Deconstructing Simon Wiesenthal

Israel/Palestine
on 149 Comments

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, California, is named after the famed Austrian Nazi-hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, a connection that turns out to be appropriate in disturbing but unexpected ways. That is, both Simon Wiesenthal and the Center named after him have been accused of flagrant lying, exaggerations and half-truths. Wiesenthal’s confabulations were never a matter of published discourse among scholars, so far as this writer can determine, nor were they popular knowledge until quite recently. In any case, it is now known that Wiesenthal, a born story-teller, rarely let the facts get in the way of a good story—in fact many of the things he claimed to have done were fabrications. This recently came to light with the publication, in June of 2009, of Hunting Evil, by British Author Guy Walters, in which he characterizes Simon Wiesenthal as “a liar—and a bad one at that.” Wiesenthal, he maintains, would “concoct outrageous stories about his war years and make false claims about his academic career.” Walters found that there were “so many inconsistencies between his three main memoirs and between those memoirs and contemporaneous documents, that it is impossible to establish a reliable narrative from them. Wiesenthal’s scant regard for the truth makes it possible to doubt everything he ever wrote or said.”1

Daniel Finkelstein, grandson of the founder of the Wiener Library in London, one of the oldest and most reputable institutions for the study of the Holocaust, had this to say in an August 2009 article in the London Times about Guy Walters’ Hunting Evil: “Walters’s documentary evidence on Wiesenthal’s inconsistencies and lies is impeccable. He shows how the Nazi hunter’s accounts of his wartime experiences are contradictory and implausible. He demonstrates that he had no role, contrary to his own assertion, in the capture of Adolf Eichmann. He pitilessly dissects Wiesenthal’s overblown claims about the number he brought to justice, suggesting it was not much more than a handful.”2

So far the Wiener Library itself has not responded directly to this revaluation of Wiesenthal. That is interesting because one assumes that they, like many others in the field of Holocaust Studies, may have been aware for some time that there were problems with Wiesenthal’s resume.

So what is the truth about Simon Wiesenthal? Born in 1908 in Galicia, Wiesenthal attended the Czech Technical University in Prague in 1929, where he had a reputation as a gifted raconteur. (Walters says he appeared as “a stand-up comedian,” which could be a British approximation of the cabaret theatre popular at that time.) Wiesenthal claimed to have graduated from Czech Technical, but records show that he didn’t. He also maintained that he studied at Lwow Polytechnic in Galicia in 1935, but there is no record of him ever attending classes there. Wiesenthal likewise claimed to have operated his own architectural office and built elegant villas, but again Polish records do not support this. Instead he appears to have worked as a supervisor in a Lviv furniture factory from 1935 until 1939, a somewhat more mundane occupation, and one that Wiesenthal himself acknowledged before he became a famous celebrity in Vienna.

During the Second World War, Wiesenthal was apprehended by the Nazis, and was in at least six different Nazi camps. For reasons unknown, however, he claimed later to have been in 13 of them. This raises the question that must inevitably come up when contemplating Wiesenthal’s stories about himself. Being in a single Nazi camp would clearly be a horrific, mind-blowing experience, much less being in six of them. (This writer cannot confirm which ones were death camps and which ones labor or concentration camps.) So why did Wiesenthal feel it necessary to inflate the number of camps he’d been in to 13, particularly since such claims were likely to be checked later?

Part of the answer seems to be that Wiesenthal was a natural-born confabulator and liar who had a powerful need to create the persona of a superhero. But that alone does not explain his behavior. The Holocaust raises questions about human nature, and there is a demand for accounts that can explain, rationalize, and create a moral context for it. Wiesenthal offered people a plausible narrative with a moral framework: Nazis incarcerated him; he miraculously escaped; he now tracked them down. The systemic evil of the Holocaust was so huge and so threatening that it could be successfully addressed only by a superman whose capacity to survive evil and punish transgressors was larger than life. Wiesenthal was acutely aware of this; and his heart-stopping accounts of last-minutes escapes from the Nazis played to this anxiety. And the fact that he was bringing masses of Nazi war criminals to justice was the happy ending to the success story, the kind peopled wanted to hear; but as Walters demonstrates in Hunting Evil, at least one of Wiesenthal’s accounts of last-minute escapes from the Nazis can be shown to be a fabrication, and others are questionable.

After the war, Wiesenthal founded two organizations that sought to collect and centralize information on Nazi war criminals at large. Sometimes these war criminals were “hiding in plain sight,” in the sense that governments knew where they were but lacked the political will to arrest them. The main function of Wiesenthal’s organizations, then, was to keep the issue current in the public eye—and he had the kind of personality, and the public relations skills, to do just that. This is the real reason for Wiesenthal’s notoriety. The organizations set up by Wiesenthal were research organizations, and had no real investigative functions, such as law enforcement might have, and no power to arrest people. Guy Walters concludes (correctly, in my opinion) that the disinterestedness of western governments in hunting down Nazi criminals was far more repugnant morally than Wiesenthal’s experiments with the truth. That said, the fact that Wiesenthal told so many unnecessary lies, and that people who might have suspected this said nothing to challenge them, is one more example of the Holocaust’s ability to corrupt.

Although Wiesenthal claimed to have brought over a thousand Nazi criminals to justice, he generated information leading to the arrest of less than a hundred at most. His most outrageous claim was that he participated in the tracking down of Adolf Eichmann. This was, and remains, a falsehood—the tracking and kidnapping of Eichmann was the work of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, and Wiesenthal’s involvement was limited to passing on whatever information he had to them. This inconvenient reality was widely known—certainly it was known to Mossad, which despised and resented Wiesenthal’s self-serving stories—but apparently few people were willing to question Wiesenthal’s many claims.

Except in Austria, that is, where Wiesenthal was for a long time a controversial figure. It the 1970s, Wiesenthal publicly berated Austrian Prime Minister Bruno Kreisky for having so many ex-Nazis in his cabinet—and in this, Wiesenthal was undoubtedly right. The controversy he stirred up was especially important because Austrians had, up to that time, generally avoided much public discussion about their own responsibility for Nazi crimes; and Wiesenthal may have welcomed the opportunity to open up this issue when he made his sensational—but accurate—accusations about Kreisky’s cabinet choices. Kreisky, a Jewish Social Democrat, hinted that Wiesenthal had survived the war only because he collaborated with the Gestapo; but Wiesenthal sued for libel and won. Wiesenthal also drew fire for emphasizing that others besides Jews died in the gas chambers, which brought him into conflict with Elie Wiesel, who took the view that the Holocaust should be seen as an exclusively Jewish event. Some of Wiesenthal’s ideas were good ones—how ironic, then, that his ideas were given serious consideration only because of the rough-and-tumble public persona that Wiesenthal had invented for himself as part of his entrepreneurial and overly-imaginative self-promotion as a swashbuckling Nazi-hunter.

Wiesenthal received practically every honor known to the 20th century, over 100 of them. Mainly because of his own self-promotion, Wiesenthal became much more than an author with some dubious and not particularly well-written books—he became a secular saint. But of what secular religion was Saint Wiesenthal the exemplar? The trouble with Wiesenthal was not his extraordinary efforts to focus public attention on Nazi criminals—the problem was, and is, that his accounts of his own experiences were never challenged by people who professed to have an interest in historical truth. His addiction to confabulation made him a prisoner of what Norman Finkelstein has called The Holocaust Industry, which we may describe as the systematic use of the Holocaust for personal and organizational gain.

We are left with the sense that perhaps some who noticed discrepancies in Wiesenthal’s books said nothing because they were afraid of being denounced as anti-Semites. Author Guy Walters refers to this in his July 2009 article in the Sunday Times. “Some may feel I am too harsh on [Wiesenthal] and that I run a professional danger in seemingly allying myself with a vile host of neo-Nazis, revisionists, Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. I belong firmly outside any of these squalid camps and it is my intention to wrestle criticism of Wiesenthal away from their clutches. His figure is a complex and important one. If there was a motive for his duplicity, it may well have been rooted in good intentions.” Guy Walters made this caveat a month after his book came out last summer; the fact that he made it at all indicates the sensitivity with which a professional historian must approach anything having to do with the Holocaust.

In fact, the appearance of Walters’ book has some of the characteristics of a literary campaign, although not necessarily of pre-arrangement. Walters’ Hunting Evil was published in Britain on June 18, 2009, at the beginning of last summer. A month later, in July, an article by Walters appeared in the Sunday Times, which set forth his reasons for revealing Wiesenthal’s duplicities. (One might think that because something is true might be reason enough for a historian to reveal it.) In August, 2009, a month later, Daniel Finkelstein’s supportive review appears in the Jewish Chronicle, validating Walters’ research. Finkelstein’s review was pivotal, since—as the grandson of the founder of the world’s oldest library on Holocaust history—he is assumed to speak with an authority that others lack, including perhaps Guy Walters himself.

That is not to say that the above was part of a coordinated campaign. Walters wrote on his website that he does not know Finkelstein, and based on internal evidence this writer believes that to be true. It simply indicates how complicated telling the truth can become when one writes about the Holocaust, and how important it is for many historians to carefully consider the public-relations angle before revealing things that might make people uncomfortable. In Guy Walters’ case, he received support for his findings from a man whose credentials in Holocaust Studies cannot be challenged. (There is at least one new book about Wiesenthal coming out soon, which after the Walters’ revelations will almost surely be forced to deal with obvious discrepancies in Wiesenthal’s narrative.)

There is ongoing fallout to the Walters’ book in other areas. On November 26, 2009, there appeared a sensational Associated Press report (carried on Walters’ website) that 12 members of the 15 member international advisory board of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies have resigned, apparently after a hysterical uproar about the availability of research material to scholars. (The AP report gives as the reason for the international hullabaloo certain objections by scholars “that restrictions on access to files made independent research impossible.”) Inevitably, one of those involved in the AP report warned that unrestricted access to the Institute’s files might encourage “holocaust deniers.” The opposite seems much more likely. The longer people are denied access to primary sources, the more doubts it will create about how objectively historians are able to write about the Holocaust.

Beginning with the publication in 1961 of Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews, people on the Left, political and cultural progressives, and some psychologists sought to deconstruct the Holocaust so that they could learn how systemic evil operates. If the Shoah was history’s greatest crime, why not try to understand how it happened, so such crimes could be thwarted in the future? That was the right approach to take, but it quickly led to a kind of truth that many people did not want to accept—that there is a Nazi in every person, and that any tribe, national group or country in the world could experience the same moral collapse as Germany experienced, given the right conditions. That was too threatening for many people, because they did not want to acknowledge how deep evil ran in human nature.

And it was, also, the ultimate threat to the neo-cons that were beginning to gain power in the US. If the same moral collapse that happened in Germany could happen elsewhere, such an analysis could be applied anywhere, which meant that the big neo-conservative foundations could not control discourse about the Holocaust. An objective deconstruction of the development of evil in Germany could even serve as a guide to what is happening in Israel. The neo-cons could not allow that to happen, because of their position that Israel’s government could never be criticized; and because the neo-conservatives did not want a truly objective deconstruction of the Holocaust that could teach people how to defeat systemic evil. On the contrary—they sought to create their own systemic evil in the US and in the Middle East, by using the Holocaust to arouse fear, anger, guilt and aggression, as well as religious nationalism generally.

Invoking the Holocaust in social and political discourse became a way for the powerful neo-cons and the Israel Lobby to use the unresolved trauma of the Holocaust, in some cases to generate ideas and in other cases to suppress them. The use of the Holocaust to manipulate people and societies to uncritically support Israel depends on a particularization of the Holocaust—it insists, in other words, that Nazi evil cannot be compared to any other form of systemic evil. It insists that the causes of German moral collapse (violent nationalism, fanatical identification with victim status, deep feelings of inferiority, a longing for apocalyptic solutions) cannot be applied anywhere else. That is despicable nonsense.

Not only can the causes of German moral collapse be seen in other nations and situations; such an analysis must be applied to other nations and situations, if we are to learn anything about how systemic evil works. Neo-cons generally dislike that, because they wish to discuss the Holocaust only within a context of Jewish exceptionalism. But sadly, there’s a Nazi in everybody—in fact, that’s the most important thing that the Holocaust teachers us. As Avraham Burg writes, today’s Israel feels a lot like Weimer, not because Israeli culture is so similar to central Europe’s culture, but because the decline into evil is always similar wherever it occurs. How could Israel not look like Weimer, when so much of what passes for a national consciousness in Israel is simply trauma from the Holocaust, which people do not attempt to deconstruct along universal lines but to which they cling as personal as well as national identities?

It was not until after Simon Wiesenthal died in 2005 that a British historian was able to write frankly about the duplicity in Simon Wiesenthal’s stories. Again I must ask, why did not the people who may have known about Wiesenthal’s casual relationship with the truth speak up about it? Predictably, the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, California, is in no hurry to accept this new historical appraisal of their namesake—their website, in fact, faithfully replicates many of Wiesenthal’s lies and inaccuracies. But that should not surprise us, because the Simon Wiesenthal Center, like Simon Wiesenthal himself, is not interested in historical truth, nor is it committed to teaching about the history of the Holocaust in all its complexity. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is, rather, committed to using the Holocaust to raise money, and using the trauma associated with it to promote the Center’s extremist political perspectives.

About Lawrence Swaim

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149 Responses

  1. potsherd
    January 4, 2010, 11:13 am

    There are similar reports about Elie Wiesel having passed off a work of fiction as fact, and Wiesel is still alive and still supporting Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

    • MRW
      January 4, 2010, 3:44 pm

      Elie Wiesel’s family told me he made it all up, including his time at Auschwitz. They laughed at how he fooled the world, although after he got the Nobel Prize in 1986, you couldn’t squeeze a word out of them. And I’m including his sister Bea.

      • MRW
        January 4, 2010, 3:44 pm

        This should read like this for accuracy:
        Elie Wiesel’s family told me he made it all up, including his time at Auschwitz. And I’m including his sister Bea. They laughed at how he fooled the world, although after he got the Nobel Prize in 1986, you couldn’t squeeze a word out of them.

    • MRW
      January 4, 2010, 3:56 pm

      Auschwitz Survivor Claims Elie Wiesel is an Impostor
      link to thetruthseeker.co.uk

      Here is the famous photograph. Gruner is the guy in the lower left.
      link to henrymakow.com

  2. Citizen
    January 4, 2010, 11:16 am

    The “stab in the back” theory slid from Weimar Germany to Israel.

  3. Richard Parker
    January 4, 2010, 11:36 am

    This is devastating stuff for the Holocaust industry, in which Wiesenthal is regarded as almost a saint (or so I had thought). In fact, after reading this, I did a quick check on Wiesenthal and found Wikipedia’s report
    link to en.wikipedia.org
    which largely reinforces the above.

    If it is true, and Norman Finkelstein is, too, then the whole Holocaust Myth is going to start crumbling and then come crashing down. This taboo subject (in certain countries I could be jailed, even for writing this) is essential to the Israeli founding myth.

    Israel will then be left with its feet of clay washed away.

    Not that it will make a blind bit of difference in the short term; but it may well affect Obama’s promise to pay Israel $30 billion over the next 10 years.

    • potsherd
      January 4, 2010, 12:04 pm

      More likely, the reports will be supressed.

    • Shafiq
      January 4, 2010, 12:27 pm

      I suggest you rephrase the first sentence in your second paragraph. It could easily be misinterpreted as holocaust denial

    • yonira
      January 4, 2010, 12:49 pm

      Yeah Richard, do you believe the Holocaust happened? Which part to you believe to be a myth?

      • LeaNder
        January 4, 2010, 1:41 pm

        He didn’t understand the article.

      • Chaos4700
        January 4, 2010, 2:09 pm

        And the “Anti-Defamation” defamation starts.

        If you don’t bow down to the Zionists, the anti-Semite paint brush comes out.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 2:12 pm

          Yes, of course, someone calls the Holocaust the Holocaust myth and Chaos shows up to bring rationality to the conversation. Great! Just what we needed!

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 2:17 pm

          This coming from the guy who just tried to jamcar the entire discussion and lobby to have it closed?

          Stop trying to make the conversation about me. I’m not Richard Witty, I have no such selfish desire to be the center of the conversation.

          Why don’t you guys actually talk about Wiesenthal? Or are you afraid to?

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 2:54 pm

          He called the Holocaust a myth, we simply want to know if he is meant it or it was a typo. do you also think its a myth?

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 3:08 pm

          what fucking world do you live on Chaos. He said topics like this shouldn’t be discussed on Mondoweiss, he didn’t lobby to have it closed. Thats all you do on here, you take someones comment and skew it to your liking. This is not how you get things done, or prove a point, its dishonest and unproductive.

          And what do you want to discuss about Wiesethal? I’ve personally been to his center in LA, its an amazing place and should be visited by people like you and Richard Parker. How is delegitimizing the suffering and deaths of millions of people at all productive for your cause?

        • Cliff
          January 4, 2010, 3:18 pm

          yonira – you weren’t off-base to wonder out-loud or ask for a clarification from RP.

          But now you’re saying Chaos is de-legitimizing the Holocaust?

          You know that’s not true. Let’s be real here, this is what happened:

          A poster made a vague comment that didn’t distinguish between ‘the Holocaust’ and ‘the Holocaust Industry’ in terms of what is used for propaganda.

          So you and WJ rightly asked for a clarification.

          But given the tensions between you and Chaos, both of you will jump to conclusions. I do the same thing.

          He’s not denying it. And you’re not over-reacting when you ask for a clarification.

          Chaos is like many people who don’t like people policing their opinions. Don’t you give me crap for what you see as *me* policing the opinions of Zionists? To which I’ll admit I do sometimes and it’s something I think we all do since it’s the internet and we just pour out the first things that come to mind often.

          Bottom-line: Chaos is not a denier. He is not degrading the dead. You’re not out of line to ask a follow-up question.

          IMO – don’t jump the gun on Chaos because it’s an easy thing to do in this context (the Holocaust, just like when people get emotional about Palestinian suffering in the present – not trying to make them seem the same level, just that in both cases, it’s emotional subjects). And Chaos should realize it was legitimate from the perspective of a Jewish person (you are right?) to wonder out loud.

        • Cliff
          January 4, 2010, 3:22 pm

          Also, do you think this thread is about the Holocaust? Or about someone who used and exploited the Holocaust?

          That these centers are often Zionist, also opens up discussion to the possible ideological framing going on in the backdrop of the historical record.

          I think that’s legitimate.

          Esau’s Tears (by Albert Lindemann) is a very good analysis of antisemitism and it deals with these issues.

          The point isn’t ‘the Holocaust’ (A), it is the framing of the Holocaust (AB).

        • Cliff
          January 4, 2010, 3:23 pm

          P.S.

          Think of 9/11 and how often people use it for political purposes. And how often little things like those stupid ‘Freedom lapels’ are used to measure someone’s patriotism. It’s all related.

        • Richard Parker
          January 4, 2010, 3:40 pm

          Yonira- I’ve (personally) been to Yad Vashem, and was very impressed. The building itself is a brilliant piece of architecture, designed to make you feel contrite.

          Fuck the Simon Wiesenthal Center in LA. That’s a piece of hasbara propaganda.

          Yad Vashem is only yards away from the site of first known masscare by Israelis at Deir Yassin.

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 4:14 pm

          Thanks Cliff,

          You are dead on, thanks for helping me see it in the correct light. It is an emotional topic and I was over the line.

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 4:16 pm

          Have you been there? I’ve been to both places and felt they were both moving, I was much younger when I went to the Weisenthal Center and it was my first real exposure to the depths of the Holocaust, maybe I need to go back when I visit LA again.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 4:24 pm

          Yonira? Weren’t you calling Cliff a whiner the other day and wondering aloud whether he should remain banned? Did you apologize for that, too? What was your excuse then?

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 4:32 pm

          I think Richard’s comments were pretty well in context considering he cited Norman Finkelstein. Is Norman Finkelstein a Holocaust denier? Well, let’s check his web site.

          link to normanfinkelstein.com

          No, in fact, he’s not. Of course, neither is Ahmedinejad, as this piece elaborates:

          link to arbeiterfotografie.de

          This is the standard m.o. for people like yonira and WJ. Attempt to delegitimize and silence people by labeling them as Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites.

          There are plenty of reasons to criticize Ahmedinejad — I happen to think he’s very corrupt and abusive of the people he represents — and there have been times I’ve challenged Richard Parker myself when I’ve objected to things he said. But let’s not help dishonest people like yonira and WJ when they go after people in our blogging community as viciously as they do.

    • gmeyers
      January 4, 2010, 3:41 pm

      If it is true, and Norman Finkelstein is, too, then the whole Holocaust Myth is going to start crumbling and then come crashing down.

      … is a very dangerous formulation: the Holocaust is not a myth.

      Wiesenthal made up mytsh regarding his own experience with the Holocaust, as well as myths regarding his own role in bringing Holocaust perpetrators to book, but the Holocaust is not a myth, it is an all too real event.

      • Chaos4700
        January 4, 2010, 4:20 pm

        It seems like you guys should be going after Wiesenthal for his role in putting mythology into the Holocaust and commercializing it, not going after Richard Parker.

        If I thought WJ and yonira were being sincere, then yeah, I’d be perfectly fine with the clarification request. As it happens they’re leading with, “So are you a Holocaust denier, then?”

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 4:36 pm

          You are a flat out liar. quit lying it is getting ridiculous. Show me where either of us called you or Richard for that matter, a Holocaust denier. You’ve called me a Holocaust denier before(for some odd reason) but we’ve never said anything close to that.

          As for Cliff, sorry man. Calling you a whiner wasn’t productive. I understand where you are coming from w/ both Phil and Annie and I respect your differences and commend you on both talking about them and helping me understand your rationale.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 4:50 pm

          You’re akin to a Holocaust denier, yonira, because you believe that half of Palestine’s original population “just left” in 1948, and were not actually victims of Zionist ethnic cleansing. I’m pretty I’ve made that clear plenty of times that that’s what I mean when I accuse people like you of rank hypocrisy.

          You’re only apologizing now because you’re in the spotlight. Though I have to say, watching you slither around is rather amusing.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 4:52 pm

          Oh — I almost forgot, didn’t I? Here’s what you said:

          Yeah Richard, do you believe the Holocaust happened?

          “So when did you stop beating your wife?”

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 4:56 pm

          Thanks for proving my point that you are a liar Chaos. Do you know what a question mark means? it indicates a question. quite different from your accusation.

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 5:02 pm

          I apologize because I sincerely mean it, I said something wrong and I apologized for it.

          I am not sure how many times I have say I believe that there was relocation of Palestinians and that there was a Nakba? Maybe this one will stick.

          In the same token, do you admit also that there was a relocation of Jews from Arab countries?

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 5:03 pm

          So, yonira, when did you stop beating your wife? It’s only a question, not an accusation.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 5:05 pm

          Are you trying to make a moral equivalence between Arabs who were driven off at gun point and had their land stolen, had their homes razed and were shot if they tried to return, to Jews who were compensated for and induced to emigrate to Israel to cement a Jewish majority that didn’t hitherto exist?

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 5:06 pm

          So when are you being sincere? You call Cliff a whiner, then you let it stand for a day or two until I call you out on it, and then and only then you apologize? How are we supposed to know who the “real” yonira is?

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 5:19 pm

          If you can’t accept any similarity at all, then this is absolutely pointless.

          link to jcpa.org

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 5:20 pm

          Were the Jews who left Arab countries compensated for their property left in those countries?

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 5:21 pm

          You are smarter than that Chaos, and I am not going to play that game. If you honestly don’t think there is a difference between what i said and what you are saying, then take some English classes. I am done playing your games, its silly.

        • yonira
          January 4, 2010, 5:47 pm

          I don’t believe there was any compensation, and the idea that it was some Mossad operation and they weren’t ‘forced’ to leave is ridiculous. The argument that there was coercion from Arab countries for Palestinian exodus from their Land is not a valid argument, but in the context of Jews leaving Arab lands that is the only argument. Is that a double standard at all?

        • Shmuel
          January 4, 2010, 5:56 pm

          Arab Jews deprived of property in their native lands are free to make any claims they like. I can’t see how anyone on this forum would deny them that right (except perhaps where broader issues of redistribution of wealth are concerned), or fail to support such claims. What I fail to see is the relevance to Palestinians. Why should individual Palestinians (or even Palestinians as a community) be forced to reimburse Iraqi or Egyptian Jews? Where is the logic? Where is the justice?

        • Saleema
          January 4, 2010, 6:26 pm

          Don’t cry for them. They are doing well on stolen land. Israel compensated them handsomely.

          But if you aren’t satisfied, I have a suggestion. Why not form a group and sue the Arabs and win some oil money and build a museum about Jews being driven from Arab lands. You should contact Eli Wiesel on how to do that.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 6:56 pm

          Israel did not compensate them handsomely and they should sue the Arabs.

        • Cliff
          January 4, 2010, 7:46 pm

          Does anyone here know a good place to start, to understand how the Jews of the Arab world left/or were expelled/or both?

          I’ve never heard it characterized as an ethnic cleansing. I’ve never heard it put in the same context as the Nakba.

        • Shafiq
          January 5, 2010, 4:04 am

          In some cases they were expelled and their assets confiscated, supposedly as retaliation for the Nakba but really because many Jews were reasonably rich and the governments wanted the money – the Nakba was a useful pretext (I suppose a bit like the Holocaust).

          Others left willingly or were persuaded to come to Israel. False flag operations here and there were all it took to persuade some Arab Jews that they weren’t safe in said Arab country and that they should move to Israel instead.

  4. Mooser
    January 4, 2010, 11:52 am

    “Wiesenthal’s scant regard for the truth makes it possible to doubt everything he ever wrote or said.”

    I knew I had something in common with the great men of the world.

    • Chaos4700
      January 4, 2010, 2:11 pm

      You underrate yourself, Mooser. I think, in a roundabout fashion, you’re one of the most truthful people on this blog :)

      And anyway, even if you did have that in common with Wiesenthal, it would merely be something you have in common with the rich men of the world.

      • Oscar
        January 4, 2010, 7:16 pm

        Over time, I’ve come to realize that Mooser consistently posts the most entertaining replies on Mondoweiss. Other than those of R. Witty, but those are unintentionally entertaining. . .

      • MRW
        January 5, 2010, 4:39 am

        Oscar, Mooser is the Mondoweiss Mascot.

      • Mooser
        January 5, 2010, 3:57 pm

        Chaos, that’s true, I try to make up on the swing what I lose in the roundabout.

  5. wondering jew
    January 4, 2010, 12:40 pm

    I don’t know why Mondoweiss saw fit to post this column. The logic seems to go like this: Simon Wiesenthal was a liar. His lies were not revealed to the public because those who support Israel felt uncomfortable with these revelations. I think the Holocaust Industry orientation of the article should be avoided by Mondoweiss. (When Elie Wiesel is being confronted for his support for Israel and lack of support for the Palestinians, then the issue is relevant, but here…) The relevance of the career of Simon Wiesenthal to the Middle East is tangential at best.

    What does Richard Parker mean when he says the Holocaust Myth is going to start crumbling and then come crashing down?

    What does citizen mean when he says the “stab in the back” theory slid from Weimar Germany to Israel?

    Again, Mondoweiss should not have published this post.

    • Oscar
      January 4, 2010, 12:47 pm

      I think I might agree with WJ. There needs to be more context as to why this is appropriate for a forum on the I/P situation. I make no judgment as to the veracity of the piece, just its relevance on Mondo.

      • Cliff
        January 4, 2010, 12:54 pm

        Did Wiesenthal talk about I-P?

        I think it *could* be relevant in that, the guy seems to have been lying about a lot of his exploits and that his story is an important piece of Zionist myth-making.

        He ‘hunts’ Nazis. Good v. Evil. That sort of thing. And isn’t his organization, Zionist? Would be a safe bet right?

        I think his persona and his ‘institution’ is within the same sphere of interest as ME/Zionism/imperialism/etc.

        But yea, maybe it could be made a bit more clear? I thought it was interesting anyway but I agree somewhat w/ WJ.

        • Oscar
          January 4, 2010, 1:01 pm

          Okay, then Adam or Phil needs to put an italicized explanation. Otherwise, it’s important to maintain the integrity of the intellectual debate and the focus on the human rights situation.

    • yonira
      January 4, 2010, 12:50 pm

      I also agree with WJ, not sure this is the path Mondoweiss wants to go down.

      • Colin Murray
        January 4, 2010, 2:12 pm

        I disagree. We in America get a steady dose of Holocaust awareness. I don’t think this is a bad thing in and of itself because it was one of the great crimes in history, but it has definitely provided a useful social preconditioning that has been abused by members of the Israeli Lobby. The article made no claims that the Holocaust was a fabrication, and there is nothing wrong with showing the warts on the traditional narrative for a balanced appreciation. We Americans, after all, didn’t have anything to do with the Holocaust, except liberate death camps at the cost of American lives and tax dollars.

        What should have been done, in my opinion and in agreement with Oscar’s earlier comment, is to provide context for the story. That Jewish institutions knew of Mr. Wiesenthal’s passing familiarity with truth and and let it slide is most definitely part of the narrative of American public discourse of the Holocaust and the ‘special relationship’. It is well within the purview of their mission statement. Focus on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is certainly vital. However, it is American government political and financial largesse that has allowed the ongoing crime to fester and deteriorate, and the social and political struggle for access to accurate information, and the Israeli Lobby’s success at preventing it, should not be neglected.

        • Richard Parker
          January 4, 2010, 4:04 pm

          You Americans had a lot to do with the Holocaust. You refused Jewish immigration to the US during the critical years:

          1938: “An international conference at Evian-les-Bains, France, is called by United States President Franklin Roosevelt to deal with the Jewish refugee problem. Roosevelt’s aims, some say, are to deflect American Jewish appeals to help the German Jews. Aside from Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, which want enormous sums of money to allow a small number of Jews to immigrate, the 32 nations attending the conference decide that they will not permit large numbers of Jews to enter their countries.”

          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 4:25 pm

          And that’s not even touching what people like Henry Ford and Prescott Bush had to do with Nazi Germany, does it?

        • MRW
          January 4, 2010, 4:32 pm

          Richard, British Zionists compelled their friends and contacts in the US Congress not to allow the Jewish refugees into the US or Canada. They wanted them to go to Palestine. Rabbi Stephen Wise was campaigning for this as late as 1943. Source: The Transfer Agreement. 1984 MacMillian.

      • LeaNder
        January 4, 2010, 2:15 pm

        Mooser, it was important over here to keep the story alive.

        There is absolutely no doubt that this is a very essential point. There was much continuity, and I respect him for having keet (as others) the public attention on the issue.

        Except in Austria, that is, where Wiesenthal was for a long time a controversial figure. It the 1970s, Wiesenthal publicly berated Austrian Prime Minister Bruno Kreisky for having so many ex-Nazis in his cabinet—and in this, Wiesenthal was undoubtedly right. The controversy he stirred up was especially important because Austrians had, up to that time, generally avoided much public discussion about their own responsibility for Nazi crimes; and Wiesenthal may have welcomed the opportunity to open up this issue when he made his sensational—but accurate—accusations about Kreisky’s cabinet choices.

        George Parkers comment is a good example of why it may make sense to surround the topic with a taboo. This is simply stupid and wrong:

        If it is true, and Norman Finkelstein is, too, then the whole Holocaust Myth is going to start crumbling and then come crashing down. This taboo subject (in certain countries I could be jailed, even for writing this) is essential to the Israeli founding myth.

        At no point of his long article does Lawrence Swaim suggest that the Holocaust is a myth. The central question is: can we allow that that memory of the victims is misused for political gain to which they can’t consent. Remember the whole series of new Hitlers we witnessed lately?

        It’s a difficult issue, but one thing is sure, a critique of Wiesenthal the man, the human being doesn’t mean the Holocaust was a myth. That’s rather simplistic thinking.

      • Cliff
        January 4, 2010, 2:49 pm

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with exposing Holocaust exploitation. In general, I believe every ‘group’ in our culture has political capital.

        There is so much hypocrisy in our society when it comes to this stuff.

        Here’s some very corny personal experience (but IMO it matters, because it’s taken for granted):

        My sister bought this PS3 game, Uncharted 2 (it rocks btw). It’s pretty much Indiana Jones. Anyways, the villain is a cookie-cutter pure-evil-sadistic kind of character.

        There’s a point where the villain praises Hitler, Stalin and I think lastly Pol Pot.

        No complaints. Except, why Pol Pot and not, let’s say – Suharto?

        link to youtube.com

        It’s like everywhere in our society. To the point where we almost miss it, since it’s so commonplace.

    • Donald
      January 4, 2010, 2:16 pm

      I think the connection is to how the Holocaust is used to justify Israeli crimes. The article half-touches on that towards the end. But yeah, if that’s the point it should be made clearer. Sometimes this blog turns into a sort of deconstruction of certain aspects of Jewish culture–in this case, the lionization of Wiesenthal. I’m not sure that’s a topic that should be mixed in with the cause of Palestinian human rights.

      You and a couple of other people are right that Richard Parker’s comment is disturbing. Maybe he didn’t mean it the way it sounds, but if so, he has a really clumsy way of expressing himself.

    • Saleema
      January 4, 2010, 6:34 pm

      Yeah, Phil shouldn’t publish this because it can be very embarrassing to some Jews and Zionists.

      The fact that the Nazi holocaust is one of the reasons given for justification of creating Israel on Palestinian might have something to do with publishing this? So if people can see that the founding fathers of the Nazi holocaust myth were liars and crooks, then maybe they will go down the road of questioning other things too. But that is probably expecting too much.

      • wondering jew
        January 4, 2010, 7:48 pm

        Saleema- “the founding fathers of the Nazi holocaust myth”. you’re a sweetheart.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 8:33 pm

          You know, WJ, if you weren’t actively denying what atrocities Israelis have been doing to her people, maybe you’d have moral high ground. You don’t.

          The fact is, there has been a mythology that has been built up around the actual factual events of the Holocaust. Not the least of which, the fact that you guys keep trying to make the Palestinians out as collaborators when in fact their homeland was one of the bastions of safety for Jews fleeing the Nazis. (Queue that faded photo of Palestinian Mufti and Hitler together. Should we dig up one of Herman Goering and Charles Lindbergh together while we’re at it?)

          And then there’s all the non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust — Roma, Slavs, Polish, Russians — that people like you routinely ignore and disregard, WJ. So stop parading around like you have a copyright on the goddamn Holocaust. You don’t.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 8:38 pm

          chaos- you’re an asshole. you don’t have a copyright on it. but you’re doing your best.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 8:45 pm

          Really? I’m not the one trying to make a buck off the Holocaust at the expense of others, WJ. Very much unlike you and yours.

  6. Ael
    January 4, 2010, 1:53 pm

    I enjoyed the article.

    Furthermore, the holocaust/zionism/legitmacy of Israel are all bound up into a collection of interrelated myths

    This makes it entirely appropriate for this forum.

    • wondering jew
      January 4, 2010, 2:02 pm

      Ael- There are certain things said about the Holocaust that qualify as myths, as in falsehoods. (soap and lampshades is one). but your statement sounds like the Holocaust is a collection of interrelated myths. Is that your contention?

      • Chaos4700
        January 4, 2010, 2:08 pm

        And this is how the Holocaust Industry works. If you don’t buy the whole package (never mind that Zionists never seem to remember all the non-Jews who were put to death too — Roma, Slavs, Russians, homosexuals, liberals, etc) then obviously you’re denying that the Holocaust ever happened at all.

        Compare and contrast with Zionist attacks on the events of the Nakba, in spite of testimony and documentation (like, of course, Plan Dalet).

      • Cliff
        January 4, 2010, 3:01 pm

        I think WJ is being rational here. So far 2 posters have expressed language that didn’t distinguish between ‘the Holocaust’ and ‘the Holocaust Industry’.

        So I think it’s alright that WJ is wondering out loud what Ael means exactly when he groups ‘the Holocaust’ in with Zionism with the characterization, “collection of interrelated myths.”

        I think we all don’t like censorship. We don’t like people telling us what to think and acting like thought-police.

        Far-right Zionists do that often. IMO – the antisemitism card is an example of how *both* sides (Left and Right) can act as thought police though. But in this case, I don’t see WJ or yonira above acting in that way. It’s reasonable to get a clarification from RP and Ael.

        • sammy
          January 4, 2010, 3:18 pm

          wondering jew engages in his own particular brand of holocaust denial. He’s unsure that those who were not incarcerated by the nazis [like Hedy Epstein, who lost both her parents and much of her family to them] actually qualify as “survivors”. This would of course, mean that the vast majority of holocaust survivors who escaped incarceration [and on whose behalf the Zionists are pumping millions if not billions of dollars since 60 years] are not qualified as survivors.

        • Cliff
          January 4, 2010, 3:26 pm

          I consider that to be a kind of Zionist ideological framing of the Holocaust.

          For example, would Julian (who I recall broached the subject) or WJ even THINK about ‘who is a survivor’ if it were not for Hedy Epstein’s activism?

        • sammy
          January 4, 2010, 3:35 pm

          True. What I would like to know is what those upright and morally righteous IDF boys and girls are thinking as they strip her and root around in her body cavities for [I presume] contraband like pasta and school supplies. What is their mental framing while gazing down the bunghole of a holocaust survivor and subjecting her to the indignities she escaped from in 1945? All this brouhaha over “holocaust denial” seems rather overrated when such things are the status quo.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 4:35 pm

          The first time Hedy Epstein came into my awareness was on this web site, when she was part of an anti Elie Wiesel demonstration in St. Louis. The title of the post was (Dec. 12) : “One Holocaust survivor is going to Gaza and another isn’t”. The inference of the post was clear: Hedy Epstein is the same type of Holocaust survivor as Elie Wiesel is. The only difference between the two is that Hedy Epstein is sensitive to the suffering of the Palestinians, whereas Elie Wiesel is not.

          Of course it later turned out that Hedy Epstein is not the same sort of survivor that Elie Wiesel is. Wiesel is an alumnus of Auschwitz and Hedy Epstein escaped Europe without being incarcerated.

          Certainly in the context of the Elie Wiesel versus Hedy Epstein morality contest, it certainly seemed that the term Holocaust survivor was implying that Hedy Epstein was a survivor of incarceration in a camp.

          Unlike sammy who learned about the Holocaust from books, I learned about the Holocaust in my community, where there were many survivors. The term survivors was most commonly used to refer to those who had been in camp. I feel as someone who is familiar with the term from my community rather than from books that my contribution to the discussion of the definition of “survivor” is relevant. I have known many people who escaped Europe by the skin of their teeth and do not refer to themselves as survivors.

          Hedy Epstein has every right to call herself a survivor if she so wishes. That does not change the fact that there are assumptions that a reader of the term will make that do not apply to her.

          The issue of what money went to Israel as a result of the Shoah is not something that I have studied sufficiently to comment upon. I do feel competent to comment upon the use of the term survivor in the post Shoah Jewish community.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 4:47 pm

          Sammy? And you thought the caste system in India was singular, huh. Just look at the caste system among American Jews.

        • Danaa
          January 4, 2010, 5:22 pm

          WJ – you may not realize it but the terminology of victimhood distinctions are offensive to some of us here, who may have relatives just like hedy epstein and her family. Whether you know it or not, in israel for example, people who managed to escape by the skin of their teeth just before being rounded up, or those who managed to survive in hiding – often at great peril – are sometimes also referred to as holocaust ‘survivors’ (or so refer to themselves), because the term “holocaust” is also used to describe a catastrophic event that occured over a period of time. I have heard many refer to themselves as “holocaust survivors” when they spent the period hidden, say in germany or austria (as many were). Others are considered survivors when their experience was in the slave labor camps, or even some who were whisked to relative safety by, eg, raul wallenberg. israel is right now busily blackmailing germany for more compensation for labor camp “survivors’ and/or descendents, which it then plans to pocket of course, just as it did the rest of the compensation.

          It is not for you to judge what survivor caste hedy may or may not belong to. She has escaped with her life, as many of her family members did not. You don’t know the peril or the compromises or the price paid along the way by her or others who helped. And I find the attitude of counting angels on a pin reprehensible.

          If you don’t like the term ‘survivor’, what term would you recommend? holocaust refugee? escapee? and do you expect reporters – who always look for the simplistic – to make those fine distinctions?

          For me, it was enough that Hedy seemed like a courageous elderly lady who spent a horrific childhood and young adulthood, and drew from that experience a moral fortitude to allow her to act as she does. Subjecting her to humiliation, as israelis – and certain friends in diaspora – do is unconscionable either way. Let’s see you do what she does at her age. I somehow doubt that many would be able to. Don’t forget that she could be spending her time taking the sun and a life of leisure in Miami as many older jewish people do. But she chose another way to spend her golden years. You should respect that.

          As for Wiesel, frankly he has been treated with kids gloves, survivor or not. And that is the sum total of my issue with him and the jewish community that exploits his story for hasbara purposes and as justification for rampant islamophobia and for persecuting palestinians around the clock. You know, some day, it’s the palestinians who may be called “survivors” of whatever name will take hold to describe the evil that’s been perpetrated upon them.

        • Cliff
          January 4, 2010, 5:46 pm

          WJ, thanks for the explanation.

          I do have some issues w/ your post though.

          Do you consider Wiesal to be a credible moral voice? I use that ‘title’ because that’s what he is known as, right?

          Wiesal is a hypocrite IMO. And he talks about genocide/etc. but won’t offer any notice to the plight of the Palestinians?

          You characterize Hedy, et al., act of protest as ‘anti-Elie Wiesal’ – which is a real stretch.

          What is the disagreement over? This guy goes around giving lectures about these important issues. He’s a survivor of the camps, and yet, won’t say anything about Gaza? Nothing about the siege?

          The real issue is the value one attaches to the title (how it is perceived in this specific context) of ‘Holocaust survivor’.

          Some people have rightly commented that the only reason Hedy gets air-time is because of her politics set against the backdrop of her personal history.

          I agree.

          But then, what does the Holocaust mean? It’s like I said, just a ‘title’. Both sides will use the title for their own political agenda.

          So we shouldn’t even begin there. We can acknowledge that it means *something* but it shouldn’t mean *everything* (being a survivor I mean) – because, both sides will get political capital out of it. There has to be a standard.

          It’s the old standard – actually analyzing the criticisms, etc.

          The ideas matter. Not the title only.

          Similarly, as someone of the Palestinian camp – when I think of Elie Wiesal, ‘the Holocaust survivor’ (in the context, the ‘title’) – I think of his hypocrisy.

          So the component of being a ‘survivor’ works against him, for me, as someone on one of the polarizing sides.

          We should think of what lessons one should have learned from the Holocaust. We shouldn’t exploit it, and say ‘Look, see!’ which is what we’re doing.

          I’m not impressed w/ Wiesal. I don’t think being a survivor makes you morally superior. I don’t think it automatically makes you a better person. It’s a horrible experience, and from there – you are still human and will choose your own path. People should be able to judge you and judge how you dealt with that experience. How your current ideas/etc. mesh w/ that experience.

        • potsherd
          January 4, 2010, 5:46 pm

          That is, Wiesel claims to have been in the camp.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 6:14 pm

          I don’t think being in camp or fleeing for one’s life makes one a better person. I don’t think losing one’s entire family makes one a better person. Odds are it makes one a broken person. We might wish that suffering ennobles. It rarely does that. If I would kick you in the shin, odds are it won’t make you a better person.

          In my book both Hedy Epstein and Elie Wiesel are scarred people, not holy people.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 6:44 pm

          potsherd- do you have any reliable sources that lead you to doubt Wiesel’s claim.

        • Cliff
          January 4, 2010, 7:42 pm

          WJ, in light of the statements made by the Wiesanthal Center on Gaza/Goldstone/E. Jersualem/etc. (basically, on I-P) – do you think this thread is relevant to the blog’s focus?

          I do now. I can understand you disagreement with the critique of Wiesanthal himself – but isn’t he important? He’s the symbol right? Maybe, by critiquing him, the symbol of the institution in his name, the author is saying something about the integrity of the institution?

          What do you think about the institution’s politics? There’s a blurb below somewhere.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 8:08 pm

          Cliff- Wiesenthal gave his name to the Wiesenthal Center and their general politics is not to my liking, thus Wiesenthal is a fair target. But he is not a wise target. He is dead now. He lied a lot. Okay. How do you think one survives a few years in slave labor camps? How does one survive many years after one’s relatives have been killed? Do you think of this kind of suffering produces saints? Emotionally for me, attacking him is a form of attacking all survivors.

          (How many times has the term “Holocaust myth” been used on this thread? Is attacking Wiesenthal really the best way to attack the Wiesenthal center?)

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 8:36 pm

          WJ, if we count how many times “Holocaust myth” has been said on this thread by screen name, yours would have the highest count.

          This is what dishonest Zionists do. They go around propagating the very things they claim they find abhorrent, and swing it around like a leaky sack of manure, trying to coat everyone else with the false accusations.

        • sammy
          January 4, 2010, 10:45 pm

          wondering jew: Of course it later turned out that Hedy Epstein is not the same sort of survivor that Elie Wiesel is.

          Indeed. One was a child who lost her family in the holocaust, survived against all the odds at the time and actually abided by the axion, Never Again, so that even today, she is stripped and bent over so the Jewish state can ensure that she is not stuffing her colon with contraband

          The other, well, the less said about hypocrisy and lies, not to mention making money off the suffering of people, the better.

        • sammy
          January 4, 2010, 10:49 pm

          spelling: axion should be axiom.

        • Saleema
          January 5, 2010, 12:53 am

          WJ wrote: “Emotionally for me, attacking him is a form of attacking all survivors.”

          This is the type of mentality Jews and Israelis have to let go of. Questioning the integrity of a Jewish person is not questioning the integrity of all Jewish persons. Questioning the history of the Holocaust Industry is not questioning the entire modern-day history of the Jewish people.

          By questioning the Occupation, people are not requesting Israel be “wiped off the face of the earth.” Or the map.

        • MRW
          January 5, 2010, 4:52 am

          Good post, Danaa. This is the point for me about Hedy, which you state plainly: “a courageous elderly lady who spent a horrific childhood and young adulthood, and drew from that experience a moral fortitude to allow her to act as she does.“

          And this: ”As for Wiesel, frankly he has been treated with kids gloves“ No shit; he bilks it to keep money coming his way; more so, since Madoff made off with his money…what you might call karma. When he dies, my gloves will come off. Because I know information that will knock him off his pedestal, but I desist out of respect for the family.

        • Mooser
          January 5, 2010, 3:55 pm

          That is a subject you do not want to delve into, Chaos. For the sake of your own sanity. When you look at how Jews became “the Jews” it’s obvious why internal unity is not our natural state.

        • Mooser
          January 5, 2010, 4:12 pm

          “We might wish that suffering ennobles. It rarely does that.”

          You mean all that suffering didn’t enoble us Jews enough to deserve a state, and to reject advice from all those un-enobled Gentiles who (or whom) they tell us how to run it and that our daughters should marry Arabs, already!
          You just beteer check your Zionist credentials, bubele! The next thing you know, you might be saying that the persecution of the Jews, culminating with that most evil and terrible of persecutions, the Holacaust, damaged us enough to make us (what you mean-um “us” paleface, which of course, is a good question) uniquely unqualified to demand and get a state!
          And you wouldn’t want to say that, woodja?

        • Mooser
          January 5, 2010, 4:14 pm

          Oy Gevalt two days ago he was all ESL an’ shit, and now he’s Prof. Higgins!
          You go, Sammy!

  7. wondering jew
    January 4, 2010, 2:09 pm

    Yes, all this discussion was missing was the Nakba being mentioned by Chaos.

    • Chaos4700
      January 4, 2010, 2:14 pm

      Nice try, but no one’s going to fall for this attempt to sidetrack the discussion from Wiesenthal’s lack of veracity. I’m sure you will give me an opportunity to expose your lies and cover ups about the Nakba at a later date. I’ll be patient.

  8. sammy
    January 4, 2010, 2:18 pm

    After reading about how poorly survivors are treated by Israelis and Zionists [like Hedy Epsteins strip search and body cavity search] I’ve lost any respect I had for the same people “defending” the holocaust – obviously the holocaust is only “worthy” as a source of justification for the occupation.

    What does it mean when Shoah survivors prefer Berlin to Tel Aviv? “Jewish” state indeed.
    link to ynet.co.il

    • MRW
      January 5, 2010, 5:03 am

      ”Hedy Epstein’s strip search and body cavity search“

      It was the most appalling thing to me when I read that.

      • sammy
        January 5, 2010, 5:19 am

        Its par for the course. Reading first person accounts of Israeli treatment is enough to reduce anyone to tears.

  9. syvanen
    January 4, 2010, 2:25 pm

    This story is new to me and I agree with those who are concerned that this is a dangerous road to follow. But given that the Wiesenthal Center equates much criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, it does seem quite appropriate that this forum cover the issue. It is only to be expected that holocaust denialists will seize on this for their own purposes just as many anti-Semites use criticism of Israel for their own purposes. This site deals with the latter problem continuously, it can also deal with the truth of Simon Wiesenthal.

    • gmeyers
      January 4, 2010, 3:48 pm

      It is only to be expected that holocaust denialists will seize on this for their own purposes [...]

      Those holocaust deniers that would do that must be of particularly dumb variety, as critiquing Wiesenthal in no way endorses Holocaust denial.

      • syvanen
        January 4, 2010, 4:20 pm

        critiquing Wiesenthal in no way endorses Holocaust denial.

        Quite true but that will not stop the deniers.

        Look at the climategate emails — they in no way negate the facts of global warming but the deniers have seized on them as proof of their position.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 4:35 pm

          That’s unavoidable. People like that will grasp at straws, and they will continue to make shit up even if they have those straws to grasp. That shouldn’t make us hide from legitimate discussion.

  10. Richard Parker
    January 4, 2010, 3:00 pm

    I don’t deny the Holocaust (if I did, as I said) I would be a criminal in many countries.

    I was weaned, probably earlier than many of you, on the horrors committed on the Jews of Eastern Europe by the German/Prussian/Nazis.

    Since that was part of Hitler’s much larger programme, to make liebensraum for Germans in Eastern Europe, in fact the Slavs should be claiming the Holocaust for their own:

    While the term “Holocaust victims” generally refers to Jews, the German Nazis also persecuted and often killed millions of members of other groups they considered inferior (Untermenschen), undesirable or dangerous. In addition to Jews, the targeted groups included Poles (of whom 2 million gentile Poles were killed) and some other Slavic peoples, Soviets (particularly prisoners of war), Romanies (also known as Gypsies), some Africans, Asians and others who did not belong to the “Aryan race”, the mentally ill, physically disabled and the mentally retarded, homosexuals and transsexual people, and political opponents and religious dissidents such as communists, trade unionists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Taking into account all of the victims of Nazi persecution, the Nazis systematically killed an estimated 6 million Jews and were responsible for an estimated 11 million additional deaths during the war. Donald Niewyk suggests that the broadest definition, including Soviet civilian deaths, would produce a death toll of 17 million people killed
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Wiesenthal and Weisel were the Jewish propaganda vehicles, and both are being currently exposed as phoneys.

    So, the point of my “Holocaust Denial” comes down to the use of its exaggeration to justify the actions of Israelis today, who are following identical policies.

    • edwin
      January 4, 2010, 3:23 pm

      who are following identical policies.

      Nazis wanted Roma, Jews, etc dead. Zionists want the land emptied – “judenrein” as it were. The policies are not identical, the goals are not identical, and the methods are not identical.

      • Chaos4700
        January 4, 2010, 4:45 pm

        Really? Pop Quiz — try filling in the blanks on these citations:

        * [Blank] detailed his belief that the [blank] people needed [blank] – for a [Greater] [blank], land, and raw materials – and that it should be taken in the East.

        * It was the stated policy of the [blank] to kill, deport, [blank] or enslave the [blank], and later also [blank] and other [blank] populations, and to repopulate the land with [blank] peoples. The entire urban population was to be exterminated by starvation…

        Sound like anything going on today? Check your answers here.

        • edwin
          January 4, 2010, 5:34 pm

          Similarities are not the same as identical.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 5:57 pm

          You don’t deny now, though, that the methods are, in fact, the same on quite a few accounts?

        • edwin
          January 4, 2010, 6:27 pm

          There are similarities. In some cases those similarities are strikingly like what Nazi Germany engaged in. In some cases they are not.

          For example, I know of no Nazi equivalent to Haaratz and B’Tselem. One can read articles that are unprintable in North America in Haaratz.

          Israel is not a first rate power – like Nazi Germany, or now the United States. It is just too small, though it does try harder with its rather large nuclear arsenal. Israel must play the media game as it is dependant upon the US and US Jews to maintain its position. As such it has had a policy of committing whatever atrocities possible provided that they could mostly be kept out of the media. While Nazi Germany also played the media game, it was far less important. What Israel does, it does very slowly – a slow motion genocide as it were.

          When looking at a variety of situations: Slavery in the US, Apartheid in South Africa, Apartheid in Israel, Slavery in Britain, Nazi Germany, and so on, there are similarities between each and differences between each. One very important similarity is the denial of the humanity and experience of the victim. What happens next will depend on a rather large number of things. Israel is not the same as Nazi Germany. In fact, as Benny Morris strongly hinted, a much better fit is the experience of the Native populations of the US. People fleeing religious persecution in Europe proceeded to wipe out the “savages” in a protracted campaign as they colonized a new land.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 6:46 pm

          Does it really speak better for Israel that they haven’t shut down Haaretz and B’Tselem, and merely steamroll onward with human rights violations regardless?

        • Shingo
          January 5, 2010, 6:02 am

          “Israel is not a first rate power – like Nazi Germany, or now the United States. It is just too small, though it does try harder with its rather large nuclear arsenal.”‘

          It doesn’t need to be, becasue Israel tends to pick on victims that it can easily overpower. Still, it does have a larger air force than any NATO contry and the 5th largest nuke stockpile in the world.

  11. David Samel
    January 4, 2010, 3:41 pm

    It was not entirely unreasonable for some to question whether this is an appropriate article for this website, but I side with those who answer affirmatively. The interrelationship between the Holocaust and not just the creation of Israel but its continuing raison d’etre cannot reasonably be denied. The specter of Hitler and the Nazis is raised so often in defense of Israel that the usefulness of the Holocaust in this effort is quite clear. While there are abundant examples, my personal favorite is Count Bernadotte of Sweden. Bernadotte saved tens of thousands of Nazi victims and brought them to safety in his home country, but in contrast to his countryman Wallenberg, Bernadotte is virtually invisible in Holocaust museums and literature. Obviously, Bernadotte’s 1948 assassination as UN mediator for Palestine at the hands of Jewish “extremists” (who were never seriously punished and one of whom, Shamir, became PM decades later) makes his story poison for those dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, most of whom are equally dedicated to defending Israel. If the purposes of Holocaust study were solely to remember the past, avoid repetition, and cast guilt upon perpetrators and honor upon heroes, Bernadotte would be prominently remembered for his efforts. His oblivion is a sure sign that defense of Israel is on the Holocaust agenda as well. Exposure of those who exploit the Holocaust, especially with false claims, is very appropriate to examination of the I/P issue.

    As for Richard Parker, he has made many good points on this website and I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt. But today’s comments are quite careless. He certainly implied that the Holocaust was a myth; he claims he might be subject to criminal liability for his comments, and as far as I know, outright denial would be required for that (under laws I consider totally obscene, by the way); and he drags in Finkelstein, who clearly is no Holocaust denier subject to prosecution in Europe, but someone who has criticized Holocaust exploitation with meticulous analysis. I hope this is just an aberration on his part.

    • syvanen
      January 4, 2010, 5:10 pm

      I to was taken aback by Parker’s words but it sounds he was just a careless, his clarification helps.

    • MRW
      January 5, 2010, 5:19 am

      Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden was an extraordinary man (also head of the Red Cross) and his murder by the Irgun was heinous; however, even now, Israel slights his efforts in historical writings and claims that he acted against the best interests of Jews, which is untrue. A travesty, as you imply.

      • David Samel
        January 5, 2010, 8:29 am

        Slight correction, MRW. He was not murdered by the Irgun, but by the Stern Gang, an even smaller group, headed by Yithak Shamir and two others, who apparently signed off on the plot but were not physically involved. The entire Jewish side was unhappy with Bernadotte’s efforts, but there is no suggestion that the Haganah/Labor Party leadership had any advance knowledge of the killing. I think they were genuinely upset, but much more for the horrendous PR the act was sure to receive worldwide than for the tragedy itself. They shouldn’t have worried so much. It blew over then, and nowadays Bernadotte is barely remembered. Yad Vashem lists over 20,000 RIghteous Among the Nations, that is, non-Jews who who saved Jews. Wallenberg, another Swede, is clearly the most famous and honored of these, but Bernadotte is not even on the list.

        • MRW
          January 6, 2010, 10:47 am

          David Samel, my apologies. I, probably in plain ignorance, equate the Irgun and Stern Gang as one and the same.

  12. MHughes976
    January 4, 2010, 3:43 pm

    I am not sure that I would want to draw sharp distinctions between the idea ‘you have no right to live here’ and ‘you have no right to live’, at least in circumstances where ‘you’ have never lived anywhere else, where it is not clear that you are welcome anywhere else or where it is clear that you will resist my claims.

  13. The Hasbara Buster
    January 4, 2010, 4:58 pm

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center was adding smoke to photos long before Reuters entered the business. See here.

  14. Shmuel
    January 4, 2010, 5:46 pm

    Re: Relevance of Simon Wiesenthal and the Wiesenthal Center to I/P.

    Random quote from wiesenthal.com (there’s lots more where this came from):
    You can be sure whether it’s this declaration of the EU on Jerusalem, or the infamous Goldstone Report, or anti-Semitism anywhere around the globe, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is on the frontlines standing up to the haters of Israel and the Jewish people.

    • wondering jew
      January 4, 2010, 6:18 pm

      A critique of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a critique of Simon Wiesenthal are two different things.

      • Chaos4700
        January 4, 2010, 6:26 pm

        Is there any relevant point behind that useless truism?

      • Shmuel
        January 4, 2010, 6:27 pm

        Not really WJ. The center capitalises on the figure of Wiesenthal, boasts that it perpetuates “his legacy”, and was established with his blessing. If Hier is selling chauvinism and hatred disguised as “tolerance”, in the name of a myth constructed by Wiesenthal, then critique of that myth is absolutely relevant to the activities of the Center.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 6:35 pm

          Shmuel- Do you really feel that the most effective way to attack Rabbi Hier is to attack Simon Wiesenthal?

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 6:43 pm

          “So just when did you stop beating your wife?”

          I guess yonira doesn’t have a copyright on that fraudulent debate tactic.

        • tree
          January 4, 2010, 6:54 pm

          WJ, you must have missed the point in Swaim’s post where he noted that the Wiesenthal Center knew about all this for years but continues to post the lies about Wiesenthal on its website. I would think that is a very effective way to prove that the Wiesenthal Center is not particularly interested in truth OR tolerance.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 7:15 pm

          tree, I know who Wiesenthal was and I know what the Wiesenthal Center is and I don’t mind people attacking the Wiesenthal Center, but when they start attacking Wiesenthal himself my tribal instinct gets activated. Those who already hate Israel will love that you’re attacking the Wiesenthal Center through Wiesenthal or through any means, but those who are borderline defenders of Israel (oppose the settlements, but support a two state solution) will react with, why are you attacking a dead man who hunted Nazis?

        • Oscar
          January 4, 2010, 7:24 pm

          Earlier today, I questioned the relevance of this piece on Mondoweiss. Then Shmuel posted this snippet from the Wiesenthal website:

          You can be sure whether it’s this declaration of the EU on Jerusalem, or the infamous Goldstone Report, or anti-Semitism anywhere around the globe, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is on the frontlines standing up to the haters of Israel and the Jewish people.

          Okay, now I get it. The Wiesenthal Center trades on its falsified reputation (a la Bernie Madoff) to attack anyone who dares to question the conduct in East Jerusalem (the EU) or the war crimes committed in Operation Cast Lead (the “infamous” Goldstone Report). So Wiesenthal is fair game, because it’s playing the Holocaust card in an intellectually dishonest way —

          – So there should have been a pre-amble at the beginning of the post to put it in perspective.

        • tree
          January 4, 2010, 7:26 pm

          Its apparent from the post that Wiesenthal was in fact a serial liar about his exploits and his life. I don’t think there is anything wrong with exposng this truthful fact. Why do your “tribal instincts” get activated upon hearing the truth about Wiesenthal? Maybe you should begin to question why your “tribal instincts” are leading you to criticize and censor the truth? Maybe your “tribal instincts” are the problem. I would not use your term(“TI”), but I do think that you are over-identifying with Wiesenthal. An “attack” on him is not really an attack on you, despite what your feelings may be telling you.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 7:44 pm

          tree- How much time did you spend in slave labor camp? How many of your parents, grandparents or great grandparents died a murdered death rather than a natural death? So Wiesenthal was a liar? What do you think it took to survive the Shoah- a pretty and sensitive soul? Do you think it might take a little lying to others and to oneself to survive? An attack on him is an attack on the survivors. Understand now?

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 7:52 pm

          shmuel- How many times has the term “Holocaust myth” been used on this thread of comments? Is this line of attack on the Wiesenthal Center really worthwhile?

        • potsherd
          January 4, 2010, 8:21 pm

          Why is an attack on Wiesenthal an attack on the real survivors? From all evidence, he was exploiting the suffering of the real survivors to further his own personal ends.

        • potsherd
          January 4, 2010, 8:23 pm

          Yes, if it will quash people like Netanyahu’s exploitation of the events in order to justify the oppression of the Palestinians.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 8:25 pm

          Well, since now WJ has made this a dick measuring contest, I have to ask — WJ, did your grandfather fight as a US soldier in WW2 against Nazi Germany, specifically in Germany? Because mine did. And he was of German ancestry, himself.

          How many times have you been personally responsible for propogating the phrase “Holocaust myth?” Seems to me you’ve been trying to fix the post count to make a point where none exists, WJ.

          You’re just trying to label the rest of us as anti-Semites. Like you always do.

        • wondering jew
          January 4, 2010, 8:32 pm

          chaos- i was talking to shmuel and to tree. thanks for butting in.

        • Chaos4700
          January 4, 2010, 8:47 pm

          So none of your family actually fought against the Nazis, did they, WJ? Is this what all your pent up anger and aggression here is all about?

        • syvanen
          January 4, 2010, 11:00 pm

          WJ writes:

          I know who Wiesenthal was and I know what the Wiesenthal Center is

          I always considered Wiesenthal a hero and saw the center in his name as being distorted into a zionist propaganda outlet. Are you telling us that you knew along along that he was a serial liar but that was not important because his name gave rise to the Weisenthal Center? Are you suggesting that the entire zionist enterprise from its beginnings until today is based on one big lie? I am shocked, I tell you, really shocked. Where does truth begin?

        • Saleema
          January 5, 2010, 12:59 am

          Yeah Tree,

          Since you don’t have a holocaust story to tell, you aren’t as important, and hence your criticism is irrelevant. You may learn about THE Holocaust but you may not question it or any of the lying survivors. Especially if they hunted Nazis. So shut-up, will you? wondering jew and his tribe have a monopoly over suffering.

        • Shmuel
          January 5, 2010, 3:19 am

          WJ,

          If I may summarise your arguments, you make three basic points:

          1. Tactical: Deconstructing the namesake is not the best way of attacking the hypocrisy of Hier and the SWC.

          The question was whether it is relevant to I/P or not. I think it clearly is. Phil and Adam certainly have an agenda, but they are not single-minded crusaders who ask themselves, before posting any article, whether it is the best way of fighting the good fight. It’s relevant to the topic of the blog (not that there’s anything wrong with publishing irrelevant stuff too, from time to time), interesting and thought-provoking. That should be enough.

          2. Moral: Criticising a dead man who suffered is not a nice thing to do, and criticising one survivor (and especially a symbol) is tantamount to criticising all survivors.

          There are really two, interrelated points here. Were Wiesenthal simply an ordinary man who just did what he had to do to survive in terrible circumstances (and indulged in a little self-aggradisement after the fact), you might have a point. Wiesenthal however, capitalised on the myth he created of himself and, perhaps more importantly, allowed others to do the same – in the case of the SWC for shameful purposes that actually tarnish the experiences of victims and survivors. Which brings me to the second point. I think that those who really care about the survivors should also care about the ways in which they are exploited – including by other survivors.

          3. Associative: Pointing out Holocaust-related lies helps anti-Semitic deniers.

          Apart from the fact that separating truth from fiction is actually a good way of undermining those who deny the truth, I don’t buy the associative argument, which can be made about almost any principled stance. It is usually just a way of discrediting and silencing valid criticism, when all else fails.

        • Mooser
          January 5, 2010, 4:22 pm

          “chaos- i was talking to shmuel and to tree. thanks for butting in.”

          Hey, sucker, it’s called “The Right of Return”! You do believe in that, right? You make a stupid comment, anybody and everybody has a right to return with a comment telling you so.

  15. potsherd
    January 4, 2010, 5:48 pm

    Since Richard Goldstone is part of the Jewish people, it seems that the Wiesenthal Center is numbering itself among their haters.

    • Shmuel
      January 4, 2010, 6:00 pm

      Not to mention Phil Weiss and Adam Horowitz ;-)

      • tree
        January 4, 2010, 7:04 pm

        I believe the Zionist definition of “Jewish” is only quasi-ethnic, and quasi-religious. A Jew can always be “voted off the island” for not adhering to the accepted Zionist groupthink. Goldstone has clearly ceased to be part of the “Jewish people” in their eyes.

        • sammy
          January 4, 2010, 10:55 pm

          Not to mention the Zionist definition of “holocaust survivor”. Apparently, when it comes to lebensraum, everything else is of secondary consideration.

  16. americangoy
    January 5, 2010, 12:02 am

    Hi everybody.

    1) The Holocaust was a terrifying reality. If any of you have any doubts about Germans organized mass murder of Jews (and many other “undesirables”) please come to Poland and see Auschwitz for yourself.

    2) The original AEI article seems to be gone (sorry) but my quote from it is extensive.

    “”From an historical point of view, all of this has a great and strange irony behind it. Where, in fact, does this eleven million number come from? Yes, it came from Simon Wiesenthal, the Nazi hunter. But where did he get it? Yehuda Bauer, the Holocaust historian, was puzzled by this question. As he has written, “The total number of non-Jewish concentration camp victims is about half a million–which is half a million too many, but it is not five million. On the other hand, the total number of dead in World War II has been estimated at thirty-five million. Deduct the nearly six million Jews, and you have many more than Wiesenthal’s five million. Yet there was no premeditated plan to murder all these people–all the members of any group. If you were a Polish peasant or city-dweller and you avoided resistance and other types of opposition, you would have suffered, no doubt, but you would not have been targeted for murder. To call what happened to the non-Jewish victims ‘the Holocaust’ is ‘simply’ false.” So where did Wiesenthal get the number eleven million, including five million non-Jews? In a private conversation, Bauer asked him that very question. And Wiesenthal told Bauer where he had gotten it. He told him that he had “invented” it. That’s right, he had made it up! And why had he invented it? He had invented it, Bauer wrote in 1989, “in order to make the non-Jews feel like they are part of us.””

    Did you catch that?

    He INVENTED the number of non-Jewish victims of the camps.

    I was flabbergasted.

    Again, this is NOT a denial of the Holocaust – this is a question of the numbers.

    This is fascinating stuff for an (very) amateur historian like myself.

    And just in case some doofus correlates Axis history forum with anti-semitist hangout, that site is perhaps the best historical site out there.

    May I also recommend Zegota and possible polish revisionism:

    link to forum.axishistory.com

    and The Bielski partisan group

    link to forum.axishistory.com

    and (possibly interesting to Poles only) Were Poles persecuting Ukraininians before 1943?:

    link to forum.axishistory.com

    This is a late comment, probably no one will read it, but what the heck, I needed to throw it out there about Elie.

    • sammy
      January 5, 2010, 1:10 am

      I’ve examined the original prison lists available on the Aushwitz Museum site [I heard they were later taken down, so I don't know if they are in the public domain]. To one, most of those sent immediately to be exterminated were not registered, so their religious designation is unknown, to the other, even of those who were registered, not all gave their religious position, so the number is an estimate. No one can deny that vast numbers people were killed, but the numbers/ethnicity/religion game is hazier than most people know. How many people look beyond the narrative to the original sources? Anyway I think arguing over numbers of the dead, makes little sense when ongoing nakbas and genocides have a free pass. If you haven’t learned anything from history, it makes no difference what it is.

      • MRW
        January 5, 2010, 5:39 pm

        Sammy, I, too, spent days going over the original Prison lists on the Aushwitz Museum site, and you’re right: they were taken down. The list registered 74,000 or 79,000 prisoners, the same amount given at the Nuremberg trials. BTW, Elie Wiesel was not on the list; neither was his father. But you can’t verify it now because they were taken down, or you have to know the exact spelling of the prisoner to verify he or she was there. Lazar Wiesel was on the list — I absolutely remember that name — and so was Alexander or an Alexandr. There was no Bea Wiesel…..except now there are Wiesels up the ying-yang, including a ‘Bea’, that were never NEVER there when the database was first presented in the early part of this decade, and you could search it freely. You used to be able to see the original documents. No longer. Not only the original documents but they provided a translation key.

        • sammy
          January 6, 2010, 9:25 am

          I just browsed through the museum site and I cannot find the lists. Curiously, the museum site now says that 90% of records were destroyed by the SS before the camp was taken over by the Allies. How do they know that 90% were destroyed?

        • MRW
          January 6, 2010, 10:50 am

          Sammy, it’s bullshit. I think if you go to Archives on the left, or one of the labels that approximates it — sorry, not looking it up, working from a bad memory — that you reach the search the database function.

          But they killed the original lists.

        • MRW
          January 6, 2010, 10:58 am

          Sammy, OK I did it. I looked. Here’s the link.
          link to en.auschwitz.org.pl

          This is such supreme bullshit because the original files were available in JPG and were readable and decipherable. Why would anyone want to hide this info? What is the reason to want to change history? Why?

  17. MHughes976
    January 5, 2010, 12:56 pm

    I think that Wiesenthal made some important moral points in his time but also practised a rather cheesy kind of personal showmanship. To deconstruct him we need to deconstruct ourselves. In the immediate post-war decades former Nazis, associated with outrages and atrocities, were part of the coalition of the willing against the Soviet Union. Perhaps winning the Cold War was a tragic historical necessity. We tried not to think about them. We liked to think that they were scattered, routed and pursued – and that effective pursuit of these people, which would in reality have required major police resources and international cooperation, was genuinely being conducted by lovable individual bullhounds like Wiesenthal. W made himself into a larger than life, rather fictional, being because that was how, for a time, we needed to see him. He still reminded us of reality from time to time, as when he challenged Kreisky.
    Wiesenthal, unlike Wiesel, was far more a figure of the Cold War than of the ME conflict. I agree with Sammy that the mathematics of slaughter have been given too much importance or put in a false light.

  18. guywalters
    January 6, 2010, 4:12 am

    I just thought I should point out that there are some inaccuracies in this piece, which I have discussed on my website at link to web.mac.com

    Guy Walters

  19. Rehmat
    January 6, 2010, 9:07 am

    Holocaust is one the main pillars on which World Zionist Federation was able to create guilty conscience among the European – so to get rid of their guilt – they did not awarded their persecuted Jewish population a homeland in Europe – but in a far away place in the Middle East.

    In his book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, Roger Garaudy several Zionists’ myths created by Zionist lying propagandists, such as:

    1. Zionists being ‘Anti-Fascism’.

    2. Nuremberg trail were ‘unbaised’.

    3. The number “Six Million Died” must be accepted as a divine revelation.

    4. Jews did not force the Palestinian Natives – because no one lived there when the European Jews arrived in Palestine – “A Land Without a People for a People Without Land”. Though every Jewish settler now living on Palestinian land – had a motherland and carried a passport of some European or Arab country

    Roger Garaudy: The French Philosopher
    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

  20. guywalters
    January 9, 2010, 7:12 am

    Dear Lawrence

    You still make a number of errors.

    1. The book was published on July 30th and not June 18th. That may seem pernickety, but bringing my publication forward by over a month adds to your ‘campaign’ theory.
    2. Finkelstein’s article did not appear in The Times. It appeared in the Jewish Chronicle. (your para 2. you get it right further down.)
    3. The Wiener Library is under no obligation to respond to criticism of Simon Wiesenthal. Why should it? They are not part of some cover up – it’s just not really in their remit to investigate the man.
    4. Daniel Finkelstein would be the first to admit that he no credentials per se in Holocaust Studies. He is a political writer.
    5. The events in Vienna have NOTHING to do with my book, and cannot be seen as some sort of ‘fallout’ from my book.

    In short, I don’t think the events, such as they are, surrounding my book really support your argument. I was concerned that when writing about an important figure such as Wiesenthal, my criticism might offend people who hold him to be dear. As a relatively unknown author, I therefore thought it wise to declare that I wasn’t an antisemite and to set out my credentials as an impartial historian. I would have done this had I written a book about any ‘saint’ held dear by any community.

    So far, and this point is extremely important, I have found the Jewish community to be immensely tolerant of my book, and I have received not word of complaint from any Jew.

    Best wishes

    Guy

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