Updated to reflect a change blogged on 24 January
Hold your nose: with news that Iran is planning to hold a Holocaust “debate”, this blog dives deeper than usual into the sewer with a trip to the site of the far-right Adelaide Institute, where we fish out Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson’s praise for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
On December 8, 2005, – a date that will be remembered – the President of your country, Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, – a name that will go down in history – dared to voice doubts on the historical reality of the alleged “Holocaust”. (1)
This appears in an open letter from Faurisson to Jawad Sharbaf, managing director of Neda Institute of Scientific-Political Research and Studies in Iran. Sharbaf had written to Faurisson a few days before, in order to commiserate over the UN “Holocaust Day” resolution, and to encourage him to organize a denialist conference. Faurisson’s response, as ever, rants on at length at how “the Jews” disallow any discussion about the Holocaust – but while is keen on the idea of Islamist theocrats sponsoring his quest to show that he’s a serious scholar rather than a neo-Nazi, he’s doubtful on the practicalities:
…However, in view of the circumstances, such a project seems, sad to say, unrealisable at this moment. Allow me to explain why.
The reason, of course, is that all his comrades are in prison or suffering other forms of supposed persecution. Faurisson presents a long list of martyrs; they’re all pretty distasteful characters, although one name sticks out even there: Manfred Roeder, whom Faurisson calls a “barrister”. In fact, Roeder is a convicted terrorist, responsible for killing Vietnamese asylum seekers with bombs in 1982.
However, Faurisson has a “Plan B”:
…In conclusion, I think that, until things have changed somewhat, an international conference is, unfortunately, impossible. But, in accord with an idea put forth by professor Arthur Robert Butz, I shall say that we hope to see President Ahmadinejad create in Iran an international centre for revisionist studies whose first task would be to propagate historical revisionism’s attainments in the Arabo-Moslem world via the Internet or any other medium. Meanwhile, we request that Iran make repeated appeals to the Western world for the freeing of our prisoners of conscience.
Faurisson has praised Iran’s promotion of Holocaust denial before:
In November 2000, I spent a week in Iran at the invitation of the Centre of Strategic Studies, a body directly attached to the office of the President of the Islamic Republic, Mr Mohammed Khatami. I had no contact with the country’s press, radio or television but only with a few personalities who were well-informed about revisionism. I held no public conference but enjoyed an interview of several hours with the head of the Institute for Scientific Political Research, Professor Soroush-Nejad and a few of his colleagues. There again, I was struck by the knowledge of revisionism that certain Iranians could have. At about that time, the Swiss revisionist Jürgen Graf made his appearance in Iran and I am indeed pleased that, some months later, thanks to his intense activity and to the contacts which I, at my end, had maintained with the Iranian authorities after returning to France, the Teheran Times undertook the publication of a series of revisionist articles, the first of which was to bear the signature of Professor Soroush-Nejad. (2)
Sharbaf and Nejad show up on various sites reporting on Holocaust denial conferences; the Neda Institute itself, however, is (in English, at least) thankfully obscure online. However, UNISPAL, a website on Palestine affiliated to the UN, used to give the following information, until I contacted them:
Neda Institute for Scientific-Political Research
No. 20 Forsat Shirazi St.
Kargar Shomali St.
Focus: Assistance; Human rights; Peace promotion; Publication; Refugees; Research/Analysis; Solidarity
The site told us that “no endorsement by the United Nations is implied”, but it described Neda thus:
It conducts research projects on the Middle East with a particular focus on the question of Palestine.
Hardly an accurate account of its agenda, and of course completely counter-productive as far as the Palestinian cause is concerned. I’m glad I was able to bring it to UNISPAL’s attention, and that they removed the reference so promptly.
(NB: There is also a Neda Rayaneh Institute in Tehran, but seems to be completely unrelated)
UPDATE: David Bloom has some more background, over at World War 4 Report.
UPDATE 2: The MSM notices.
Far-right sites quoted, but not linked:
Name variation: Javad Sharbaf
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