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Norman Finkelstein 

'Holocaust awareness,' the Israeli writer Boas Evron observes, is
actually 'an official, propagandistic indoctrination, a churning out
slogans and a false view of the world, the real aim of which is not
all an understanding of the past, but a manipulation of the

Two central dogmas underpin the Holocaust framework: the
Holocaust marks a categorically unique historical event and the
climax of an irrational Gentile hatred of Jews. Although they
became the centrepieces of Holocaust literature, neither figures at
all in genuine scholarship on the Nazi Holocaust. On the other
hand, both dogmas draw on important strands in Judaism and in

The 'Holocaust uniqueness' dogma became, according to Peter
Novick, author of The Holocaust in American Life 'axiomatic', a
'fetishism' and a 'cult' in 'official Jewish discourse'. No speech
loomed larger than the use of the words 'Holocaust' and 'genocide'
to describe other catastrophes. In an illuminating essay, historian
David Stannard ridicules the 'small industry of Holocaust
hagiographers arguing for the uniqueness of the Jewish experience
with all the energy and ingenuity of theological zealots'. 

The uniqueness dogma makes no sense. Every historical event is
unique, if merely by virtue of time and location, and every
event bears distinct features as well as features in common with
other historical events. The anomaly of the Holocaust is that its
uniqueness is held to be crucial. What other historical event, one
might ask, is framed largely for its categorical uniqueness?
Typically, distinctive features of the Holocaust are isolated in
to place the event itself in a category apart. Novick dismisses this
'gerrymandering' technique as 'intellectual sleight of hand' which
entails 'deliberately singling out one or more distinctive features
the event and trivialising or sweeping under the rug those features
shares with other events to which it might be compared'. 

All Holocaust writers agree that the Holocaust is unique, but few, if
any, agree why. Each time an argument for Holocaust uniqueness
is empirically refuted, a new argument is adduced in its stead. The
result, according to Jean-Michel Chaumont, is multiple, conflicting
arguments that annul each other: 'Knowledge does not
accumulate. Rather, to improve on the former argument, each new
one starts from zero.' In other words, uniqueness is a given in the
Holocaust framework; proving it is the appointed task, and
disproving it is equivalent to Holocaust denial. Perhaps the problem
lies with the premise, not the proof. Even if the Holocaust were
unique, what difference would it make? How would it change our
understanding if the Holocaust were not the first but the fourth or
fifth in a line of comparable catastrophes? 

The most recent entry into the Holocaust uniqueness sweepstakes
is Stephen Katz's The Holocaust in Historical Context. Citing
nearly 5,000 titles in the first of a projected three-volume study,
Katz surveys the full sweep of human history in order to prove that
'the Holocaust is phenomenologically unique by virtue of the fact
that never before has a state set out, as a matter of intentional
principle and actualised policy, to annihilate physically every man,
woman and child belonging to a specific people'. His argument is
that an historical event containing a distinct feature is a distinct
historical event. 

Only a flea's hop separates the claim of Holocaust uniqueness
from the claim that the Holocaust cannot be rationally
apprehended. If the Holocaust is unprecedented in history, it must
stand above, and hence cannot be grasped by, history: it is unique
because it is inexplicable and inexplicable because it is unique. 

Dubbed by Novick the 'sacralisation of the Holocaust', this
mystifications's most practised purveyor is Elie Wiesel. For
Wiesel, Novick observes, the Holocaust is effectively a 'mystery'
religion: it 'leads into darkness', 'negates all answers', 'lies
if not beyond, history', 'defies both knowledge and description',
'cannot be explained nor visualised', is 'never to be comprehended
or transmitted', marks a 'destruction of history' and a 'mutation on
cosmic scale'. Only the survivor-priest (read Wiesel) is qualified to
divine its mystery. 'Any survivor,' according to Wiesel, 'has more to
say than all the historians combined about what happened.' And
yet, the Holocaust's mystery, Wiesel avows, is 'noncommunicable'.
'We cannot even talk about it.' 

Rationally comprehending the Holocaust means denying it since
reason denies the Holocaust's uniqueness and mystery. To
desacralise or demystify the Holocaust is accordingly, for Wiesel,
a subtle form of anti-Semitism. To compare the Holocaust with the
sufferings of others constitutes a 'total betrayal of Jewish
Some years back, the spoof of a New York tabloid was headlined,
'Michael Jackson, 60 Million Others, Die in Nuclear Holocaust'. The
letters page carried an irate protest from Wiesel: 'How dare people
refer to what happened yesterday as a Holocaust? There was only
one Holocaust.' The scholarly consensus is that the Holocaust
uniqueness debate is sterile. The claims of Holocaust uniqueness
have come to constitute a form of 'intellectual terrorism'. 

A subtext of the Holocaust uniqueness claim is that the Holocaust
was uniquely evil. However terrible, the suffering of others simply
does not compare. Proponents of Holocaust uniqueness typically
disclaim this implication, but Novick rightly dismisses such
demurrals as disingenuous. 'The claim that the assertion of the
Holocaust's uniqueness is not a form of invidious comparison
produces systematic doubletalk ... Does anyone ... believe that the
claim of uniqueness is anything other than a claim for
preeminence?' (Emphasis in original.) 

There is another factor at work. The claim of Holocaust uniqueness
is a claim for Jewish uniqueness. Not the suffering of Jews but that
Jews suffered is what made the Holocaust unique: the Holocaust is
special because Jews are special. Thus Ismar Schorsch,
chancellor of Jewish Theological Seminary, ridicules the Holocaust
uniqueness claim as 'a distasteful secular version of chosenness'. 

For Anti Defamation League (ADL) head Abraham Foxman, the
Holocaust 'was not simply one example of genocide but a near
successful attempt on the life of God�s chosen children and,
thus, on God himself'. And Elie Wiesel is no less vehement that
Jews are unique than he is about the uniqueness of the Holocaust:
'Everything about us is different.' 

The Holocaust dogma of Gentile hatred also validates the
complementary dogma of uniqueness. If the Holocaust marked the
climax of a millennial Gentile hatred of the Jews, the persecution of
non-Jews in the Holocaust was merely accidental and the
persecution of non-Jews in history merely episodic. From every
standpoint, Jewish suffering during the Holocaust was unique. 

Embedded in the Holocaust framework, much of the literature on
Hitler's final solution is worthless as scholarship. The first major
Holocaust hoax was The Painted Bird by Polish emigre Jerzy
Kosinski. The book was 'written in English', Kosinski explained, so
that 'I could write dispassionately, free from the emotional
connotation one's native language always contains'. In fact,
whatever parts he actually authored (an unresolved question) were
written in Polish. The book purports to be the autobiographical
account of a solitary child wandering through rural Poland during
WWII. In fact, Kosinski lived with his parents throughout the war.
The book's motif is the sadistic, sexual tortures perpetrated by the
Polish peasantry. Pre-publication readers derided it as a
'pornography of violence' and 'the product of a mind obsessed with
sadomasochistic violence'. The book depicts the Polish peasants
he lived with as virulently anti-Semitic. 'Beat the Jews,' they jeer.
'Beat the bastards.' In fact, Polish peasants harboured the Kosinski
family, fully aware of their Jewishness and the dire consequences
they themselves faced if caught. Kosinski invented most of the
pathological episodes he narrates. 

In the New York Times Book Review, Wiesel acclaimed The
Painted Bird as one of the best indictments of the Nazi era, 'written
with deep sincerity and sensitivity'. Cynthia Ozick later said that
she immediately recognized Kosinski's authenticity as 'a Jewish
survivor and witness to the Holocaust'. Long after Kosinski was
exposed as a consummate literary hoaxer, Wiesel continued to
heap encomiums on his 'remarkable body of work'. Best-seller and
award-winner, translated into numerous languages, required
reading in high school and college classes, The Painted Bird
became a basic Holocaust text. Finally exposed by an investigative
news weekly, Kosinski was still stoutly defended by the New York
Times, which alleged that he was the victim of a communist plot. 

To his credit, Kosinski did undergo a kind of deathbed conversion.
In the few years between his exposure and his suicide, he deplored
the Holocaust's exclusion of non-Jewish victims. 'Many North
American Jews tend to perceive the Shoah as an exclusively
Jewish disaster ... But at least half the world's Romanies (unfairly
called Gypsies), some 2.5 million Polish Catholics, millions of
Soviet citizens and various nationalities, were also victims of this
genocide.' He also paid tribute to the bravery of the Poles who
sheltered him during the Holocaust despite his so-called Semitic
looks. Angrily asked at a Holocaust conference what did the Poles
do to save the Jews, Kosinski snapped back, 'What did the Jews
do to save the Poles?' 

The more recent fraud, Binjamin Wilkomirski's Fragments, borrows
promiscuously from the Holocaust kitsch of The Painted Bird. Like
Kosinski, Wilkomirski portrays himself as a solitary child survivor
who becomes mute, winds up in an orphanage and only belatedly
discovers he is Jewish. Like The Painted Bird, the chief narrative
conceit of Fragments is the simple, pared-down voice of a child-naif
that allows time-frames and place names to remain vague. Like
The Painted Bird, each chapter of Fragments climaxes in an orgy
of violence. Kosinski represented The Painted Bird as 'the slow
unfreezing of the mind'; Wilkomirski represents Fragments as
'recovered memory'. It is the archetypal Holocaust memoir. Every
concentration camp guard is a crazed, sadistic monster joyfully
cracking the skulls of Jewish newborns. Yet, the classic memoirs
of the Nazi camps concur with the views of Auschwitz survivor Dr
Ella Lingens-Reiner: 'There were few sadists. Not more than five or
ten per cent.' However, ubiquitous German sadism figures
prominently in Holocaust literature. 

Yet the singularity of Fragments lies in its depiction of life not
during but after the Holocaust. Adopted by a Swiss family, little
Binyamin endures yet new torments. He is trapped in a world of
Holocaust deniers. 'Forget it -- it's a bad dream,' his mother
screams. 'It was only a bad dream ... You're not to think about it
any more.' 'Here in this country,' he chafes, 'everyone keeps saying
I'm to forget and that it never happened, I only dreamed it. But they
know all about it!' 

Driven to abject despair, Binyamin reaches a Holocaust epiphany.
'The camp's still there -- just hidden and well disguised. They've
taken off their uniforms and dressed themselves up in nice clothes
so as not to be recognized ... Just give them the gentlest of hints
that maybe, possibly, you're a Jew, and you'll feel it: these are the
same people, and I'm sure of it. They can still kill, even out of

Translated into a dozen languages, winner of the Jewish National
Book Award, the Jewish Quarterly Prize, and the Prix de MTmoire
de la Shoah, Fragments was widely hailed as a classic of
Holocaust literature. Star of documentaries, keynoter at Holocaust
conferences and seminars, fund-raiser for the United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum, Wilkomirski quickly became a
Holocaust poster boy. 

Acclaiming Fragments a 'small masterpiece', Daniel Goldhagen,
author of the controversial 1996 publication Hitler's Willing
Executioners, was Wilkomirski's main academic champion.
Knowledgeable historians like Raul Hilberg, however, early on
pegged Fragments as a fraud. Wilkomirski, it turns out, spent the
entire war in Switzerland. He is not even Jewish. But Israel
Gutman, a former inmate of Auschwitz and now a director of Yad
Vashem and a Holocaust lecturer at Hebrew University, says it's
not that important whether Fragments is a fraud. 'Wilkomirski has
written a story which he has experienced deeply; that's for sure ...
He is not a fake. He is someone who lives this story very deeply in
his soul. The pain is authentic.' 

The New Yorker called its expose of the Wilkomirski fraud 'Stealing
the Holocaust'. Yesterday Wilkomirski was feted for his tales of
Gentile evil; today he is chastised as yet another evil Gentile. It's
always the Gentiles' fault. True, Wilkomirski fabricated his
Holocaust past, but the larger truth is that the Holocaust industry
fabricated Wilkomirski: he was a Holocaust survivor just waiting to
be discovered. 

Consider now Holocaust secondary literature. Novick justly
describes Yehuda Bauer, lecturer at the Hebrew University and a
director of Yad Vashem, as a 'leading Israeli Holocaust scholar'. He
quotes an article by Bauer to refute the Goldhagen thesis of
German complicity in Hitler's final solution: 'The Jews were
murdered by people who, to a large degree, did not actually hate
them ... The Germans did not have to hate the Jews in order to kill
them.' Yet, in a review of Goldhagen's book, Bauer maintained the
exact opposite: 'The most radical type of murderous attitudes
dominated from the end of the 1930s onward ... [B]y the outbreak
of World War II the vast majority of Germans had identified with the
regime and its antisemitic policies to such an extent that it was
easy to recruit the murderers.' Questioned about this discrepancy,
Bauer replied: 'I cannot see any contradiction between these

In the wake of Israel's ill-fated invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and as
official Israeli propaganda claims came under withering attack by
Israel's 'new historians' (Index 3/1995), apologists desperately
sought to tar the Arabs with Nazism. The historian Bernard Lewis
managed to devote a full chapter of his short history of anti-
Semitism, and fully three pages of his 'brief history of the last
years' of the Middle East, to Arab Nazism. New Republic literary
editor Leon Wieseltier claimed that 'the Palestinians, or many of
them, were Hitler's little helpers in the Middle East'. According to
Novick, Middle East politics are no longer a prime mover of the
Holocaust industry. He quotes a statement by ADL's Foxman
deploring 'the use of Holocaust imagery' in the context of the Arab-
Israeli conflict. 

The most recent Holocaust extravaganza is Hitler's Willing
Executioners. Every important journal of opinion printed one or
more reviews within weeks of its release. The New York Times
featured multiple notices, acclaiming Goldhagen's book as 'one of
those rare new works that merit the appellation landmark'. With
sales of half a million copies and translations slated for 13
languages, Time magazine hailed Hitler's Willing Executioners as
the 'most talked about' and second-best non-fiction book of the

Pointing to the 'remarkable research', and 'wealth of proof ... with
overwhelming support of documents and facts', Wiesel heralded the
book as a 'tremendous contribution to the understanding and
teaching of the Holocaust'. Gutman praised it for 'raising anew
clearly central questions' which 'the main body of Holocaust
scholarship' ignores. Nominated for the Holocaust chair at Harvard
University, paired with Wiesel in the national media, Goldhagen
quickly became a ubiquitous presence on the Holocaust circuit. 

The central thesis of Goldhagen's book is standard Holocaust
dogma: driven by a pathological hatred, the German people leapt at
the opportunity Hitler gave them to murder the Jews. Although
disguised as an academic study, Hitler's Willing Executioners
amounts to little more than a compendium of sadistic violence. 

Yet despite the hype, there is no evidence, says Novick, that
'Holocaust deniers' exert the slightest influence in the US. Indeed,
given the nonsense churned out daily by the Holocaust industry,
the wonder is there are so few sceptics. 

The motive behind the claim that there is widespread Holocaust
denial is not hard to find. In a society saturated with the
how else to justify yet more museums, books, curricula, films and
programmes except by conjuring up the bogey of Holocaust
denial? Thus Deborah Lipstadt's acclaimed book, Denying the
Holocaust, as well as a contrived poll alleging pervasive Holocaust
denial, were released just as the Washington Holocaust Museum

Denying the Holocaust is an updated version of the 'new anti-
Semitism' tracts. To document widespread Holocaust denial,
Lipstadt cites publications by -- in Novick-s words -- 'a tiny band
cranks, kooks and misfits'. Her piece de resistance is Arthur Butz,
the protagonist of her chapter 'Entering the mainstream'. Butz, who
teaches electrical engineering at Northwestern University,
published his book The Hoax of the Twentieth Century with a
crackpot press; were it not for the likes of Lipstadt, no one would
have heard of him 

The one truly mainstream holocaust denier is Bernard Lewis. A
French court even convicted Lewis of denying genocide. But this
was the Armenian genocide and Lewis is pro-Israel. Accordingly,
this holocaust denial raises no hackles in the US; the fact that
Turkey is an Israeli ally was a further extenuationg circumstance.
Mention of the Armenian genocide is, therefore, taboo. Wiesel,
Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and Rabbi Arthur
Hertzberg withdrew from an international conference on genocide in
Tel Aviv because the sponsors, against government urging,
included sessions on the Armenian case. Acting at Israel's behest,
the US Holocaust Council 'virtually effaced' mention of the
Armenians in the Washington Holocaust Museum; and Jewish
lobbyists in Congress blocked a day of remembrance for the
Armenian genocide. 

To question a survivor's testimony, to denounce the role of Jewish
collaborators, to suggest that Germans suffered during the
bombing of Dresden or any state except Germany committed
crimes in WWII is, according to Lipstadt, all evidence of Holocaust
denial. But the most 'insidious' form of Holocaust denial, she
suggests, is 'immoral equivalencies': that is, denying the
uniqueness of the Holocaust. This argument has intriguing
implications. Goldhagen argues that Serbian 'deeds' in Kosovo 'are,
in their essence, different from those of Nazi Germany only in
scale'. That would make Goldhagen 'in essence' a Holocaust
denier. Across the political spectrum, Israeli commentators
compared Serbia's 'deeds' in Kosovo with Israeli 'deeds' in 1948
against the Palestinians. Reckoning, then, by Goldhagen, Israel
committed a holocaust. Not even Palestinians claim that any more.

Newspaper editors display 'fragility of reason', in Lipstadt's view, if
they run a Holocaust denial 'ad or op-ed column that, according to
their own evaluation, is totally lacking in relevance or substance'.
But not all revisionist literature is totally worthless. Lipstadt brands
UK historian David Irving 'one of the most dangerous
spokespersons for Holocaust denial', yet Irving has also made
indispensable contributions towards explaining Nazism. And Arno
Mayer, in his important study of the Nazi Holocaust, as well as
Raul Hilberg, cite Holocaust denial publications. 'Even if the world
is in the right,' Mill wrote in his essay 'On Liberty', 'it is always
probable that dissentients have something worth hearing to say for
themselves, and that truth would lose something by their silence.' 

Norman Finkelstein teaches political theory at the City University of
New York. He is the author of A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen
Thesis and Historical Truth (with Ruth Bettina Birn). His latest
book, The Holocaust Industry, will be published in July by Verso. 



jewn McCain

ASSASSIN of JFK, Patton, many other Whites

killed 264 MILLION Christians in WWII

killed 64 million Christians in Russia

holocaust denier extraordinaire--denying the Armenian holocaust

millions dead in the Middle East

tens of millions of dead Christians

LOST $1.2 TRILLION in Pentagon
spearheaded torture & sodomy of all non-jews
millions dead in Iraq

42 dead, mass murderer Goldman LOVED by jews

serial killer of 13 Christians

the REAL terrorists--not a single one is an Arab

serial killers are all jews

framed Christians for anti-semitism, got caught
left 350 firemen behind to die in WTC

legally insane debarred lawyer CENSORED free speech

mother of all fnazis, certified mentally ill

10,000 Whites DEAD from one jew LIE

moser HATED by jews: he followed the law Jesus--from a "news" person!!

1000 fold the child of perdition


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