Saturday, March 4, 2006

Lipstadt in New York Jewish Week: Irving's No Martyr

In this week's New York Jewish Week, I add a postscript to some of my comments about Irving. One of the points I don't stress, though I have made it before, is that of national context. The context in Austria for Holocaust denial is different from that in other places [with the exception of Germany].

Some people have called this a double standard. But I saw a picture of some people walking in Seville today in the newspaper. Except for the fact that their hoods were black, they looked precisely like Ku Klux Klan folks. Except they were not. Yet before I read the caption, I did a double take.

Another example that a number of people have raised is cross burnings. In America when a cross is burned with the intention to intimidate it is against the law. That's because of the context in which it was used for so many years, particulalry -- but not only -- in the south.

Bottom line: don't be for censorship [especially in an arena where there is no need since truth and evidence are available to show the deniers to be the liars that they are] but understand that in certain places Holocaust denial has a very different resonance that it does in other places.

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