Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cornell Sun review of my talk

The Cornell Sun has a fairly accurate review of my talk there last week.

It does have a funny typo -- I hope it's only a typo -- in the headline.

Professor at Cal State Long Beach [who testified for David Irving] exposed by Southern Poverty Law Center for his antisemitism and white supremacism

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report has issued a long analysis of Kevin McDonald, Professor at the Cal State Long Beach. The SPLC, which spent over a year reserach the professor, calls McDonald a "a tried and true anti-Semite and white supremacist."

[The photo at the right shows Kevin MacDonald being honored in 2004 for his work on the Jews by The Occidental Quarterly, a white supremacist publication. He was accompanied by Virginia Abernethy, a self-described "white separatist."]

His research argues that "Jews are genetically driven to destroy Western societies" and that in order to establish "parity" between Jews and gentiles at universities, discrimination against Jews should be reestablished and special taxes established to reduce "the Jewish advantage" in wealth.

MacDonald’s three-volume set of books on Jews and their destructive tactics is "devoured by anti-Semites the world over. Not since Hitler’s Mein Kampf have anti-Semites had such a comprehensive reference guide to what’s wrong with "the Jews."

The SPLC points out that his work is widely advertised and touted on white supremacist websites and sold by neo-Nazi outfits like National Vanguard Books, which considers them "the most important books of the last 100 years."

I know McDonald because he appeared voluntarily as a witness for David Irving at my trial. His performance was such an embarrassment that my lawyers did not even cross examine him. It seemed to me that even the judge was appalled at McDonald's rather pathetic performance.

SPLC correctly asks how can CSULB keep him on its professorial staff. Racists and antisemites have, of course, long been employed in such capacity, e.g. Arthur Butz of Northwestern. [I don't know about Butz's views on race -- though I have some strong suspicions -- but that he is an antisemite is incontrovertible.]

What makes MacDonald’s case unique, according to the SPLC, is that he has reached powerful positions at the University and has had his work published in scholarly journals.

Most importantly MacDonald uses his university website and his classroom to disseminate his racist and anti-Semitic materials.

Despite receiving $10,000 by one racist group for his anti-Semitic research and serving as an adviser to another, CSULB has said nothing. Instead it has given him grants and appointed him to powerful committees.

According to the SPLC:
MacDonald uses the work of notorious race scientists — including that of J. Philippe Rushton, a Canadian academic who argues that penis and brain size (and thus intelligence) are inversely related — as course material. (Rushton argues that blacks, on average, have larger genitalia and smaller brains than whites.)
In History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving, I write:
"I found it hard to fathom that this man had been teaching at an American university for over fifteen years and had published what could arguably be described as anti-Semitic tomes without anyone — his colleagues in particular — taking notice… . [N]ot only had his colleagues not taken notice, his fellow evolutionary psychologists elected him secretary of the association of evolutionary psychologists."
CSULB supports his "academic freedom and free speech." The administration seems to fail to understand that academic freedom is one thing. Teaching pseudo-science, racism, and antisemitism are not part of academic freedom especially when one brings that into the classroom.

CSULB lives in between the shadows of UCLA and UC Irvine. At long last it has emerged in the daylight.... but for all the wrong reasons.

This story has been widely covered by Inside Higher Ed, the Los Angeles Times, and the Long Beach Press Telegram.

Monday, April 23, 2007

EU Law to outlaw Genocide denial defeated

Reports from Brussels indicate that the attempt -- most strongly supported by Germany -- to outlaw genocide denial has been defeated.

The EU reached the following compromise: "publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes" must be made a crime in each EU state. However the statement also included a concession that such prosecutions could only succeed where such conduct is likely to incite hatred or violence.

In short member states are pretty much left to themselves. This is a good thing as I have frequently argued on this blog and in various interviews. Ironically, deniers will also declare it a victory and contend that this shows Europe's doubts about the veracity of the Holocaust. It, of course, does no such thing.

My fear is that the deniers' crowing will produce a series of "oy-gevalt" emails from Jewish sources. Some people will probably link it last week's false scares about the UK dropping teaching of the Holocaust.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fighting the wrong "enemy": Michael Ray Richardson, the basketball coach who was fired for alleged antisemitism, finds another defender

Remember Michael Ray Richardson, the NBA junior league coach who was fired for making what was considered to be antisemitic remarks? I was, in case you don't remember, really sad about that and argued that he needed an education not a firing.

Well turns out that Jonathan Mark of the New York Jewish Week feels similarly, i.e. that Richardson has been unfairly shafted. The New York Times' Harvey Araton took the same position.

In short, the guy is neither a rocket scientist nor an antisemite.

Mark delineates the number of people -- Jews -- who have come to Richardson's defense.

I hope the guy lands on his feet. And I hope Jews learn to differentiate between guys who are real haters [Ahmadinejad], people who use hateful stereotypes for their own advantage [Imus], and dumb jocks [Richardson].

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Using the wrong tactics: JDLers attack teacher with links to deniers and white supremacists

In yet another example of short sighted thinking, a group of JDLers [who knew they were still around] attacked a Canadian teacher who was attending a disiciplinary hearing because of his links to White supremacists and Holocaust deniers.

This is the kind of stupidity and idiotic behavior that serves the deniers' and racists' cause. Note how what the Globe and Mail wrote in describing the teacher's response to the attack:
After arriving at the site of the proceedings, Mr. Fromm entered an elevator along with a few people attending the Jewish Defence League demonstration. A struggle ensued -- the protesters say Mr. Fromm pushed one of their group, Mr. Fromm says an activist lunged at him -- and police arrested two demonstrators, charging one with assault and the other with obstructing and assaulting a police officer.

"It's this sort of violence that is very distressing. Some people feel they have the right to take the law into their own hands when they see people's views they don't like," Mr. Fromm, who is soft-spoken and got teary when describing his parents' Second World War service, said in an interview.
"Soft-spoken"... "teary eyed..."

The extremist becomes the victims and wins the sympathy of those who might otherwise have complete revulsion for him.

I don't care about the JDLers. Most of them are frustrated boys with toys. But when they engage in this kind of behavior it's a real setback for well meaning people.

I hope they are thoroughly condemned by all.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Chancellor Gordon Brown scotches rumors on Holocaust Education in the UK

From today's Jewish Chronicle:

Shoah class here to stay: Chancellor
By Dana Gloger and Bernard Josephs

Chancellor Gordon Brown has stepped in to scotch rumours, circulating on the internet, that Holocaust education could be removed from Britain's national curriculum for fear of offending some Islamic pupils.

Addressing a Labour Friends of Israel luncheon on Tuesday, he elicited applause by announcing that the government and the philanthropic Pears Foundation would together give the Holocaust Educational Trust an annual grant of £500,000 over the next three years to support teaching of the subject. This was in addition to the annual government grant of £1.5 million which is financing HET's Lessons from Auschwitz programme, in which two pupils from every school in the country are taken on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Any suggestion that the Holocaust was being dropped from the curriculum should be dismissed, said Mr Brown. "We will ensure that it goes on being taught... Not to do so would be tragic."

The emails, which declare that the government is to remove the subject, appear to be a response to press coverage of a Department of Education and Skills report earlier this month which quotes a teacher from a northern city as saying that some teachers shied away from subjects such as the Holocaust for fear of offending Muslim students.

It warned: "Recently, this week, all of the United Kingdom... removed the Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offended' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. This is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it...With Iran among others claiming the Holocaust to be a myth, it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the HET, expressed delight at the Chancellor's announcement, which she said was an example of the government's commitment to Holocaust education. "This will enable HET to administer a broad programme of teacher training," she said.

A spokesman for the genocide-prevention organisation the Aegis Trust, based at the Holocaust Centre, in Nottinghamshire, said that far from Holocaust education decreasing, the centre is in fact running at capacity and is unable to accept all the school bookings it receives.

The centre's chief executive, Dr James Smith, said: "We are now appealing for funds to build a new auditorium that would double visitor capacity - and enable us substantially to increase our teacher training provision."

The Holocaust became part of the national curriculum in 1991 and is a compulsory subject for all Key Stage Three (usually aged 13 to 14) students in England and Wales.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The UK report on teching about the Holocaust

Well I just read all the sections of the UK report which made reference to the teaching of the Holocaust. [see pp.11, 16, 17, 18, 28, 32-33]. It is a careful report and pinpoints challenges and successes various schools have had in teaching these topics.

It gives no reason for panic or dismay. Concern about somethings, yes. But also some kudos for sensitive teaching.

It notes that there are some teachers who are not prepared to teach topics which might evoke a strong reaction from students. This, however, is NOT referred to as a trend. The authors of the report hypothesize that some teachers
may be unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship. [p.15]
There was a history department in a northern city which recently
avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils.... In another history department, the Holocaust was taught despite anti-Semitic sentiment among some pupils, but the same department deliberately avoided teaching the Crusades at Key Stage 3 because their balanced treatment of the topic would have directly challenged what was taught in some local mosques. [p.15]
But the report also documents some very sensitive and careful teaching of the topic with teachers addressing
misconceptions students might have about the topic, including the beliefs that all Germans were Nazis, that the Nazis invented anti-Semitism, that all Jews were helpless victims and that all the victims died in gas chambers.[p.32]
Teachers have also been careful to teach about
rescue, resistance and the cultural diversity of Europe in the period are studied, particularly to counter the stereotyping of Jews as helpless victims, awaiting extermination.
In certain areas where extremists groups are strong teachers have made a special point to teach about the Holocaust as a means of countering hatred and antisemitism. [p. 32]

In short, while there are areas of concern there are also areas of distinction. It certainly does not give reason for panic or attacks. The Holocaust Educational Trust comments about teaching of the Holocaust are worth reading.

Tomorrow I will try to write something explaining why this whole thing was such a matter of concern to me.

UK's Holocaust Educatiton Trust responds to false rumors about Holocaust education in UK

In response to the crazy rumors and misinterpretations of the UK Ministry of Education study regarding the teaching of the Holocaust Educational Trust of the UK has posted a statement on its website.

I posted on this on Sunday and have continued to be inundated with emails alerting me to this "terrible" development. People seemed energized by the thought that this might be true.

I am glad that at last this wave of hysteria has been quelled. [Though I am struck by the fact that the Wiesenthal Center just released a statment expressing the fact that it was "horrified" that UK teachers were failing to teach about the Holocaust for reasons of "political correctness." Another misstatement of the facts.]

In short there is enough bad stuff about Jews -- i.e. antisemitism -- out in the world that we do not have to seek it out where it does not exist or overstate what is out there.

UK journalists call for boycott of Israel

In another example of over the top out of whack critique of Israel, a group of UK journalists have called for a boycott of Israeli goods. While I do not usually blog on Middle East matters, this action is so over the top and out of whack that to me it smacks of a hatred of Israel that has at its core a latent -- or not so latent -- antisemitism.

For example it calls for end to Israeli slaughter of civilians in Gaza. Have they noticed that Israel withdrew from Gaza a while back and Palestinians have been lobbing missiles into Israel from Gaza?

This is, without doubt, a legacy in part of Jimmy Carter's novel. [With so many historical mistakes it cannot be considered anything but a novel.]

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut: Using David Irving's fabrications to rewrite the history of the bombing of Dresden?

Oliver Kamm, writing in The Times [London]observes how Vonnegut helped spread the misconception [read lie] about the Dresden death toll. Vonnegut, quoting Irving, claimed there were 135,000 dead about five times as many as the Dresden era police estimated to be the case.

This was covered extensively in my trial and in Richard Evans's report, available on line or in Lying About Hitler. I also discuss it in History on Trial.
Irving responded to Kamm's column with a virulent attack hypothesizing that Kamm's piece was, as Kamm explains in his blog
"commissioned by the newspaper after pressure had been exerted upon it by an external body whose identity (or at least ethnicity) you will be able to guess immediately."
People like Irving, i.e. Holocaust deniers, like to inflate the number of dead in Dresden as a means of engaging in "immoral equivalencies," i.e. arguing that while "some" Jews may have "died" [not murdered] in Auschwitz, this number pales by comparison to the number of "innocent" Germans killed in the bombing of Dresden.

Vonnegut helped perpetuate that myth and spread this form of denial. He probably did so initially unwittingly. But since the publication of that book enough has been written to show this is not true and he could have corrected it has he been so inclined.

And so it goes.... on and on and on.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Holocaust Education in the UK: False rumors lead to internet hysteria

In the past 2 hours I have received numerous emails, all sent to numerous other people as well, informing me that the UK has dropped the Holocaust from the curriculum because of opposition by Moslem students.

This is NOT correct.

As I have commented in previous postings The Holocaust has not been officially dropped. What has happened is that, according to a report released by the British Office of Education, teachers [not the schools, i.e. it is not official] are avoiding teaching about the Holocaust and the Crusades for fear of offending "students" who might have a different view [i.e. Muslims].

This is very disturbing and must be addressed but we must be sure to get our facts straight, i.e. it is something percolating up from below and not a top down decision.

Moreover, it is the Office of Education is the one who released the news. This suggests to me that they realize that they have a serious problem on their hands.

In fact the report called for
resources, which were scarce at present, to be made available to teach controversial and emotional history subjects.
The report also suggested that
Initial teacher training should include more attention on how to teach these subjects and a better research base should be made available to teachers

This is a disturbing development but equally disturbing is the way a complete misrepresentation of the situation is being spread via the internet.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Steven Spielberg as a contemporary Leni Riefenstahl?: Did the threat of this analogy get Spielberg to act on Darfur?

Many people who worry about Darfur have been disturbed about China's refusal to push the government of Sudan to stop the genocide. A few months ago I began to receive emails from these folks expressing their dismay that Steven Spielberg was aiding the Chinese in the production of the Olympic Games.

According to the New York Times Mia Farrow, a United Nations UNICEF goodwill ambassador, wrote Spielberg that unless the Chinese changed their policies vis a vis the Sudan he could well become "the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games".

Though there is no confirmation that this is what caused Spielberg to act, he wrote the Chinese to express his concerns. They dispatched an ambassador to the Sudan and to Darfur.

If you are sure who Leni Riefenstahl was you can see my earlier post on her. Suffice it to say that she helped the Nazis consolidate their rule with her gifted film making.

Wouldn't it be ironic and telling if this week -- when American has been totally transfixed with Imus and other aspects of popular culture -- we witnessed icon of popular culture bring some action in relation to this terrible genocide.

The New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton on basketball coach Michael Ray Richardson's firing

The New York Times's sports columnist Harvey Araton had a spot-on column in yesterday's paper on Michael Ray Richardson. He nails the issue and argues that Richardson is "an endearing soul with a nsaty habit of making trouble for himself."

But Richardson quickly recognized his mistake and tried to set things straight [no pun intended]. He called the fan he had insulted with an anti-gay slur the next day and apologized.

He then contacted Commissioner David Stern and former NETS owner Joe Taub and a long time supporter. Both men are Jews and have been paternal figures for Richardson. Stern wisely notes that Richard played ball in Israel and
knows the Middle East is a tough neighborhood. Saying Jewish people have to be smart to survive, doesn't strike me as antisemitic.
Ain't that the truth.

Stern had banished Richardson for failing a drug test in 1986. Richardson then went off to play in Italy and Israel. Ten years later Richardson thanked Stern for "setting him straight."

I join Araton in hoping that someone reaches out to help this man. He deserves it.

Maybe if someone had done the same thing for Don Imus years ago -- kicked him off the air the first time he used a racial, antisemitic, or homophobic slur -- instead of letting him get away with his outrages, he would not be looking for a job [which he will certainly find] right now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dresden death toll: BBC Today Programme gets it wrong

According to reports from England, in its obituary of Kurt Vonnegut, the American satirist, the BBC's Today Programme mentioned the death of 100,000 Dresdeners. The fact is that the death toll in that city was 25-35,000 by most German accounts, including the highly pro-Nazi Dresden police in 1945.

Vonnegut's "history" of the bombing also has to be taken with a grain of salt since he relied on Irving's Apocalypse 1945: The Bombing of Dresden as his source. Irving consistently tries to inflate the German death toll in order to show that the true perpetrators were the Allies.

By the way, the BBC web site got it right.

See my History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving or Richard Evans's Lying About Hitler for details on Irving's fictionalized account of the Dresden death toll.

[And to preempt those who love to take my words out of context. I am NOT diminishing the significance of 35,000 deaths. I am attacking the fictionalized web of (dis)information woven around Dresden in order to make the Allies look bad and the Germans look purely like victims.]

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A picture is worth a 1000 words has collected a series of cartoons on Iran and Ahmadinejad. While I don't agree with those that depict him as a Hitler [I would not give him the preverse pleasure of allowing him to think he is as significant], they make some powerful points.

I think this one by Chris Britt needs no comment.

Why is the Don Imus story getting such play?

You know something is up when a story is covered in the New York Times:
on the front page, editorial page, 7 letters to the editor, front page of the Arts section, business section, and sports section.

Why has this story struck such a cord? Because Imus is such a colorful [not the nicest colors] figure? Because his words were so over the top? Because it concerned sports and women? Because of the incongruousness of Al Sharpton becoming the moral arbiter [I doubt that... he keeps getting a free pass]?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Al Sharpton as a moral arbiter?????

Don Imus is a pig who has been making fun of people -- especially those who are vulnerable -- for years and getting away with it. Politicians appeared on his show without a second thought.... Now they won't. [If he still has a show on which to appear.]

In contrast, the Rutgers women did themselves, their university, their coach and their families proud today at their press conferences [I only saw clips but were they ever impressive.] I would rather have a cup of coffee with them than with Imus any day.

Having said all that, I still shake my head in wonder at Al Sharpton parading as the moral arbiter of what's right and what's wrong.

Remember how he turned New York and much of the rest of the United States in knots with his false claims about Tawana Brawley?

Remember how he seriously messed up the life of a young prosecutor Steven A. Pagones?

Remember how he lost a libel case and refused to pay the damages?

Remember how he whipped up hatred of Freddy's jeans store [and the terrible shooting and fire that followed]?

Now he is making pronouncements of who can say what???? Give me a break.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture.

A different slant on Michael Ray Richardson's statements

Writing in the LA Times, Zev Chafetz provides a somewhat different slant on the Michael Ray Richardson comments. We both agree he should not be fired but for somewhat different reasons.

Something to think about: Should Imus keep his job [after all he knew exactly what he was saying and did not for a minute think he was being complimentary] and Richardson lose his [he thought he was saying something nice]???

More on Imus later....

Sunday, April 8, 2007

University of Leeds [UK] Cancels Speech Critical of Islam: censored speaker responds

Matthew Kuentzel, whose speech critical of Islam was abruptly cancelled by the University of Leeds, has responded to the issue and provides the background detail.

When you couple the behavior of the officials at University of Leeds with the decision of certain UK teachers to teach about the Crusades and the Holocaust the concept of a "reign of [fear of] Muslim terror and/or anger" seems all the more likely and all the more terrifying.

As I have written earlier, deniers should sit back, relax, and wait. In the name of political correctness and fear of angry Muslims [remember their response to the Danish cartoons and the speech by the Pope] history will be rewritten. Much more than the Holocaust and the Crusades will disappear.

Europe seems to be engaged in a true kulturkampf and Muslims, as a result of their previous behavior, just have to sit by while the other side defeats itself.

Editor of Creative Loafing responds to me

Ken Edelstein, the editor of Creative Loafing has responded to my criticism of John Sugg's attacks on me.

Doesn't sound to me like he is giving Sugg's views a ringing endorsement....

Those of you interested in the Jimmy Carter book might be interested in Edelstein's comments about the book.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Robert Faurisson IS a "forger of history": French court rules

According to the JTA, A Paris court ruled that a former French Cabinet minister did not defame Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson by calling him a "forger of history." According to the judgment, Faurisson's multiple convictions for denying the Holocaust justified former Justice Minister Robert Badinter's comments about him. on the Arte TV channel last year. Faurisson had accused Badinter of defamation.

Faurisson argued that because this precise term waws not in the 1981 court decision that condemned his claims that there were no gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps he was being defamed. The Deputy Prosecutor argued that Faurisson arguements and conclusions were designed to deny the Holocaust.

This decision should be considered a "no brainer," given Faurisson's record of Holocaust denial -- I spent an entire day with him a number of years ago, believe me this man is nothing but a forger of history and a liar and an antisemite... just like his pal David Irving.

A final judgment is due May 21.

Basketball Coach Fired for "antisemitic" statements.... And I am sad about it

The JTA reports that Michael Ray Richardson's contract will not be renewed because of his comments about gays and Jews. [See my earlier post on this.]

I was sad when I read the news. The guy probably doesn't know what hit him. Richardson thought he was saying something nice about Jews and boasting about hiring a "big-time" Jewish lawyer and here he got fired....

His comments were informed or shaped by antisemitism. There is no doubt about that. The problem is that he doesn't know that... What he needs is an education. He probably won't get that now.

[Three posts on sports related items in less than a week... What's going on here?]

Thursday, April 5, 2007

UK Schools avoid teaching "controversial" topics [continued]

As I noted in a post earlier this week, a report, funded by the UK Department for Education and Skills, found that some teachers avoid topics such as the Holocaust or the Crusades for fear of upsetting their students. The report notes that:
"In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."
The researchers gave the example of one history department in a secondary school in a northern city which decided not to teach the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework.

The report said the teachers feared confronting "anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils". Christian parents at another school complained over the way the Arab-Israeli conflict was taught.

Deniers should just sit back and wait. Teachers, frightened of their students and their parents, are doing their work for them. I am repeatedly amazed at how fear of violence from Muslims results in self-censorship, e.g. the failure of newspapers to publish the Danish cartoons last year.

This telegraphs the message to those who have engaged in such violent responses: violence works.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Mark Cuban [owner of the Dallas Mavericks] responds to my criticism

Mark Cuban, or someone claiming to be him, has responded to my attack on him.

From the Crusades to the Holocaust: UK teachers duck history which might displease students

In a depressing report from the UK Department of Education, we learn that British teachers are avoiding teaching about "controversial" topics such as the Crusades and the Holocaust because it might "upset" some students or "cause them offence."

First Leeds and now teachers in British schools... Pretty depressing note on which to begin the festival of Pesach which is so rooted in history....