According to a December 14th posting on the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry’s website, (reported also on Isria.com and elsewhere), Lithuania’s foreign minister is taking the lead in the latest initiative to insert ‘Double Genocide’ into European Union law and policy, which on this occasion includes his colleagues from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, and Romania. Other media reports here.
It becomes ever more difficult for observers of East European minority rights and Holocaust history issues to keep up, as the Holocaust Obfuscation undertones of the Prague Declaration are gradually infiltrated into the Stockholm Programme. In both cases, observers discern New Accession EU governments’ efforts to insinuate one or another incarnation of ‘Double Genocide’ (in Eurospeak: ‘equal evaluation of totalitarian regimes’) into general European Union consciousness.
The plot line seems to remain constant. Some countries are thought to be trying to cover for atrocious Holocaust-era records of collaboration or actual participation in the genocide, by retooling history into ‘Two Equal Genocides’ instead of coming clean on their own countries’ actual wartime history which resulted in the near-total annihilation of their Jewish minorities.
These governments are investing ever more treasure and national capital, even in troubled economic times, into revisionist history that often encompasses antisemitic moods, and is not seldom coupled with the glorification of Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators as ‘anti-Soviet heroes’.
It is thought that Lithuania’s engergetic and controversial MP Emanuelis Zingeris, himself chairman of his country’s red-brown commission and a signatory of the Prague Declaration, and now head of the Lithuanian parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, is again playing a key behind-the-scenes role, even as he plays a pivotal role in his prime minister’s visit to Israel, that starts tomorrow, as part of a strategy of supporting Israel in exchange for support or acquiescence vis-à-vis the revised Holocaust narrative (see debates here and here).
The chief public protagonist for insertion of ‘Double Genocide’ in the Stockholm Programme is Lithuanian foreign minister, Audronius Ažubalis, who has yet to apologize for an antisemitic outburst last October. His excellency explained to a meeting of his ruling party faction held in the nation’s parliament that a Jewish conspiracy was responsible for efforts to change Lithuanian citizenship law in the direction of allowing dual citizenship. Instead of a retraction of apology, his website published a defense of his lifelong attachment to ‘historic justice’. The Jewish Community of Lithuania responded swiftly, as did the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
But in this part of the world, antisemitic outbursts are not necessarily deemed incompatible with ‘historic justice’ and the campaign to downgrade or replace the Holocaust in European history via the ‘Double Genocide’ model, which has drawn considerable international indignation, and was explicitly mentioned (as ‘spurious attempts’) in the now renowned letter from seven Vilnius-based European ambassadors to the leaders of Lithuania on November 25th. This week in the British parliament, UK human rights advocate and opposition MP Denis MacShane asked for the letter to be published.
Liberal forces in Lithuania are increasingly taken aback at the degree to which their nation is being taken to a far-right stance by the current government, which combines expensive efforts to glorify the nationalist ‘rebels’ who unleashed the Lithuanian Holocaust in 1941 with other expensive efforts to commemorate the Holocaust, mostly for foreign and diplomatic consumption. Matters reached a tragi-comic climax in late 2010 when 2011 was declared a year of commemoration, separately for the Holocaust and separately for the ‘defense of freedom’, local code for the 1941 collaborators and killers who were also ‘anti-Soviet’ (see here, here and here). This journal has used the term history apartheid to characterize the parallel efforts to commemorate the perpetrators and the victims.
In the new development, the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania have written to Luxembourg politician Viviane Reding, now the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. The six nations’ foreign ministries helpfully reminded Ms Reding of the commitment to ‘preserving Europe’s collective memory of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes, and in ensuring an appropriate approach to these crimes’ in the Stockholm Programme. They further reminded Commissioner Reding that ‘under this programme, the European Commission is obligated to submit by the end of 2010 its conclusions on the evaluation at the EU level of crimes committed by totalitarian regimes and an appropriate legal instrument.’
It is not known whether Ms Reding’s office, which includes citizenship issues, has in the meantime subjected to scrutiny the Lithuanian laws on acquiring citizenship which are widely thought to be racially biased (reports here).
Her response to the new effort to insinuate ‘Double Genocide’ into the Stockholm Programme is eagerly awaited.