Although some revisionists may rejoice at the comments made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this past Thursday, the reality is that the President of Iran makes for an unlikely and unattractive "bed-fellow." Iran has been noted for human rights abuses and although their constitution guarantees freedom of religion, deviations from Shi'a Islam, the state religion are dealt with harshly. Christians are discriminated against in education, employment and property ownership and there have even been cases of Pastors being murdered. Pastors are even forbidden to preach in Farsi (the official language of Iran.)
In October, Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Rhetoric like this should be condemned. The Islamic world needs to recognize that Israel exists and will continue to do so. Beyond that, they have a right to exist. Irregardless of the Holocaust or any other issue there are millions of people who live in this land and have had parents and grandparents who have lived there. Iran and all Islamic extremists need to work towards living together peacefully with Israel rather than dreaming of a time that the country will no longer exist. Israel, of course, shares the same need.
To his defense, Ahmadinejad doesn't appear to have said that the Holocaust didn't take place. Like anyone who expresses doubt over any aspect of this tragic event, the immediate charge is that they don't believe in it at all. Ahamdinejad's comments appear to be the result of the recent incarceration of several revisionists in Europe: namely David Irving, Germar Rudolf, Ernst Zuendel, and Siegfried Verbeke. Certainly the persecution of these "thought-criminals" adds fuel to the fire of those who would suggest that Zionist power "rules the world." The actions by various European states (most recently Germany and Austria) exactly fan the fire of anti-Semitism and age-old conspiracy theories.
The article goes on to say that "Religious hardliners in Iran do not publicly deny the Holocaust occurred but say its scale has been exaggerated to justify the creation of Israel and continued Western support for it." Again, it is important to note that no one denies that the Holocaust occurred. This argument suggests that doubt of any aspect of the Holocaust amounts to the denial of the entirety. In fact, revisionists do claim that the scale has been exaggerated and many have also made the connection to Western support for Israel.
We would all do well to recall Harry Elmer Barnes' warning at the conclusion of "Revisionism and the Promotion of Peace:"
"Unless and until we can break through the historical blackout, now supported even by public policy, and enable the peoples of the world to know the facts concerning international relations during the last quarter of a century, there can be no real hope for the peace, security and prosperity which the present triumphs of science and technology could make possible. The well-being of the human race, if not its very survival, is very literally dependent on the triumph of Revisionism."
Iran president expresses doubt holocaust happened
Dec 8, 2005
By Paul Hughes
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday expressed doubt the Holocaust took place and suggested the Jewish state of Israel be moved to Europe.
His comments, reported by Iran's official IRNA news agency from a news conference he gave in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, follow his call in October for Israel to be "wiped off the map", which sparked widespread international outrage.
The latest comments also provoked quick condemnation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called them "totally unacceptable" and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said "I condemn them unreservedly. They have no place in civilized political debate."
Ahmadinejad was quoted by IRNA as saying: "Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail."
"Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem?" he said.
"If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe -- like in Germany, Austria or other countries -- to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it."
The Nazis killed some 6 million Jews during their 1933-1945 rule. Ahmadinejad's remarks drew swift rebukes from Israel and Washington.
ISRAEL, WASHINGTON RESPOND
Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said in Tel Aviv Ahmadinejad was voicing "the consensus that exists in many circles in the Arab world that the Jewish people ... do not have the right to establish a Jewish, democratic state in their ancestral homeland".
"Just to remind Mr. Ahmadinejad, we've been here long before his ancestors were here," Gissin said. "Therefore, we have a birthright to be here in the land of our forefathers and to live here. Thank God we have the capability to deter and to prevent such a statement from becoming a reality."
Deputy U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli called the remarks "appalling and reprehensible".
"They certainly don't inspire hope among any of us in the international community that the government in Iran is prepared to engage as a responsible member of the community," he said.
A news conference with French President Jacques Chirac near Berlin, Merkel also said: "With our historical responsibility in mind, I can only say that we reject them (Ahmadinejad's comments) in the harshest possible terms.
"We will do everything to make it clear that Israel's right to existence is in no way endangered. I am firmly convinced that a majority in the international community has a similar opinion on this issue," she said. Chirac said he agreed completely.
Religious hardliners in Iran do not publicly deny the Holocaust occurred but say its scale has been exaggerated to justify the creation of Israel and continued Western support for it.
Close allies when Iran was ruled by the U.S.-backed Shah, Iran and Israel have become implacable foes since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
Israel accuses Iran of giving arms and funding to militant Palestinian groups such as Islamic Jihad and of building nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges.
Tehran calls Israel a "terrorist state" and has developed missiles which can reach it. It says it would use them if Israel, itself believed to be nuclear armed, tried to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities.
(Additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem)