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“Why are we compelled to dismiss him simply because the truth regarding the history of Zionism may be uncomfortable?” protests a commenter on reading my Greek Archbishop Speaks, Doesn’t Help . He argues that the criticism of the archbishop’s words—mine and the Greek Orthodox Church in America’s—only expresses a different understanding of history from his.

How do we know that what he [the archbishop] has said isn’t true? Are we to dismiss it as untrue simply because it is critical of Zionism and therefore would seem counterproductive to the cause of ecumenical relations between Christians and Zionists? It would appear that Mr. Mills et al and the Archbishop adhere to historical narratives at odds with each other regarding the history of the Zionist movement. Does it not then become a question of fact? Why are we compelled to dismiss him simply because the truth regarding the history of Zionism may be uncomfortable?

This all sounds quite reasonable. History can be read in different ways, we don’t know everything, what facts we do have can be put together in different ways, some of us are too influenced by the mainstream view, which eventually changes anyway, and so on. It seems reasonable to think that the archbishop and I just see the history of Zionism differently.

If you don’t know what the archbishop said—and the commenter did. Archbishop Seraphim of Peraeus said: “Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new Empire.” The Holocaust, in other words, was the result of a Jewish plot to create a Jewish empire. Seraphim’s clarification, as I pointed out, didn’t make things any better.

“Please don’t label me an anti-Semite simply for asking these questions,” the commenter asks. “I don’t know if what the Archbishop said is true or not, but as a mere observer, it is frustrating to learn from Mr. Mills that certain ideas are dismissed out of hand simply because they might cause offence.” (Which is not, by the way, what I argued. I said the archbishop’s ideas should be condemned because they’re lunatic and bigoted.)

It is the line the shrewder Holocaust deniers and revisionists and others of that sort always use. They’re not anti-Semites, oh no no no, they’re just asking questions, probing the evidence, raising matters for consideration, exploring anomalies in the data, pointing out problems with the dominant narrative—just being good (if continually misunderstood) historians.

One tends not to believe them. There are some stories about which to claim, or to feign, agnosticism is to advance a lie. Hitler the instrument of world Zionism is one of them. This leaves us asking why such people claim, or feign, agnosticism about such stories, which are so often stories about Jews. Why these stories in particular? Anti-semitism is one obvious answer.

Update: A note from a friend prompted me to a quick web search, which led me to remembering that one of the main Holocaust-denying groups is called the Institute for Historical Research. See paragraph five above.

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