Iran’s Propaganda, Holocaust Revisionism and Western Civilization

Iran’s Propaganda, Holocaust Revisionism and Western Civilization

When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran described the Holocaust as a "myth" and hosted a Holocaust revisionist conference in Tehran in December 2006, he was warmly cheered in the Third World and severely castigated in the United States and Europe. Yet most Western pundits largely failed to grasp the significance of the assault. They limited themselves to outrage and righteous indignation. Ahmadinejad's fulminations were, on the one hand, jeered as "paranoid" and, on the other, described as on par with his other threats to destroy Israel -- pardon, "the Zionist entity." In other words, Western commentators dismissed the Iranian President as a vile, if dangerous troglodyte.

But Iran's leader is much more sophisticated than that. Ahmadinejad apparently applied Western logic to score a major propaganda victory. First, he argued that the failure to hold the Holocaust to legitimate "scholarly" scrutiny is an intellectual and moral flaw. Next, the Iranian President depicted himself as a defender of the freedom of inquiry. He trumpeted that only the irrational and the corrupt would refuse to allow academic freedom. Therefore, last but not least, he roundly condemned anyone who took offense at Holocaust revisionism as a lackey of "the Jews." After all the Shoah is just a "Jewish myth." And Western opponents of Holocaust revisionism are simply mercenary hypocrites, according to him.

Ahmadinejad selected the Holocaust not so much because of its special significance to the Jewish people, but because it appears to be the only unassailable truth in Western intellectual discourse. His is a dangerous assault on the West itself.

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