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Here is the perfect book review to print out for your waffling friends and neighbors whom you have slowly and patiently brought to the point where they will at least politely listen to your argument about the so-called "Holocaust". Be sure to tell them where they can buy the book, the Holocaust Industry - at www.amazon.com
The Daily Star, Tuesday, July 3, 2001
How an entire industry has hijacked memories of the Holocaust
Make no mistake, this book is a bombshell. Published last year, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, not only braces with a provocative title, but adds to one's amazement when it is revealed that its author, Norman G. Finkelstein, is Jewish and the son of Holocaust survivors.
Strange, then, that this man decided to study a phenomenon of which the world is becoming increasingly aware: the packaging, marketing and selling of a historical event, totally divorced from its context and used as a tool for extortion and guilt where resistance might have lay.
On second thought, is the fact that an author with these stellar "credentials" has penned this book such a surprise? For he too, at the end, is a consequence of the "industry" he decries, for in today's world, only a few can utter such criticisms without being slurred as anti-Semites.
Finkelstein gets down to work from the first page. In this concise and slender book, which has been translated into dozens of languages, we are faced with truths long denied and facts as yet untold. Whether one agrees with the author's premise or not, the extent and thoroughness of his research are unquestionable.
From the outset, the author separates the Nazi Holocaust which is the historical event that occurred between 1939 and 1945, resulting in the mass murder of Europe's Jewry, and "The Holocaust" which is its ideological representation. The purpose of this Holocaust dogma, he argues, is to portray both the Jewish people and the Jewish state as victims. Thereby, they become immune to criticism.
Finkelstein states that Holocaust awareness did not take place in the States prior to 1967. Before that, the genocide of 6 million Jews was never given prominence in American life. It was the period of the Cold War and Germany was realigned as a partner, hence references to German war crimes would have been counter-productive. All this changed after the 1967 war, when Israel defeated Jordan, Syria and Egypt, securing its position as the dominant power in the Middle East.
The United States, mired in the humiliation of a war with Vietnam that it was in the process of losing, saw Israel as a willing ally in a region where Syrian and Egyptian regimes were taking increasingly defiant and independent stances.
"This was a windfall for American Jews," Finkelstein writes. He explains how this ethnic group in America, which always sought success and access to power, found in Israel its vehicle. They set in motion the "holocaust industry" to justify American support and Israeli excesses while benefiting from this newly acquired victim status, becoming the go-betweens in a very lucrative business.
Finkelstein puts it clearly: "Everybody knows (that of) the contributions collected in America, (in) the name of Israel, about half of the sum goes not to Israel but to Jewish institutions in America."
There are a few stars in Finkelstein's book, most notably the Godfather of the Holocaust industry, Nazi-hunter Elie Wiesel. Wiesel comes from a school of thought that places the Holocaust as an event totally out of the ordinary, so unique as to be sacred, so horrific as to be incomprehensible; therefore any attempt at studying it or rationalizing it is tantamount to denying it. All this, Finkelstein points out, done at the rate of $25 000 a lecture plus limousine.
It is Wiesel who introduced the concept of the Holocaust as being the climax of Gentile hatred for Jews. According to his interpretation, this is no less then a 2,000-year-old hatred stemming from the crucifixion of Christ and leading up to this inevitable horror. Thus by divorcing a historical event (which was never exclusively Jewish) from its appropriate context and placing it in a romanticized chronicle of the Jewish people, its historical value is totally stripped from it and its dogmatic purpose made clear: The world is out to get the Jews.
This, Finkelstein says, explains their need for a sanctuary (Israel) and greater security (atomic weapons and immunity from criticism.) All this has led to the turning of the Holocaust into the new religion of the secular American Jew, the new tie that binds in an otherwise threateningly assimilating culture.
One of the strengths of Finkelstein's book is his guidance through the minefield that is modern-day propaganda. His clarity of thought holds the reader's attention while his undeniable humor ("if the world wants the Jew dead, truly the wonder is that they are still alive - and, unlike much of humanity, not exactly starving") makes of for an interesting read. One by one, false assumptions fall to reveal the less enchanting purposes behind them.
In the first two chapters we are faced with the cultural and political ramifications of the Holocaust industry. In his third and final chapter we are introduced to the chilling ways it does business.
Finkelstein illuminates astonishing facts about the mechanics that made a country such as Switzerland buckle and pay $1.25 billion to Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress, which claims to represent all Jewish Holocaust survivors. According to Finkelstein's research, the money has yet to be given to the people in whose name it were claimed but rather fills the already overflowing coffers of these institutions.
Finally, as proof is given of lawyers and senators charging up to $640 per hour for their work on these cases, it is again Finkelstein's wit and perceptiveness that keeps us reading as he cleverly points out that the American record in dealing with dormant Jewish accounts is just as bad as Switzerland's, if not worse.
Critics, unable to deny his well-supported arguments, have resorted to attacking his style, which they qualify as endless ranting and angry diatribe.
Most moving of all is his demand that the victims of the Nazis be left to rest in peace, and as for the survivors, he shares his mother's wisdom: "If everyone who claims to be a survivor actually is one, who did Hitler kill?"
Indeed everyone is a survivor if there is money to be had and sainthood to be awarded, but at the end of the day only a few truly survived and they did not do so to watch their real suffering be used for material and political gain.
Thought for the Day:
"I'll not listen to reason...Reason always means what someone else has got to say."
Back to Table of Contents of the July 2001 ZGrams