Monday, May 23, 2005

Little Green Footballs Points Out
An Odd Cognitive Kink Of Anti-Semites

From Little Green Footballs:

A Turkish tabloid newspaper notorious for Holocaust denial demonstrates the peculiar mental flexibility of the antisemite, the odd cognitive kink that allows glorifying and excusing Nazi ideology while simultaneously using it as a symbol of ultimate evil: Turkish Tabloid Enrages Germany with Nazi Comparisons.

Turkey is suffering something of an image problem in Europe these days. First came those unfortunate and truly appalling images of riot police using truncheons, tear gas and brute force against a group of women demonstrating for equal rights to mark World Women’s Day last week. Then came the women’s claims that they are so used to being kicked around that they consider it normal; they professed awe that the rest of the world found the TV images outrageous.

Now, yet another scuffle — this one involving German Interior Minister Otto Schily — has Europe wondering if maybe Turkey, which badly wants membership in the European club, isn’t, as many detractors claim, too much of a jellyfish on human rights and otherwise unprepared to be welcomed into Europe.

The latest brouhaha circles around Schily — known in Germany as Iron Otto for his stern, no nonsense efficiency — and his successful push to ban a radical Turkish tabloid called Vakit from German newsstands. The paper regularly publishes inflammatory and often anti-Semitic statements, Schily charged. Indeed, in a Dec. 2004 article, the tabloid stated, “There was no Holocaust. The so-called gas chambers are also a lie. It’s nothing more than Zionist music.”

The ban — which is completely legal according to a German law forbidding the denial of the Holocaust — took effect in February. Now, Vakit has launched an over-the-top smear campaign that equates Schily with Hitler, an infamous media hater who closed all outlets that disagreed with his fanatical views. For seven days in a row, the tabloid has featured scathing stories depicting Schily as an anti-free-speech tyrant. One shows him with a black swastika on his arm, another poses him in front of a Nazi flag and in a third, a cartoonist has drawn a Hitler mustache on him. In a March 4 cover story, he appears under the blaring headline “Heil Otto! The Oven is Ready.”

Germany may be well on its way to digesting its Nazi past, but one truism remains: If you want to rile up a German — particularly a male political leader — connect him to Hitler.