Chomsky And IHR.
“…From at least 1984 through 1992, [Noam] Chomsky corresponded with a man who, during those time periods, was one of the leading authors and editors in the Holocaust denial movement. And it was a very friendly correspondence, complete with praise for the denier’s work, and an offer of assistance on Chomsky’s part.
The denier in question is L.A. “Lou” Rollins. At the time of the first Chomsky correspondence, Rollins was a writer and contributing editor at the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), the North American headquarters of Holocaust denial and Nazi literature. And although the IHR has, in the past two decades, attempted to reinvent itself as a “respectable” Holocaust denial institute by eschewing clumsy, vulgar anti-Semitism in favor of pseudo-academic “historiography,” back in 1984 there was no subtlety in the IHR’s presentation. The publishing arm of the IHR sold such titles as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the “pro-Hitler” reprint of “Mein Kampf,” “The Testament of Adolf Hitler,” “The International Jew,” “The Turner Diaries,” KKK leader David Duke’s autobiography “My Awakening,” and various anti-Semitic and white supremacy booklets and leaflets. Contributors to the IHR included former SS Standartenführer Leon Degrelle, and former Nazi General Otto Ernst Remer….
It is against this backdrop that Chomsky and Rollins corresponded. In the first of the recently uncovered letters, Chomsky expresses happiness that Rollins was able to find Chomsky’s anti-Israel book “The Fateful Triangle” useful in his work. Chomsky tells Rollins that he’s pleased to hear that he (Rollins) is writing about Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who Chomsky proceeds to call “one of the major frauds of our time.” He compares Wiesel to Nazi collaborators, and accuses him of “exploiting the Holocaust to justify oppression and murder.”
Chomsky promises to send Rollins “news clippings from the Jewish press” to assist him with his anti-Wiesel screed (Rollins’ Chomsky-assisted essay would appear in the fall 1985 edition of the IHR’s “journal”).
Chomsky closes by writing, “I’m looking forward to hearing more about your study.”
Still, I find it hard to believe.
Rollins certainly is connected to the IHR, as this cached extract from one of his articles shows:
“About the author
L.A. ROLLINS is a Contributing Editor of the IHR Newsletter. He has also written for other publications, including Reason, New Libertarian, Critique, Spotlight and The JHR. He is the author of The Myth of Natural Rights.”
Then imagine two dozen plus active Holocaust deniers much worse than him, hard core racist types, embittered cranks and semi-professional antisemites, imagine that and you’ll only have scratched the surface. This is what the SPLC says about them:
“IHR’s first annual conference in 1979 attracted deniers from around the world and helped to introduce some key American extremists to Holocaust denial. David Duke, the neo-Nazi who was then the national leader of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was so taken with the idea that he followed up the conference with a “Special Holocaust Edition” of his Crusader newspaper. In the same way, National Socialist Party of America leader Frank Collin enthusiastically embraced denial, saying, “There was no Holocaust, but they deserve one — and will get it.” For years, IHR’s yearly conferences were key events that offered networking opportunities for neo-Nazis and anti-Semites from around the world.
A critical contribution by IHR was the pseudo-academic gloss it applied to its anti-Semitism. The group actively tried to avoid blatant anti-Jewish slurs, and instead sought to couch its politics in distortions of history and science meant to sound reasonable. Though the theories that resulted were far out, they had at least the appearance of legitimacy, as did The Journal of Historical Review that the IHR began to publish in 1980. Deniers would claim, for example, that the Anne Frank diary is a fraud because it contained marks made with a postwar ballpoint pen (they didn’t mention that the marks were made later by Frank’s father, who survived German concentration camps to edit and publish the diary). They would assert that the death-camp ovens were not capable of burning as many bodies as the Allies had said were disposed of after gassing. They lied about the qualities of the Zyklon B gas used to kill Jews, the operation of the Einsatzgruppen (the mobile killing squads which shot to death more than 1 million Jews in Eastern Europe), and hundreds of other facts. Through it all, IHR sought to give the appearance that its writers were honest, if skeptical, students of history. “
They should be avoided at all costs, I can’t imagine why Chomsky would even think of corresponding with these neo-Nazis?
Update 1: A reminder to new readers please READ, re-read and make an effort to understand my comments policy.
Postings from fans of the IHR or their neo-Nazi mates will remain in the moderation queue until the end of time.
Oh, any fans of Chomsky should read Pierre Vidal-Naquet: On Faurisson and Chomsky before they consider posting.
Update 2: A PDF exists of the correspondence here.
Update 3: Even some of Chomsky’s fans are unhappy:
by Helena Kaplan on February 11, 2011 at 1:31 PM
I like a lot of Chomsky’s work, but I can’t make excuses for him on this one. By 1984, he knew exactly what those nuts were all about (especially because people had been alerting him ever since he spoke out for Faurisson in 1979). This is a shameful episode in his life. “