Holocaust profit controversy
| A lunatic Chaplin imitator|
and his greatest fans
|First as tragedy|
|Then as farce|
The Holocaust profit controversy (or Holocaust industry) is the debate whether Jewish people, Israel and/or other entities have deliberately exploited the memory of the Holocaust for unfair political or financial gain.
The claim of "Holocaust exploitation" is common amongst Holocaust deniers, and the exploitation theory is used as part of the conspiracy theory that makes up Holocaust denial, though refuted a thousand times.
There are some objections to this interpretation of history.
Holocaust denier interpretation
By definition, Holocaust deniers believe that the Holocaust did not happen, at least not at the magnitude (5 to 6 million killed Jews) or with the methods (mainly gas chambers) described by scholarship (and supported by heaps of evidence). As with other conspiracy theories, details of the theory are divergent, but a main theme is that the Holocaust was staged to make profit for the Jews (through sovereignty and political support for Israel, as well as economic compensation), to make the Nazis and Germany look bad, and/or as a red herring to draw attention from the atrocities of the USA, the UK, and the Soviet Union.
Some scholars, often Jewish, argue that exploitation very much happens, e.g. Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry (arguably the most read on the matter), Noam Chomsky, and Raul Hilberg, preeminent Holocaust historian. There is controversy between functionism and intentionalism, the modus operandi of the Holocaust, and about less significant details. However, they do in fact view the Holocaust as having happened (Finkelstein is even the son of Holocaust survivors).
Claimed profits of the Holocaust
In 1947, the United Nations adopted Resolution 181, to support the foundation of Israel. Holocaust deniers such as the IHR claim that the Holocaust was staged to create sympathy for the foundation of Israel.
The UN decision to found Israel is, like any political decision, subject to debate. However, there had been international support for a Jewish state in Palestine at least since the Balfour Declaration was written in 1917. Also, most Jews who lived in Israel when it was founded arrived before World War II. As a matter of fact, the British authorities actively kept Jewish immigrants out both during World War II and shortly thereafter, with the case of the SS Exodus being perhaps the best known. If there was a conspiracy, the Brits seem to not have been in on it.
Aid to Israel
Israel does not receive extraordinary economic aid from other countries. The United States has given more money to other countries than to Israel. However, Israel does receive large amounts of military aid from the U.S. which is why Israel has often topped the list of total U.S. aid recipients (though occasionally other recipients, such as the basket case of Afghanistan in 2012, push Israel from the top spot).
No reparations have ever been paid by anyone to anyone for people killed in the Holocaust. Reparations have been paid to survivors. Exaggerating the death toll would not give any Jew more money. The Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany was also explicitly on account of the many survivors living in Israel and it was extremely controversial and even unpopular among the Israeli political right.
Profits from books and lectures
One might also complain about survivors' profiteering on books and lectures, which in some cases are sponsored by public schools or other government institutions. This is irrelevant as well, and their earnings are unnoticeable on a government financial scale. One should also remember that many Nazis, including war criminals such as Karl Dönitz and Albert Speer, also earned royalties from books after the war. (Although, this last statement is in itself a red herring, as it is irrelevant to the point of survivors profiting from books and lectures).
It's also rather idiotic; a number of people have made small incomes doing tours and giving speeches after suffering some sort of tragedy other than the Holocaust. Because a number of black people have been the center of some sort of racist fiasco and years later went on tour, does that mean that racism never existed?