Taking Deborah Lipstadt Apart

In a recent article, Shoa-logist Deborah Lipstadt attempts to reinstate her argument against historical revisionism.

Lipstadt is clearly opposing holocaust deniers whom she also identifies as anti-Semites, yet, she fails to define what denial means. She also comes short of suggesting what anti-Semitism stands for. I guess that for Lipstadt, ‘deniers’ are those who insist that our past must be revisited, scrutinised and be told from different perspectives. People who hold such views are usually called historical revisionists or simply historians. Yet, historical revisionists are clearly perceived by Lipstadt as anti-Semites — I guess that for Lipstadt, those who dare touch or fiddle with the Jewish past are nothing less than enemies.

The ‘deniers’, according to Lipstadt, are a lively movement that is working vigorously to “distort history and inculcate anti-Semitism”. Yet, it is far from being clear how anyone can ‘distort history’, for history is not a singular set of facts laid down and dictated by one group of people alone. Rather it is an attempt to transform the past into a story aspire to as full a narrative as is possible, drawn from as many points of view and from as wide a body of research as is available. History is an attempt then, to build a narrative. Different people should be entitled to hold different perspectives of their past.

Seemingly, Lipstadt is not happy with it all. She wants the chapter known as the holocaust to become a meta-historical impenetrable narrative. It is not clear to me and to a growing number of academics, artists and ordinary people, why Jewish academics and institutions are so afraid of this particular chapter in history being looked at and discussed freely.

For some peculiar reason Lipstadt regards herself as a ‘scholar’, yet her engagement with the subject matter is far from being scholarly oriented. Her reading of the Nazi era is utterly embarrassing — for instance, she says “had the world taken Nazi anti-Semitism more seriously from the outset of the rise of the Third Reich the subsequent tragedy might have been quite different.”

But it seems as if the world did actually react very seriously to Nazi anti-Semitism. It basically followed the Nazi agenda. America and Britain closed their gates to Jews, leaving European Jewish refugees to face their fate. Even the Zionists failed to do much to save their European brothers and sisters. It is also clear that the Nazis would not have succeeded in their ethnic cleansing project unless they had been assisted by European communities, governments, and even by Jewish institutions. It seems as if the Nazis were not the only anti-Semites; they were just more open about it.

Lipstadt’s ignorance knows no limits. She continues, “in the 1930s and 1940s, of course, observers—and the potential victims—could not fathom where Hitler and his cohort’s anti-Semitism might lead.” I guess that the Jewish ‘historian’ doesn’t really know that in the 1930’s and the early 1940’s ‘Hitler and his cohort’ also didn’t know themselves where they were aiming’. We do know that they wanted a Germany free of Jews — and this is, indeed, pretty outrageous. Yet, it is not that different from the vast majority of Israelis, who want a Palestine that is free of Palestinians.

Lipstadt is convinced that the ‘deniers’ are motivated by “hatred of Jews and their desire to do them harm”. But the truth of the matter is slightly embarrassing: historical revisionism is a growing body of knowledge. It doesn’t claim to address ‘the Jewish question’, nor does it offer any political agenda, and neither does it call to harm Jews. However, one may note that rather too often we come across Jewish institutional calls to harm, and even to destroy, Arabs and Muslims. I would then, expect Lipstadt to be consistent, and to stand against her own brothers’ and sisters’ genocidal inclinations. But clearly, integrity is not something you should expect from a Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies.

When it becomes clear that Lipstadt has nothing clever to say about the subject (or maybe any subject) she pulls the rabbit out of her hat, or should we say, she pulls Ahmadinejad out of her wig. “During the past five years we have heard a stream of Holocaust denial, overt anti-Semitism, and threats against Israel emanate from the mouth of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial is linked directly to his animus toward Israel.”

And this is where Jewish past, present and future are wrapped together into a collective meaning that appears totally impervious to reason, ethics or humanity. It is obviously clear that those who oppose Israeli barbarism may, at a certain stage, look at the Zionist’s raison d’être, namely the holocaust. It is obviously natural for those who detest Israeli lies to scrutinise every Israeli or Jewish narrative – And the question is, what is so wrong with doing so? Why are Jews, or at least some Jews, horrified by the idea that others might be suspicious of aspects of their historical narratives? Why is it so difficult for Lipstadt to accept that Ahmadinejad opposes Israel, and also, questions aspects of the Jewish past?

“In 2009”, says Lipstadt, “after questioning the existence of the Holocaust, he (Ahmadinejad) declared it was a ploy used by the Jews to get the West to accede to the creation of Israel.” Again, isn’t it a scholarly and legitimate question on behalf of Ahmadinejad? Are not the holocaust and the foundation of the Jewish State inherently linked?

But — Don’t you worry, it is not Ahmadinejad alone whom the Yeshiva Scholar hates. “Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser spoke of the lie of the 6 million Jews… Spokesmen for Hamas have also engaged in Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial themes can be found in newspapers in many parts of the Arab world, including in Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon.”

Even Mahmoud Abbas was a ‘denier’ according to the Shoa genius, “as a young student, (Abbas) wrote a dissertation that was pure denial.” But guess what, Abbas doesn’t have to worry; Lipstadt has forgiven him already. He (Abbas) “subsequently repudiated his view” and Lipstadt “fully believes his repudiation.” At least, Lipstadt is flexible enough to amend her ‘academic’ views so they fit into the current Israeli political agenda.

I guess that it would make sense to argue that Lipstadt is continuing to fight what is by now a lost battle. Our past is not a Jewish property. When I read Lipstadt’s pseudo-academic diatribe, I am convinced that aspects of the Zionist view of history must continue to be scrutinised and debated, for history cannot be handled or censored by any form of Yeshiva scholarship, for Yeshiva ideology is the complete opposite of Western spirit, intellectual debate and openness.

Lipstadt asserts, “seventy years ago people had an acceptable reason to say, ‘We could never fathom that Hitler meant what he said.’ Today we no longer have that luxury. At the very least it behooves us to take Ahmadinejad and those among his fellow Muslim leaders and opinion-makers seriously.”

Seemingly Lipstadt urges Western leaders to dismantle Iran and other Muslim countries in the name of the history she doesn’t allow them to revise or scrutinise. I guess that for the sake of world peace, it is necessary to expose people like Lipstadt and her cohort.

In her final paragraph Lipstadt seems to find out what is wrong with the revisionists, “their Holocaust denial is part of their contemporary political agenda.”

In psychological terminology, the above is defined as projection — Lipstadt projects her own symptoms on historical revisionists. It is obviously clear that Lipstadt’s ‘holocaust evangelism’ is there to serve her own Zio-centric political agenda.

The question you may want to ask yourself at this stage is, for how long will we let Yeshiva supremacist Ideology determine our vision of our past? I myself believe that time is ripe to say NO to Jewish Ideology and politics. Enough is certainly enough.

Gilad Atzmon, now living in London, was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of The Wandering Who and Being in Time and is one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. He can be reached via his website. Read other articles by Gilad, or visit Gilad's website.