Sunday, February 19, 2006

News from Rome on Sholem Aleichem's birthday: Irving says he's neither a Nazi nor a Holocaust denier

In a extensive article in this morning's Independent Irving once again claims he is not a Holocaust denier.

The article also lists the statements Irving made in his Austrian speeches, which he gave to a audience of 300, which got him into this trouble.

In the first, he said that Kristallnacht was conducted by "unknowns" who put on SA uniforms. This, of course, was completely discredited by documents presented at my trial. Documents which came from Irving's work.

He also contended that the diary of Anne Frank could not have been written by her because the Biro [ball point pen] wasn't invented until 1949. Of course, the diary is NOT written in ball point pen, as Dutch forensic experts have shown.

He cited the research by Fred Leuchter, whom the paper describes as "the (now discredited) American execution technician." [Attention Northwestern University readers: please forward this article to the editors of the Daily Northwestern. Somehow the Independent could figure out that Leuchter was discredited and the Daily editors could not].

Leuchter based his claim that no humans were murdered at Auschwitz on the fact that he found more traces of cyanide in the areas where clothes were deloused than in did in areas where humans were "claimed to have been" murdered.

Of course, Leuchter -- who is just a scam artist and a weird one at that -- was not aware of a basic fact known to most high school kids who have studied biology. Louse and the like are far more resistant to cyanide than humans, therefore, it makes perfect sense to have found greater traces of cyanide in the areas where clothes and objects were deloused.

In his second Austrian lecture he made a statement which would subsequently become part of his repertoire: "Auschwitz is a legend, just like the Turin Shroud", and "the existence of witnesses proves that there was no mass extermination".

He also told an Austrian journalist: "I stand by what I said. There were no gas chambers at Auschwitz."

His lawyer says Irving will not "grandstand" in court and that he has abandoned his extremist views.

Irving says he changed his views in 1992 when he saw two documents, a discovery, which the Independent notes, "he kept to himself until recently."

One document was a radio message sent to Adolf Eichmann in 1943, reporting that during the previous 12 months more than a million people had died in Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec concentration camps.

This all makes no sense -- except maybe in David Irving's world of "I can say whatever I want whenever I want and no one will check out what I say." [In fact, he was right. No one did check it out until he forced me and my wonderful legal team to do so. Pfft, his claims collapsed.]

It also makes no sense because, for ten weeks we sat in a London court listening to him deny the Holocaust, argue that there were no gas chambers, and spout antisemitism and racism.

Richard Evans, who did such a stellar job of researching Irving's mangling of history, told the paper: "One shouldn't believe a word he says."

Ditto.

Oh what Sholem Aleichem could have done with the likes of a David Irving.

And now I am off to see the Arch of Titus. It's comforting to recall that the regime of the people who destroyed the ancient Temple and took the menorah and other object depicted on the arch are no more.

As the partisans during the Shoah [Holocaust] sang: Mir seinen da.

And so it is.

7 comments:

Douglass said...

Irving in the media spotlight is bad news for everyone. Irving has an irrational hatred for the Jews. This irrational hatred drives him to deny the Holocaust so that he can 'expose' the extent of Jewish power by making light of the response of the Jewish communities to his 'historical' attrition. That is his deal. We all see through it. But we need to look at the log in our eyes before we ridicule the stick in Irving's. We all have our irrational hatreds. I see that our dear professor finds emotional comfort in the political and cultural decay of the Roman Republic, because the Romans once persecuted the Jews. (Sacked Jerusalem under Titus in 70 C.E.)
To speak of moral equivalences,
What category would I fall into if I took emotional comfort in the political setbacks of the Jewish State, because I thought the existence of the Jewish State caused political difficulties for the American Republic? (Anti-Semite) We need to be more willing to understand the mentality of our adversaries. If someone could convince Irving that the "Jewish conspiracy" didn't exist in reality, his holocaust denial would evaporate. If our professor called him up and said, “we need to have lunch and work things out”, what damage would be done? We need to remember that our ‘enemies’ are human beings

Dave said...

Why hasn't someone asked the obvious question to Irving:

"If you knew in 1992 that the Holocaust really happened, why did you go on denying it for the next 13 years, and drag Deborah Lipstadt and her defense team through the exhausting and expensive trial, denying the Holocaust the whole way?"

Or in simpler terms, to quote Cromwell:

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think you might be mistaken."

Dave said...

Douglass, I respect your belief in the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Come, let us sit down and reason together," but I don't think that's possible with someone like Irving, who spread lies upon lies upon lies upon lies.

I admit that Deborah, given the ordeal she was put through by this schoolyard bully for six years, has a right to a certain amount of "schadenfreude." But I would point out to you that she has called for Irving to be cut loose from prison, and opposes laws that slap penalties on those who deny the Holocaust.

By contrast, Irving sought in his lawsuit to have Deborah's books pulped and she and her publishers apologize to him...for speaking the truth! He was demanding that she join in erecting a scaffold of lies from which to hang the history of the Second World War!

(I always remember that the Holocaust and WW2 are linked.)

I really don't think there was much for them to discuss. Irving did not want a discussion at all. He wanted to confront Deborah on a witness stand in the High Court, like Clarence Darrow facing William Jennings Bryan, and humiliate her in public. He wanted to publicly berate and batter his enemies: academics, historians, Jews, and women.

Furthermore, we know that after such a meeting, Irving would merely post a highly-colored account (as he did of the trial) of him browbeating Deborah into surrender, which would only be defamatory to Deborah.

We have already seen him rage endlessly at Deborah on his website since the trial, out of frustration at having been reduced to a figure of ridicule. He's posted "13 questions for Debbie" and run a contest on the best insulting title to come from her name.

Why should Deborah allow him to do in private what she would not tolerate in public?

Why should Deborah give Irving an opportunity to humiliate her again?

Deborah's right...there's really nothing to discuss, except when Irving is going to end his legal insults against Deborah, cough up what he owes, and retire to obscurity.

Narukami said...

"And now I am off to see the Arch of Titus. It's comforting to recall that the regime of the people who destroyed the ancient Temple and took the menorah and other object depicted on the arch are no more."

This strikes me as a rather curious comment from a scholar, particularly one who lives in a country whose foundations are more Roman than they are Greek or any other tradition.

Do you think the Romans destroyed the Temple because it was Jewish?

Or did they because it was held by the rebels and the Roman Legions, once on the attack, were difficult if not impossible to stop?

I do wonder if historical patterns in fact do repeat themselves.

The Roman Army seems to have been as confounded in their dealings with the Jewish rebels of 60-73CE as is the US Army confounded in their dealings with the Iraqi rebels in the 21st century CE. A polythestic society confronting a monotheistic society that accepts no religion but its own and whose entire life is informed by that system of belief.

Of course, like all generalizations there are exceptions to all of these points. And yet that does not make it any less valid. Even so I am left with several questions...

It seems the the various Jewish factions in 70CE were in revolt as much against the High Priests as they were the Romans. Would comparing the High Priests to Vichy be to far fetched?

If the Temple had remained in tact and viable to this day would the High Presthood have continued to function? Would they still be performing animal sacrifices?

And if it is rebuilt does that mean there will be a new High Prest?

Will Jews today accept such a presthood?

Will they accept animal sacrifces?

I am not a student of the Jewish religion so please forgive me if my questions are either too simple, or somehow give offense for that is not the intent.

Narukami

Douglass said...

Dave, Your points hit the nail on the head. Let me explain why I think such a meeting would be beneficial. We know that Irving is an unreasonable character. That is why attempting such a meeting is so important. My point is that if the meeting worked out it would be good for everyone, if the meeting Didn’t work out, it would be good for Deborah because the public would note that she initiated the process, thus she is the reasonable person who in spite of being unceasingly bullied by a Nazi sympathizer, is still willing to do the right thing and try to be reasonable. The public eye is kind to the person who takes the hard road to understanding. Compare the public image of Jimmy Carter with that of Richard Nixon, both wanted a better America, both worked to help their Nation, but in the public eye one is a sinner and the other a saint. This is because of the care carter took in appearing to be the ‘good guy’. In this field Irving is FUBAR. I think we should take advantage of his blunder and strike him where he is weak. But that is only my humble opinion as a layman. I understand why our Professor would wish to avoid even looking at Irving.

Dave said...

Narukami, this isn't the place to answer questions about the early days of the Jewish religion.

However, there are heaps of legitimate books and websites on the subject that will answer your questions.

The point Deborah is making is that throughout history, major nations and empires have gone out of their way to cold-bloodedly butcher Jews to the point of extermination, and vilify Jews as Satan's minions.

Despite creating enormous tragedy and shedding vast amounts of blood, the empires and nations that tried to destroy the Jewish people themselves came to their own destruction, and the Jewish civilization survived everything an ingenious and sadistic humanity could throw at it.

Hitler and other anti-Semites, some powerful, like the Russian Tsars, some impotent, like William Pierce, have sought, called for, or tried to achieve the destruction of the Jewish people. Hitler came the closest in achieving that goal.

But he failed, as did all the others.

The point Deborah is trying to make...I think...is that while much of Jewish history has been a sea of struggle against overwhelming odds, Judaism and the Jewish people have survived and outlasted their tormentors. Hitler, Rome, the Tsar, are all finished.

Judaism is not.

And this Jews should celebrate.

Narukami said...

Thanks Dave,

I see more clearly now the point Dr. Lipstadt was making, and I agree--despite all the Jews have survived and that is cause for both reflection and celibration.

Likewise you are quite right this is not the forum for matters of ancient history.

However...

I do not believe history supports the idea that Titus destroyed the Temple because it was Jewish, or sacked Jerusalem because it was Jewish, or capturewd Masada because it was a Jewish stronghold.

The Romans delt with the revolt in the east as they did that in the west (which happened in the same decade) by destroying completely those who opposed them. In fact, in standard Roman practice, Titus and his father Vespasian offered terms of surrender to most rebel held towns they encountered. However, once the 'ram had touched the wall' there was no stopping the Legions and the results were indeed terrible to behold.

The Romans did destroy Jerusalem, as they did Carthage and for the same reason. Religion, race, these meant little to the Romans. Power meant everything to them.

But I digress for which I do appologize.

Thanks again Dave for your insightful post.

Narukami