In 1992, the government of the newly-unified
An orgy of mob lynching and house-bun-dng with police collaboration has turned into something more sinister for- Roma-m'a's hated Gypsies: the beginnings of a nationwide campaign. of terror launch led by groups modeling themselves on the Ku Klux Klan... "We are many, and very determined. We % ill skin-the Gypsies soon. We will take their eyeballs out, smash their teeth, and cut off their noses. The first will be hanged."
The German government had every reason to know this would be the case
well before it began deportations. The depth and virulence of
No accurate count of how many Gypsies have been killed, tortured, maimed
or otherwise physically abused in
As usual, it was Yehuda Bauer who produced
what was perhaps the best articulation of exclusivist sentiment on the matter.
As early as 1990, he was publicly complaining that such desperate attempts by
Gypsies to end the condition of invisibility he himself had been so
instrumental in imposing upon them was coming into "competition" with
the kind of undeviating focus on "radical anti-Semitism" he'd spent
his life trying to engender. No better illustration of what the distinguished
Recovering the Holocaust
There should be no need to go into such detail in rejoining exclusivist denials of the genocides perpetrated against Slavic peoples within the overall framework of the Holocaust. However, a tracing of the general contours seems appropriate, beginning with the familiar assertion that "they were treated differently from the Jews, and none were marked out for total annihilation." As Lucy Dawidowicz puts it, "It has been said that the Germans ... planned to exterminate the Poles and Russians on racial grounds since, according to Hitler's racial doctrine, Slavs were believed to be subhumans (Untermenschen). But no evidence exists that a plan to murder the Slavs was ever contemplated or developed."
There is both a grain of truth and a bucketful of falsity imbedded in these statements. In other words, it is true that Slavs were not named in the Endlosung (Final Solution) sketched out for Gypsies and Jews during the 1942 Wannsee Conference. This clearly suggests that the last two groups were given a certain priority in terms of the completion of their "special handling," but it is not at all to say that Slavs weren't "marked out" to suffer essentially the same fate in the end. Presumably, the final phases of the nazis' antislavic campaigns) would have gotten underway once those directed against the much smaller Jewish and Gypsy populations had been wrapped Up. In any event, the idea that "no plan [for Slavic extermination] was ever contemplated or developed" is quite simply false.
As is abundantly documented, the Hitlerian vision of lebensraumpolitik-the
conquest of vast expanses of Slavic territory in eastern Europe for
"resettlement" by a tremendously enlarged Germanic
population-entailed a carefully calculated policy of eliminating resident
Slavs. In the
Plans for more westerly Slavic peoples like the Poles, Slovenes and Serbs were even worse (or at any rate set on a faster track). As early as Mein Kampf, Hitler unambiguously announced that they, like the Jews, were to be entirely exterminated. For the Poles at least, this was to be accomplished in a series of stages which seems likely to have been intended as a model for similarly phased eradication of the Ukrainians and other peoples to the east: immediately upon conquest, the Poles would be "decapitated" (i.e., their social, political and intellectual leadership would be annihilated, en toto); second, the mass of the population would be physically relocated in whatever configuration best served the interests of the German economy; third, the Poles would be placed on starvation rations and worked to death.153 Whether or not there would have been a fourth and "final" phase a la Auschwitz is irrelevant, since the results, both practical and intended, are identical.
Unlike the Gypsies and Jews, the Slavs were mostly organized in a way lending itself to military resistance.114 Consequently, planning for their decimation necessarily factored in attrition through military confrontational Insofar as German methods in the East, in sharp contrast to those employed against nonslavic western opponents, always devolved upon the concept of "a war of annihilation," the extraordinarily high death rates suffered by Soviet prisoners of war are not really separable from the extermination plan as a whole. Similarly, according to SS GruppenfWuer Eric von dern Bach-Zelewski, who commanded antipartisan operations in eastern Europe, the manner in which such warfare was waged was consciously aimed not just a t suppressing guerrilla activities, but to help "achieve Himmler's goal of reducing the Slavic population to 30 million."
Available evidence suggests that the principle victims in the
partisan-Nazi confrontations were the civilian population. Thus, for example,
when 9,902 partisans were killed or executed between August and November 1942,
at the same time the Germans executed 14,257 civilians whom they suspected of
aiding the partisans... A Polish scholar, Ryszard Torzecki, views the mass extern-d -nation of civilian
population as the greatest drama of the
Certainly, these slaughtered civilians should be included in the total of those taken by nazi extermination policies, not labeled as "war deaths." And, if the standard practice of lumping the deaths of Jewish partisan fighters into the total of six million Jews claimed by the Holocaust were applied equally to Slavs, then plainly the bodycount of partisans should be as well. And again, since the Jews killed by Bach-Zelewski's SS men during the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising are rightly included among the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, so too should the masses of civilian Slavs liquidated during the German seizures of cities like Kiev, Kharkov, Sebastopol and Mink be tallied . When the totals of those deliberately worked to death, who died of exposure during the process of being driven eastward under any and all conditions, who were intentionally starved to death, and who perished in epidemics which spread like wildfire because of a calculated nazi policy of denying vaccines, the true dimensions of the genocide of the Slavs begins to emerge.
'Between 1939 and 1945,
Uncovering the Hidden Holocausts
To put it another way, as Gould does, it is "advocacy masquerading as objectivity." The connection being made is important insofar as Gould is describing the academic edifice of nineteenth century scientific racism which provided the foundation for the very nazi racial theories under which the Jews of the Holocaust suffered and died. Given that Deborah Lipstadt, Yehuda Bauer, Steven Katz, Lucy Dawidowicz and other exclusivists are of a people which has recently experienced genocide, the natural inclination is to align with them against those like Paul Rassinier, Austin App, Robert Faurisson and Arthur Butz who would absolve the perpetrators. Yet, one cannot.
'One cannot, because it is no better for Lipstadt to "neglect" to mention that the Gypsies were subjected to the same mode of extermination as the Jews-or for Dawidowicz and Bauer to contrive arguments that they weren't-than it is for Rassinier to deliberately minimized the number of Jewish victims of nazism or for Butz to deny the Holocaust altogether. C)ne cannot, because there is nothing more redeeming about Katz's smug dismissal of the applicability of the term "genocide" to any group other than his own than there is about Robert Faurisson's contention that no Jews were ever gassed. One cannot, because Yehuda Bauer's The Holocaust in Historical Perspective, Steven Katz's The Holocaust in Historical Context and Lucy Dawidowicz's The Holocaust and the Historians are really only variations of Arthur Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century written in reverse. All of them, equally, are conscious exercises in the destruction of truth and memory.
Deniers of the Holocaust must, of course, be confronted, exposed for what they are, and driven into the permanent oblivion they so richly deserve. But so too must those who choose to deny holocausts more generally, and who shape their work accordingly. Deborah Lipstadt rightly expresses outrage and concern that Holocaust deniers like Bradley Smith have begun to make inroads on college campuses during the 1990s. She remains absolutely silent, however, about the implications of the fact that she and scores of other holocaust deniers have held professorial positions for decades, increasingly branding anyone challenging their manipulations of logic and evidence an "anti-Semite" or a "neo-Nazi," and frequently positioning themselves to determine who is hired and tenured in the bargain. The situation is little different in principle than if, in the converse, members of the Institute for Historical Review were similarly ensconced (which they are not, and, with the exceptions of App and Harry Elmer Barnes early m, never have been)."
Viewed on balance, then, the
holocaust deniers of Jewish exclusivism represent a
proportionately greater and more insidious threat to understanding than do the
Holocaust deniers of the IHR variety. This is all the more true insofar as the
mythology peddled by exclusivists, unlike that put forth by a Faurisson or a Richard Verrall,
dovetails perfectly with the long institutionalized denials of genocides in
their own histories put forth by the governments of the United States, Great
Britain, France, Turkey, Indonesia and many others. Indeed, Lucy Dawidowicz has sweepingly accused those suggesting that the
Plainly, if we are to recover the meaning of the Holocaust in all its dimensions, according i t the respect to which it is surely due and finding within it the explanatory power it can surely yield, it is vital that we confront, expose and dismiss these "dogmatists who seek to reify and sacralize" it, converting it into a shallow and sanctimonious parody of its own significance ." Only in this way can we hope arrive at the "universality" called for by Michael Berenbaum, executive director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, when he suggested that the "Holocaust can become a symbolic orienting event in human history that can prevent recurrence."",' Undoubtedly, this was what the executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, Israel Chamy, had in mind when he denounced "the leaders and 'high priests' of different cultures who insist on the uniqueness, primacy, superiority, or greater significance of the specific genocide of their people," elsewhere adding that:
I object very strongly to the efforts to name the genocide of any one people as the single, ultimate event, or as the most important event against which all other tragedies of genocidal mass-death are to be, tested and found wanting... For me, the passion to exclude this or that mass killing from the universe of genocide, as well as the intense competition to establish the exclusive "superiority" or unique form of any one genocide, ends up creating a fetishistic atmosphere in which !he masses of 9 bodies that are not to be qualified for the definition of genocide are dumped into a conceptual black hole, where they are forgotten.
In restoring the Gypsies and Slavic peoples to the Holocaust itself,
where they've always belonged, we not only exhume them from the black hole into
which they've been dumped in their millions by Jewish exclusivism
and neo-Nazism alike, we establish ourselves both methodologically and
psychologically to remember other things as well. Not only was the Armenian
holocaust a "true" genocide, the marked lack of response to it by the
Western democracies was used by Adolf Hitler to
reassure his cabinet that there would be no undue consequences if Germany were
to perpetrate its own genocide(s). Not only were Stalin's policies in the
Ukrainians a genuine holocaust, the methods by which it was carried out were
surely incorporate into Germany's General plan Ost
just a few years later."' Not only was the Spanish policy of conscripting
entire native populations into forced labor throughout the
In every instance, the particularities of these prior genocides-each of them unique unto themselves-serves to inform our understanding of the Holocaust. Reciprocally, the actualities of the Holocaust serve to illuminate the nature of these earlier holocausts. No less does the procedure apply to the manner in which we approach genocides occurring since 1945, those in Katanga, Biafra, Bangladesh, Indochina, Paraguay, Guatemala, Indonesia, Rwanda, Bosnia and on and on.112 Our task is-must be-to fit all the various pieces together in such a way as to obtain at last a comprehension of the whole. There is no other means available to us. We must truly "think of the unthinkable," seriously and without proprietary interest, if ever we are to put an end to the "human cancer" which has spread increasingly throughout our collective organism over the past five centuries.191 To this end, denial in any form is anathema.
From: "Laura Dawn, MoveOn PAC"
Subject: Announcing the winner of the Bush in 30 Years Flash contest
President Bush has now embraced massive benefit cuts in order to privatize Social Security. Today, we're announcing the winner of Bush in 30 Years a grassroots contest to find the best online animation to explain the Republicans' Social Security scam. Watch the winning entry and pass it on to your friends.
Laura, Noah, Eli, Tom and the MoveOn PAC Team
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research at CEIMSA-IN-EXILE