Gaby Weber Lashes Out as Speakers Refuse to Take Part Alongside a Holocaust Denier
As will be immediately obvious from the two agendas above, there has been something of a change in the line-up of speakers for the Freiburg Conference on Confusing the Memory of the Nakba with Denial of the Memory of the Final Solution (otherwise quaintly known as ‘The Boundaries Of Open Discussion'.’
Out is Hajo Meyer, a Jewish anti-Zionist and a survivor of Auschwitz, who refused to speak alongside Gilad Atzmon, who denies that Auschwitz was a death camp. Gone is Sabine Schiffer, an academic expert on racial stereotyping in the Media, in particular that involving Muslims. Gone is Ramzy Baroud.
They are replaced by Sameh Habeeb, the angry young man from Gaza who edits the Palestinian Telegraph. Nothing wrong with being angry, of course, at what Israel does and has done to Gaza, but giving comfort to holocaust deniers is probably not the best way of demonstrating that anger. His flirtations with holocaust denial have already ensured that all patrons bar one of his web blog have pulled out (the one remaining being Lauren Booth). Also on the list of invitees is Dr. Samir Abed Rabbo, a Palestinian academic and one Makram Khoury-Machool, a right-wing academic and Head of Mass Media at the University of Hertfordshire who seems to have no staff profile at all, unlike other academics.
Gabi Weber, the conference organiser, sent me an angry e-mail 2 days ago, accusing me of forgery, wrong facts and trying to assassinate David Cameron (I made the last one up!). She told me that Hajo Meyer had already pulled out of the conference, but failed to explain why he should do so. Likewise Sabine Schiffer had other ‘professional commitments’ one of which was a refusal to speak alongside a holocaust denier. She denies that Ramzy Baroud has pulled out as he is sending them a video, but the evidence suggests otherwise.
The most Weber tells would be participants is that ‘Two speakers pulled out because of work engagements and disagreement concerning the contents of the conference.’ I have posted a comment asking what these disagreements were but I suspect that too will be pulled!
Meanwhile Gilad Atzmon is clearly feeling the heat as he promises that
“all individuals and organisations involved in this shameful attempt against our most basic human rights and freedoms will be named and shamed.”Gulp, could that be me? Or those closet Jews who meet in secret in a segregated cyber-shtetl to plot the world's takeover? I fink we should be told! Note how Israel Shamir, an unashamed holocaust denier, who openly advocates an alliance with the far-right including David Duke and Nick Griffin, is ‘a very civil and peaceful man and probably is the sharpest critical voice of ‘Jewish power’ and Zionist ideology.’
Either way this Conference is clearly on the rocks. Atzmon has been forced into sputtering cries of revenge as he has found himself unable to withdraw his comments that Jews ‘freely’ joining the death marches, when the extermination and concentration camps after the war were dismantled, thereby ‘proving’ that there was no holocaust.
Hajo Mayer sent a very eloquent message to Gaby Weber, a statement that Weber has chosen not to mention. Atzmon, Mayer says
‘implies that I, who saw the smoke from the crematoria, saw the gas chambers and smelled the burnt human flesh and was forced to march with the SS to the east, am implied by his text to be a liar who put the number on his arm in order to make himself interesting.’
That is the lie that Atzmon can’t and won’t retract. When Atzmon and Weber talk about the boundaries of open discussion, it doesn’t simply mean opposing the criminalisation of those who remember the Nakba and bringing what happened between 1947 and 1949 into the forefront. It also means accepting the nonsense of Ernst Zundel and a handful of neo-Nazis who pretend that there was no extermination of millions of Jews, who deny that which they would like to repeat. The evidence is so copious, for example neither Eichmann or Hoess ever denied what happened at after the war, that it cannot but discredit the Palestinians. The Nakba happened, the Final Solution happened. Those who deny the former are no different in principle with those who deny the latter. And those who perpetrated the Nakba are no different in principle from those who perpetrated the holocaust But Atzmon and co. would indeed deny the final solution or ‘raise questions’ as if the criminal deeds of the Nazis (& Zionism) aren't established fact. For Atzmon everything is a narrative, nothing is fact. Not the holocaust, nor the Nakba. And of course all you need to do to change the past is to change the story-line, the narrative.
As more people wake up to Atzmon in this country, so he seeks pastures anew to spread his vile beliefs. And as the pressure mounts on him, his old trick of giving a nod and a wink to holocaust revisionism gives way to blurting out publicly where he actually stands on such matters. When we picketed Bookmarks 6 years ago, because the SWP held a meeting with him as a speaker, Atzmon was forced to issue a statement denying he was a holocaust denier. Today he doesn’t bother to tell the same lies.
And although Atzmon will no doubt protest that ‘the ‘anti-Zionist’ Jews’ are responsible for his humiliation (the inverted commas suggest that to be a Jew means one cannot be an anti-Zionist) the reality is that most people with their feet on the ground know that an association between holocaust denial and the Palestinian cause can only damage the latter. As Gaby Weber has stated no one wants this conference to go ahead more than the Zionists.
So far we have had very little trouble from Israeli or Zionist individuals, groups and institutions. In fact those who work diligently at trying to discredit and destroy the conference are a few who, for some reason, identify themselves as "Jewish ‘anti’- Zionists".And is it any wonder? And although we would have refused to participate, it is yet another lie to say that we were invited to do so.
This affair has also demonstrated that being an activist is not enough. Ken O’Keefe, who many of us admired for his role on the Mavi Marmara, has shown himself to be politically shallow. Of Evelyn Hecht-Galinksi I know nothing. She appears to be so disgusted by the support of fellow Jews for Israel, with which I concur, that she has lost all sense of proportion. Associating with supporters of holocaust denial is not a way to build support for the Palestinians, in Germany especially!
The new wholly Arab/Palestinian replacements for the speakers who pulled out need to think long and hard about what purpose and interest the Conference serves. And whether their role is actually undermining the very cause they support.
From: Dr. Gabi Weber
To: tony greenstein
Cc: Sameh A. Habeeb
Sent: Thu, 25 August, 2011 15:26:22
Subject: Freiburg Conference of September 11th on the Borders of Dissent - An Urgent Request
Hello Mr. Greenstein,
thank you so much for your endless attempt to convince the speakers of Freiburg Conference not to attend. I think that you should serve your energy for more promising projects.
Besides all the forgery you are committing with wrong quotes, wrong allegations and so-called "facts" which are no facts, you at least should correct three points so that you don´t look too stupid:
1. my name is Dr. Gabi WEBER and not Mayer. Obviously some people - at a certain age - don´t know exactly what they do. I must admit that this could be a very good explanation for your sick behaviour.
2. Hajo G. Meyer already pulled out, you are really not up to date, Mr. Greenstein.
3. It is not a "number of speakers" that withdrew. Besides Hajo G. Meyer it is only Sabine Schiffer who had to cancel because of professional duties.
Ramzy Baroud didn´t withdraw. He will send his message through video and his speech will be distributed in the conference.
So perhaps once in your life you try to tell the truth, Mr. Greenstein!
Re: Freiburg Conference of September 11th on the Borders of Dissent - An Urgent Request
Dr. Gabi Weber
Sameh A. Habeeb
Dear Ms Weber
I am very sorry I got your name wrong. No matter, I got the right person.
Your English is somewhat deficient if you accuse me of forgery. I'm not trying to copy some valuable document or currency nor am I trying to pass off someone else's article as my own.
Despite asserting that I have given wrong quotes, allegations and facts, I notice that you don't give any examples. A mere assertion is worthless.
Hajo Meyer, himself a survivor of Auschwitz, clearly wasn't pleased with your invitation to a holocaust denier who effectively was saying that he was a fraud. That was why he informed you in an e-mail of 3rd August, which I've copied below, that he intended to walk out if Atzmon didn't retract the quotation about Auschwitz. I assume that this is one of your 'wrong quotes' you refer to. I also assume that you then withdrew his invitation to speak. I notice that you don't say why Hajo Meyer 'pulled out'. Perhaps you'd like to supply us with the 'right facts'?
My information is that both Ramzy Baroud and Sabine Schiffer thought better of making an appearance, given the presence of Gilad Atzmon.
I am involved in some very promising projects, which is why we cannot afford to let racist projects, such as your own, sully the cause. Or perhaps you hadn't noticed that in Britain and Ireland we have made considerable progress with BDS, especially among the trade unions, despite Atzmon's belief that an academic boycott is 'book burning'. http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2007/07/gilad-atzmon-interview-tangling-with.html Of course I understand why, because of the final solution and the Nazi era, Germany has not been as advanced as other western countries. Israel and Zionism have not hesitated to guilt-trip them and make the younger generations feel they were responsible. This is precisely why I do not understand the 'logic' of holding a conference on Palestine with a holocaust denier as its main speaker in Germany of all places.
What kind of idiot believes that it is helpful to Palestinians to give a platform to someone who not merely denies the extermination of the Jews in Germany but believes that the Palestinians' plight can be explained by 'Jewishness' not settler-colonialism? Would you have explained Apartheid in South Africa by 'whiteness' or the colonisation and extermination of Amerindians as being inherent in being a White British Expatriate? Did the British behave any different in Ireland, which actually was a model in many ways for Mandate Palestine. Everything you do is a free gift for Zionism, which is probably why Atzmon argues that Zionism too doesn't exist, at least not in Israel.
As for your conference. The only purpose it can serve is to boost Atzmon's and your own egos. The fact that David Duke ex-Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan is such an ardent supporter of Atzmon's writings should give you pause for thought, to say nothing of Dukes links with a mutual friend Israel Shamir. If Shin Bet or Mossad had wanted to organise a conference designed to damage the Palestinian cause they could not have achieved half as much as you have done. But as you said, it's not the Zionists who have given you any problems, it's Jewish anti-Zionists. Have you ever wondered why our normally voluble Zionists are hoping that your conference is a 'success'?
Dr. Gabi Weber, Freiburg
From: "hajo g. meyer"
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2011 13:41:18 +0200
To: 'gabi weber'
Cc: 'Alan Hart'
Subject: GA's holocaust denial
'‘If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein - free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?’ ‘If the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? ‘We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative...’ ‘Why were the Jews hated? Why did European people stand up against their next-door neighbours? Why are the Jews hated in the Middle East.’
If this text is indeed from GA’s hand, there is only one way that he and I can be on the same conference together: viz. he distances himself loud and clearly and for 100% from it at the very start of the conference or I leave the conference after having made a public statement why I do that. This is because if he means this text is valid it implies that I, who saw the smoke from the crematoria, saw the gas chambers and smelled the burnt human flesh and was forced to march with the SS to the east, am implied by his text to be a liar who put the number on his arm in order to make himself interesting. Actually I gave you a similar comment on this text quite a while ago.
I am very, very sorry that I make life difficult for you but I cannot bear to be in any way associated which such a text by a lunatic. Why does he not deny that the earth is round and that there was ever a First World War.
Actually I once published my opinion that holocaust deniers should be put into a lunatic asylum and not into prison. Because they are either full fledged lunatics or they are under influence of drugs and alcohol and need anti addiction treatment.
Sorry for making life difficult for you but there are limits to what I can tolerate.
Cordial regards Hajo