Monday, March 14, 2005

Lipstadt interviewed by The Book Guys

3-10-05-

Deborah Lipstadt discusses history, Holocaust denial, British vs. US libel law and David Irving, convicted denier and liar ...

Lipstadt is interviewed by Allan Stypeck and Mike Cuthbert, "The Book Guys".

http://www.bookguys.com/archives.htm

(Scroll down the page to item #0510)

11 comments:

Virgil said...

Irving is not a "convicted denier". You cannot be convicted for something which is, a. Not a crime and, b. For which there has been no trial. Irving lost an action against Lipstadt.

You colonials seem to have a problem with British libel law, which is based on the priciple that if you say something bad about someone you had better be able to substantiate it. I think that this principle is grounded in something called pressumtion of innocence. Don't you have that in the land of the free?

david gehrig said...

"if you say something bad about someone you had better be able to substantiate it" -- that's the essence of the justification defense of the Libel law. And, as you know, Lipstadt was able to substantiate her claims.

Irving was presumed innocent of Lipstadt's charges, and then he was proved guilty of Lipstadt's charges. After which there was nothing left to do but listen to the Holocaust deniers trying mightily to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

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Anonymous said...

Nonsense. You cannot be proven "guilty" of something which is not a crime. Irving was deemed to be a holocaust denier by judge Grey. Not a crime, no guilt.

david gehrig said...

As you can see, when all else fails -- and in Irving's case, all else certainly failed -- Irving's supporters turn to vapid word games. Since holding racist beliefs isn't a crime, therefore Irving can't be called "guilty of holding racist beliefs." Since lying about Hitler to pretty him up isn't a crime, therefore Irving can't be "guilty of lying about Hitler." Etc.

Yes, folks, apparently he really does hope you'll buy that argument.

Well, I suppose I should be happy that this guy is only twisting definitions. Irving was found guilty of changing the words themselves.

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Anonymous said...

What have "racist beliefs" got to do with anything? The phrase I'm objecting to is "convicted denier". If you can't understand that a person cannot be convicted of something which is not a crime and for which he or she has not been charged maybe you should analyse the vapidity of your own pronouncements.

david gehrig said...

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

convict v. tr. 2: To show or declare to be blameworthy; condemn: His remarks convicted him of a lack of sensitivity.

And for good measure:

guilty adj. 1: Responsible for or chargeable with a reprehensible act; deserving of blame; culpable: guilty of cheating; the guilty party.

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Anonymous said...

Yes, very good semantic legedermain David. In the context of the quote, however, the phrase "convicted denier" was clearly intended to convey a spurious impression of legality.

david gehrig said...

So you assert. But then, Irving's supporters have always had trouble sorting out the difference between assertion -- in this case, anonymous assertion -- and historical truth. Which makes a certain sense, because how else besides bald assertion could someone be one of Irving's supporters?

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Anonymous said...

Using the terms "convicted" and "guilty", in reference to Irving, in the context of this trial gives the impression that Irving was on trial, rather than Lipstadt. That's not an assertion, it's an observation.

david gehrig said...

In an important sense, Irving was on trial, even though he was claimant. That's the nature of the justification defense in a libel trial: it boomerangs back on the claimant. Because Irving claimed that Lipstadt had libelously mischaracterized his behavior as a historian, the bulk of the trial was necessarily therefore an investigation of Irving's behavior as a historian. How else could you show whether or not Lipstadt's charges were true? Irving knew the risks, and went ahead with the case anyway.

And, of course, it was shown that the charges were true -- Irving's behavior as a historian was reprehensible, racist, and fundamentally dishonest on point after point after point. When they shined the flashlight on Irving's work -- and the entire matter of Holocaust denial -- all sorts of ugly things skittered out. To argue that the verdict was any less devastating to Irving's reputation because he was claimant, not defendant, is to try to mask the awful truth about Irving with a distracting word game.

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Anonymous said...

"As you can see, when all else fails -- and in Irving's case, all else certainly failed -- Irving's supporters turn to vapid word games."

Wrong. Irving is not a convicted denier because he hasn't been convicted for denial. It's that easy. No amount of apologia will change that fact. These are the same games Irving likes to play.