THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 24, 2009
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a joke, the realists say. Yes, a laugh a minute. How possibly could he be serious that the twentieth century catastrophe of the Jewish people never happened! Everybody knows the opposite. O.K. Except that more and more people--alas, evidently including President Obama--believe it happened ... and that the Palestinians paid the price for it. An eye for an eye. Of course, as I have written in my article about the rather ignorant (oh, Lord, forgive me) Cairo playbook, modern political Zionism began half a century before the Holocaust and the League of Nations sanctioned a Jewish commonwealth long before Hitler ever came to power, in fact, before the Munich beerhouse putsch.
The eloquent but sober historian of Europe, Simon Schama, took on in Wednesday's Financial Times the deniers and those who ignore the deniers: "Ahmadi-Nejad's denial of the Holocaust is not just some antic sideshow to his regime's ambition to acquire nuclear weapons, the obsession with annihilating Israel, it ought to be acknowledged, is the prime reason for it."
Hence their creature's cheerful optimism that the days of the Zionist entity are numbered and his cheerfulness that Iran will be honored in Islam as the heroic enable of that happy outcome.
The cowardice of embarrassment; the pragmatic humming and hawing about what to do about the buffoon frontman of a tyranny that endures through brutality and torture, is itself a depressing sign of moral collapse. The victims of Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad's onslaught on truth include not just the outraged memory of the murdered millions but history itself, the integrity of which is at the heart of the western political tradition.
Perhaps it is the western political tradition that is at issue ... that, and the place of true history in the struggle against "fantasies derived from claims of revelation."
I earnestly hope--as I earnestly trusted--that President Obama believes in true history and not that everything is its own equally true narrative. For if he tilts towards the latter, we are doomed.