Interest Mounts for ‘Revisionism and Zionism’ Conference
Zionist Groups Denounce Beirut Meeting
Published: 2001-03-01

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Preparations are continuing according to plan for the landmark international conference on “Revisionism and Zionism” in Beirut, Lebanon, March 31-April 3, 2001. The event’s importance is reflected in the eager inquiries from journalists in several countries, in the steady stream of guest registrations, and in the anxious denunciations recently issued by leading Jewish-Zionist groups.

The Anti-Defamation League, one of the world’s most powerful Zionist organizations, issued a special news release, February 11, bitterly complaining about the Beirut conference. It specifically denounced the Institute for Historical Review, which is helping to organize the event. Apart from numerous errors of fact, blatant bias, and childish accusations of the allegedly evil motives of the “deniers,” nearly all the factual information in the ADL release is simply taken from the IHR web site. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, another ardent apologist for Israel, the next day issued its own strident condemnation of the Beirut conference. It similarly took a swipe at the “so-called Institute for Historical Review.”

Prominent revisionist scholars, researchers and activists from a range of countries are scheduled to address the Beirut conference, which will both reflect and further strengthen the growing cooperation between independent scholars in Europe, the United States and Middle East countries. Conference addresses will be given in Arabic, French and English.

The four-day event is being organized by the Swiss revisionist organization Vérité et Justice, in cooperation with the IHR. Vérité et Justice director Jürgen Graf, who was sentenced by a Swiss court in July 1998 to 15 months imprisonment for “Holocaust denial,” has fled his homeland to live in political exile rather than serve the politically-motivated sentence. The 49-year-old educator is currently in Tehran as a guest of Iranian scholars.

Guests are welcome to attend the Beirut conference, but they must cover their own travel and hotel expenses. There is no registration or attendance fee. United States citizens traveling to Lebanon require a valid U.S. passport and a visa issued by the Lebanese embassy or a Lebanese consulate.

Further details about the Beirut conference are posted on the “Beirut 2001” section of the IHR web site: http://ihr.org.


CODOH's Additions: Media Items on the Lebanon Conference


ADL Press Release (2/11/2001):

Holocaust Deniers to Convene in Lebanon

Jerusalem, Israel, February 11, 2001 ... Holocaust deniers are taking their drumbeat of anti-Semitism to the Middle East, where they plan to embark on a new campaign to attract the like-minded to their brand of hatred against Israel and the Jewish people.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Beirut, Lebanon will be the site of a major conference of Holocaust deniers scheduled to begin on March 31.

Co-sponsored by the California-based Institute of Historical Review (IHR), the leading American association of Holocaust deniers, it will be the first major organized conference on Holocaust denial to be held in an Arabic-speaking nation.

The conference, titled “Revisionism and Zionism,” signals a major shift in strategy for the Holocaust denial movement, which once primarily focused its anti-Semitic propaganda on Europe and the United States. In the past, the IHR has held its annual gatherings closer to home, in places such as Los Angeles or Orange County, Calif.

“The persistent drumbeat of Holocaust denial is moving to the Middle East, where the deniers are reaching out to Islamic regimes to find sympathy for their anti-Semitic and racist views,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The Holocaust deniers have spread their message in the United States. They have met with like-minded anti-Semites in Europe. Now they are fomenting anti-Semitism in Muslim states where there is a sinister track record for the use of Holocaust denial against Israel. For the Holocaust deniers, the already charged Mideast environment is fertile ground for their views.”

Conference organizers are not publicizing the location of the four-day conference, saying only that it will convene somewhere in Beirut. IHR has stated that any visitors, including journalists, who arrive in Lebanon with passports containing an Israeli visa or stamp will not be admitted into the country. IHR has also indicated that, in a departure from past meetings, they will be presenting lectures in Arabic, French and English in partnership with another Holocaust denial group, the Association Vérité et Justice of Switzerland. Jürgen Graf, the president of this group, fled to Iran in November 2000 after his appeals of a 1998 Swiss conviction for inciting racial hatred were denied.

Holocaust Denial: A Daily Diet for Arab Media

Anti-Semitism and racial theories still play an important cultural role in many Middle Eastern countries, where anti-Semitic stereotypes and canards are an almost daily occurrence in the state-run media. Holocaust denial has become part of this daily diet in Egypt, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Qatar, who use it as a means to foment anti-Semitic hatred among their people.

Holocaust denial, which has become one of the most important vehicles for contemporary anti-Semitism, is especially attractive to the ideologies of anti-Israel Arab and Muslim groups. They believe Holocaust denial can undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish State by claiming that the Holocaust is a historical fabrication created to win sympathy for Jews and Israel.

Fertile Ground for Hate

After suffering several legal defeats and other setbacks in Europe, where hate speech is illegal in several countries, Holocaust deniers now see the Middle East as a fertile ground to spread anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews. The denial movement may have been emboldened by the recent renewal of Israeli-Palestinian tensions and the breakdown of the peace process.

Several nations in the region, including Lebanon, have unofficially taken up the cause, in the media and in speeches by political and religious leaders. Some of the most notorious figures in the denial movement, including Mark Weber and Ernst Zündel, have been given significant airtime on Iran’s official radio station, IRIB. In May 2000, the Iranian embassy in Vienna granted refuge to another Holocaust denier, Wolfgang Frohlich. French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy received major support from Middle Eastern countries during his trial in 1998. He received a hero’s welcome when he toured the region after the trial. Holocaust denial has also been expressed in the media controlled by the Palestinian Authority and on Radio Islam, an anti-Israel radio station that broadcasts from Sweden.


Simon Wiesenthal Center (11/02/2001):

SWISS INVESTIGATING HOLOCAUST DENIER’S ROLE
IN UPCOMING ‘REVISIONIST’ GATHERING IN BEIRUT

The Swiss government has confirmed to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that it is investigating Vérité et Justice, which has been listed as organizing a conference next month in Beirut, Lebanon, for the so-called Institute for Historical Review. The conference, entitled Revisionism and Zionism, is slated from March 31st to April 3rd 2001 and will be coordinated by the Swiss organization’s director, Jürgen Graf, who fled Switzerland in 1998 for Tehran, Iran following his sentence by a Swiss court for denying the Holocaust. “We have urged the Swiss Government to investigate if Vérité et Justice is currently violating any Swiss laws and to pursue additional legal steps against Graf,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center.

In a related development, the Wiesenthal Center has asked the government of Lebanon to intercede. A letter last month to Dr. Farid Abboud, Lebanese Ambassador to the United States, said in part:

“Enclosed is the announcement by the so-called Institute for Historical Review, which is planning to convene a conference of Holocaust deniers and antisemites in your country at the end of March. The IHR was funded and founded by Willis Carto, America’s most notorious racist over the past four decades. He has associated himself and supported vicious anti-black and antisemitic causes. Mr. Ambassador, there is a wide range of viewpoints as to how peace can be reached in your region, but certainly the introduction and acceptance of Holocaust denial into the mainstream of Lebanon and the Arab world is not one of them. It will only poison hearts and minds of the uninformed and further fan the flames of hate and mistrust in the region.” To date, no response has been received from Lebanese authorities.


Canadian Jewish News (2/22/2001):

Holocaust denial finds new home

By Paul Lungen
Staff Reporter

TORONTO – A gathering of Holocaust deniers in Lebanon is only the tip of the iceberg in the ongoing collaboration between neo-Nazi activists from the West and Muslim fundamentalists in the Arab world, according to an expert on Middle Eastern terror groups.

“Muslim groups are copying age-old anti-Semitism,” said Steven Emerson, producer of the PBS documentary, Jihad in America. “As I see it, they’re the biggest promoters of it in the world today.”

Spurred by opposition to Israel that spills over into overt anti-Semitism, the Arab world has proven a fertile ground for neo-Nazi propaganda.

From March 31 to April 3, the California-based Institute for Historical Review (IHR), the pseudo-intellectual wing of the Holocaust-denial movement, will hold a conference in Beirut on the topic of Revisionism and Zionism.

“Revisionism” is a term employed by Nazi propagandists to describe Holocaust denial and its corollary argument, that through the control of the world’s media and power centres, Jews fabricated the Holocaust to justify the dispossession of Palestinians.

It has proved a potent argument in the Arab world, where mainstream newspapers, radio stations and even political leaders parrot the anti-Semitic line, while comparing Zionism to Nazism and Israeli leaders to Nazis.

The extremist right has recognized the potential for expansion in the Middle East.“The awareness of the importance of the Holocaust story as a key propaganda tool of Israeli-Zionist interests is growing throughout the world, especially in Muslim countries,” states the IHR Web site.

According to Emerson, the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Holocaust-denial and Jewish conspiracy theories are widely accepted in the Arab world.

“It is a new and developing trend,” said AJC spokesperson Yehudit Barsky. “Both believe in conspiracy theories and the Jews as Satan’s face.”

The location of the IHR conference was not chosen by accident, Rabbi Cooper said. “We see a very dramatic rise in the Holocaust denial mindset throughout the Palestinian and certain parts of the Arab and Muslim world.”

The case of French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, a convert to Islam, is illustrative. Garaudy was found guilty of questioning crimes against humanity and of racial defamation. The ADL reports that on Jan. 19, 1998, “about 70 Palestinian professors, journalists and religious leaders protested in front of a French cultural centre in support of Garaudy. The Islamic Human Rights Commission, an Iranian activist group, and Al-Khaleej, a United Arab Emirates paper, also defended Garaudy.”

Some of the most egregious anti-Semitic diatribes have been carried in Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority.

The paper has accused Israel of controlling U.S. decision-making, alleging that former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “feverishly trying to recruit America and its allies to served the hated agenda of the Torah.”

In another article, the Palestinian newspaper alleged the existence of “a greater Zionist plan which is organized according to specific stages that were determined when the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were composed.”

(For a sampling of anti-Semitic materials in the Arab media, visit www.adl.org.)

Last May, at the IHR’s 13th international conference in Orange County, Calif., 150 “revisionists and friends” gathered to discuss the Holocaust. The assembled delegates heard from members of the history falsification movement, including French academic Robert Faurisson, Toronto publisher Ernst Zundel and British writer David Irving.

This year, the Beirut meeting is being organized by Association Vérité et Justice (Truth and Justice), a three-year-old Swiss organization headed by Jürgen Graf. Graf is “a prominent Swiss revisionist author who fled his homeland rather than serve a 15-month prison sentence for Holocaust denial.” Graf “has been welcomed in Iran,” states the IHR Web site.

This confluence of events – the meeting of Holocaust deniers, the conference location in the heart of the Arab world, the Iranian connection – worries Rabbi Cooper.

He has written to the Lebanese ambassador in Washington, asking that Lebanon block the conference, but so far, he has had no response.

Emerson, who has testified before a U.S. House of Representatives committee that held hearings on international terrorism and immigration policy, said there is “consistent use of neo-Nazi and Nazi propaganda in Islamic militant circles... Lately we see neo-Nazi cross-fertilization with radical Arab groups and even some mainstream groups.

“I think their hatred of Jews is so intense that it has led to these alliances,” Emerson said.

A recent report in the Milan-based newspaper, Corriere della Serra, suggests the alliances may be heading to a new level. It cites German intelligence services, which claim Osama Bin Ladin has begun financing far-right groups throughout Europe to help him carry out attacks during a G-8 summit meeting that will be held in Genoa this summer.

The Western media, cowed by concerns over political correctness, have been “intimidated and bamboozled” into avoiding covering the links between the Muslim world and neo-Nazis, including on the domestic North American scene, Emerson said.

In Canada, meanwhile, the Arab language newspapers Al-Orouba and Al-Miraat have employed anti-Semitic stereotypes in the past (CJN, April 10, 1997), and a November 2000 edition of Al-Moustakbal, a Montreal paper, ran an article that referred to “our enemy, the Jews.”

Sasson Mayer, an Iraqi-born Jew who monitors the Arab-language press, quoted the article calling for a “struggle against Jews... Our enemy [the Jews, in every place that there are Jews] is aiming to take our land.”


Reuters News Release (2/22/2001), by Joan Gralla

NEW YORK, Feb 22 (Reuters) – The World Jewish Congress called on Thursday for Lebanon to block what the group said was an anti-Semitic Holocaust meeting funded by Iran that will be held in Beirut next month.

Lord Greville Janner, the WJC vice president, wrote to Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson on Feb. 21, asking him to “use your good offices to call on the Lebanese government not to permit this polemic, anti-Semitic and hate-inspired conference to be held in their capital.”

Elan Steinberg, the WJC executive director who gave Janner’s letter to Reuters, said the Jewish advocacy group appealed to Persson because his country currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.

He said Stockholm also hosted a conference last year on Holocaust education called “Combating Intolerance” that was attended by 40 nations.

Marc Weber, director of the Newport Beach, California-based Institute for Historical Review, said his group was helping the Swiss organization Vérité et Justice put on the conference, which is called “Revisionism and Zionism.”

“People in Lebanon should have the same right to attend and host a conference, the same as other people have in the United States,” Weber said.

According to Weber, the Vérité et Justice director Jürgen Graf was sentenced by a Swiss court in July 1998 for what Weber called “Holocaust denial.” Graf now lives in Tehran as the guest of scholars, according to Weber.

He said said he did not know whether Iran was paying for the Beirut conference.

Weber said his group did not deny the Holocaust occurred, but he said it published many works that were skeptical of what he called “the hype, hyperbole, misreporting and distortion” about the Holocaust.


Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Mark Weber , et al. , Paul Lungen , Joan Gralla
Title: Interest Mounts for ‘Revisionism and Zionism’ Conference, Zionist Groups Denounce Beirut Meeting
Sources: The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 19, no. 6 (November/December 2000), p. 34; ADL Press Release (2/11/2001); Simon Wiesenthal Center Press Release (11/02/2001); Canadian Jewish News (2/22/2001); Reuters News Release (2/22/2001)
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Published: 2001-03-01
First posted on CODOH: April 15, 2013, 7 p.m.
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