When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said of the Holocaust: "If you (Europeans) committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price?", most of us in the U.S. didn't hear anything beyond the initial "if". We heard that "if", and immediately launched into a cacophony of "If? What does he mean 'If'? Is he saying it never happened? He's a Holocaust denier!".He goes on to quote Toynbee:
But of course Ahmadinejad didn't just say, "If it happened...". He said "If......, then why.....?". If Europeans did it, why are Palestinians paying? If Europeans were responsible for the Holocaust of the Jews, and the Holocaust is justification for a Jewish state, then why isn't that state in Europe? And that's a different issue altogether than simply denying the Holocaust took place.
If the creation of a new state of Israel was judged to be a legitimate form of compensation to the surviving Jews, the territory for this state should have been taken from the Europeans, not from the Arabs.Same point, right? Not if you actually follow Ahmadinejad's train of thought. The historical truth of the Holocaust and the justification for the founding of Israel are indeed two different subjects. So there is an apparent odd lurch in focus involved in coupling whether the Holocaust happened and whether it justifies the founding of Israel. Unless, like Ahmadinejad, you think that the claim that the Holocaust occurred is a lie that was created expressly for the purpose of cheating the Palestinians and that otherwise nobody would ever entertain such a notion.
Holocaust denial, after all, is a giant conspiracy theory, and every conspiracy theory includes a notion of what the conspirators are trying to accomplish. Here is an account of Ahmadinejad's views from Iran's PressTV:
Ahmadinejad said the Holocaust was a pretext to occupy Palestine and displace millions of peoples, therefore its aspects should be studied. "They displaced the Palestinian nation under the pretext of the massacre of the Jews; if it is revealed that the Holocaust has nothing to do with the issue of Palestine and the figures in this regard are exaggerated, they will have nothing to say."So in Ahmadinejad's mind he is delivering the ultimate gotcha point--that World Arrogance lie, he is proclaiming triumphantly, doesn't even serve the justification it was created for. As an abstract point, Toynbee is saying something that has a certain validity: one person should not pay for another person's sins. Ahmadinejad's point, however, is all part of the Holocaust-denying fun.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad