Contemporary Issues

the Irving M. Glazer Chair in
Jewish Studies and is Professor
of English and Founding Director
of the Institute for the Study of
Contemporary Antisemitism at
Indiana University Bloomington.
He is editor of Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives
(���, 2013) and author of The
End of the Holocaust (���, 2011),
among other books.

Judaica

“This volume, rich in information,
is not for the casual reader, but
is recommended as a valuable
compilation of research and
analysis that will help concerned
readers track the evolution of
anti-Semitism and determine
which trends are most
worrisome.”

ROSENFELD

“A very important book on a
very, very frightening development that was barely to be
imagined as recently as a few
years ago.”
—Edward Alexander, author of
The Holocaust and the War of Ideas

“Some are stunningly perceptive,
some explore new dimensions,
and each offers new insights
about the thoughts and activities of current anti-Semites and
the evil they purvey. A source
book that will be of special
value to those who see and
are concerned about the
new anti-Semitism.”

“Seventy years ago, after
Nazi Germany systematically
murdered six million of
Europe’s Jews before it lost
World War II, antisemitism
seemed exhausted. In Europe,
calls for ‘Jews to the gas’ and
‘Hitler didn’t finish the job’ have
become common, as have violent
attacks against Jews. The world’s
oldest hatred is once again
rearing its ugly head, and that
head is roaring.”

—Kirkus Reviews

—Walter Reich,

—Publishers Weekly

George Washington University

DECIPHERING THE NEW ANTISEMITISM

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DECIPHERING THE NEW

ANTISEMITISM

$35.00

Deciphering the New Antisemitism
addresses the increasing prevalence of antisemitism on a global
scale. Antisemitism takes on
various forms in all parts of the
world, and the essays in this wideranging volume deal with many
of them: European antisemitism,
antisemitism and Islamophobia,
antisemitism and anti-Zionism,
and efforts to demonize and
delegitimize Israel. Contributors
are an international group of
scholars who clarify the cultural,
intellectual, political, and religious
conditions that give rise to antisemitic words and deeds. These
landmark essays are noteworthy
for their timeliness and ability
to grapple effectively with the
serious issues at hand.

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Alvin H. Rosenfeld

E D I T E D

Bloomington & Indianapolis
iupress.indiana.edu

deciphering cvr mech.indd 1

PRESS

B Y

A L V I N H. R O S E N F E L D
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Contents
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction / Alvin H. Rosenfeld  1

Part I. Defining and Assessing Antisemitism
1. Antisemitism and Islamophobia: The Inversion of the Debt /
Pascal Bruckner  7
2. The Ideology of the New Antisemitism / Kenneth L. Marcus  21
3. A Framework for Assessing Antisemitism: Three Case Studies
(Dieudonné, Erdoğan, and Hamas) / Günther Jikeli  43
4. Virtuous Antisemitism / Elhanan Yakira  77

Part II. Intellectual and Ideological Contexts
5. Historicizing the Transhistorical: Apostasy and the Dialectic
of Jew Hatred / Doron Ben-Atar  105
6. Literary Theory and the Delegitimization of Israel /
Jean Axelrad Cahan  151
7. Good News from France: “There Is No New Antisemitism” /
  Bruno Chaouat  179
8. Anti-Zionism and the Anarchist Tradition / Eirik Eiglad  206
9. Antisemitism and the Radical Catholic Traditionalist
  Movement / Mark Weitzman 242

Part III. Holocaust Denial, Evasion, Minimization
10. The Uniqueness Debate Revisited / Bernard Harrison  289
11. Denial, Evasion, and Antihistorical Antisemitism:
The Continuing Assault on Memory / David Patterson  326
12. Generational Changes in the Holocaust Denial Movement
in the United States / Aryeh Tuchman  350

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viii

Con ten ts

Part IV. Regional Manifestations
13.  From Occupation to Occupy: Antisemitism and the
   Contemporary Left in the United States / Sina Arnold 375
14. The EU’s Responses to Contemporary Antisemitism:
   A Shell Game? / R. Amy Elman 405
15.  Anti-Israeli Boycotts: European and International Human Rights
  Law Perspectives / Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias 430
16.  Delegitimizing Israel in Germany and Austria: Past Politics,
   the Iranian Threat, and Post-national Anti-Zionism /
  Stephan Grigat 454
17.  Antisemitism and Antiurbanism, Past and Present: Empirical
   and Theoretical Approaches / Bodo Kahmann 482
18.  Tehran’s Efforts to Mobilize Antisemitism: The Global
  Impact / Matthias Küntzel 508
   List of Contributors 533
   Index 539

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k

Generational Changes in the Holocaust
Denial Movement in the United States
Aryeh Tuchman
At its core, Holocaust denial argues that six million Jews were
not killed—many with poison gas—by the Nazis during World
War II. However, the style and methodologies of those arguments, and the rhetorical context in which they are expressed by
the deniers, have evolved in the decades since Holocaust denial
first emerged. From the 1940s through the 1960s, Holocaust denial was the province of pro-Nazi groups employing crude arguments and overtly antisemitic rhetoric. In the 1970s, Holocaust
denial took up more sophisticated pseudoscientific methods and
began to portray itself as a movement of historical revisionists in
the tradition of the historian Harry Elmer Barnes, who argued
that conventional historians had allowed their analyses of World
War II to be influenced by Allied propaganda, and that a more
accurate history needed to be written. Although the Holocaust
denial movement in the United States continued to be dominated
by right-wing extremists in the 1980s and 1990s, by the year 2000
and continuing to the present we have seen the movement expand
to include other populations, including conspiracy theorists and
anti-Zionists not affiliated with the extreme right. The methodological argumentation by a small group of hard-core deniers is
as sophisticated as ever, but in a broader context the rhetoric of
350

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Holocaust denial has shifted away from attempts to valorize the
Nazis and rewrite the history of World War II. Instead, Holocaust
denial now tends to be couched in arguments over free speech
and the power of the “Jewish/Zionist lobby” to stifle debate and
create “thought criminals” in the service of Israeli interests. How
and why these generational shifts occurred can shed light on
the development of both the extreme right in the United States
and on the dramatic increase of what has been termed the “new
antisemitism.”
Th e E a r ly Y e a r s

Holocaust denial in the United States emerged in the years immediately after World War II. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s,
neo-Nazi and white nationalist leaders, including Francis Parker
Yockey, Gerald L. K. Smith, and George Lincoln Rockwell, all
proclaimed their belief that the deaths of six million Jews at the
hands of the Nazi regime was a hoax perpetrated by those same
Jews to defame Hitler and advance their own interests.1
Despite the sometimes substantial ideological differences between them, Yockey, Smith, Rockwell, and their followers were
united in their overt hatred of Jews and their avowed belief in
the ideals of Hitler and National Socialism. Their denials of the
Holocaust read either as transparent attempts at Jew baiting, as
propaganda on the side of a war that Hitler had already lost, or
as elements of neo-fascist, white supremacist manifestos. Their
technical arguments against the Holocaust were usually no more
sophisticated than comparing published population statistics in
Europe before and after the war, on the basis of which they cast
doubt on the six million figure.2
1970s–1990s

In the 1970s, Holocaust denial in the United States assimilated the
more sophisticated, pseudoacademic claims pioneered by Paul
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Rassinier in France during the 1950s and early 1960s. Rassinier’s
arguments included detailed analyses of survivor testimony and
documentary evidence. Rassinier, an avowed leftist who was persecuted by the Nazis, may have been an unlikely champion of
Holocaust denial. Whatever his motivation for his initial critique
of the history of the destruction of European Jewry, over time it
became clear that he was driven by conspiratorial beliefs about
Jewish power. He differed from the likes of Yockey, Smith, and
Rockwell, however, in that he was not a white nationalist with an
overt agenda of rehabilitating Nazism as a practical and active political ideology. Rassinier was an antisemite, but not a neo-Nazi.3
Rassinier came to the attention of the English-speaking world
due to the praise heaped on him by the controversial historian
Harry Elmer Barnes, who inspired the publishing of a small run
of an English translation of Rassinier’s Drame des Juifs Européens
in 1975.4 Rassinier became even more accessible to the U.S. public
due to the efforts of Willis Carto.5 Carto had been an activist in
the U.S. far-right scene since 1955 and had created an entity called
Liberty Lobby in 1957. Though Carto himself was a devotee of the
racist, antisemitic teachings of Francis Parker Yockey, Liberty
Lobby eschewed the crude antisemitism of overt neo-Nazis in
favor of anticommunist, racial segregationist, right-wing lobbying
efforts in Washington, D.C. In his personal letters, Carto continued spewing overt antisemitism, and over the next two decades he
devoted much of his activity to disseminating Holocaust denial.
The first vehicle Carto used for this purpose was Noontide
Press. Among the earliest books Noontide printed was Yockey’s
magnum opus, Imperium, which denied the Holocaust, in 1963.6
Over the next few years, the house published numerous racialist
works, many of them by British anthropologist and right-wing extremist Roger Pearson. In 1969 it added what is probably the first
book devoted to Holocaust denial in the United States: The Myth
of the Six Million by David Hoggan. A student of Harry Elmer
Barnes, Hoggan spent his professional career writing books in
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German arguing that Germany was in fact the victim of Allied aggression during World War II and that the Holocaust was a hoax.
Through Carto’s efforts, Holocaust denial began to develop
into a cottage industry, which to some small degree had begun
separating itself from its neo-Nazi roots in the 1950s and 1960s.
In the following decade, Noontide Press published Arthur Butz’s
The Hoax of the Twentieth Century (1976), William Grimstad’s The
Six Million Reconsidered (1977), and Paul Rassinier’s Debunking the Genocide Myth (1978). Carto advertised these texts in the
pages of his newspaper, Spotlight.
A seminal moment in the development of Holocaust denial in
the United States came in 1979, when Spotlight announced the
formation of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) and the
convening of its first international Holocaust denial conference.7
Some of the papers presented at that conference were printed in
1980 in the first issue of IHR’s Journal of Historical Review, a journal that aped the look and feel of conventional academic publications. It was under the aegis of the IHR that Holocaust denial
began to cohere into an international movement that could, albeit
with some difficulty, be separated from the ideology and aims
of the deniers from the 1950s and 1960s, many of whom had still
held out hope of reviving overtly anti-Jewish, or even pro-Nazi,
popular movements in the United States.
To be sure, IHR attracted its share of neo-Nazis and neo-fascists.
The first editor of the Journal of Historical Review was David McCalden, who had been a member of the British neo-fascist group
called the National Front, before he came the United States and
changed his name to Lewis Brandon.8 Mark Weber, another early
employee of IHR, had been a member of the neo-Nazi National
Alliance and was the editor of its National Vanguard.9 Revilo P.
Oliver, also a member of the National Alliance, served on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Historical Review throughout the 1980s.10 Wolf Rudiger Hess, whose father was Rudolf Hess,
attended IHR conferences and contributed articles to the journal,
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as did Otto Ernst Remer, who was a general in the Wehrmacht
during World War II.11 H. Keith Thompson, who had been a special agent for the Nazi Overseas Intelligence Unit during World
War II, was also involved with the IHR.12 According to a report
from the Anti-Defamation League, during his speech at the 1983
IHR conference, Thompson “urged supporters to ‘stand by the
third Reich’ because, ‘if, in the end, the Holocaust did take place,
then so much the better!’”13
However, not all the deniers attracted to the IHR and Holocaust denial at this time were neo-Nazis or neo-fascists. Many
of these others, including many readers of Carto’s Spotlight, had
their ideological roots in less extreme right-wing populist movements. Examples of such deniers include Keith Stimely, who
wrote Holocaust denial works and eventually became editor of
the Journal of Historical Review; Michael A. Hoffman II, a freelance journalist and conspiracy theorist; Black Nationalist Robert L. Brock; and Spotlight writer Michael Collins Piper.14
Others came to Holocaust denial with no apparent connections to right-wing extremism other than participating in IHR
conferences and writing for its journal. In this category, one
might include ordained minister Robert Countess;15 engineering
professor Arthur Butz;16 James J. Martin, a libertarian scholar;17
Fred Leuchter, author of the famed Leuchter Report;18 and the
foremost French Holocaust denier, Robert Faurisson, whose influence on the IHR and Holocaust denial in the United States
cannot be overstated.19
The Holocaust denial promoted by the IHR and its supporters
featured Barnes-style World War II revisionism, as well as technical arguments for the impossibility of homicidal gas chambers.
In many cases, the revisionist history was extreme. These deniers
did not merely claim that Jews had not been gassed at Auschwitz
or that Anne Frank’s diary was a fabrication; they also argued
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sive, forward-looking movement that cared about its people and
the environment.20 Many of them believed that the Nazis were
justified in interning the Jews in camps or executing them as
potential communist sympathizers; moreover, they argued that
Hitler alone among the world leaders saw the danger of communism and selflessly set his German armies to defend the West
against the communist menace. The Journal of Historical Review
serialized former SS Lieutenant Leon Degrelle’s rhapsodies about
Hitler and published the writings of other former Nazis, as well.
Their revisionism extended to the Allies, whom they cast as the
aggressors in World War II. They alleged that President Roosevelt
knew in advance that the Japanese intended to attack Pearl Harbor but allowed the attack to occur in order to bring the United
States into the war, and claimed that the Nazi admissions of guilt
at Nuremberg were the result of torture.21
Of course, the core argument that deniers turned to time and
again was the technical impossibility of the Nazis having killed six
million Jews, many with poison gas. Articles in the Journal of Historical Review claimed to assess “Holocaust demographics,” the
distinction between cremation and incineration of bodies, the nature and construction of delousing chambers in the Nazi concentration camps, and the prevalence of typhus. Holocaust deniers
craved any analysis that had the trappings of objective science.
To take but one example: Fred Leuchter, a purported engineer
and “gas chamber expert” who designed execution devices for
several U.S. states, was hired by Canadian Holocaust denier Ernst
Zundel to conduct a forensic analysis of Auschwitz. Leuchter concluded that the gas chambers there could not have been used for
homicidal gassing, and his Leuchter Report became one of the
foundational texts for the Holocaust denial movement.22 Other
deniers who specialized in producing technical studies on Nazi
concentration camps without generally addressing larger issues
pertaining to World War II revisionism were Carlo Mattogno,
Friedrich Paul Berg, John Ball, and later, Germar Rudolf.
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The IHR, and the constellation of deniers who surrounded it,
was a hybrid mixture of neo-Nazis, white nationalists, conspiracy
theorists, and antisemites. It produced pro-Hitler revisionist history, as well as sophisticated arguments against the existence of
gas chambers, mass shootings, and other aspects of Holocaust
history.
The 1980s and 1990s were the golden age of Holocaust denial in
the United States. By this time, the IHR had refined its arguments
to the point that its leadership felt it could take its message to the
broader public. As the IHR launched its outreach campaigns, the
mainstream U.S. media and the U.S. public learned of the existence of Holocaust denial.
Beginning in the 1980s, the IHR and its allies launched several
stunts and outreach campaigns designed to increase the public’s exposure to Holocaust denial. In 1980, the IHR sponsored a
$50,000 challenge to anyone who could prove that Jews had been
gassed at Auschwitz. A Holocaust survivor named Mel Mermelstein took up the challenge, which resulted in a lawsuit covered by
newspapers in Los Angeles (where the suit took place), as well as
by wire services, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.23
IHR pamphlets and other Holocaust-denying literature were distributed at public libraries, and Holocaust deniers attempted to
book meeting rooms on college campuses and in public libraries,
sometimes attracting significant controversy.24
One of the most important promoters of Holocaust denial in
the United States was Bradley Smith. In 1984, Smith, who had
earlier aspired to become a journalist but had become enamored
of Holocaust denial after reading the work of Robert Faurisson,
convinced IHR leaders to underwrite a newsletter to journalists,
arguing that the Holocaust never happened and urging them to
write stories about it. He received virtually no responses from
that enterprise, so in 1986 he became the first director of the IHR’s
Radio Project—quickly rebranded as the Media Project—in
which he attempted to bring the message of Holocaust denial to
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radio and television broadcasts. Smith claims to have done over
four hundred interviews during that period, although that number cannot be verified.25
In 1991, Smith hit on a strategy that would catapult Holocaust
denial to a much larger audience. He created the Committee on
Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), whose mission was
to place advertisements denying the Nazi genocide of European
Jewry in college student newspapers. Smith hoped that the naïveté of college students would make them more likely to accept
his propaganda, but his efforts paid off in another way: the local controversies that erupted when college newspaper editors
wrestled with the decision of whether to publish Smith’s ads
themselves attracted intense coverage in regional and national
media.26 Smith even appeared on the television newsmagazine 48
Hours on February 26, 1992, where he tried to convince a national
audience that “there was no plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe, no order, no budget, no weapon—that is, no extermination
gas chamber and no victim. . . . This false story is maintained by
a cabal largely of Jewish organizations.”27 Two years later, Smith
and an associate debated Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic
magazine, on Phil Donahue’s television show.28
The legal battles of Ernst Zundel in Canada, whose Holocaust
denial was being prosecuted for violating the country’s False
News laws, also resulted in significant media coverage of “revisionist” theories in the United States. In a segment covering the
Holocaust denial phenomenon on the March 20, 1994, edition
of the television newsmagazine 60 Minutes, Zundel allowed that
Hitler had his “foibles,” including that he “didn’t particularly like
Jews,” but that no more than 300,000 Jews died during World
War II. Clips of Bradley Smith also appeared in that segment.29
In the late 1990s, Holocaust denial again became a media phenomenon with U.S. coverage of the 1996 lawsuit filed by British
historian David Irving against American academic Deborah Lipstadt after she described him as a Holocaust denier. Although the
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lawsuit was litigated in the United Kingdom, major U.S. newspapers and wire services covered the trial.
The concept that there was room to doubt the standard history
of the Holocaust continued to appear in the media in other forms,
as well. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan questioned the
notion that gas chambers at Treblinka could have been used to
kill Jews, again provoking media controversy. 30
The repeated references to Holocaust denial in U.S. media in
the 1980s and 1990s exposed average Americans of the first, second, and third generations born after World War II that there
were those who disputed the reality of the Holocaust about which
they had learned in school or seen portrayed in many movies
such as Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (1985) and Steven Spielberg’s
Schindler’s List (1993). 31 I recall watching an evening newscast
on the subject of Holocaust denial in the 1980s. I have a vivid
memory of the news anchor earnestly warning his viewers that although there are those who deny the Holocaust, there are mountains of evidence that the Holocaust indeed happened. It was a
remarkable departure from regular journalism, and in retrospect
I think it spoke to a growing awareness of the existence of Holocaust deniers among mainstream Americans.
Although awareness of Holocaust denial swept through parts
of the U.S. during these two decades, the connection that many
of the deniers had to right-wing extremism made it easier for
their opponents to discredit them. Jewish organizations and academics generally did not engage them on the substance of their
spurious “historical” claims, preferring instead to focus on their
general sympathy for Hitler, their racism, and their antisemitism.
Time and again it was pointed out that if the deniers were not
Nazis, like Leon Degrelle, they were neo-Nazis like David McCalden, Willis Carto, and Mark Weber. If they were not neoNazis, they were right-wing extremists, racists, and antisemites,
predisposed to vindicating Hitler and obviously having a motive
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Defamation League famously described Holocaust deniers as
“Hitler’s apologists” and included profiles of the most important
deniers in its publications on right-wing extremism. The American Jewish Committee made this approach even more explicit in
a publication on Holocaust denial published in 1993: “Holocaust
deniers crave legitimacy above all else. As long as they are seen
as neo-Nazi hacks, and not scholars, their task is harder. . . . The
deniers’ claims can and must be debunked—not with debate but
with exposé. . . . It is important that people know that deniers
want to rehabilitate Nazism and create a new world order based
on the Third Reich.”32 This unequivocal formulation, while certainly true of the pro-Nazi Holocaust deniers of the 1950s and
1960s, and of some of the neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers of the 1980s
and 1990s, was not necessarily true of many other Holocaust deniers. The armchair pseudo-historians and conspiracy theorists
who became part of the Holocaust denial movement were almost
certainly antisemites and anti-Zionists, but although they were
interested in recasting the history of World War II and perhaps
rehabilitating the image of Hitler, they had no desire to revive the
Nazi movement. Moreover, several of the foremost Holocaust deniers, including Arthur Butz, Fred Leuchter, and Bradley Smith,
did not have any discernible right-wing views or affiliations before they took up with the Holocaust denial movement. But because the Holocaust denial movement as a whole was predominantly composed of right-wing antisemites, calling them out for
belonging to that ideology was a convenient way of conveying to
the American people the disingenuousness and mendaciousness
of their attempt to deny the existence of gas chambers.

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