Monday, June 05, 2017

SPLC lists Deir Yassin Remembered as a hate group (Holocaust Denial)

I just saw news about Daniel A. McGowan and Deir Yassin Remembered that appeared a couple of months ago. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which keeps track of hate groups in the United States, has just listed DYR as a hate group (in the most recent issue of its Intelligence Report, published in February of this year). It's in the category of Holocaust denial groups, where it certainly belongs (although that's not the only problem with the group, by any means). 

The Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, in Rochester, New York, reported on the new listing for DYR:
A third area group, new to the list, is Deir Yassin Remembered. That Geneva-based group was created to memorialize a bloody attack by Jewish forces on a Palestinian Arab village in April 1948, shortly before the foundation of the modern state of Israel. More than 100 villagers were killed. Though some Jewish historians view the incident as a two-sided battle, many Palestinians consider it a massacre. 
More broadly, Deir Yassin Remembered is a Palestinian human-rights organization, said McGowan, a retired economics professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. McGowan said his group, whose board is by design half-Jewish, is far from anti-Semitic.

But some members of the group’s board, and McGowan himself, have spoken or written about the Holocaust — the mass slaughter of Jews and others by the Nazis in World War II. They do not deny the horror of the Holocaust but at times have questioned elements of the commonly accepted account, such as the number of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. McGowan said that constitutes Holocaust revisionism, not denial. 
But the law center defines "Holocaust denial" more broadly to include outright denial or efforts to minimize the extent of the Nazis' genocide. They consider revisionists to be deniers, according to the center's website. [RL: I couldn't find the link on the website, and the term "Holocaust revisionist" is equivalent to Holocaust denial. McGowan is engaged in sophistry].
More significantly, they [DYR] question what they see as the use of the Holocaust by Israel to justify its actions. “The Holocaust is used to keep people from advocating for Palestinians, because people who question its use are immediately accused of being anti-Semitic,” McGowan said. “The minute you express any skepticism of the Holocaust … then you are labeled not a skeptic but a denier, and you are held up for condemnation.” 
The group has been around for years though it apparently made its first appearance on the SPLC map only this year — a circumstance McGowan attributes to controversy that erupted in Detroit last year and again this year when the group erected a billboard reading "America First / Not Israel." Public complaints forced the removal of the billboards, he said. 
McGowan also said the inclusion of groups like Deir Yassir Remembered on the law center’s hate map is a marketing ploy. “They gain more money by saying ‘There’s a den of Holocaust haters in Geneva, New York and you’d better send us more money.’ It’s total nonsense,” he said.
What McGowan does is not historical revisionism in the sense that credible historians use the term. McGowan engages in Holocaust denial. "Skepticism" about the Holocaust means questioning whether it occurred, which is nonsensical, since there is ample evidence for the events of the Holocaust in the historical record. Of course when he expresses "skepticism" about the Holocaust he is labeled as a denier, because that is what he is.

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