Holocaust-Deniers Gained in Arab & Muslim World in 2005, But Lost Ground in U.S. and Europe

News Release
December 21, 2005

Holocaust-deniers suffered setbacks in the United States and Europe this past year, but made gains in Arab and Muslim countries, according to this year’s annual report on Holocaust-denial activity around the world.

The year-end report, Holocaust Denial: A Global Survey – 2005, is published by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which is located on the campus of Gratz College, near Philadelphia. The report’s co-authors are Holocaust scholars Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute, and Dr. Alex Grobman, author of a recent book on Holocaust denial. (For the complete text of the new report, please visit www.WymanInstitute.org)

The report found that in many Arab and Muslim countries, Holocaust-denial continued to enjoy official sponsorship in 2005. The regimes in Egypt, Iran, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Syria promoted Holocaust-denial or defended Holocaust-deniers. The continued promotion of Holocaust-denial by Egyptian government-controlled publications was particularly alarming in view of the fact that in 2004, Egypt’s Information Minister had, in response to U.S. protests, publicly acknowledged the Holocaust as a historical fact and condemned Holocaust-deniers.

By contrast, in the United States and Europe, Holocaust-deniers suffered a number of setbacks in 2005, as a result of public protests and government action. Protests in the U.S. resulted in C-Span’s cancelation of a broadcast of Holocaust-denier David Irving; the withdrawal by Teen People magazine of an article whitewashing a Holocaust-denying singing duo; and the Jordanian government’s decision to halt an antisemitic and Holocaust-denying television series. At the same time, the governments of Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, and the Netherlands took legal action against Holocaust-deniers.

In another significant development, the U.S. State Department for the first time officially described Holocaust-denial as a form of antisemitism. In its report on antisemitism around the world, issued in January 2005, the State Department included instances of Holocaust-denial as manifestations of antisemitism.

“The U.S. government now acknowledges that Holocaust-denial is anti-Jewish bigotry, not a legitimate interpretation of history,” said Dr. Medoff. “This establishes an important precedent that other governments should follow.”

Holocaust-denial was the subject of widespread public attention this past year, due to Holocaust-denial statements by the president of Iran and the announcement that Mel Gibson is involved in a forthcoming television series about the Holocaust. (Gibson’s father denies the Holocaust, and Gibson himself has made statements minimizing and distorting the Holocaust.) These developments were reported extensively by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Associated Press, and other major news media.