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Whoever doubted the social-political importance of Holocaust revisionism could doubt it no more following the success of frantic efforts this March by Jewish groups, supported by the U.S. government, to ban a peaceful, privately organized revisionist meeting in Lebanon.
Caving in to pressure from the State Department and powerful Zionist organizations, the Lebanese government banned the much-publicized “Revisionism and Zionism” conference nine days before it was to begin in Beirut. Scholars, researchers, and activists from a range of countries had been set to address the four-day meeting, which was to take place March 31 through April 3. Organized by the Swiss group Vérité et Justice (“Truth and Justice”), in cooperation with the Institute for Historical Review, the revisionist historical conference would have been the first in an Arab country. It was meant to reflect and further strengthen the growing cooperation between independent scholars in Europe, the United States, and Middle East countries.
Among those scheduled to address the conference were:
- Robert Faurisson, Europe’s leading revisionist scholar, repeatedly persecuted by French authorities for his views.
- Roger Garaudy, prominent French scholar, author of The Founding Myths of Modern Israel (published in the U.S. by the IHR), for which he was fined $40,000 by a Paris court in 1998.
- Horst Mahler, noted German attorney and author.
- Jürgen Graf, Vérité et Justice director, who was sentenced by a Swiss court in 1998 to fifteen months imprisonment for “Holocaust denial,” then chose exile rather than serving the politically motivated sentence.
- Fredrick Töben, Ph.D., director of the Adelaide Institute in Australia.
- Henri Roques, French scholar and author of The “Confessions” of Kurt Gerstein.
- Mark Weber, American historian and IHR director.
- Oleg Platonov, Russian historian.
- Robert Countess, Ph.D., American educator, writer, and publisher.
A dozen reporters had registered to cover the event, including writers for Newsweek and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and journalists from the United States, Lebanon, Egypt, Britain, Germany, Austria, and Sweden.
Weeks before the conference was to begin, three influential Jewish groups – the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center – publicly demanded that Lebanese authorities ban it.
Typical was a declaration by the Anti-Defamation League, which mendaciously claimed that this “anti-Semitic and racist” meeting of “Holocaust deniers” would promote “hatred” in the Middle East. (The ADL has been in the news recently for its role in persuading President Clinton to pardon fugitive felon Marc Rich, who had given $250,000 to the Jewish group.)
In line with the Jewish effort, the U.S. government brought covert pressure on the Lebanese to ban the meeting, as the Beirut daily As-Safir revealed on March 3. The paper’s seasoned Washington correspondent reported that the State Department had warned Lebanese officials of harmful consequences for their country if they did not prohibit the meeting. Washington’s pressure was brought to bear on Lebanon’s ambassador in Washington, and also conveyed by the American ambassador in Beirut and certain some U.S. Congressmen.
On learning of the As-Safir report (which other newspapers later independently confirmed), the IHR immediately contacted the State Department’s public affairs bureau for an explanation. Although an official named Greg Sullivan promised to look into the matter and quickly respond, in spite of numerous follow-up calls and letters he never did.
The IHR strongly denounced the campaign to prohibit the conference, stressing that the peaceful, privately organized meeting would be entirely legal in most countries, including the United States. Similar meetings hosted by the IHR have been held peacefully in the U.S. for over twenty years, IHR director Weber pointed out. “People everywhere,” he said, “should have the right to investigate and make up their own minds about twentieth century history, including ‘the Holocaust,’ free of censorship and intimidation. Lebanese are entitled to the same standard of freedom of speech and expression as people in other countries.”
The Zionist groups behind the campaign, said Weber, “betray an arrogant double standard. That these Jewish groups, ardent supporters of Israel’s oppressive and criminal policies, should demand anything of Lebanon, a country that has repeatedly been a victim of Zionist aggression, is an expression of brazen arrogance.”
The campaign to ban the revisionist history meeting “underscores the need for precisely such a conference. It shows, once again, how greatly Zionist groups fear open debate about ‘the Holocaust,’ which is a major weapon in the Israeli-Zionist arsenal. This ban points up the fragile and mendacious character of what even a few courageous Jewish scholars are aptly calling the ‘Holocaust cult’ and the ‘Holocaust industry.’”
The conference ban, said Vérité et Justice in a statement, “dramatically demonstrates how a small group manipulates public opinion, thereby depriving the public of its legitimate right to know.” Behind the cancellation, the statement continued, are “the Zionists who, thanks to their iron grip on the media of the West, have succeeded for more than five decades in imposing their distortions of history on the world. They control, to a large extent, newspapers, books, films, theater, and even universities. This control has enabled them to brainwash the broad public, which unknowingly accepts many Zionist legends and downright lies as indisputable historical facts. The so-called ‘Holocaust’ is but the most extreme example.”
Washington’s secretive campaign to ban the Beirut conference is “hypocritical and bullying,” said Weber, who also called the Lebanese government ban “an outrageous assault against freedom of speech and expression.”
Although the conference cancellation was a disappointment and a setback, the organizational effort was not in vain. The widespread media attention it generated boosted international awareness of Holocaust revisionism, including the work and impact of the Institute for Historical Review. While most press coverage was unfriendly, even hostile, some reports – seemingly reflecting a steady tread – were remarkably objective. A number of articles respectfully quoted IHR spokesmen on a basis of parity with spokesmen for well-entrenched Jewish groups.
In a statement made public in mid-March, fourteen Arab intellectuals condemned the Beirut conference and called on Lebanese authorities to ban it. But the widely publicized declaration soon proved something of an embarrassment for its backers. Edward Said, a prominent Palestine-born scholar who teaches at Columbia University, repudiated the statement two weeks later, saying that he had been deceived about its content. He explained that he had never, in fact, approved any call to ban the conference. Another signer, Elias Khoury, expressed embarrassment that the statement was hailed by Israel’s ambassador to France.
Further information about the “Revisionism and Zionism” conference, including numerous press reports on the campaign to ban it, is posted on the “Beirut 2001” section of the IHR web site: http://ihr.org
Around the globe, awareness is growing of the importance of the Holocaust story as a key propaganda tool of Israeli-Zionist interests. Ever more Europeans, for example, understand how Israel and Zionist groups exploit “the Holocaust” to blackmail countries and corporations for billions of dollars for Israel and Zionist organizations, and to excuse otherwise inexcusable policies of the Jewish state.
This growing awareness has been transmitted to the Middle East, above all as a consequence of the 1998 trial in Paris of the prominent French Muslim scholar Roger Garaudy, who was fined $40,000 for his book The Founding Myths of Modern Israel, which presents compelling evidence refuting the orthodox Holocaust story and other historical legends. (An attractive American edition is published by the IHR.)
Iran’s official radio voice to the world, IRIB, has in recent years expressed support for Holocaust revisionism by broadcasting sympathetic interviews with leading revisionist scholars and activists. Several interviews with IHR Director Mark Weber have been aired on the English-language service, and similar interviews have been broadcast with Ernst Zündel in German and with Ahmed Rami in Arabic. IRIB short-wave radio reaches millions in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||World Revisionist Conference Banned in Lebanon under Jewish Pressure|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 20, no. 1 (January/February 2001), pp. 3f.|
|First posted on CODOH:||April 18, 2013, 7 p.m.|