By Aaron Hanscom
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 30, 2007
On the eve of this year’s International Day of Commemoration for Holocaust victims, the UN passed a resolution condemning any denial of the Holocaust. Specifically, the resolution “urges all member states unreservedly to reject any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, or any activities to this end.” The US-introduced resolution did not specifically name Iran, even though Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sponsored a conference in December at which 67 Holocaust deniers questioned whether six million Jews were really exterminated by the Nazis.
German Ambassador Thomas Matussek commended the UN Resolution, saying distortions of historical facts “are a shameful failure of the responsibility we all share to ensure a world free from such atrocities.” Matussek was speaking on behalf of the European Union, whose nations have failed to live up to such a responsibility.
If the Holocaust is not yet being denied all across Europe, it is well on its way to becoming forgotten. Consider the case of the British town of Bolton in Manchester. Responding to Muslim pressure, last week the Bolton Council canceled its Holocaust Memorial Event. A Genocide Memorial Day in June will now take its place. While Bolton’s Interfaith Council was consulted before the decision was made, Rabbi Joseph Lever of the United Synagogue – a participant in the last three Holocaust Memorial Events in Bolton – was not.
This is not surprising. Bolton’s council members seem to be adopting the policy of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The MCB has been boycotting the Holocaust Memorial Day for years as it seeks to replace it with a national Genocide Day, which will highlight the “ongoing genocide and human rights abuses of Palestinians” by Israelis. The fact that Bolton Council ignored the Jewish community when making its decision upset local Jewish leaders. Louis Rapaport, president of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester, explained: “There many not be many Jews in Bolton but the day is supposed to have an educational message to the whole community. I can’t help feeling the decision was influenced by Bolton’s large Muslim community.”
Indeed, Britain’s Muslim community can not tolerate the portrayal of Jews as victims because of the damage it would do to the “cult of Palestinianism,” which reigns supreme in European capitals. By minimizing the horror of the Nazi genocide, it is much easier to get away with labeling Israel’s defensive tactics as genocidal. “It is more than unfortunate that Bolton has seen fit to trivialize the remembrance of the Shoah,”said Holocaust educator David Arnold.
The Holocaust is also being trivialized in other European cities, such as Ciempozuelos near Madrid. Instead of celebrating Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, the Spanish city chose to hold a “commemoration of the Palestinian genocide.” Israeli ambassador Victor Harel said, “This is an act of pure anti-Semitism, in which the memory of Jews and Israel are offended with monumental falsehoods.”
Ciempozuelos is governed by Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), which is not known for being friendly to Israel. In fact, the blog Iberian Notes reports that “the Asturias regional government, run by the PSOE, of course, financed and published a book called “Internationals in Israel” that calls Israel “a terrorist state” and calls for its “total defeat.” Such rhetoric sounds like it could have come directly from the mouth of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned the decision of Mayor Susana León Gordillo to hold a “Palestinian Genocide Day” in Ciempozuelos. In a letter to Gordiollo, the ADL stated:
Your attempt to equate the industrialized mass murder of six million Jewish women, men and children, as well as millions of others, with the situation of the Palestinian people is shameful. It reflects an extremely disturbing tendency, which is particularly visible in Europe, to dishonor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and de-legitimize the State of Israel by seeking to eradicate the clear moral difference between the Holocaust and the loss of Palestinian lives as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Applying the term ‘genocide’ to the Arab-Israeli conflict encourages hatred toward the State of Israel and deliberately insults those of us, both Jews and non-Jews, who seek to solemnly commemorate the victims of the Nazi campaign of slaughter.
Israeli professor Benny Morris recently predicted in the Jerusalem Post (“This Holocaust will be different”) that a nuclear attack by Iran against Israel is likely. Though the gas chambers will be replaced with Shihab missiles this time, at least one thing will remain the same. Morris writes that both the first and second holocausts “will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds.” Westerners have been taught that “Israel, in this age of multiculturalism, is an anachronism and superfluous.” He might have added that the world can’t live up to its promise of “Never again” when a significant portion of the Western world wants to forget the Holocaust ever happened in the first place.