Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New York Times on boycotts of Israel

Today's New York Times has a provocative and disturbing article on the attempt by some professional groups, trade unions, and artists are being pushed to boycott Israel.

It mentions the apartheid model of protest in relation to Israel. The idea of using this model in relation to Israel was not invented by Jimmy Carter but it has gotten a great of traction from his book.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

EU Legislation on genocide denial: Still in flux

IN mid-April I said the proposed EU legislation had been defeated. The fact is that it is still in discussion and there is, according to Bruno Waterfield, correspondent for the Daily Telegraph [London], a fair bit of jockeying going on in various preparatory committees.

The UK pushed and got a raising of the threshold for an offence to that which exists in British legislation on race and religious hatred. The threshold includes targeting groups or using "threatening, abuse or insulting" language. It is felt that this threshold will not limit the free speech of scholars or artists.

Waterfield wrties that "The scope of legislation remained the same: the Nazi crimes as defined in the courts and any genocide as defined in (the broad) statute of the International Criminal Court."

Eventually the legislation could be extended to encompass Stalin era crimes.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jimmy Carter: There he goes again [trying to rewrite history]

Once again Jimmy Carter is trying to rewrite history. In this case it's his own history he's trying to rewrite.

Carter was quoted in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as calling the Bush administration the "worst in history."

When he was subjected to a barrage of criticism [former Presidents usually don't openly attack current administrations) instead of standing his ground he blamed others and said his "words were taken out of context."

He then twisted himself into a pretzel saying he was comparing this administration's foreign policy with that of Richard Nixon's. According to Carter, Nixon had a productive foreign policy.

In fact his words were not taken out of context. What he actually said was:
"I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history." "The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."

Irrespective of what people might think of the Bush administration, what this demonstrates is how Jimmy Carter is always quick with some excuse or ready to blame others for his problems.

C-Span: A long overdue comment about a very old issue

I have been remiss not to have long ago added this comment about the C-Span controversy which occurred when my book, History on Trial: My Day in court with David Irving was first published.

As some readers will remember C-Span insisted on my appearing either with David Irving or back to back [a segment by him and then one by me]. In other words, we would appear as two sides of the issue.

At first the Ethics Scoreboard supported my refusal to appear. I blogged about that.
It subsequently retracted its support. I failed to explicitly blog about that. That was wrong on my part.

The reason it withdrew its support was that C-Span told it that all it wanted to do was show the views against which I was fighting, e.g. when the fight against evolution is discussed the views of creationists are shown. This, the Ethicsscoreboard says, is good journalistic practice.

If that is what C-Span planned to do, that is not what they told me or reporters from the Washington Post, New York Times, and other papers that covered the incident.

If this is what C-Span planned to do, when then did it ultimately admit its error or use the word "balance," when it said it planned to balance its coverage of me with coverage of Irving.

C-Span's producer was quite explicit: either appear with David Irving on the same platform and we will film that or we will show you in one segment and then follow up your presentation with one of the same length by Irving.

This is precisely what deniers want, to be thought of as an "other side." For a prime example of this approach by deniers, see my previous post on how Al Hurra covered the Iranian Holocaust conference.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Al Hurra whitewashes Iran's Holocaust denial confernce and NPR's "On the Media" strange treatment thereof

A few weeks ago I promised to comment further on Al Hurra, the American funded Arabic language station, coverage of the Holocaust denial conference in Iran.

The station was skewered on the pages of the Wall Street Journal by Joel Mowbray for its coverage of the conference.

The station treated the Holocaust as having two sides and that this was a forum to allow historians to air views that are otherwise suppressed.

Mowbray noted that the Al Hurra reporter covering the conference provided one of the organizers an opportunity to say:
"If we actually conclude with our experts through this meeting that the Holocaust is a real incident we will at that time admit its presence."
[Mowbray notes: "Transcript provided by a fluent Arabic-speaking U.S. government employee." Amazingly, Al Hurra does not provide transcripts of its programs.]

This is SOP for deniers, who attempt to show their open mindedness and to present themselves as simply engaged in trying to find out the truth.

Al Hurra also broadcast the remarks of Robert Faurisson:
"Gas chambers and mass killings of the Jews, in the way that it is pretended (by the Jews), is completely untrue, and an historical lie."
Al Hurra called those who are not deniers as "Holocaust supporters," again reinforcing the "two sides" of the issue view.

The reporter went on to say that those people at the conference who were not deniers "didn't enforce their statements with scientific evidence."

This sounds like it could have come straight from David Irving and his ilk.
But Al Hurra did not stop there. Six weeks later it broadcast a story on the Neturei Karta so-called rabbis who attended. Rather than acknowledge that they were a fringe group with a membership of no more than a few thousand, Al Hurra said they had a million members and, according to Mowbray, depicted them as mainstream Modern Orthodox.

NPR's On the Media compounds the problem
Now Mark Lynch of George Washington, a frequent guest on NPR's On the Media and someone who admits on his blog [Abu Aardvark] to be roiled about the criticism of Al Hurra [but seems to offer few specifics about its coverage of the Iranian conference], dismissed the coverage as "appear[ing] to be a mistake." That's it.

A mistake? It was many things but mistake does not sound to me like one of them. The best thing that can be said is that it was a lost opportunity to educate its Arab speaking audience [which apparently is minuscule] about the Holocaust denial movement.

It was a prime opportunity to talk about the fact that the Holocaust has the dubious distinction of being the best documented genocide in the world. Sadly, it was a lost opportunity.

And it was a lost opportunity for NPR to make the point about the spread of Holocaust denial in the Arab/Muslim world. This was far more than a mistake. It demonstrated a certain attitude in the Arab/Muslim world that is deeply troubling.

The Iranian UN Ambassador attempts to burnish Ahmadinejad's record*

In a profile in today's The New York Times, Warren Hoge gives a glowing profile of Iran's UN Ambassador, Javad Zarif. In an almost fawning portrait, Hoge describes how Zarif is so busy giving speeches that he hasn't been on the diplomatic circuit.

For relaxation he does grocery shopping [Fairway?] and walks through Central Park. According to Hoge, Zarif has been "listened to respectfully and often applauded warmly" by American audiences because these audiences suspect that he "contests the extreme views of Mr. Ahmadinejad."

Nothing too remarkable here. Until Mr. Zarif spins Ahmadinejad on the Holocaust.

Mr. Zarif contends Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been misunderstood regarding the Holocaust. According to Mr. Zarif, Mr. Ahmadinejad was not questioning whether the Holocaust had occurred, “but merely saying that the Palestinians wrongly bore the consequences of it.”

Apparently Mr. Zarif simply ignores Mr. Ahmadinejad’s frequent statements to the contrary. And surprisingly Mr. Hoge does not bring them up. The Iranian president has not been shy about raising all sorts of questions about the Holocaust. He has done so in speeches and in writing.

For example: In December 2005 he described the Holocaust as a “legend” that had been “fabricated,” In a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel he said, regarding the Holocaust, that the victorious countries of World War II “create[d] an alibi.” He wrote
But, does it not stand to reason that some victorious countries of World War II intended to create an alibi on the basis of which they could continue keeping the defeated nations of World War II indebted to them. Their purpose has been to weaken their morale and their inspiration in order to obstruct their progress and power.

In a May 2006 interview with the German publication Der Spiegel Mr. Ahmadinejad insisted that there were “two opinions” regarding the Holocaust. He told Der Spiegel
We don't want to confirm or deny the Holocaust. We oppose every type of crime against any people. But we want to know whether this crime actually took place or not.


But there are two opinions on this in Europe. One group of scholars or persons, most of them politically motivated, say the Holocaust occurred. Then there is the group of scholars who represent the opposite position and have therefore been imprisoned for the most part. Hence, an impartial group has to come together to investigate and to render an opinion on this very important subject, because the clarification of this issue will contribute to the solution of global problems. Under the pretext of the Holocaust, a very strong polarization has taken place in the world and fronts have been formed.

Mr. Zarif also ignores the fact that Mr. Ahmadinejad convened a conference to explore the existence of the Holocaust which was dominated by the appearance of Holocaust deniers. At the conference Ahmadinejad claimed that Western governments did not allow research into the Holocaust.

Mr. Zarif is not the only Iranian official to attempt to reinterpret Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statements. Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi has also argued that the statements were “misunderstood."

Mr. Zarif and his colleagues' know that, while Ahmadinejad's statements may play well with certain audience in Iran, they do him and their country no good in Western eyes. In fact, they make their country's leadership look ridiculous. Hence their efforts to spin his statements.

Their efforts to make Mr. Ahmadinejad sound more reasonable notwithstanding, his statements speak for themselves.

* I orignally posted this blog with the following headline: The New York Times' glowing portrait of Iran's UN Ambassador. I changed it because I decided that it placed the emphasis on the NY Times and not the attempt by Iran to burnish Ahmadinejad's record.

Friday, May 25, 2007

9/11 Conspiracy theorists invited to appear on ABC's The View and then disinvited

Seems that someone at ABC's The View, the Barbara Walters produced show, which has as one of its hosts [for the next few weeks] Rosie O'Donnell, lost their mind... and that someone else showed better judgment.

ABC announced that it had invited the creators of the 9/11 conspiracy, Korey Rowe and Dylan Avery, to appear on the show. [O'Donnell is a propagator of this stuff.] Then, according to the invitees, their appearance was postponed and then cancelled all together.

The invitees are the ones who created Loose Change, the 9/11 conspiracy film which Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks is producing.

For my comments about Cuban's misguided efforts see a previous post. You will also see there Cuban's attack on me.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another defeat for Holocaust denier, Robert Faurisson

Holocaust deniers like David Irving and Robert Faurisson just don't seem to get it: courts [at least in democratic countries] are not going to be beguiled by their false evidence and pseudo-scientific claims.

They are so filled with hubris that they don't seem to ever learn.

According to an AFP report a Paris court rejected French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson's attempt to sue former French Minister of Justice Robert Badinter for defamation after the latter accused him of falsifying history.

Badinter had brought a case against Faurisson in 1981 for having declared that "Hitler never ordered for anyone to be killed because of their race or religion".

Proving that he has not backed down from his denial views, at the recent hearing in the French court, Faurisson maintained that the "alleged Hitlerian gas chambers and the alleged genocide of Jews are part of the same historical lie".

For a visual of Faurisson, Lady Renoulf [aka Brunhilda] who was David Irving's constant companion during my trial, and the so-called Neturei Karta rabbis at the Iranian Holocaust denial confab see my previous post.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My colleague gets mugged by the Atlanta Journal Constitution

This post has nothing to do with Holocaust denial, antisemitism, or Jimmy Carter's historical distortions. The reason I post it is that it demonstrates how reality can be totally distorted by some deft editing. This is a tactic employed by Holocaust deniers.

Some background: This past week Professor Timothy Jackson of Emory debated Christopher Hitchens about Hitchens' book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Cynthia Tucker, editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, moderated.

The paper printed excerpts of the debate. Jackson's opening comments were edited in a way that dramatically changed the tenor of what he actually said.

I am not sure if the Atlanta Journal Constitution did it on purpose (this does not seem to me to be Cynthia Tucker's style), however whatever the reason for this editing, it certainly managed to make Prof. Jackson sound like a caricature, i.e. a fire and brimstone believer.

The letter he sent to the paper explains it all:
May 21, 2007

Atlanta Journal Constitution
P.O. Box 4689
Atlanta, GA 30303

Dear Editor,

On May 16, I participated in two debates with Christopher Hitchens, reported on by the AJC in its Sunday edition of May 20, page C3. In its excerpts from the second debate, the paper quoted my opening remarks as follows:

Jackson: When I was first asked to debate Christopher Hitchens around his book, "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything," I swallowed hard. I know he can be a little bit caustic in public forums, but I agreed. I assumed I could remain civil and engage, even without having seen the volume then. I agreed. Went ahead in the spirit of constructive dialogue. But then I started doing the relevant reading and research. It quickly became clear that Mr. Hitchens' opinions represented an abomination to anyone like myself, raised in an upright home in Louisville. It's a sad thing when you have to judge another human being as fundamentally misguided, even damned.

Whether intentional or not, this is a highly misleading abbreviation of what I actually said.

My words, in full, were:

“When I was first asked if I would debate Christopher Hitchens around his book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, I swallowed hard. I know he can be a little bit caustic in public forums, but I agreed. I assumed that I could remain civil and engaged and, even without having seen the volume, I forged ahead in the spirit of constructive dialogue. But then I started doing the relevant research and reading. It quickly became clear that Mr. Hitchens’s opinions represent an abomination to anyone like myself raised in an upright home in Louisville. It is a sad thing when you must judge another human being to be fundamentally misguided, even damned. Hitchens is in real danger of being consigned forever to the lesser spirits. How he can prefer Johnny Walker Red Scotch to Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, I simply cannot fathom! As Walker Percy notes, drinking scotch is ‘like looking at a picture of Noel Coward,’ while drinking Bourbon is ‘a little burst of Kentucky sunshine.’

Well, there’s no accounting for taste, so I will confine myself this evening to Hitchens’s much more understandable critique of religion. He’s wrong there too, but more forgivably.”

Either the compiler of the excerpts did not get the joke, or there was a deliberate effort to deceive here. The reason I began with irony and humor was precisely to rebut the impression that Mr. Hitchens gives in his book that all religious believers are dangerously dogmatic and judgmental. In editing my remarks so “unwisely,” the AJC communicated exactly the opposite point.

Although it somewhat taxes plausibility, I am prepared to believe that this was an accident, the result of an assistant working on material from an occasion he or she had not witnessed first-hand. But the unfortunate upshot is that your readers, at least those not at the debate, now have a false conception of me and my views. This, in effect, negates the spirit and substance of the very event you were presumably attempting to cover with objectivity.

Well, as Alexander Pope famously says: “to err is human, to forgive divine.”


Timothy P. Jackson
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Candler School of Theology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322

Friday, May 18, 2007

David Irving's [cancelled] talk at Warsaw Book Fair

David Irving was scheduled to speak today at the International Book Fair in Warsaw. Apparently there was a great deal of public protest and his talk was cancelled at the last moment.

According to Irving's website [always to be taken with many grains of salt and to which I do NOT provide a link], he "signed several publishing deals with eastern European publishers for his memoirs and the Himmler biography on which he is working."

Faurisson in Italy [see previous post], Irving in Warsaw... hmm who's at home creating their version of history??

Holocaust Denier Robert Faurisson invited and then disinvited to Italian university

It's hard to believe but Robert Faurisson, an unabashed Holocaust denier who has been convicted five times in France for denying crimes against humanity, was invited to lecture at the University of Teramo.

He was scheduled to speak today but the university, claiming security fears, closed down for the day.

The picture comes from the Iranian Holocaust denial conference [note the so-called rabbis behind them]. The woman is Lady Renouf, whom my defense team dubbed Brunhilda during the trial. [For more on her see my book History on Trial,pp. 128, 178, 294, 296-97]

What I find most mind-boggling is that Faurisson was invited to give a lecture at the university by Claudio Moffa, a professor of Asian and African history and director of a master's program in Middle East studies.

That's the frightening aspect. I have no idea of Moffa's views on the Middle East. But if he chose to extend an invitation to someone such a Faurisson, an avowed denier, Moffa's academic credentials are certainly called into question.

[I spent a day with Faurisson in Vichy when I was doing research for Denying the Holocaust. I found him to be a vile human being.]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A bookstore window in Amman

The book on the left most readers of this blog will identify as Jimmy Carter's manifesto on the Arab/Israeli situation. The book on the right is Hitler's manifesto, Mein Kampf.

To be sure: I am not drawing comparisons between the two. That would be inaccurate and unfair. What I find interesting is that the store chose to link the two.

Even more striking is, working from the supposition that stores put their big sellers in the window, that Mein Kampf is in such demand in Jordan.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

According to the Scientologists: The Holocaust was the responsibity of psychiatrists

BBC's investigative news show, Panorama, did a story on Scientology. The reporter wanted to know if it had changed and could no longer be labeled, as it has so often been in the past as a "cult."

The reporter mentioned that an American judge in 1984 described Scientologists as "nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo scientific theories." The judge also accused them of "blackmail." For a compendium of what other courts and officials have had to say about Scientology check this out.

Well seems that the Scientologists went into high gear, following this BBC reporter and, eventually completely unnerving him. He had, in fact, what looks like a mini-breakdown after spending 90 minutes in a Scientology exhibit which accuses psychiatry of being responsible for the Holocaust. He lost his cool and began to shriek at the Scientology representatives.

If this could happen to a seasoned BBC reporter, imagine what happens to more innocent types who go to one of the Scientology weekends.

The photo is from an exhibit at Psychiatry: An Industry of Death, a Scientology-run museum in Los Angeles, portraying psychiatry as being responsible for Hitler and the Holocaust.

Scientologists have long made this claim about the Holocaust. It's despicable and could be described as a form of "soft-core" denial because it's a whitewash of those who were truly responsible for it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hamas uses Mickey Mouse

As most readers of this blog will already know, Hamas has continued to use
Mickey Mouse look alike as a means of inculcating hatred of Israel among Palestinian youth. Though I am loath to make comparisons between contemporary acts of antisemitism and the Holocaust, I will make a limited comparison here. This reminds me of the propaganda techniques of Josef Goebbels, Julius Streicher and other leading Nazis.

Germany published all sorts of children's literature designed to inculcate hatred of Jews. Some of this was published quite early in the history of the Third Reich. So if you do the math, a child who was ten or eleven in 1936 was old enough to be among those involved in murdering Jews and others seven years -- or less -- later.

For a more detailed analysis of propaganda and children in the Third Reich see Mary Mills essay

One of the most famous was the Poison Mushroom [Der Giftpilz] published in 1938. I often wonder how a young German who was raised on this kind of stuff managed to eradicate these feelings after the war.

For a powerful collection of this kind of propaganda see the Calvin website. maintained by Professor Randall Bytwerk. It is a excellent educational tool.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Wall St. Journal on US funding of Holocaust denial in Arab world

Interesting and disturbing report in yesterday's WSJ on US funding of Arab groups which actively preach Holocaust denial. Well worth reading. I will comment on it later.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Richard Cohen on UK journalist's call for boycott of Israel

Richard Cohen, who often has some very critical things to say about Israel, has written a spot-on column about the vote by UK journalists for a boycott of Israel. As I noted earlier on this blog, such a decision -- which ignores any responsibility on the part of the Palestinians and ignores the wrongdoings of the Sudan, Zimbabwe, China, etc. etc. -- smacks of antisemitism.

Ironically -- or maybe not so - a BBC journalists was kidnapped in Gaza and has not been released by the Palestinian group that took him. The journalists don't mention this...

Cohen writes:
The British journalists say they are moved by the plight of the Palestinian people, and they are right to be. But the misery of a Gazan or a West Banker is not solely Israel's doing. The government of Gaza is the political arm of a terrorist organization, and if the West Bank is suffering -- and it is -- the cause is not only Israeli land lust but also a morbid Israeli fear of terrorism. British journalists would no doubt approve similar measures if London's city buses had not once but repeatedly been blown to smithereens by passengers with the exact fare and belts of explosives.

So what explains this fury at Israel -- and only at Israel? What explains this need to denounce, to boycott?


The British journalists, like the academics before them, dare to tread where an army of goons has gone before. If they do not recognize the ember of anti-Semitism still glowing within them, they ought to park themselves before a mirror and ask why, of all the nations, they single out Israel for reprimand and obloquy. This business of assigning to Jews a special burden, for seeing in them more of mankind's bad qualities and less of its good, has a dark and ugly pedigree: the Chosen People, again -- and again in the wrong way.