Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Glen Beck Part II

The second segment of Glen Beck’s 7 p.m. December 11 show blasted the international conference on the “holocaust” then being held in Iran. His guest was Rabbi Marvin Heir, founder of the lucrative Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who explained without evidence that the “holocaust” was proven historical fact.

Glen Beck seconded him with an unanswerable argument: “We all know it happened. If you have any doubts, rent ‘Schindler’s List’.”

Now there is proof positive! A Steven Spielberg movie. And if you don’t believe aliens stole those carrots from your garden, rent “ET”.

In some mystical way Beck connected the Tehran conference with his fantasy of a growing threat to Jews. He emoted, in sympathy with Rabbi Heir’s lugubrious dronings: “Here we go again! What must it feel like to be a Jew today? To know that the trains will soon be coming again!”

What Beck said made no sense at all, but if you want to see the trains he’s talking about, rent “Schindler’s List”.

In reading reports of the Tehran conference (Google News), I have seen what is probably the largest collection of conclusory statements in existence. “Conclusory statements” are those consisting of or relating to a conclusion or assertion for which no supporting evidence is offered. The term frequently comes up in the evaluation of arguments made to appellate courts. Beck’s, “We all know it happened,” is a good example.

"This has nothing to do with research or any exploration of the historical issues but is merely an attempt to bring together anti-Semites to try and disseminate anti-Semitic propaganda and delegitimize the state of Israel," said Ephraim Zuroff, who heads the Israeli branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. CBS Website 12/12/06. (This was written, of course, with no knowledge of what was said at the conference.)

Deborah E. Lipstadt, a professor of Holocaust studies at Emory University in Atlanta, drew a sharp distinction between the conference and this year’s publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which triggered protests across the Islamic world.

“It’s one thing to poke fun at a faith - even Judaism. It’s a different thing to lie about history,” she said in a telephone interview.

“Although we don't know what [Dr. Shiraz Dossa, a political science professor at Nova Scotia's St. Francis Xavier University] said at the conference, attending and giving credibility to such an event shocks the conscience of right-thinking Canadians," Ed Morgan, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, told The Associated Press. "This conference was nothing more than a vicious public attempt to whitewash the proven facts . . . " 12/13/06 (I particularly like the phrase “right-thinking”. Orwell would have loved it.)

And finally, a bit of specious logic:

“The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, answering critics who contend revisionists are simply exercising their right to free speech, quoted an unidentified survivor as saying: ‘If the Holocaust was a myth, where is my sister?’” AP 12/12/06

The above quote from an “unidentified survivor” is particularly fascinating because I read just an hour ago that Rabbi Marvin Heir himself said to a reporter, “If the Holocaust was a myth, where is my 6 year old brother?”

In reporting the Iran conference, many newspaper headlines bypass even logical fallacies in favor of plain old-fashioned name calling: “ Cringing at Iran Kookfest”. “Iranian Fires Up Haters”. “Leader’s Hate Bait Goes Over Well with Crowd”. And of course the inevitable, “World Reacts with Outrage”, and phrases like “firestorm of indignation”, and “howls of protest”.

As far as I’ve found, the actual proceedings of the conference, the actual opinions of the participants, have gone largely unreported. Oddly, it is the very existence of the conference rather than any evidence or opinions presented there which has caused the "firestorm".

People who felt secure in their “established historical facts” would not be afraid of open discussion of those “facts”. If anyone is lying about the alleged events of the “holocaust”, then a conference in which attendees present evidence seems the ideal solution. Serious “holocaust deniers” (what a “1984” ring that has!) do not simply make general and conclusory statements as do their opponents. They work studiously with documents, photographs, scientific analyses, and so forth. Indeed, one of their criticisms of the holocaust industry is that its “evidence” is so flawed as to be completely unqualified for admission in a court of law. The “holocaust deniers” who can be taken seriously – and there are many of them – attempt to bring their evidence up to a courtroom standard.

Holocausters who have managed to cow politicians and journalists into accepting their fabrications as untouchable facts, and to have laws passed criminalizing any questioning of those “facts”, now simply want to hide behind their bastion and avoid any challenge to present evidence of their claims.

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