Friday, March 25, 2005

AlterNet on Denial, C-SPAN ... and Ward Churchill

Bill Weinberg has weighed in on the C-SPAN controversy - and on Ward Churchill. Some excerpts:

Holocaust Denial, C-SPAN and Ward Churchill

C-SPAN is attempting to 'balance' a Holocaust studies professor with a denier; Ward Churchill's stab at 'moral equivalence' falls flat.

Over 200 historians have signed a petition in protest of C-SPAN's plan to pair coverage of a lecture by Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust studies at Georgia's Emory University, with one by David Irving, the notorious Holocaust revisionist. Irving, author of Hitler's War and other books, sued Lipstadt in his native U.K. after she called him out as a revisionist in her own book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory British courts dismissed the suit in 2000, finding that Irving deliberately misrepresented historical evidence. Lipstadt's book on the case, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving, has just been published.


In a 1991 speech, Irving told his audience that "more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz." This is the kind of voice to which C-SPAN is about to loan credibility.

In Lipstadt's own blog, History on Trial, she notes that another one of her prominent critics is supposed American Indian scholar Ward Churchill, who recently gained notoreity by calling 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns."


[...]Churchill allows his own valid critique to be dismissed as the ravings of a nut. Recognition that the industrial destruction of indigenous lands and culture in the western hemisphere constitutes genocide (as defined under international law) can be lumped in with the pseudo-history of an Irving – or (more to the point) Churchill's own witless cheer-leading for mass murder in the 9/11 attacks.


So a nuanced sense of history is called for to really make sense of these issues – an unlikely prospect in an atmosphere degraded by cynicism and fealty to shallow sound-bites.

Meanwhile, if C-SPAN capitulates and drops the Irving segment, it will merely confirm the perception in the growing ranks of Jew-haters that "the Jews" control the media. Unless some honest and courageous voices are brought to the debate quickly, this affair will be a lose/lose no matter how we slice it.

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