Sunday, February 20, 2005

Final Word [I hope] on Ward Churchill

I have been asked by a number of people for more background on Ward Churchill's attacks on me. During my trial [Irving v. Penguin and Lipstadt] in 2000 someone alerted me to his attacks on me. I began the article and found two factual mistakes in the first paragraph. [Churchill claimed that Irving was barred from the United States and that the US Government had supported civil suits against deniers: both are wrong.]

I decided that this guy did not deserve too much of my time. I skimmed the rest of the article and saw that much of it was a vicious attack on me for not mentioning the American assaults on Native Americans and declaring that it was the same as the Holocaust.

What the United States did to Native Americans was horrendous. I have not studied it closely and it's not my area of expertise, however, it seems clear that the treatment of the various Native American tribes was revolting. However, it was not the same as the Holocaust. The Native Americans were seen as "competitors" for land and resources. There was, therefore, a certain logic -- horrible and immoral as it was -- to the campaign against the Native Americans. [Please note: I am NOT justifying the attacks.] The German campaign against the Jews had no logic and was often completely illogical. People who were "useful" to the Germans were murdered or exiled, e.g. slave laborers in factories producing goods for the Wehrmacht and scientists who were producing important technological advances for the Germans. In a prime example of illogic, in June 1944 at the time of the landing at Normandy, when the Germans were truly on the defensive, they used precious ships and men to go to the Island of Corfu and deport the 1200 Jews who lived there. They ended up in Auschwitz. Approximately 100 of this old Jewish community survived.

Because of my feelings, Churchill declared me equal to Eichmann because by "denying" the putative Native American Holocaust, I cause more Holocausts.

Only after the current brouhaha over Churchill's comments did I go back and read the article in its entirety. That's how I discovered his comment. His work is repetitive and not particularly enlightening. It's also the first time I ever saw the word "Motherfucker" in what purports to be a scholarly article.

End of story. [I hope.]

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

So the fact that the US of A commited the Indian genocide FOR PROFIT makes it better?

Why do you go to such lengths to insist on the _uniqueness_ of the Jewish Holocaust?

How about 400+ years of slavery of the Black peoples? That was for money too, so it's bad, but not _as_ bad?

How about the 3,000,000+ dead in Vietnam?

And Hiroshima & Nagasaki? Looks pretty illogical too, Japan was on its knees, there was no reason for it. Can we call it Hiroshima Holocaust? Why not?

The examples are many.

This "my Holocaust is better than yours" kind of thing is just so unrespectful of other people's sufferings...

I don't think that you care only for your own, so why do you do this? This is ultimately fodder for the anti-semites and other hatemongers...

Calvin said...

Hey Debs! What's the big deal about red Indians? The original settelers in America were asylum seekers fleeing the religious upheavals of sixteenth century europe. Instead of "accepting" the new imigrants, the rdskins began a savage war intended to extirpate them. Guess what? They lost!

You claim that the difference between the persecution of the Jews and the persecution of red Indians differs in that, although Europeans displayed their unique evilness in both cases, at least the red Indians can be considerd to have been competitors for economic resources. Is it not the case that the main rivals to the Nazis were the Communists? Is it not true that Jews were disproportionatly present in key positions in the Communist movement? I reckon that this could make the Nazis percieve the Jews as competitors for political power, No?

PS Your comments on Ward Churchill display a fine command of ad-hominem attacks, anthing else in your arsenal love?

Circumspection said...

Why the urge to compare human tragedies?

Louis said...

>>> Because of my feelings, Churchill declared me equal to Eichmann because by "denying" the putative Native American Holocaust, I cause more Holocausts. <<<

s/putative/commonly put forth or accepted as true on inconclusive grounds/:

Because of my feelings, Churchill declared me equal to Eichmann because by "denying" the commonly put forth or accepted as true on inconclusive grounds Native American Holocaust, I cause more Holocausts.

Churchill:

Denial of genocide, insofar as it plainly facilitates continuation of the crime, amounts to complicity in it. This is true whether the deniers are neo-Nazis, Jewish exclusivists, renowned international jurists or provincial Canadian judges. Complicity in genocide is, under Article III of the 1948 Convention, tantamount to perpetration of genocide itself. It is formally designated a Crime Against Humanity, those who engage in it criminals of the worst sort. There is no difference in this sense between a J.C. MacPherson, a Deborah Lipstadt and an Adolf Eichmann.

Anonymous said...

"Louis" seems to have shown that Deborah's choice of language ("putative") indicates that she thinks the Native American Holocaust never occurred. I guess no one has ever been killed, except for Jews. Or if they were killed, it doesn't matter.

Louis said...

Well, I don't think she'd go that far, but obviously for her there is only one Holocaust, with other atrocities being somehow of lesser significance.

>>> However, it was not the same as the Holocaust. The Native Americans were seen as "competitors" for land and resources. There was, therefore, a certain logic -- horrible and immoral as it was -- to the campaign against the Native Americans. <<<

Mass-murderer Adolf Hitler:

""
[The Jew] destroys the character of princes with byzantine flattery, national pride (the strength of a people), with ridicule and shameless breeding to depravity. His method of battle is that public opinion which is never expressed in the press but which is nonetheless managed and falsified by it. His power is the power of money, which multiplies in his hands effortlessly and endlessly through interest, and which forces peoples under the most dangerous of yokes. Its golden glitter, so attractive in the beginning, conceals the ultimately tragic consequences. Everything men strive after as a higher goal, be it religion, socialism, democracy, is to the Jew only means to an end, the way to satisfy his lust for gold and domination.

In his effects and consequences he is like a racial tuberculosis of the nations.
""

Now, imagine Churchill had said this:

>>> However, it was not the same as the Indian Holocaust. The Jews were seen as "destroyers of the nation", who "forced people in the most dangerous of yokes". There was, therefore, a certain logic -- horrible and immoral as it was -- to the campaign against the Jews. <<<

I had a hard time writing that paragraph, so hateful it is. But perhaps after reading it you will realise, Ms. Lipstadt, how hurtful your views on the Indian genocide can be.

Anonymous said...

"Genocide" means the destruction of a race. Both the Jewish race and the Amerindian race survive. Since this is the case neither can be said to be victims of genocide. If we are talking about the destruction of culture we must evaluate the merits of the cultures involved. The imposition of European culture upon the Amerindians meant the destruction of a redundant stone age culture. Big deal! The people who romanticise primative cultures should try giving up their central-heated, air conditioned, supermarket lifestyles before they start mourning the loss of tribal barbarism. Get real!

Louis said...

>>> The imposition of European culture upon the Amerindians meant the destruction of a redundant stone age culture. Big deal! The people who romanticise primative cultures should try giving up their central-heated, air conditioned, supermarket lifestyles before they start mourning the loss of tribal barbarism. Get real! <<<

barbarism
n : a brutal barbarous savage act [syn: brutality, barbarity, savagery]

barbarism : http://www.climateark.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=38626

barbarism : http://www.tribo.org/nanking/

barbarism : http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWdresden.htm

barbarism : http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/Holocaust.htm

barbarism : http://www.world66.com/africa/algeria/history

barbarism : http://www.csi.ad.jp/ABOMB/

barbarism : http://www.crimesofwar.org/special/condor.html

barbarism : http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444

barbarism : http://www.infoukes.com/history/famine/

From _A People's History of the United States_ by Howard Zinn:

In the villages of the Iroquois, land was owned in common and worked in common. Hunting was done together, and the catch was divided among the members of the village. Houses were considered common property and were shared by several families. The concept of private
ownership of land and homes was foreign to the Iroquois. A French Jesuit priest who encountered
them in the 1650s wrote: "No poorhouses are needed among them, because they are neither mendicants nor paupers.. . . Their kindness, humanity and courtesy not only makes them liberal with what they have, but causes them to possess hardly anything except in common."

Women were important and respected in Iroquois society. Families were matrilineal. That is, the family line went down through the female members, whose husbands joined the family, while sons who married then joined their wives' families. Each extended family lived in a "long house." When a woman wanted a divorce, she set her husband's things outside the door.

Families were grouped in clans, and a dozen or more clans might make up a village. The senior women in the village named the men who represented the clans at village and tribal councils. They also named the forty-nine chiefs who were the ruling council for the Five Nation confederacy of the
Iroquois. The women attended clan meetings, stood behind the circle of men who spoke and voted, and removed the men from office if they strayed too far from the wishes of the women.

The women tended the crops and took general charge of village affairs while the men were always hunting or fishing. And since they supplied the moccasins and food for warring expeditions, they had some control over military matters. As Gary B. Nash notes in his fascinating study of early America, Red, White, and Black: "Thus power was shared between the sexes and the European idea of male dominancy and female subordination in all things was conspicuously absent in Iroquois
society."

Children in Iroquois society, while taught the cultural heritage of their people and solidarity with
the tribe, were also taught to be independent, not to submit to overbearing authority. They were
taught equality in status and the sharing of possessions. The Iroquois did not use harsh punishment on children; they did not insist on early weaning or early toilet training, hut gradually allowed the child to learn self-care.

All of this was in sharp contrast to European values as brought over by the first colonists, a society
of rich and poor, controlled by priests, by governors, by male heads of families. For example, the
pastor of the Pilgrim colony, John Robinson, thus advised his parishioners how to deal with their
children: "And surely there is in all children ... a stubbornness, and stoutness of mind arising from
natural pride, which must, in the first place, be broken and beaten down; that so the foundation of
their education being laid in humility and tractableness, other virtues may, in their time, be built thereon." Gary Nash describes Iroquois culture:

"They were people without a written language, but with their own laws, their poetry, their history kept in memory and passed on, in an oral vocabulary more complex than Europe's, accompanied by
song, dance, and ceremonial drama. They paid careful attention to the development of personality,
intensity of will, independence and flexibility, passion and potency, to their partnership with one
another and with nature."

John Collier, an American scholar who lived among Indians in the 1920s and 1930s in the American Southwest, said of their spirit:

"Could we make it our own, there would be an eternally
inexhaustible earth and a forever lasting peace."

Perhaps there is some romantic mythology in that. But the evidence from European travelers in the
sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, put together recently by an American specialist on Indian life, William Brandon, is overwhelmingly supportive of much of that "myth." Even allowing
for the imperfection of myths, it is enough to make us question, for that time and ours, the excuse
of progress in the annihilation of races, and the telling of history from the standpoint of the
conquerors and leaders of Western civilization.

Anonymous said...

Women in native American societies, like women in all primitive societies, lived lives of near constant backbreaking labour, near constant and often fatal pregnancy and domestic drudgery. The men reserved all of the more glamorous jobs, like hunting, for themselves.

The Iriquois,who elevated torture to an art form, were perhaps the most savage people of all time. You forgot to mention the reports by westerners of fingers amputated by sharpened clam shells, the stripping of skin from living victims and the roasting and eating of kidnapped babies in front of their mothers.

There is no time or place in which it is better to be old, poor or female than in 21st century Europe or America. Most of us grew out of our cowboy and indian fantasies round about age 10.

David Gehrig said...

It's a little irritating watching all these bogus arguments being forced into Prof. Lipstadt's mouth.

I don't see her anywhere saying anything similar to "my Holocaust is better than yours," yet she's accused (anonymously, natch) of providing "fodder for the antisemites" by doing just that.

To insist on the uniqueness of the Holocaust isn't to deny that any other tragedy has occured, but instead to recognize that the Holocaust was a unique product of specific social and historical forces at specific times in specific places. It's both wrong and insulting to suggest that her actual intention is to belittle other tragedies, to dismiss them as merely second-class tragedies.

The Holocaust had a purpose of its own, a budget of its own, a bureaucracy of its own, a vocabulary of its own, a social history of its own, and now also has an extensive literature of its own. Why then do some people get so abusive when asked simply to recognize it also has a name of its own?

And what supposed moral law is being suggested here dictating that, if a scholar dedicates her life to one particular event, then she is somehow intentionally ignoring every other historical event she hasn't studied to the same degree? Is a chemist who makes the study of carbon her life work deliberately insulting neon by doing so?

@%<

Anonymous said...

What pisses me off is not tht Jews regard the Holocaust as the definitve act of evil, but the seeming insistence that all Europeans should shoulder the burden of responsibility for the Holocaust. My mother was evacuated during WWII and lost two uncles in the conflict. We are being urged to forget our own war dead and commemorate the Jewish victims of the holocaust. Why should we? Do the Israelis have a day of gratitude for British and American soldiers? Fat chance. The only truly unique thing about the Holocaust is that its authenticity has to be upheld by threat imprisonment. When was the last time someone went to jail for denying the Ukranian famine?

Oldinfantryman said...

How anyone can compare the clash of civilizations (of Europeans with Native Americans) with the attack against a the Jews is beyond me. The Native Americans fought, they ofter lost, but they were able to fight or to be assimilated. The Jews had no end save their extermination.

Louis said...

David,

every historical event is a unique product of specific social and historical forces at specific times in specific places.

david gehrig said...

That's exactly my point. There is some exclusitivity involved in discussing any event, especially any event on the scale of the Holocaust. You can't put all the genocides in the world together and puree them in a blender without losing the individual historicality of each one.

However, for having said pretty much the same thing, Churchill derides Lipstadt as an "Eichmann."

@%<

Juan said...

Hi Paul. I love the way you and your homeboy Louis are remaining aloof from all of the other posters. You are soooo..... intellectualy superior and they are so beneath contempt. You remind me of the ladies of Empire in 1940 who played bridge whilst the Japanese swept into Honk Kong. The internet is a public forum. Didn't you know that? Goodnight Ladies!

David said...

A couple of points were made, and I think many of them, while historically grounded, are amazingly misleading: In reference to the comparison between the Amerindian Holocaust and the Jewiosh one, I think that the point Deborah made needs to be expanded. not to compare the two, but to contrast them, the Amerindian Holocaust was never a methodical plan embarked on by a people whose sole goal was to wipe out a race.

Brutality by the Americans is unexcusable, but what hit people especially about the holocaust was that an apex of European culture and philosophy could morph, over the course of a few decades, into a machine whose goal, to the exclusion of all others, was to rid the world of a significant section of humanity.

If the discussion is one of destruction of a culture, the "genocide" of the amerindian culture was perpetrated by germ warfare significantly more than the actual fighting that occurred.

And lastly, the discussion can NEVER be about "my holocaust is _better_ than yours, because, as Deborah fairly points out, the two were _different_. Comparing apples and oranges has always been a good way of skewing facts, and it certainly would be beneficail to all sides interested in truth that they not be compared.

Anonymous said...

The definition of holocaust is any action taken by Northern Europreans, historically, which was detrimental to non-European peoples and which helped to spread European civilisation, the greatest civilisation the world has/will ever see, across the globe.

The cultural genocide in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Levant which included the destruction of Byzantium and the burning of the library of Alexandria, perpetrated by the expanding Muslim Jihadists, is never described as a "cultural genocide" or a "holocaust".
Communist expansion is never described as "cultural genocide" the Communist massacres are never described as a holocaust. Why?

The modern world is in the grip of a power struggle between two conflicting ideologies. An ideology based on traditional virtues and natural order and an ideology based on leftwing utopian vanity.

The Eurosphere is the center of world power and thus here the battle rages.

The excerption of historical events and the labelling of these events in terms which vilify the traditional values of White Europeans, is the major weapon of the power hungry "liberal", leftists. Welcome to the new world order.

Trust the inventors of "cultural terrorism" to invent the term, "cultural genocide".

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