This history has always been a field of interest for not only scholars, but also humankind. Through stories of history people see a reflection of their future and their aims; sometimes they find their hopes in the darkness of their present by reviewing how bitter ages past have been replaced by light.
But by cracking the pages of written history, points emerge in your mind; fears, hopes and doubts. Yes, studying brings questions and questions demand answers…
Have you heard Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon?” Now there is a part of history that is being questioned, and a group of people around the globe have raised doubts, saying they don’t agree upon what is claimed to be “The Holocaust”.
You have heard of (as Schindler’s List demonstrates) all the pains Jews have gone through; all the hatred they are facing even now, as in many American TV series and movies show. You have definitely heard of Iran’s outrage towards this part of history; but is that true?
Questioning the Holocaust is explicitly or implicitly illegal in 17 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
Forbidding holocaust denial is justified by attributing it to an anti-Semitic act which cannot be an accurate argument.
There are too many controversies around Iran’s stance towards Israel. Saying ‘Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map’, ‘Iran is to kill the Jews’ etc.
But to understand Iran’s real stance toward this issue, it is worth reviewing President Mahmoud Ahmadienjad’s remarks about the Holocaust.
In an interview with NBC NEWS’s Brian Williams on Sept 19, 2006, Ahmadinejad raised three questions about the Holocaust:
1- In the Second World War, over 60 million people (at least 50 million civilians) lost their lives. They were all human beings. Why is it that only a select group of those who were killed have become so prominent and important?
2- If this event (Holocaust) happened, and if it is a historical event, then we should allow everyone to research it and study it. The more research and studies are done, the more we can become aware of the realities that happened. We still leave open to further studies absolute knowledge of science or math. Historical events are always subject to revisions, and reviews and studies…Why is it that those who ask questions are persecuted? Why is every word so sensitivity or such prohibition on further studies on the subject? Where as we can openly question God, the prophet, concepts such as freedom and democracy?
3- If this happened, where did it happen? Did the Palestinian people have anything to do with it? Why should the Palestinians pay for it now? Five million displaced Palestinian people is what I’m talking about. Over 60 years of living under threat. Losing the lives of thousands of dear ones. And homes that are destroyed on a daily basis over people’s heads. You might argue that the Jews have the right to have a government. We’re not against that. But where? At a place where their people were — several people will vote for them, and where they can govern. Not at the cost of displacing a whole nation. And occupying the whole territory.
The Israeli – Palestinian confrontation is one of the longest lasting world crises in recent times and many believe an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would also be the key to solving the other issues and conflicts in the region.
As Iran’s President has frequently asserted, if the Holocaust happened in Europe, what is the fault of the Palestinian people? The Palestinian people’s lives are being destroyed today in the pretext of the Holocaust. Lands have been occupied, usurped. But what is their fault? What role did they play in the Holocaust?
“Well, assuming that the Holocaust happened, then, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people?”
So, What Iran doubts
Let’s review some major points Iran has raised about the Holocaust:
1. The evidence of the honoured history of each nation is always open to study; you have never heard of a ban on studying war crimes; for instance Iran has always presented evidence and proof to the world of what Iraq did to Iran’s people, as most countries do; but the Holocaust is the only part of history, which is kept out of questioning!
2. Let’s consider that the Holocaust is true, and as they say, “six million Jews during World War II, were murdered by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, throughout German-occupied territory.” Still we need to ask: Why Palestinians should pay the price?
Though the solution to this dispute is not very complicated! (Churchill once said: “Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.”) Iran suggests that the Holocaust events should be further investigated by independent and impartial parties;
Iran is against using the Holocaust to justify the behaviour of Israel in the region, and this is a merely a political and humanitarian argument, nothing to do with Jews and cannot be interpreted as anti – Semitic.
Jews, like other minorities are living peacefully in Iran. Jews are protected in the Iranian constitution and a seat is reserved for a Jew in the Majlis (Iran’s Parliament). Iran hosts the largest Jewish population of any Muslim-majority country.And it is home to the second-largest Jewish population in the Middle East.
Your comments are welcome.
*Zahra Tohidian is an Iranian Journalist who mostly writes political articles and analysis.