AND HOW LONG
ARE WE GOING TO PUT UP WITH THIS?
I would no more believe Hayward saying, under pressure, that millions perished in gas chambers than I would have believed Galileo, also under pressure, saying that the sun went round the earth. I don't believe it and I don't believe Hayward (or Galileo for that matter) believed it either.
This all happened over ten years ago but it's still happening now so, we might also ask ourselves, how long are people going to put up with this?
For the past three years, newspapers, national periodical publications and television programmes have intermittently provided coverage about the Joel Hayward affair: a story of a New Zealand student who wrote a controversial thesis. Contestable work and arguable conclusions are not uncommon in modern universities but Hayward's unpublished work as a student seems to remain, after ten years, a point of unusual and continuing interest.
THE STORY SO FAR
One of the complexities of the Hayward affair is its apparent relation to issues of academic freedom and intellectual fashions. Hayward's detractors claim that he is wrong in terms of both. One of his critics stated that "academic freedom cannot exist without academic responsibility." However, considered legal opinion concluded that the interpretation of academic freedom being applied in the Hayward affair permitted a "very limited right to academic freedom."
Proponents of academic freedom insist that universities should be great storehouses of wisdom and learning, and students ought to be able to go there, learn and choose. Academic freedom implies there are no taboo subjects, no off-limits topics.
"No library materials should be excluded... because of the... views of their authors [and] no library materials should be censored, restricted or removed from libraries because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval or pressure."
"If these people want to speak, let them... I am not for taboos and I am not for repression."
Is it a crucial indictment of education in general?Does it have to do with accountability within institutions of higher education?Or, is it about the limits of toleration in New Zealand society?
The Jewish holocaust is one of those delicate topics about which certain beliefs have become so fashionable as to be unassailable regardless of intellectual considerations.
"that at least in this country anyone wanting to... question received notions about the Holocaust is controlled by accepted truth standards."
Does it mean "standards for establishing truth" or "propositions proclaimed to be true"?
WHAT DID HAYWARD SAY?
The major issue appears to be the belief that Hayward rejected well-established facts about the holocaust. His thesis examined the writings of some of those who question the holocaust industry which has reached significant political proportions in the past thirty years.
That there is no unimpeachable evidence that Adolf Hitler personally ordered the physical extermination of Jews.Second,That it is impossible to know how many Jews were killed andThird,That gas chambers were not used systematically to murder Jews in European concentration camps.
There is no document which has yet come to light to prove that Hitler gave a "final solution" order.That Hitler was anti-Semitic is beyond denial. That Hitler wished for Jews to be subjugated is without argument. Hayward makes these points. That Hitler gave an order for Jews to be exterminated cannot be proven.
Hayward agrees that millions of Jews perished during the ravages of the Second World War.He regards the figure of 6,000,000 murdered as symbolic and impossible to actually prove on the basis of documentary evidence. There are no reliable or comprehensive records available to establish the exact number of those who perished during the Nazi era. Projections must be calculated guesses which necessarily have variation.The traditional figure of 11 million killed by the Nazis (Jews and others combined) is essentially the invention of Simon Wiesenthal, the famous hunter of Nazi war criminals. This speculative figure has attained virtual canonical status in holocaust historiography.In 1986 Shmuel Krakowski, then archives director of Yad Vashem, the international center for holocaust documentation in Jerusalem, told the Jerusalem Post that of the 20,000 testimonies he had on hand from alleged "survivors" of the holocaust most of them were untrustworthy, fraudulent, lacking support or in some way untruthful.Although this statement is at least as "revisionist" as anything Hayward wrote, Krakowski is not regarded as a holocaust denier. Wiesenthal admits that he manufactured figures but appears to have escaped censure; Hayward merely questioned other suggested figures and was denounced for it.
It was once held that concentration camps in Germany were used to gas Jews en masse.That hypothesis has now been abandoned by most historians of the Second World War without this being condemned as holocaust denial.
Nor is it true that what happened to Jews historically is fundamentally different from atrocities perpetrated against native Americans, Africans, Gypsies, the victims of the witch hunts in early modern Europe, those trapped in the Stalinist purges in Russian lands, the fate of Iraqis in the hands of Saddam Hussein, heretics hunted by crusaders, and indigenous peoples around the world throughout human history, in which large numbers of people have been subjected to campaigns of mass extermination.
Diversity of interpretation is not the same thing as discrimination.To contest common opinion is not racism.To argue against or disagree with conventional wisdom, regardless of the subject, cannot, ipso facto, be characterized as cultural or religious insensitivity.
To insist that it is amounts to "intellectual terrorism".
Widely used map of Germany and Poland during WW2 depicting National Socialist concentration and (alleged) extermination camps.
Hayward's novice research exercise however, became widely regarded by academics, university administrators, news media persons and members of the general population, as the product of a contemptible scoundrel, a man lacking in probity, unfit to influence impressionable minds, and indeed unworthy of being employed even in non academic circles and whose writings, even though he has written nothing on the holocaust since his MA thesis, should be suppressed.
THE WORKING PARTY REPORT AND THE REACTION
Vincent Orange and Joel Hayward made a strategic error in not also contracting an expert on holocaust historiography to review the Hayward thesis and submit a report.
He no longer believed universities (at least in New Zealand) were places for the free exchange of ideas.He had come to regard the exalted virtue of academic freedom as an illusion now sold out to considerations of expediency.He became convinced the ideals he had been taught by his professors and lecturers at Canterbury were simply rhetorical.He no longer believed in the alleged ideals of the academy.In brief, he no longer wished to be an academic.He regarded higher education irreparably soiled by "indifference and moral cowardice."
"There seems to be a determination both to break Joel's career and to silence enquiry into the facts about the Holocaust."
What specifically constitutes denial of the holocaust?Is it as simple as questioning whether less than 6,000,000 Jews died?Does it extend to expressing sympathy for Germans in Dresden in 1945?Questioning testimonies of survivors?Alleging that countries other than Germany committed war crimes?Denying that Jewish suffering during the Second World War was somehow unique?Is it anti-Semitic to try to remove the element of "sacred myth" from 1940s Jewish history?Is it really so intolerable to deny that the holocaust "transcends history", that it is "the ultimate event" or the "ultimate mystery"?Is it truly obligatory to acquiesce in the view that "any survivor has more to say than all the historians combined about what happened?"Alternatively, to express sympathy with the Palestinian cause in the contemporary Middle East in some quarters suggests hostility to the Jews and to argue that Palestinians perhaps should be accorded their own autonomous territory free from Israeli oppression is regarded as anti-Semitic.Such arguments are as specious as they are jejune but the shackles of a new orthodoxy suggests universities cannot allow certain assumptions to bear the weight of enquiry.Can morality be that flexible?
ED Noor: My computer, old thing that it is, will not post the rest of this article so I must make this a two part piece.