A high-profile Holocaust denier began a three- month speaking and fund-raising tour of the United States over the weekend by meeting with some of the top names among those who share his views.
Following a celebrated trial that ended in April, David Irving was judged by a British court to be an anti-Semite, racist and associate of neo-Nazis, and he did not disguise the severity of his defeat.
“It’s rather like when you’re beaten in school,” he told some 140 sympathizers at a secret location in Irvine in Southern California, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
At the same time, Irving struck a defiant pose. Describing the verdict as “a great injustice,” he likened himself to the biblical David, temporarily defeated by the Goliath of Jewish power and wealth.
He declared that American historian Deborah Lipstadt, whom Irving sued for libel, had received $6 million for her legal defense, contributed by filmmaker Steven Spielberg, business executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. and others.
Lipstadt herself said in Los Angeles last month that the trial costs had come to $3 million for her publisher, and $1.5 million for herself. She said that the Jewish community had not paid for her legal expenses or loss of income.
The weekend meeting was organized by the California-based Institute for Historical Review, a center of Holocaust denial for more than two decades. Participants included an international array of activists, such as Arthur Butz of the United States, Robert Faurisson of France, Germar Rudolf of Germany and Ernst Zundel of Canada, the Times reported.
Although the meeting was not publicized in advance, the proceeding were broadcast live on the Internet to nearly 2,500 people, organizers claimed.
The organizers said on Tuesday that Irving will appeal the verdict in the Lipstadt case.
Another speaker was former Northern California Rep. Pete McCloskey, who has brought a class action suit against the Anti-Defamation League, claiming that the organization spied illegally on U.S. citizens critical of Israel.
McCloskey’s participation was denounced by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who said that his “appearance under the same tent as someone who has just been crowned the leading intellectual Jew hater in the world, I guess speaks volumes.”
The Los Angeles Times news story on the meeting was strongly criticized by noted Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum. The newspaper had been faulted at the beginning of the Lipstadt trial for seemingly giving equal credibility to the overwhelming historical evidence on the Holocaust and a fringe group of deniers, or self-described “revisionists.”
In a letter to the Times, Berenbaum wrote, “Once again, the Los Angeles Times has allowed itself to be used as a propaganda instrument for Holocaust denial.
Berenbaum charged that the Times story “portrays the deniers as persecuted lambs who are harassed because of their ideas.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.