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Copyright: ©2009 Rusty Wright
IRANIAN HOLOCAUST DENIAL AND PEACE SEEKING
By: Rusty Wright
When you publicly deny the Holocaust on Friday and speak at the United Nations the following Wednesday, you’ve got to expect some flak.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, lecturing at Friday prayers in Tehran, used the word “lie” to describe the Holocaust. The next week, he addressed the UN General Assembly. A day later in his own UN speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Ahmadinejad, holding up copies of Nazi documents containing instructions and plans to exterminate the Jews.
Here’s how this latest episode went down. Ahmadinejad told his Tehran audience, “Our call over the past four years has been if the Holocaust claimed by the Zionist regime and its allies is true, why they (Zionists and westerners) do not allow any research on it?”
He continued regarding Israel’s founding: "The pretext for establishing the Zionist regime is a lie; a lie which relies on an unreliable claim, a mythical claim, and the occupation of Palestine has nothing to do with the Holocaust."
Netanyahu’s UN rebuttal was blistering. He told of recently visiting Wannsee, a Berlin suburb where Nazi leaders met to decide how to carry out the Final Solution. He displayed a copy of the meeting’s minutes containing precise instructions for exterminating the Jews.
He held up a copy of the plans for the for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Heinrich Himmler had signed them. The camp imprisoned a million Jews. Hundreds of thousands died there.
“And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis?” challenged Netanyahu. “Are those tattoos a lie?”
Then it got personal.
“Nearly every Jewish family was affected,” Netanyahu claimed, “including my own. My wife's grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?”
Living in a country where it is common to know or have met Holocaust victims or their relatives, it’s difficult to understand how any intelligent, rational, educated person could honestly deny that it happened. But humans have a curious ability to ignore facts and reinterpret the world to fit their biases or personal aims. Such behavior fascinates me. It happens on the global geopolitical stage and it happens in communities, workplaces, and families. In sum, the denier says, “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with facts.”
To deny the Holocaust, one must deny or ignore an overwhelming body of evidence. Photos, artifacts, letters, documents, eyewitness accounts. Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe presents biographies, photos, interviews with survivors and more. After a brief visit, I saw that one could spend years studying the data there.
The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem is also packed with evidence. Its library of over 115,000 titles in 54 languages aims “to collect all material published about the Holocaust, making it available to the reading public.”
Regardless of one’s views on Middle East conflict and politics, truth should be a foundation for peace seeking. Ahmadinejad has emphasized Iranians’ “peace-loving and logical nature.” In the eyes of much of the world, he undermines that claim by ignoring mountains of Holocaust evidence, including participant testimonies, and calling it a “lie,” a “myth.”
Netanyahu reminded his UN audience of “the great Biblical vision of peace,” words from the Jewish prophet Isaiah inscribed on a wall outside the UN headquarters: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more."
“Nothing has undermined [the UN’s] central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth,” asserted Netanyahu.
Truth is essential for true peace.
Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.
"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; firstname.lastname@example.org
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