The News: Seeking to heal the rift with so-called “traditional” Catholics, Pope Benedict annulled the excommunication of four Lefebvrist bishops, among them Bishop Richard Williamson who had allegedly denied that millions of Jews were gassed as part of a deliberate Nazi policy.
The Pope’s action “provoked outrage” (NYT) and drew criticism from self-appointed “Jewish groups.” The Anti-Defamation League claimed that lifting William’s excoummunication “undermines” Catholic-Jewish relations. ADL director Abe Foxman stated that the Pope’s action “sends a terrible message to Catholics...that there is room in the [C]hurch for those who would undermine the [C]hurch’s teachings and would would foster disdain and contempt for... Judaism.”
Rabbi David Rosen director of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations urged the Vatican to “reiterate” its “unqualified ...condemnation of all and any Holocaust denial.”
Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center warned of a “political cost” to the Vatican. In a thinly veiled threat of blackmail, Samuels added “I am certain as a man who has know the Nazi regime in his own flesh, [the Pope] understands you have to be very careful and very selective.”
The Note: The instantaneous and furious reaction of the Jewish-Zionist establishment bespeaks the theologico-political agenda they are pursuing. All cultures are founded on a fundamental myth or epic which defines the contours and course of a civilization. The agenda being pursued by the Pope’s outraged critics is none other than to supplant “The Holocaust” as our defining myth. This is not, as some claim, a gambit for money, but rather for power.
At the outset, let it be stated what ought not to be an issue: that the Nazis pursued an aggregate of policies designed to ethnically cleanse territories under their control and to ‘segregate out’ undesired elements from German national life. These policies resulted in “substantial” fatalities among the target groups and, therefore, qualified as genocide pursuant to current definitions under international law. All the rest is “detail” of either a prurient or historically useful interest, depending on the particulars at issue. (Fn-1)
But what also ought not to be at issue is any man’s right to question the prevailing historical narrative. The accusation that Bishop Williamson has “denied” the “Holocaust” is decidedly not an historical accusation but simply an accusation of blasphemy!
The science of history is not physical science. History is an account of conduct and events which are attested to by writings, statements, and circumstantial evidence involving few hard “measureable” facts. History -- or more precisely historical accounts -- are always being re-examined and revised in light of new discoveries and new methodological approaches. The charge that someone “denies” an account is a fundamentally anti-historical accusation.
Those who make the accusation, are never very clear which part of “the Holocaust,” exactly, it is forbidden to question. “Holocaust” -- which strictly speaking means “firestorm” -- is not an historically accurate term. During the world war, millions did die in firestorms, but virtually none of these victims were Jews. The victims of firestorms were primarily Germans and Japanese. The Jews cribbed the word as a rhetorical and dramatic label for their own devastating experience. As thus used, the term stands for a cluster of assertions and images which we are presented as orthodox historical fact. But that orthodox historical account has itself been repeatedly revised by the “non-deniers” and “non-revisionists” themselves. ( Fn-2 )
The epithet of “holocaust denier” is nothing more than a cry to stir up and let loose a legal or media lynch mob. Unfortunately, it usually works. But when the New York Times reports that Williamson “said he did not believe that six million Jews died in the Nazi gas chambers,” it has to be asked which part of the blasphemy is objected to? Is the Times asserting “holocaust denial” consists in denying that six million Jews were gassed? That would be interesting because no one --- absolutely no one -- has ever claimed that six million were gassed. In fact, virtually no historian accepts the six million figure in any case. The Jewish historian Raul Hilberg’s last estimate was 5.1 million and some estimates go as “low” as 3 million. So what exactly was the bishop’s sin?
The bishop’s sin was reading the Leuchter Report -- a 1988 study by a chemical engineer who advanced a number of technical and forensic arguments as to why gas chambers could not have existed. Needless to say the report provoked polemical “counter-studies” (as well as assaults on Leuchter’s credentials and motives), most notably the 1998 Van Pelt Report. However, the sheer voluminousness of Van Pelt's report bespeaks the complexity of the issue. One does not need 1117 pages to prove something that is supposedly "self-evident".
The importance of the polemic is that the existence of killing gas-chambers would provide strong circumstantial evidence of a program of genocide and one, moreover, that would seem to have been particularly targetted at Jews. The problem is that there is only circumstantial evidence of this circumstantial fact. People like Abe Foxman can grow wroth all they want and can heap endless invective on their victims, but the facts to date are far more uncertain than they -- and their propagandists in the press -- would have one believe.
At the Nuremberg Trials (the full records of which are still not fully available to the public), the existence of gas-chambers was presumed almost off-handedly. For example, Justice Parker’s opinion indifferently adopted Commandant Hoess’s estimate that 2.5 million were “gassed” at Auschwitz and Eichman’s (hearsay) report that 6 million Jews perished “of which 4,000.00 were killed in extermination institutions.” As stated, neither the totals nor the gross breakdowns are accepted today. ( Fn-3 )
The latest judicial examination of the issue took place in 2000, in the suit for libel brought by historial David Irving against Deborah E. Lipstadt, who had accused Irving of being a “holocaust denier”. Although Justice Gray, ultimately gave judgement to Lipstadt, he acknowledged the validity of Irving’s contention that there was “little clear evidence of the existence of gas chambers designed to kill humans.” (Opinion, § 13.75) Gray’s opinion makes clear that both the numbers of deaths attributable to killing and the actual existence of gas chambers is fundamentally a question of interpretation and not fact. (Fn-4 Excerpts)
But if the question is one of interpretation, what is left to “deny”? Are people to be branded (and in the case of Germany) prosecuted because they disagree with the self-officialized interpretations of Abe Foxman and the Weisenthal Institute? And if so, how is this different from an Inquisition?
The whole question of Nazi occupation and racial policies, and their conduct of the war in the East, is an extremely complicated topic that is virtually inseverable from the entire question of Nazi ideology and rule. Further complication arises from whether we adopt a juridical or sociological mode of analysis. While the existence or non-existence of “gas chambers” is a significant detail it is by no means sufficient to answer all questions or paint the full picture.
Undoubtedly bishop Williamson was in over his head; but so too are bimbos in the press that blather inanely about the sheer perversity of “denying that six millions were gassed.” Hilberg has conceded that the “six” million figure is “symbolic.” Is gassing “symbolic” too? Were there just “some” prototype gassings or were they carried out on a mass scale? Was Auschwitz a labor camp (as the presence of industrial factories would suggest) or was it a “killing centre” -- how much of “factory of death” is symbolic too? How much historical symbolism and how many "dramatized accounts" are wrapped up in a metaphorical label?
To be fair to the bishop, none of this was anything he was out and about sermonizing. As a Tridentine Catholic, Williamson holds to some archly-conservative views on a variety of topics that run counter to any number of currently prevailing truths and orthodoxies and which will no doubt provoke modernists of all stripes. He can claim no immunity from fair debate on the merits, on account of his cloth. But that is not what this is about. What has been raised is not a debate but an accusation of neo-blasphemy for having dared to question an asserted truth about "the holocaust".
A look at the video interview shows that the remarks in question were something he had said years ago in Canada. These were dredged up from the past by the interviewer who was evidently sniffing about for copy. Williamson was clearly taken off guard and made the tactical mistake of answering off-the cuff from memory, which led him to make what seems to me to be the further mistake of quoting Leuchter’s estimates of deaths at Auschwitz for the total number of Jewish fatalities in the war. Nevertheless, his broader point was that “as far as” he had “understood the evidence” as weighed by experts there was “no direct evidence” of a “deliberate policy” to gas Jews. If they changed their conclusion, he would probably change his. Those remarks were not that far removed from Justice Gray's findings as to the paucity of direct evidence on the issue. [Bishop Interview ]
But in the end, what of it? In the end, the whole brouha boils down to no more than that a bishop had read and was convinced by historical interpretations advanced by people who seemed to him be experts in their field. Big deal.
Far more telling is the reaction of a holocaust establishment that seems intent on hunting down every “denier” as ruthlessly as Eichman “scoured” Europe for Jews. Is Williamson to be haled before some Weisenthal Tribunal and punished for reading the wrong book?
In the end, the Jewish/Zionist establishment doesn’t really care about Williamson. He is simply the bait in a larger game. According to Foxman, the the Pope’s action allows room in the Church for those “who would would foster disdain and contempt for... Judaism.” This is nonsense, but telling nonsense.
The Pope did not reinstate Williamson and the others because they had supposedly “denied the holocaust” -- he reinstated them as an matter of rapprochment within the Church among Catholics. This no one else's business. It is not for Abe Foxman to say who should or should not be incorporated into the Body of Christ.
Neither Williamson’s statement, much less the Pope’s action, in anyway foster “disdain of Judaism” -- even if he had known of remarks made by Williamson years ago. Foxman’s leap from “gas chambers” to “Judaism” is so utterly illogical that one is left wondering if he believes the two to be the same. He does. As Gilad Atzmon writes:
"Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the German born Hebrew University professor, was probably the first to suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion. 'The Holocaust' is far more than historical narrative, it indeed contains most of the essential religious elements: it has its priests (Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, etc.) and prophets (Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and those who warn about the Iranian Judeocide to come). It has its commandments and dogmas ('never again', 'six million', etc.). It has its rituals (memorial days, Pilgrimage to Auschwitz etc.). It establishes an esoteric symbolic order (kapo, gas chambers, chimneys, dust, Musselmann, etc.). It has its shrines and temples (Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and now the UN). If this is not enough, the Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive economic network and global financial infrastructures (Holocaust industry a la Norman Finkelstein). Most interestingly, the Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new 'antichrists' (the Deniers) and it is powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws)." [Article] [Fn 5 Holodays]
Rabbi Rosen’s demand that the Vatican issue “unqualified ...condemnation of all and any Holocaust denial.” is nothing other than a bald and bold attempt to dictate the Church’s doctrinal magisterium.
Precisely because it would be absurd for the Church to go about condemning historical accounts of this and that, any such action by the Pope would ipso facto elevate the issue to a doctrinal level. Given the fact that the Church does not even condemn denial of Christ’s Divinity and Resurrection, Rosen’s demand is nothing less than that the Church adopt a new and higher object of devotion and that it accept the Suffering Jew as the New Lamb of God.