Criminalisation of revisionism ~ a bullet in Shoah lobby’s foot

During my three-day appeal last February, the prosecution’s main argument regards the facts – i.e are my songs “grossly offensive” under S. 127 of the 2003 Communications Act – relied on Judge Charles Gray’s 2000 ruling in the Irving vs Lipstadt case. According to both James Mulholland QC and Judge Chris Hehir, Judge Gray’s ruling provided the appropriate benchmark by which to (a) define “Holocaust denial” and (b) prove that the Holocaust happened according to the standard narrative (six million Jews killed mostly in gas chambers as part of a pre-planned mass-extermination of Jews by the Nazis).

In response to the court’s decision to uphold my appeal, I wish to cite a passage from the end of Thomas Dalton’s Debating the Holocaust – A New Look At Both Sides that deals with Cambridge historian Richard Evans’s 2001 book Lying About Hitler. Evans acted as Lipstadt’s expert witness; his book describes his impressions of the case.

Dalton’s scathing treatment of Evans’s chapter on the Irving vs Lipstadt trial raises serious concerns not only regards Evans’s intellectual capabilities; Dalton’s appraisal also calls into question Judge Gray’s ruling and its consequences for further revisionist witch trials here in England. The passage comes at the very end of the book, in the Epilogue, on pages 293 to 294.

Dalton’s work is highly recommended reading. It can be found here where you can also download a free PDF “peek” preview. Here’s the relevant passage:

6. The anti-revisionist response is highly revealing

Since the year 2000, there have been only a few attempts by orthodox historians to respond directly to revisionist challenges. […]

In Chapter 4 of his book – “Irving and Holocaust Denial” – [Richard] Evans attempts to summarise and rebut the revisionist point of view, with the ultimate goal of proving David Irving a ‘denier’. In order to do so, he must define ‘Holocaust denial,’ show that it is wrong, and demonstrate that Irving supported it. On the first count, Evans proposes four pillars of denial: (1) less than six million Jews killed; (2) gas chambers were not used to any large degree; (3) the National Socialists’ intention was deportation and not mass murder; and (4) the Holocaust story is “a myth invented by Allied propaganda,” and “the supposed difference… was fabricated after the war”. We can agree with the first three, but the last is not defended by any revisionist of the past 30 years or so.

Evans then reviews the revisionist movement, employing a number deceptive tactics. First, he liberally sprinkles his text with ad hominem attacks and other slanders, beginning with the generous use of the term ‘denier.’ The deniers, he says, “inhabit an intellectual world that [is] far removed from the cautious rationality of academic historical scholarship. What moved them seemed to be a strange mixture of political prejudice and bitter personal experience” – though one might wonder how Evans could know such things. They offer “a perverse kind of entertainment,” something that belongs “to what some have called a paranoid style of historical writing.” Deniers live in a kind of fantasyland; they claim “that virtually nothing of what [the survivors] had suffered had ever happened.” More hyperbole from Evans; no serious revisionist has claimed that “nothing ever happened” to the Jews, or that they did not suffer greatly. But he goes on. “A good deal of [revisionist writing] seemed to be linked to racial hatred and antisemitic animosity in the most direct possible way.” Another false statement and, tellingly, he offers neither citations nor any evidence to support this charge. In sum, says Evans, we must beware of the “weird and irrational world of Holocaust denial”.

Next, Evans runs through a brief roll-call of prominent revisionists, but he gives an entirely misleading view of the field. He covers five individuals: Rassinier, App, Stäglich and Faurisson. Certainly these men were influential in the early development of revisionist ideas, but [at the time of writing this book] only Faurisson is [was] still active – and remarkably so for a man of 85. Butz is alive and well, but only playing a secondary role in revisionism. Critically, Evans elects not to mention any of the leading present-day revisionists. Mattogno, Graf, Rudolf, Kues and Berg are nowhere to found in the chapter. Neither are their arguments.

Apart from his ad hominem attacks and distorted presentation of revisionism, Evans deploys a third common traditionalist tactic: silence on the key issues at hand. For example, he tells us nothing of the long and discrediting history of the ‘6 million’; nothing of the true meaning of vital German words such as Ausrottung and Vernichtung; nothing of what Hitler actually said about the Jews; nothing of the deportation plans such as Madagascar; nothing of the Auschwitz air photos; and nothing of the absence of bodies or remains at nearly every phase of the Holocaust.

Finally, a fourth tactic: straw-man argumentation. Evans’s final pillar of denial is that the Holocaust is a “myth” and the evidence “fabricated.” He elaborates: “Reading through the work of Holocaust deniers like Arthur Butz, it was more than clear that they wanted their readers to believe that the evidence for the Holocaust was all fabricated”. Later he refers to “the common position of Holocaust deniers that evidence for the Holocaust has been fabricated”. These statements are utterly false, as should be clear from the entirety of the present work. Evans lays out an argument that revisionist do not make, knocks it down, and then declares victory. It is a classic logical fallacy. The fact that that Irving – not a serious Holocaust revisionist – made two or three ill-considered remarks does not grant Evans license to smear the true revisionists with the same broad brush.

For a Cambridge historian, all this is completely unacceptable. Evans is either ridiculously ignorant of his subject matter, or is deliberately misinforming the reader by excluding nearly all the the most relevant information. Either way, he has lost all credibility.