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Tehran's Holocaust Seminar: Questioning the Sanctity of the Sacred Cow!

By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse


The highly publicized Holocaust Seminar that just took place in Tehran is over now, but its repercussions continue to ring aloud throughout our mass media.  


The Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been quoted as having called the Holocaust a myth or a fabricated legend to justify the creation of the state of Israel in the Middle East. Whether Mr. Ahmadinejad said those words in plain English or whether his utterances in his native Farsi were exaggerated in translation in order to create a more stinging anti-Semitic image for the man is beside the point. Suffice it to say that Mr. Ahmadinejad, an unapologetic man who is not known for his humility or diplomatic talents, has repeatedly stated that he has never denied that Holocaust actually took place, and that he simply questions the details of the established narratives and the magnitude of that event.


So why is Mr. Ahmadinejad poking his finger into a wasp's nest at this time? What was he trying to establish or accomplish by holding this two-day Holocaust seminar in Tehran?


If we disregard the characterizations in the West of the Iranian President as some kind of a genocidal maniac, a second Hitler or a neo-Nazi, we are left with some ponderable alternatives that might explain his undeniable angst against the Jewish state or, in his words, the Zionist regime.


It is no exaggeration that there is a near unanimous consensus among independent Middle East observers that Israel's influence on American Middle East policies is responsible for America's blatantly acknowledged Israel-centric attitude toward the region. The latest example of this appears in the recent Iraq Study Group Report, where, under Recommendation 12, there suddenly appears a non-sequitur clause stating that " No American administration - Democratic or Republican - will ever abandon Israel."


One does not have to be an Iranian, an Arab or a Moslem to wonder, Why the hell not? Haven't we abandoned other allies in the past when they no longer served our strategic interests? What do you think will happen to our alliance with Pakistan once our "war on terror" is over or the Al-Ghe'eda network is dismantled?


The Iraq Study Group Report also recommends engaging other regional powers, especially Iran, to help us resolve the problem of Iraq. Iran has offered to help through an open dialogue with the United States on several occasions, each time rejected out of hand by the American administration. Any possibility of a rapprochement is always made contingent upon certain preconditions set by the United States, namely that Iran must first stop all its nuclear enrichment operations and give up its support of anti-Israeli organizations such as Hezbollah and Palestinian resistance groups.


Again, one cannot help but wonder why America's courtship with Israel takes precedence over America's best interests.


Reading the Iraq Study Group Report, one gets the impression that it is now the United States that needs Iran's assistance in stabilizing Iraq, as was the case in Afghanistan a few years ago, where Iran's unheralded help was instrumental in establishing the Karzai regime in Kabul. It seems odd that we insist on appearing as though we are doing Iran a favor by asking for their help! It is not too difficult to see why the Iranian regime might consider this self-contradictory behavior as aimed at appeasing the Israelis for whom any rapprochement with Iran is unacceptable.


Again, it is without doubt the Israeli interests that are clearly vocalized and increasingly intensified now by the visiting Israeli officials and Israel's lobbying organizations here, and not the United States' own legitimate concerns that are seen by the Iranians as the real obstacle to a potential cooperation with the United States. Naturally, Iran blames the Israeli regime for that, and for very good reasons.


There are other factors that have contributed to Mr. Ahmadinejad's bold stance against what he refers to as the Zionist regime. As he has stated, he regards Zionism as a political ideology the same way he regards communism. He believes just as communism lost its legitimacy and unfolded, so will Zionism in time. And, just as the unfolding of Soviet communism never meant wiping out Russia and the Russians from the face of the map, neither does the unfolding of Zionism mean the destruction of Israel or the Jewish people. This, however, is not how his statements have been interpreted here in the United States or in Europe.


Once again, why, one could logically wonder, it is ok to openly and officially to pursue the policy of wiping the dictatorship in Iraq or Mullahcrocy in Iran off the map, but it is blasphemy to want to wipe out Zionism from the same map? In neither case is one condoning the destruction of a nation or a people, even though what has been happening in Iraq is having its unintended disastrous consequences due to our own miscalculations.  


Everyone and their uncles in Iran know that the Islamic Republic poses no threat to the West, particularly to the United States. Any potential military threat to the state of Israel would only be a retaliatory measure in response to a preemptive Israeli attack, threats of which have been made repeatedly and quite openly by Israeli officials during the past several years. Therefore, the thought of an Iranian nuclear weapons program or Iran's capability to embark on such a program is simply an Israeli generated paranoia. Iran's capability to develop the atomic weapon would be a clear deterrent to any Israeli adventure and would effectively neutralize Israel's military superiority in the region. This, Israel can hardly tolerate and, hence, it is regarded as an "unacceptable" development according to the US administration, as well!


On the human-rights front, Iran is being targeted for criticism in the Western media, while Israel's degrees of magnitude greater violations of human rights against the Palestinians never receives the same negative press. The Europeans take pride in championing the right to free expression and refuse to censure the press against printing humiliating cartoons ridiculing or demonizing the Prophet Muhammad, a grave assault on the sensitivities of over a billion Moslems worldwide. The same champions of freedom, however, have made denials or even any questioning of the established accounts of the Holocaust illegal and punishable by prison terms.


These are at least some reasons perhaps that have led Mr. Ahmadinejad to exhibit his disdain for the increasing Jewish influence in the West, particularly in America, which he blames for most of the negative portrayals of his nation and the Islamic countries in general.


In his part of the world and in fact in many other regions far away from the WWII mayhem, the accounts of the Holocaust are much less understood or internalized. There were many non Jews, including Moslems, Catholics and Gypsies who suffered the same fate during the Holocaust. And, there have been many genocides and human tragedies that took place in the Soviet Union, China and Indochina that were of much greater scale than the Holocaust, yet have never received the same amount of attention.


In Mr. Ahmadinejad's mind, and indeed in most non-Western minds, this particular human tragedy has not only received more than its share of publicity to create as effective an impact as possible upon the sensitivities of those in whose homelands those atrocities had taken place, but has also been exploited to the fullest by the Zionist activists in order to establish and subsidize the Jewish state to this day.


The Iranian President knew fully well that he would touch a sensitive nerve by bringing the established narratives of the Holocaust under academic scrutiny.  Here I have tried to demonstrate at least some of the probable reasons why this Holocaust seminar was conducted in Tehran.


The even bigger question that is not being addressed is, Why all the fuss? What is it that worries us or the Israelis about that conference or its outcome? What the hell are we afraid of? Mr. Ahmadinejad referred to the Holocaust issue as some kind of a Sacred Cow that has gained an even loftier status than God and His Prophets. Surely we were not so insecure as to think that anyone could have butchered the Sacred Cow at the Tehran seminar!


... Payvand News - 12/15/06 ... --

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