Anyone who troubles to read my review of The Last Days of Israel, a 2001 book by Barry Chamish, will be aware of my contempt for his work. In the review I call Chamish "Israel's foremost conspiracy theorist," disparage his oeuvre as a "barely edited rant with an alarmist title published by an obscure provincial press," fault his "overheated prose, his overstuffed account, and his overgenerous estimate of himself standing at the crux of history," and conclude by finding the book full of "mad-house digressions."
Chamish being no shrinking violet, he returns the compliments, mostly by accusing me of being a member of the dread Council on Foreign Relations (true enough) which he and other bright lights believe runs the world (sure). But to get a feel for his reasoning, first read my critique of Thomas L. Friedman's ideas, then read how Chamish transforms this column into me "bailing out" and apologizing for Friedman.
All this is by way of setting the stage for the news that "Barry Chamish, author (Israel)" is a scheduled speaker at what is billed as a "Major Revisionist Conference" to be hosted by the Institute for Historical Review, called by ADL "a leading voice in the international movement to deny the Holocaust and vindicate Hitler and his Nazi regime." The IHR announcement proudly states that the April 2004 event is "shaping up as the revisionist event of the year" and compliments itself on "a stellar line-up of speakers."
Even I never imagined that Chamish would stoop this low. Maybe now his surprisingly large Israeli following will see the light and finally stop listening to him. (February 26, 2004)
Feb. 27, 2004 update: Two pieces of good news following my posting yesterday in which I questioned Barry Chamish being listed as a speaker at a "Major Revisionist Conference." (1) Chamish responded to my posting above by stating that as a result of it, "I'm not going to the conference." (2) The Adelaide Institute, an Australian organization headed by Fredrick Töben, is hailed by the IHR for publishing "an important revisionist newsletter" and decried by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council for its "astonishingly high profile in the dark galaxy of international anti-Semitism." The institute devotes many pages of its website to Chamish's writings. (To my dismay and despite my demand that it be taken down, it includes this blog entry too.) Also featured there is a long posting with background for Chamish's appearance at the IHR conference that makes clear that Chamish is (in Töben's parlance) a "Holocaust believer." Or, in Chamish's own words, "I despise Holocaust denial." So, he may think the Council on Foreign Relations runs the world and he may be acclaimed as "the leading UFO researcher in Israel," but at least he is not a Holocaust denier.
Also today, the blogger Nathan Gesher points to the parallels between Chamish challenging Yigal Amir's responsibility for killing Rabin and Holocaust deniers challenging the Nazis' responsibility for the Holocaust:
Barry Chamish's method for casting "doubt" that Yigal Amir murdered Yitzhak Rabin is to raise lots of "questions." These questions almost always have extremely simple answers. Occasionally they can only be answered by forensic scientists or police detectives, which reminds us why lay people do not generally conduct inquests or criminal investigations. But Chamish believes that by asking these "questions" in a pointed manner, and by refusing to accept the most blatantly obvious answers, he can chip holes in the theory - excuse me, the reality - that Rabin was shot by one man, Yigal Amir.
The discerning reader will note that this is exactly the same method used by Holocaust-deniers. They raise "questions" about the Holocaust, ignore the the most simple and obvious answers, and then react with triumph, as if all the evidence for the Holocaust has crumbled. If it's true that Chamish is now associating himself with Holocaust-deniers, I can only surmise it's because their standard for accepting evidence is about the same as his.
April 18, 2004 update: It appears that Chamish's "I'm not going to the conference" statement in February was an uncharacteristic moment of good sense – and therefore one he quickly reversed. According to the schedule of the "International Revisionist Conference" to take place in Sacramento, Chamish will both attend and speak; his talk is scheduled for 5:00-5:55 p.m., PDT on April 24. For anyone curious to see his performance, a webcast of this event can be seen then by logging onto http://www.internationalrevisionistconference.com/internet.html. The conference website also informs us that Chamish's books will be sold at the event for, as it explains, his writings "are not so bad, since they are mostly critical of the Israeli government."
April 19, 2004 update: Poor Barry. The "International Revisionist Conference" announces today that the event has been cancelled. This means that Israel's leading UFO researcher has not only been denied a chance to rub shoulders with Holocaust deniers but he's probably out some cash, given that the conference organizers say they "cannot promise" a refund for travel expenses.
August 2004 update: The History News Network provides additional information on that conference at "Say, Do You Know Where the Holocaust Deniers Are Meeting?"
March 21, 2005 update: One more indication of Chamish being in tight with the Holocaust deniers: http://www.rense.com/, a site that celebrates Ernst Zundel (calling him a "modern day Galileo") and others of his ilk, not only links to "Barry Chamish" but posts his materials and even sells his book. And in return, http://www.barrychamish.com/ links to "Rense." Looks like a cozy, reciprocal arrangement to me.
July 27, 2005 update: The blogger who goes by Sultan Knish makes some good points in "Barry Chamish obstructs the fight against Disengagement." After noting Chamish's neo-Nazi links and the "bizarre concoction" on his conspiracy theories, Sultan Knish considers the effect of his writing on the right to which he supposedly belongs, but which he discredits, leads astray, and causes divisions in its ranks: given airtime, people like Chamish, mislead and obstruct:
An example of this was Chamish warning against signing a petition against disengagement distributed by the Yesha council. But the broader problem is that they inspire unfocused paranoia and defeatism diverting attention and resources from the real struggle and into fighting phantoms and shadows. Instead of fighting Disengagement, Chamish diverts attention into his ramblings about secret US bases and hidden armies and Netvision's conspiracy to cut off his internet service and the Sabbatean\Illuminati\Rockerfeller\Rothschild\Freemasonic\Frankist\Jesuit conspiracy.
Conspiracy nuts also tend to foster division. Predictably Chamish has gone on a rampage against figures on the right such as Steven Plaut and Daniel Pipes claiming that they're part of the conspiracy too. Sadly Reuven Koret of the otherwise excellent Israelinsider site has joined him in this madness. When our efforts should be focused on Disengagement, they instead become diverted into infighting all the while as Chamish claims that it's all the work of the Freemasons and brandishes low resolution photographs of concrete walls. As long as Chamish continues to be heard on the right, good people will be taken in by his nonsense and resources will be diverted from the real struggle.
Nov. 20, 2005 update: Sultan Knish also has something to say on Chamish and Holocaust denial:
Chamish is affiliated with Neo-Nazi holocaust deniers and is himself promoting theories that amount to holocaust denial, e.g. the Holocaust was arranged by the Jews, a form of Holocaust denial innovated by the Soviet Union and repeated by some in the Arab world, which claims the Zionists were behind the Holocaust.
Dec. 1, 2005 update: In an posting dating from October 2005, Barry Chamish inveighs against giving alms to the Jewish refugees from Gaza ("Don't give them a nickel"). Sultan Knish discusses this obnoxious argument in a posting today, noting that although Chamish's "main outlets remain Neo-Nazi and conspiracy theory sites, … he continues to be published and defended by Reuven Koret of Israel Insider and occasionally interviewed on Arutz 7." Sultan Knish rightly suggests that "It's past time to bring an end to Barry Chamish's presence on the right."
Feb. 4, 2006 update: "Documenting the Ties of ‘Conspiracist' Barry Chamish to neo-Nazi Organizations and Websites" is the title of a new website, http://www.barry-chamish.com, that provides rich evidence about topics merely touched upon here.
Apr. 11, 2006 update: Chamish sent out an e-mail to his list, in which he links to the amazon.com page selling a book by Hennecke Kardel titled Adolf Hitler - Founder of Israel: Israel in War With Jews, then writes:
Look at the book above and decide if you want to read it. … I frankly don't know if the book is right or wrong. It was just a great conspiracy. If you do want to read it, write me and I'll send it to you. It takes 12 minutes to download and I sure wasn't going to punish my list with it. It'll come to you right after I'm back from Cyprus.
Chamish may "frankly [not] know if the book is right or wrong" but I do. It's an atrocious antisemitic screed. As one amazon.com reviewer sums it up, the book argues that "the Nazi leadership had ‘Jewish ancestry' – therefore, the Holocaust was an act of Jewish self-hatred." And Chamish has no opinion?
Apr. 21, 2006 update: At "Chamish Singlehandedly Fights Off the Extra-Dimensional Sabbatean Demonic UFO Invasion," Sultan Knish exposes Chamish's cooperation with someone named Jim Searcy. Among his other charming ideas, Searcy thinks that the Star of David is an occult Satanic symbol, Kabbalah is the work of the Devil, and the Noahide laws are a conspiracy to enslave mankind to serve Lucifer (notice a certain theme here?). Writes Sultan Knish: "This is the sort of hatefull Anti-semitic trash that Barry Chamish hangs around with and uses to defame other Jews, when he's not hanging around with this Holocaust denier buddies." Oh, and Searcy helps Chamish raise money.
Aug. 21, 2006 update: Not only does rense.com, a neo-Nazi site, post the latest Chamish epistle, "Israeli Secrets I Shouldn't Know," but Chamish himself links at the end of this letter to a story at the mathaba.net website that along the right side of the page promotes such Holocaust-denying reports as "German magazine denies Holocaust hate laws" and "Three of the latest letters from Ernest Zundel – Prisoner of Conscience."
This might be the place to note the amusing fact that a 2003 rense.com ad for one of Chamish's books more-or-less quotes my 2001 review of another of his books that Chamish "has emerged in recent years as Israel's foremost conspiracy theorist." Of course, I meant it as a deprecation but rense.com quotes it as high praise.
Barry Chamish listed as a speaker at the AFP-TBR conference.
Just after insisting that he was being misrepresented as associating with Neo-Nazis and that Neo-Nazi sites were printing his materials without permission, Chamish has been announced as a speaker at the AFP's 2006 conference alongside the wife of prominent Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel (who runs his website) and Holocaust denier Jurgen Graf (who was convicted of Holocaust denial in a Swiss court and sentenced to 15 months in prison and fled sentencing to become a fugitive).
Also there will be Chamish's longtime friend, and head of Australia's Adelaide Center, Fredrick Toben, whom Chamish begged to write a letter disowning their ties, which unfortunately for Chamish was posted on the web. Toben's center is a clearinghouse for Holocaust deniers in Australia. The conference is sponsored by The Barnes Review, a Holocaust denial publication run by Willis Carto, founder of the Institute for Historical Review, before he was booted out of even there.
It isn't just Holocaust deniers though who will be attending this witch's Sabbath. There will also be the Neturei Karta's own Rabbi Yisroel Weiss along with several Muslim anti-Semites and a basketful of 9/11 deniers and other Holocaust deniers and conspiracy theorists.
As seen above, the notice bills Chamish as an Israeli Anti-Zionist, a far more honest characterization of Chamish then he's willing to admit to. No doubt Chamish will have plenty of material to sell them too. Chamish most recently appeared at a 9/11 Denial conference in New York in time for the anniversary of September 11th and he's published an article with a new theory for the 9/11 Deniers linking Israel as being behind the 9/11 attacks.
While Chamish will no doubt try to lie his way out of this again and claim he's going to debate the Neo-Nazis (when has he ever debated them?) he has one reason for going and that's to sell his books. For the Holocaust deniers Chamish offers his theory on how the Jews via the Rothschilds and Sabbateans were really behind the Holocaust. For the 9/11 Deniers he has a theory on how Israel was behind 9/11. For the Anti-Israel crowd he has theories on how Arab terrorism is really carried out by the Mossad and the Neo-conservatives are behind the terrorism while the Arabs are really our friends.
In other words Chamish is a one stop shopping center of Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for Anti-Semites, a function he's happy to serve so long as it sells books.