Here are some problematic responses we saw after publishing an article about Holocaust denial and our new report into antisemitism on social media on Holocaust Memorial Day yesterday.

Promotion of Holocaust denial website

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The link in the first post points to a page by David Cole and the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH). Cole is “a reviled Holocaust revisionist who questioned the existence of Nazi gas chambers” (The Guardian). An article in The New Yorker from 1993 called “evidence of evil” discusses a video of Cole’s and describes him as “a young revisionist agitator from California”. Revisionists is what Holocaust deniers prefer to be called. An ADL report on CODOH notes they were founded in 1987 by Holocaust deniers associated with the Institute for Historical Review (perhaps the most infamous Holocaust denial organisation). CODOH was an earlier user of the Internet to promote Holocaust denial and reproduced earlier Holocaust denial material which had been distributed on university campuses.

Denial of the Holocaust

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This post works like most denial, it provides some information then challenges the reader to think for themselves. The problem is that the framework provided is not useful for answering the question. Further, the evidence of the Holocaust is ignored in favour of dealing with the system “theoretically”.

The start of the Holocaust is usually given as the date Adolf Hitler became German chancellor, January 30, 1933. This was the event that started the progression of events that led ultimately to the extermination camps. The persecution of Jews began shortly thereafter with the boycotting of Jewish shops in April 1933 and the passage of the Nuremberg Race Laws in September 1935. The move from persecution to genocide can be seen with Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, on November 9-10, 1938. Kristallnacht saw 91 Jews killed and 30,000 interned in concentration camps. Mass killings became common from June 1941. The Final Solution, the policy of an industrialised operation to exterminate Jewish men, women and children, was approved by the senior Nazi leadership on January 20, 1942. See this article at Haaretz for more, and the timeline at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The spread of Jews through the area occupied by the Nazis was not uniform, nor were the rates at which Jews were killed. Take the case of Poland which Germany invaded on September 1, 1939, prior to the start of WWII. 90% of the Jews in Poland were killed in the Holocaust and this alone accounts for between 2,900,000 and 3,000,000 of the Jews killed in the Holocaust. As to the shortage of people to do the killing, in many cases locals were used to round up the Jews and send them to concentration camps and death camps. Locals also participated in the killing of Jews.

Holocaust inversion

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The US State Department’s definition of antisemitism explains that “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is a form of modern antisemitism. Manfred Gerstenfeld, an expert on antisemitism, explained in the Wall Street Journal on Holocaust Memorial Day in 2008, that “one of the most perfidious forms of contemporary anti-Semitism is Holocaust inversion — the portrayal of Israelis and Jews as modern-day Nazis. The charge is that Israel supposedly behaves toward the Palestinians as Germany did to the Jews in World War II”.

At the time he said the problem was “particularly widespread in the Muslim world” but “gaining currency in the West”. Holocaust inversion received a significant boost when it was promoted by Hamas in a 2014 social media guide. The guide instructed supporters to “Avoid entering into a political argument with a Westerner aimed at convincing him that the Holocaust is a lie and deceit; instead, equate it with Israel’s crimes against Palestinian civilians”. As our CEO explained at the time in The Australian, only a small part of the comparisons in social media came from hard core Hamas supporters who may have seen the guide, the majority of it was from people with no idea about Hamas, but who adopted and spread messages original created to conform to the strategy.

We discussed this topic at length last Holocaust Memorial Day.

Calling for genocide on Holocaust Memorial Day (seriously?!)

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By way of background, the user in black also posted this on their timeline:

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And this:

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Less important that the content of the last post is the fact he was sharing it from the BNP. For those that aren’t aware, that the British National Party, which the Collins English Dictionary defines as “a neo-Nazi political party”.

And then there is this…

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This hoax has been circulating since 2007 and is debunked at snopes.

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