Bloggers deny the Iranian Holocaust convention's right to exist, contemplate the Saudi ambassador's sudden departure, and joust over airport Christmas trees.
Mahmoud's list: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opened a two-day Holocaust conference, with a speaker list that includes former KKK imperial wizard David Duke. Israeli, Vatican, and United States officials denounced the event, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair called it "shocking beyond disbelief." Bloggers make those criticisms look tame.
Conservative "ALa" at Blonde Sagacity decries the "obvious lunacy" of denying such a "heavily documented historical event": "[W]hat struck me was Iran 'celebrating' this 'conference' as proof of free speech in their theocratic land. Deny the Holocaust and it's free speech, but be a Blogger and be put in prison. Makes sense."
At National Review's The Corner, conservative Michael Ledeen praises the courage of the university students who chanted "death to the dictator" and burned pictures of Ahmadinejad at a speaking event: "[T]hink about the willful ignorance of the misnamed 'experts' in the equally misnamed 'intelligence community,' who, along with an astonishing number of cynical intellectuals, insist that there really is no effective opposition to the regime in Iran." But Matt at Steaming Pile figures "there is a pretty good chance that we may never hear from some of those 60 people again."
Conservative Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz claims on The Huffington Post that his longtime detractor Norman Finkelstein was originally scheduled to speak, although he's not sure Finkelstein attended: "Finkelstein certainly fits comfortably into the hate club, since he has allied himself closely with the Holocaust denial movement by trivializing the suffering of its victims and denying that many of them were victims at all."
Greg at Rhymes With Right ponders the foreign-policy implications: "[I]s this a nation that we can allow to get nuclear weapons, especially given the stated objective of its president to complete the task tha he denies hitler began?"
Businessman Joe Gelman at Neocon Express upbraids the members of Neturei Karta, a small anti-Zionist sect of Judaism, who showed up to the conference: "I find these folks far more repulsive than the capo Jews that worked as assistants to Nazi concentration camp guards. At least capo Jews were trying to save their own skin under horrible circumstances. These 'Jews' rush off to Iran under no duress to play footies with a holocaust denier who openly wishes to perpetrate another one."
Read more on Iran's Holocaust conference.
Faisal Goes East: Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, flew out of Washington Monday, saying after only 15 months of service that he wants to spend more time with his family. The Washington Post speculates that he may be returning on account of his ailing brother, Prince Saud al-Faisal, but bloggers aren't so sure.
BooMan at liberal Booman Tribune calls the departure an "earth-shaking event in the foreign policy establishment" that "could indicate severe tensions in the U.S./Saudi relationship. …Perhaps they have determined that Bush's strategy is fundamentally incompatible with their interests."
Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters suspects that, given the importance of the post, "something deeply wrong has happened." Saudi King Abdullah may have died, he points out—a situation that "could generate more instability in Saudi Arabia and a further inspiration to al-Qaeda."
Ape Man at The Liberal Avenger wonders if maybe, just maybe, Saudi Arabia is reconsidering its alliance with a weakened United States. Pure speculation, he admits, but it's possible the House of Saud is realigning with Iran: "An alliance with Iran would seem unlikely to those who tend to see everything in the Middle East through the 'Sunni vs. Shiite' lens … but both countries have a major interest in containing the Iraq war within Iraq's borders AND in maintaining the operability of the Strait of Hormuz as a viable export path."
Read more about Prince Faisal's departure.
Tree-for-all: Christmas trees have returned to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. They were removed after a rabbi had threatened legal action unless the airport included a menorah in the display, but he later said that he hadn't intended for the trees to be taken away. Bloggers debate who won this round in the "war on Christmas."
California Conservative calls the move "a loss for the ACLU and their PC police." Christian nuclear physicist David Heddle at He Lives argues that "there are no heroes in this story—only buffoons" and chastises airport management: "You caved to the rabbi, and now you are caving to the overwhelming criticism you justly received. What will you do, after you put them back up, if some imam threatens to sue?"
Mark Shea at Catholic and Enjoying It! thinks the flap "makes for great comedy": "You've got the wimpy 'Holiday Trees' reminding us that Christmas is, for Blue Staters, the Holiday that Dare Not Say it's Name. You've got the rabbi who goes to the Port with his Big Gun lawyer demanding an instant menorah or else it's lawsuit city (and then acting surprised that the Port felt threatened). You've got the cowardly Port guys who were too timid to even defend 'Holiday Trees' and too thick to say, "Sure, stick a menorah over there by Baggage Claim.' "