An English Holocaust denier in New York

Somehow, someway, a bit of slime oozed its way into a Manhattan church to insinuate itself into that fair city and thereby contaminate it. Somehow, I managed to miss it.

Sadly, the world’s most famous Holocaust denier, David Irving, is touring the U.S. to give aid and comfort to anti-Semites, racists, and Nazi wannabes all throughout the United States. I can’t figure out why he’s allowed in the U.S., but somehow he is, and he takes full advantage of the situation to replenish his coffers with the dollars of the American white power ranger Jew-hater contingent, all the while claiming he is not an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier.

This time around, The Huffington Post actually did something useful. Rather than its usual provision of a convenient, high traffic repository for the blather of idiots like David Kirby and all things anti-vaccine, it published an article by Max Blumenthal about David Irving’s recent visit to Manhattan that exposes the man in all his unctuously dishonest “glory,” pandering to the New York city racist contingent:

When I reached Irving on his cellphone 15 minutes before his talk was scheduled to begin, I learned that it has been suddenly moved to the basement of a Catholic church on the Upper East Side. Irving’s advance man, Michael Santamauro (owner of the New York-based roommate service roommatefinders.com) had conned the church’s priest into hosting the lecture by claiming he was the leader of an anodyne “book club.” “Someone made a reservation to have a discussion of a book. The name was not David Irving. We knew nothing about it. We thought it would be just something nice for the community,” the visibly shaken priest, Fr. Angelo Gambatese, explained to me. “And it turns out that it was David Irving. We were completely deceived. And really we’re outraged, because we do not cater to that kind of bigotry, and I’m really sorry that this happened.”

It seems somehow appropriate that Irving would secure a place to talk by deceiving a priest to score a church basement for his rabble to use for their hatefest, while the despicable Michael Santamauro spews his racism and exhorts Irving’s followers to “resist” if the police try to remove them. But what Blumenthal did that’s useful is to let Irving and his admirers just speak:

It starts out with Irving asking:

I think the Jews have to ask themselves the question why is it that every time they’ve arrived as pitiful refugees in a country after a few years they have to move on. They don’t seem to ask themselves that question. I know that I’m disliked as an historian. I know that I’m hated by some people, and I know the reason why, and I know what I could do to change it: instantly change my opinions. I’m not going to do it. They don’t ask themselves what they could do to change the way that they are disliked.

Lovely. Not only is it all about David Irving, but apparently to him the Jews deserve all to persecution they’ve been subjected over the centuries.

But watch the rest of the video. It’s truly disturbing for anyone who hates Nazi-ism or racism. Blumenthal is at his best in that he says fairly little and in essence lets the racist scum show themselves in no uncertain terms to be, in fact, racist scum. Irving himself lays down several “gems,” such as:

Adolf Hitler was being kept out of the loop and was probably not at all anti-Semitic by the time the war began. Indeed, this is such an extraordinary view, but it’s so well documented. I think frankly that it’s views like this that cause governments to lock me up and put me away.

I almost spit up my drink all over my laptop’s keyboard upon hearing him say that. Hitler not anti-Semitic? What about this speech, given on January 30, 1939, seven months before Hitler invaded Poland? This part in particular:

In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. During the time of my struggle for power it was in the first instance only the Jewish race that received my prophecies with laughter when I said that I would one day take over the leadership of the State, and with it that of the whole nation, and that I would then among other things settle the Jewish problem. Their laughter was uproarious, but I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face. Today I will once more be a prophet: if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevizing of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!

You can even listen to Hitler’s words, if you want, assuming you speak German and can understand. It’s not subtle. Hitler was gloating over what he had already accomplished in persecuting the Jews in Germany and Austria, blaming them for the plight he inflicted on them, and threatening them with annihilation.

More Irving:

He [Hitler] repeatedly held out his hand to stop things happening to the Jews. That the evil men were at a lower level than himself and that these evil men were keeping him out of the loop.

That time, I did spit up my drink, but fortunately I was ready and managed to turn my head before endangering my poor laptop. You heard right. Irving things Hitler was “duped” by his underlings, who were the real ones who tried to kill the Jews. Except that they didn’t. At least, they didn’t kill as many as six million. Or even two million. Irving is never quite sure of the number, other than that it couldn’t be nearly as many as those nasty Jews claim to have been Hitler’s victims–because to Irving Hitler was in reality a swell guy who was just misunderstood.

Then there were the clueless wonders of white power rangers. For instance, one said:

How cold six million Jews be murdered in gas chambers and there not be a decrease in the world’s Jewish population?

Dude, six million Jews weren’t murdered in just gas chambers. Six million Jews were murdered by a wide variety of methods that included gas chambers, but also included shooting, hanging, starvation, intentional overwork (or working to death). The Einsatzgruppen units, which roamed Russia behind the advancing Wermacht, shooting Jews and Communists as they found them, were estimated to have accounted for a million deaths just by themselves. And there was a decrease in the world’s Jewish population. Indeed, the Polish Jews were almost completely wiped out. But thanks for playing, moron. If you’re going to spout Holocaust denial, you really should learn to avoid the really idiotic canards. The claim that Holocaust historians say that six million Jews were killed in gas chambers is as dumb and easily refutable as antivaccinationists’ claims that formaldehyde in vaccines represents a horrible danger to health.

The most hilarious example of the conspiracy mindset behind Holocaust deniers comes from this bozo (sorry, I didn’t mean to insult Bozo the Clown):

I think if you look in terms of the European black nobility in collusion with certain Jewish families and banking houses at the top as the Illuminati with the pyramid on the Great Seal of the United States, that would make sense that there’s a collusion at the top between this black nobility and Jewish elements for world domination…When you study secret societies and see how things work and remind yourself of the church’s admonition you see that secret societies always have an ulterior motive that’s never revealed to the lower porch Masons.

He’d better be careful. This meeting took place in a location not too far from the United Nations Building. The black helicopters will be coming for him soon. The New World Order conspiracy already has his name.

The video and article also point out something I had forgotten about, namely that Christopher Hitchens and David Irving appear to be buddies or, if not buddies, pretty friendly. Or at least Irving perceives their relationship that way. The reason seems to be Hitchens’ frequent defenses of David Irving, beginning with an article that Hitchens wrote for Vanity Fair in 1996 in which he called Irving a “great historian.” I recall that article as going beyond simply saying that Irving is entitled to the right to free speech, no matter how odious (which he is,) and into praising him as though his history weren’t systematically biased in a way designed to exonerate Hitler. This was a point documented by historian Richard J. Evans as part of the defense during Deborah Lipstadt’s libel trial to devastating effect. Basically, Evans showed that, wherever there were two bits of information or more than one way of interpreting a text, Irving always chose the information or interpretation that cast Hitler in the most favorable light possible. It wasn’t random; it was clearly systematic and biased, and Evans found numerous examples of misattributions and distortions. Moreover, he showed that this pattern held all the way back to Irving’s very earliest days, including his infamous book on the Dresden bombing. All one has to do is to read Professor Evan’s report, Robert Jan van Pelt’s report, and Richard J. Green’s report (the latter two of which demolished Irving’s lies about Auschwitz) to realize that Irving is not and never was a “great historian.” In addition, Christopher R. Browning’s report is an excellent summary of the evidence supporting that the Holocaust was an intentional, systematic campaign of mass murder on an industrial scale. (Further documentation of Irving’s dishonesty and Holocaust denial can be found here, here, here, here, and here.) The bottom line is that Irving is a polemicist and propagandist out to persuade people that Hitler wasn’t such a bad guy after all. Possibly, Hitchens has another blind spot besides the Iraq War, and I can’t believe I had forgotten about it. Whatever the case, if what Irving says about Hitchens isn’t just another one of his lies (not unlikely, although I did actually read Hitchens’ Vanity Fair piece and similar Hitchens articles since then and do think Hitchens tends to go overboard in defending Irving) it makes me regret having purchased Hitchens’ last book.

But I digress. If you really want to know the real David Irving, take a look at him lying and backtracking about his most infamous quote, which was this:

I don’t see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. It’s baloney, it’s a legend. Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave labour camp and large numbers of people did die, as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere in the war, why believe the rest of the baloney?” Irving said.

He added, “I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz.”

He went on, “Oh, you think that’s tasteless, how about this? There are so many Auschwitz survivors going around, in fact the number increases as the years go past, which is biologically very odd to say the least. Because I’m going to form an Association of Auschwitz survivors, survivors of the Holocaust and other liars, or the ASSHOLS.’

That was David Irving then. Here he is now:

The right quotation, the actual quotation, is that more people died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick, meaning the one woman, Mary Jo Kopechne than ever died in that gas chamber at Auschwitz, meaning the one they show the tourists.

Nice try, David, but it won’t fly. It won’t fly because Irving didn’t say “that gas chamber.” In the context of his statement, his meaning was quite clear.

Meanwhile, Irving continues to assiduously avoid using the word “Holocaust” while claiming he is not a Holocaust denier and saying:

I think the term “Holocaust” is an odious commercial term that developed by big agencies to make money. I think that the people making the money aren’t the ones who suffered but big agencies that are screwing what money they can out of people who are very rich…The world “Holocaust” is odious. It’s American commercialism at is worst.

It’s mind-numbingly obvious to me that Irving hasn’t changed his stripes one bit. He’s still a Holocaust denier, and he remains an inveterate and pathetic liar. Sadly, he still has many stops left on his tour, and no doubt the dreary and pathetic neo-Nazi crowd in the U.S. will replenish Irving’s depleted coffers by coming out to his speeches and buying his books and paraphernalia. On the other hand, protesters have been causing Irving some problems, having forced him to move to a backup location for his Washington, D.C. talk. I fully support protesting Irving’s odious (to use his favored term) views, but, given the sheer raw racism and Nazi admiration he expresses, I tend to think he’s his own worst enemy. True, the mighty white power rangers lap up his Hitler-loving turds as he drops them, but the raw admiration for the Nazis that he regularly expresses makes it obvious that he’s a Holocaust denier and a Nazi sympathizer. Max Blumenthal has done the U.S. a service in picking up the rock under which Irving and his vile groupies hide and exposing them to the light of day.