‘There are worse things than denying the Holocaust’

Inspector Clouseau of the Yad Vashem Gendarmerie: The Case of the Wily Dictator

By Sam Schulman ([email protected])

Jewish World Review ([email protected])

February 15, 2000


JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT that the Holocaust Establishment had done its worst to trivialize the shoah, put it in competition with other massacres in the victimization marketplace, and make the world loathe the very word, something comes along to make you sit up and take notice.

In last Wednesday’s New York Times, 25 of our great and good, including Elie Wiesel, Emile Fackenheim, Abraham Foxman, and Franklin Littell, put their signatures to a bold appeal to the President of Syria, Hafez al-Assad.

Suppose you were invited to take your place on the list of signatories (which you won’t be. You’re not good enough!). Now, let’s say that writing a check to the Sulzbergers for upwards of 40 grand were to attract the undivided attention of Assad-which it wouldn’t. What would you say to him, if you knew he would read the 300 words you might write?


But the chance to ask Assad these questions would not be interesting to you if you are a Holocaust professional, like Saul Friedman, Zsusanna Ozsvath, or Michael Berenbaum. What rouses such men and women to take hold of the ends of the earth that the wicked might be shaken out of it? It’s not murder, not terror, not war, but holocaust-denial. President Assad has allowed Tishrun, the official Syrian government newspaper to call the Holocaust “a myth.” And — what’s more — this isn’t the first time! The signatories of the letter are awfully sore at President Assad-so angry that they don’t hesitate to denounce this outrage “in the strongest possible terms.”

Like Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, these worthies appear on the crime scene-so concerned with showing off their competence that they fail to notice another dead body in the closet. Has our obsession with the Holocaust obliterated every other consideration? […]


I think it’s time to say it aloud: There are things in the world that are worse than denying the Holocaust.

JWR contributor Sam Schulman is deputy editor of Taki’s Top Drawer, appearing in New York Press, and was formerly publisher of Wigwag and a professor of English at Boston University.