By Etgar Lefkovits
Holocaust denial increased around the world during 2007, following a temporary lull last year, a report released this weekend found.
The annual report, “Holocaust Denial: A Global Survey – 2007,” published by the Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, found that Holocaust-denial activity was up worldwide, following a drop in 2006 due to the imprisonment in Austria of leading denier David Irving.
Irving returned to the lecture circuit this year after his release, and other Holocaust deniers continued their activities in various countries, including holding a conference in Italy to defend Holocaust-denial, the report said.
In the Middle East, the report said, some Arab and Muslim regimes continued to sponsor Holocaust denial, with the government of Iran organizing an internationally-condemned conference of Holocaust deniers in Teheran.
At the same time, the report cited several hopeful developments: The former prime minister of Indonesia, a prominent Muslim figure, has condemned Holocaust denial; the United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO have both passed resolutions opposing Holocaust denial; the European Union has urged all its member states to adopt legislation prohibiting Holocaust denial; and efforts by some European governments, especially Germany and Austria, to prosecute Holocaust-deniers have helped curb denial activity.
Dr. Rafael Medoff, the director of the Wyman Institute, said Sunday there was much the West could do to combat Holocaust-denial.
“When European governments prosecuted individual Holocaust-deniers, it led to a decrease in denial activity overall,” he said. “But when there was leniency, such as releasing David Irving from prison early, it had the opposite effect. In addition, American and European aid to Arab or Muslim regimes that sponsor Holocaust-denial could be used as leverage to persuade them to change.”
Medoff co-authored the year-end report with Holocaust scholar Dr. Alex Grobman.