According to a little blurb on David Irving's website, Professor Deborah Lipstadt misspoke herself as follows:
"There is no debate. I refuse to lower myself to debating with Revisionists."
Ah so, as the Swabians would say.
The Great Debate was kicked off today in a courtroom in London, and the world sits back with bated breath. I have been working all day on a special project, and so far I have only seen one article reporting on the opening of what promises to be one juicy trial, but since it is to last three months, we are all going to get our fill.
Here is the background, followed by my thoughts as I read between the lines in the January 11, 2000 Associated Press release titled "Holocaust Book Libel Trial Underway":
Background first, taken from David Irving's website, which I recommend to all of you and which you find at http://www.fpp.co.uk/
BRITISH writer David Irving is suing American Prof. Deborah Lipstadt . . . for lies about him contained in her book Denying the Holocaust, which she wrote at the commission of Vidal Sassoon, Yad Vashem, and similar agencies.
The trial of the action in London's High Court is due to start on Jan. 11, 2000 and is estimated to last three months. Lipstadt's lawyer Anthony Julius, senior consulting partner of the London law firm of Mishcon de Reya, dabbles as an author himself; he wrote a book exposing the antisemitism of T S Elliot.
Internet surfers can follow the trial on http://www.fpp.co.uk/Legal/Penguin/PenguinIndex.html
Mr Irving is also suing for libel Austrian-born journalist GITTA SERENY (above right). In 1996 she published in The Observer and in other newspapers around the world an article attacking David Irving disguised as a review of his biography GOEBBELS. MASTERMIND OF THE THIRD REICH. The photo is by her husband Don Honeyman.
Read the trial dossier on http://www.fpp.co.uk/Legal/Observer/ObserverIndex.html
Answering one critic, David Irving writes: "Of course I don't sue people for criticising my opinions. What my critics ignore is that Lipstadt or Sereny accused me, among other things, of being a neo-Nazi, of speaking in public of 'our Führer', of destroying or stealing the Goebbels plates from the Moscow archives, of cheating on a colleague, of distorting and manipulating translations and documents, and of working hand in glove with the Hamas, Hizbollah terrorists, and Louis Farrakhan. Nothing to do with historical opinions."
Here now is the AP release:
LONDON A book that claimed a historian distorted aspects of the Holocaust generated "waves of hatred" against him and threatened his livelihood, he told England's High Court on Tuesday.
What David Irving has suffered is what Laird Wilcox, the American political scientist, calls "Ritual Defamation" in his report of the same name. ( For info, write to LWilcox3@aol.com)
It is time that the world finds just out how Ritual Defamation is practiced, and by whom. Maybe this trial will do it.
David Irving is suing Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books for libel over the 1994 book "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory," which claims he has denied that the Nazis used gas chambers to exterminate the Jews, holds extremist views and distorts history.
It will be very interesting to find out how Lipstadt intends to prove, or even define, those three individual charges. Some people think her knowledge of Talmudic hairsplitting will be on display.
Penguin and Lipstadt, who holds the Dorot Chair in Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, deny any libel.
According to an AP dispatch out of London, today, under Britain's libel law, a claimant needs to prove that his reputation has been damaged. Quote: "Truth is not necessarily a defense." (Sounds familiar. . . ?) So even trotting out a video clip by Irving in his own voice will not help Lipstadt. If the use or spin she puts on damaged his reputation, she is in real doodoo. If there's a fair, impartial judge, of course.
Irving, 62, has outraged Jews by saying the Holocaust has been exaggerated and by challenging the number and manner of Jewish concentration camp deaths under Adolf Hitler's regime. He also claims Hitler knew nothing about the extermination of Europe's Jews until 1943.
Irving will have very little problems proving every one of these points. The world will learn a thing or two from this trial.
But Irving, who is representing himself, said in his opening statement Tuesday that he would show that "far from being a Holocaust denier," he had repeatedly drawn attention to major aspects of the Holocaust.
It will be interesting to see how the British court's definition of what the "Holocaust" is differs from the Canadian courts - in 1988 - or the grotesque definitions German courts or French courts come up with. That in itself will propel the Holocaust debate forward through this trial. :)
AP: (Irving speaking)
"The word 'denier' is particularly evil, because no person in full command of his mental faculties, and with even the slightest understanding of what happened in World War II, can deny that the tragedy actually happened, however much we dissident historians may wish to quibble about the means, the scale, the dates," he said.
Decrying a tragedy is one thing. The dictionary definitions of "Holocaust" are specific, and Lipstadt will have some difficulty equating one with the other.
Being branded a Holocaust denier, "is a verbal Yellow Star," (Irving) said, referring to the symbol the Nazis forced Jews to wear.
That's precisely why that term was chosen by people like Lipstadt and those for whom she fronts. It's similar to "Anti-Semite", "Nazi", "Racist", "Bigot" - or the terms Jews have decried for hundreds of years, "Christ-killer" or "Shylock."
Irving, the author of "Hitler's War" and "Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich," said Lipstadt and her publisher were part of "an organized international endeavor" to destroy his career.
Irving has caught them on this point with their hands in the cookie jar. There will be lots of oy-veying at this stage of the trial!
He said he once earned more than $160,000 a year in royalties from his writing and had always looked on his books as his pension fund and a legacy for his four children.
That's no pocket change. If he kept the cheque stubs, bank statements, income tax breakdowns etc. he will easily be able to prove this point as well.
"By virtue of the activities of the defendants ... I have since 1996 seen one fearful publisher after another falling away from me, declining to reprint my works, refusing to accept new commissions and turning their backs on me," Irving said. "Such is the nature of the odium that has been generated by the waves of hatred recklessly propagated against me by the defendants."
"In short, my 'pension' has vanished," he added.
No problem there either, for Irving's Jewish detractors have left a swath of a paper trail, faxes, letters, newspaper clippings and their own bragging reports to their donors. The chickens are coming home to roost!
If Irving wins, he can calculate not only lost earnings and lost royalties, but also future earnings and royalties, using the same calculation tables Jewish individuals have used against Germany for short-circuited or ruined careers. The boilerplates exist. Millions will be due Irving under these rules.
Irving has addressed neo-Nazi groups in Austria and Germany, and in 1988 testified in Toronto on behalf of Ernst Zundel, a Canadian on trial for denying the Holocaust occurred. In 1992, German authorities fined him for claiming British intelligence had spread the "propaganda" that the Germans were using gas chambers to kill millions of Jews and other so-called undesirables. He is banned from Germany, Canada and Australia.
Ernst Zundel was charged for "false news" - not for denying that the Holocaust occurred. As to the British Intelligence document, they are fools if they tackle Irving on that one. This can be found in any good library in the world.
Under Britain's libel law, a claimant needs to prove that his reputation has been damaged. Truth is not necessarily a defense. The case, which is being heard without a jury, is expected to last 12 weeks.
Yes, libel trials are different from the Nuremberg trials or the two Great Holocaust Trials of Ernst Zundel in 1985 and 1988. They have only one thing in common - in both cases it was aggressive, mouthy, headline-seeking women who talked the Jewish community into these, for them, disastrous trials.
The fallout will be something wiser Jewish leaders will regret - just as they did in Canada - and ever since. Who was it that said: "...we made Zundel a household word. The trials gave him a platform. The media was his megaphone..."?
Thought for the Day:
"If my rep(utation) is being sullied so freely, I see no reason not to share the wealth."
(A Giwer Gem)
Back to Table of Contents of the Jan. 2000 ZGrams