Holocaust Denial as an Anti-Zionist and Anti-Imperialist Tool for the European Far Left

, January 9, 2008

No. 65,

  • Iranian state promotion of Holocaust denial is an example of anti-Semitism being used to generate anti-Zionism, the reverse of the normal dynamic. It has given a boost to Holocaust-denial activities worldwide.
  • The growth of an antiglobalization, anti-imperialist political movement has created a political space on the Left in which Holocaust denial is no longer taboo, if framed in an anti-Zionist context.
  • Mainstream Holocaust commemoration is increasingly under attack as a Zionist or imperialist tool. For some leftists, the contradiction between their antifascism and their anti-Zionism is solved by casting Jewish communities and the European far Right as political allies.
  • Jewish communities ought to stress the specifically Jewish lessons of the Holocaust as a way of combating anti-Zionist and Islamist Holocaust denial.

Introduction

The promotion of Holocaust denial by Iran’s President Ahmadinejad as part of his policy toward Israel has significant consequences for the Jewish world, Holocaust commemoration, and the struggle against anti-Semitism. Although Holocaust denial is commonplace in the Arab and Muslim world, it is still largely taboo in Europe and the West. However, among European anti-Zionists there is a deep-rooted and growing suspicion of official Holocaust remembrance, which is viewed as part of Israel’s propaganda armory, despite the fact that many of these anti-Zionists also consider themselves to be antifascists.

It is the utility of Holocaust denial as an anti-Zionist propaganda weapon that leaves European leftists vulnerable to Iranian encouragement to challenge the scale, nature, meaning, and consequences of the Holocaust. This is not the usual dynamic of anti-Zionism leading to anti-Semitism; this is anti-Semitism being used to generate anti-Zionism, which could profoundly affect the direction and tone of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic activity in the West.

Holocaust Denial and the Iranian State

Given the extent of outrage and media attention attracted by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated denial of the Holocaust, one might think this was a new development in Iranian politics. However, the Iranian president is merely repeating an opinion that has been common in Iran for many years. Ahmadinejad’s main rival in the 2005 presidential elections, Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, whom much of the Western media portrayed during the election campaign as a relative moderate, is also a Holocaust denier. He marked the Iranian Quds Day rally in 1998 with a speech claiming that only two hundred thousand Jews died during the war.[1] In 2000, the Swiss denier Jurgen Graf absconded to Iran after a Swiss court sentenced him to fifteen months in prison. That same year the Iranian embassy in Vienna had given refuge to an Austrian denier, Wolfgang Frohlich.[2]

Western Holocaust deniers frequently appear in the Iranian media where they are treated as experts not just on the Holocaust but on other subjects as well. Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review in California, was interviewed by Iran’s Mehr news agency to give his thoughts on Israel’s war against Hizballah in 2006.[3] Michele Renouf, who has become Britain’s foremost Holocaust-denial activist, appeared on Iran’s Sahar TV to discuss the French presidential elections.[4]

What is perhaps different about President Ahmadinejad’s approach is that he has promoted Holocaust denial as a centerpiece of his stated policy on Israel. In his 2007 Quds Day speech, Ahmadinejad repeated his view that the Holocaust is a “myth” and that Western governments “are in the grips of the claws of Zionism,” before proposing that Israeli Jews be deported en masse to Canada and Alaska.[5]

The high point of his strategy was the hosting in Tehran of the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust in December 2006, attended by notorious Holocaust deniers from around the world including Robert Faurisson, David Duke, Michele Renouf, Fredrick Toben, and Ahmed Rami. The conference was organized by the previously well-respected Institute for Political and International Studies, which is linked to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and much of the financial cost was covered by the Iranian government. The conference program included discussion of whether the Holocaust happened and sessions on anti-Semitism, Nazi-Zionist collaboration, and what has been dubbed “the Holocaust industry.”

Holocaust Denial after Tehran

The most significant outcome of the conference was the establishment of the World Foundation for Holocaust Studies, to be run by a five-person committee who are all Holocaust deniers from Western countries: Michele Renouf of Britain, Fredrick Toben of Australia, Serge Thion of France, Christian Lindtner of Denmark, and Bernhard Schaub of Switzerland. The Iranian official appointed as general secretary of the foundation, Mohammad Ali Ramin, is not only a Holocaust denier but also claims that AIDS, SARS, and bird flu are “interrelated” with the Holocaust story.[6] The foundation’s plans include holding another conference, the production and distribution of denial propaganda, and other activities all potentially funded by the Iranian government.

Michele Renouf first came to prominence as a regular observer in court during David Irving’s failed libel trial against Deborah Lipstadt in 2000. The following year, she was at the center of an ambitious plan to secure funding for Irving from Prince Fahd bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, son of the governor of Riyadh and eldest nephew of King Fahd. Renouf arranged for Irving and Fahd to meet and terms for the funding were agreed, but the prince died before any money changed hands.[7]

Since then Irving has spent time in an Austrian prison for denying the Holocaust in a 1989 speech, but since his release he has wasted no time resuming activity. He visited Hungary, where he has a new publisher, in March 2007, and addressed a public rally organized by the far-Right Hungarian Justice and Life Party to mark Hungary’s National Day. The rally later degenerated into a riot between far-Right supporters and the police.[8]

Irving also has visited Poland, twice, where he was expelled from the International Book Fair in Warsaw, and Spain, and most recently embarked on a speaker tour of the UK with the intention of relaunching his career in his home country. This included a controversial, and fiercely protested, appearance at the prestigious Oxford Union on 26 November 2007 along with the leader of the far-Right British National Party, Nick Griffin.

This has been accompanied by an attempt by Irving to refine his views on the Holocaust. He has conceded that somewhere in the region of 2.5 million Jews were killed in Sobibor, Belzec, and Treblinka, but not at Auschwitz-and Hitler was “completely in the dark” about these killings.[9] This marks something of a return for Irving to his position on publication of his Hitler’s War in 1977-that there were mass killings of Jews of which Hitler was entirely ignorant-before his shift to outright Holocaust denial on publication of The Leuchter Report[10] in 1988. Irving has presumably made this concession for tactical reasons as he tries to recover his shattered reputation, but his website is still full of Holocaust- denial material.[11]

There is no evidence of Iranian backing for Irving, who raises all his money from private donations and book sales. It seems, though, that Iranian promotion of Holocaust denial has breathed new life into a movement that was, in Europe at least, moribund. International denial conferences have since been proposed-though not, at the time of writing, convened-in Argentina and Italy, where Robert Faurisson was prevented from delivering a lecture at the University of Teramo when the university authorities closed the campus for the day.[12]

Anti-Zionism and the Holocaust

The idea that Holocaust denial is a way to undermine Israel’s legitimacy is a seductive one, and not just for Iran. Official Holocaust commemoration in Britain was formalized in 2001 around Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), but is under attack from many in the Muslim community and on the far Left who see it as being linked to support for Israel. In January 2007, the local authority in Bolton, a town in the northwest of England, canceled the town’s HMD event in favor of a more general Genocide Memorial Day, a move that the Muslim Council of Britain and others have called for on a national scale for some time. Bolton’s Genocide Memorial Day-Britain’s first-was held in June 2007 and organized as a multifaith event.[13] That Bolton Council’s decision to cancel their HMD event was, in part, a protest against Israeli policy was made clear by the secretary of the local interfaith council who said “the war in Lebanon had influenced my decision and others.”[14]

The British government is firm in its commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day as a national event. Nevertheless, Bolton is unlikely to be the last place to accede to Muslim requests for a local Genocide Memorial Day, whether as a replacement for Holocaust Memorial Day or as an addition to the civic calendar.

Despite its establishment origins, the creation of Holocaust Memorial Day would appear to be a victory, and a useful tool, for antifascist campaigning. But the growing hostility of parts of the Left to official Holocaust commemorations reveals much about changing attitudes toward Jews.

In January 2007, during Holocaust Memorial Week (HMW), the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) organized a series of readings of Jim Allen’s play Perdition, which uses the complex case of Rudolf Kastner and the destruction of Hungarian Jewry to charge that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in implementing the Holocaust.[15] The play has been comprehensively debunked, most notably by Sir Martin Gilbert[16] and David Cesarani,[17] but remains a powerful piece of anti-Zionist propaganda. The allegation of collaboration between Zionists and Nazis as “a means of morally discrediting the Jewish people and delegitimizing the state of Israel”[18] is an invention of Soviet anti-Zionism that has outlived its creator.

In addition to readings of Perdition, the SPSC also organized meetings featuring Lenni Brenner, author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators,[19] which formed the basis for much of Perdition. Brighton and Hove PSC did the same, inviting Brenner to speak on “Zionist Collaboration with Nazi Germany.” It may well be that the current Iranian promotion of outright Holocaust denial, and the growing support in parts of the British Left for Hizballah and Iran, is what has given the SPSC and others the confidence to challenge mainstream Holocaust commemoration head-on.

The recasting of Holocaust commemoration from an anti-Zionist perspective is more than just an anti-Israeli propaganda tactic. Holocaust denial and Holocaust commemoration possibly constitute the last taboo in the Left’s attitude toward Jews, and it is being broken. The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK)[20] has suffered no political cost whatsoever within the anti-Zionist world for the financial support given to David Irving by its founder and leading activist, Asghar Bukhari.[21] George Galloway’s Respect Party and the Stop the War Coalition have nothing to say about Iranian state support for Holocaust denial.

The anti-Zionist utility of Holocaust denial increasingly outweighs the need to remember the victims of Nazism in some political circles, where subverting mainstream Holocaust remembrance is seen as an anti-Israeli act. Even those within the anti-Zionist Left who object to this rarely do so on principle. One Socialist Workers Party (SWP) activist who publicly objected to the SPSC’s plans wrote that: “My qualms about the staging of Perdition during HMW are tactical. The Zionists have certainly controlled the discourse about Holocaust remembrance for many years, and have aggressively quashed the truth about Zionist collaboration with Nazis.”[22]

The truth about Zionist, non-Zionist, and anti-Zionist behavior during the Holocaust has been researched and written about extensively elsewhere. The aim here is not to set straight the distortions of Brenner, Allen, and others but to shed some light on where their obsessions might lead. For while the SWP worried about tactics, the strategic aims of the SPSC were revealed by its chair, Mick Napier, in a letter to Socialist Worker defending the SPSC’s actions. Napier argued that Holocaust commemoration was used “to ‘justify’ the mass murder and expropriation of the Palestinians,” and that “An accurate understanding of the Nazi Holocaust is essential to grasp modern Israeli savagery towards the Palestinian people. The political link between Palestine and the Nazi mass murder of Jews in 1942-5 is not the prerogative of the SPSC.”[23]

Anti-Imperialism and the Holocaust

The idea that Holocaust denial can be a central part of the struggle against Israel has long been the basis of a sustained marketing campaign by neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers to potential sources of funding and support in the Arab and Muslim world. Typical of this was Ernst Zundel’s open letter to the Muslim world, The West, War, and Islam, which set out the full scope of the international Jewish conspiracy under such headings as “The International Zionists,” “The International Secret Societies,” “The International Bankers,” and “International Communism,” and then concluded with an appeal for funds:

The Islamic world has the financial means to publish, broadcast or otherwise disseminate the historical, factual data leading to the truth…. There are at this moment already in existence organizations which, if properly funded, could become the nucleus of an independent, worldwide information network capable of countering the now virtually unopposed Zionist disinformation and hate propaganda networks. One such example is the Zundelsite, a United States based website that has exposed the so-called “Holocaust” as an extortion tool…that yields Israel the money, power and excuse to occupy the Palestinians and to intimidate its neighbours such as Syria, Lebanon, Iran and other Arab nations…. Take the Holocaust away, and you will have severed the financial water well that feeds an evil oligarchy and repressive system![24]

For neo-Nazis, Zionism encompasses much more than just Israel and its supporters, and Holocaust denial is about much more than just undermining Israel. The Western response to the Holocaust forms the basis of the entire postwar European liberal consensus and the multiethnic societies that neo-Nazis so despise. As British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin wrote, in the days before he felt it politically expedient to mask his party’s anti-Semitism:

For the last fifty years the vision underlying all the vile sickness of this Age of Ruins has been the so-called “Holocaust.” There is no need to elaborate on the way in which the work of revisionist historians and forensic examinations have nailed the absurd lie that Nazi Germany, in the midst of a wartime shortage of labour and materials, gassed or otherwise systematically exterminated six million Jews. What does need to be stressed is the extent to which this nonsense underpins not just the Zionist state of Israel and Jewish power worldwide but the entire edifice of global liberalism…. The New World struggling to be born cannot do so until this lie is publicly exposed, ridiculed and destroyed…members of the British National Party have a duty to be involved as active participants in the revisionist struggle.[25]

Hatred of liberal democracies is not limited to the far Right, and Holocaust denial has more than just an anti-Zionist utility. The high-profile promotion of Holocaust denial by President Ahmadinejad has taken Holocaust denial out of the hands of the far Right and put it firmly on the agenda of the leftists and Islamists who make up the new global anti-imperialism. Some, like Paul Eisen of Deir Yassin Remembered, are sympathetic to outright Holocaust denial.[26] Most, like Norman Finkelstein, do not deny the facts of the Holocaust but have the same political purpose: to attack the “Holocaust industry” that they see as propping up Israel, Zionism, and organized Jewish power. In this formulation, Holocaust denial is about denying the meaning and consequences of the Holocaust rather than necessarily denying the facts of the Holocaust itself. For the SPSC, Holocaust commemoration is little more than a cynical propaganda tool of the Western powers:

Increasingly, Holocaust Commemoration has become a travesty, devoid of any moral compass that condemns today’s mass killing of brown-skinned people for oil or srategic goals. Holocaust commemoration has been embraced by our Government, currently involved in the genocidal occupation of Iraq, and Zionists who defend Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The Israeli Declaration of Independence claims the Holocaust as a justification for this apartheid state. Tony Blair’s ministers attend Holocaust Commemorations one day and then the next day they ratchet up the rhetoric against asylum seekers and immigrants that the extreme right, including the Nazi BNP, are feeding on.[27]

The collapse of traditional divisions between Right and Left and the political confusion engendered by 9/11 and subsequent events, have led to the growth of a political subculture that is home to the antiwar movement, antiglobalizers, radical street politics, and populist political leaders. The appetite within this amorphous movement for conspiracy theories and the instinctive mistrust of official accounts of contemporary and historical events has opened up a political space beyond the far Right in which questioning and denying the Holocaust is no longer the anathema it once was.

Gilad Atzmon regularly performs musically at Socialist Workers Party events despite having called for Holocaust deniers to be encouraged as assets in the struggle against Anglo-American policy in the Middle East.[28] The newly-formed Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism-“a group of scholars, campaigners and lawyers…which aims to defend the principle of free speech on debate over Israel,”[29] is eerily reminiscent of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, one of the oldest Holocaust-denial websites. Few on the anti-Zionist Left are ready to denounce Holocaust denial-or indeed any form of anti-Semitism-when it comes in anti-imperialist packaging.

Contemporary Leftist Attitudes toward Jews

Older generations on the Left took part in a sympathy for Israel that was linked to the emotional power of the Holocaust. Whereas, for these generations, the Holocaust and subsequent birth of Israel were tangible events, for the younger generation it is increasingly a source of resentment. This is a generation for whom the universal messages of the Holocaust are axiomatic, but the particularist Jewish messages are poorly understood and seem anachronistic and unnecessary.

The image of Israel as a perpetrator of “Nazi-lite” ethnic cleansing facilitates the role-reversal in Napier’s claim that “An accurate understanding of the Nazi Holocaust is essential to grasp modern Israeli savagery towards the Palestinian people.” In this version of Holocaust remembrance, history is not studied so as to understand Jewish suffering at the hands of European anti-Semitism. Instead it is the Palestinians who are the true victims of the Holocaust, are still suffering its consequences today, and to whom Europe owes its historic moral debt. This is particularly the case in Britain, which has no history of Nazi occupation and collaboration but instead carries the colonial guilt of the Balfour Declaration.

The claim that Zionists, having collaborated with Nazis in perpetrating the Holocaust, are now inflicting similar misery on the Palestinians, neatly solves the contradiction between the Left’s antifascism and its anti-Zionism. Reinterpreting the Holocaust as a Zionist crime is in itself a form of Holocaust denial, the purpose of which is to erase the link between the destruction of European Jewry and its rebirth in Israel.

This also profoundly affects attitudes toward Jews within parts of the Left. First, the notion that the Zionist movement could act as equal partners with Nazi Germany, at a time when ordinary Jews were at their most powerless and desperate, raises Zionism to a level of power and malevolence that traces a direct line to Protocols-style conspiracy theories. This has strong resonance in a political milieu that accepts conspiracy theories about Zionist or Jewish control of American foreign policy and the Iraq war.

Second, this determination to bracket together Zionism and Nazism has led to inevitable claims that their contemporary adherents, in the form of Israel and its supporters on the one hand, and neo-Nazis on the other, are in practical alliance. Thus the SPSC website gave these three reasons for the importance of their Holocaust Memorial Week events: “Open, ethnic cleansers now occupy senior positions in the nuclear-armed Israel government; Racist, extreme-right parties inspired by the Nazis are now growing across Europe; Political Zionism and extreme right-wing parties have usually cooperated against the left.”[30]

Articles in the far-Left press have even suggested the prospect of British Jews voting in significant numbers for the British National Party.[31] It is true that the BNP currently claims that its obsessive anti-Semitism is now consigned to its past. In a bizarre twist, however, the only people who take this seriously are anti-Zionists excited by the illusory prospect of such an alliance, which would allow them to marry together the two sides of their political identity.

The significance of this is more than just rhetorical. Leftists view Nazism as the ultimate evil and neo-Nazism as a movement that must be opposed at all costs. That Zionists could, in the leftist imagination, cooperate with and support the contemporary far Right, just as their forebears are accused of doing during the Holocaust, is proof that Zionists are beyond redemption.

Furthermore, in Western Europe neo-Nazis are regularly denied the same freedom of association and freedom of speech that others enjoy, as part of the legal and policing framework that exists in many countries to prevent Nazism’s return to power. By associating Israel and its supporters-in reality, the overwhelming majority of Jews and their mainstream institutions-with the contemporary far Right, and thereby labeling them as racists or fascists, anti-Zionists build the rationale for arguing that Jews, too, should be denied these basic rights unless they disassociate themselves from Israel and Zionism. This has been the logic behind repeated attempts to ban, or severely limit the activities of, Jewish societies at British universities since the 1970s.[32]

Conclusion: Legal and Educational Responses

If the memory and meaning of the Holocaust has become a key battleground, then Jewish communities need to recognize that and prepare accordingly. Responses to Holocaust denial traditionally follow two paths: prosecution and education. Many European countries have laws against Holocaust denial that were introduced in the early 1990s to combat a resurgent neo-Nazi movement, and there have been prosecutions for Holocaust denial in several European countries. All EU states are now required to have laws that are capable of prosecuting Holocaust denial where it can be shown to be inciting racial hatred.

It is questionable, though, whether this approach is the most appropriate way to deal with those who question or deny the Holocaust so as to attack Zionism and Israel. Prosecutions for Holocaust denial can even be counterproductive in a post-Danish-cartoons world, allowing Islamist groups to argue, however inaccurately, that Europe has double standards when it comes to free speech.[33]

For this and other reasons, prosecutions are probably not the right way to counter this new assault on the memory of the Holocaust. Education will bring greater benefits; but, again, the Holocaust education that has won the Jewish community allies against neo-Nazi anti-Semitism is not necessarily appropriate for dealing with those who attack the memory of the Holocaust as a way of undermining Israel. Holocaust education has always emphasized its universalist messages, to great effect in building broad coalitions against the far Right. However, the specifically Jewish messages about the Holocaust and its meaning for Diaspora Jewish life, Zionism, and the need for Israel are not widely understood outside the Jewish world.

To counter the anti-Zionist interpretations, distortions, and denial of the Holocaust, Jewish communities should be bolder in promoting these messages alongside their existing educational work. Holocaust denial, like much of contemporary anti-Semitism, may look as it always has done, but it has adapted subtly to fit the times. The Jewish response needs to do the same if it is to meet this challenge.

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Notes

Publication of this issue was made possible in part by the support of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (Rabbi Israel Miller Fund for Shoah Research, Documentation and Education) for the JCPA program on Contemporary Holocaust Distortion.

 

[1] “Rafsanjani Supports French Muslim Author, Condemns ‘Zionist Propaganda,'” BBC Monitoring, 26 January 1998, transcribed and translated from a speech broadcast on Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 23 January 1998.

[2] “Swiss Revisionist Forced into Exile for ‘Thought Crime,'” Institute for Historical Review website http://www.ihr.org/, 24 December 2000.

[3] “Hezbollah Fights with Remarkable Determination against Zionist Enemy,” Mehr news agency, 1 August 2006.

[4] See www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FC70E9DF0175965C (viewed 19 October 2007).

[5] “The Holocaust an ‘Infallible Fabrication’ of the West-Iran President,” BBC Monitoring, 5 October 2007, transcribed and translated from a speech broadcast on Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

[6] MEMRI Special Dispatch Series 1186, “Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin: ‘The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel,'” 15 June 2006.

[7] D. D. Guttenplan and Martin Bright, “David Irving’s Secret Backers,” The Observer, 3 March 2002.

[8] “Hungarian Protests Turn Violent,” BBC Online, 15 March 2007.

[9] Matthew Taylor, “Discredited Irving Plans Comeback Tour,” The Guardian, 29 September 2007.

[10] A work by Fred A. Leuchter claiming there were no homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. Irving published the book in the UK, writing a foreword for it.

[11] http://www.fpp.co.uk/.

[12] Marta Falconi, “Italian University Bars Holocaust Denier,” Associated Press, 18 May 2007.

[13] Amanda Smith, “Town Marks Genocide Memorial Day,” Bolton News, 15 July 2007.

[14] Rachel Fletcher, “‘Sacks Told Blair: We Do Not Need Holocaust Day,'” Jewish Chronicle, 2 February 2007.

[15] Jim Allen, Perdition (London: Ithaca Press, 1987).

[16] Martin Gilbert, “To Stage or Not to Stage: The Case of Perdition,” Britain/Israel Public Affairs Committee, March 1987.

[17] David Cesarani, “The Perdition Affair,” in Robert Wistrich, ed., Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Contemporary World (London: Macmillan, 1991), 53-60.

[18] Robert Wistrich, “The New War against the Jews,” Commentary, May 1985.

[19] Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (London: Croom Helm, 1983).

[20] Not related to the American organization of the same name.

[21] Jamie Doward, “Muslim Leader Sent Funds to Irving,” The Observer, 19 November 2006.

[22] “SWP Force Resignation of Member from the Scottish PSC over Perdition,” Harry’s Place, 19 January 2007.

[23] Mick Napier, “Raising the Issues over Holocaust Memorial Day,” Socialist Worker, 27 January 2007.

[24] Ernst Zundel, The West, War, and Islam, 1980; updated (2005) edition available at www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres5/zunwestwarislam.pdf (viewed 29 November 2007).

[25] Nick Griffin, “‘Populism’ or Power?” Spearhead, 324, February 1996.

[26] “…Palestinians must know that they are not just facing the might of the Israeli state but also the power of organized world Jewry and its primary arm, the Holocaust. Perhaps Palestinians should consider lobbing a few stones in that direction. Perhaps we all should.” Paul Eisen, “The Holocaust Wars,” 20 May 2005, www.zundelsite.org/zundel_persecuted/may20-05_eisen.html (viewed 29 November 2007).

[27] “Holocaust Commemoration Week Events in Scotland, 2007 Jan 20-28,” Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/ (viewed 13 December 2006).

[28] I tend to believe that the Holocaust narrative that is forcefully imposed on us all is there to silence some alternative interpretations of WWII events. I do believe that if we really want to stop Anglo-Americans from killing in the name of democracy we better re-open a genuine debate. Stopping Bush and Blair in Iraq, stopping those warmongers from proceeding to Iran and Syria is a must. If history shapes the future, we need to liberate our perspective of the past, rather than arresting revisionists, we simply need many more of them. We must let go; we must Re-arrange the 20th century.

Gilad Atzmon, “Re-Arranging the 20th Century: Allegro, Non Troppo,” http://www.gilad.co.uk/, 23 February 2006 (viewed 19 October 2007).

[29] David Castle, “Pluto Threatened over Israel Book,” www.redpepper.org.uk/article609.html (viewed 25 October 2007).

[30] http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/ (viewed 22 January 2007).

[31] It remains to be seen how the BNP will continue to evolve under Griffin’s leadership.   However, given its current political trajectory, the possibility of the BNP making a pitch for the support of a right-wing minority within the Jewish community on an anti-Muslim programme, as the far-right party Vlaams Belang has successfully done in Belgium, cannot be excluded. Indeed, BNP member and veteran fascist John Bean recently made the point that,”minus the anti-semitism,” a section of the Jewish community will “like much of what we have to say. The mere fact of our opposition to the Muslim threat, which lusts to wipe them off the face of the earth, guarantees some do.” Such an alliance is, at any rate, a lot more likely than the so-called “symbiotic relationship” between the BNP and Muslim extremists that exists only in the imagination of the all-party parliamentary inquiry into anti-semitism.

Geoff Brown, “Why Muslims Are These Men’s Current Target,” Morning Star, 20 September 2006.

[32] Most British university student unions, including the National Union of Students, have policies that prevent racists or fascists from organizing or speaking on campus. The 1975 United Nations resolution 3379 that defined Zionism as a form of racism enabled anti-Zionist activists to argue that Zionist speakers and organizations-in practice, the Union of Jewish Students and individual Jewish societies-should be prevented from operating on university campuses under this “no platform” policy.

There have been two waves of explicit attempts to ban Jewish societies at British universities: 1977 (Brighton Polytechnic, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Warwick University, Salford University, Bristol University, Hatfield Polytechnic, North London Polytechnic, and York University) and 1985-1986 (Sunderland Polytechnic, Birmingham University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, South Bank Polytechnic, City of London Polytechnic, and Heriot-Watt University). Other attempts to ban Jewish societies or limit their activities to exclude anything related to Israel and Zionism have included Warwick University (1974 and 1981), Coventry Polytechnic (1975), Wolverhampton Polytechnic (1979), North London Polytechnic (1980), South Bank Polytechnic (1983), the London School of Economics (1989), and Leeds University (2006).

These lists are not exhaustive. It should be noted that most of these efforts failed when put to the vote in their student unions. There have been many more motions put to student unions that have branded Zionism as racism but not explicitly called for the Jewish society to be excluded.

[33] It is worth noting that Holocaust denial is subject to prosecution not because it offends Jews but in cases where it potentially incites anti-Semitism and encourages neo-Nazism among non-Jews. This is an important distinction when compared to the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, which provoked protests from Muslim communities on the basis that they offended their religious sensibilities.

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Dave Rich is deputy director of communications at CST, which provides security and defense services to the UK Jewish community and advises the government and police on anti-Semitism and terrorism.

About Dave Rich

Dave Rich is deputy director of communications at CST, which provides security and defense services to the UK Jewish community and advises the government and police on anti-Semitism and terrorism.