Holocaust Deniers Unite
By Martin A. Lee
American extremists who claim that Jews fabricated the Holocaust to discredit Hitler and to justify the dispossession of Palestinians have made common cause on the propaganda front with jihadists from the Middle East.
At the forefront of this collaborative effort is the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), the leading promoter of Holocaust denial in the United States. Founded in 1978, the Southern California-based IHR distributes books, pamphlets, audio and videotapes that purport to prove the Holocaust never happened.
These "assassins of memory," as French literary historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet calls the Holo-hoaxers, also publish the Journal of Historical Review, which tries mightily to impress its readers with footnotes and other scholarly trappings.
A recent issue spoke breathlessly of a "white-hot trend: the rapid growth of Holocaust revisionism, fueled by increasing cooperation between Muslims and Western revisionists, across the Islamic world."
Early last year, the IHR organized a conference on "Zionism and Revisionism" that was set for Beirut that March. Billed as an opportunity for North American and European extremists to meet their counterparts in the Islamic world, the event was delayed and relocated due to complaints by Jewish groups and diplomatic pressure from the United States and Europe.
An open letter signed by 14 leading Arab intellectuals also denounced the conference, which was eventually held in Amman, Jordan.
The featured speaker at this scaled-down meeting, hosted locally by the Jordanian Writers' Federation, was French negationist Robert Faurisson, a longtime IHR advisor.
Faurisson told a sympathetic audience that "Hitler never ordered or allowed the killing of anyone on account of his or her race or religion" and that "the Germans suffered, in reality, a fate far worse than that of the Jews."
Feeding the Propaganda Machine
Driven by the proliferation of neo-Nazi propaganda and antagonism toward Israel, Holocaust denial has gained widespread acceptance across the Arab world in recent years.
It's no coincidence that commentary on the IHR Web site is translated and posted in Arabic, as well as in German and English. IHR director Mark Weber takes pride in the fact that he and other "revisionists," as they like to call themselves, have been interviewed on Iranian state radio.
Iran's Islamic fundamentalist regime has granted refuge to several European Holocaust-deniers, who were convicted of hate speech crimes in their home countries. Jürgen Graf, an IHR editorial advisor, fled to Tehran rather than serve a 15-month sentence in a Swiss prison.
A key IHR ally among Muslim extremists is Ahmed Rami, a former Moroccan army officer who fled his native country after joining a failed coup attempt against King Hassan in 1972.
Today Rami runs Radio Islam, a Stockholm-based neo-Nazi propaganda outfit. In addition to articles such as "USA's Rulers: They are all Jews," the website of Radio Islam carries the full text of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, one of the vilest forgeries in modern history.
For many Palestinians, denying the Holocaust is an effective way to reject any Jewish claim to Israel. Columbia University professor Edward Said, a Palestinian American, laments the proliferation of this tendency among Arabs:
If we expect Israeli Jews not to use the Holocaust to justify appalling human rights abuses of the Palestinian people, we too have to go beyond such idiocies as saying that the Holocaust never took place.
Holocaust denial has become increasingly common in leading newspapers in Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other Arab countries, where official thinking is reflected in tightly controlled national media.
Support for denial enables corrupt Arab governments to deflect attention from their own failures, including their own exploitation of Muslim populations and brutal repression of many peoples, including Kurds, Berbers, Egyptian Copts and Maronite Lebanese.
Saudi Arabia at the Forefront
Of all the Arab nations involved in promoting anti-Semitic propaganda, Saudi Arabia is perhaps the most egregious offender. In the late 1970s, for instance, the Saudi government retained the services of American neo-Nazi William Grimstead as a Washington lobbyist.
During this period, the Saudi royal family lavished funds on numerous Sunni fundamentalist organizations, including the Pakistan-based World Muslim Congress (WMC), which was headed by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, an anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator, until his death in 1974.
A few years later, the WMC mailed Holocaust denial literature to every member of the U.S. Congress and the British parliament.
Issah Nakleh, a Palestinian writer affiliated with the WMC, became a fixture at IHR conferences in the United States and a regular contributor to the Journal of Historical Review. Nakleh was also well known to readers of The Spotlight, the anti-Semitic weekly published by the IHR's now-defunct parent organization, the Liberty Lobby.
Acknowledging their political kinship, WMC secretary-general Dr. Inamullah Khan, a trusted advisor to the Saudi royal family, sent a letter to The Spotlight, praising its "superb in-depth analysis" and stating that the paper deserved "the thanks of all right-minded people."
Like many American and European neofascist groups, the WMC espoused a "Third Position" ideology critical of both Cold War superpowers, as underscored by this headline from Muslim World, the WMC's official mouthpiece: "U.S. and USSR — Both Serve Zionist Interests."
But the WMC tempered its anti-American tirades when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Working closely with Saudi and U.S. intelligence, the WMC supported the Afghan mujahedeen in their struggle against the Soviet-backed rulers in Kabul.
During this period, WMC chief Inamullah Khan also served as head of the Pakistani section of the World Anti-Communist League, an international umbrella organization that included fascist collaborators from Europe, Latin American death squad bosses, and right-wing extremists from Asia and North America.
After the Soviets abandoned Afghanistan, the World Muslim Congress and several other Islamic extremist groups once again turned their fundamentalist wrath against the United States.