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Hope Not Hate: Holocaust “Revisionism” Today

Hope Not Hate have published a book detailing the Holocaust ‘revisionism’ scene, entitled Rewriting History. It  is well worth reading.

As you’d imagine, Britain’s own Gilad Atzmon features prominently along with some of his friends.

Here’s a section from Nick Lowles’ introduction:

We began work on this project about eighteen months ago but it was given added impetus over the controversy surround Gilad Atzmon’s performance in Bradford last year. Atzmon is a well-known and talented jazz musician but he is also a strong critic of Israel, Jews in general and a Holocaust revisionist. Despite being Jewish himself, Atzmon has promoted Holocaust deniers and claims that the established history of the Holocaust is misleading. He attacks Jewish identity in a way that would clearly be recognised as racist if it were about any other minority identity and claims that people might think that Hitler was right about the Jews because of their behaviour today. He tells crude antisemitic jokes and mocks any concerns about antisemitism.

I asked the event organisers to withdraw his invitation. Not only was this request rebuffed but I came under a barrage of personal attacks on the internet. As I wrote at the time: “In all the years of writing this blog I don’t think I have received as many abusive and angry emails as I have over this issue, though it must be stressed that many of the emails are from the same two or three people.”

One of my central arguments was that if a British National Party (BNP) member had produced this then people would be up in outrage, so why the silence when it comes to Atzmon? I guess I should not have been surprised by Atzmon’s vitriolic outbursts but what was more disconcerting was the reaction of others, including people who I felt should have known better.

Some were bought into the line that by attacking Atzmon I was somehow trying to silence critics of Israel. Others, including people I had worked closely with in fighting the far right, simply wanted to stay out of the fray and so remained silent. they privately accepted that Atzmon’s views were unacceptable but they were worried that by speaking out they too would come under attack. But then there were others, very critical of Israel, who both understand that Atzmon’s views were unacceptable and also that they were politically damaging to the wider Palestinian cause.

This ebook is not an attack on those who oppose Zionism or even those critical of the policies and actions of Israel. Quite the opposite. Rather, it is simply designed to highlight the networks and political motivation of those who deny or play down the Holocaust in order to either rehabilitate National Socialism or as a reason to attack Israel and Jews more generally. there should be no place for Holocaust denial or antisemitism of any kind – and it is imperative that we speak out against it in whatever form it takes and from whatever quarter it comes.

Just a couple of thoughts of my own.

Holocaust revisionism is toxic in much of the West, because it links directly to nostalgia for German Nazism and the neo Nazi movement more generally. Most progressives, and indeed most people, in the West take pride in an identity shaped by resistance to Nazism. Therefore, as we have seen, Holocaust denial – when exposed – tends to be condemned by most mainstream British Palestinian solidarity organisations: albeit with vocal minority opposition from those on the political fringe.

However, Palestinian solidarity activities inevitably bring their campaigners into close contact with their Islamist and Palestinian counterparts, for whom the basest antisemitism, enthusiasm for Hitler, and Holocaust denial is an absolute article of faith. The use of Nazi rhetoric is also accompanied by genocidal threats to living Jews.

Therefore these groups end up condemning Holocaust revisionism, when practiced by “white Europeans” (and Atzmon), while staying silent the embrace of this politics by their allies.

And so, even as the leadership of these organisations distance themselves from the neo Nazis in their midst, they share platforms with organisations which tour Jew hating Holocaust deniers around the United Kingdom, and hold rallies in which Jews are threatened the memory of a more ancient extermination:

Khaibar khaibar ya Yahud, Jaisyu muhammad saufa ya’ud