Sunic, Weber and Smith Address Spirited IHR Meeting
News from the Institute for Historical Review
An upbeat spirit of solidarity and enthusiasm marked the IHR meeting on Saturday evening, March 24, 2007, in Irvine, California. The three speakers -- Tomislav Sunic, Mark Weber and Bradley Smith -- were in good form, not only in delivering their own talks, but also during the lively question and answer sessions. IHR Director Weber opened the meeting and introduced the other speakers.
Bradley Smith -- author, playwright, veteran free speech activist, and director of the Committee
for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH) -- reported on his role in the much-publicized Holocaust conference in Iran. He recounted anecdotes from the December meeting, and conference, and shared impressions of Iran's sprawling capital city.
Tomislav (Tom) Sunic, who spoke next, is a scholar, author, former diplomat, and former professor of political science in the US. He currently lives with his family in Croatia. His address was a critical look at modern liberal democratic societies in which he reviewed social-political challenges of present-day Europe and the United States.
Dr. Sunic developed points made in his new book, Homo americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age, a thoughtful critique of American society and its impact around the world. Sales of the just-published book were brisk, and Sunic autographed copies purchased by attendees.
He drew parallels between the multicultural and multiethnic societies of the former Yugoslavia, the former Soviet Union, and the United States today, and compared the prevailing "politically correct" outlook and terminology of such societies. Referring to the chaotic collapse of the former Yugoslavia, and the inter-ethnic strife and bloodshed that followed, Sunic expressed the view that in a multiethnic and multicultural society, "divorce" is preferable to a "forced marriage."
Sunic related that in Communist Yugoslavia, where he grew up, everyone distrusted and inwardly rejected the prevailing regime as alien and imposed. Everyone knew who the enemy was. By contrast, he went on, the general attitude in Europe today toward the prevailing social-political system is not hostility, but rather confusion and alienation. Europeans and Americans have difficulty coming to grips with the basic political question: "Who is my enemy, and who is my friend?"
In today's Europe, which seeks a "negative legitimacy" in "anti-fascism," there is a climate of intellectual sterility, coupled with academic hysteria and mutual denunciation. The "soft totalitarianism" that now prevails in Europe and the US "kills the soul." Sunic spoke of the growing tendency in Europe toward self-censorship among intellectuals and politicians, a phenomenon he traced to the "denazification" campaign imposed after the end of the Second World War.
In Germany this process began first with an intellectual witch hunt in the universities and other institutions of higher learning, with mass removal of academics and countless books, especially in the fields of genetics, philosophy, art, and international law. Even today many books are still banned in Germany. Thousands of academics and writers whose views were regarded as contrary to the new liberal democratic order were repressed.
In France, more than 180 authors and artists were banned from literary or artistic expression in the postwar era.
Dr. Sunic spoke of the "dumbing down" of the populace in the US and Europe, and said that the worst aspects of American-style liberal democracy have become widespread in eastern and central Europe .
Sunic spoke about the importance of precision in language, and of understanding the real meanings of words and concepts.
In Europe and the US, he said, there have been drastic changes during the past 60 years in the generally understood meanings of terms such as "human rights," "holocaust," "free speech," and "totalitarianism." Today an expression such as "human rights" is used to "neutralize" and silence those who are considered enemies of democracy and human rights.
Sunic spoke about Section 130 of the German criminal code, which criminalizes "popular incitement" ("Volksverhetzung"), and under which "Holocaust deniers" are fined and imprisoned. But the precise meaning of "popular incitement" is so ambiguous that Germans are obliged to carefully measure what they say and write. Victims of Section 130 include not just "deniers," but writers who critically examine other social, biological and historical issues.
In France the Fabius-Gayssot law makes it illegal to "contest" the "crimes against humanity" as defined by the Nuremberg inter-Allied Tribunal of 1945-46. Enacted in 1990, the law was prompted by statements of Prof. Robert Faurisson. This law is used to prosecute not only "Holocaust deniers," but scholars writing about broader social and cultural issues.
Totalitarianism, said Sunic, is not a one-way street charted by conspiratorial thugs. It is, instead, primarily the result of self-abnegation, intellectual cowardice, and lack of civic courage. "The spirit of totalitarianism is the absence of all spirit," he concluded.
During the robust question-and-answer period that followed his address, Sunic was asked if he looked to Russia or perhaps another country for hope about Europe's future. Sunic was dubious about Russia in the long run and Germany today, but expressed guarded optimism about Germany in the long run.
Mark Weber in his address spoke about the Zionist-Israeli push for war with Iran, the Jewish-Zionist role in dictating American foreign policy, and the pressing task of informing and educating the public. (The full text of Weber's address is posted here.)
In his review of the campaign for war against Iran, he cited recent remarks by high-level US and Israeli officials. The so-called Iran crisis is bogus, he said, and "every bit as phony as the one manufactured to provide a pretext for war against Iraq."
"Once again," said Weber, "we are told that another country that Israel regards as an adversary is a grave threat to peace. Once again our politicians and a compliant media present a barrage of sensational and frightening propaganda claims -- claims remarkably similar to those we heard in 2002 and 2003, and from the same Israel-friendly crowd." A war against Iran, he stressed, "would serve only Israeli and Zionist interests. For everyone else, war against Iran would be a catastrophe."
US policy in the Middle East, Weber said, is based on a "blatant double standard." "While Washington threatens war against Iran for developing a nuclear program, it sanctions Israel's vast arsenal of nuclear weapons, and seemingly has no problem with a nuclear-armed China, Pakistan, Russia and India."
Weber spoke about the positive impact of the new book by former president Jimmy Carter, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, and the "Israel Lobby" paper issued last year by professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. That important paper, said Weber, "is much more than a trenchant analysis or persuasive critique of a particular lobby. It is implicitly a damning indictment of the American social-political system."
As he has in other talks and interviews in recent years, Weber emphasized the dangerous impact of Jewish-Zionist power. "The Jewish-Zionist grip on our nation," he said, "is an expression of a profound and deeply rooted problem... Such a lobby or power... could only gain such a hold on the governmental machinery of a society that is fundamentally sick and corrupt."
Now, concluded Weber, "we are engaged in a great, global struggle... a struggle that calls all of us -- across the country and around the world -- who share a sense of responsibility for the future of our nation, of the world, and of humankind."