It has always been those few who can see through the political correctness and hypocrisy of popular attitudes who are considered dangerous.
"Holocaust denial laws" are now in place in about a dozen countries. Defenders of these laws claim that the expression of unconventional views about the Jewish genocide is "hate speech" and "incitement to violence" and therefore must be suppressed.
But history shows the greatest purveyors of lies, hatred and incitement to violence are those with the power to spread their poison by manipulating popular opinion via the control or complicity of the mass media. Through a purposefully constructed lens of political correctness the despicable becomes normal. It is by this insidious process that tyrants make it normal and acceptable to murder those whom they consider threatening or inferior. We have only to turn on the television to see that process at work.
It is not the unpopular views we should fear but the popular.
When the suppression of free speech serves no purpose other than to silence unconventional opinions we should be alarmed. We should be even more alarmed when to question oppressive laws is to risk vilification, in this case by the smear of "Holocaust denier" and "anti-Semite".
Appropriation of the term "The Holocaust" to the Nazi extermination of the Jews minimises the significance of other genocides, including those that are happening right now. Should these crimes also be closed to opinions that question the accuracy of the official "truth"?
Stifling open discussion and debate also does an injustice to the other millions of victims of the Nazi concentration camps: the Roma, Blacks, Polish and Russian prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals and the mentally and physically disabled. It sidelines the slave labourers starved, beaten and worked to death in German war industries and the horrors suffered by anyone expressing anti-Nazi views.
It is likely that most people regard the real deniers of the Jewish genocide - the ones who say the extermination crimes never happened at all - in the same light as those who espouse any number of other oddball ideas. Do we need laws to protect us from those who make obviously unsupportable claims?
The real threat posed by "deniers" is that others might be influenced to undertake serious study and uncover embarrassing facts that would refute Israel's "victim" status. This would threaten Israel's moral legitimacy, underpinned by the world's collective shame for looking the other way. All it takes to invoke that shame is the term anti-Semite, either stated or implied.
But opinions that question the widely accepted WWII Jewish genocide history are not anti-Semitic any more than opinions that question the accepted history of the Ukraine genocide (1) are anti-Russian. That we are led to label any deviation from the official history as "Holocaust denial" and "Holocaust denial" as anti-Semitism is no accident. It has come about by the same semantic sleight of hand that would have us believe anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same. They are not.
Many Christians are Zionists while many Jews throughout the world, perhaps even the majority, are anti-Zionist. Anti-Zionism has nothing to do with persecution of the Jews. It is simply anti-racism and anti-colonialism as applied to the occupation of Palestine and the subjugation of its indigenous population. (2)
When anyone goes to great lengths to stifle open inquiry and debate on any subject, alarm bells should ring. Invariably the motivation is suppression of uncomfortable truths. The uncomfortable truth of the Jewish genocide is that millions of lives would certainly have been saved had it been the priority of the Zionist leadership to save them. Their priority instead was establishment of the state of Israel. And then, as now, the suffering of Europe's Jews and the world's collective guilt was exploited to that end. (3)
Ironically, when millions of refugees were trying to escape from Europe before the war, and even while the genocide was in progress, prominent leaders of the Zionist movement were "Holocaust deniers". When the truth could no longer remain hidden, the Zionist leadership opposed attempts to save the European Jews though financial and humanitarian aid and emigration. The exception was migration to Palestine, and even the relative few who were saved were selected not according to their plight but according to their perceived value to the future state of Israel.
One proposal by 270 members of the British Parliament, as a part of diplomatic negotiations with Germany during the height of the killings, was to evacuate 500,000 Jews from Europe and resettle them in British colonies. This offer was rejected by the Zionist leaders with the observation, "Only to Palestine!" (3)
It is clear from the statements and actions of the Zionist leadership that they considered the suffering of the European Jews advantageous in securing future international support for the establishment of the Zionist state.
Shocking? That uncomfortable truth is well documented for those who care or dare to study the subject.
Throughout history Jews, like many other minorities, have indeed been persecuted, but the modern state of Israel never was the victim. Since its inception it has been the coloniser, aggressor, tormentor and oppressor. Exploiting the memory of Hitler's victims to perpetuate the myth of "victim Israel" is cynical. To do so while attacking its neighbours and inflicting Nazi-style state terrorism, apartheid and genocide on the Palestinians is cynical in the extreme.
While "deniers" are jailed for expressing unacceptable views, the real criminals - those responsible for the agony and death of millions - manipulate popular opinion to make crimes against humanity, war crimes, contempt for international law and indifference to human suffering seem normal and acceptable. And they do so with impunity.