From the Editor (May/June 2001)
This issue's cover photo, showing Australian revisionist Dr. Fredrick Töben meeting university students in Iran, expresses themes of travel, discovery, communication, teaching, and learning that have been central to historical revisionism since at least 1926, when revisionism's founding spirit, Professor Harry Elmer Barnes, made his first research and lecture tour of Europe. It also documents a white-hot recent trend: the rapid growth of Holocaust revisionism, fueled by increasing cooperation between Muslim and Western revisionists, across the Islamic world.
As Mark Weber's report on the latest revisionist developments in the Middle East elucidates, the international pressure orchestrated by Jewish groups against last spring's Beirut conference (which the Institute for Historical Review helped organize) has backfired badly. To be sure, diplomatic armtwisting, above all from the U.S. state department, induced the Lebanese government to forbid the gathering, while the circulation of an open letter, signed by fourteen eminent Arab intellectuals, against the Beirut conference provided a fig leaf for the naked intervention of outside forces in Arab affairs. Yet the cancellation of the Beirut conference served only to excite the curiosity of free-minded Arabs about Holocaust revisionism. Next IHR's Open Letter, ably rebutting that of the fourteen submissive savants, and widely published in the Arab world, gave interested Arabs an organizational focus for revisionism, as well as a reasonable, knowledgeable refutation of the slurs on IHR and other revisionists.
The moving spirit behind the first successful organized Arab response to the black-out of Beirut, Ibrahim Alloush, came to revisionism through reading Roger Garaudy's Founding Myths of Modern Israel (available in the definitive English edition from Noontide Press). A Palestinian Arab of Jordanian citizenship, educated as an economist at American universities, Dr. Alloush made the connection to IHR through the networking of the indefatigable revisionist MacKenzie Paine (whose spirited "Defy the Bully" essays may be accessed through www.vho.org/mlm). This activist Arab intellectual's article and interview reveal a man attuned to Western ideas, but rooted in his Arab, Islamic identity. He writes with frankness and insight on the key importance of revisionism to Arabs, and on the crisis of those Arab intellects who support Zionism, whether from opportunism or alienation. Dr. Alloush also offers some candid (and welcome) advice to Western revisionists.
It is no accident that at the May 13 conference of the Jordanian Writers Association in Amman, Dr. Alloush read at length from Robert Faurisson's planned address to the Beirut conference, or that Dr. Faurisson participated by telephone in a television discussion broadcast across the Arab world shortly afterwards. As Dr. Alloush and other Arab revisionists make clear, the painstaking, meticulous scholarship of researchers like Faurisson and Arthur Butz demonstrates revisionism's substance and refutes its enemies better than any polemic. That Beirut lecture, included in this issue, will endure as a brilliant, outspoken, and uncompromising analysis of the role of revisionism in the Arab struggle.
Fredrick Töben, like Robert Faurisson and many other Holocaust challengers today, embodies another trait that has caught the Middle Eastern imagination: the stubborn refusal to be deterred from speaking what revisionists believe, after diligent search, to be the facts. Dr. Töben, a trained philosopher who lives as philosophers were once supposed to, describes his quest for truth and justice in today's Germany, and the injustice and loss of freedom that search cost him. Then Robert Faurisson weaves a modern tale à la Andersen and Voltaire out of the rich fabric of Töben's exploits and the frailer thread of the Holocaust cult.
This issue contains as well Samuel Crowell's remarkably concessive review of Jan Gross' Neighbors, which finds that Gross' attempts to call Poles to self-examination over their treatment of Jews in the Second World War fall flat on his own (unexamined) Jewish chauvinism. Scott Smith's in-depth look at the movie Pearl Harbor -- by now an economic and artistic flop -- examines the ways in which today's Hollywood bends historical truth by distortion and omission.
Many readers won't fail to note the different spellings of Holocaust/"Holocaust" specified by our authors, or the occasional toughness of language in denoting "Jews" as a collective. While your editor prefers, in the liberal Western tradition, to keep responsibility personal, the seldom challenged claims of Jewish entities to act for Jewry as a whole, as well as their penchant for collective indictments of non-Jewish nations and religions, counsel a certain realism. In any case, the Journal will continue to adhere to the same openness on these and other revisionist issues as is evident in the closing exchange between Crowell and Jürgen Graf on the fate of the Hungarian Jews.
Theodore J. O'Keefe
From The Journal of Historical Review, May/June 2001 (Vol. 20, No. 3), page 2.