Canadian prof at Tehran Holocaust Conference.
ONDON â Gathered in a Tehran auditorium yesterday were some of the world's most notorious figures: Holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis, leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. And among them, somewhat incongruously, was a soft-spoken political science professor from Nova Scotia.
The presence of Shiraz Dossa of St. Francis Xavier University at a Holocaust conference organized by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has raised eyebrows in Canada. Mr. Ahmadinejad has called for an end to Israel's existence, and the conference is widely seen as a provocative exercise in anti-Semitism.
Dr. Dossa says that while he "gladly" accepted the invitation from Iran and welcomed the opportunity to criticize the West, he is "horrified " to discover that the was sharing the stage with anti-Semites. He claims the his paper has nothing to do with Holocaust denial, and that the paper is about the role of the Holocaust , symbolically and historically, in the war on terror. Dr. Dossa describes the essay as treating the abuse of imagery of the Holocaust. He also claims that no pressure has been exerted on him to endorse any particular point of view.
All of the above is probably true. Dossa is correct to say that criticizing a particular rhetorical use of the Holocaust is not the same as denying it, distorting it, or diminishing it. His unawareness of his surroundings, and of the purpose of the conference might be innocent enough- in fact, it approaches the criminally naive.