A Counter-Finkelstein “Holocaust” Lecture

Dear Friends,

 

Under the sponsorship of Al Saha Cultural Club in Beirut and Samah Idris of

Al Adab Bi-monthly Magazine, a lecture took place on Thursday, December 20,

2001, at 7 PM in Beirut, Lebanon, to tackle the issue of the “Holocaust” and

to provide a counter view to Finkelstein’s approach to the subject, in the

aftermath of the latter’s recent visit to Beirut.  The lecture was delivered

by Ibrahim Alloush and it dealt with the following topics:

 

1) what the “Holocaust” and the myth of the gas chambers is.  The

“Holocaust” has three pillars: a) the argument the

there was a Nazi policy to exterminate Jews in WWII.  In fact, the

Nazi policy was to deport Jews from Germany, an objective

shared with the Zionist movement. b) the argument that five or six

million Jews died as a result of this Nazi policy.  In fact, many

Jews died in WWII in concentration camps, but so did many

others who are non-Jews.  These deaths occured as a result of

starvation and disease. c) the argument that the Jews who died in

WWII were exterminated in gas chambers.  In fact, gas chambers

never existed, and no one was able to prove their existence.

Revisionist historians on the other hand have done a lot of work

proving that there was no such thing as gas chambers.  The

response was their persecution, not their refutation.

 

2) what the political uses of the “Holocaust” are.  The arguments

above lead to the conclusions that; a) the Jews need a safe haven,

or a homeland of their own, from which they can be safe from the

‘anti-semitism’ of this world.  This leads to the moral necessity of

“Israel’s” existence.  b) the uniqueness of the “Holocaust” in human

history, which leads to the justification of Zionist policies and

violations of international law, under the pretext that the

uniqueness of Jewish suffering should allow them some leeway

with international law and double standards.  c) the world is

morally responsible for the “Holocaust” and needs to compensate

for that by paying money and giving unlimited support to the

Zionist movement.

 

3) why we cannot separate the “Holocaust” from its political uses.

Each element of the “Holocaust” above has a specific political

application.  Accepting the “Holocaust” while rejecting its political

applications is like accepting the tree while rejecting its fruit.  For

example, Finkelstein had to deny the uniqueness of the

“Holocaust” in human history to be able to reject Zionist policies,

practices, and double standards.  But because he did not reject

the other aspects of the “Holocaust”, like the gas chambers and

the alleged policy of Nazi extermination of Jews in WWII, he did

not reject Zionist settlement in Palestine, or the concept of a safe

haven.  Technically, that is equivalent to saying that one accepts

“Israel” but not its practices.  But is it possible for “Israel” to exist

without its practices?!

 

4) what is lacking in Finkelstein’s approach and why tackling one

element only of the “Holocaust” myth is not enough.  Finkelstein is

allowed a luxury gentiles (non-Jews) are not.  He can criticize

certain aspects of the “Holocaust” without being accused of

‘anti-semitism’.  The U.S. government did not interfere to prevent

him from speaking in Beirut like it did in the case of Revisionist

Historians.  Logically, Finkelstein’s approach is faulty.  The

argument of the uniqueness of the “Holocaust” is derived from the

three elements mentioned above.   Indeed, if there had been a

Nazi extermination policy against Jews that killed millions of them

in gas chambers, that would have been unprecedented in human

history, and thus unique.  So Finkelstein rejects the uniqueness

argument, the exaggeration of the figures of alleged “Holocaust”

victims, and SOME of the political uses of the “Holocaust”.  But

the uniqueness argument derives from the three elements of the

“Holocaust”, and one cannot reject the uniqueness argument

without rejecting the other three elements.  Definitely, Finkelstein

has condemned revisionist historians as cranks and crackpots.

Hence, he has rejected the mere discussion of the other elements

of the “Holocaust”.  He has taken steps towards rejecting certain

political uses of the “Holocaust”, and has gotten in trouble for

tackling such a taboo subject, but not on sound basis.  His is a

reformist criticism of the “Holocaust” at best, which leaves the

basis of the myth untouched.

 

5) why the U.S. government and ruling elites in the West need the

“Holocaust” to justify their colonial policies in the Arab World.  In

fact, the “Holocaust” is necessary not only for the Zionist

movement, but western governments and ruling elites as well.

These elites need the “Holocaust” to justify their neo-colonial

policies and their unlimited support for “Israel” before their

peoples.  In that sense, the “Holocaust” is a political weapon in the

hands of imperialism, not just the Zionist movement.

 

In this context, the works of Arthur Butz, Germar, and others were pointed

out.  In fact, on the subject of the gas chambers, whole paragraphs were

read out in Arabic from the section dealing with that topic in Dr.

Faurisson’s paper that was to be presented in the cancelled Beirut

conference.  The issue of why Finkelstein was allowed to speak in Beirut

whereas Faurisson and other revisionists were not was also brought up.

Finally, the standing challenge from Dr. Faurisson to prove that any of his

conclusions were incorrect was delivered to the audience.

 

Following the lecture there was extensive debate as some members of the

audience seemed to have imbibed totally some of the myths of the “Holocaust”

from Dr. Finkelstein during his trip to Beirut.  Some of the audience was

concerned that Finkelstein was being attacked unjustly by the lecturer as he

was fired from his job, subjected to attacks from the Zionist lobby, and was

almost prevented from speaking at the American University of Beirut

[eventually he was allowed to speak, but not in a public lecture, but only

to students and faculty].  Furthermore, many pointed out that the fact that

they listened to Finkelstein doesn’t mean that they agree with everything he

says.  However, that doesn’t mean we have to accuse him of objectively

serving the interests of the Zionist camp by supporting the myth of the

“Holocaust” as the lecturer claimed, according to some members in the

audience.  Most of the audience, in fact, kept an open mind on the issue of

the gas chambers [that is, they seemed to accept the position of revisionist

historians on the matter], but remained sympathetic to Finkelstein [since

Arab activists generally have a soft spot for anyone who is targetted by the

Zionist lobby, even if they are not one hundred percent].  Finally, some of

them insisted that they were told by Finkelstein that he does NOT know if

the gas chambers are real or not, but that he focuses on the political uses

of the “Holocaust” only.  Some suggested a debate between Finkelstein and

lecturer, to which lecturer responded that he would gladly do it but that it

would be better to prove his case (about the double standard applied to

revisionists but not others) if there was a debate as well IN BEIRUT between

Finkelstein and one well-known revisionist from Europe or North America like

Robert Faurisson or Mark Weber.  The lecturer added that it would be

interesting to see if Finkelstein is willing to discuss the matter with

revisionists in the open, since they have displayed a great willingness to

have the results of their research debated publicly.

 

                                        Association Against Zionism And Racism

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