Saturday, May 2, 2009

Controversy at Harvard: Muslim Chaplain Suggests Death of Muslim Apostates?

For the past two weeks a controversy has been brewing at Harvard as reported by the Harvard Crimson. Recently it has also been covered in the Forward.

In short, the Muslim chaplain, Abdul-Basser wrote the following to a Muslim student:
great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment [for apostates]) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand.”
In the Crimson article a number of Muslim students were quoted as being quite critical of his stand. He claims that he has been misinterpreted and was not saying that he supports death for converts from Islam. It's hard how to see otherwise, particular in light of his comment about "hegemonic modern human rights discourse."

He, of course, is free to have any religious view he wishes. It is just disturbing to think that this is the point of view being imparted to students.

Durban II: Professor Dershowitz Explains What He Did at Durban II

Take a look at Professor Dershowitz's explanation of his encounter with Durban II. It's quite revealing.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jane Fonda and Anne Frank: Banned in Beirut

There is an interesting oped in today's Wall St. Journal on censorship in Beirut by William Marling:

A professor at the American University here recently ordered copies of "The Diary of Anne Frank" for his classes, only to learn that the book is banned. Inquiring further, he discovered a long list of prohibited books, films and music.

This is perplexing -- and deeply ironic -- because Beirut has been named UNESCO's 2009 "World Book Capital City." Just last week "World Book and Copyright Day" was kicked off with a variety of readings and exhibits that honor "conformity to the principles of freedom of expression [and] freedom to publish," as stated by the UNESCO Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.\


Even a partial list of books banned in Lebanon gives pause: William Styron's "Sophie's Choice"; Thomas Keneally's "Schindler's List"; Thomas Friedman's "From Beirut to Jerusalem"; books by Philip Roth, Saul Bellow and Isaac Bashevis Singer. In fact, all books that portray Jews, Israel or Zionism favorably are banned.

Writers in Arabic are not exempt....


All of Jane Fonda's films are banned, since she visited Israel in 1982 to court votes for Tom Hayden's Senate run. "Torn Curtain" is banned: Paul Newman starred in "Exodus." And the television series "The Nanny" is banned because of Fran Drescher.


Even works by self-proclaimed Islamists such as Assadeq al-Nayhoum's "Islam Held Hostage," have been banned, and issued only when re-edited in sympathetic editions (in Syria).

Censorship is a problem throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Though a signatory of the Florence Agreement, the Academy of Islamic Research in Egypt, through its censorship board al-Azhar, decides what may not be printed: Nobel Prize winner Naghib Mahfouz's "Awlad Haratina" (The Sons of the Medina) was found sacrilegious and only printed in bowdlerized form in Egypt in 2006. Saudi Arabia sponsors international book fairs in Riyadh, but Katia Ghosn reported in L'Orient that it sends undercover agents into book stores regularly.

Works that could stimulate dialogue in Lebanon are perfunctorily banned. "Waltz with Bashir," an Israeli film of 2008, is banned -- even though it alleges that Ariel Sharon was complicit in the Sabra and Shatilla massacres. According to the Web site Monstersandcritics, however, "Waltz with Bashir" became an instant classic in the very Palestinian camps it depicts, because it is the only history the younger generation has. But how did those copies get there?

The answer is also embarrassing. Just as it ignores freedom of circulation, Lebanon also ignores international copyright laws. Books of all types are routinely photocopied for use in high schools and universities.


Mr. Marling is a visiting professor of American Studies at the American University of Beirut and professor of English at Case Western Reserve University.

New Book will Ignite a Debate About Roosevelt

See today's article in the New York Times for some recent research which is likely to ignite a debate about FDR's response in the 1930s to the persecution of the Jews. I believe it could be "consensus changing" about his response to the persection.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

"History on Trial" Optioned for a Movie

Check out this article in today's Variety and the blog, Cinematical.

As the Variety article notes, the producers of the Soloist have teamed up with Participation Media to make the film. Participation, established by Jeff Skoll, one of the founders of eBay, has made An Inconvenient Truth, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, and the Sesame Street Story.

A caveat: Optioned is a long way from buying your popcorn for the movie.

So sit tight.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

HDOT Launches Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Russian Translations

Emory University announces the launch of Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, and Russian translations of material which exposes the charges made by deniers:

Holocaust Denial on Trial (, a Web site founded by Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt to teach about the dangers of Holocaust denial and demonstrate how deniers distort historical evidence of the Holocaust, is re-launching in four new languages: Arabic, Farsi, Russian and Turkish. These translations are designed to spread the original site's messages to areas where Holocaust denial goes the most unchallenged. was founded following the well-known David Irving v. Penguin UK and Deborah Lipstadt libel trial. Holocaust denier Irving sued Lipstadt and her publisher for calling him a denier who knowingly twists and distorts the truth of the Holocaust. A British judge found Irving to be an active Holocaust denier whose writings on the topic included both anti-Semitic and racist elements.

Despite the success of the Irving trial, online Holocaust denial has increased significantly in the past few years, says Lipstadt. "Deniers are attacking the entire history of the Holocaust piece by piece," she says. "Our site puts basic, easily accessible information into the hands of people encountering sophisticated content designed to confuse them."

At each of the new sites, visitors will be greeted by a complete parallel home page, site navigation and content in their language of choice. They will be able to search the site's database in the new languages as well.

The new sites are available at:,, and or via

"This project significantly expands the reach of in regions of the world where a significant amount of Holocaust denial is happening," says Lipstadt.

In addition, has added significantly to its offering of more than 30 Myth/Fact sheets, available in all five languages. These Myth/Fact sheets address Holocaust denial head-on by listing various claims made about the Holocaust by deniers and providing the historical evidence that shows them to be false. Over the past two years, the Myth/Fact sheets have been's most popular destination.

HDOT creates new podcast series

In conjunction with this launch, HDOT also announces the creation of a new podcast series, available through Emory's iTunes University.

The series includes podcasts featuring such figures as Lipstadt, renowned Holocaust historian Saul Friedlander and professor Ken Waltzer, who uncovered fraud in a recent and highly publicized Holocaust memoir. The series also includes interviews with Michael Shermer, a professional skeptic and author of "Denying History," and Father John Pawlikowski, a veteran of Catholic-Jewish interfaith dialogue, speaking about recent events.

"As so much of the strategy that deniers employ involves spreading their falsehoods on the Internet, we worked with Professor Lipstadt to have scholarly, authoritative resources available in podcasts. Some of the most respected experts on denial on the Internet are interviewed," says Alan Cattier, Emory's director of Academic Technology Services.

The podcasts will form the core of several new lesson plans being produced for advanced high school and college courses that will help educators and the public approach the complex of social, historical, political and ideological issues that emerge in the study of Holocaust denial.

The launch was made possible by grants from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and other funders. The Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture helped fund the podcast series. is made possible by significant grants from Angelica Berrie and the Russell Berrie Foundation, Gralla Family Philanthropic Fund, Yvette and Larry Gralla, Fern E. and William J. Lowenberg Fund, Leo Melamed Foundation, Mozel Charitable Trust, Joshua & Nirit Resnick Foundation, Sandler Family Philanthropic Fund and The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ward Churchill and David Irving: Full of Hubris and Hoisted on their own Petard

Churchill was fired from the University of Colorado for fabricating and plagiarizing in his published writings, sued the university, claiming he was "unfairly targeted for controversial remarks he made post-9/11. CU found him to be a plagiarist with poor academic integrity." (Daily Camera, March 3).

The author argues that

both Churchill and Irving exhibit the same kind of hubris: both felt, and feel, that nothing they could state, no matter how outrageous, could hurt them. Both of these two self-defined geniuses forgot the basic principle of being a successful prevaricator and that is: do not bring attention to yourself when you know perfectly well you have things that you wish to hide or at least not have generally discussed. Both of these two men used either bogus "historical research" works or, when unable to find data for their ideology, created the data out of whole cloth.

Regarding Churchill's court case, the author observes that

Churchill and his attorneys don't even bother to defend their case by solid evidence against the accusations of plagiarism, subterfuge and scholastic inappropriateness made by CU. Instead, their thrust seems to be to try to disregard such charges and claim that Churchill is being persecuted because of his merely unpopular (but very shrill!) article in which he claimed that the victims of the Twin Tower attack of 9/11 were nothing other but "little Eichmanns."

Both Irving and Churchill could have gone along spreading their nefarious lies and fabrications and, in Churchill's case, plagiarism [not one of Irving's "sins" as far as I know] had they not both been blinded by their hubris,

Had Irving not sued me, we would never have exposed the extent of his lies and distortions. Had Churchill not reveled in saying the outrageous there would not have been the in depth investigation of his plagiarism and his lies about his academic record.

[once again thanks to Sara Salzman for bringing this to my attention]

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Soft Core Denial

In another indication that "soft-core" Holocaust denial is on the rise there is a story coming out of Brazil in which an Archbishop Dadeus Grings, from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, told advertising magazine "Press & Advertising" on Friday:
"The Jews talk about six million people killed. But how many Catholics were victims of the Holocaust? They were 22 million in all."

According to the news reports the archbishop also said that while "Jews say they were the main victims of the Holocaust, the biggest victims were the gypsies, because they were exterminated."

This is pure historical gobbledygook. It is simply wrong. Many Christians were murdered but there was no plan to wipe out all Christians, particularly since it was Christians who were running the operation.

And gypsies were murdered. That is correct. But there was not a universal decision on the part of the German Third Reich to kill all gypsies [had the German won the war gypsies might well have been killed in their entirety and/or sterilized].

The difference between gypsies and Jews was that antisemitism -- hatred of Jews -- was the driving force of Nazi ideology.

In any case this Archbishop is one step away from Williamson, except that he is part of the mainstream Church. It will be interesting and telling to watch how the Vatican handles this.

Interestingly the Archbishop is from a German emigre family and is 72 years old.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fanny Winkler z"l, Cremated in Terezin March 17 1944 [22 Adar]

22 Adar 5769

I am currently in residence at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A friend of mine, Monica Katz, gave me the names of her grandparents and great grandparents to see if there were any records on them. Since they were from Austria the documentation is pretty complete. [It's much harder -- though not impossible -- to find information on family members from Poland or Russia.]

Yesterday I went into the Survivors Registry division of the Museum to find out if they had found anything. Megan, the researcher working on this project, showed me what she had, which includes deportation lists, emigration files, and a cremation card from Terezin for Monica's great grandmother, Fanny Winkler.

She printed out a copy of the card for me and, as I was walking back to my office, I noticed that the cremation date was March 17, 1944. Yesterday.

I looked up the equivalent date on the Hebrew calendar and it was the 22 of Adar, which began last night and continues through today until night. And, it turns out, her great great granddaughter Caroline's birthday is Adar 22.

So last night and today Fanny Winkler's great grandchildren in Atlanta and Montreal and great great grandchildren in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Montreal and many other places were able to mark her death. This morning her great great granddaughter, Meira, was in synagogue saying kaddish for her.

All for the first time in 65 years.

May her memory be for a blessing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pope Benidict Aplogizes for Bishop Williamson Matter

In what has been described as an unusally personal statement, the Pope has apologized for the Vatican's handling of the Williamson matter.

And for those who need a reminder of both the lies Williamson has spread and of the fact of just how much information about him was available, see all these collections of videos.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Holocaust Equivalency [Israel = Nazis] as a Form of Holocaust Denial

I shall have much more to say about this in the near future but for the moment let me note that I am increasingly concerned about the soft-core forms of Holocaust denial one sees particularly in Europe.

Calling Israelis Nazis, comparing Israel's actions to genocide, and other such comments, show an ignorance of both contemporary and WWII history.

Whatever you may think about Israel's policies vis a vis the Palestinians, to compare it to the Holocaust is to distort what is going on today as well as what went on during WWII.

This picture, taken in Malmoe, the third largest city in Sweden, says it all. It reads
1941 Zyklon B 1945 Nuclear bomb
1965 Naplam 1983 Mustard gas [Iran/Iraq war?]
2009 White Phosphorous
[Thanks to Stéphane Bruchfeld for bringing this to my attention. He adds that the demonstration was by youth who clearly did not make the banner. Adults did.]

For Sale Hitler's Hair and Bones: No Comment Necessary

This article from yesterday's Daily Telegraph speaks for itself:

Holocaust Denier David Irving Sets Up Nazi Memorabilia Website

The right-wing author, who was jailed in Austria for denying the Holocaust, says that the online store is the only way he can make money after being declared bankrupt in 2002.

Items up for sale on the site include Hitler's walking stick, available for £7,000, and a goblet and spoon given as a christening present by Heinrich Himmler to Hermann Goering's daughter, which can be bought for £4,000.

Irving authenticates the goods, which are offered by other sellers, and takes a 15 per cent cut commission.

The 70-year-old says he is currently trying to confirm the authenticity of bones said to be from Hitler and his girlfriend Eva Braun. Strands of the Fuhrer's hair are also expected to go on sale for £130,000.


Irving was unapologetic about his activities and said there was demand for "authenticated" Nazi memorabilia.

"I have a living to make and this is how I make my money...."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Letter in NY Times on Irving "the historian"

I have a letter in today's New York Times. I was not surprised when I learned that so-called Bishop Williamson's first stop in the UK was to consult with David Irving. Birds of a feather flock together...

I was surprised that the Times chose to describe Irving as an historian.

To the Editor:

“Vatican Calls the Apology of a Bishop Insufficient” (news article, Feb. 28) reports that the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson has consulted with David Irving. Mr. Irving is a fitting partner for him.

Strangely, Mr. Irving is described in the article as a “historian.” When he sued me for libel for calling him a Holocaust denier, the court ruled that his “falsification of the historical record was deliberate” and motivated by “ideological beliefs,” including anti-Semitism and racism.

The judge called Mr. Irving’s writings on the Holocaust “misleading,” “unjustified,” a “travesty” and “unreal.” He “perverts” and “distorts.” This is not the description of a historian. It is the description of a denier.

Deborah E. Lipstadt
Washington, Feb. 28, 2009

The writer is a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University.

LA Cardinal Mahoney Bars Williamson... for the Wrong Reasons

Bishop Mahoney of the LA archdiocese has barred Williamson from from any Roman Catholic church, school or other facility in LA. Apparently this was Cardinal Mahoney's idea.

It is, of course, largely symbolic in that Williamson has not given any sign that LA was on his travel itinerary.

What I found jarring was the statement by the spokesman for the archdiocese. "The cardinal wishes to send a clear signal to the Jewish community that Williamson is not a member or even welcome in the Catholic Church until he renounces his views"

This should not be a message to the Jewish community but to all people who think truth is important -- irrespective of their faith,

It should be a message that people who lie about history, distort the truth, express antisemitic and racist views, and pervert facts in order to defend one of the most diabolical regimes in history are not welcome in the LA archdiocese.

Racists, for example, should be shunned not to send a message to minority communities but because racists spread hatred, instill contempt, and work against communal tranquility.

I don't mean to quibble over this strong statement on Cardinal Mahoney's part. But to do this and define it as a message to the "victims" is to miss the point.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Herman Rosenblat has Company in the World of Baseball: Another Fraudster

Seems that a memoir by a former minor league baseball recruit -- who is now a doctor -- is quite fabricated. Attempts to fact check the stories have come up with all sorts of contradictions and falsifications.

The New York Times notes that the author is a graduate of Yale and of Harvard Medical School now working as an intern in the residency program at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital in New York. This is a pretty serious pedigree.

statistics from that season, transaction listings and interviews with his former teammates indicate that many portions of the book are incorrect, embellished or impossible.

Matt McCarthy, the author -- how would you like to have this guy for your doctor -- insists that the book, Odd Man Out, which is full of salacious stories about various baseball players, is true because it is how he remembers it and it is his reality....

Sound familiar? He could be reading from the Rosenblat/Salomon playbook.

Moreover, the paper notes
this scandal comes during a difficult period for the publishing industry, which has recently had three major memoirs — James Frey’s infamous “A Million Little Pieces” and the recollections of a Holocaust survivor and of an inner-city foster child — exposed as mostly fabricated. The authors of those books have acknowledged their fraud.
Please note the use of the words "fabricated" and the authors have "acknowledged their fraud."

I wonder if Harris Salomon is going to go after the Times and threaten a libel suit unless they print a retraction.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Delegation from Hollywood Goes to Iran: Did They Ask the Crucial Question?

Seems that a group of Hollywood folks have gone off to Iran to make nice with fellow filmmakers. Iranian filmmakers are hoping to use this opportunity to expose them to Iranian films.

The Hollywood folks probably expected to sit and sing a round of Kumbaya. Instead they Iranian government demanded an apology for films that insulted Iran. Among those films was one about an American woman married to an Iranian man. The mother had to smuggle her daughter out of Iran when the Iranians would not let her leave with her. It's a true story... but I won't be surprised if the Hollywood delegation apologizes for it.

The attack on American films did not seem to phase some of the filmmakers. Phil Alden Robinson, director and writer of Field of Dreams, who rather dreamily declared that "today is my birthday and I cannot think of any other place I wanted to be other than here."

The NYTimes placed the story of the Hollywood folks' visit next to an article about an NPR reporter who has been arrested and detained by the Iranians. As of this morning nothing has been heard from her.

Did/ will the filmmakers ask about her?

Did/ will they make it clear that everything about their profession calls for freedom of creativity and freedom of the press?

Did/ will they even mention her?

Did/ will they say that nothing will change as long as Iran is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists?

I predict that they will return full of rapture for Iran and the wonderful country that it is. They will probably suggest we should ignore the Holocaust denial and threats against Israel and antisemitism that spews forth from that country. [And the open attacks on homosexuals.]

Ken Waltzer's Essay is Back on HNN Despite Harris Salomon's Best Efforts

History News Network has posted Ken Waltzer's essay on Herman Rosenblat despite Harris Salomon's efforts to keep it off HNN. HNN's editors have also posted a response to Harris Salomon's complaints.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Revelations About the Toll Raoul Wallenberg's Disappearance Took on His Family and Sweden's Failure to Pursue It's Most Honored Citizen

The Wall Street Journal has a lengthy article exposing the terrible toll the attempt to find out what happened to Raoul Wallenberg took on his family. It is a horrifying tale and reminiscent of the brutality of the Soviet regime [and post-Soviet as well... after all Putin could clear up the mystery in a nano-second].

In addition to the Soviets, who were the main culprits, Sweden failed to do much to pursue Wallenberg's fate. This constitutes an enduring blot on Sweden's reputation.

Wallenberg demonstrated how different the story of the Holocaust would have been had there been more people such as him.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stern Magazine: "Bischof Williamson ist ein Idiot"

Even for non-German speakers the headline "Bischof Williamson ist ein Idiot" in Stern magazine should be self explanatory. I must admit that, using -- as the magazine puts it -- American "directness," I provided the magazine with the headline.

It may have been a bit blunt.... but certainly seems accurate to me.

By the way, idiots can be dangerous too.

Lady Renouf Profiled in Times [London]: Williamson is Her Prize

A profile of a woman who found her niche as a friend of members of the rogues gallery of Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The United States Will NOT Participate in Durban II

According to the JTA, the United States will not be participating in the Durban II conference. This is the right move. Durban I was an festival of antisemitism and hatred of Israel. Durban II promised to be more of the same.

When I was in London last week at an International Conference of Parliamentarians on Antisemitism, the Italian Foreign Minister said that if Durban II promises to be like Durban I, Italy would probably pull out.

This move by the United States probably means that Italy and other European nations will follow suit.

Canada long ago announced it was not going.

Here's Another Example of Racism

Edited 3:58 p.m.
So some commenters have been asking "What's racism?" Here's another example provided in an email sent out by the Mayor of a Orange Country, California town.

The title of the email was "No Easter egg hunt this year."

The mayor claimed he did not know of the stereotype of Blacks and watermelons. That's reason enough for him not to be mayor. And he was dense enough to send it to a Black woman.

[Added: so if he did not know of the stereotype why did he put watermelons on the lawn of the White House. This guy is so dumb that his lies only dig his hole deeper.]

He apologized and resigned [more than we can say for so-called Bishop Williamson].

Vatican Not Satisfied With [Fooled by] Williamson's Pseudo- Apology

Apparently even the Vatican was not satisfied with Williamson's "if I hurt you by saying what the evidence showed, I am sorry" apology.

The question is: Did Williamson think we were all stupid and would be hoodwinked by his so-called apology?

And who drafted it for him David Irving? Lady Renouf?

This guy is the gift that keeps on giving.... Though, truth be told, I would be happy to never hear of him again.

And -- to those who have asked -- he has never answered my email....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bishop Williamson Sees the Light [Or So He Says... And I Have a Bridge in Brooklyn that's for Sale]

Edited 3:09 p.m.

A few days ago in an interview with NPR, I said that I was sure Williamson would soon announce that he had "seen the light" and turned away from his Holocaust denial. And, as predicted, it has come to pass.

I am not sure if his SSPX colleagues had read him the riot act or threatened to throw him in the nearest river but it seems that that is precisely what has happened.

I give it as much gravitas as I do his claim the Holocaust is a myth.

[Added: In other words, lest there be any doubt: I do not take anything he says seriously. Were he do wish me a good morning, I would look out the window first to see if the sun were indeed up.]

Remember that one of the first people he contacted upon his return from Argentina was David Irving and his sidekick so-called Lady Renouf.

Here is the full text of his statement.

The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.

Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.

On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (..."I believe"..."I believe"...) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available and rarely expressed in public since. However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said before God I apologise.

As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.

+Richard Williamson
London, 26 February 2009.

History News Network Mystery Solved: Harris Salomon Strikes Again

Seems that the reason Ken Waltzer's piece disappeared from the HNN is because Harris Salomon threatened a lawsuit. HNN simply crumbled. [See this post]

When I inquired the editor even said he was not sure Rosenblat falls under the public figure category [public figures cannot sue for libel in the US when the libel action relates to their public activities. That is why Irving waited to sue in the UK.]

I told him that anyone who goes on Oprah twice, gives speeches all over about his experience, pens a memoir, participates in a movie, appears on Good Morning America would have a very hard time claiming not to be a public figure.

Pretty distressing that the HNN folks backed down just like that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Survivor Excoriates Herman Rosenblat's Sidekick/ Handler, Harris Salomon

[edited 2:41 p.m.]

Peter Kubicek, one of the survivors who had been calling Herman Rosenblat's bluff for a long time and could get no one to listen, has blogged about this travesty. He describes Rosenblat as a "pathological liar" but thinks he has become increasingly deluded.

Kubicek focuses his attention and his venom on Harris Salomon, the person many people believe is orchestrating this latest endeavor:
His interview [On Good Morning America] was boorishly interrupted by his handler, Mr. Harris Salomon, who simply imposed himself into the camera's view and started answering some of the question himself.

While many people view this entire fiasco as grist for the mills of Holocaust deniers, Salomon blithely asserted that without Rosenblat "the deniers would perpetuate some other stories." The sad fact is that deniers have already been treating this story as a gift that keeps on giving. They already use Rosenblat's own words as proof that Jews lie, all Jews lie, and that the Holocaust itself "was nothing but a pile of Zionist B.S.," as one site triumphantly crows.

Salomon is now the grand puppeteer pulling Rosenblat's strings and the deus ex machina of the current situation. If Salomon really had Rosenblat's interest at heart, he would see to it that this poor, deluded old man gets proper psychiatric care instead of exposing him to further public ridicule.

News Flash: France Accepts Responsibility for Its Participation in Holocaust Deportations

I should have posted this earlier. However, since it took France's highest court 67 years to come to the conclusion that it bears responsibility for having organized and carried out the deportations during the war, I guess a few days delay is not a horrendous thing.

If you look at pictures of the famous Paris round up in 1942 you will search in vain for German soldiers or SS men. You will see only French police. [At the trains where Jews are being loaded in the cattle cars you do see Germans but the round ups were conducted by French.]

At the same as acknowledging that the deportations were in French hands the court also ruled that the deportations had been "compensated for" since 1945, apparently ruling out reparations for deportees or their families.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bishop Williamson on the Way to the UK to Meet So-Called Lady Renouf and David Irving

According to the London Times, Bishop Williamson is on his way to the UK where he will meet up with David Irving's buddy Lady Renouf, who simultaneously denied she is an antisemite and yet describes Judaism as a "pugnant and hate-filled religion”

He has turned to Irving for advice on how to understand the history of the Holocaust. According to the Times Irving and Williamson have been in e-mail contact.
“About a week ago I sent him a lengthy e-mail telling him what he could safely say. He should not be quoted as saying things which are not tenable. I sent two pages telling him what is incontrovertible fact. I got a message back thanking me.”
I predicted that he would "see the light" in order to help smooth SSSX's way into the Vatican's good graces. I was, it appears, very very wrong.

This guy may emerge as Irving's successor.

Professor Ken Waltzer's Essay Disappears from History News Network

I have removed Ken Waltzer's essay because a revised version is now back up on the History News Network.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Reader: A Pernicious Book and Movie

Let's get this out of the way at the outset: Kate Winslet gives a great performance in The Reader and the book is a decent but airy read [if you ignore the premise].

Now let's get on to substance. The basic premise of the book and the movie are deeply troubling. Note that the Nazi camp guard is portrayed as the poor, simple, caring woman.

Are we supposed to feel sorry for her because she could not read and had "no choice" but to be a guard? She could have been a street sweeper. She did not have "no choice."

Furthermore, the book and movie suggests that the perpetrators were poor ignorant people. This is such a misstatement of fact and the author, Bernard Schlink, as a German knows better.

Many of the leading perpetrators had Ph.D.s or were clergy and lawyers. They were well educated and quite literate. [In fact, certain section of the party specifically sought out well educated people.]

Finally, note the sharp contrast drawn by the survivor -- very rich [note the maid, the stretch limo, and the art work] and adament in her refusal to offer forgiveness or absolution -- and the poor guard who has nothing. Who is the victim, according to Schlink, here???*

This is a rewriting of history. It is, simply put, soft core denial. It does not deny the reality or the horror of the Holocaust. Not at all. But it does deny who was responsible.

Because it is so slippery I consider it a pernicious book and movie.

[Thanks to Dr. Leah Wolfson, my -- I am proud to say -- former student and now at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies for thinking this through with me. She pointed out that the book/movie seem to want to suggest that literature is redemptive which we know is not necessarily the case.]

* Case in point: a friend who saw the movie said he did felt really sorry Hannah and was sort of rooting for her.... [granted that this friend is at all well versed in the history of the Holocaust].

The Voice of America Speaks to Three Jews and Declares a Trend

The Voice of America has a strange article on its website. Entitled "World Jewish Leaders Praise Argentina's Decision to Expel Holocaust-Denying Bishop," it quotes precisely 3 leaders of Jewish organizations and declares a vast trend.

Is this the result of lazy reporting or an assumption that if 3 leaders of Jewish organizations think this is a good thing then all Jews agree? Case in point:
I don't necessarily agree

Has the reporter never heard: "3 Jews,6 opinions"?

It should be noted that Argentina's government says that he was expelled because he did not inform the government of the true reason for his presence in the country and not because of his denial.

It should be noted that he is a visitor in the country so the country has the right to expel him.

Whether it is something Jews -- leaders or otherwise -- should be celebrating is another question.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bishop Williamson's Long Track Record of Offensive Statements

According to Michael Paulson writing in the Boston Globe Williamson has been teaching antisemtism and misogyny since the 1980s. Two young seminarians encountered him when they enrolled in a small schismatic seminary in Connecticut. It was the kind of place where Mass was in Latin and modernity the enemy.

One of their teachers was Williamson who they found to be "an unabashed anti-Semite who was dismissive of the Holocaust and hostile to women."


"I have a sizable nose, and he would say to me, 'Rizzo, are you baptized, or are you a Jew?' " John Rizzo, who is now based in New Zealand, said in a phone interview from Australia. "There was another seminarian named Oppenheimer, and he would say: 'Oppenheimer, I don't like your name. If you keep it up, there's a gas chamber waiting for you at the boathouse.' "


"He called the Holocaust the biggest theatrics known to mankind - I remember sitting in a conference one time when he said those words, ...said Joseph Rizzo.

"I walked around the lake with him, and I said, 'Why would you say that?' and he said, 'There's no documentation.' He said it was all staged, and when I asked why, he said because the Jews own the country, they own the banks, and he felt it was some kind of effort to generate some sympathy toward them."


In 1989, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigated the bishop, but did not press charges, after he told an audience in Quebec: "There was not one Jew killed in the gas chamber. It was all lies, lies, lies." He has also questioned whether terrorists were behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and has suggested that women should not wear pants.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"How a British jihadi saw the light"

Ed Hussain has written a powerful account of his stay in Saudi Arabia. Once a prominent proponent of radical Islam in London was changed by his time teaching in Saudi Arabia.

Bishop Williamson Ejected from Argentina

The government of Argentina has ejected Bishop Williamson from the country. The officials gave two reason: his denial and his having lied as to why he came to the country.

I think Williamson is a low life. That should be clear to any, even casual, reader of this blog.

However, I am not so sure he should be ejected for his denial.

My prediction: Williamson will be depicted as a victim and a martyr for free speech.

I don't think he is either but this actions gives him the cover to do so.

NYPost Apologizes... Sort of

The New York Post has apologized for the cartoon... sort of. Here is what the paper had to say:
Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon - even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New York Post Prints Blatantly Racist Cartoon

The New York Post has published a blatantly racist cartoon showing two policemen shooting a monkey and then saying, "They will have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Whether the NYPost meant it to be racist or not is almost irrelevant. The fact that Blacks have been regularly stereotyped with images of apes and monkeys is undeniable. It is as fundamental part of that stereotype as large noses and money bags are of the Jewish stereotype.

The fact that it was juxtaposed with a picture of President Obama signing the bill did not help the NYPost's claims that the monkey did not mean Obama. [There was a pet monkey shot in NY a few days ago but that does not explain away or excuse the racist elements of the cartoon.]

This is what the editor of the paper said in trying to justify the cartoon:
"The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy."
The explanation does not fly and NYPost, which even if it did not mean it to be racist [I know it is a long shot but just maybe], rather than try to justify itself, should apologize.

And those folks who are rightfully sensitive to use of antisemitic stereotypes should make their voice heard.

Bishop Williamson's Society for St. Pius X: A Pernicious Group

The Guardian [London] has an excellent background piece -- actually long letter -- by Andrew Horn of Harvard about the SSSX, the group with which Williamson is associated. It lays out the really pernicious quality of this group.

As I have repeatedly said on this blog, Williamson's denial is almost minor [and for me to say that is quite something] when placed within the larger context of all else they believe and do.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Has "Good Morning America" Lost its Mind and Its Integrity

I write this from London so I don't know if this segment has aired already but I am just flabbergasted.

I understand that GMA is going to run a segment featuring Herman Rosenblat, who lied repeatedly about his Holocaust experience, and his film producer, Harris Salomon, who told me he knows more about the Holocaust than I do [could be... but I somehow doubt it since he was peddling this as a true story for a long time]

Even more egregiously, Salomon tried to silence Professor Ken Waltzer from publishing his own research on this matter. Salomon, wrote to the president and deans of Michigan State trying to intimidate them into silencing Waltzer.

Now he is trying, once again, to make a buck off of Rosenblat's lies and falsehoods.

Over the past year friends of the Rosenblats have written to me in concern about what this has done to them. I expressed some sympathy. I thought they were pretty off balance folks but so be it....

Now they go on with their story but have issued no apologies to the myriad of people -- including their own family -- to whom they have caused great pain.

And Good Morning America becomes a tool by giving their sleazy producer publicity.

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops: Unequivocal Condemnation of Williamson

For the strong statement by the Canadian Bishops on Williamson's Holocaust denial see here.

Thanks to my friend and wonderful sleuth Harry Mazal for alerting me to this.

Spike in Antisemitism in the UK in January

I am currently in London at a international Parliamentary conference on antisemitism. More on that later.

But this BBC report on what is happening here in the UK is relevant.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Holocaust Denier Lady Renof Exposed as a Liar, Falsifier of Her Own History, Denier, and [no surprise] Hater of Jews

There is great example of in depth journalism by Andrew Landeryou exposing, yet again, Lady Renouf, who during my trial we dubbed Brunhilda and who spent her time fawning over Irving.

The first photo is her swooning over Ahmadinejad at the Tehran conference and the second is her doing the same with Robert Faurisson.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The So-Called "New" Antisemitism: How New? What's New?

See Patterns of Prejudice for an interesting analysis of the topic by Jonathan Judaken.

The Rise of Antisemitism: The Collusion of the Left

One of the comments I received on the post about Jonathan Freedland's article was "1300 Palestinians were killed."

[Has anyone verified these numbers? Remember the initial reports of a massacre in Jenin? The results of a check was that approximately 50 Palestinians and 26 Israeli soldiers were killed. The out of proportion was on the Israeli side.]

My response was to ask if this justified antisemitism.

Now from Michael Trapido in South Africa comes a similar critique.

Rise of Antisemitic Incidents in the UK: The Facts are Stark

The Community Security Trust, a group which monitors security for the UK Jewish Community, reports a steep rise of antisemitic incidents in the past month in the UK.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CNN: Reflections on the Impact of Williamson on Catholic Jewish Relations

Check out article on CNN website.

European Antisemitism: Ominous Signs and Silence from the Left

In my attention to the Bishop Williamson matter I have really been negligent about addressing another more important topic: the rise of antisemitism in Europe.

There has been a survey by ADL which finds that a significant portion of Europeans blame the financial mess on Jews. I have no idea who conducted the survey and how the questions were structured [this would impact the outcome] or if one can draw a conclusion about an entire Continent from surveying 3,500 people.

But it is still disturbing. I hope others use this finding to do more research.

On this issue, I strongly recommend Jonathan Freedland's article in the Guardian.

In it Freedland notes that after 9/11 and 7/7 [the date of the London bombings] the British liberal left massed and strongly protested any hostility to Muslims. They were saying to European Muslims and particularly those in the UK: you do not stand alone. They called upon their fellow Britons to be "careful in their language, not to generalise from a few individuals to an entire community, to make clear to Britain's Muslims that they were a welcome part of the national life."

Freedland believes this was the right reaction. Yet he notes that, in the wake of the Gaza operation [which he opposed from the outset], liberals have remained eerily silent even as "British Jews have indeed come under attack."

In the four weeks after the Gaza operation began there was an eightfold increase in antisemitic incidents in Britain compared with the same period a year earlier."

There were "attacks on synagogues, including arson, and physical assaults on Jews. One man was set upon in Golders Green, north London, by two men who shouted, 'This is for Gaza', as they punched and kicked him to the ground."

There has been "Blood-curding graffiti" including slogans such as "Slay the Jewish pigs", and "Kill the Jews", to "Jewish bastardz."

Jewish schools are on high alert.

In the face of this real threat the British left has been virtual silent.

But, Freedland goes on, this is more than a sin of omission.

Take last month's demonstrations against Israel. Riazat Butt, the Guardian's religious affairs correspondent, describes in a joint edition of the Guardian's Islamophonic and Sounds Jewish podcasts how at one demo she heard the cry not only of "Down with Israel" but "Kill Jews". An anti-war protest in Amsterdam witnessed chants of: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas."

At the London events, there were multiple placards deploying what has now become a commonplace image: the Jewish Star of David equated with the swastika. From the podium George Galloway declared: "Today, the Palestinian people in Gaza are the new Warsaw ghetto, and those who are murdering them are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1943."

Now what, do you imagine, is the effect of repeating, again and again, that Israel is a Nazi state? Even those with the scantest historical knowledge know that the Nazis are the embodiment of evil to which the only appropriate response is hate. How surprising is it if a young man, already appalled by events in Gaza, walks home from a demo and glimpses the Star of David - which he now sees as a latter-day swastika - outside a synagogue and decides to torch the building, or at least desecrate it? Yet Galloway, along with Livingstone, who was so careful in July 2005, did not hesitate to make the comparison (joined by a clutch of Jewish anti-Israel activists who should know better).

For liberals those Jews who dissociate themselves from Israel are acceptable. Those who don't are "fair game for abuse and attack until they publicly recant."

But they don't ask Muslims to explain jihadism or renounce Islamic extremism. Asking them to do so is seen as unenlightened.

Bishop Williamson is a gnat -- if not lower than that -- compared to this.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Saul Friedlander: A Weaver of History and Memory

Last night Professor Saul Friedlander spoke at Emory. I had the privilege of introducing him. Some of the people present asked me to post my remarks. Here they are:

When I first encountered Saul Friedlander in 1978 he broke my heart. Over the course of the next many years, as I came to know him as a colleague and a friend, I quickly recognized that there was so much he had to teach us about the history and historiography of the Holocaust. Then in 2007, he did it again. He broke my heart.

In 1978 it was my reading of his small, but critically acclaimed When Memory Comes, which left me so shattered. In the still small voice of a young boy, Friedlander tells his own story. This simple-yet- complex, mature-yet-childlike story is rightfully considered one of the great memoirs of the period.

In addition he has added to our storehouse of knowledge with, among others, Probing the Limits of Representation, Reflections of Nazism, History and Psychoanalysis, Kurt Gerstein, and Pius XII and the Third Reich. He spent 16 years writing his most recent two volumes, Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1941 and The Years of Extermination, 1941-1944. They provide a sweeping – yet in-depth – analysis of the entire period. The latter won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. As someone who teaches courses on the history of the Holocaust, I was delighted to learn that Orna Kenan has just completed an abridged version – 450 pages – of these two books.

Born in Prague, Friedlander and his family came to France in 1940. When the Nazi vise grew tighter, his parents placed him a Catholic boarding school and attempted to escape to Switzerland. They were turned back, arrested, and ultimately murdered at Auschwitz. Friedlander, not fully aware of his own identity, seriously considered converting to Catholicism. When he discovered his own past, he became a Zionist and eventually immigrated to Israel on the Irgun ship "Altalena".

His contribution to our field is so vast and multi-faceted that it is hard to summarize it. Yet in the interests of brevity, because you have come to hear from Saul Friedlander and not about Saul Friedlander, let me focus on two aspects of his work.

In The Years of Extermination, -- with its all-encompassing analysis of the broad swatch of events that comprised the Shoah, he synthesizes the research of a myriad of scholars. In so doing, Professor Friedlander demonstrates that synthesis in the hands of a master historian is an art. After weaving together their research, he then, in his own voice, not only adds to it, but enhances and deepens what they have taught us. It is this book which so devastated me.

He can do in a single paragraph or even a sentence, what others cannot do in entire books. Let me illustrate with one selection from the book:

Not one social group, not one religious community; not one scholarly institution or professional association in Germany and throughout Europe declared its solidarity with the Jews (some of the Christian churches declared that converted Jews were part of the flock up to a point), to the contrary many social constituencies, many power groups were directly involved in the expropriation of Jews and anxious, be it out of greed, for their wholesale disappearance. Thus Nazi and anti-Jewish policies could unfold to their most extreme levels without the interference of any major countervailing influences..

The other aspect of his work and the topic upon which he will focus tonight is his insistence that to tell the history of the Holocaust one must include the voice of the victim. There are historians who have, not only ignored that voice, but argued that it is unreliable and must, therefore, be eschewed. Saul Friedlander says, au contraire: the documents and printed record may be crucial, but without the personal perspective the story is incomplete.

We are exceptionally grateful that with all the demands on his time he has agreed to include us on his schedule. We are grateful for that but we – both those of us in this field and all of us who treasure great scholarship – are even more grateful that when memory came, it came to a man who tells the story of this event with the rigor and unparalleled excellence of a master historian and the sensitivity of a person whose life has been marked by it.

Many historians have grappled with telling this story but about Saul Friedlander we can say, paraphrasing the Book of Proverbs, ata alita al kulam, you have surpassed them all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Williamson Begins to Look for a Graceful Exit

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Williamson is beginning to try to find a graceful exit.

The problem is that he presents himself as having been "convinced" by the documentation he read in the 1990s. Anyone who would have encountered such stuff and was not anxious to climb aboard the denial bandwagon who have said: "Whoa, I better check these guys out" rather than jumping on their bandwagon whole hog.

Actually, if the SSPX did not have Williamson they would have to invent him. He has taken the spotlight off of their very particularistic views.

Williamson Dismissed as Head of SSPX Seminary in Argentina

According to Fox News the SSPX has dismissed Williamson as head of its seminary in Argentina. [I hope they will still deliver his mail. See previous post.]

The more this thing is drawn out, the more it seems that this is actually a bonus for the SSPX. it draws attention to one man and away from their more noxious views on Jews and conspiracies and the like.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Letter [Email] to Bishop Williamson: You Asked for Proof?

[Edited 8:7 a.m. See note at end]

In the face of demands by Pope Benedict that he recant his denial, Bishop Williamson says he is going to wait until he finds "proof" of the Holocaust.

In that spirit I have sent the following letter [email] to the Bishop. I promise to let you know if I get an answer.

It has come to my attention that you are looking for "proof" of the Holocaust. Let me assure you that such proof exists in reams.

The most expeditious means for you to determine that all the "claims" you have made both on your webpage and in interviews are completely bogus would be to read, in its entirety, the verdict of Judge Charles Gray who presided in David Irving v. Penguin UK and Deborah Lipstadt. The judgment can be found at

You will see there that each of your arguments is shown to be based on bogus documents, fabrications of evidence, or misinformation. This is what we call in common parlance: lies.

Other links can be found on my blog where we have prepared an extensive, point by point, refutation of your claims. This will also take you the Myths and Facts section of, where you will find even more refutations of your various claims about the gassing process.

You may also want to visit to the Holocaust History Project, where you will find yet additional refutations.

Finally, I also suggest you read the expert report of Robert Jan van Pelt who carefully demolishes the various claims you and other deniers make about the gassing process.

You will see that your arguments are based on false and mistaken suppositions. In short, sir, there is no dearth of evidence. There is only a dearth of willingness to remove the blinders from one's eyes.

Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt, Ph.D.
Emory University
Atlanta, Ga.
* Since first posting this my email has bounced back. I have sent a copy of the letter to the Argentinian headquarters of the SSPX, where Williamson is apparently currently based. I will also send one to the headquarters.

Internal Vatican Politics: Who Has the Upper Hand?

Der Spiegel has an interestng analysis of how this whole SSPX matter has brought aspects of internal Catholic "politics" to a head. [Before some readers jump on me for using the word politics please note: I put it in quotation marks. Also every entity -- family, commercial, social, religious -- runs on politics]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Double Disaster at the Vatican: Indepth Analysis

There are two in depth analyses of the Vatican situation, one in the New York Times, which discusses how the reinstatement of the SSPX by the Vatican exposes deep divisions within the Vatican.

In addition Sandro Magister, a correspondent for the weekly magazine L’Espresso and one of Italy’s most highly respected Vatican experts, offered extensive background on this "tempest" which he describes a double disaster of “governance and communication” within the church.

I follow with excerpts from both articles.

The New York Times observed that while Pope Benedict has faced challenges before
the internal controversy created by Bishop Williamson’s rehabilitation is unlike anything the Vatican has faced in recent decades.
It also observed that Wednesday’s unsigned statement calling on Williamson to reject his Holocaust denial
publicly seemed to be a clear indication that the Vatican was facing nothing less than an internal and external political crisis.
The Wednesday statement also clearly addressed questions about what conditions the society would have to meet before being allowed back into the fold.
Most importantly it would have to offer its “full recognition of the Second Vatican Council” to receive “recognition” by the church.
The most interesting part of the article comes at the end where it attempts to explain how this maelstrom came to be.
Conversations with a variety of people inside and outside the Vatican portray an intellectual pope increasingly isolated from the Vatican administration. Many point to a lack of communication between the handful of cardinals responsible for revoking the excommunications and other members of the curia who might have opposed the move.

It is also quite striking that there was no consultation with Cardinal Walter Kasper, a German who directs the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and who is the liaison for Vatican-Jewish relations. Kasper has publicly said:

There were certainly management errors on the part of the curia.

* * * *
Sandro Magister writing on his blog described this as a "disaster" and said that in this situation

Pope Benedict XVI found himself to be the one most exposed, and practically alone
Magister explains at great length how, for the Pope, this is all about healing of schisms.

However, because of Vatican ineptitude that issue was lost in headlines world over that said: the pope clears a Holocaust denier bishop from excommunication, and welcomes him into the Church.

In response the Vatican went "scrambling for cover," with media statements.

Magister goes on to ask was this tempest "inevitable," or was it the result of "errors and omissions of the men who are supposed to implement the pope's decisions."

Magister comes down on the side of the second hypothesis.

Those Cardinals who were responsible said they did not know about Williamson's denial. Magister points out that a click on Google would have shown them that in 1989, in Canada, he openly praised Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel and that he was a 9/11 denier.

There were other failures in the Vatican as well. The press office did not handle matters well.
He delineates many other serious lapses.

Magister traces this back to the offices of the curia which "converge in the secretariat of state." He goes into a fascinating analysis of the Secretary of State.

There's a great mystery novel embedded in all this...

And a terrible leadership disaster for the Vatican.

My guess -- and that is all it is -- is that Pope Benedict will emerge from this weakened and unable to regroup.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Williamson was Denying in 1989

Edited on Thursday, 2/5 8:15 a.m.

According to the Forward, in 1989 Williamson said the following when hegave a speech at Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes church in Sherbrooke, Canada,

There was not one Jew killed in the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies. The Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new State of Israel.
And no one in the Vatican knew????

[After reading the two in depth comments about the way in which the Vatican functions, about which I blogged earlier today, I have come to believe that they indeed might not have known.
Some may think this "exonerates" the Vatican. In some way it does. On the other hand it demonstrates how out of touch the institution is...]

The Vatican Gets the Message and Tells Williamson to Recant

Apparently the Vatican has come to recognize what a terrible mess it has gotten itself into. Chancellor Merkel's unequivocal condemnation may have helped them see the light. Merkel dismissed the Pope's previous comments as not "sufficient."

For her there were no ifs or buts. There was just make it clear you think he is a liar.

Well now the Vatican has called on him -- in unequivocal terms -- to recant. The statement, issued today by the Vatican Secretariat of State, said that Williamson “must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance himself from his positions on the Shoah,” which it said were “unknown to the Holy Father at the time he revoked the excommunication.”

The more I learn about the SSPX, the less worried I am about Williamson's denial and the more worried I become about their blatant antisemitism.

[I do not think the Pope is the least bit antisemitic. I do think he was willing to tolerate these views in the name of Church unity.]

For the BBC coverage see here.

Father of Slain Wall Stree Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl on Contemporary Terorism

Wall Street Journal 2/3/09

This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today's world emerged after his tragedy?

[Commentary] Reuters/Corbis

Jimmy Carter.

The answer does not come easily. Danny was an optimist, a true believer in the goodness of mankind. Yet he was also a realist, and would not let idealism bend the harshness of facts.

Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of "the resistance." Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.

No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny's murder would be a turning point in the history of man's inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.

But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.

I believe it all started with well-meaning analysts, who in their zeal to find creative solutions to terror decided that terror is not a real enemy, but a tactic. Thus the basic engine that propels acts of terrorism -- the ideological license to elevate one's grievances above the norms of civilized society -- was wished away in favor of seemingly more manageable "tactical" considerations.

This mentality of surrender then worked its way through politicians like the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. In July 2005 he told Sky News that suicide bombing is almost man's second nature. "In an unfair balance, that's what people use," explained Mr. Livingstone.

But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel." Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.

Mr. Carter's logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas's rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: "They should end the occupation." In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.

The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.

Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society's role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera's management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs.

Some American pundits and TV anchors didn't seem much different from Al Jazeera in their analysis of the recent war in Gaza. Bill Moyers was quick to lend Hamas legitimacy as a "resistance" movement, together with honorary membership in PBS's imaginary "cycle of violence." In his Jan. 9 TV show, Mr. Moyers explained to his viewers that "each [side] greases the cycle of violence, as one man's terrorism becomes another's resistance to oppression." He then stated -- without blushing -- that for readers of the Hebrew Bible "God-soaked violence became genetically coded." The "cycle of violence" platitude allows analysts to empower terror with the guise of reciprocity, and, amazingly, indict terror's victims for violence as immutable as DNA.

When we ask ourselves what it is about the American psyche that enables genocidal organizations like Hamas -- the charter of which would offend every neuron in our brains -- to become tolerated in public discourse, we should take a hard look at our universities and the way they are currently being manipulated by terrorist sympathizers.

At my own university, UCLA, a symposium last week on human rights turned into a Hamas recruitment rally by a clever academic gimmick. The director of the Center for Near East Studies carefully selected only Israel bashers for the panel, each of whom concluded that the Jewish state is the greatest criminal in human history.

The primary purpose of the event was evident the morning after, when unsuspecting, uninvolved students read an article in the campus newspaper titled, "Scholars say: Israel is in violation of human rights in Gaza," to which the good name of the University of California was attached. This is where Hamas scored its main triumph -- another inch of academic respectability, another inroad into Western minds.

Danny's picture is hanging just in front of me, his warm smile as reassuring as ever. But I find it hard to look him straight in the eyes and say: You did not die in vain.

Mr. Pearl, a professor of computer science at UCLA, is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, founded in memory of his son to promote cross-cultural understanding.