Yesterday at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel, Pope Benedict said victims of the Final Solution "lost their lives, but they will never lose their names." Earlier this year, the Pope told a group of American Jewish leaders that "any denial or minimization any denial or minimization" of the Holocaust "is intolerable and altogether unacceptable."
Patrick Buchanan, a devout Catholic, might want to reacquaint himself with these declarations by the leader of his church, because the MSNBC political commentator and one-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is currently enabling Holocaust deniers.Buchanan.org, his official Web site, hosts, on a "Buchanan Brigade Forum" for registered members of the site, a long discussion thread in which Holocaust revisionists compare notes with each other and heap venom and vitriol on Jews. It's titled "Discussion about 'The Holocaust' " (with The Holocaust in quotes, of course).
In 2009, when the international community is busy excoriating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for doubting whether 6 million Jews did in fact perish at the hands of the Third Reich, Buchanan's Web site is encouraging this very conversation.
As Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies and director of the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University, explains, Holocaust denial is a pernicious strain of antisemitism.
"According to deniers, Jews use the Holocaust to win the world's sympathy and, in the course of so doing, win reparations from Germany and political support for Israel," she says. "Such a charge, based as it is the imagery of money and political manipulation, hearkens back to traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes."
This is a perfect description of the Buchanan Brigades' forum, which is replete with references to the "Holohoax" and "Holocaustianity." Among the gems featured there are the following:
• "Most historians believe it was LOGISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GAS 6 MILLION JEWS AND REDUCE THEIR BODIES TO ASHES."
• "I would like to see some rebuttal from Holocaust believers. Let's see some pictures of those gas chambers or those big cremation ovens. I'll tell you right now - THEY DON'T EXIST. The same blinded people that believe that the Germans intentionally killed Jews - also believe the myth of the Anne Frank Diary."
• "As anyone reads the various articles that have been posted here, they will have to realize that there simply were not gas chambers or mass crematoriums at any of the German internment camps."
• "Kosher and Halal ritual slaughter, belong in the middle east sands, where both barbaric practices were begun, after an instruction to the Hebrews and Islamics by their god voices, probably the same one. It's a pity they cannot cut each others throats."
• "We have known for some time that the Auschwitz myth is of an exclusively Jewish origin."
• "The Jewish Race has moved into Christian societies over most of Europe over the last millennium. They tend to eventually irritate their hosts and are then told to leave. Hitler used the hatred of the Jew as a rallying call for his movement. Rightly or wrongly - the Jew was blamed for a lot of the problems that Germany suffered. The Jews were given years of warnings that they were unwelcome in Germany. A lot of Jews fled Germany in the late 1930s. The United States was not very anxious to accept very many. This was when White Christians still had a little control of our Nation."
• "Regarding Corrie ten Boom, the heroic Dutch Christian woman who risked her life to help Jews during World War II: "I thought that she was Jewish but . . . I now see that she was simply a Jewish sympathizer, along with the rest of her family. . . . People need to realize that what the Ten Booms did was engage in an illegal activity helping hide people and support the 'resistance movement.' Here in America - a lot of Catholic churches hide and support illegal aliens. They feed and protect these people and then attempt to smuggle them to areas where they can co-mingle and blend in with other Americans. This is also an illegal activity, and the Catholics engaged in doing it need to be prosecuted and imprisoned."
These opinions are not inconsistent with Buchanan's own. In a March 17, 1990, syndicated column, Buchanan wrote that it would have been impossible for Jews to die in the gas chambers of the Treblinka death camp, and referred to a "so-called Holocaust survivor syndrome," which he described as involving "group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics."
Two years ago, Don Imus was unceremoniously dumped by MSNBC after making racially insensitive remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
Buchanan's sponsorship of a Holocaust denial forum is at least as offensive. Isn't it?
Menachem Rosensaft, the son of two survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, is general counsel of the World Jewish Congress and adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School
(This article was first published by the New York Daily News)