A few months ago, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the nation of Israel to be dissolved. Then he followed up back in December, by calling the Holocaust a “myth.”According to a Dec. 14, article on British Broadcasting Corp.’s Web site, Ahmadinejad called all who supported the idea that the Holocaust happened, as well as those who supported Israel itself, “Zionist mouthpieces” and “subservient to the Zionists.”
Even more recently, according to a Jan. 15 article on CNN’s Web site, the nation of Iran has said it will hold a conference in the near future to examine whether the Holocaust happened, calling for scientific evidence of the atrocities. And just a couple weeks ago, Hamshahri, Iran’s largest newspaper, announced a contest a couple weeks ago for political cartoons depicting the Holocaust in response to the Muhammad cartoons. Of course, the main point behind these actions and remarks is to support the Palestinians in parts of Israel, predominantly the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Shortly after World War II, Israel was founded in an area of the Middle East that had been known as Palestine, on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Since the nation’s founding in 1948 as an official Jewish state, the Palestinian and Jewish populations have been in conflict. Over the decades, nearby Muslim nations, including Iran, have stood behind the Palestinians in this conflict, not only ideologically, but also in terms of military support.
However, these actions regarding the Holocaust ignore decades of historical evidence.
First of all, the Holocaust was linked in a major way to the start of World War II. Although it might be a stretch to say the Holocaust was the reason the war happened, shutting down the Nazi death camps became a major part of the allied nations’ postwar cleanup. Furthermore, Nazis were later prosecuted for their culpability in the genocides.
If the Holocaust never happened, would these have even been necessary steps to take? For that matter, if the Holocaust had never happened, the Nuremberg Trials for Nazi war crimes would not have been successful, nor would the subsequent changes to international law.
Another point is that if the Holocaust truly did not occur, then the amount of work that must have gone into fabricating the evidence of the atrocities would make the Watergate cover-up look like nothing more than a child’s attempt to blame the family pet for breaking the cookie jar. People can visit the former locations of the death camps for themselves to see evidence that the Holocaust happened. Fabricating evidence on that scale seems like an awful lot of effort simply to justify the establishment of a Jewish state.
What’s more, after the war, thousands of Holocaust survivors, many not of Jewish descent, emigrated from the death camps and spread out all over the world. Although many of these survivors have died of natural causes – after all, the World War II ended more than six decades ago – some are still left to recount stories of the atrocities. If the Holocaust never happened, how is it that so many individuals, many of whom have no need for a Jewish state, have more-or-less matching stories of the genocide and torture?
One of Ahmadinejad’s assertions is that, if the Nazi Holocaust made the creation of a Jewish state necessary, that state should have been established in land taken from the European countries where the death camps were located, because some of those countries were at least partially at fault for the occurrence of the genocide.
This is the only claim that has merit. However, while it would be easy to say the European countries responsible for the Holocaust should give up land for a Jewish state, that would have several problems, as well. First, why would Jews want to live in a part of the world where they were almost wiped out, and where that easily could have happened again?
Second, Jews had been migrating to the area of Palestine since before the turn of the 20th century and were already a sizable population in the area. That part of the Middle East had been home to the Jewish community in ancient times.
Finally, one of the biggest reasons Israel was established in its present location was because Britain had control of Palestine since after World War I. This, combined with the fact that the area was already home to many Jews, made it the most logistically feasible place to establish the Jewish state.
Ultimately, Ahmadinejad’s statements are ignorant of historical facts. As they were likely made simply for the purpose of supporting the Palestinians in Israel, these statements should be taken with a grain of salt.
Jarod Daily is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Keller.