David Irving has been sentenced to three
years gaol by an Austrian court, for denying the Holocaust. Let us leave aside
the question - on which I have written in this journal a number of times - about
whether Holocaust denial (or for that matter any historical question) should be
a crime. Clearly it should not and only is because the Zionist power elites have
used this issue as a display of their power.
editorial of The Australian disagrees. Irving's alleged Holocaust denial
in Austria is like shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre and "is
not protected by the West's long Enlightenment tradition of free speech."
Presumably Irving's research promotes an alternative view of the Nazi era:
"anti-Holocaust denial laws are not so much about protecting the feelings
of a religious minority as they are a keenly felt attempt to prevent history from
This argument is illogical
and grounded in historical ignorance. Nazis arose under very special historical
and economic conditions. It is not likely to arise again as a major social movement
unless those conditions are repeated. Holocaust discussion and denial has little
to do with it.
Further, The Australian says that "Australia
would have no reason to jail Irving - or even prevent his visiting." But
the same powerful lobby that succeeded in having Holocaust denial made a criminal
offence in Austria wants to same laws here in Australia, Britain and the rest
of the West. This makes The Australian's argument nonsense. If freedom of speech
is a human right, it is as true in Australia as in Austria. Irving's situation
is not like shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre: the analogy is highly
defective. Or is it?
The panic caused by fear of fire in a confined space
is an instinctive "fight or flight" response. Could it be that The
Australian is telling us that this field is full of the same sorts of primitive,
instinctual fears? Could The Australian have really been that "deep"?
You tell me.
Although about 158 people have
been convicted of holocaust denial in Austria between 1999 and 2004, (and 724
individuals prosecuted in 2004) very few, other of course than David Irving, have
been imprisoned. The sentence on top of that is excessive. Irving has never been
a strong-line "Holocaust denier". Although he made isolated comments
about 16 years ago he never for example published an entire book on the subject.
Irving however was well known and vulnerable to attack if he visited Austria.
In any case, Irving changed his mind on the
holocaust after discovering personal papers of Eichmann in 1991, and did come
to believe that the Nazis did murder millions of Jews. I think - by contrast to
other league writers - that Irving's present position is correct and that the
historical revisionists are wrong. (In this journal we respect free speech, difference
of opinion and free debate), I believe though that people have a right to discuss
this matter without the fear of a gaol sentence.
It was therefore wrong to
convict Irving. The sentence is a travesty of justice. Yet the Austrian prosecutor
has filed an appeal to attempt to lengthen Irving's gaol term! What next, public
Perhaps the most insightful comment
on this situation, in my opinion, was made in a letter to the editor (The Australian
23/2/06, p.11) by James McPhedran:
"The more Nazi Germany is treated
as an evil exception in our history, the facts of which are universally agreed
upon and shall not be questioned, the more likely it is that such will again rear
its head. Nature loathes a vacuum, so the more you, and Austrian and German deniers
of debate, seek to curb a discussion of the Holocaust, the more certain is the
existence of a growing gap where true white supremacists and other similar forms
of evil will flourish."
The Australian Jew and supporter of Israel,
Stephen Morris, has said (The Australian 22/2/06, p.14) that "Austria's
law reflects a judicial severity that serves no good purpose."