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

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JOE MULHALL

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.