Think Tank Blog
03 September 09
David Irving, Europe’s most prominent Holocaust denier, is fond of arguing that time is on his side. “All that interests me now,” he said on his website in August, “is the question, whose books will scholars be using in a hundred years’ time — mine, or those of the conformist historians like Sir Ian Kershaw and Sir Martin Gilbert?”
But why wait a hundred years? On Saturday this week, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo is set to run an interview with Irving as part of a series of stories with “experts” for the 70th anniversray of the start of World War II. Irving, always keen to portray himself as a kind of hunted hero, gleefully reports on the controversy that the article has aroused in Israel with a headline in his online newsletter saying: “Israel’s Ambassador to Spain pleads wth Madrid’s leading daily newspaper El Mundo not to publish their major interview with British Historian David Irving.” (My italics)
It is only a matter of weeks since Sweden’s top selling newspaper Aftonbladet published a two-page spread of its own alleging that American Jews and Israeli soldiers were involved in a conspiracy to harvest the bodily organs of Palestinian children and sell them on the international black market. Is there something in the air?
I have said before that, for those who follow such matters, there is always a danger of getting too close to one’s subject. But it certainly seems that the boundaries of acceptable discourse about Israel and the Jews in Europe have widened considerably in recent months. Apartheid analogies now look routine. The attempt to compare Israel with Nazi Germany is heading in the same direction.
Events in Sweden and Spain may indicate that conspiracy theories, blood libels and Holocaust denial are on the verge of a resurgence of their own. It is too early to tell. But the general drift is surely cause for concern.
According to the Jerusalem Post, El Mundo plans to run the interview with Irving the day after an interview with Avner Shalev, the chairman of Yad Vashem. The timeline will not be coincidental. It is a standard technique in journalism to run opposing viewpoints on consecutive days in order to provide a rounded picture to readers. So, for readers of El Mundo, Friday’s edition will assert that the Holocaust did happen. Saturday’s will assert that it did not. Who knows, perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle?
The Israeli ambassador’s protests to the paper have been to no avail. As the Jerusalem Post reports it: “The paper’s response…was not to endorse Irving’s ideas, but rather to cite press freedom and the right for everyone to decide on their own.” (My Italics)
Call these isolated events if you wish. But I have a question. How many isolated events does it take before it all starts to look like a pattern?
To read Irving’s website, click here:
To read the Jerusalem Post article on the subject, click here: