The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Notes on a Discourse Analysis
of Selected Zündelsite Materials
(Part 3 of 13)

[Page 8]

Tab 7. An Open Letter from the "Zundelsite" to all principled Freedom-of-Speech activists globally: We Are In Need Of Intervenors! (p. 2)

"To claim that World War II was fought by the Germans, as the Holocaust Lobby incessantly claims, to kill off the Jews as a group, is a deliberately planned, systematic deception amounting to financial, political, emotional and spiritual extortion. The "Holocaust, " first sold as a tragedy, has over time deteriorated into a racket cloaked in the tenets of a new temporal religion - replete with martyrs to the Faith, holy shrines, high priests like Wiesel and Goldhagen, and theologians of the Faith such as Raul Hilberg, Deborah Lipstadt, et al"


The second selection differs from the first by (a) the addition of just in the second line, (b) the replacement of State with temporal and (c) the addition of the expression "-replete... et al" to the final sentence. These differences are in fact quite significant. The term just functions as a delimiter and is used to misdirect the reader to the conclusion that the Holocaust Lobby claims that the singular and exclusive reason the Germans fought World War II was to kill off the Jews, effectively implying the claim that there were no other purposes.

The expression temporal replacing State and modifying religion serves to suggest that that this is a religion which is at the same time not a real (eternal) religion, but a fake. Finally, the expression "cloaked In the tenets of a new temporal religion - replete with martyrs to the Faith, holy shrines, high priests like Wiesel and Goldhagen, and theologians of the Faith such as Raul Hilberg, Deborah Lipstadt et al. " is juxtaposed to the noun racket. Such a use of highly elevated language juxtaposed to highly negative expressions (e.g., racket) serves to mock and ridicule.

We turn now to the commonalties of the two passages. The verb claim takes as its complement a clause whose truth is asserted as a part of the belief system of the speaker. Thus, in a sentence such as:

Fred claims that the earth is flat.

the complement clause that the earth is flat is asserted to be what Fred believes. In the first sentence of the quote above, the complement clause that World War II ... group, is asserted to be a part of the writer's belief about the activities of the Holocaust Lobby.

The expression Holocaust Lobby entails an implicit meaning that (1) such a well-defined group exists and (2) that it is constituted of those, including Jews, who advocate the existence of the Holocaust. Jews, as members of the Holocaust Lobby, have predicated of them such properties as deception and financial, political, emotional and spiritual extortion. This collocation of expressions and association of terms implies the covert assertion that Jews as a group are deceivers and extortionists.

[Page 9]

The second sentence of the quote contains a passive relative clause associated with the subject NP the "Holocaust," namely first sold as a tragedy. Such passive structures without overt agent NPs are used when the agent is either shared (given) information or is understood pragmatically from the context. By the principle of topic continuity and the maxim of relevance, the understood agent in this case is the NP the Holocaust Lobby, which was Introduced in the previous sentence. The expression "Holocaust" is placed in scare quotes, signaling the writer's sceptical attitude toward the word.

Moreover, the meaning of sell in both its literal and extended senses involves a financial or metaphorical transaction in which some particular object, etc. is exchanged in return for payment of some sort. In this instance, it is the Holocaust which is sold, and which is implicitly bought by someone else. Since a metaphorical use of sell is involved, its sense is that of promote or convince. In that use, sell takes on attributes not only of commercialism, but of shady. illicit, and negative commercialism, invoking hucksterism and racketeering, leading to a negative set of attributes stereotypically associated with Jews. Therefore, the propositional content of the relative clause is that the Holocaust Lobby convinced (some unspecified persons) that the Holocaust was a tragedy. In the first sentence, Jews have been implicitly cast as deceivers, and financial extortionists, thus inviting the interpretation in the second sentence that Jews have deliberately promoted a false notion, namely the Holocaust and, as the predicate of the second sentence ("has over rime deteriorated into a racket ...") emphatically reinforces, that such activity is illegitimate.

One important consequence in these two passages is that the term Holocaust Lobby has been established as an epithet for Jews and others who proclaim the existence of the Holocaust. Such epithets, usually disparaging, can be cast as code terms for groups, and that has been done here. The rhetorical thrust of this text is to establish the falsehood of the Holocaust and then to treat this as given information, shared by the writer and reader. The overall theme of the passage is to explain the continuing bad faith of those who purport to believe in the Holocaust. In summary, this brief passage invites the reader to construct a meaning representation in which Jews are identified as a group whose identifying properties include deception, extortion, and promotion of falsehoods.

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