Tuesday, March 27, 2007

JWPF Global Vigil on 4/7

At 9:30 AM on Saturday, April 7, 2007, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, in conjunction with Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) will be holding a first ever “Global Vigil” outside Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Daniel McGowan, founder of DYR and Paul Eisen, of its London (UK) branch will be on hand that morning and will also give a presentation at 3 PM that afternoon in the Anderson Room of the Michigan Union on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus.

For more information concerning housing, etc. , contact Henry Herskovitz at henryherskovitz@hotmail.com. Click here for a Google map to Beth Israel Congregation.

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Do you know that Daniel McGowan and Paul Eisen are both Holocaust deniers who associate with people like Ernst Zundel, one of the leaders of the Holocaust denial movement for several decades? How can Jews associate with such people? Being anti-Zionist does not mean one has to associate with anti-semites and deniers of the Holocaust.
Could Rebecca please define what she means by holocaust denier? Can she name one revisionist that calls him/herself a "denier"? Most likely this is just a name calling ploy suggested by the World Union of Jewish Students. See "Name Calling", one of "Seven Propaganda Devices", p. 22 of their "Hasbara [propaganda] Handbook".

And while she's at it, could Rebecca give a consise definition of "holocaust", so that we can see what Messrs. Eisen and McGowan are "deny"-ing.
Hmm, I didn't realize that I was receiving my marching orders from WUJS - I guess I have to go to meetings of the World Jewish Conspiracy more often to learn the talking points!

If you want a definition of a Holocaust denier, try reading Deborah Lipstadt's book on her libel trial - History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.

Otherwise, I leave it up to you to determine how to characterize yourself.
Rebecca, you have not answered my question, most likely because no holocaust revisionist refers to her/himself as a "denier". So I repeat: either provide evidence that Jurgen Graf has referred to himself as a "denier"; or Ingrid Rimland, Robert Faurisson, Zundel, etc., or start calling these people what they are: historical revisionists.

Interestingly, you refer to Deborah Lipstadt, who probably does more for revisionist arguments than she is aware. In the chapter in "Denying the Holocaust", entitled "The Gas Chamber Controversy", she provides only ad hominem attacks rather than showing even a single photograph of a wartime homocidal gas chamber. Can you provide us one?

Nowhere in Zionist Out's blog, nor in my comment is there a reference to a "World Jewish Conspiracy". But good job - attempting to change the focus is the duty of anyone trying to avoid facing the truth.

Here's some advice again taken from the Hasbara Handbook: "When a Jewish student feels out of their depth in a discussion they ought not to continue.", p. 31, chapter heading: "Just Walk Away: When Not to Engage".

Finally, I won't be taking the bait of your baseless challenge that I am attempting to characterize myself. Please try someone else.
I wasn't aware that in order to give someone the title of denier I had to search their writings to see if they had used the word. This is my judgment on Ernst Zundel, Daniel McGowan, Paul Eisen, and others - that they deny the historicity of the Holocaust through misuse of historical sources (for example, German documents of the time), misanalysis of remains of the gas chambers, etc., for tendentious ends.

You were the one who mentioned WUJS, not me - and since I have never seen the "Hasbara Handbook," I don't see how I could have made use of its methods of argumentation.

Sorry if you feel I should just walk away.
Dear Rebecca

I am no scholar of the Holocaust but I have had a pretty good look at the revisionist literature and would say, at the very least, that they have a case. I'd also be surprised if any other objective person looked at the literature and didn't come to the same conclusion.

Their motives are largely irrelevant other than maybe to suggest we examine the literature super carefully.

So, why not stop attacking me, Dan and Ernst Zundel or trying to get us banned from this and that? Look at the literature and discuss the issues.

Now, what's so wrong with that?

Paul, I'm not trying to get you banned from anything. I'm just questioning the wisdom of Jews associating with people who deny that the Holocaust occurred. I'm not sure what you mean by an "objective" person who could look at the revisionist literature and be persuaded that it makes a good case.

I'm not interested in debating whether the Holocaust occurred, whether 6 million Jews (and millions of others, such as Gypsies or Soviet POWs in German custody) were murdered, whether there were gas chambers - many reputable historians, working with the original documents and the material evidence from the death camps, from the sites of mass graves, etc., have been working for many years to figure out what exactly occurred to Jews and many others under German rule during WWII. (In case you're interested, I recommend the works of Michael Marrus, Christopher Browning, Saul Friedlander, Yehuda Bauer, etc.)
Rebecca, I don't feel you should walk away, just please answer the questions I've put to you.

I'll take you at your word that you are not familiar with the Hasbara Handbook, but as an assistant professor of Jewish studies at a world class institution, you should know of it. And now you do.

Here's a quote that better explains than I can why "denier" is such a negative term: "A perfect example of the biased treatment of the Western press is the recent adoption of the term “Holocaust denier” to slander anyone who may question any part of the complex and expansive Holocaust story. The term “Holocaust denier” was created by Simon Wiesenthal to denote any one who dares to question any part of his version of the Holocaust. To “deny” is usually associated with an allegation of a personal crime. For example, “John Doe denies that he committed the robbery.” It has a very negative connotation. It is not commonly used to denote people holding a contrary historical opinion."

Yes, this quote was taken from David Duke's address at the Tehran conference last December, but like Paul suggests, if we become objective listeners, we just might discover meaningful passages from those with which we might otherwise disagree or even find distasteful.
Rebecca: I'm just questioning the wisdom of Jews associating with people who deny that the Holocaust occurred.

Rebecca, read over what you have written above? Are you saying that a Jew must take one particular position on the veracity of thw Holocaust narrative? What happens if a Jew doesn't happen to agree with it?

Nobody's telling you that you have to be interested in studying the Holocaust but why then do you post comments rubbishing those that do study it and take a revisionist position? Is not the reason, that for you, the core of Jewish identity is the specialness of Jewish suffering of which the Holocaust is simply the latest version?

I am fairly familiar with conventional Holocaust scholarship on the Holocaust and have found it pretty unconvincing. But here and now is not the place nor time to have a long discussion about the 'material evidence' of the holocaust. The work on all sides of the debate is freely available for anyone to study - so good luck.

I guess, Paul, it astonishes me that someone Jewish would associate with Ernst Zundel, author of a book called "The Hitler We Loved and Why," given that Hitler and the Nazi Party (and many other people in Germany and other countries) were responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and other victims.

And no, the Holocaust is not the source of my Jewish identity, nor any ideas of special Jewish suffering. I prefer to focus on positive aspects of Jewish identity in my life.

And Henry, again, I don't see why I should look to David Duke for any advice on becoming an "objective listener," given that he long ago ceased treating Jews or Blacks in any kind of objective fashion. I don't generally respect the opinions of former leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, unless they've renounced their racist and anti-semitic beliefs.
Keep your focus, Ms. Lesses. I did not ask you to look to David Duke for advice on becoming an objective listener. I asked you to listen to his words on the damage of calling one a "denier", and that there might be a nugget of truth in what he says.

But you ignore that, as you have ignored (a) my challenge to provide evidence that holocaust revisionists wish to be called deniers, (b) providing us with a wartime photograph of any homicidal gas chamber, and (c) your consise definition of "holocaust".

With your ability to ignore, twist words and meanings, and deliver ad hominem attacks, coupled with your claim (which I do not "deny") that you are unfamiliar with the Hasbara Handbook, I can only conclude that you must have placed out of that course. Congratulations!

So rather than continuing this one-way "dialogue", I'll leave the last word up to you.

Best wishes.
Dear Rebecca

Ernst Zundel did not author "the Hitler I Loved and Why" he had a small imput in its writing and distributed it. But I'm splitting hairs. Zundel does love Hitler as did millions upon millions of ordinary Germans. I also believe that many Germans now, even young Germans may still revere his memory and many more would if they were not forbidden to do so.

I don't think all those Germans were or are mad, nor that they were or are coerced, nor that they were mesmerised by some demonic power.

I don't think Hitler was a good man but I do think he was a human being and I also suspect that he wasn't the demonic soul as we are led (and forced) to believe.

I think all this is important - firstly because I don't see why Germans, alone amongst all people, should be compelled to hate themselves, their forebears and their history, and secondly because it simply feels right that I should be able to put myself in other peoples shoes and understand how they feel. And that goes for as much Ernst Zundel and the German people as much as anyone else.

You're a Jewish academic which puts you at the heart of the Jewish establishment. I don't know how much Jewish ideological survival is worth, but if you really care about some kind of Jewish survival, I think you should think about these things very carefully indeed. In any event, I wish you the best of luck.

Again, Henry, I don't see why I have to get permission from Holocaust deniers to give them that title when that's what they're doing. And no, I won't be drawn into a debate with you over whether there were gas chambers in the death camps - there's plenty of historical evidence to prove that (see Robert van Pelt's book on Auschwitz, for example). And l don't think it's necessary to have read the Hasbara Handbook in order to argue with deniers - reading Deborah Lipstadt's work (and recently hearing her give a lecture) has been very helpful to me here in this discussion.

Paul, I agree with you that Hitler was not a demonic soul - he was a human being, not different in nature from any of the rest of us. But in concert with the Nazi Party which he led he was the author of many horrendous deeds. I don't see why Germans would want to love him, given how much destruction he and his collaborators visited on their country, physically and morally.

Strangely enough, I have never thought of myself as being in the heart of the Jewish establishment!
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