An outbreak of antisemitism highlights important links between denial of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust…writes Nikki Marczak

February 15, 2016 by Nikki Marczak
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Last week, the ugly heads of racism and antisemitism reared up after my colleague, Meher Grigorian, wrote an article exposing the Australian Government’s partnership with an organisation notorious for denial of the Armenian Genocide.The implicit paradox in the Human Rights Commission’s decision to involve the Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance (ATAA) in its ‘Racism: It Stops With Me’ campaign is that genocide denial is arguably one of the worst manifestations of racism. The organisation’s work mirrors that of the Turkish Government in aiming to diminish the crimes of the Ottoman authorities, to explain away mass murder of

Nikki Marczak

Nikki Marczak

civilians as a matter of ‘military necessity’, and indeed to blame the victims for the atrocities committed against them. The history of the Armenian Genocide, accepted not only by genocide scholars but also, increasingly, by governments and international bodies, is targeted by the ATAA with tactics akin to those of Holocaust deniers.

Incredibly, the ATAA’s homepage now contains a ‘Help us tackle hatred’ link, claiming the organisation is “…fighting against all forms of racial discrimination and religious vilification”. It also refers to the Racial Discrimination Act, specifically Section 18C, which covers acts that may “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person or group. It was under this legislation that the Executive Council of Australian Jewry secured a conviction against Australia’s premier Holocaust denier, Fredrick Toben, in 2003.

The ATAA’s website states that “…there is no historical evidence showing that [the] Ottoman Government ordered a systematical [sic] killing of the Armenian people like Hitler did against the Jewish people in Europe.” As well as representing outright denial, this statement desecrates the memory of the Holocaust by using it to diminish another heinous genocidal event. In addition, much of the website’s content is dedicated to demonising the Armenian community. Its language is even reminiscent of classic antisemitic rhetoric, with the prominent heading “The Armenian Question” echoing the perpetual “Jewish Question” and the reference to the “Armenian lobby” and its supposed “land grab” alluding to some sneaky, behind-the-scenes group with a mystical and inexplicable power over global politics and finance.

Perhaps some of these parallels explain why many readers of Grigorian’s article in the independent media outlet New Matilda responded with extreme antisemitic vitriol. Soon after the article went live, the first comment was made – a soapbox rant about Jews being responsible for the world’s evils. When alerted, New Matilda removed the comment and, to its credit, stated that any members engaging in Holocaust denial would be banned from the site.

And then the real craziness began.

Enter Fredrick Toben, who asked the editor: “…does this mean your site will not even entertain discussing how the Holocaust narrative has changed over the past three decades?” Toben’s own website is furnished with photos of Hitler and offensive cartoons of Jews. His line that one cannot deny what never occurred will be familiar to the Armenian community, which hears similar nonsense from Turkish deniers on a regular basis. In the latter case, however, such propaganda is peddled not by fringe organisations but by the Turkish state.

One reader used the article as a platform for his own argument that ignoring genocide is worse than denying it, and that a concerted campaign of ignoring is the work of a Jewish and American enterprise, through which the “…Zionist-subverted Western Mainstream media ignore the ongoing Palestinian Genocide … and the US Alliance-imposed carnage in the Muslim World…”

Another spouted traditional conspiracy theories about the “Freemason Zionist” B’nai B’rith organisation, which is also, ironically, a partner of the Commission’s ‘Racism: It Stops With Me’ program. This charming post provided ‘evidence’ in the form of a link to neo-Nazi and White Pride group, Stormfront.

Only one reader responded to the actual content of Grigorian’s article, alerting us to the commenter’s own denialist publication titled ‘Twisted Law versus Proven Facts’. In the same vein as Holocaust denial, he ignored widespread and irrefutable evidence, choosing instead to post predictable and well-rehearsed accusations about supposedly doctored photos. This particular comment has not been removed by New Matilda.

Its association with an anti-racism campaign provides the ATAA with a veneer of credibility it does not deserve, given its blatant genocide denial and hateful language directed at the Armenian community. But what do Jews and the Holocaust have to do with this? One reader posed a particularly pertinent question, albeit sarcastically: “Isn’t acceptance of the Armenian genocide”, she asked, “’minimising the holocaust’ by admitting there have been other and just as deadly holocausts since humans learnt to kill?”

The answer is no. On the contrary – and as this episode shows – denial of the Armenian Genocide facilitates Holocaust denial and vice versa. They provide each other fuel. Which is why New Matilda, in asserting that Holocaust denial is unacceptable on the site, should take the same approach to comments seeking to cast doubt on the Armenian Genocide.

Nikki Marczak is an independent researcher with the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Comments

One Response to “An outbreak of antisemitism highlights important links between denial of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust…writes Nikki Marczak”
  1. Sukru Server Aya says:

    REPLY COMMENT:
    1- I have no connection in any way with ATA-A or their knowledge of historical facts and I am answering this article written by a young lady or gentlemen, without supporting valid documents. The word “denialist” can be only applied for “denial of asserted fact”. A “lie” can be “belied” only… The writer is so much carried away with hearsay and street palavers that she even doesn’t know that: < < ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) in 2015 and CCF (Constitutional Council of France) in 2016, gave a clear message to EU, as well as to the international community, that parliaments and other political institutions are not the appropriate bodies to declare an historical event as “genocide”.
    “On this matter the Constitutional Council is very clear. It asserts that whether an act of genocide has been committed or not can only be determined as a fact by a competent court and that legislature or governments cannot declare any event as genocide. This is perfectly in line with the United Nations Genocide Convention which prescribes that any accusation of genocide should be subject to legal due process by competent judicial authorities as provided in the Convention's articles 6 and 9.” Has the writer an authority to override U.N.?

    2- The writer has used the following explanation for one of my books: The writer preferred to use cheap slandering instead of opposing factual document. Referred book published in Ireland in 2013, photo (p.3) and text can be seen, read and downloaded on internet: In p.4 of the book I had listed the reasons of doubt about this photo and under par. (d) I had written;
    d. This photograph was shown also on the web page under subtitles “Armenians on the road of exile” also “The deportation of Christians to the depths of Anatolia”. Further captioned as “Greeks trail along the roads of exile, on the roads of death” and claimed to depict Pontic Greeks. Hence, the cover photo is no proof of what it is supposed to represent or of the whereabouts claimed.
    I re-checked the WEB links I had given and found out that these have been removed by someone at some time. However they forgot the following link dated 2012, confirming my reference and the Pontic Greek collaboration. http://au.greekreporter.com/2012/05/09/greek-australians-hold-commemorative-events-for-pontian-genocide/
    3- As regards the Jewish – Armenian – German solidarity the following expose the huge vacuum of historical knowledge which is readily available in the internet to do their jobs with care and no prejudice.
    a)-They are totally ignorant of the 22.000 men “Armenian Legion in the Nazi Army” under General Dro Kanajan and their services in rounding up Jews in Holland and sending them to death camps. See internet for many articles and read: http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2006/10/1139-nazi-armenians-helped-hitler.html

    b)- Jews are also ignorant of the outstanding services of Turkish diplomats saving Jews connected with Turkey in some way and saving some 10.000 Jews from France, sending them by special chartered trains to Palestine via Istanbul This ignorance is inexcusable: http://www.sefarad.org/lm/043/6.html . They are also unaware of the German Nazi Papers “Hayastan-Hairenik” and others supporting Hitler for his treats on Jews.

    c- Further see: http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2007/05/1671-turkey-and-jews-of-europe-during.html

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