From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

On page 58 of the current issue of The Nation there’s an advertisement for a book written by Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy. According to the advertisement, in The Founding Myths of Modern Israel ,“French scholar Roger Garaudy dissects the historical myths cited to justify Zionist aggression and repression, including the legends of a ‘land without a people for a people without a land,’ and the most sacred of Jewish-Zionist icons, the Holocaust story.” (Yes, the Holocaust story. And “Jewish-Zionist icons. Whatever.) The book is published by the Institute for Historical Review. In its Executive Summary: Holocaust Denial - A Global Survey: 2003 the Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies identified the IHT as “the leading Holocaust denial organization in the United States.”

So: Why is The Nation accepting—and publishing—advertising from Holocaust deniers?

According to the self-congratulatory blurb on the cover, this is “The book that scandalized Europe and thrilled the Islamic world brings America the shocking truth on Zionism and the Holocaust!” Indeed, the Arabic Edition of Garaudy's The Founding Myths of Modern Israel includes a bilious, er, charming introduction courtesy of Mohamed Heikal, whom The Guardian later called “the Arab world's foremost political commentator.” Well, a connoisseur of Holocaust denial isn’t much of a standard, no matter how brilliant his other political commentary may be. It’s a good thing for Heikal that, in certain circles, writing an introduction to a Holocaust denier’s book hardly even taints one’s prestige (just ask Noam Chomsky). Such actions speak for themselves, of course. In his execrable little ditty, Heikal lavishes praise upon not just Garaudy but also Holocaust denier David Irving. The IHT has the fawning introduction on-line, if you want to read it (I’m not going to link to it).

Is The Nation indulging in a little fashionable “anti-Zionism” (a term that, despite its popularity of late, I’ve yet to see actually defined in any serious, etymological sense)—or just trying to court a little controversy? Or both?

But remember: “Anti-Zionism”—whatever that’s supposed to mean—isn’t necessarily the same thing as anti-Semitism. Or bigotry. Except when it is. And it often is.

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