Institute for Historical Review

Institute for Historical Review

Beirut Revisionist Conference

Le Monde
March 16, 2001

The Appeal of Fourteen Arab Intellectuals Against a Denial Conference

by Mouna Naim

Two neo-Nazi [Holocaust] denial organizations, the Swiss "Truth and Justice" and the American "Institute for Historical Review" (IHR), are planning a conference entitled "Revisionism and Zionism" in Beirut, to be held from March 31 to April 3. One can read on the IHR internet site "Prominent revisionist researchers and activists from various countries will participate," thus reflecting the increasing cooperation among "independent" researchers from European countries, the United States, and the Middle East. It is no longer a secret to anyone in Beirut that the Lebanese authorities have been subjected to multiple pressures to forbid this conference. However, at this point, the best informed sources in the Lebanese capital are not in a position to say where it will be held, or who is the Lebanese sponsor of the gathering.

A group of fourteen Arab intellectuals have thus decided in an appeal to denounce this conference which, under the more than likely pretext of solidarity with the Palestinian cause, will spread their argument of denial, denying the reality of the genocide committed by the Nazis against the Jews. "We Arab intellectuals, are indignant at this anti-Semitic enterprise. We alert Lebanese and Arab public opinion to this subject and call upon the relevant authorities in Lebanon to forbid this unacceptable demonstration from being held in Beirut," write the signatories of the appeal, who are prominent members of the Arab intellectual elite: the poets Adonis (Lebanese) and Mahmoud Darwich (Palestinian), the historian Mohammed Harbi (Algerian) the writers Jamel Eddine Bencheikh (Algerian), Mohamad Verada (Morrocan), Dominique Eddé, Elias Khoury, Gérard Khoury and Salah Stétié (Lebanese), Fayez Mallas and Farouk Mardam-Bey (Syrian), Edward Said, Khalida Said and Elias Sanbar (Palestinian).

"This initiative, which uses Lebanon as a platform for its own objectives, takes place at the same time as a group of Lebanese intellectuals are organizing, for their part, a colloquium entitled 'Memory for the Future' that offers, for the first time since the end of the Lebanese war, a framework for reflection on a deadly past." They clarify by adding "Among those invited to this latter colloquium will be historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet, attorney Antoine Garapon, professor Jean-François Bergier, chairman of the expert committee on the Second World War, as well as many other Lebanese and foreign writers, historians and sociologists."

In a courageous editorial, published recently by the Saudi Arabian daily Al-Hayat, under the title "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Beirut," the Lebanese Joseph Samaha did not hesitate to write, for his part, that the holding of such a forum in Beirut "dishonors Lebanon." Describing the participants of this conference as "falsifiers of history," Joseph Samaha adds: the holding of such a conference in the Lebanese capital will suggest that "the defensive Arab struggle against Israel and its allies is somehow the extention of the Nazi extermination plan."

"In the name of the Palestinian and Arab victims, this conference will take up the defense of the Nazi executioner and his crime against the Jews," continues the editorialist, who rejects that "the Palestinian cause" should serve as "false witness" to an attempt at the rewriting of European History by deniers.

See the original article in French.

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