Respectful Insolence

Sigh.

You know, the President of Iran, Ahmoud Ahmadinejad, is, sadly, not unlike the Energizer Bunny. He keeps going and going and going and going. This time around, he just can’t resist putting his foot in it again. Hot on the heels of hosting a Holocaust Cartoon Exhibit as his response to the Danish cartoon incident designed to “test the tolerance” of the West for offensive “humor” directed at Jews and the Holocaust. Never mind that, unlike Denmark, this “Holocaust cartoon exhibit” is being held in a nation with in essence no freedom of speech, where the government controls the media and where there is widespread sympathy for anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

Now, he wants to host a “conference” about the Holocaust in the autumn:

(AP) Iran said Sunday it would sponsor a conference in the autumn questioning the extent of the Holocaust, dismissing it as exaggerated, in a provocative move timed during a visit by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The decision came as Annan raised concerns with Iranian officials over an exhibition of cartoons about the Holocaust in Iran’s capital, Tehran. In critical comments, he stressed that the Holocaust was “an undeniable historical fact.”

Hard-line President Ahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the Nazis’ slaughter of 6 million Jews a myth and said Israel should be wiped off the map or moved to Germany or the United States. His remarks prompted a global outpouring of condemnation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said both opponents and proponents of the existence of the Holocaust could participate in the conference.

“God willing, a conference on the Holocaust will be held in the autumn. The Holocaust is not a sacred issue that one can’t touch,” he told reporters. “I have visited the Nazi camps in Eastern Europe. I think it is exaggerated.”

Yikes, not only does he diss Kofi Annan, but he spews yet more of his usual Holocaust denial blather. I particularly like the part where he’s inviting “both” opponents and proponents of the existence of the Holocaust–as if there were a legitimate case to be an “opponent” of the existence of the Holocaust or any need for historians to be “proponents” of the Holocaust existence. No, wait. I take that back. It’s because of anti-Semitic nutjobs like Ahmadinejad that we do have to state the evidence supporting the historicity of the Holocaust again and again and again. (Holocaust deniers are a lot like creationists and HIV/AIDS “skeptics” in their ability to ignore the preponderance of evidence that contradicts their positions.) We have to answer this Energizer Bunny by becoming Energizer Bunnies ourselves and keep repeating and repeating and repeating the same evidence and debunkings again and again.

Anyone want to take any bets about what the consensus about the Holocaust this conference will reach will be? The Iranians are clever enough to know that no legitimate historian is likely to attend the conference to be a voice in favor of the historicity of the Holocaust; the only “scholars” likely to show up are out and out Holocaust deniers and anti-Semitic nutjobs.

Like the President of Iran.

Comments

  1. #1 James
    September 6, 2006

    “no legitimate historian is likely to attend the conference to be a voice in favor of the historicity of the Holocaust”

    Especially since they will doubtless silence / detain / torture etc. anyone who fails to toe the party line. Ahmadinejad is one of those people who would be vastly improved with a bullet beteen the eyes.

  2. #2 Corkscrew
    September 6, 2006

    OK, apart from the whole despotic regime thing, and the whole holocaust denial thing, and the whole suppression of free speech thing, I think this is actually a positive move. Maybe if this sort of reaction becomes more common, the fascist wing of the Muslim community will give up on trying to suppress everyone else’s free speech and merely work on countering it with propaganda. Definitely a step up the ladder of civilisation.

  3. #3 coracle
    September 6, 2006

    Oddly enough regarding the AIDS/HIV thing, Iran has just announced the cure for AIDS: farsi news.

    As flagged at the bad science forums.

  4. #4 coracle
    September 6, 2006

    oh damn what happened to my html, let’s try again: farsi news

    Note to self: Always,always use preview button.

  5. #5 Ihab Hussein
    September 6, 2006

    Didn’t anybody see this: Iran’s Ahmadinejad Urges Purge of Secular Academics http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=aVaNIdJJvcNU

  6. #6 Joshua
    September 6, 2006

    Corkscrew: Well, the neocon agenda does call for making these MidEast regimes more like the US. Maybe that’s what they’ve meant all along. ;)

    I would also note, at this point, that nobody in the West is rioting or burning down Iranian embassies. I don’t buy the whole West good, Muslims bad thing, because it’s such an obvious steaming load of crap, but examples like this do show the difference in the spread and nature of fundamentalism in Christian versus Muslim communities.

    By which I mean that Christian fundamentalists don’t need to riot because in the West they have access to enough resources to bomb things with really expensive jets. Meanwhile, poor Ahmadinejad has to resort to rabble rousing. But if the economic tables were turned, the tactics would be, too…

  7. #7 Kiwiwriter
    September 6, 2006

    An interesting thing about their “Holocaust cartoon” exhibit…most of the cartoons were not about the Holocaust. They were about current Middle East politics and the Israelis battling the Palestinians.

    This “conference” will give Holocaust deniers who make the trek to Iran a platform on which to spout their rubbish, which will gain them new audiences, unfortunately. In addition, they will be grilled not by knowledgeable and scholarly historians, but shallow and unschooled reporters, who know more about Lizzie Grubman and Paris Hilton than about Sobibor and Maidanek. That will enable these deniers to look like they have all the answers.

    On the other hand, they will also have an opportunity to look foolish, and seeing them linked arm-in-arm with the brutal and fundamentalist Iranian leadership will lose them credibility…often with their own supporters, who have as little regard for Muslims as they do for Jews.

  8. #8 tim gueguen
    September 6, 2006

    Hopefully some of the Western deniers who end up at this conference will start flapping their gums about mud people and so on and piss off the Iranians. It would serve both groups right.

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