Using the Holocaust to Justify War

Since bursting onto the U.S. foreign policy stage in the 1980s, the neocons have been masters of “perception management,” devising emotional (and often false) messaging to justify aggressive war, as Maidhc Ó Cathail sees in recent Holocaust-themed propaganda against Syria’s government.

By Maidhc Ó Cathail

“The irony is that the Nazi holocaust has now become the main ideological weapon for launching wars of aggression,” Norman Finkelstein tells Yoav Shamir in “Defamation,” the Israeli filmmaker’s award-winning 2009 documentary on how perceptions of anti-Semitism affect Israeli and U.S. politics. “Every time you want to launch a war of aggression, drag in the Nazi holocaust.”

If you’re looking for evidence in support of Finkelstein’s thesis today, you need look no further than the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibit of images of emaciated and mangled bodies from contemporary Syria.

The permanent exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: U.S. Holocaust Museum)

The permanent exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: U.S. Holocaust Museum)

The small exhibit, entitled “Genocide: The Threat Continues,” features a dozen images said to be from an archive of 55,000 pictures allegedly smuggled out of the country by “Caesar,” a mysterious source who claims to have defected from his job as a Syrian military photographer after having been ordered to take photos of more than 10,000 corpses.

Emphasizing the threat of an impending genocide, the reportedly conscience-stricken defector warns that a similar fate awaits the 150,000 people he says remain incarcerated by President Bashar Assad’s government.

“They’re powerful images, and viewers are immediately reminded of the Holocaust,” Cameron Hudson, the director of the museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide, was cited as saying in an Oct. 15 Associated Press report. Hudson, whose intriguing career in genocide prevention includes a stint as intelligence analyst in the CIA’s Africa Directorate, added, “They show a side of the Syrian regime that hasn’t really been really seen. You might have heard about it, read about it, but when you’re confronted with these images, they’re impossible to ignore.”

The museum’s promotion of these impossible-to-ignore, Holocaust-recalling images dates from a few months earlier, however. In his July visit to Washington that included a series of meetings with U.S. government and congressional officials, Caesar’s first stop was at the Holocaust Museum.

On July 28, Michael Chertoff, a member of the museum’s governing board of trustees, presented the purported defector to a small group of reporters and researchers. According to the Washington Post’s Greg Miller, this event was the first time that Caesar had appeared publicly to answer questions about the photos deemed by some human rights organizations as evidence of war crimes committed by Assad.

Chertoff, a co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act, hasn’t hesitated to invoke the Nazis either in support of the neoconservative-conceived “global war on terror.” In an April 22, 2007 Washington Post op-ed entitled “Make No Mistake: This Is War,” the then-secretary of the Department of Homeland Security wrote, “Al-Qaeda and its ilk have a world vision that is comparable to that of historical totalitarian ideologues but adapted to the 21st-century global network.”

Commenting on the former DHS secretary’s close ties to Israel, Jonathan Cook notes in his book Israel and the Clash of Civilizations that Chertoff’s mother was an air hostess for El Al in the 1950s. “There are reports that she was involved in Operation Magic Carpet, which brought Jews to Israel from Yemen,” writes the Nazareth-based British journalist. “It therefore seems possible that Livia Eisen was an Israeli national, and one with possible links to the Mossad.”

Among the other members of the Holocaust Memorial Council noted for their staunch support of Israel and American interventionism are the pardoned Iran-Contra neocon intriguer Elliott Abrams and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

Writing in Foreign Policy’s The Cable on April 23, 2012, Josh Rogin drew attention to Wiesel’s pointed introduction of President Barack Obama at a ceremony in the Holocaust Museum. Comparing the Syrian president and then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the perpetrators of the Nazi holocaust, Wiesel implicitly criticized Obama’s supposedly obtuse inaction, “So in this place we may ask: Have we learned anything from it? If so, how is it that Assad is still in power?”

As Rogin, a regular media conduit for anti-Assad interventionism, pointedly observed, the speech was reminiscent of another one Wiesel gave at the opening of the museum in 1993, when he urged then President Bill Clinton to take military action in Bosnia: “Similarly, that speech came at a time when the Clinton administration was resisting getting entangled in a foreign civil war but was under growing pressure to intervene.”

In a revealing interview published on Aug. 11, 2013, by the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman, Caesar’s interpreter, who presided over a question-and-answer session at the museum, echoed Wiesel’s criticism of President Obama’s resistance to doing the bidding of the neocons and “liberal interventionists” seeking greater American intervention in Syria.

Asked by the Gülen movement-aligned daily if America had forgotten the Syrian war, Mouaz Moustafa replied, “It is the President who is against action in Syria not the whole of the U.S. government. President Barack Obama has been very insular and cautious about Syria. The President does not seem to understand how important Syria is to U.S. national security [….] The President does not feel the need to explain to the American people or the world that the risks with any of the bad options that we have are far outweighed by the risks of inaction.”

It is hardly a coincidence that Moustafa’s rhetoric bears a striking resemblance to that of Israel’s friends like Wiesel. Although one of best known media-promoted faces of the Syrian opposition in Washington has understandably sought to obscure his ties to Tel Aviv, the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force has undeniable links to one of its American lobby’s leading think tanks.

After it emerged that Moustafa’s nonprofit had coordinated Sen. John McCain’s May 2013 trip to meet with the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels, an examination of the SETF executive director’s background revealed that he was one of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s “experts”; a contributor to WINEP’s Fikra Forum, “an online community that aims to generate ideas to support Arab democrats in their struggle with authoritarians and extremists”; and had addressed the AIPAC-created think tank’s annual Soref symposium entitled “Inside Syria: The Battle Against Assad’s Regime.”

Even more damningly, it was discovered that one of SETF’s web addresses was “” The “” url belongs to the Torah Academy of Boca Raton, Florida whose key values notably include promoting “a love for and commitment to Eretz Yisroel.”

When confronted with these embarrassing revelations, Moustafa responded via Twitter, “call me terrorist/Qaeda/nazi as others have but not Zionist Im [sic] denied ever entering palestine but it lives in me.” Dismissing the intriguing connection to a pro-Israel yeshiva in Florida, he claimed that the “url registration was due to dumb error by web designer.”

The Israel lobby-backed Moustafa also interpreted for Caesar, who was wearing dark glasses and a blue rain jacket with the hood pulled over his head, when he testified before a closed-door session of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs this July. At least some of its members would no doubt have recognized the interpreter, however.

As Foreign Policy’s The Cable reported on June 6, 2013, two leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Reps. Ed Royce, R-California, and Eliot Engel, D-New York, dispatched aides to Turkey to meet leading members of the Syrian Free Army between May 27 and June 3. As The Cable had learned, the meeting had been coordinated by Moustafa’s Syrian Emergency Task Force.

(This September, staff from the Syrian Emergency Task Force and the House Foreign Affairs Committee reportedly facilitated a meeting in Turkey that led to more than 20 Syrian rebel commanders signing “a historic agreement” to unite in the quixotic fight against both ISIS and Assad.)

Interestingly, the FP article noted that “[t]he two lawmakers don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on the question of whether the United States should intervene more aggressively in the protracted civil war,” with Engel having “carved out one of the most hawkish positions in Congress on Syria, being the first to introduce legislation authorizing lethal assistance for the rebels.”

Moreover, as Rep. Engel pointed out in his opening remarks at the Syria briefing, he has “been personally focused on Syria for a long time.” In 2003, he passed the Syria Accountability Act, which imposed sanctions on the government of Hafez Assad.

In a reference to his introduction of the Free Syria Act in March 2013, which authorized the President to provide lethal assistance to those Engel described as “carefully vetted members of the moderate Syrian opposition,” the reflexively pro-Israel Democratic congressman from New York said, “If we had taken that approach a year and a half ago, we may have been able to stem the growth of ISIS and weaken the regime of Bashar Assad. But we didn’t, unfortunately, so we’ll never really know what would have happened if we had acted then.”

While Caesar and his American-based Palestinian-Syrian interpreter clearly have the enthusiastic support of Israel’s friends in Washington, the photos presented as evidence of an alleged Syrian “holocaust” by Assad’s forces received their initial boost from one of Tel Aviv’s closest, albeit covert, Arab allies in their mutual war against the Syrian government.

As part of a review of the photos commissioned by the government of Qatar, David Crane, a former war-crimes prosecutor for Sierra Leone, reportedly spent hours interviewing Caesar. An Oct. 13 Yahoo News report by Michael Isikoff quotes Crane as saying that they document “an industrial killing machine not seen since the Holocaust.”

Like the director of the Holocaust Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide, Crane has worked for the U.S. government, including in the field of military intelligence. His former posts include Director of the Office of Intelligence Review, assistant general counsel of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Waldemar A. Solf Professor of International Law at the United States Army Judge Advocate Generals School.

Having ostensibly left the intelligence world behind him, Crane founded and directs the Syrian Accountability Project (SAP) at Syracuse University’s College of Law, which describes itself as “a cooperative effort between activists, non-governmental organizations, students, and other interested parties to document war crimes and crimes against humanity in the context of the Syrian Crisis.” According to its website, SAP has “worked closely with the Syrian National Coalition” which is listed as one of its clients.

Founded in Doha, Qatar in November 2012, the Syrian National Coalition represents the Free Syrian Army, which has reportedly collaborated with the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham in massacres of Syrian civilians such as the one that occurred this March in the village of Kassab, an ancestral home of Syria’s minority ethnic Armenians, on the Turkish border.

Professor Crane is also vice-president of I Am Syria, whose mission statement describes it as “a non-profit media based campaign that seeks to educate the world of the Syrian Conflict.” I Am Syria’s president, Ammar Abdulhamid, has been a fellow at two of the most prominent Washington-based pro-Israel think tanks, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and the neocon Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; while one of its education directors, Andrew Beitar, is a regional education coordinator for the Holocaust Museum.

As the case of the mysterious Caesar and his trove of photos clearly shows, those who want to launch a war of aggression on Syria as they have succeeded in doing in Iraq and Libya have at every opportunity sought, as Finkelstein put it, to drag in the Nazi holocaust.

As more and more people become wise to this ruse, they should keep in mind the two words espoused by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: “Never Again.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published writer and political analyst.


8 comments for “Using the Holocaust to Justify War

  1. Abe
    October 25, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Ó Cathail addressed the Zionist tendency to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism In his 2010 article, Anti-Semitism: Zionism’s Indispensable Alibi

    Ó Cathail observed that “the charge of anti-Semitism, rather than serving to protect Jewish people from defamation, has been used to obscure Zionist crimes.”

    The anti-Semite smear has been directed at Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, US President Jimmy Carter, the survivors of 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, Professor Norman Finkelstein, and UN special rapporteur Richard Falk.

    “However,” noted Ó Cathail, “as Zionist criminality becomes increasingly transparent, there will most likely be a sharp rise in anti-Semitism worldwide. No doubt much of it will be the result of genuine, albeit misdirected, anger as the extent of Zionist crimes against humanity becomes more widely known. But considering Zionism’s history of faking attacks on Jews, we can expect at least some of this ‘hate’ to be the work of Jewish extremists who disingenuously claim to be fighting anti-Semitism.”

  2. Abe
    October 25, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Alan Hart, author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews (a three-volume history of the Israel-Palestine conflict), former Middle East Chief Correspondent for Independent Television News, and former BBC Panorama presenter specializing in the Middle East, has observed that “some of the anti-Semitic excrement in comments on web sites is the work of Zionist assets for the purpose of discrediting by association those of us who seek to tell the truth.”

    Comments with links to “Holocaust denial” and “anti-semitic” material have been posted in response to articles on Consortium News about the history of Israel/Palestine, controversies in the American Jewish community, the shifting debate over US foreign policy in the Middle East, and neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Hasbara trolls use such smear tactics to distract, disrupt and divert online discussion critical of Zionism and Israel.

  3. Abe
    October 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Michel Collon, a Belgian journalist and author, has outlined how mass media and governments apply the “Five Principles of War Propaganda”:
    1. Obscure economic interests.
    2. Invert the victim and the aggressor.
    3. Hide history.
    4. Demonize.
    5. Monopolize the news.

  4. Abe
    October 26, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Word of the alleged Syrian military defector’s trove of photographs first appeared in a leaked 2014 report formally titled “A Report into the credibility of certain evidence with regard to Torture and Execution of Persons Incarcerated by the current Syrian regime.”

    The photographer, “Caesar,” allegedly had worked secretly with the Syrian National Coalition, which is supported by the government of Qatar.

    The “Confidential” 31-page report, commissioned by Qatar, was leaked to mainstream media on 21 January 2014, a day before talks were due to begin at the Geneva II Conference on Syria.

    The Geneva II talks were aimed at bringing together the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition to discuss the clear steps towards a transitional government for Syria with full executive powers. The timing of the leak had a significant political impact on the talks.

    A last-minute UN invitation for Iran to join the Syria peace talks had thrown the long-awaited Geneva conference into doubt, forcing UN chief Ban Ki-moon to rescind the offer under intense US pressure after the Syrian National Coalition threatened to boycott.

    With the invitation for Iran withdrawn, the Syrian National Coalition agreed to attend the talks and said the conference should seek to establish a transitional government with full executive powers “in which killers and criminals do not participate.”

    However, the Syrian National Council (SNC) withdrew from the Syrian National Coalition in protest at the decision of the coalition to attend the talks.

    Based in Istanbul, Turkey, the SNC represented the main bloc within the Syrian National Coalition.

    The SNC had been recognized as the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people” by several UN member states, with three of those being permanent members of the Security Council, France, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

    The leaked report about “horrific” photographs provided political cover for the SNC decision to reject the talks and leave the Syrian National Coalition, effectively torpedoing the Geneva II talks from the outset.

    After the report was leaked, the SNC rejected political compromise with the Syrian government, and declared that taking part in the talks would renege on its commitments to not enter negotiations until Assad leaves power.

    The incendiary leak also coincided with the official release of the annual World Report by Human Rights Watch, which accused Russia and China of allowing “slaughter of civilians” to take place by blocking action through the UN.

    The Syrian detainee report was prepared for the government of Qatar by British law firm Carter-Ruck, which had famously acted for the late Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky in a number of libel and other actions, including in the House of Lords against Forbes magazine, The Guardian and Russian state-owned broadcaster VGTRK.

    The London solicitors acting for Qatar concluded that the photographs were “clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government,” and that the photographs would support findings against the Syrian regime of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    Lest we miss the association, inquiry chairman Desmond Lorenz de Silva insisted that some of the images “were absolutely reminiscent of pictures of people who came out of Belsen and Auschwitz.”

    The obvious implication was that rejection of the “evidence” provided by the “heroic” Caesar was tantamount to “Holocaust denial.”

    • Gregory Kruse
      October 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      Man, you do take all the oxygen out of the room.

  5. Abe
    October 28, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Back in January 2014, when the Qatar commissioned Carter-Ruck lawyers first leaked their “Confidential” report, Syrian government forces were pushing back ISIS, Al-Nusrah, and other terrorist forces that had been funded by funded for years by wealthy donors in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

    Al-Nusra had a large contingent of foreign fighters. ISIS, which had instituted sharia in a number of in central and northern Syria, had been described as “foreign occupiers” by many Syrian refugees. ISIS reportedly controlled the four border towns of Atmeh, al-Bab, Azaz and Jarablus, allowing it to control the entrance and exit from Syria into Turkey. Foreign fighters in Syria included Russian-speaking jihadists who were part of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar under the command of Chechen leader Abu Omar al-Shishani. Terrorists had attacked two chemical weapons storage sites, one in Homs and one near Damascus.

    From the start of the conflict in Syria in June 2012, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had portrayed the conflict as one driven by foreign terrorists attempting to create an Al-Qaeda-inspired haven.

    In January, after gaining ground in recent months, Syrian government troops were successfully battling ISIS, Al-Nusrah, and other terrorist forces in both Aleppo and Rif Dimashq.

    Then came the Geneva II Conference on 22 January 2014 in Montreux, and on 23–31 January 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

    On the opening day of the conference, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mouallem said terrorists and foreign meddling had ripped his country apart. He accused the West and neighboring countries he did not name of funneling money, weapons and foreign fighters to the rebellion.

    “The West claims to fight terrorism publicly while they feed it secretly,” said the Foreign Minister.

    Mouallem also criticized the Syrian National Coalition, based in Turkey. “Syrians here in this hall participated in all that has happened, they implemented, facilitated the bloodshed and all at the expense of the Syrian people they claim to represent,” he said.

    Also on 22 January, the Syrian Justice Ministry called the Qatar commissioned “Caesar” report a “gathering of images of unidentified people, some of whom have turned out to be foreigners of different nationalities who were killed while attacking military checkpoints and civilian establishments.” It added that others were civilians and military personnel who were killed under torture by “terrorist groups allegedly for supporting the state.”

    The ministry said, “These pictures are fake and that they have no relation to prisoners or detainees in Syrian prisons.” It dismissed the report as “politicized and lacking objectiveness and professionalism.”

    The ministry recognized that the report has been leaked on the eve of the peace conference in a bid to “undermine the current efforts that aim to bring peace to Syria and end the international terrorism inside it.”

    The Christian Science Monitor frankly observed that “the report itself is nowhere near as credible as it makes out and should be viewed for what it is: A well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar, a regime opponent who has funded rebels fighting Assad who have committed war crimes of their own.”

    But that was to be only the first of many well-timed displays of the photographs from “Caesar.”

    Now it appears that whenever the terrorists are in retreat and disarray, and there may be some prospect for Syrian national reconciliation, Assad is accused of some new atrocity and out come the photos from “Caesar”.

    In April, an informal United Nations Security Council meeting was organized by French UN Ambassador Gérard Araud to give the 15 member states a chance to see the “Caesar” photos.

    Sitting in front of the procession of gruesome “Caesar” photos projected behind him at a UN news conference, American lawyer David M. Crane, one of the authors of the January report, asked the assembled press, “Doesn’t this bring back some interesting images from Dachau, and Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen?”

    Emboldened by the traction the original report had received in the mainstream media since January, Crane insisted in April that Assad was guilty of “industrialized systematic killing.”

    US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was predictably aghast.

    “Caesar” and his “interesting images” were then paraded before members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in July.

    The US Congress and the American public are being prepared to defeat Hitler and end the Holocaust.

    “Caesar” is the “Curveball” of the Syrian regime change project.

  6. Abe
    October 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    The Answer to WHY:
    Using the Holocaust to Justify An Oil and Gas Pipeline War

    The Qatar side of the Persian Gulf, called North Field, contains the world’s third largest known natural gas reserves behind Russia and Iran.

    In July 2011, the governments of Syria, Iran and Iraq signed an historic gas pipeline energy agreement which went largely unnoticed in the midst of the NATO-Saudi-Qatari war to remove Assad. The pipeline, envisioned to cost $10 billion and take three years to complete, would run from the Iranian Port Assalouyeh near the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, to Damascus in Syria via Iraq territory. The agreement would make Syria the center of assembly and production in conjunction with the reserves of Lebanon. This is a geopolitically strategic space that geographically opens for the first time, extending from Iran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. As Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar put it, “The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline – if it’s ever built – would solidify a predominantly Shi’ite axis through an economic, steel umbilical cord.”

    Shortly after signing with Iran and Iraq, on August 16, 2011, Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Ministry of Oil announced the discovery of a gas well in the Area of Qarah in the Central Region of Syria near Homs. Gazprom, with Assad in power, would be a major investor or operator of the new gas fields in Syria. Iran ultimately plans to extend the pipeline from Damascus to Lebanon’s Mediterranean port where it would be delivered to the huge EU market. Syria would buy Iranian gas along with a current Iraqi agreement to buy Iranian gas from Iran’s part of South Pars field.

    Qatar, today the world’s largest exporter of LNG, largely to Asia, wants the same EU market that Iran and Syria eye. For that, they would build pipelines to the Mediterranean. Here is where getting rid of the pro-Iran Assad is essential. In 2009 Qatar approached Bashar al-Assad to propose construction of a gas pipeline from Qatar’s north Field through Syria on to Turkey and to the EU. Assad refused, citing Syria’s long friendly relations with Russia and Gazprom. That refusal combined with the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline agreement in 2011 ignited the full-scale Saudi and Qatari assault on Assad’s power, financing al Qaeda terrorists, recruits of Jihadist fanatics willing to kill Alawite and Shi’ite “infidels” for $100 a month and a Kalishnikov. The Washington neo-conservative warhawks in and around the Obama White House, along with their allies in the right-wing Netanyahu government, were cheering from the bleachers as Syria went up in flames after spring 2011.

    Today the US-backed wars in Ukraine and in Syria are but two fronts in the same strategic war to cripple Russia and China and to rupture any Eurasian counter-pole to a US-controlled New World Order. In each, control of energy pipelines, this time primarily of natural gas pipelines—from Russia to the EU via Ukraine and from Iran and Syria to the EU via Syria—is the strategic goal. The true aim of the US and Israel backed ISIS is to give the pretext for bombing Assad’s vital grain silos and oil refineries to cripple the economy in preparation for a “Ghaddafi-”style elimination of Russia and China and Iran-ally Bashar al-Assad.

    In a narrow sense, as Washington neo-conservatives see it, who controls Syria could control the Middle East. And from Syria, gateway to Asia, he will hold the key to Russia House, as well as that of China via the Silk Road.

    The Secret Stupid Saudi-US Deal on Syria
    By F. William Engdahl

  7. Abe
    October 30, 2014 at 1:42 am

    “As the Nazi regime developed over the years, the whole structure of decision-making was changed. At first there were laws. Then there were decrees implementing laws. Then a law was made saying, ‘There shall be no laws.’ Then there were orders and directives that were written down, but still published in ministerial gazettes. Then there was government by announcement; orders appeared in newspapers. Then there were the quiet orders, the orders that were not published, that were within the bureaucracy, that were oral. Finally, there were no orders at all. Everybody knew what he had to do.”

    – Raul Hilberg, Austrian-born American political scientist and historian, widely considered to be the world’s preeminent scholar of the Holocaust.

    Hilberg’s three-volume, 1,273-page magnum opus, The Destruction of the European Jews, is regarded as a seminal study of the Nazi Final Solution.

    Hilberg didn’t truck in the pieties of what became the Holocaust industry that exploited the colossal suffering of Jews for political and financial gain. He rejected the notion that the Nazi holocaust sprang uniquely from virulent anti-Semitism and concomitantly maintained that “Jews were only the first victims” of the German bureaucracy’s genocidal juggernaut, which also targeted Gypsies and Poles, among others. He reckoned Jewish resistance to be negligible but Jewish cooperation (which however he distinguished from collaboration) to be significant, while he reckoned the total number of Jewish victims at closer to 5.1 million. The third volume contains a 20-page appendix detailing his complex calculations of Jewish dead. In contrast Dawidowicz gives a figure for each country and then totals the number, as if this calculation were simply an addition problem whereas, as Hilberg notes, “the raw data are seldom self-explanatory, and their interpretation often requires the use of voluminous background materials that have to be analyzed in turn.”

    It should go without saying that whether the figure is closer to five than six million is of zero moral significance–except for a moral cretin, who could utter “only five million”?–although Hilberg believed it was of historical significance. Even if it weren’t he almost certainly would still have insisted on the 5.1 million figure if his research showed it was closer to the truth. “Always in my life,” Hilberg wrote unaffectedly in his memoir, “I had wanted the truth about myself.” This was also how he approached the study of the Nazi holocaust.

    His confident knowledge of the field no doubt accounted for Hilberg’s easygoing tolerance of Holocaust deniers. Those who want to suppress them do so not only in disgust at what they might say but also in dread of the inability to answer them. (The hysterical allegation of Holocaust deniers lurking in every corner is apparently also contrived to justify the endless proliferation of Holo-trash.) Hilberg recently made the provocative statement that whereas the Nazi holocaust is an irrefutable fact this was “more easily said than demonstrated.”

    Remembering Raul Hilberg
    By Norman Finkelstein

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