Garaudy Brings Revisionism to the Arabs

Abbé Pierre Stands Fast in France
Published: 1996-10-01

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Roger Garaudy, the 83-year-old French intellectual currently being prosecuted in France for the revisionist chapters of his book on Zionism, has defied his accusers by boldly bringing his theses to the attention of the Arab world. This summer the former French Communist Party theoretician traveled to Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt to discuss that book, Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israelienne (The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics), which has now been translated into Arabic (the booklet is available in either English or French from CODOHWeb).

Garaudy, who converted to Islam in 1982, was received in government circles, and met as well with religious leaders, intellectuals (including, reportedly, the Egyptian writer and Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz) and journalists.

Garaudy is undoubtedly the most influential Westerner ever to bring the revisionist case against the Holocaust story to the Islamic world. Esteemed as an intellectual, a long-time anti-imperialist, and a Muslim (although not a radical Islamist), Garaudy makes a revisionist connection to Muslims and Arabs that to date has been doubly difficult for other revisionists. Doubly difficult because their Western, Christian heritage and perspective has hampered understanding; while at the same time, their Middle Eastern listeners, predisposed to accept all things anti-Zionist, have either viewed the Holocaust story as simply one more among many Jewish hoaxes or sins, or been disposed to accept the reality of the myth (sometimes even lamenting that Hitler didn't "finish the job").

Roger Garaudy talks as an Arabist and a Muslim. In place of sterile Jew-baiting, his book Founding Myths offers a thoroughgoing critique of the victors' justice at Nuremberg, and a 38-page documented summary of the case against the Holocaust story. This last, which has led to its author's prosecution, clearly shows the hand of Robert Faurisson, and offers to Arab readers an excellent introduction to the case for Holocaust revisionism, in a context (a famous French Muslim intellectual's attack on the theological and theoretical underpinnings of Zionism) that will surely make the book a bestseller. (The Holocaust revisionist section of Founding Myths, completed just last year, supplies an excellent review for even knowledgeable revisionists in the West, and a fine introduction for newcomers.)

In the meantime, over the summer in France, the machinery of the French state clanked forward in its preparations for the trial of Roger Garaudy under France's Loi Gayssot, which makes it a crime to challenge the Holocaust story. The trial is currently scheduled to take place before the end of the year. The charges against Garaudy and the usual book distributors' smother-out have not entirely prevented the sale of his booklet (which is published by Pierre Guillaume, longtime publisher of Robert Faurisson and other revisionists): as of July, over 17,000 copies of Founding Myths had been sold. (As this issue of SR goes to press, we learned that a Japanese edition is being planned.)

Scarcely less interesting than the saga of Roger Garaudy has been the continuing odyssey of Henri Groues, the Capuchin monk, former member of the French National Assembly, activist on behalf of the homeless and immigrants, and winner of the Balzan Prize for humanity, peace and brotherhood between peoples, who is renowned in France and elsewhere as the Abbe Pierre, a code name Groues assumed during his wartime work with the French resistance. As related in Smith's Report #33 (June 1996), Abbe Pierre, an old friend of Roger Garaudy, at first praised Founding Myths, then withdrew his remarks under intense pressure from his old friends among the Jews, the left, in the Catholic hierarchy and in the French establishment.

But he refused to condemn Garaudy, the condition for the readmission of the octogenarian priest, who helped numerous Jews flee France to Switzerland during the war, to the good graces of the various Jewish or humanitarian agencies which expelled or condemned him, including Emmaus, which the Abbe Pierre had founded in 1949 as an international association of hostels for the needy. Deserted by most of his friends, pilloried by the opinion-makers of a nation that had only a few years before esteemed him as one of the "most beloved" men in France, dogged and pursued like the fugitive Jews he had aided or, in the postwar, like some of ex-Vichy men he had fought, the Abbe took refuge in a Benedictine monastery in Padua, Italy.

The Abbe Pierre returned to France soon enough, however. The international media began to issue accounts of his recantation, which have proved self-contradictory and. at this point, premature. For example, the International Herald Tribune titled its 23 July report “Abbe Pierre Backs Off on Holocaust Doubts,” but substantiated it with this quotation: “Having seen the way my remarks on the works of Roger Garaudy have been exploited by currents of opinion which play on the dangers of anti-Semitism and neofascism or neo-Nazism that I have fought against and will continue to fight against, I have decided to withdraw my remarks.”

Where does the Abbe Pierre stand on Garaudy and his book, then? Responding to an invitation from the French daily Le Monde to do a full-page piece, the Capuchin monk wrote a six-page article. In it the Abbe Pierre made clear:

  • that he was publishing the article, despite the request that he not by Cardinal Lustiger (a Jewish convert and Holocaust cultist), Archbishop of Paris;
  • that he had written Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres before the last election saying: “...I cannot be silent regarding the evil visited on you, on Israel, and on the hope of an end to all the miseries of the Middle East by the insanity (which draws ever nearer to the awful memories of Nazi ideology and practice) of the 'Zionist movement'";
  • that the hatred that Garaudy had aroused was, perhaps, because “he is a man: free, intelligent, and brave”;
  • that he has now read The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics and found nothing blameworthy in it;
  • that the anti-revisionist Gayssot law is formulated in such a novel and absurd way as to place judges in an impossible situation;
  • that the intoxication (ivresse), or dizziness, of Zionism lies in its tendency to ceaseless expansion.

Not exactly the kind of “backing off" the jackals of the Holocaust lobby demand! Unsurprisingly, prior assurances to the contrary, the Abbe Pierre's article was not printed in Le Monde. (It did appear in the French newsletter Faits et Documents [BP 254-09, 75424]: a copy is available in French from CODOH.)

What a pair, eh? Imagine! Two 83-year-olds. Last May, Jean-Francois Kahn, one of France's leading Holocaust cultists, called the Roger Garaudy/Abbe Pierre affair "a tremendous victory" for the revisionist cause. New victories have been won, with Garaudy eluding the encircling judicial forces to head, like an anti-imperialist Napoleon, to the Nile and beyond, and the Abbe Pierre defying, in the service of humanity and truth, the new face of persecution.

In France today a new, ad hoc coalition is forming among old enemies, leftists like Garaudy and the Abbe Pierre, rightists like many of the supporters of Jean-Marie Le Pen. Still at odds over many issues (Abbe Pierre has been one of strongest voices in favor of non-white immigrants, while Le Pen's position is well known), both sides concur on the right of and the need for free inquiry and open debate on the historical facts concerning the Holocaust.

Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust is proud of its role in working with French men and women to make available, through its Web site, French-language and other materials unobtainable (if not illegal) in France, where Paul Rassinier, a member of the wartime resistance and deportee, became the “father of Holocaust revisionism,” and where Robert Faurisson has struggled over twenty years to deepen and broaden Rassinier’s work, at great personal cost to himself, his family, and his career.


(Garaudy’s The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics is available from CODOH as a spiral-bound computer printout for a donation of $35. Your contribution will help us continue to help them.)


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Garaudy Brings Revisionism to the Arabs, Abbé Pierre Stands Fast in France
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 36, October 1996, pp. 1, 3f.
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Published: 1996-10-01
First posted on CODOH: July 8, 2012, 7 p.m.
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