ADL Documents Spread of Holocaust Denial in Mideast
New York, NY, January 10, 2002 ... Once solely the province of anti-Semites in the United States and Europe, Holocaust denial has found new popularity among extremists in the Middle East, where it is being used in Muslim and Arab countries to fan anti-Jewish hatred. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) documents this disturbing new trend in its report, Holocaust Denial in the Middle East, which has been added to the League's definitive online resource page Anti-Semitism in the Arab World.
"In recent years, the level of Holocaust denial in the Middle East has grown from a whisper to a roar," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While once the sole province of anti-Semites in the United States and Europe, Holocaust denial has become the latest propaganda tool against Israel for the anti-Jewish extremists of the Middle East."
Holocaust denial regularly appears in the Middle East in speeches and pronouncements by public figures and religious leaders, in articles and columns by journalists, and resolutions of professional organizations. While some voices oppose this deliberate distortion of history, the main tenet of Holocaust denial - that Jews invented the Holocaust story in an attempt to advance their own interests - appears to be an increasingly accepted belief for large numbers of people in Arab and Muslim states. The governments of these states do not condemn, and sometimes even sponsor, such expressions of hatred.
ADL's report examines the links between U.S. and European-based Holocaust deniers and deniers in the Mideast, and includes an analysis of the banned 2001 Institute for Historical Review conference in Beirut and the 1998 trial of Roger Garaudy in France. It is the first report to examine the phenomenon of holocaust denial in the Middle East from a perspective of the whole region.
ADL identifies several nations as ongoing sponsors of Holocaust denial activity:
- Iran: Continues to provide refuge to European Holocaust deniers. The former President of Iran, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, once stated that, "Hitler had only killed 20,000 Jews and not six million."
- Syria: Numerous expressions of denial have recently appeared in Teshreen, Syria's leading newspaper, which is owned and operated by the ruling Baath party.
- Palestinian Authority: Numerous expressions in newspapers and television.
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.