The Holocaust and Iranian Credibility
Iranian credibility has been weakened by the announcement by Tehran that it is hosting a conference on the reality of the European Holocaust in the 1940s. One can agree with Ahmadinejad that the Israelis have used the holocaust to strengthen the appeal of their cause. Much the same can be said of the reasons why the Turkish government allows no discussion of Armenian claims that a holocaust occurred in their lands. One can agree that there may have been exaggerations in both cases. And we can certainly agree that the fact that a holocaust of Jews occurred in Europe gave no special right to the Zionists to acquire lands in the Middle East. But it is a serious mistake to publicly propose that these events did not occur on something very near to the scale alleged (or that the case for their existence needs to be made once again by “scholars”). The evidence is too voluminous and has been known to the world for too long. Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, German citizens, and Jews directly observed what occurred, and reported their observations from 1945 onward. The Nazis themselves recorded their activities in countless documents. Regardless of how the up-coming conference is said to turn out, it will take years before the negative effects of these claims on Iran’s image are overcome.
Claiming that the holocaust did not happen is paranoid thinking, a type of thinking all too common in the world. It often takes the form of assuming that there are massive conspiracies all around us and that nothing is what it seems to be. One could hold a conference in the United States with academics from all over the world, including the United States, on how the attack on the World Trade Center was planned by elements in the American government. Serious papers would be presented and discussions would be far ranging. However, this would not produce any believable outcome because there is simply too much known about what happened and the motivations of the known and possible unknown players for there to be any doubt — unless one has a strong motivation to believe in a level of evil doing at the heart of our system that has never been demonstrated in our history. Even much more likely alleged conspiracies, such as a purposeful failure to prepare for an attack on Pearl Harbor or a planned assassination of President Kennedy by elements in the American government have never been shown to have any substance, in spite of many years of vigorous research.