Holocaust denial is hateful, immoral and factually wrong

Zackie Achmat
Opinion
Holocaust denialism is hateful, immoral and factually wrong. It legitimises the taking of measures by individuals, organisations and governments that lead to the destruction of human dignity and life. This destruction of dignity and life is based on ideologies of hate and profit.

Denialism takes many forms, such as AIDS denialism that destroyed the lives of too many people in our country. The enslavement of Black people similarly (and on a greater scale) cruelly destroyed human life on the basis of racist ideology and profit. Denial of human dignity and life can never be tolerated. Churches defended and profited from slavery and the Dutch Reformed Church provided a scriptural justification for apartheid as well as the earlier banning of Islam in the Cape. This is unbecoming of faith-based bodies.

To provide a Holocaust denier with a platform under the guise of free speech is to legitimise war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Today, we have Radio 786, a Cape Town-based Muslim radio station defending the immorality of Holocaust denialism. In fairness, Radio 786 has after many years conceded that Holocaust denialism is wrong but claims the right to allow deniers the right to freedom of expression. Whether by omission or deliberation, Radio 786 is legitimising war crimes and crimes against humanity through free speech claims.

Many people argue for a ban on hate speech. I am conflicted about banning expression based on hate. I fear that allowing the state the right to restrict freedom of expression by banning hate speech will lead to other serious infringements of the right to criticise governments, corporations and individuals. I have no problem with prohibiting incitement to violence based on hate because this is a different matter. This must be legally prohibited.

However, as an individual I never debate with an AIDS denialist nor do I allow anyone to express Holocaust denialism through my Facebook page or any other medium because I believe it is wrong.

Every person in South Africa has a duty to resist any denialism based on hate. The struggle against Holocaust denial is a struggle for decency, dignity, accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is not a struggle between Judaism and Islam. We must therefore demand that Radio 786 unconditionally apologises for legitimising war crimes, in particular to victims of the Holocaust and their descendants. The apology must be made in memory of Nazi Holocaust victims, in particular to Jewish victims who disproportionally suffered a destruction of their human dignity, lives and property.

Comments

Submitted by werner erasmus on

Denialism has nothong to do with the actual facts other than it is rehtoric for some cause, normally bad, and is more a spewing of hatred also not based on fact. Two people cant lie about the same thing but millions can speak the same truth. See Apartheid Aids/HIV and others. Please let the truth be told and not denied.

Submitted by Manoko Sekwakwa on

Dont deny that Israel is occopying Palestinian lands.Dont deny that Irael is practicing Apartheid against Palestnians.Dont deny the Fact that the very jews you are talking about are denying human dignity to millions of Palestinians in their own land and others are denied the right to return to their homeland by the Jews in Israel.Dont deny the fact that thousands of innoscent men, women and children are killed every year by the Jewish army of Israel.You call on us to make demands against a radio station on an issue that took place donkey years ago.Talk of the present day suffering of Palestinians and other people in war torn lands.You Jews make it your business to remind us of your suffering of years ago yet you are the ones causing other people hardship today.Who the hell do think you are?Leave AIDS victims alone,they are not like you,leave victims of slavery alone they are not like you.You want to associate with their plight and use ancient pictures of Jewish skeletons to move our hearts,it wont work anymore,we can show you fresh pictures and videos of very small chidren killed by a very powerful Jewish army in Occupied Palestine.Denialism my foot.Take your skeletons,crocodile tears and go away.

Submitted by M Francis on

Nothing the author said legitimizes Israeli occupation or human rights abuses. There was no denial about anything the author just simply mentioned the space given to a holocaust denier. You are saying that because of a wrong done in one place another can be perpetuated. That is wrong, callous thinking and ignores the incredible human rights work done by Zackie Achmat as well as his continued opposition to the Israeli abuses and occupation. He is simply not being a hypocrite like you and btw he is not very Jewish - try Google to avoid looking bigoted and stupid in one breath.

Submitted by Monique Buckner on

This article is not a denial that Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land (or that it practises apartheid, for that matter). The issue of the article is about giving space to anti-semites, under cover of free speech, in order for them to deny a genocide, and how this actually legitimises war crimes and crimes against humanity in the process. It is not Jews as a group and their Judaism who are committing these abuses against the Palestinian people, but zionists and their zionism. It is crucial to be aware of the large number of Christian zionists in America and elsewhere who ignore or actively support what Jewish and atheist zionists are doing on Palestinian soil. Jews and zionists are just not the same thing! Zionists would like people to believe the two words mean the same thing, because in this way, any legitimate criticism of the appalling manifestations of zionism will get shot down with false allegations of anti-semitism. These smears are especially effective to silence Europeans who are guilty of centuries of persecuting Jews, leading up to the Nazi holocaust, and also to silence South Africans, especially white South Africans, who have their own past persecution of black South Africans to deal with. Many Jews, including in Israel, are actively working against what zionists are doing 'in the name of Jews'- whether those zionists be religious or not, Christian or Jewish. Think of the Stop the JNF campaign in South Africa that has Jewish support. Think of Israeli human rights groups and Boycott from Within. Don't fall into the trap of thinking this is about Jews. It isn't. What zionists are doing goes against Jewish teachings of justice and the teachings of the Torah. And the Nazi holocaust is not so ancient as you claim. We must never forget... or deny.

Submitted by DG on

You my man are an anti-Semite. Sad to see that nearly twenty years in and the country is producing the likes of you. Your stupidity makes you dangerous

Submitted by Gideon78 on

BTW you do know that the Author is a Muslim....so where you come with writing that Jews this and that is just propaganda you are regurgitating...BTW no occupation exists, that unfortunately is a fantasy you are just regurgitating BS from other people's opinion.

Here is your biggest mistake and shows your true colours..."Dont deny the fact that thousands of innoscent men, women and children are killed every year by the Jewish army of Israel."

You care less for facts than openshuhadastreet(.)org... Jewish Army??? You do know that there are Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bahai, Jews in the Israeli army. Another inconsistency...

"Dont deny the Fact that the very jews you are talking about are denying human dignity to millions of Palestinians in their own land and others are denied the right to return to their homeland by the Jews in Israel." Denying human dignity to millions of Palestinians...you do know that 4% of total Palestinian population is under IDF rule. Therefore 4% of 6 million is roughly 240 000...so where are the millions you talk about? Another inconsistency.

"Dont deny that Irael is practicing Apartheid against Palestnians" Here you go with another inconsistency. Apartheid was the systematic and government approved oppression of a group of South Africans. This is the most fundamental part of apartheid that is the minority citizens of SA ruling over the majority citizens by making laws against the majority...Blacks, Whites, Coloureds, Indians, Asians or whatever were all citizens of SA.

Are Palestinians citizens of Israel? Do Palestinians fall under Israeli law? Are Palestinians the minority in Israel? Unfortunately for you..you would like to answer yes to all those questions but you are unable because it just does not exist. The fact that Palestine and Israel are meant to be 2 sovereign countries proves that the apartheid analogy does not exist. Otherwise the term apartheid could be used against SA vs Swaziland with SA water theft and repeated army invasions. Or an army invasion into Lesotho. What about US/Mexico? What About Russia/Georgia? What about turkey/Cyprus? What about Australia/New Zealand? What about China/Tibet? in many of these countries that I have mentioned one law or even a few can resemble laws past by the Nats....yet I do not hear you calling those countries apartheid states? Yet another inconsistency.

Just because chocolate resembles carob does not make the carob tree a cocoa tree...just like soya might resemble meat does not make soya not suitable for vegetarians.

So too with basic martial law...some laws might seem harsh and a reminder of apartheid, however they are in place where ever Martial law exists. I do not see you saying there is apartheid in Egypt while they are under Martial Law...the fact of the matter is that you do not care about the facts or what apartheid was. You do not care for the people that actually went through apartheid, if you did then you would not be using the term so willy nilly and desecrate their true experiences of what really happened.

This is the same issue of this article...holocaust denialism is spearheaded by the same people that spearhead the apartheid analogy including the author Zackie Achmat...it almost seems hypocritical.

Holocaust denial desecrates the true experiences suffered by whoever was present under Nazis in concentration camps. Just like I would feel my blood start to boil at someone saying to me that the holocaust never happened...so too I would expect your blood to boil when someone desecrates the true experiences and suffering of your family to forward an agenda that has nothing to do with Apartheid.

Pity that you will not see this reply as there is no notifications of the reply....

Submitted by RationalMind on

Manoko - you might want to have a look at who wrote the article and do a bit of research. What's happening in Palestine is awful - Israel is wrong, but that doesn't make Holocaust denialism right and the author is in fact a muslim - so take your hate elsewhere. Intolerance, injustice, war crimes and hate is wrong no matter who does it - we're all in this together - except people like you.

Submitted by Gideon78 on

"What's happening in Palestine is awful - Israel is wrong" How do you come to that conclusion? Did you not hear what Khaled Meshaal had to say? That the resistance will fight until they have reclaimed Palestine from River to Sea? IT seems that you have conveniently forgotten what they are fighting for...Israel on the other hand while under constant threats has become one of the most important countries in the globe. Just last week Israel proposed a UN resolution about entrepreneurship...the resolution was passed however all Arab countries voted against the resolution....The resolution had nothing to do with Palestine and had to do with gaining access to funds so that entrepreneurs can try and create solutions to global problems. Israel looks for solutions and the Arab bloc in the UN made it their mission to try and get the UN resolution to be struck off the roll. A resolution that would help the Arab countries in solving some of their local problems.

It seems the hate for Israel trumps solutions to their problems...which reminds me of the fact that Spain translates more books into Spanish in a year than the amount of books translated into Arabic since the creation of the printing press. Did you know that Harry Potter was translated into Arabic by Israel, so that its Arabic speaking citizens could also enjoy the books...Israel probably translates more books into Arabic than the Arab world.

You unfortunately do not look at the facts, you should do research for yourself instead of listening to 4th and 5th hand accounts...broken telephone should have reminded you that anything over 1st hand accounts could be so far from the truth that it should be your duty (if that is what you want) to find out things for yourself and not just listen to any old person.

Submitted by Mpho on

I am a Zionist, and believe in criticizing Israel, like most Zionists do. Zionism is Jewish nationalism, and is the culmination of thousands of years of persecution. The solution is a negotiated settlement between the two parties. The death-worshipping cult Hamas will eventually have to accept the presence of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. Manoko, you are nothing but a tunnel-visioned racist who has nothing to contribute, and clearly has a lack of understanding of the complexities of this conflict.

Submitted by iqbal on

the author is an atheist.... what is holocaust denial .? everything else is up for discussion except this topic. the author was not there when it happened neither was i so can the topic be discussed or not. or do we just have to accept the narrative? for example do you /we accept the 9-11 narrative ie 2 planess bringing down 3 buildings ? i do not see holocaust museaums in all of the worlds capitals for near annilation of NATIVE AMERICANS etc... .....
read what gilad Atzmon had to say....http://www.gilad.co.uk/the-wandering-who
http://www.gilad.co.uk/ the title of his book is the wandering jew

.an injustice to one is an injustice to all..................

Submitted by NTO on

Oh wow! I am speechless.things like these surprise me.actually i don't really understand what the case is about but it seems to be a huge and interesting issue.