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Holocaust Distortion

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Hate crime incidents and Holocaust denial and distortion rhetoric have risen sharply across the world since the October 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel.

According to the International Holocaust Remembrace Alliance (IHRA), Holocaust Distortion refers to intentional efforts to:

1. Excuse or minimize the impact of the Holocaust or its principal elements, including collaborators and allies of Nazi Germany;

2. Gross minimization of the number of the victims of the Holocaust in contradiction to reliable sources;

3. Attempts to blame the Jews for causing their own genocide;

4. Statements that cast the Holocaust as a positive historical event. Those statements are not Holocaust denial but are closely connected to it as a radical form of antisemitism. They may suggest that the Holocaust did not go far enough in accomplishing its goal of “the Final Solution of the Jewish Question”;

5. Attempts to blur the responsibility for the establishment of concentration and death camps devised and operated by Nazi Germany by putting blame on other nations or ethnic groups.

Hate crime incidents and Holocaust denial and distortion rhetoric have risen sharply across the world since the October 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel.

In Sweden for example, the World Jewish Congress’ Nordic Office successfully advocated for the government to expand security measures for its Jewish communities. In February 2024 a new provision on hate speech making Holocaust denial and distortion illegal, with cross parliamentary support was unanimously voted by the government and will go to the Swedish Parliament in May 2024.

AJC Global said that Holocaust distortion is among 7 Ways Some Anti-Israel Protests Have Spread Antisemitism since October 7, 2023:

"A day after the brutal Hamas invasion of Israel which left over 1,300 people dead, a crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters took over New York City’s Time Square on October 8, 2023, waving signs and placards including a Nazi swastika.  Similarly, when a Jewish group gathered in Boca Raton, Florida to show their support for Israel in 2021, white supremacists cruised by in a van painted with the phrases “Holocaust never happened” and “Hitler was right” and waving a Palestinian flag. At the same time, at a Seattle rally, a sign featured images of Adolf Hitler and Netanyahu side-by-side with the slogan “Zionism=Nazism.”

AJC Global said that in addition to this being Holocaust denial this is antisemitic because: "Equating the Israeli prime minister to Hitler is a graphic and offensive form of Holocaust distortion. One can disagree with Israeli policy, but saying Israel is perpetrating a “second Holocaust” and trying to annihilate Palestinians just as Hitler attempted to annihilate all of Europe’s Jews is not only factually wrong, it is antisemitic. Claiming that Israel, home to the largest number of living Holocaust survivors, behaves like the Nazis in its treatment of Palestinians is a personal attack on survivors and distorts the impact of the Shoah."

In Britain, due to rising antisemitism following October 7, fewer organisations commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January.

“One thing we hear quite often is people saying ‘the war in Gaza is another genocide, it’s just like the Holocaust’, or comparing the Israeli government with the Nazis,” said Olivia Marks-Woldman, the chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. “Those are Holocaust distortions, where victims of the Holocaust, the Jewish people, are being accused of being Nazis themselves. That’s antisemitic. It’s deeply worrying. And it shows a fundamental lack of knowledge of the Holocaust.”


(Last updated on 05/02/2024)

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