Holocaust

Holocaust Denial and Genocidal Inversion: A Reflection By a Man Who Lost 82 Relatives in the Holocaust

13 February 2024

10.5 MINS

Editor’s Note: This coming Sunday, 18 February 2024, Never Again is Now is holding a rally in the Domain in Sydney at 3 p.m. Stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters against antisemitism in Australia. With events planned around the country, this is a movement of solidarity among Australians against anti-Jewish racism and hatred. It is for such a time as this. Register at the website.

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 “The things I saw beggar description. I made the visit [to the Nazi death camps] deliberately, in order to be in a position to give firsthand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda.”

The words spoken by General Dwight D. Eisenhower following World War II are etched in stone above the entrance to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C

General Dwight D. Eisenhower probably hoped that his profound words of warning about denying the Holocaust would never occur. Unfortunately, it has, but not only in Europe. The “tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda” has indeed come to pass throughout the Arab/Islamic world. It has also penetrated through to both the extreme Marxist left and Fascist right in the Western world.

The massacre of Jewish and other Israelis on October 7th, 2023, is an act of genocide. It was the greatest single day of the murder of Jews since the Holocaust. Perpetrated by Hamas after 30 years of incessant anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda, this act of hate-driven terror was decades in the making.

Much like Hitler’s prescient warning in Mein Kampf in 1922 on his intent to annihilate the Jews, Hamas provided clear warning and intention to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jews in their Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Charter. Daily, their leaders exhort the Palestinians to slaughter Jews and annihilate Israel. Despite being taken by surprise at the timing and ferocity of the attack, Israel was only too aware that Hamas was determined to live up to the letter of their Charter.

This intention to perpetrate the genocidal removal of the Jews from the Middle East is primarily being attempted through massive terror-driven violence. Increasingly, it is also being attempted through the intentionally crafted, inverted narrative that Israel is a colonial, genocidal and illegitimate entity.

This narrative is now a major weapon in the arsenal of the axis of Islamic antisemitism and hate of Israel. Iran and its proxies Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Syria and a plethora of their fellow travellers have come to understand the weakness, vulnerability and fear of the Western democracies for the pro-Palestinian media and its associated public opinion.

This has created fertile ground for a general media/social media strategy that demonises and isolates Israel. This is because it portrays the Jewish State as an aggressor and perpetrator of genocide of the Palestinian people.

Historical Revisionism

Collectively, this false inverted narrative has, with intent, deliberately spun a web of deceit that the Holocaust was a myth created to gain world sympathy to create the State of Israel in 1948. They also contend that Israel is an illegitimate fascist regime that has usurped the land of Palestine from the Arabs by European Jews who have no historical claim to the land of Israel. This narrative appeals to the socialist left, whose worldview revolves around the eternal battle between the oppressed and the oppressor, and capitalism versus Marxist-inspired socialism.

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s propaganda Minister, would have been proud of the Islamic anti-Israel axis and their supporters on the far left of Western society and within sections of the world media. He would have clapped his hands in delight as to how they have managed to charge Israel with perpetrating genocide, stealing Arab land and having no right to exist as a nation. Goebbels could not have done better in weaving the lie that Israel is “out-Naziing” the Nazis when it comes to the never-ending Israel-Palestine conflict.

This nefarious, inverted narrative has cut through with laser-like precision. It also gave agency to South Africa to recently charge Israel with genocide in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  It is not too far a stretch to compare South Africa’s attempt to remove Israel from the protection of the law to the infamous 1935 Nuremberg Laws, whereby Germany’s Jews were removed from the protection of the law.

The Nuremberg Laws were the first step in outlawing the Jews and paving the way for the Nazi justification and legal framework to perpetrate the Holocaust. This is why this Iranian-initiated attempt by South Africa in the ICJ has impacted the Jews of Israel and the diaspora with such disbelief, despair and not a little anger! It loudly rings the bell of memory!

It, therefore, becomes important to understand how this inverted and perversely clever narrative came to be accepted as “truth” and a justification for isolating Israel in the court of world opinion.

The roots of the media war and malicious narrative directed against Israel can be found in Western and Islamic revisionism. Often motivated by deep-rooted anti-Semitic sentiment, this narrative was originally confined to the Western world.

Western Holocaust deniers, faced with opposition and legal restriction by countries such as the United States, Canada, France, and Germany, have expanded their efforts into many Arab nations, such as Egypt, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority, as well as Iran and Turkey.

According to Michelle Pichney of the Boston College Law School:

While Holocaust-inspired anti-Semitism is nothing new in western countries, the on-going Arab-Israeli conflict provides a fertile ground for efforts to promulgate Holocaust denial as a new anti-Semitic propaganda tool. [1]

From the Beginning

Palestinian Holocaust denial can be traced to as early as 1945, the year World War II ended, when the editor of Arab magazine Filastin wrote:

The Jews have grossly overstated the number of their victims in Europe, in order to gain the world’s support for their imagined catastrophe. Time will show that the Jews were those whose casualties are the lowest compared with other people, and that their propaganda and their ‘haggling’ over ‘these victims’ [sic] as a means to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. [2]

While deeply entrenched religious anti-Semitism has always existed, the anti-Israel phenomenon has gained momentum and has been generated by over 70 years of conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

Explicit anti-Israel holocaust denial and accusations of de-legitimacy began in earnest in the Middle East in the late 1970s. It can be pinpointed to Western Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel when he published a pamphlet entitled The West, War, and Islam. In this pamphlet, he recommended that Muslims could better undercut the Jewish state by funding Holocaust revisionism rather than purchasing weapons. This pamphlet was sent to many heads of state in Arab countries and was received with great interest.

The most well-known connection between Western and Arab denial came about in response to the 1998 trial of Roger Garaudy in France. Garaudy was charged with violating a French law that made it illegal to deny historical events deemed “crimes against humanity” in his book Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique Israélienne (The Founding Myths of Modern Israel). [3]

He challenged the ideas underpinning the legitimacy of the modern state of Israel as “myths,” e.g. the “theological myths” of the Bible; the twentieth-century “myth of Zionist anti-Fascism” (citing evidence that Zionists actually collaborated with Hitler’s regime); the “myth of justice at Nuremberg”; the “myth of the six million”; and the “myth of the land without a people for a people without a land”. These and other myths, as Garaudy’s book argues, had been used by world Zionists to dispossess the Palestinians of their homeland.

Over the course of the trial, he was revered as a hero and received wide media coverage in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.

It is useful here to consider that the idea of the Holocaust as a “myth” is now considered and certainly promoted as “fact” by much of the Arab/Islamic World. Particularly when one contemplates the definition of the word “myth” on Princeton University’s WordNet as “a traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the worldview of a people”. [4]

Garaudy’s mythologising of the Holocaust has a sinister resonance that has been quickly embraced in parts of the Arab/Islamic World and by those who challenge Israel’s right to statehood and, indeed, the prime event that, arguably, brought about its very existence.

In another seminal article in the Syrian daily, Teshreen, on January 31, 2000 (“The Plague of the Third Millennium”), editorialist Muhammad Kheir Al-Wadi called on the international community to “adamantly oppose the new Nazi Plague that breeds in Israel”, while claiming that Zionists “invented” the notion of a “Nazi Holocaust in which the Jews suffered. He continues:

The Zionist effort does not stop at paralyzing human memory; it also tries to shatter logic and distort reality. Israel, that presents itself as the heir of Holocaust victims, has committed and still commits much more terrible crimes than those committed by the Nazis. The Nazis did not expel a whole nation nor buried people and prisoners alive, as the Zionists did. [5]

This long, tedious quotation is worthy of note for no other reason than this article became seminal in the Arab world as “proof” that the Jews invented the Holocaust and stole the Palestinians’ homeland and, therefore, deceived the world.

Conflagration

Against this background, Holocaust denial and the comparison of Israeli Zionism to Nazism has rapidly become a powerful strategic communication tool in the hands of both state and non-state actors within the context of the perennial Arab-Israeli conflict.

There is now an unprecedented escalating global wave of anti-Israel protest in the wake of Israel’s October 7th war with Hamas. This protest is not restricted to Arab and Islamic governments and peoples, but has included the full spectrum of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic groups, from neo-Nazis to anti-globalists to Green and left-wing groups worldwide.

The images regularly broadcast on television and in the media worldwide show protesters with signs comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler, while waving Israeli flags where the Star of David has been replaced with the swastika. This equates Israel with the Third Reich and is the basest form of Holocaust revisionism. It sends the message that the only “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing less than the complete destruction of the Jewish state, from the River to the Sea.

This is a not-so-subtle reimagining of the Nazis’ assertion that Europe will be “Judenrein” – free of Jews! As horrific as this genocidal chant is for Israelis and Jews to contemplate, is this the Axis of Terror, and their fellow travellers’ answer to the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish question” in the Middle East?

This new anti-Semitism, according to Jack Fischel, former chair of history at Millersville University of Pennsylvania:

“is a phenomenon stemming from a coalition of leftists, vociferously opposed to the policies of Israel, and right-wing anti-Semites, committed to the destruction of Israel, [who] were joined by millions of Muslims, including Arabs, who immigrated to Europe… and who brought with them their hatred of Israel in particular and of Jews in general. “

He further argues that this makes the new anti-Semitism unique. [6] Mark Strauss of Foreign Policy contends that this phenomenon is based on Israel as the referent object of anti-globalism, describing it as “the medieval image of the ‘Christ-killing’ Jew resurrected on the editorial pages of cosmopolitan American and European newspapers”. [7]

Notwithstanding traditional deep-rooted religious-political Anti-Semitism, the use of Holocaust denial and comparison of Israeli actions to that of the Nazis has seen the development of an entirely new anti-Semitic (anti-Israel) paradigm in the Middle East and the world in general.

This is to delegitimise Israel’s right to exist and to compare it to the plight of the Palestinian Nakbah (Catastrophe), referring to the Israeli “Genocide” or “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian people from their lands in 1948. Is it more than a coincidence that the now commonly used name for the Holocaust, Ha’Shoah, also means catastrophe in Hebrew?

The documented fact that over 800,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from more than a dozen Arab lands and Iran from 1947 to 1956, where they and their ancestors lived for millennia, is rarely mentioned.

Also of ironic note is the fact that the President of the Palestinian Authority, Dr Mahmoud Abbas, received his Doctorate from the Soviet Academy of Sciences for his 1982 thesis, The Relationship Between Zionists and Nazis 1933-1945. In this thesis, he questioned the number of Jews killed and stated it was no more than hundreds of thousands and indicated that the Jews had co-operated with the Nazis.

Weaponised Deceit

Comparing Israel’s actions in relation to Palestine to that of the Nazis in World War II is a major strategic tool in the arsenal of Israel’s opponents. Because of this inversion of fact, Israel is now fighting a war on several fronts, the battlefield in Gaza, Southern Lebanon, Judea and Samaria (The West Bank), and the war for hearts and minds. Israel is losing the latter because it cannot counteract the overwhelming forces of the anti-Israel movement arrayed against it.

The efficacy and success of the deployment of the media as a political weapon has also seen the rapid rise of anti-Israel sentiment within the United Nations and sections within the European Union. From 2006 through 2023, the UN has adopted over 108 resolutions against Israel, 43 against Syria, 15 against Iran, six against Russia, and four against Venezuela.

This, coupled with the repeated accusations that Israel is committing genocide and perpetrating a Holocaust against the Palestinians, is a powerful tool in the quest for world sympathy. Whilst patently untrue, it is virtually impossible to unravel the web of disinformation and popular myths to counter this widely held perception. The words of Israeli Brig-General Ephraim-Seth ring true when he said, ‘the Palestinians have discovered the power of their weakness and the Israelis, the weakness of their strength’. [8]

Therefore, there is little wonder that the world’s media is focused daily on the actions and machinations of the relatively tiny State of Israel and its “Occupied Territories” of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The October 7th War now brings to a head the culmination of many years of carefully planned strategic demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel’s right to exist and its right to forceful self-defence.

As the son of two Auschwitz survivors and as one of the remnants of a family where 82 members were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, I ask myself, why? Why are Jews and the world’s only Jewish state, Israel, singled out for such venomous condemnation by much of the “so-called” progressive Left, Fascist Right, and throughout much of the Islamic world?

I contend that the outpouring of support for the Palestinian Gazans and Hamas, and the tsunami of condemnation of Israel was as much a part of the strategic plan of Hamas as was the murderous assault on Israel on October 7th. It also taps into an inherent sinister and ancient hatred of Jews.

Israel has, therefore, no other choice than to win this war on the battlefield as it fights an existential war against the arrayed forces of the Axis of Terror that wishes Israel and the Jews dead!

In the words of Sir Winston Churchill:

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

The media and Public Relations war is lost for now, but it is of little consequence where truth has been sacrificed on the alter of lies, misinformation and deception. It serves Israel little purpose to agonise over its many opponents’ rejection of such intangible concepts as truth, right and morality or the more tangible facts such as the recorded history of Israel and the Jewish people.

Sympathy is for victims, and Israel, much to the chagrin of its opponents, after 2,000 years of rabid anti-Semitism, has ceased to be a victim.

As Golda Meir, the former Prime Minister of Israel, said,

“If we have to have a choice between being dead and pitied, and being alive with a bad image, we’d rather be alive and have the bad image.”

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[1] Picheny, Michelle L. Boston College Third World Law Journal. Newton Centre, Massachusetts, Boston College Law School. 2003, VOL. XXIII, N° 2.

[2] Filastin, Newspaper Jerusalem editorial 17, 23 May 1945.

[3] Roger Garaudy Inst for Historical Review 1996

[4] WordNet.

[5] Ibid., Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 2 July 1998.

[6] Fischel, Jack R. “The New Anti-Semitism“, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 2005, pp. 225-234.

[7] Mark Strauss Foreign Policy, 12 November 2003

[8] Online NewsHour, 31 October 2000.

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Photo by RON ROV.

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9 Comments

  1. Jim Twelves 13 February 2024 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Jerry, congratulations on penning this magnificent essay. As you conclude, there is no obvious way to counter the avalanche of anti-Israel sentiment from the media and public opinion. The propaganda war is certainly going their way. As Netanyahu says the enemy is as much the forces that seek to distort public opinion as Hamas and Hezbollah.
    I pray that that every thinking man and woman will recognize that most media, western, middle eastern and eastern, is simply propaganda and that they will up-skill themselves in critical thinking to recognize when truth is being distorted and manipulated for ulterior motives.

    • Jerry Lissing 13 February 2024 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Thank you Jim, it is distressing to know that Israel and Jews are being demonised for simply wanting to live without fear of attack. The Christian community in Australia and around the world has been a huge source of comfort to us with their love and support!

  2. Pauline Tondl 13 February 2024 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this deeply moving, agonising perspective on the hated that Israelis daily live under. My heart sorrows deeply for you all.

    It would seem that hated of the Jews and of Israel has something to do with the fact that Israel exists because the living God decrees it to exist … and to serve His good and eternal purposes … in spite of what mankind does to deny that fact or destroy the evidence.
    Evil-doers do not want to be reminded that there is a living God to whom we all must give an account one day …

  3. Jillian Stirling 13 February 2024 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    What a magnificent essay. Thank you. Jew Hatred is the oldest hatred. The second oldest is hatred of Christians. With all this immigration of Jew and christian haters we need to remember after Saturday comes Sunday. As PM Netanyahu says it is our war too.

  4. Gail Petherick 13 February 2024 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jerry for exposing the craft of propaganda/the media, the lies and deceit and roots of anti Semitism that spread from Europe to become a weapon of the Middle east and of those Arabs and left-wing people groups who migrated to Europe and now we see this in Australia.
    Thanks for highlighting the warning of Eisenhower e- that propaganda would be used to deny the reality of Anti Semitism that started many years ago even before Hitler used this as a weapon to gain power, and it manifested again in the Arab aggression straight after the 1948 establishment of Israel as a nation and in the 6 day war. There have been so many unprovoked attacks on Israel and finally Oct 7, 2023.
    We who love Israel and every Jewish person grieve to see such distorted narratives in the newspapers and on TV.
    It is a great inspiration to know the ‘Never again is now’ rally will go forth on Feb 18 with many supporting it and others praying for it from interstate.
    There has never been such a shameful time in Australia’s history to the Jewish people, until the Palestinian rallies occurred in late 2023 and earlier this year; they have displayed hate and violent chants by misguided youth, paid protestors and radicals. They have also invaded meetings such as the Israeli family meeting in Spencer St Melbourne in Nov 2023 met and tried to intimidate any Jewish people present. That included a Greens MP with a hijab put on during her time within the hotel where they gate crashed. What other country would allow such a thing to happen where radicals can gatecrash a lunch and stand there and stare at the hosts and families at the function, who met to grieve their lost loved ones and others held hostage by the Hamas in Gaza. How could the Victorian Govt allow such behavior and include one of their own Parliamentarians to be present without any reprisals? Such actions show how far Australia has slidden into indoctrination and anti Semitism.
    May this rally on the 18 Feb now turn the tide and show the love, friendship and support that is there from many Christians and those who love Israel. May the Jewish people among them know they are warmly accepted and welcomed here and appreciated.
    Thank God too for the brave journalists as Sharri Markson and Andrew Bolt and others who report the truth on these matters and Sky News and who give both sides of the story.
    In the end of each life, all will see that God chose Israel to be His people and gave them the land to develop, whilst giving the promise to Abraham that Israel would be a light and blessing to the gentile nations. In the final days God will show Himself as the one who created Israel and His people for His purposes because he loves them.
    We stand now in both grief and love with every Jewish person and pray Australia turns round to see the truth of what occurred Oct 7 and in WW2.

  5. Gail Petherick 13 February 2024 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jerry for exposing the craft of propaganda/the media, the lies and deceit and roots of anti Semitism that spread from Europe to become a weapon of the Middle east and of those Arabs and left-wing people groups who migrated to Europe and now we see this in Australia.
    Thanks for highlighting the warning of Eisenhower that propaganda would be used to deny the reality of Anti Semitism that started many years ago even before Hitler used this as a weapon to gain power, and it manifested again in the Arab aggression straight after the 1948 establishment of Israel as a nation and in the 6 day war. There have been so many unprovoked attacks on Israel and finally Oct 7, 2023.
    We who love Israel and every Jewish person grieve to see such distorted narratives in the newspapers and on TV.
    It is a great inspiration to know the ‘Never again is now’ rally will go forth on Feb 18 with many supporting it and others praying for it from interstate.
    May this rally on the 18 Feb now turn the tide and show the love, friendship and support that is there from many Christians and those who love Israel. May the Jewish people among them know they are warmly accepted and welcomed here and appreciated.
    Thank God too for the brave journalists as Sharri Markson and Andrew Bolt and others who report the truth on these matters and Sky News and who give both sides of the story.
    In the end of each life, all will see that God chose Israel to be His people and gave them the land to develop, whilst giving the promise to Abraham that Israel would be a light and blessing to the gentile nations. In the final days God will show Himself as the one who created Israel and His people for His purposes because he loves them.
    We stand now in both grief and love with every Jewish person and pray Australia turns round to see the truth of what occurred Oct 7 and in WW2.

  6. Jerry Lissing 13 February 2024 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Thank you All, it is distressing to know that Israel and Jews are being demonised for simply wanting to live without fear of attack. The Christian community in Australia and around the world has been a huge source of comfort to us with their love and support!

  7. nel farnik 13 February 2024 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Dear Jerry, thank you for your penetrating article about Israel and antisemitism. This is a complex subject and not easy to turn around with the current narrative being circulated, however, we believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He will have the final say and “there is nothing too hard” for the Lord. Jer 32:17. shalom shalom Nel Farnik

  8. Warwick Marsh 21 February 2024 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Really great article about a very distressing reality in Australia and tge world.

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