Sunday, March 18, 2007

Creative Loafing, Atlanta's "alternative" paper attacks me

Creative Loafing's editor, John Sugg, has penned a vitriolic attack on me. I am used to that. Problem is that it is full of fabrications. Here's the letter I just sent to Creative Loafing.

John Sugg has penned an attack on me which is full of inventions and distortions of my words. I would not mind his vitriol if he had his facts straight. He writes: “She basically said that any action by Israel – however horrific, violent and at odds with international law – was justified by the Holocaust.” Will John Sugg show me where in my article I said anything to that effect? I made no such statement.

I argued that in a chronology of incidents relating to the Arab/Israeli situation Carter fails to include anything of any importance happening between 1939 and 1947. The Holocaust is one of the primary events which makes many Israelis and Jews worldwide feel that a Jewish state is an absolute necessity. To write a book trying to advance the cause of peace and ignore this is to show either a total unfamiliarity with the situation or a terribly unbalanced view… or both.

Mr. Sugg says that I “makes much of the fact that Carter's critics are "being silenced" (so obviously untrue that it defies any response).” Could he show me anyplace where I said that? Carter claimed that people with his view were being silenced. I pointed out that he has appeared on every relevant show on television. I did argue that Carter refuses to debate anyone who criticizes his book. If Mr. Sugg could show me that that is wrong, I would appreciate it.

Mr. Sugg then goes on to argue that that I am “an architect of silencing debate” because I supposedly tried to convince C-SPAN “not to air a speech Irving made to a Buckhead audience.” Once again Sugg gets it all wrong. I told C-SPAN that I would neither appear “with” Irving, as they proposed, or wanted my talk paired with his. I do not debate deniers because, as we showed in my 6 year court battle, deniers are, to quote the judge, “liars” and "falsifiers of history.” The “distort” and their version of history is a “travesty.” [Actually the judge was talking about Irving specifically but his comments can be extrapolated to pertain to all deniers.] I observed that C-SPAN had the right to air Irving anytime they want to. I just did not want to be paired with him.

Finally, in his ringing defense of “free speech,” Mr. Sugg ignores the fact that I have been one of the leading critics of laws against Holocaust denial. I criticized Mr. Irving incarceration in Austria and have spoken out forcefully, including on Al Jazeera TV, against the proposed EU legislation against genocide denial. All this is recorded on my blog, Seems that is part of the story too.

Free speech is one thing. Making up facts to fit your argument is what deniers do. I would expect more of John Sugg. I was wrong.


Deborah E. Lipstadt, Ph.D.


David Lieberman said...

Interestingly, the column isn't listed from the website's front page, although the printable version remains active by direct link. Maybe Sugg is embarrassed to have been so flamboyantly wrong. He ought to be.

David Lieberman

Keneeee said...

Dr. Lipstadt: Thanks for your thoughtful response to John Sugg’s column. I do want to correct one point regarding your post, however. I am the editor of Creative Loafing. John is a senior editor. His duties include writing a weekly column.

You may have missed my own earlier take on Jimmy Carter’s book, which was critical of it on many of the same points that yours was. That column, which you’ll find at, was published in early January in response to what I believed to be an anti-Semitic column defending Carter published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Neither my column nor John’s represents the editorial position of Creative Loafing, however. I understand that the regularity of John’s column may leave some to perceive otherwise. But, given the headline of your post, I did want to make that distinction.

As for David Lieberman's speculation that we took the article down, it's easily reachable through the normal links. It wasn't on the front page simply because David was looking for it during the next week's cycle.

Thanks again for the thoughtful letter,
Ken Edelstein
Creative Loafing/Atlanta