NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Yeah, the ADL came out with a statement that Amnesty International is borderline anti-Semitic, and that's pretty conventional from the ADL, that these organizations are anti-Semitic or then, you know, in other cases, they accuse individuals or organizations of being Holocaust deniers. None of this -- first of all, as I said, it's pretty commonplace in these organizations. The Simon Wiesenthal Center recently issued a statement condemning the United Church of Christ for being not borderline anti-Semitic, but functionally anti-Semitic, because they oppose the wall that Israel is building in the Occupied Territories.
Anyone who's a critic of Israel becomes an anti-Semite. And the truth of the matter is, the real anti-Semites, they don't really care about -- or the real Holocaust deniers, which is their other favorite epithet to hurl at people or expectorate at people who are critical of Israel --
So you take the case, you know, now there's a lot of discussion about the Iranian president's statements denying the Nazi Holocaust. Whether he actually did or not literally, I’m not going to get into now. It's not so important. For argument's sake, let's say he did do it. He denied the Nazi Holocaust. Now, you heard Mr. Weiner. He's very fond of Abbas. He says Abbas has nothing to do with the PLO. Now, you take Abbas. Abbas is an authentic Holocaust denier. He wrote his doctoral dissertation denying the Nazi Holocaust. He published it as a book in 1982. He said less than a million Jews were killed during World War II. He denied the Nazi gas chambers. Now there you have a real Holocaust denier. You don't have to really probe the meaning of his words. It's pretty straightforward. Well, he's the American favorite now. Everybody loves Mr. Abbas, because he does the American bidding. So they don't care that he's a Holocaust denier.
Let me just give another pretty indicative example. Take the case of Ronald Reagan. Nowadays many people are fond of Reagan. You listen to rightwing radio, which I listen to all the time, and you listen -- everyone loves Reagan. Everybody forgets Reagan was the one who went to Bitburg, gave the speech saying that the Nazi soldiers, including the Nazi -- the Waffen-SS, were victims, just like the Jews in the concentration camps. That was his famous statement at Bitburg. The ADL, which claims to be so vigilant about Holocaust denial, the ADL gave him their Torch of Liberty Award.
Then, just this past -- two years ago, Berlusconi, the president of Italy --
AMY GOODMAN: Former.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Former president of Italy, gave this speech praising Mussolini and saying all the charges against Mussolini were false, he was basically a good guy. Three weeks -- three weeks after he gave his speech -- and remember, Mussolini passed the Anti-Semitic Laws, at the end of his regime, sent Jews to their death. Three weeks after he gave his speech, the ADL, Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, who is now accusing Amnesty of borderline anti-Semitism, they gave him the distinguished Statesman of the Year Award, had a big gala for him, and even fairly conservative economists like Robert Solow, Paul Samuelson, Modigliani -- okay, they're not conservative by conventional standards -- mainstream economists. They wrote a very irate letter to the New York Times: Why is the ADL giving this guy an award? Well, the answer was simple. Because at that point, he was the only European leader who was very pro -- he was very pro-Israel. They don't care about Holocaust denial. They have no interest in it.
Let me give you one example, just --
AMY GOODMAN: Ten seconds.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Yeah, one example, just from what you were airing a moment ago. You heard the speech by Rumsfeld, where he says that Iraq is like the Nazis in the 1930s. Now, remember, the tenet of the Holocaust industry is, never compare the Holocaust to anything else. Never compare, and if you compare, they say you’re a Holocaust denier. But that side is always comparing. The Mufti of Jerusalem was Hitler. Nasser was Hitler. Saddam Hussein was Hitler. Hezbollah is now Hitler. Iran is Hitler. Hamas is Hitler. Iraq is Hitler. They're the worst Holocaust deniers in the world, by their own definition. They're always comparing.
AMY GOODMAN: Norman Finkelstein, I want to thank you for being with us, professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago. His new book is called Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History.