Sunday, December 17, 2006

Let's play Genocide

The Iranian government has a reason for placing so much emphasis on holocaust denial and the attendant spin that this is all just an exercise in free expression.

The plan is to establish the idea that Israel was founded after the Second World War in response to the Holocaust, and if the Holocaust never happened Israel should not exist.

Memri reports that on a visit to Gilan University, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin said:

the Holocaust conspiracy was to facilitate the establishment of the state of Israel, which would, in turn, provoke the Muslims to rise up, confront the Jews, and massacre them. 'This [conspiracy],' he said, 'conducted by Europe and America, would lead to the total annihilation of global Jewry."
I'd guess this is a bit extreme even for Reuters to swallow and regurgitate: The West set up Israel in Muslim lands in order to annoy the Muslims so much they would massacre all the Jews, and it would be the fault of the West. Even for a radical Islamist, that's an impressive blend of self-pity and self-justification. Ramin and his foil-lined turban are going to convince a lot of conspiracy theorists, but the grand plan of Jewish genocide will work with a much more modest distortion of reality. All it relies on is an ignorance of history.

Because Israel was not set up as a consequence of the Holocaust.
In June 1922 the League of Nations passed the Palestine Mandate. The Palestine Mandate was an explicit document regarding Britain's responsibilities and powers of administration in Palestine including "secur[ing] the establishment of the Jewish national home", and "safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine".
There were calls for the re-establishment of Israel as early as the twelfth century, migrations from the diaspora started after the Roman control collapsed in Palestine, and have continued ever since. Almost half a century before the Holocaust, the world recognised the legitimacy of the aspiration to restore the Jewish homeland in its historical lands. The Holocaust was a factor in the timing of this much-delayed event, but no more than that.

Muslim countries all over the world have an antipathy towards Israel simply because it consists of land once conquered by Muslim armies, and the teaching of this fundamentally supremacist religion is: once Muslim, always Muslim.

So, here we have a game we can all play: Genocide. There are several versions. The first one is being played by the Iranians. It consists of repeating that the Holocaust was the justification for the foundation of the State of Israel by European Jews. Repeat this often enough, and people will start to believe it. It's a classic Hitlerian Big Lie. The winner gets to nuke Israel knowing there will be only a muted and cowardly European response.

Version number 2 is more subtle. You can play this if you are a reporter or correspondent for a news or media organisation. This consists simply of repeating the Iranian lie without placing it in context, as a lie. Half the fun, of course, is the wide-eyed astonishment you can display if anyone accuses you of promoting the lie yourself. You were quoting. The winner gets to blame America when Iran nukes Israel.

Anyone can play version number 3. You get one point every time you spot someone in the mainstream media playing game number 2. I've got a Radio 4 piece from last week on my scoresheet already; the reposter just stated that the Holocaust was the reason why Israel was founded, and then they moved on. Brilliant!

I predict a cricket score by the end of January.

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