US dissenter and historian Norman Finkelstein discusses Holocaust denial and the Jewish establishment’s attitude towards the phenomena:
“Now, you take [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas. Abbas is an authentic Holocaust denier. He wrote his doctoral dissertation denying the Nazi Holocaust. He published it as a book in 1982. He said less than a million Jews were killed during World War II. He denied the Nazi gas chambers. Now there you have a real Holocaust denier. You don’t have to really probe the meaning of his words. It’s pretty straightforward. Well, he’s the American favourite now. Everybody loves Mr. Abbas, because he does the American bidding. So they don’t care that he’s a Holocaust denier.”
“Let me just give another pretty indicative example. Take the case of Ronald Reagan. Nowadays many people are fond of Reagan. You listen to rightwing radio, which I listen to all the time, and you listen – everyone loves Reagan. Everybody forgets Reagan was the one who went to Bitburg, gave the speech saying that the Nazi soldiers, including the Nazi – the Waffen-SS, were victims, just like the Jews in the concentration camps. That was his famous statement at Bitburg. The ADL, which claims to be so vigilant about Holocaust denial, the ADL gave him their Torch of Liberty Award.”
Meanwhile, a fascinating insight into Iranian Jews:
Iranian Jews remain obscure to non-Iranian Jews, too. Sometimes they are shocked when I say that my generation was on the streets chanting “Death to the shah!” But 1979 was a blissful, egalitarian moment when young people shed everything that defined them as anything but Iranian.
Four years later, the regime did its best to instate policies and practices hostile to religious minorities. Water fountains and toilets at my high school were segregated, some marked with signs that read “For Muslims Only.” But by and large, Iranians were not receptive to such bigotry. We crisscrossed among the stalls until the signs became meaningless.
The post-revolutionary regime has had the misfortune of ruling a people reluctant to embrace its radical message. That is why Iran remains home to the second-largest community of Jews in the Middle East — second only to Israel.