Title: David Irving, a gay perspective Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 16th September 2004 - 12:00pm1095292800 Article: 420 Rights
Holocaust denial "historian" and anti-Semite David Irving has been denied access to New Zealand, but is trying to attract attention through a cheap immigration stunt. Should the New Zealand LGBT community be concerned about this creep? Irving belongs to a subspecies of anti-Semite that is all too familiar to us. Like Paul Cameron and other antigay junk scientists, Irving is a junk 'historian.' In a fit of hubris, he brought a defamation case against Deborah Lipstadt, a prominent Jewish Holocaust historian, and Penguin Books, her publishers. Lipstadt argued that Irving distorted the historial record with ulterior ideological motives related to his neofascist political views. Lipstadt and Penguin were ably assisted by many eminent Second World War and Holocaust historians. Not only did Irving lose his case, Lipstadt and Penguin were awarded two and a half million pounds damages against him. Unfortunately, New Zealand media didn't cover the case in sufficient depth. Sound familiar? It's what those of us who monitor the Christian Right's antigay contingent have done to them in numerous regulatory fora, parliamentary submissions and our own media. Is this debate really about 'free speech,' or is that a brown herring? Consulting Index New Zealand and EBSCO, I found little evidence that New Zealand journalists have paid adequate attention to New Zealand's extreme right. North and South's David McLoughlin wrote an excellent detailed piece eleven years ago on New Zealand's largest neofascist group, the League of Rights. It should be noted this organisation also distributes the work of Paul Cameron and (oddly) Judith Reisman (an antigay US Orthodox Jewish 'social scientist' and anti-Kinsey obsessive), as well as David Irving. However, since then, there has been almost complete silence, even at the time of the Irving/Lipstadt case noted above in Spring 2000. Why? Penguin Books has had a transcript of the trial available in book form for the last four years. Why haven't New Zealand journalists bothered to consult this relevant source to the current debate? This is an appalling dereliction of professional responsibility. I agree with the New Zealand Jewish community, immigration authorities and Prime Minister on this issue. David Irving has been exposed as a charlatan, neofascist activist and apologist whose work is held in low regard by serious historians within the field of Holocaust studies. However, the New Zealand Jewish community needs to explain to the rest of the country why they oppose this odious individual's presence in New Zealand. Irving's exclusion is not a 'free speech' issue, nor is it an uncomplicated instance of 'hate speech'. Irving is a junk historian. He distorted the grisly record of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust to promote a neofascist agenda through mitigation of its atrocities and devastation. The New Zealand Jewish Council should expose this sorry specimen's absence of professional ethics, academic standards and professional credibility after the Lipstadt/Irving case. New Zealand journalists need to ask themselves some serious questions about the glaring absence of investigative journalism related to this issue. There is no excuse for this laziness within the fourth estate, which is supposed to promote political transparency and balanced, informed debate within a democratic society. For the New Zealand lesbian and gay community, there's an interesting aside to all this. You see, David Irving and Paul Cameron were both guests of the Canadian League of Rights in the early nineties. Neofascist anti-Semitic junk 'history,' meet homophobic junk 'science.' It is worth wondering whether Cameron shares certain other views of his hosts than homophobia alone. Recommended Reading David McLoughlin "Veiled Voices: What's Wrong With the League of Rights?" North and South (December 1993): 120-132. The Irving Judgement: David Irving versus Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt: Penguin Books: London: 2000. Deborah Lipstadt: Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory: Penguin: London: 1994. Michael Scherner and Alex Grobman: Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? Berkeley: University of California Press: 2000. Gill Seidel: Holocaust Denial: Antisemitism, Racism and the New Right: Leeds: Beyond the Pale Collective: 1986. Definitely Not Recommended League of Rights New Zealand's oldest anti-Semitic and neofascist organisation, with a long history of association with the New Zealand Christian Right. Craig Young - 16th September 2004    
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