Tracking the denial virus
Holocaust revisionism is a mutating pathogen. Following it across borders, cultures and generations is crucial to keeping the memory of the Shoah alive
AS TIME passes, there are fewer and fewer people who can bear witness to the horrors of the Holocaust. This means society is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the narratives peddled by those who seek to diminish the unique place in history that the Holocaust holds, or even to claim that Jewish people use the ‘myth’ of the Holocaust to gain unfair advantage.
But there is a further weakness that comes with the passing of time. Shoah denial – itself a 20th century iteration of the centuries-old hate theory that Jews are to blame for the tragedies that befall them - is an ever-mutating virus that travels across continents and generations, borne by new hosts and conspiratorial narratives. Keeping track of those shifts is an essential element in the fight against wider antisemitism.
One recent, well-documented change has been growing antisemitism and denial on the left.
Of course, the motivations of leftwing Holocaust denial and diminishment are often different to those of the extreme right, driven not by a desire to resurrect fascism but often the result of a fundamentally left-wing reading of history, rooted in theories about class, materialism and imperialism.
While outright denial of the Holocaust remains extremely rare on the left (as a belief in egalitarianism and a history of opposition to racism and fascism do not easily fit with the denial of the Nazis’ planned extermination of the Jews), there is a worrying prevalence of Holocaust diminishment and a relativising or excusing of denial, deniers and antisemitism, all expressed with a view to furthering a set of political objectives.
However, perhaps the most striking changes over the past few years relate to far-right and fascist Holocaust denial.
In the past decade or so, the far-right form of the narrative has undergone a generational shift, as the big names that dominated the scene for decades have begun to die out or no longer have the ability to fill rooms as they once did.
As we approach a time when there A demonstration in Tehran to mark the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution and (ri
Techsavvy activists are reformulating the psuedo-academic approach of the old deniers