The interview by Dr.Gerstenfeld with Professor Israel Charny, was originally published in Israel National News and republished here with the author’s consent.
THE ACADEMIC DISTORTERS OF THE HOLOCAUST
Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Israel W. Charny
“Since I cherished a naïve conviction that scholars in the newly emerging field of genocide studies by definition would be humanists and democrats, my disappointment and horror are powerful. It turns out that there are a good number of scholars who indulge in Holocaust denials or minimization and they are entirely bona fide according to all the rules and conventions of academia.
Prof. Israel W. Charny is a psychologist and genocide scholar. He served as co-founder and a past president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, president of the International Family Therapy Association, and was the founder and first president of the Israel Family Therapy Association.
“In the academic world an alternative has developed to the classic ‘sloppy’ denials of the Holocaust. Several scholars now propagate the explicitly false thesis that the Jews were not targeted as victims because they were Jews. What is claimed instead is that they were a minority who were persecuted by the Nazis along with other minorities.
“This kind of specious intellectual juggling has led to outright false statements in several articles in the ‘respectable’ Journal of Genocide Research (JGR). In one article it is claimed that the specifically anti-Jewish Wannsee Conference was not at all motivated by hatred of the Jews, but represented a policy towards European minorities as a whole, this despite the fact that it was this conference that cemented the plans for the ‘Final Solution.’
“Gerhard Wolf, who lectures at the University of Sussex – a center of Holocaust distortion — wrote: ‘The Wannsee conference is still largely understood as the echo of an earlier decision to annihilate European Jewry.’ The interpretation of the Wannsee Conference as aiming at the Jewish population ‘mistakenly concludes that because the conference targeted only Jews, it also emerged from within the narrower confines of the regime’s anti-Jewish policies. Heydrich’s actions at Wannsee can be better understood as a response to early failures in Germanizing annexed Poland and the settlement fantasies coming out of the SS apparatus after the invasion of the Soviet Union. It was part of a larger program that disposed those who stood in the way of expanding German living space.’
“These Holocaust distorting scholars have firmly decided not to see the victimization of the Jews in the Holocaust as a major event in human history. The agonized fates of the Jewish victims, because they are Jews, is nowhere to be experienced in these seemingly advanced intellectual analyses. Yet the Nazis themselves tell us over and over again explicitly that they hate Jews.
“These scholars also promote the idea that it is the package of Nazi beliefs in their being Übermenschen (Superman and Superhuman) and their destiny of creating German Lebensraum (Living Space) that led, in a sense indirectly and inadvertently, to their killing Jews. This claim ignores the passion of the German Nazi persecution for torture and murder of the Jews. Hatred of the Jews was the guiding inspirational leitmotif of the Nazis in its own right, and by extension also served as an emotional basis for enabling other Nazi brutalities.
“The distorted attitude that the Holocaust is one of many genocides the German Nazi regime committed is a minimization of the basic significance of the Holocaust that a shocking number of bona fide genocide scholars have been promoting. Some of these writers have responded to a critique I published that the very concept of ‘Holocaust minimization’ was unclear and academically unfounded.
“Antisemitism is mentioned by the above genocide scholars as a dry afterthought just to be ‘academically complete.’ Rarely are there references to the overwhelming traditions of antisemitic hatred of the Jews in so many European countries. Rarely also is there mention of the endless expulsions of Jews over the centuries from one European country after another. The same is true for the ‘grand European tradition of pogroms.’
“After seeing a number of Holocaust minimizing articles and/or presenting anti-Israel or anti-Semitic biases in the JGR. I then decided to create a questionnaire with synopses and direct quotations from seven articles plus a final question about the journal as a whole.
“It was completed by 106 respondents, of which 67 were scholars and 39 students. The results were overwhelming: 59% felt that the articles excerpted from JGR were biased toward minimizing the significance of the Holocaust, and 59% percent of the respondents also judged that the articles were biased toward an anti-Israel position. 33% evaluated the articles as conveying an anti-Semitic motif.
“Sadly, Jews and Israelis are also among the leaders of such minimization of the Holocaust. As well-known British writer, Howard Jacobson, wrote on the British Labour party and antisemitism in the New York Times, there is no academic denier more beloved than ‘a Jew – any Jew – particularly any Israeli Jew – willing to join in [can] count on a standing ovation.’ Unbelievably, even at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem there is a hotbed of anti-Israel and Holocaust-downgrading scholars.”