It must be immensely frustrating to the Zionists that they couldn’t ban last week’s hugely successful Campaign for Free Speech in the Labour Party Zoom meeting which 400 people attended and which thousands have since seen on Youtube and Facebook.
Having spent the last 5 years trying to ban meetings on Palestine as part of their campaign to defeat Corbyn it must be galling to face defeat at the hands of COVID-19. The next thing we should expect is a Zionist campaign led by the Daily Mail and Jewish Chronicle to demand that Zoom is only licensed to ‘responsible’ groups.
Finkelstein, like Noam Chomsky, is an absolutist when it comes to freedom of speech, including Holocaust denial. It’s not a position I share but that doesn’t make him an anti-Semite.
Norman was being tongue-in-cheek when he said that he didn’t know what a holocaust denier is but I share his exasperation with those who loudly protest the denial of the Holocaust, but who have no problem with denial of the Nakba, the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948. And then there are Zionists who, like Elie Wiesel deny the genocide of over 1 million Armenians because keeping friendly relations with Turkey is considered of prime importance.
Of course Norman might have been referring to the issue of how to define the Holocaust. According to Zionist historians such as Yehuda Bauer and Lucy Dawidowicz, the only people killed during the Holocaust were the Jews. The Disabled, the Gays, the Gypsies, to say nothing of 3 million Poles and 3.5 million Russian POWs are excluded. So Norman’s difficulty is understandable.
The attitude of the Zionists to the Holocaust, namely that it is a political asset to be exploited in the cause of Israel has done more to aid Holocaust denial than any number of books by Irving. In the words of World Jewish Congress representative Gerhard Reigner:
‘Auschwitz was not only a national memory belonging to the Jewish people… it was also an important political asset. Among other things it served the diplomatic efforts of both the WJC and Israel.’ [Tom Segev, The Seventh Million p. 474].
‘Liar’ Lee objected to Finkelstein praising Irving as a good historian. Yet as a military historian there is no doubt about this. However Irving is also a neo-Nazi.
There was an even more ludicrous article in The Times of Israel by Kevin Berk Did Norman Finkelstein Just Deny the Holocaust? Apparently if you treat people like Irving as flesh and blood human beings rather than cardboard cutouts then you are damned forever.
Let us be rid of this hypocrisy. It is not David Irving who, by their propaganda efforts, are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people but people like the appropriately named David Berk and ‘liar’ Lee Harpin. Irving has managed to discredit himself. He is a danger to no one bar himself. Harpin and Berk on the other hand actively support an Israeli state which is actively killing and maiming thousands of Palestinians.
It isn’t Irving but Zionism’s propagandists, like the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland and Hope not Hate who support Israel’s military regime in the West Bank and the settler violence which accompanies it. They also support a state which has provided military aid and training to a host of fascist regimes in Latin America. From the death squads of El Salvador and Colombia to Pinochet in Chile and Rios Montt in Guatemala, Israel was their military benefactor.
Even worse the Israeli state had friendly relations with and provided military equipment and training to the Argentinian Junta which between 1976 and 1983 ‘disappeared’ 30,000 political opponents, including 3,000 Jews. Jew, who were less than 1% of the population, were singled out for torture and murder yet Israel said nothing during the whole episode. As Yossi Sarid an MK for Mapam wrote in Ha’aretz of 31st August 1989:
Israel supplied the evil Argentinian junta with weapons and tools of repression during the years in which they kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured and killed tens of thousands of civilians. Israeli-Argentinian relations were never closer than in the late 1970’s.’
Israel not only refused to criticise the world’s only post-war neo-Nazi regime but according to Hadashot ‘Israel Denied Shelter to Left-wing Argentine Jews During Junta Rule’ (28 Sept. 1990).
So the hypocritical ranting of Harpin and Berk (whose article was copied from Liar Lee) about Finkelstein are just background noise.
If Harpin or the professional anti-fascists of Hope not Hate were to condemn Israel for arming Ukraine’s neo-Nazi militia, the Azov Battalion, which reveres Ukraine’s nationalist collaborator with the Nazis, Stepan Bandera, then one could take what they write seriously.
Bandera, was the leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. He collaborated with the Nazis in the hope of establishing an independent Ukraine after their invasion of Poland. He was to be disappointed as Hitler had no place for Slavic independence. OUN murdered some 200,000 Poles and thousands of Jews.
Daniel Lazarre described the attacks of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army the Banderist faction of the OUN on Ukraine’s Jews. Such was their ferocity that Jews actually sought the protection of the German army:
“The Banderite bands and the local nationalists raided every night, decimating the Jews,” a survivor testified in 1948. “Jews sheltered in the camps where Germans were stationed, fearing an attack by Banderites. Some German soldiers were brought to protect the camps and thereby also the Jews.”
These are the people whose supporters Israel provides weaponry to. It would be quite a novelty for Zionists like ‘liar’ Lee Harpin or his editor Stephen Pollard to condemn Israel’s arming of neo-Nazi groups. The Azov Batallion is infinitely more dangerous to Jews than David Irving.
I listened with interest to NF. He is right that it doesn’t really matter whether it was 5, 6 or 7 million Jews who died in the Holocaust. We can’t bring them back to life. It is of academic interest only.
NF is also correct to say that, notwithstanding his tampering with sources, mistranslations of German etc, that Irving is an acknowledged historian. Even his most infamous book, Hitler’s War, is worth reading.
I do think and I said as much that NFwas wrong to reduce the term ‘Christ killers’ to the question of ‘who killed Christ’. It is clear that Christ was killed by the Romans since crucifixion was a Roman method of execution. It is also clear that the Saducees and the High Priests wanted Jesus, who was considered a revolutionary, out of the way. The idea that ‘the Jews’ killed Jesus is anti-Semitic because it assumes that they were one undifferentiated mass.
It is no surprise that the Zionists have targeted our Free Speech in the Labour Party meetings. Zionism and Free Speech go together like John Ware and telling the truth. What is a surprise is that David Rosenberg, Secretary of the Jewish Socialists Group and a member of Jewish Voice for Labour, should join in the attack.
Even more shocking was after Finkelstein spoke not one of the other panelists, some of whom have played a significant part in anti-racist campaigns, used any of their concluding remarks to challenge Finkelstein’s praise for Irving. Disgraceful. I hope they will do so now.’
If, instead of relying on Zionist reports, David had actually bothered to listen to the video he would have heard my remarks (1.35.35) in response to Norman Finkelstein.
‘The point I made about Rachel Reeves is that Nancy Astor, whom she was supporting, used the term ‘Christ killers’ in reference to Jews. In that context the term ‘Christ killers’ is clearly anti-Semitic. I don’t think there is any doubt about it at all. As to who killed Christ we all have our own opinions That is an esoteric subject I don’t want to get into a debate on.
Similarly about Goebbels Diaries. Yes they should have been published. I don’t know where Norman got the idea that I didn’t. [In fact NF was not directing his remarks at me!] Yes any valuable source material on the Holocaust should be revealed, even if it has to come via David Irving, who I agree is a historian. One cannot take it away from him. The problem is that his politics have got in the way of his history and his research and he certainly did tamper with sources from my reading of the transcripts of the Irving trial.
I am not saying that David deliberately lied. In many ways it is worse. He backed up the Zionist attacks on the meeting! I would have loved to have pursued this debate with Norman but there was no time. The idea that Norman was ‘supporting’ Irving is the typical Zionist hasbara. You can acknowledge that Irving is a good historian (not a reputable one) whilst at the same time accepting he is a neo-Nazi.
But you know, time has moved on. This isn’t 1977 when Irving wrote Hitler’s War, which and made the absurd suggestion that Hitler knew nothing of the Holocaust and even opposed it. Anyone who is aware of Hitler’s two meetings with Hungary’s ruler, Admiral Horthy in April 1943 and March 1944 knows that Hitler urged that Hungary hand over its Jews to Nazi Germany for extermination. The evidence of Hitler’s active pursuit of the Holocaust is overwhelming.
Today David Irving represents no threat. Those who should be of concern are the fascists and populists of the European Right, the Tommy Robinsons, Steve Bannons, Matteo Salvini’s. None of them are holocaust deniers (as far as I’m aware) all of them are supporters of Zionism. David Rosenberg forgets that time has moved on.
JVL also posted on their blog Denial by Rob Ferguson, a Jewish member of the SWP who purports to be an anti-Zionist. It is a review of a film based on the Irving v Penguin libel trial of April 2000. For those who are interested this is the link to the transcript.
The protagonists in the trial were Irving himself and a shallow US Zionist Holocaust historian, Deborah Lipstadt, who played a significant part in condemning Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ and Corbyn.
According to the Daily Mail ‘Acclaimed American academic Professor Deborah Lipstadt claimed the Labour leader has ‘fomented a sense among Jews of being unsafe in Britain’. But according to SWP hacks like Ferguson, Lipstadt is someone to be admired because it hasn’t sunk into his sectarian skull that the Zionist movement uses the Holocaust, not to fight racism, not to ensure genocide is never repeated but in order to legitimise racism.
Lipstadt even attacked Richard Evans, the historian who was the chief witness at the Irving trial, for saying that he was going to vote Labour at the General Election. She is one of those junk historians who now abound in the field of Holocaust studies. They specialise in the Holocaust not as part of any anti-racist commitment but in order to defend Israeli Apartheid.
Fergusson states in his article that ‘The trial was a close run thing. If Irving had won, it would have been a major political victory for the Nazis.’ This demonstrates that Ferguson didn’t understand the evidence in the trial. It is utter nonsense. The trial was a foregone conclusion. Irving made so many concessions that in the end it was difficult to know what was left of his case, if anything.
Irving accepted that the Holocaust was an established fact true e.g. the actions of the Einsatzgruppen in Operation Barbarossa but made his stand over the use of poison gas in Auschwitz. Unsurprisingly he was comprehensively defeated over his claim on that issue as well since it is indisputable that poison gas was used by the Nazis to kill the Disabled in Germany itself. He didn’t even dispute the mass murder at Chelmno, the first extermination camp.
On a more general point. The SWP claims to be anti-Zionist though there is precious little evidence of this in practice. In Scotland, Stand Up to Racism, which is an SWP front, allowed the Confederation of Scottish Zionists, a far-Right group, to march in their ‘anti-racist’ march 3 years on the run.
On Holocaust Memorial Day 2019, when a Stand Up To Racism meeting was banned by Tower Hamlets Council from the Town Hall, the SWP relocated elsewhere. They also withdrew the invitation to Glynn Secker of JVL, who has been a major target of the Zionists.
In their obsession over Holocaust denial, which is a marginal factor today on the far-Right, the SWP form alliances with those who are hostile to the Palestinians. They don’t seem to understand that Israeli Apartheid is a crucial issue for socialists and the anti-racist movement. Unlike the opportunists of the SWP, Black Lives Matter take the issue of Palestine very seriously because they understand the connection between their oppression and that of the Palestinians.
Incidentally I discovered recently that Fergusson had blocked me on Facebook. Since I have never gone to his timeline I can only assume that the SWP has a blacklist of people on the left whom its members must not have contact with!
The SWP have always had difficulties coming to terms with the Zionist and indeed the way western capitalism uses the Holocaust to reinvent itself as ‘anti-racist’. When Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry first came out it was reviewed by the SWP’s Alex Callinicos, the SWP’s guru. Callinicos asked:
How different is his [Finkelstein] assertion that “the field of Holocaust studies is replete with nonsense, if not plain fraud” from the Holocaust revisionist David Irving’s rantings during his recent libel case?
Many of the thousands of books on the Holocaust are worthless. Some of them are fiction dressed up as fact. A far more important question which didn’t occur to Callinicos would be why there is just one major book, Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa on the genocide in the Belgian Congo, where 10 million Africans were murdered. To any socialist the answer is obvious. The Holocaust has become an ideological weapon in the armoury of the western ruling class.
And when Callinicos concludes his review by remarking that
‘so exaggerated is his polemic that at times he comes, quite contrary to his own intentions, dangerously close to giving comfort to those who dream of new holocausts.’
you see the bankruptcy of the SWP’s politics. If telling the truth about how the Zionist movement and Israel have used the murder of millions of Jews in order to justify their barbarism gives comfort to those who dream of a new Holocaust then whose fault is that? The person who speaks the truth or those who exploit the Holocaust for racist and genocidal purposes?
Below is the comment I submitted to JVL’s comments section. Because it has been cut I am reproducing it in full here:
It is clear from David Rosenberg’s comments that he has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing from the state directed campaign to destroy Corbyn.
It is also clear that David didn’t watch the Campaign for Free Speech in the Labour Party Zoom meeting on Tuesday July 28th. The meeting was sponsored, not organised by Labour Against the Witchhunt. It was an independent initiative by Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson and myself.
David stated that:
‘Even more shocking was after Finkelstein spoke not one of the other panelists, some of whom have played a significant part in anti-racist campaigns, used any of their concluding remarks to challenge Finkelstein’s praise for Irving. Disgraceful. I hope they will do so now.’
David is wrong. Firstly Finkelstein did not praise Irving and secondly I did challenge him on one part of his remarks. Finkelstein said that he didn’t know who killed Christ which entirely missed the point that Nancy Astor, whom right-wing Labour MP Rachel Reeves had tweeted in support of, had referred to Jews as ‘Christ Killers’. I made the point that this charge, as if Jews today bear any responsibility for the killing of Christ, was deeply anti-Semitic.
I also remarked that Irving obtaining the Goebbels Diaries was very useful and that he has been responsible for accessing documents that no other historian has gained access to.
If there is one lesson we should draw from the ‘anti-Semitism’ Campaign Against Corbyn it is that you don’t accept the terms of debate or the narrative of your political opponents. Instead of saying, as David and JVL did, that antisemitism was miniscule in the Labour Party they should have realised from day one that the campaign was not about antisemitism but Corbyn.
The Labour Party has always had a few anti-Semites in it. They were located on the Right of the Party. People such as Herbert Morrison and Sidney Webb. Why then raise anti-Semitism in 2015? Because it would divide and confuse the Left and Corbyn’s supporters. The failure to grasp this issue was a crucial error.
David is repeating this error. The Zionists didn’t like our meeting. Finkelstein’s comments on Irving are just a pretext for an attack. When these people disown the support of Trump, Bannon, Richard Spencer and Orban for Zionism and Israel I will take their comments about Irving seriously. What the Zionist lobby hate is free speech on Palestine and solidarity with the Palestinians. Finkelstein was targeted because he called out their weaponisation of the Holocaust.
I wish that JVL, which had such a promising start, had developed a strategy for responding to the anti-Semitism campaign instead of simply seeing itself as a ‘Jewish cover’ for Corbyn. The campaign wasn’t about Jews and it wasn’t about anti-Semitism. It was about Corbyn.
David was to the fore in describing any criticism of Corbyn as an ‘attack’ on him. If Corbyn had received more not less criticism from his supporters, especially from those who were close to him, then he might be Prime Minister now. Instead David and JVL formed an uncritical chorus.
Instead of joining the Zionist targeting of Finkelstein David might have addressed the ‘strategy’ that led Corbyn to such a comprehensive defeat and his part in it. p. 333 of the Leaked Report sums up everything wrong about Corbyn’s throwing of supporters like Chris Williamson, to the wolves.
‘could we have an update on the current status of the cases of Ken Livingstone, Jacqui [sic] Walker, Tony Greenstein and Marc Wadsworth and a clear timetable of when they will all be heard by the NCC and when a final decision will be made on them. The Jewish Labour Movement expressed frustration that these cases have taken such a long time to be heard, as they feel that it is difficult to begin the process of rebuilding trust between the Labour Party and the Jewish community whilst we have still not dealt with these cases.’
Well all of us were expelled or forced out. Did it reassure the Jewish community and re-establish trust? Of course not. Quite the contrary. Our expulsion merely ‘proved’ that Labour had an ‘anti-Semitism’ problem. The more Corbyn and Formby embarked on expelling people the more the Zionist narrative was confirmed. David Rosenberg was to the fore in supporting the idea that the Zionist campaign had some justification. British Jews hadn’t voted for Labour for 50+ years. There was no trust to reestablish. Corbyn’s appeasement strategy led to his defeat yet JVL never uttered a word of criticism.
The Zionist press (JC/Times of Israel) homed in on Finkelstein’s comments with the Times of Israel today suggesting that Finkelstein is himself a holocaust denier. David has joined them.
I was the first speaker at the meeting and NF didn’t give me an advance copy of his speech. But even if he had done I would have said what I said.
I accept what NF said. Irving is undoubtedly a good historian when it comes to German Military History. Unfortunately Irving decided to use his expertise in order to bolster Holocaust revisionism. I am happy to accept the word of historians such as AJP Taylor in preference to Rosenberg.
Since such store is set on the libel trial of Irving v Penguin and the judgement of Gray J, I feel I should also point out what he wrote in s.13.7 of his judgment:
My assessment is that, as a military historian, Irving has much to commend him. For his works of military history Irving has undertaken thorough and painstaking research into the archives. He has discovered and disclosed to historians and others many documents which, but for his efforts, might have remained unnoticed for years. It was plain from the way in which he conducted his case and dealt with a sustained and penetrating cross-examination that his knowledge of World War 2 is unparalleled. His mastery of the detail of the historical documents is remarkable. … I accept the favourable assessment by Professor Watt and Sir John Keegan of the calibre of Irving’s military history… and reject as too sweeping the negative assessment of Evans (quoted in paragraph 3.5).
Irving as a holocaust denier is as reprehensible as al the Nakba deniers who led the ‘antisemitism’ campaign. I don’t support free speech for fascists but nor do I believe in making holocaust denial illegal, as in Germany and Austria both of whom have neo-Nazi parties in their parliaments.
I realise that Rob Ferguson is unable as a good SWP member to reconcile his anti-Zionist and anti-fascist views. They exist in 2 separate compartments. Opposition to Zionism can’t be permitted to intrude on anti-fascism. However Deborah Lipstadt, who was at the centre of the Irving libel trial, is also an ardent Zionist, opponent of BDS and a supporter of Israeli Apartheid. Those people who cannot draw conclusions from what happened to Jewish people and apply them to the Palestinians merit contempt.
The reason that Lipstadt wasn’t called to the witness box was not that this would give Irving a field day but rather that she couldn’t be trusted up against Irving. She is a superficial, Zionist historian who subscribes to the notion of holocaust uniqueness (in the Zionist construction of the Holocaust only Jews died – the death of Gypsies, Disabled etc. is disregarded because Hitler fought in Lucy Dawidowicz’s words a ‘war against the Jews’ not anyone else.
I have myself participated in 3 successful attempts to prevent Irving present his fabrications of history. Twice in Brighton, once in Horsham. I realise that Rob Ferguson is an SWP member but the ANL did not lead any of these attempts, in fact it was completely absent in Horsham. I find it deeply disturbing that Rob insists that the SWP and its front groups represent anti-fascism and anti-racism in this country. They don’t.
There is a lot of hypocrisy over the question of holocaust denial. No one does more to spread Holocaust denial than Israel and the Zionist movement. That is the effect of their weaponisation of the Holocaust. I really do think Rob should read Yehuda Elkana’s The Need to Forget. Elkana was a Holocaust survivor, Rector of the Central European University in Budapest until Netanyahu’s friend Viktor Orban forced it out. Whereas people like Yehuda Elkana or Gideon Levy and Israeli historians like Tom Segev understand the use to which Israel puts the Holocaust the SWP believes it can hold hands with the British establishment on this.
As Gideon Levy wrote about the thousands of Israeli teenagers who are taken to Auschwitz as part of their inculcation in nationalist norms:
I have yet to hear a single teenager come back from Auschwitz and say that we mustn’t abuse others the way we were abused. There has yet to be a school whose pupils came back from Birkenau straight to the Gaza border, saw the barbed-wire fence and said, Never again. The message is always the opposite. Gaza is permitted because of Auschwitz.
There was a time, back in the 1970’s when the National Front’s Richard Harwood (Verall) brought out a pamphlet ‘Did 6 Million Really Die’ when you could equate holocaust deniers with neo-Nazis. That is no longer the case.
Leaving aside the conspiracy theorists there is no doubt that millions of people in the underdeveloped world deny the holocaust yet they are not antisemites. The reason for this is simple.
Israel bases its legitimacy on the Holocaust. It expelled the refugees and justified this by reference to the Holocaust. As Idith Zertal wrote in Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood
‘The transference of the Holocaust situation on to the Middle East reality… not only created a false sense of the imminent danger of mass destruction. It also immensely distorted the image of the Holocaust, dwarfed the magnitude of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, trivializing the unique agony of the victims and the survivors, and utterly demonizing the Arabs and their leaders.
There isn’t a war that Israel has fought that hasn’t been in the name of Auschwitz. Every war was an existential one.
It is not surprising that if Israel bases its legitimacy on the Holocaust then people will deny the Holocaust as a means of denying Israel’s legitimacy. This is political instrumentalism not neo-Nazism. Of course by so doing, they actually end up legitimising Israel since the Holocaust is an indisputable fact.
However just as the Zionists’ ‘antisemitism’ campaign in the Labour Party has increased antisemitism in society, so the Zionist use of the Holocaust as a political weapon has increased holocaust denial.
Dr Paul, in the comments, quotes from Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry, ‘Not all revisionist literature — however scurrilous the politics or motivations of its practitioners — is totally useless’. He finds this anti-Semitic.
Is Dr Paul aware that the most eminent of all Holocaust historians, Raul Hilberg, said the same? That we could even learn from holocaust revisionists who would make us examine our own theories and knowledge?
What I find most disturbing is not holocaust denial but the way in which the Holocaust is used to establish a myth of the holocaust that Zionism was the answer to anti-Semitism. That Jews were the only victim (see the debate between Yehuda Bauer and Sybil Milton), that the Holocaust proved Zionism right and that Jews must establish a state of its own.
The real disgrace is how the Holocaust is used by Zionism not what Norman Finkelstein said.
I disagreed with Norman’s emphasis but there was nothing ‘disgraceful’ or ‘shocking’ about his remarks. Portraying Irving as some kind of cartoon character monster may suit David Rosenberg’s Zionist friends but he is a combination of someone who clearly has a great deal of expertise, has worked extremely hard researching in archives but has allowed his pro-Nazi views to completely cloud his judgement.
Footnote: I discovered yesterday that Rob Ferguson had blocked me on Facebook. I’ve never been on his timeline but I was given a link that didn’t work. Perhaps the SWP now circulates a list of people on the Left whom it instructs its cadre to boycott lest they might engage in debates with other socialists. After all, if you have a revolutionary party to build then you can’t be diverted by talking to other socialists! Pathetic really but it shows the calibre of the SWP these days that they are afraid of political debate.