Saturday, April 26, 2014

Holocaust Denial and the Iranian Regime

From Reuel Marc Gerecht, at the Wall Street Journal (via Google):
Well, we know that there's at least one person who won't be marking Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday. "Observe that no one in Europe dares to speak about the Holocaust even though it's not clear what the reality is about it, whether it even has a reality, or how it happened," said Iran's ruling cleric, Ali Khamenei, in a March 21 speech. "Expressing an opinion or doubts about the Holocaust is considered to be one of the greatest of sins [in Europe] where someone can get stopped, arrested, sued or imprisoned for this offense."

The ayatollah's recent comments on the Holocaust were part of a longer speech that was a scorching stemwinder against the West and Iranians who embrace Western ways. Holocaust revisionism is part of Mr. Khamenei's resistance to a world organized around Western norms and history. Other strategies include developing Iran's nuclear program, making its economy more sanctions-proof, and maintaining a religious culture capable of closing the "cracks" opened by the allure of a deviant Occident.

Many observers, including some within the Obama administration, have sought to play down the matter of Iranian Holocaust denial. So have many Iranians and Westerners who sincerely want to get past the nuclear issue and see Iran reintegrated into the world—Holocaust denial is just too awkward and painful to examine. It's an aberration, many insist, nasty insecure rhetoric without roots in Persian culture. In truth it is a symptom of a worldview utterly at odds with our own. It strongly suggests that Mr. Khamenei's republic will endure great economic hardship to realize its dream of becoming a nuclear power.

Holocaust revisionism permeates and defines the Iranian regime. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad famously supported a research mission to Poland in 2005 to investigate whether millions of Jews could have died at Auschwitz. (Poland's foreign ministry turned down the request.) Today, in addition to Supreme Leader Khamenei, commanders of the Revolutionary Guard Corps—who oversee Iran's nuclear program and terrorist operations—embrace Holocaust-denial with gusto.

Even the "moderate" president elected last year, Hasan Rouhani, danced around the subject of the Holocaust in his interview last September with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, saying it was up to historians to decide—as if they hadn't already—the true "dimensions" of Nazi slaughter. Mr. Rouhani didn't deny that the Germans killed Jews, but he grouped them with other victims of Nazi barbarism.

The Tehran regime's Holocaust reflections spring in great part from two sources...
Keep reading.