ADL Pleased with Decision of Lebanese Government to Cancel Holocaust Deniers’ Conference
New York, N.Y., March 23, 2001 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) commended the Lebanese government for today’s announcement that it would block Holocaust deniers from meeting in Beirut. The conference, sponsored by the California-based Institute for Historical Review (IHR) and the Swiss Association Vérité et Justice, was scheduled to take place later this month.
In a statement, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said:
We are pleased that Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has made it clear that Holocaust deniers are not welcome in Lebanon. We also recognize the Arab intellectuals who spoke out against this conference and called on the government to cancel it. We hope that this announcement will mark the beginning of a concerted effort by responsible Arab leaders to reject those who seek to deny the Holocaust.
In recent years Holocaust deniers have found welcoming audiences in the Arab world, raising our concern about the planned gathering in Beirut. While some European falsifiers of modern history have been active in the Middle East, this marked the first time such a formal conference was to be held in the region, and under the sponsorship of an American organization.
Anti-Semitism and racial theories still play an important cultural role in many Middle Eastern countries, where anti-Semitic stereotypes and canards are an everyday occurrence in the state-run media. Holocaust denial has become part of this daily diet in Egypt, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, as a means to foment anti-Semitic hatred among their people.
Holocaust denial, one of the most important vehicles for contemporary anti-Semitism, has been especially attractive to the ideologies of anti-Israel groups. They believe they can undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish State by claiming the Holocaust is a historical fabrication created to win sympathy for Jews and Israel.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.