Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"The Tide is Turning"

It seems in recent years that deniers have increasingly proclaimed victory and congratulated themselves for... well, nothing.

They like to trumpet an increasing skepticism towards the Holocaust as an indication of their success. Nearly a decade ago Robert Faurisson clamored that a "serious calling into question of one of the greatest lies in history" was underway, and that in the West the "the scales are falling off some people's eyes." The moderator of the CODOH Revisionist Forum, Jonnie "Hannover" Hargis, has declared that the "tide is turning" nearly three hundred times in the last year, nearly once a day.

The problem with all of this? The tide is not turning for them, as shown by the recent ADL global antisemitism survey.


The famed social psychologist Leon Festinger observed the interesting phenomenon whereby the invalidation of a fringe group's prophecies actually had the effect of strengthening that same group's beliefs as a coping mechanism. They continued to (wrongly) believe because they were too invested in the project, and sought to bring as many others in line with their beliefs as possible. Unfortunately, they remained in the extreme minority, and thus could only resort to increasingly disconnected statements about the popularity of their own beliefs.

In a nutshell, that is where we stand with Holocaust denial.

The recent data made available from the ADL sponsored survey (conducted by First International Resources), which would go out of its way to sniff out the slightest perceived antisemitism, rejects such feign hope. Among the topics examined by their survey, which polled more than 500 people in each country, was perceptions and beliefs about the Holocaust. 

There were two questions related to the Holocaust:

1) "Have you heard about the Holocaust in Europe during World War Two?"

2) For those who affirmed knowledge about the event, the survey asked: "Which of the following statement comes closest to your views about the Holocaust in Europe during World War Two?" Possible answers:
A) The Holocaust is a myth and did not happen.
B) The Holocaust happened, but the number of Jews who died in it has been greatly exaggerated in history.
C) The Holocaust happened and the number of Jews who died has been fairly described in history.
D) Don't know.

Below I will provide the results from several countries relevant to the Holocaust, mainly to highlight just how few consider the Holocaust a "myth," and thus the core constituency of denial. Even the number who believe it to be exaggerated is not substantial, although it is roughly one-quarter in France and Russia (two countries with higher antisemitism rankings and displays in their recent history). 

Germany (93% awareness)
Myth: 0%
Exaggerated: 11%
Accurate: 85%
Don't Know: 4%

Italy (98% awareness)
Myth: 0%
Exaggerated: 6%
Accurate: 86% 
Don't Know: 8%

Sweden (99% awareness)
Myth: 0%
Exaggerated: 2%
Accurate: 96%
Don't Know: 2%

Switzerland (96% awareness)
Myth: 0%
Exaggerated: 6%
Accurate: 90%
Don't Know: 4%

United Kingdom (99% awareness)
Myth: 0%
Exaggerated: 6%
Accurate: 83% 
Don't Know: 10%

France (87% awareness)
Myth: 2%
Exaggerated: 24%
Accurate: 67%
Don't Know: 7%

Russia (87% awareness)
Myth: 2%
Exaggerated: 24%
Accurate: 67%
Don't Know: 7%

United States (89% awareness)
Myth: 1%
Exaggerated: 6%
Accurate: 89%
Don't Know: 4%

Canada (91% awareness)
Myth: 0%
Exaggerated: 8% 
Accurate: 90%
Don't Know: 3%

Australia (93% awareness)
Myth: 0%
Exaggerated: 8%
Accurate: 88%
Don't Know: 3%

Readers can check out all of the data themselves on the ADL's survey website, which gives breakdowns of survey results across the globe.



6 comments:

Tesla said...

It's funny how articles about this survey always have widely different conclusions. For instance, this article concludes that "The World Is Full of Holocaust Deniers": http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/05/the-world-is-full-of-holocaust-deniers/370870/

I guess it all depends on how you read the numbers and what you want to achieve with them. Sometimes the Jews are victims of an ever-increasing spiral of Anti-Semitism. In other regards, Anti-Semites are a tiny minority that shouldn't be bothered with.

When I click on that link, I'm told with capital letters that 1 billion people harbor Anti-Semitic attitudes. That's one quarter of the total number surveyed. In that sense, the tide is indeed turning.

Jason Myers said...

The Atlantic does take a different view than mine as to the report. The biggest difference is their conflation of those who suggest the death numbers are exaggerated as "deniers," when I think this is a much more open category.

Also, the Atlantic focuses on results from the Middle East and North Africa. I am much more interested in the survey data from 'The West,' as that is clearly the home and target audience of the contemporary HD movement. Clearly, the movement has failed in these regions, and I don't think it can take much credit for North Africa and the Middle East, either.

Your other comments, disgustingly championing the presence of antisemites in the world, really do not require any statement. As shown by Mark Weber, HD is no longer a useful tool for modern antisemitism; it is a stale genre that is bound for the dust heap even for such loonies.

Tesla said...

The problem is rather that only two categories are given. The category "The Holocaust is a myth" could mean a lot of things. It could include anything actually - the gas chambers, the persecution, the deportation. Most people who are doubtful to the Holocaust don't deny that Jews were persecuted, and in fact, I can't remember ever hearing or seeing a Holocaust doubter who thought the Jews were never sent to camps. Add to that the fact that you risk losing your job, being socially stigmatized or persecuted by the state in nearly all Western countries for "holocaust denial" or "hate speech" and it doesn't become very surprising that so few people ended up in this category (the survey was conducted with interviews).

That more people are sceptical in the Middle East and North Africa is a rather obvious consequence of the fact that you don't have institutions like the ADL, Hate Speech-laws and Holocaust-documentaries running every week there, don't you think? Additionally, Jewish crimes have had a much wider impact on the Muslim world, wrt. Israel, and so they are probably more naturally inclined to be sceptical of Jews and anything that is Jewish.

My comment did not champion the presence of antisemites in the world; it was merely an obervation of the fact that the survey makers have a different conclusion than you, and that, insofar as holocaust denial is correlated with antisemitism, I think they are probably right in their worries. "the tide is turning" simply means that history is repeating itself.

jkacwr74g said...

I think one of the problems with a medium like the Internet is it really allows for an echo chamber to amplify. Holocaust denial was always a fringe movement often relegated to Usenet newsgroups such as alt.revisionism, and it's still the case today, although I would argue that Holocaust denial material is more accessible to a wider audience today than during the Usenet days where one had to be somewhat technically inclined to participate in. The proportion of people who deal in Holocaust denial and the rest of the Internet's population is probably the same, however, of course some more people are delving into Holocaust denial since there are more people on the Internet today than there were in 1995, hence why some people might perceive that Holocaust denial is gaining ground, when actually it's remained more or less the same.

Ronobi said...

I think hardly anyone shares such views publicly, it's on social media like YouTube or posting book reviews and comments such as at Amazon that Holocaust deniers are in abundance.

It's not merely about denial of the Holocaust, either, but also talk about Allied war crimes, not merely concerning an individual basis, but alleged policy.

Kevin said...

" Ronobi said... Friday, June 06, 2014 8:19:00 am"

"I think hardly anyone shares such views publicly, it's on social media like YouTube or posting book reviews and comments such as at Amazon that Holocaust deniers are in abundance."


That's true. Also on imageboard sites such a 4chan and its derivatives some of which are very racist and antisemitic and make me feel like taking a shower after viewing them. Naturally, they're anonymous so posters from countries where it is illegal to engage in Holocaust denial can freely do so anonymously (not that I'm in favor of the laws).

"It's not merely about denial of the Holocaust, either, but also talk about Allied war crimes, not merely concerning an individual basis, but alleged policy."

True, and not everyone reads Slaughterhouse-five which they should. The problem is they tend to overinflate the death toll at places like Dresden in an attempt at making the allies "just as bad".

I tend to think that some of those who engage in Holocaust denial do so because of poor initial education on the subject. When I went to school, there was just a minor mention of Ann Frank and a page or two devoted to Auschwitz (I think we watched a film as well). I knew little to nothing of the other camps such as Treblinka, Bełżec, Sobibór, Chełmno, ect. and forget about things like the Einsatzgruppen, I didn't know about that until about 3 or 4 years ago. Auschwitz seems to get the most attention which I understand why, but I would chalk this up to budget and time constrains of most modern public schools rather than on the material that's out there. Education on the subject definitely could be better, though.