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Last May 7th, at about 5:00 a.m. of a Sunday morning, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of VE celebrations worldwide, a terrorist firebombed the home and headquarters of Toronto publisher and Holocaust revisionist, Ernst Zündel. Zündel himself was away in Vancouver at the time, consulting with his attorney, Douglas Christie. His housesitter, Jerry Neumann, was lucky to escape with his life.
One of those who drove up to inspect the damage to Zündelhaus was Toronto's mayor, June Rowlands. The mayor drove up on her bicycle and was photographed in front of the smoking ruins of the burned-out shell that remained of Zündelhaus. In her statement to reporters, Rowlands expressed no sympathy, no sympathy at all, for Zündel's loss; she was and remained one of Zündel's fiercest critics. In the mainstream media, there were likewise no expressions of sympathy for Ernst Zündel. In fact, quite the opposite.
A couple weeks later the Toronto Globe and Mail, Canada's highbrow version of USA Today, carried several items all containing one recurring motif: letters from correspondents who all "denied" there had been an arson attack against Zündelhaus. They were joking, of course—"punneling" Zündel for his status as a Holocaust "denier"—and, no doubt, the correspondents, who included such Jewish activists as Chris Levenson of Ottawa and Bert Raphael of Toronto, wanted readers to chuckle and chortle along with them at Zündel's misfortune. Neither of these correspondents, certainly, expressed any sympathy in his letter for what happened to Zündel's neighbours, whose property and possessions had also been destroyed in the firebombing.
A bit later Lynn Cockburn, a columnist for the Sun chain of tabloid newspaper, devoted an entire column to "denying" that Zündel had been victimized by an arsonist. Amused by what he read, Sol Littman, the Canadian agent for the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, faxed in a short note to the Calgary Sun to signal his appreciation for Cockburn's satirical piece. Again, neither Cockburn nor Littman expressed any concern for the loss suffered by Zündel's neighbours or by the possibility that the terrorist, whoever he was, might have killed people by his cruel and cowardly actions.
All this, as I say, happened last May and June . Since then, of course, there have been the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, shot in the back by Yigal Amir, and the massacre and maiming of scores of Israeli citizens in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv at the hands of fanatical suicide-bombers. And naturally I'm wondering if those same Jewish activists, Raphael and Levenson and Littman, still see any fun and humour in any acts of terrorism; or if columnist Lynn Cockburn still finds terrorism a fit subject for satire and caricature.
No major mainstream decision- or opinion-makers in Toronto or elsewhere, did or said anything to condemn what happened to Zündelhaus last May. It's even likely the implicit or explicit bemusement articulated by some Jews and some media hounds may have even encouraged a cell of so-called "anti-racists" to mail Zündel a huge parcel-bomb several weeks later. Had the bomb—cocooned with several pounds of sharp nails- detonated, it would most certainly have shredded and murdered any person standing within a hundred-feet of the explosion. Once again, no public figure spoke up to condemn what was happening. Which is not to say that our Olympian politicians and journalists in Toronto or elsewhere in Canada are above taking a stand on controversial issues now and again.
In fairness to them, let me bring the following episode to light. This happened only last February in Toronto, after the cops raided a gay bar and arrested a dozen "entertainers" for their lewd behaviour. The men had been masturbating on stage and squirting the audience with their semen. In Toronto, both city councillor, Kyle Rae, and Rosie Dimanno, a columnist for the Toronto Star, Canada's largest circulation daily, immediately voiced sharp disapproval of the police for making the arrests.
Dimanno defended the "masturbatory entertainment" on the grounds that it was "not offensive." Indeed, what Dimanno found truly "disquieting" was how the cops had presumed to impose their own "middle brow" morality on the "frolicsome male dancers."
Mayor Rowlands' colleague, councillor Kyle Rae, shared Dimanno's concern. He agreed that the erotic acts performed on stage had been "quite salacious," but added: "I don't think people really [got] splattered that much."
Dimanno, for her part, described the acts as "sexual showbiz, where one man's perversion is another's diversion" ["Free expression has its limits," Peter Stockland, The Calgary Sun, March 15, 1996]. Notice Dimanno seemed willing to acknowledge that the kind of cabaret show put on by the performers at that gay club in Toronto might well be construed as "perversion" by some (I would say a majority) of our citizens, but she was nonetheless willing to go to bat for their right to freedom of expression; as was Toronto councillor, Kyle Rae.
However, no major mainstream decision- or opinion-maker here has ever done anything to defend the rights of Holocaust revisionists and revisionism in as energetic a manner. None has been quoted saying, for example: "One man's hate literature is another man's history lesson." Quite the opposite. Which leads me to the alarming but inescapable conclusion that, in "the true north strong and [sometimes] free," Holocaust revisionists and revisionism, for now at any rate, rank below even sexual perverts and perversion in the hierarchy of unpopular social causes. As the saying goes, they have nowhere to go but up.
Still, when the day dawns when the public standing of Holocaust revisionists and revisionism overtakes that of sexual perverts and perversion in the hierarchy of unpopular social causes, I daresay it will definitely be viewed as a notable achievement by the Holocaust revisionist community, and celebrated as such. I'm sure Holocaust revisionists will preen with delight to see and hear major mainstream politicians and journalists defending Holocaust revisionism to their peers and their constituents as "One man's hate literature [being] simply another man's history lesson." And whatnot.
I shouldn't be a bit surprised, though, were one or more of such courageous public figures to be pelted with spittle and rotten eggs thereafter, in the course of making an appearance in some public arena. In Canada, "Splattt!!!" may also the sound of dissent being expressed.
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|Author(s)||The TransCyberian Express|
|Dates||published: 1995-01-12, first posted on CODOH: Dec. 30, 1995, 6 p.m., last revision: n/a|