December 11, 2006
Apparently the Anti-Defamation League have achieved their personal best. They've found a way to argue that a Holocaust Museum is anti-Semitic.
But the museum, called the Arab Institute for Holocaust Research and Education, is proving controversial on all sides. Mr Mahameed said his efforts had left him ostracised by friends and snubbed by his own brother. School officials in Nazareth have turned down his offers to host pupils. At the same time, Jewish leaders who at first praised his plans say the exhibit may do more harm than good by including a Palestinian flag and images of Arab refugees who fled or were expelled from their homes as war broke out when Israel was founded in 1948.The ADL's original press release is here. As magpie says, it's difficult to see what they're on about if you read the Institute's apparently machine-translated statement of principles.
The Anti-Defamation League said Mr Mahameed had partly based his museum "on the false premise that the Palestinian people are paying the price for European guilt".
By including emblems of the Palestinian cause, Mr Mahameed was making an "inappropriate connection between the plight of the Palestinians and Jewish Holocaust victims", the league alleged.
I'm guessing it's Mr Mahameed's trip to Iran that prompted the LA Times to follow up this six month old story. Note the casual recitation of the questionable claim of Ahmadinejad's denialism.
Update: Of course, when you start hosting denialist conferences, people could probably be forgiven for focussing more on what you seem to mean rather than what you actually say.
Update 13/12/06: Recent quotes from senior Holocaust researchers about Ahmadinejad's loopy publicity stunt make an interesting contrast to ADL's remarks about the Arab Institute for Holocaust Research and Education. From an article by Neta Sela:
According to [Yad-Vashem director Avner] Shalev this is "a systematic method that he is employing with the intention of destroying the moral basis for the existence of the state of Israel as a home for the Jewish people. Tsk tsk, associating the Holocaust and the founding of Israel like that. Didn't they get the memo?
"Ahmadinejad wants to link together these questions of 'historical truths' and moral rights with the Israeli-Arab conflict so that this link will gnaw at global recognition of the moral right of a sovereign Jewish state in Israel."
Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center ... explains what he believes is the reason that Ahmadinejad chooses to focus his efforts on the subject of the Holocaust: "The Holocaust has become the most classic example of genocide in the 20th century. As a result there is a natural empathy towards Jews as victims of the Holocaust.
"Those anti-Semites understand that as long as the subject resonates so deeply in the world – it will be much more difficult for them to harm Jews and the state of Israel, which was established as a direct or indirect result of the Holocaust."
The Ynet piece was cited in today's carefully balanced Crikey editorial about the conference and the unpleasant rogue's gallery in attendance. They also refer in passing to the issue of misleading translations of Amadinejad's oft-cited "wipe Israel off the map" quote, linking to a lengthy article by Jonathan Steele.