Monday, December 8, 2008

Irving to Appear on UK's Channel 4: Have They Completely Lost Their Minds?

From today's Guardian

by Oliver Marre

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On Tuesday night, C4's offshoot channel, More4, is showing a 90-minute documentary, An Independent Mind, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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According to the puff: 'This unique film gives a voice to eight characters from around the world who have fought to exercise their right to free speech.'

What C4 doesn't say is that the film's eighth and final hero is Irving. The timing is fortunate for Irving, if not for the rest of us, since he's currently trying to flog his self-published misery memoir.

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As Irving objects to being called a Holocaust denier and is in the habit of writing to newspapers that do so, I've gone in search of a better description. His personal website offers Hitler's walking stick for sale, refers repeatedly to Jews as 'nice folks' (including during a magnificent attempt to ally himself to John Cleese, because the comedian is divorcing his wife, who is Jewish) and carries links to his flattering biographies of Hitler and Goebbels. Any suggestions?

8 comments:

hockey hound said...

The world is become much smaller for sane and honest and decent people, Prof. Lipstadt.

The world is unconcerned that Orthodox Jews are being forcefully expelled from Beit HaShalom (that expulsion took four days, not "within an hour" as reported in the media) and yet, conversely, Channel 4 is knowledgeable of the fact that this same world will be entertained, immensely so, by a shameless, lime-lighting liar like David Irving. The term 'notoriety' is rendered meaningless.

Bottom line: there are not protests in the streets of Western cities decrying the expulsion from Beit HaShalom, but there are, of course, lots of curious people eager to observe and listen to a neo-Nazi who targets the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

steve said...

My suggestion would be "Hitler apologist and convicted lying antisemitic falsifier of history".
As far as the othodox Jews of Beit
HaShalom, they had no business there in the first place, nor did the government of Israel have any right to encourage them to think they did. Israel will never know peace until it learns to separate religion and state. I srael must be governed by constitutional law, not biblical law.

h said...

This was shown almost three months ago. There's a good account here, http://www.charliebeckett.org/?p=824 and a more detailed one here, http://www.englishpen.org/events/recentevents/anindependentmind/ (includes the example of Chinese feminism not reported by Charlie Beckett).

Isn't the main point that the film maker, Rex Bloomstein, wants to adhere to the rules of impartiality in making documentary as well as having a particular interest in anti-Semitism (The Longest Hatred: The History of Anti-Semitism, 1993)? So he included Irving, should he really have left him out?

hockey hound said...

"As far as the othodox Jews of Beit
HaShalom, they had no business there in the first place..."

How so? Because you say so? Jews have every right to the land of Israel, an historical right, never mind a religious right.

"Israel will never know peace until it learns to separate religion and state"

If only their Arab Muslim neighbors could be convinced to do the same. Wouldn't there be much less hatred in the Middle East.

Apparently your trite condemnation of religious heritage applies only to the Jewish people. It's ok to build a Mosque atop of the ancient Jewish Temple or desecrate ancient Jewish tombs; it's ok to claim the land as an historical right for the Arab Muslims so long as that history is remembered no further beyond the Muslim invasion of the land of Israel.

Jewish history, which, unfortunately for the Jewish people when sciolists like you are constructing the avant-garde axioms now extirpating that history, is a religious history.

Your insouciant condemnation of a Jewish presence in the land of Israel is, in my opinion, tantamount to obfuscating Jewish history in exactly the same manner as David Irving's corruptive attempts to transmogrify the horrific reality of the Holocaust into a mere "Jewish conspiracy".

"I srael must be governed by constitutional law, not biblical law."

Israel is not governed by "biblical law" (a purely Christian term). Think about it: if Israel were governed by "biblical law," these Orthodox Jews would not have been expelled from their homes and deprived of their historical right to the land of Israel.

If you for one minute think Israel is a "theocracy", then I can honestly tell you that you know nothing about modern day Israel. Who told you Israel is governed by "biblical law"? That accusation is so ludicrous. Are you sure you're not an anti-Semite? Oh, yeah, you just hate the government of Israel because of their "biblical law" right? You really don't hate Jews per se, right?

We were discussing David Irving. I apologize for the rabbit trail, Prof. Lipstadt.

hockey hound said...

"So he included Irving, should he really have left him out?"

That all depends on how much of Irving's anti-Jewish slabber he allowed to be disseminated in the documentary. For you it may be the appearance of impartiality, for David Irving it's a public relations windfall. If you know Irving at all and his decrepit and worn out mind, he will interpret his place in the documentary as a vote of legitimacy.

In my opinion, if David Irving was given the exposure he surely doesn't deserve, it would have been better the documentary had never been made. Giving David Irving "the floor" is going beyond impartiality and into the realm of imprudence. "A little folly outweighs wisdom and honour."

hockey hound said...

"In my opinion, if David Irving was given the exposure he surely doesn't deserve, it would have been better the documentary had never been made."

"Human physiology dictates that the brain cannot choose not to process what it perceives as sound. As David Crystal puts it, 'When we hear sounds, we hear them as speech, or non-speech: there seems to be no middle ground. No matter how hard we try, we cannot hear a speech as a series of acoustic hisses and buzzes, but only as a sequence of speech sounds.'" -Andrew Wheatcroft, from Infidels

hockey hound said...

"As far as the othodox Jews of Beit
HaShalom, they had no business there in the first place, nor did the government of Israel have any right to encourage them to think they did."

"Holocaust denial is not the only form of false history that is gaining ground in the Muslim world. Yasser Arafat has repeatedly denied any historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel."-Prof. Devorah Lipstadt, from History On Trial

h said...

I watched the documentary last night. I thought it was admirable apart from the inordinate length. What I particularly liked was the balance. My understanding of the inclusion of David Irving is that this exemplifies documentary integrity as well as being central to the subject, freedom of speech. That is the point, freedom of speech is not about differing degrees of freedom dependent on what is being expressed. Whether this is something that should be championed is a different question.

As for Irving's platform, I was pleased he wasn't turned into more of a buffoon than he might have been with scarcely much help. He did make much of his individualism in choosing to wear a light grey suit in his 6th form which apparently made him a target for bullying. He said this twice. This is almost as interesting as the incredible number of times reported verbatim when the judge asked in exasperation what page Irving was on during the trial. One has to wade through these repeated interruptions to follow what is actually being discussed. At this point in the transcript Irving is splitting mistaken hairs over German vocabulary while also attempting to prove that a gas chamber was something other than a gas chamber. I have forgotten what. Irving is a tedious old bore and his slot on this documentary only showed him to be a rather tired, tedious old bore. All of which makes him a more comfortable exemplar for freedom of speech champions than someone more vigorous, charismatic and beguiling. They must surely exist and they too are entitled to freedom of speech. I'm just glad Rex Bloomstein didn't interview any.