Friday, October 13, 2006

The Influence of a Man Who Denies the Holocaust

From the New York Sun, October 12, 2006, BY STEVEN STALINSKY, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute ...

"There was never a single execution gas chamber under the Germans.… So all those millions of tourists who visit Auschwitz are seeing a lie, a falsification." — Robert Faurisson, Sahar TV, February 2005. He exposed the "big lie of the alleged Holocaust." He proved that "the ‘Diary of Anne Frank' [is] a fraud" and that "the gas chambers were fabricated." When Arab and Iranian TV networks such as Al-Jazeera and Sahar need someone to discuss the "big lie of the alleged Holocaust," they go to him. When Arab and Iranian politicians such as the Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and President Ahmadinejad of Iran want to provide evidence that no "alleged crimes" were perpetrated against Jews in World War II, they cite him.

Like other European Holocaust deniers who enjoy rock star status in Iran and the Arab world, Robert Faurisson first appeared on the scene in the 1970s, when he refuted accounts of the gas chambers and the Nazis' systematic killing of Jews. "The dean of deniers," as Mr. Faurisson is known, is a sought-after interview subject in the Middle East. When Al-Jazeera devoted a program to a planned international conference of Holocaust deniers in Beirut in May 2001, it called Mr. Faurisson. "We have proved and are still proving that there was no massacre or Holocaust of the Jews, and that there were no gas chambers for the Jews, and that the figure of 6 million victims is exaggerated ... saying the truth about the biggest lie of the 20th and 21st centuries, the lie of the Holocaust," he said.

Arab and Iranian "experts" on the Holocaust frequently cite Mr. Faurisson's theories. In his 1982 doctoral dissertation at the Peoples' Friendship University in Moscow, Mr. Abbas discussed "the secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist movement leadership." Two years later, the Jordanian publisher Dar Ibn Rushd put out an Arabic-language book based on Mr. Abbas's dissertation. "Regarding the gas chambers, which were supposedly designed for murdering living Jews: A scientific study published by Professor Robert Faurisson of France denies that the gas chambers were for murdering people, and claims that they were only for incinerating bodies, out of concern for the spread of disease and infection in the region," Mr. Abbas wrote.

In January, when Mr. Ahmadinejad described the Holocaust as "a myth," Mr. Faurisson sent him a letter "expressing his full support of his remarks." The letter was heralded in the Iranian press.

On September 20, Iran's IRINN TV broadcast a report on the country's ongoing Holocaust cartoon contest. The curator of the museum exhibiting the cartoons, Masoud Shojai Tabatabai, told the station that the display proves that the "alleged crimes" that occurred at places like Auschwitz "are in fact a lie." The curator said the proof was based on "the very serious and accurate analysis of Mr. Robert Faurisson."

The editor of the conservative Iranian daily Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari, wrote an article on December 13, 2005, in which he cited Mr. Faurisson's lectures at the University of Lyon and one of his books, "The Gas Chambers: Reality or Legend?" The book, translated into Persian by Seyyed Abu Al-Farid Zia Al-Dini, examines dozens of documents "where the Zionists claim" the slaughter took place, "such as the gas chambers, the fabricated museum of the crematoria, Dachau in Munich," Mr. Shariatmadari wrote. Mr. Faurisson "conducted precise and scientific conversations with hundreds of witnesses and ultimately showed, with no interpretation and by means of documents only, that the affair of the slaughter of the Jews in Nazi Germany is a great historic lie."

When the United Nations announced that it would designate a day to commemorate the Holocaust in November 2005, Mr. Faurisson gave an interview to the Tehran Times. "For many years now, I have been telling my acquaintances in the Muslim world that the Jews and the Zionists want to impose the religion of the alleged ‘Holocaust' of the Jews on the whole world," he said. "… The Muslim world has been awakening from its too long torpor for only a few years. It ought to have listened to the revisionists long ago and denounced out loud the sham of an alleged German project to exterminate the Jews, the alleged Nazi gas chambers, and the alleged 6 million Jewish victims."

On October 3,a French court convicted Mr. Faurisson of Holocaust denial for statements he made on Iran's Sahar TV in February 2005. It was the fifth time he has been found guilty for "complicity in contesting the existence of a crime against humanity."

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