The term “Holocaust denier” typically evokes images of a vaguely Aryan white supremacist or Neo-Nazi. Though some deniers fit this description, a closer look at weblogs and social networking sites reveals far greater diversity in the virtual community of Holocaust deniers. Many deniers are Arabs or Muslims who view the Holocaust as a Zionist hoax aimed at legitimating Israeli violence and imperialism. They deny the Holocaust not because they are antisemites, per se, but because they identify with Palestinian victimhood and vehemently oppose Zionism. This paper explores the politics of Holocaust denial on the Web with a focus on the rhetorical strategies deniers use to promote their cause online. It argues that Holocaust deniers seek legitimacy on the Web by appealing to populist inclinations and adapting to discursive shifts in the global public sphere. Specifically, the paper analyzes three rhetorical tactics commonly used on denialist websites, blogs, and Facebook groups, which contribute to a broader strategy for discursive positioning on the Web: (1) the polemicizing of the Arab-Israeli conflict, (2) competitive victimhood-status seeking, and (3) the deracialization of antisemitism.
|Keywords:||Holocaust Denial, Web 2.0, Politics of Memory, Arab-Israeli Conflict|
Graduate Student, History, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
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