© 2009, T. Dalton
There can be no denying the “Holocaust” of the mid-twentieth century: it was called World War II. Roughly 50 to 60 million people died worldwide - about 70 percent of whom were civilians.1 They died from a variety of causes including guns, bombs, fire, disease, exposure, starvation, and chemical toxins. Within this greater Holocaust existed many lesser holocausts: the Allied fire-bombings of Dresden, Hamburg, and Cologne; the killing of hundreds of thousands of German soldiers and civilians, by the victorious Allies, after the formal end of the war; the U.S. nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which incinerated 170,000 women, children, and elderly; and the Jewish Holocaust of Nazi Germany. It is this last Holocaust which has been the topic of heated debate over the years, and it is this Holocaust which I address in this book.
Of the millions that died in the war, about 10 percent, or six million, are claimed to have been Jews killed by the Nazi regime, both in Germany and in its occupied territories. This Jewish Holocaust—the Holocaust, many would say—has been the subject of intense study for more than sixty years, ever since the postwar Nuremberg Trials of 1945 and 1946. According to some, it is the “most well-documented event in history.”
The basic outline of the conventional story has been mapped out for several decades now, and there is a rough consensus on what the Holocaust was. Here is one “widely accepted definition”:
When historians talk about the “Holocaust,” what they mean on the most general level is that about six million Jews were killed in an intentional and systematic fashion by the Nazis using a number of different means, including gas chambers. (Shermer and Grobman, 2000: xv)
Here is another, from an official source—Michael Berenbaum, former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.:
[The Holocaust is] the systematic state-sponsored murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War 2. (1993: 1)
These definitions imply three key components that are essential to the orthodox view: (1) “the killing of six million”; (2) “gas chambers”; and (3) “intentionality.” Lacking any one of these three, according to this view, we have no Holocaust. The conventional story ends with bodies buried in mass graves, and burned—either in open pits or crematoria. This heinous act, it is claimed, was a singular pinnacle of human evil.
There remain, however, many open issues and many unanswered questions. Some researchers make challenging and troubling claims, which threaten to overturn major aspects of the Holocaust story:
It seems that no two writers on the Holocaust have the same opinion on these matters.
The disputants fall into two clearly defined groups: traditionalists and revisionists. Were this any other matter of historical dispute, the two camps would typically engage in cordial, lively, and fact-based argumentation. They might attend joint conferences, praise the others’ ingenuity, share lunch, and even grant a deferential respect to one another. But not the Holocaust. Here, none of the usual rules apply. A kind of argumentative chaos reigns. Ad hominem attacks fly. Reputations are impugned, and basic intelligence is challenged.2 Strategic confusion and targeted obfuscation are the norms.
For starters, consider the names of the two groups: Holocaust revisionists3 are often called “Holocaust deniers” by mainstream writers. This appellation is both derogatory and, technically, almost meaningless. What does it mean to “deny” the Holocaust? How much of the conventional view does one have to reject in order to be a “denier”? Take the three pillars of the Holocaust story: What does it mean to “deny” the six million figure? Is “five million” denial? (If so, then we can start burning Raul Hilberg’s books.) Three million? One million?4 What about intentionality? Does this refer to Hitler, or the likes of Himmler, Eichmann, Goering, or Goebbels? And how are we to judge intention? There is no ready answer to these questions; hence, a “denier” is rather like an “anti-Semite”—essentially in the eye of the beholder.
Revisionists in turn often refer to their opponents as “exterminationists”—as in, those who believe that the Nazis were on their way to eliminating the Jewish people from the face of the Earth (as if such a thing were possible!). Traditionalists reject not only this label, but any label at all; any group designation implies that they are simply one school of thought, to be held on equal footing with the revisionists. The notion of a competition between schools of thought is anathema to them. In their eyes, there is only one basic truth about the Holocaust, and they are its guardians.5 Anyone pretending to claim that there are alternative truths is either a liar or a fool. In this sense, most traditionalists are themselves “deniers”: they deny that there is anything to debate at all.
Most serious, we now have a situation where the power of the State has been brought to bear against revisionism. In 1982 two influential Jewish groups, the Institute of Jewish Affairs and the World Jewish Congress, created a plan to combat the growth of revisionist publications. They issued a report, “Making the Denial of the Holocaust a Crime in Law,” calling for widespread legislation against revisionism. Israel passed such a law in 1986, and France and other countries followed in the 1990s. Today there are fourteen countries (thirteen in Europe, plus Israel)6 that have enacted or expanded anti-Holocaust–denial laws, ostensibly to combat racist hate crimes against Jews or other minorities. Penalties ranging from severe fines to imprisonment can now be levied against those who openly challenge the conventional Holocaust story. The presumption is that revisionist writings or speeches will inflame violent extremists, or will “corrupt the youth” (Germany), or will somehow bring unacceptable pain to Jewish people or others sympathetic to their suffering. I am unaware of any cases in which revisionist writings have been shown to be a contributing factor to anti-Semitic violence—but perhaps this is beside the point.
In the past few years three prominent revisionists have been arrested for challenging the traditional Holocaust account: Ernst Zundel, Germar Rudolf, and David Irving. Zundel, a flamboyant publisher and promoter of right-wing literature in Canada, was arrested in February 2003 in Tennessee, for violating United States immigration statutes. He was quickly deported to Canada and held in prison for two years as a “national security threat.” In March 2005 Zundel was deported once again, this time to his native Germany, where he was charged with distributing hate literature, and with maintaining a U.S.-based revisionist Web site. In February 2007 he was sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum allowable under current German law. Revisionists are evidently a dangerous lot; no leniency shall be granted.
Germar Rudolf, a one-time doctoral student in chemistry in Germany, published the influential revisionist works Vorlesungen über Zeitgeschichte (“Lectures on Contemporary History,” 1993) and Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte (“Foundations of Contemporary History,” 1994). In a throwback to the Middle Ages, his books were not only confiscated, they were burned. Tried in 1996, he was sentenced to fourteen months in prison. Rudolf fled to the U.S. but was arrested on immigration charges in late 2005 and deported to Germany. In March 2007, just one month after salting away Zundel, the German legal system sentenced Rudolf to two and a half years in jail.
Noted British writer and historian David Irving came slowly and hesitantly to revisionism, over a period of several years.7 He had been sympathetic to the German side at least since his 1977 book Hitler’s War, but did not start to seriously question the Holocaust until the mid-1980s. It was not so much his writings as his speeches and interviews that got Irving into trouble. In 1993 Deborah Lipstadt labeled him a denier and neo-Nazi sympathizer in her book Denying the Holocaust. Irving sued for libel, losing in 2000. He was then arrested in Austria in November 2005 for an act of “denial” committed sixteen years earlier, back in 1989. A Viennese court sentenced him to three years in prison in February 2006, though he was granted early release in November of that year.
Such attacks, in addition to significantly raising the stakes of the debate, have a stifling effect on free speech and academic freedom in general. Many groups and individuals have strongly opposed such heavy-handed acts of state censorship, even though they may disagree with the revisionists. Notable intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky—himself no revisionist—have spoken out on their behalf. One must wonder: How serious a threat can these people be? Why are they able to draw the attention of national legislators? Whom do they threaten? And perhaps most important—Are they on to something? Do they in fact have a case to make, that the Holocaust story is fundamentally deficient? The State does not attack those who argue for a flat Earth, or warn against some imminent alien invasion. Those who are irrational, or cannot make a coherent case, pose no threat, and thus are left alone. Apparently the “deniers” are not in this category. This fact alone should make the average person wonder—Could they be right?
Unlike the traditionalist view, revisionism resists a general characterization. The alternate depiction of events that revisionism promises is only dimly outlined at present, and opinions are too disparate and too variable to form a truly cohesive view. Nonetheless, there are certain points of broad agreement among a majority of serious revisionists; these constitute a kind of core of revisionism today.
Among the general points of agreement are the following:
An inquiry into the Great Debate of Holocaust revisionism cannot even begin unless a few prominent myths are dismissed at the outset. Four are of particular importance:
Myth #1: Revisionists believe that the Holocaust “never happened.” This is a common caricature of the revisionist position. It implies a belief that there was no widespread killing of Jews, that they suffered no persecution, that there were no homicidal gas chambers of any kind, and perhaps even that no Jews actually died at the hands of the Nazis. Those traditionalists who make this claim are being disingenuous at best. They seem to want the reader to believe that revisionism is so far out of touch with reality, and so extreme in its views, that it can be safely disregarded.9
No serious revisionist doubts that extensive killing of Jews occurred, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, at least. No serious revisionist doubts that a catastrophe “happened” to the Jews—whether they call it a “holocaust” or not is incidental. Revisionists do dispute that the number of deaths was anything like five or six million. All accept that gas chambers existed in most or all of the German concentration camps; but they dispute the purpose of those chambers. And revisionists dispute that any German camps were ever built and operated as “extermination camps.”
In one sense, the very statement of this myth is loaded. In order to know whether one accepts or denies that the Holocaust happened, one must have a functional definition of what the Holocaust is. We know the rough outline, but that does not allow us to decide whether a given version is acceptable or not. For example, if one accepts all traditional aspects of the story, but believes that only three million Jews died instead of six million, is this “denial”? What if one accepts the six million figure, but argues that very few died in gas chambers? Or accepts the six million and the gas chambers, but rejects that Hitler and the Nazi leadership deliberately planned and executed the killings? The inability of the traditionalists to answer such questions only further highlights the irrelevant nature of the first myth about the revisionists. Hence any such statement, by either side, to the effect that the Holocaust never happened is pure propaganda.10
Myth #2: Photographs of corpses prove the Holocaust happened. We all have seen the gruesome pictures of bodies stacked up outside some crematorium, or unceremoniously dumped into pits. These are offered as proof of “Nazi barbarity,” and of the slaughter of the Jews. Yet many things about such photos are misleading. For one, we do not know, or at least are not told, whose bodies those are. They could be Jews…or Polish internees, or Russian POWs, or German inmates. In fact little effort seems to have been made to actually identify, or autopsy, any of those bodies. Second, those famous photos came from the camps liberated by the British and Americans—primarily Bergen-Belsen. The problem is that these were not “extermination camps.” From the “real” extermination camps, we have no corpse photos at all.11 This fact alone should give us reason to consider whether certain aspects of the traditional story might be suspect. Third, there were rampant outbreaks of typhus and other diseases that claimed thousands of lives in all the camps; yet the photos are used to imply that these were gassing victims. And fourth, the photos show at most several hundred corpses. This is so far from “six million” that the vaunted photos are almost meaningless as proof of the Holocaust.
Myth #3: The Holocaust was a “hoax.” This idea rests in large part on the writings of Arthur Butz, above all his widely read book The Hoax of the Twentieth Century (1976). Butz continues to hold to this notion today, as do a handful of other revisionists (Faurisson and Berg come to mind.)
I explore this whole idea in more detail in Chapter 12, but briefly, what is a “hoax”? The term derives from the pseudo-Latin phrase hax pax max used by Renaissance-era conjurers and magicians to impress their audience. This same phrase is the source of the more benign magical incantation “hocus pocus.” A “hocus pocus” refers to a fabrication intended to entertain and amuse, whereas a “hoax” came to mean a fabrication intended to deceive, in a malicious sense. Both refer to entirely (or largely) contrived circumstances, carefully arranged to achieve a desired effect.
Now, it certainly is possible that the Holocaust story—especially the mass murder in gas chambers, and the “six million”—was a kind of fabrication to achieve a desired effect of deception. But, to my knowledge, no revisionist has offered any specific evidence to support this contention. Without solid evidence of deliberate falsification of at least large parts of the Holocaust story, we are unjustified in calling it a hoax. Individual lies, exaggerations, even gross exaggerations, do not qualify as hoaxes. Therefore, in my opinion, the Holocaust was not a hoax.12
However, this obviously does not mean that the story is true! It may still be rife with falsehoods, lies, and assorted absurdities. But there are many other ways in which untrue depictions of events can come to be widely believed, some of which are relatively innocent. Lacking hard evidence, we should give the benefit of the doubt to traditionalism. Revisionism should attack the story, not the motive. A “hoax” imputes a nefarious motive to certain persons, and this only inflames tensions rather than leading to the truth.
Traditionalists in turn leap on this hoax label and use it to their advantage.13 They take it to mean a kind of global conspiracy, a large-scale collective effort to deceive the general public. They say, “Those revisionist guys actually believe that the Jews could pull off this monumental fraud! They actually think that thousands of historians, writers, journalists, government leaders—everyone who supports the standard view—are in on the scam, all conspiring to assist the powerful Jews. How stupid can those revisionists be!” And there is some weight to this. You cannot claim massive fraud without a solid basis for it. Revisionists risk looking foolish, and only hurt their cause, by arguing for a hoax.
There is, however, a small kernel of truth in this myth. It may be fair to say that certain parties took an undeniably tragic event and made the most of it. They assumed the worst possible outcome, the worst possible death tolls, and turned the worst rumors into “truths.” It may have been something like a fish tale, in which one catches a trout but claims it was a shark. Now, a fish tale is not a hoax—presuming that one actually went fishing, and actually caught something! It is untruthful, deceitful, and devious, but not a hoax. The undeniably tragic deaths of many thousands, whose remains were utterly obliterated, can easily become “millions.” A falsehood, an exaggeration, a fish tale—but not a hoax.
Unfortunately the situation goes from bad to worse. An exaggeration gets repeated over and over. It becomes the basis for trials, billions of dollars in reparations, even death sentences. Then it must be defended at all costs. We can well imagine how such a situation could come about, step by step, over the course of sixty years.
Myth #4: Revisionists are right-wing neo-Nazi anti-Semites. Again, a classic ploy: impugn your opponent so that the reader will be inclined to dismiss him. Unfortunately this occurs repeatedly in almost every traditionalist book that even touches on revisionism. Other, related charges usually follow. Zimmerman (2000: 119) writes, “Everyone who has studied this [revisionist] movement realizes that the ultimate goal of denial is the rehabilitation of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.” Quite a claim! One wonders how Zimmerman knows such things, and what his evidence might be.
Are revisionists right-wing? Since being right-wing is no crime, their critics presumably mean far right, which, they imply, is an evil thing. Of course this is only evil from the perspective of the left, but more important, it implies that traditionalists are not themselves right-wing—often far from the truth! Hard-core traditionalists, by whom I mean the militant Zionists, are among the most right-wing activists around—as are the evangelical Christians, who typically are strong supporters of the standard Holocaust story. So portraying all revisionists as right-wing is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
When revisionist writings touch on political issues, they are most often neutral with respect to the political spectrum. More important, this point is irrelevant to the arguments at hand. Whether a given revisionist is right, left, or center has no bearing on his arguments or his critique. Rudolf (2004) has noted that “revisionism is neither left nor right.” Anyone from any point on the spectrum may see the need to challenge the traditional view. Two of the more prominent revisionists, Rassinier and Garaudy, were staunch leftists. Of late even some leftist peace activists and political activists have raised questions about the Holocaust. If the traditionalists don’t like what the revisionists are saying, then they must counter their arguments, not slander someone’s character.14
Are revisionists neo-Nazis? None of the major writers openly admits to being a National Socialist, and few seem to care much about burnishing Hitler’s image. And, as with the right-wing accusation, even if a revisionist were openly National Socialist, or an open admirer of Hitler, it would be irrelevant to the arguments presented.
Are the revisionists anti-Semites? An anti-Semite is, technically, one who “displays hostility or discrimination against Jews as a religious or ethnic group.” Thus it is either a form of racism or religious discrimination, against Jews as a whole. Yet again, one finds no such attacks in any serious revisionist work. The academic revisionists are, on the whole, passably respectful of Jews. If they target an ideology, it is frequently Zionism. Not all Zionists are Jews, and not all Jews are Zionists; thus, an anti-Zionist stance is neither racial nor religious discrimination. In fact, it is Zionism that is more inclined toward racism, in its oppressive and discriminatory attitude toward Palestinians, and Muslims in general. And it may even turn out that the traditionalists do more to foster anti-Semitism, if it happens that they are found to be promoting an unjustifiable myth of Jewish suffering.
Today, “anti-Semitism” has become a largely meaningless epithet, deployed to slander one’s opponents—and to shut them up. It is used simply because one does not like what the other says, and has nothing more intelligent to offer.15
Who’s Who in the Debate
I will close this first chapter with a quick look at the main players on each side of the debate. Consider first the orthodox historians. Given the fact that there are literally thousands of books on the Holocaust, one might guess that the traditional view is sustained by a comparable number of authors. But this is not the case. The vast majority of traditionalist writers rely on a very small number of leading authority figures for their information, which they then repeat as gospel truth. The leading architects of the orthodox view are:
In addition to these individuals, we must also include the standard reference works Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (1990; I. Gutman, ed.) and, more recently, The Holocaust Encyclopedia (2001; W. Laqueur, ed.). Finally, we have the leading organizations, which would include the Israeli group Yad Vashem (www.yadvashem.org) and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (www.ushmm.org).
All of the above individuals and organizations are Jewish. From the Jewish perspective this is not only unproblematic, but even a virtue. Jewish researchers are most sensitive to the issues at hand, they think, and best able to piece together the fragile Holocaust tapestry. From the majority (non-Jewish) position, however, this Jewish predominance is a matter of concern. It indicates a large potential for biased and self-interested reporting, and for the emergence of peer pressure to reach certain foregone conclusions, and to ignore uncomfortable questions.
Since the rise of revisionism in the 1970s and 80s, a few traditionalist writers have taken it upon themselves to directly challenge that view:
Anti-revisionist forces have been notably quiet since 2002. No new anti-revisionist books have appeared, and only a handful of journal articles.16 This is in marked contrast to the outpouring of books by revisionists in that same period—nearly a dozen in total. (Of course, thousands of traditionalist books and articles have appeared since then, but virtually none of these take on the revisionist challenge. Officially, revisionism is “unworthy” of response; unofficially, it’s good policy to avoid a battle that you may well lose.)
* * * * *
Early revisionism, as mentioned, was marked by as much polemics and inflammatory language as scholarship. Revisionists thus tend to fall into one of two subgroups: the agitators and the academics. I will not address the agitators here; this group of colorful personalities deserves its own book. It would include such people as Austin App, Richard Harwood (aka Richard Verral), David Cole, Ernst Zundel, Bradley Smith, Willis Carto, and Fredrick Toben. For the most part these individuals were (and are) more concerned with publicity and promotion than in careful research, and for this reason I will pass over them.
But I note here that a common tactic of anti-revisionists is to dwell on the more outrageous statements of this first group, and then paint them as typical, or even as the peak, of revisionism as a whole. This is a cheap tactic at best, and only points to their inability to address the far more serious arguments of the revisionist academics.
Here, the second group is of chief interest. Academic revisionists do careful, scientific examination of the circumstances of the Holocaust, and write high-quality articles and books on their critiques. They deserve to be taken seriously. Early academics would include such people as Franz Scheidel and Paul Rassinier, whose writings date from the late 1940s and early 1950s. But things did not really start heating up until the mid-1970s. From then on we find a growing number of serious, dedicated works:
With this short background in place, we can now begin to take a serious look at the traditional Holocaust story and analyze its strengths and weaknesses. Chapter 2 will recount this story and examine the troublesome nature of historical truth—troubles which are magnified with the Holocaust.
1. According to standard sources, about 17 million soldiers died on all sides (7.5 million in the Soviet Union, 3.5 million in Germany, 1.3 million in Japan, and about 4.7 million in all other countries combined). Civilian deaths are hard to determine, but the estimated losses in just the Soviet Union (19 million) and China (10 million) were huge. If we add 6 million Jews and roughly 3–5 million civilians in all other countries, we arrive at a total close to 55 million.
2. Traditionalists hold the clear lead in the name-calling sweepstakes, though certain of the revisionist agitators are well known for this tactic. As might be expected, name-calling (on either side) is a fairly sure sign of a deficiency of arguments.
3. It should be noted that “revisionism” is a generic term that applies to most historical work, which consists of revising or reinterpreting history based on new insights or new facts. In the context of this book, however, my use of the term refers specifically to Holocaust revisionism.
4. The early traditionalist Gerald Reitlinger argued in 1953 (The Final Solution) that the death toll could be as low as 4.19 million. To my knowledge, no one has ever called him a Holocaust denier. In 1968 he increased the minimum figure slightly, to 4.204 million (p. 546). The modern minimum would be Hilberg’s estimate of 5.1 million.
5. Certain traditionalists have shown an incredible arrogance when it comes to this. A good example is Vidal-Naquet (1992: xxiv):
It should be understood once and for all that I am not answering the accusers, and that in no way am I entering into a dialogue with them. … [T]he contribution of the “revisionists” to our knowledge may be compared to the correction, in a long text, of a few typographical errors. That does not justify a dialogue… [O]ne should not enter into debate with the “revisionists”. … I have nothing to reply to them and will not do so. Such is the price to be paid for intellectual coherence.
Lipstadt mimics this stubbornness: she declares, “I categorically decline” to debate them (1993: xiii). Such a reluctance to engage in debate suggests a fear of losing. The leading revisionists rarely pass up an opportunity to debate; the leading traditionalists, to the best of my knowledge, have never accepted one.
6. The European countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland. It may strike one as odd that modern industrial nations like these, which claim to uphold the right of free speech and inquiry, could resort to the banning of certain books and ideas. And odd it is—more on this in Chapter 12.
7. It is debatable whether or not Irving truly counts as a Holocaust revisionist; his position continually shifts on this issue. Traditionalists almost uniformly portray him as such, but he himself apparently denies it, and other revisionists are reluctant to include him among their number. For the purposes of this book, however, I will classify him as a (soft) revisionist.
8. Traditionalist researcher Sarah Gordon (1984: 8-15) gives a good account of this dominance: “The reader may be surprised to learn that Jews were never a large percentage of the total German population; at no time did they exceed 1.09 percent of the population during the years 1871 to 1933… [The Jews] were overrepresented in business, commerce, and public and private service… Within the fields of business and commerce, Jews…represented 25 percent of all individuals employed in retail business and handled 25 percent of total sales…; they owned 41 percent of iron and scrap iron firms and 57 percent of other metal businesses.… Jews were [also] prominent in private banking under both Jewish and non-Jewish ownership or control. They were especially visible in private banking in Berlin, which in 1923 had 150 private (versus state) Jewish banks, as opposed to only 11 private non-Jewish banks.…” This trend held true as well in the academic and cultural spheres: “Jews were overrepresented among university professors and students between 1870 and 1933.… [A]lmost 19 percent of the instructors in Germany were of Jewish origin.… Jews were also highly active in the theater, the arts, film, and journalism. For example, in 1931, 50 percent of the 234 theater directors in Germany were Jewish, and in Berlin the number was 80 percent…”
9. This tactic was recently used during Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s 2007 trip to the US. American news agencies referred to his belief that the Holocaust was a “theory,” not a “fact.” This language again imposes a black-and-white cloak over the issue.
10. The continued invocation of this myth borders on the absurd. As a case in point, consider the 2005 BBC series “Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution.” After five hours of airtime (and zero discussion of revisionist challenges), they insert, at the very end, a statement by former SS officer Oskar Gröning. As an elderly man, Gröning now sees it as his task “to oppose Holocaust deniers who claim that Auschwitz never happened.” He adds, “I have seen the crematoria. I have seen the burning pits. And I want you to believe me that these atrocities happened. I was there.” Of course, no revisionist in his right mind denies the existence of crematoria, pits, or the Auschwitz camp. Hence Gröning’s statement is meaningless—added for mere dramatic effect.
11. With one exception: a disputed (dubious) photo of Auschwitz shows a couple dozen corpses, possibly being burned. See Chapter 10.
12. Crowell (2000a: 10, 20, 53), for one revisionist, concurs.
13. For a good recent example, see Perry and Schweitzer (2002: 208–211).
14. There seems to be a growing recognition by orthodoxy that name-calling is insufficient, and that counterarguments must be at least part of the response to revisionism. A recent op-ed in the British paper The Independent had this to say: “In Britain, we value freedom of speech too highly to see it sacrificed because of the racist views of an oddball academic [namely, Frederick Toben]…. Strength of argument, widespread outcry and ridicule will defeat the Holocaust-deniers.” (C. Huhne; October 24, 2008) Whether “strength of argument” is sufficient or not, the reader will be able to judge from the chapters that follow. And the effectiveness of “outcry and ridicule” remains an open question.
15. A more recent definition was endorsed in an official U.S. government report, Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism (U.S. Department of State, 2008). “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” Specific forms of anti-Semitism thus include:
But again, one wonders what is meant by such words as “denying” or “exaggerating.” Such terms are so broad as to potentially include almost any criticism, questioning, or inquiry into the event. Hence my point that “anti-Semitism” is so ill-defined as to be almost meaningless.