Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chose to commemorate Quds Day on Friday, September 18, by expressing his usual doubts as to whether the Holocaust really happened. He stated that the Holocaust was used as a false pretext for occupying Palestinian lands. And he is quoted as questioning, “If the Holocaust was a real event, why don’t they allow research on it to clear up the facts?”
To this last question, I would respectfully ask, “Who are ‘they,’ who are not allowing research to take place?” In addition, “What would the disallowed research show, if ‘they’ allowed it to take place?” Tell me if I am mistaken, but to the best of my knowledge, thousands of books have been written about the Holocaust, by researchers of diverse religious affiliations and backgrounds. Did anyone put a gun to their head as to what they could delve into, and what they should leave alone? Is there some sort of Holocaust Research Police that I don’t know about?
Ahmadinejad is not a stupid man. He has read the books, and seen the movies, and the pictures of the thousands of barracks which housed the Jews, and others as well, on their way to the gas chambers. He has seen photos of the piles of clothing, and shoes, and eyeglasses, and all the sundry possessions of the people who were once living, and who had their lives cut short by the brutality of the Nazis. So why bother denying such incontrovertible facts of history?
Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust because in his mind such denial serves a purpose. But to what purpose? Perhaps his denial evokes condemnation from the West, and such condemnation can be used to burnish his reputation for defiance against the “tyranny” of the West? Perhaps his denials and his hatred of Israel can be used to divert attention away from his government’s failed policies, and can inspire support among the masses? Perhaps his fiery words can help to justify Iran’s race to become a nuclear power? Perhaps his verbal attacks embolden Iran’s proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, for further attacks against the Jewish State?
No doubt Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denials serve their purpose, at least in his mind, but there is also a price to be paid for such claims. When you deny the Holocaust, knowing full well that it took place, you deny yourself, because you are willing to predicate your views on the basis of a lie. So if you are willing to lie to yourself in such a brazen way, then who are you when you look in the mirror?
In addition, when you deny the Holocaust, you deny your own people, because you are willing to lie to them, and to lead them on the basis of the lies you tell. How can you claim to respect your people when you lead them on the basis of a lie?
And finally, when you deny the Holocaust, you deny the future of your nation. For a nation to lift itself up from poverty, and to come to terms with the competitive realities of a global economy, it must first come to terms with the truth, and make changes based on an accurate assessment of its condition. How can you come to terms with the truth when you are willing to sweep away the suffering and killing of millions, in the name of propaganda and short-sighted self-interest?
Ahmadinejad may have his reasons for denying the Holocaust, but he should question, in his own mind, whether his reasons justify the consequences. He betrays himself, his people, and the future of his nation, by clinging to his fantasies. The lies he tells are the lies which hold his people back. He speaks for calculation’s sake, but on this score at least, he has miscalculated grossly.