Respectful Insolence

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.

Comments

  1. #1 Matt Penfold
    July 29, 2008

    I thought US immigration did not like letting in those with criminal record ? So how come Irving managed to get in ?

  2. #2 Dangerous Bacon
    July 29, 2008

    “An English Holocaust denier in New York”

    I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t have the ring of “An American Werewolf In London”, although I’d go to see it if Jenny Agutter was in the cast.*

    Given the amount of time that’s passed, maybe I should hold out for Jessica Alba. Pee-Wee Herman could play the part of David Irving.

  3. #3 Skwee
    July 29, 2008

    When did this take place? I was in the Big Apple this weekend & shudder to think I was sharing it with this guy.

  4. #4 Andrew
    July 29, 2008

    I can only imagine some “brave patriot and enemy of the Black Nobility of Europe” working in US immigration let him in.

    Ont he subject of the Black Nobility of Europe, is there any more info on them? I’ve got this bizarre illuminati-dracula image in my head now, in some secret UN facility/castle in Transylvania.

  5. #5 Richard Eis
    July 29, 2008

    We do not want him back.

  6. #6 Orac
    July 29, 2008

    “An English Holocaust denier in New York”

    I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t have the ring of “An American Werewolf In London”, although I’d go to see it if Jenny Agutter was in the cast.*

    Actually, I was using Sting’s song An Englishman in New York as my template…

  7. #7 gimpy
    July 29, 2008

    Regardless of what you may think of Hitchens it is deeply unfair to portray him as a supporter of Irving, I suggest you check out this essay which rather disproves any notion that Hitchens approves of Irving in any way.

    Incidentally David Irving is thanked in the acknowledgements in my edition of Slaughterhouse Five but this isn’t used as a slur against Vonnegut, who believed Irvings claims on Dreseden, in the way that Hitchen’s non-endorsement of Irving is used to smear him.

  8. #8 pedro
    July 29, 2008

    I can almost understand stupidity like believing homoeopathy is true. It’s absurd, but i can try and grasp the mind behind a denier of real medicine.

    I cannot, much as I try, to understand holocaust deniers.

    Nazis are so stupid and PC: If I was a nazi I wouldn’t deny the most powerful action ever made by my fellow partners. I wouldn’t be ashamed, i would be proud. The fact that they try to deny and conceal it only shows that they are more worried about trying to look nice and decent, instead of having the balls to admit their hate, stupidity and criminal thoughts. Twats!

    Meh.

  9. #9 pedro
    July 29, 2008

    that’s
    “I cannot, much as I try, understand holocaust deniers.”

    Mistakes, mistakes :)

  10. #10 Orac
    July 29, 2008

    I’ve read that article before (although not in a long time.) In it, Hitchens flirts with dubiousness:

    While in the United States, protected as it is by the 1st Amendment, the Holocaust has become a secular religion, with state support in the form of a national museum. Accusations of ill will or bad faith are often made against anyone with reservations about the elevation of this project into something combining a cult, an entertainment resource and an industry, each claiming to represent the unvoiced dead.

    That’s a favorite among Holocaust deniers, and in context it’s only slightly less cringe-inducing. It’s also a bit of a straw man.

    Or:

    Irving did not publish a series of books on the Nazi era that were exposed as propaganda by a magisterial review from Evans.”>Irving did not publish a series of books on the Nazi era that were exposed as propaganda by a magisterial review from Evans.

    A bit of a straw man. The claim was that Irving was not a serious historian and that he was a Holocaust denier who was biased in his use and intepretation of historical sources. Oddly, enough, Hitchens is wrong here, showing that Irving’s books were closer to propaganda than history is almost exactly what Evans, in fact, did.

    As for Vonnegut, I actually have criticized him for being too credulous when it came to Irving’s claims about Dresden.

  11. #11 gimpy
    July 29, 2008

    Hitchens is quite often an arse and that passage you cite merely confirms this, it could be expressed in more neutral terms, but he makes a valid argument (albeit not one I agree with in its entirety). Regardless though it is pretty clear that Max Blumenthal’s claims are so far off the mark as to be positively delusional (and libellous).

  12. #12 Orac
    July 29, 2008

    It wasn’t Blumenthal’s claims; it was Irving’s claims that he’s buddies with Hitchens, which Blumenthal simply reported. Maybe he should have said more.

    Even so, although I have, like Hitchens, defended Irving’s right to free speech and railed against his imprisonment in Austria, I still think Hitchens’ characterization of Irving is far too lenient and credulous.

  13. #13 gimpy
    July 29, 2008

    PS I refer to Blumenthal’s claims about Hitchens, not about Irving.

    I just don’t think this is the right stick to bash Hitchens on. BTW it seems Vonnegut went to his grave believing Irvings claims about Dresden but nobody would suggest this means he supports holocaust denialism.

  14. #14 gimpy
    July 29, 2008

    crap, didn’t realise you were still in the process of editing your posts so my point about Vonnegut is rather negated by your first response.

    Anyway, isn’t there history between Hitchens and Blumenthal, I believe the former was quite rude about the latter’s daddy.

  15. #15 Orac
    July 29, 2008

    I don’t know. Look at this quote from Hitchens, linked to by Blumenthal:

    You may have to spend time on some grim and Gothic Web sites to find this out, but he [Irving] is in fact not a “denier,” but a revisionist, and much-hated by the full-dress “denial” faction. The pages on Goebbels, as in his books on Dresden, Churchill and Hitler, contain some highly important and damning findings from his work in the archives of the Third Reich. (The Goebbels book contains final proof that the Nazis financed Sir Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts in England: a claim that Mosley’s many sympathizers have long denied.)

    Hitchens is wrong here. Irving is a Holocaust denier. Period. Indeed, Hitchens is an idiot if he thinks otherwise. That Irving is despised in some denier quarters comes from his having recanted his previous statements on Auschwitz while in prison, recantations he went back on shortly after he was released. Before that, among the hard core deniers Irving was viewed as not being “denier enough.”

  16. #16 Orac
    July 29, 2008

    crap, didn’t realise you were still in the process of editing your posts so my point about Vonnegut is rather negated by your first response.

    Sorry, I realized I had forgotten to add a bit about Vonnegut; so I just edited the post. We appear to be commenting at the same time. However, I must go now; I’m done with my lunch. Time to get back to work.

  17. #17 NPD
    July 29, 2008

    “An English Holocaust denier in New York”

    I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t have the ring of “An American Werewolf In London”, although I’d go to see it if Jenny Agutter was in the cast.*

    Actually, I was using Sting’s song An Englishman in New York as my template…

    Ha. Though he was kind of an obnoxious twit at times, Quentin Crisp had more class in his upturned pinky than Irving does in his entire body.

  18. #18 Citizen Z
    July 29, 2008

    I can almost understand stupidity like believing homoeopathy is true. It’s absurd, but i can try and grasp the mind behind a denier of real medicine.

    I cannot, much as I try, to understand holocaust deniers.

    I agree. I simply cannot see how someone can say this:

    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.

    …when it is debunked by even the most cursory reading of Mein Kampf. It is mind-boggling.

  19. #19 Calli Arcale
    July 29, 2008

    Nazis are so stupid and PC: If I was a nazi I wouldn’t deny the most powerful action ever made by my fellow partners. I wouldn’t be ashamed, i would be proud. The fact that they try to deny and conceal it only shows that they are more worried about trying to look nice and decent, instead of having the balls to admit their hate, stupidity and criminal thoughts. Twats!

    Why be surprised? That’s exactly what they were doing in the 1930s, and it worked very well in allaying people’s suspicions enough to allow them to rise to power. The Nazis performed a stunningly brilliant con-job on the German people, playing to their fears of communists and a very old resentment towards the Jews and a few other groups (eg Gypsies), while simultaneously avoiding disclosure of the sheer magnitude of their plans.

    So what he’s doing is exactly what a real Nazi who wanted to come to power would be doing in his place.

  20. #20 wfjag
    July 29, 2008

    “the Black Nobility of Europe” ??? Who are they — the Moors?

    My opinion of Irving — and other Holocaust deniers — is that they are (unintentionally to be sure) doing a service. A few years back, my oldest son said something about “the Holocaust myth” — some tripe he’d heard or read about in his freshman college year — to his step-grand father. His step-grand father went ashore on Utah Beach and served in Europe until 1946, helped liberate a couple of the small camps, and, pursuant to Eisenhower’s orders, visited one of the major camps, and brought back pictures. He got out the old pics, and told my son about what he’d seen, heard and smelled. My oldest, who hates being lied to, started researching the subject, and now takes every opportunity to disabuse the ignorant who assert that the Holocaust was a myth.

    It’s unfortunate that what passes for teaching history on college campuses is so deficient that it takes students educating themselves to learn facts. However, to the extent that there’s a good result, my son and his friends have learned how to research and to have the confidence to challenge Holocaust deniers, 9/11 Truthers and similar ignorant dolts.

  21. #21 Patrick
    July 29, 2008

    oh man, My eyes saw Invertebrate where you had inveterate. Well I’ll say it, He is Spineless; As evidenced by his ninja booking of a church basement.

  22. #22 mike stanton
    July 29, 2008

    I am not surprised that Irving is still spewing his nonsense. But I am sorry to read how far Hitchens has moved from his socialist past, if he is now soft on holocaust deniers. Please do not judge all Brits on the strength of our exports to the USA.

  23. #23 Cath the Canberra Cook
    July 29, 2008

    Wait, what? WTF is the “European black nobility”??

  24. #24 CanadianChick
    July 29, 2008

    the only time I’ve heard the term “black nobility” used, it referred to a group also known as papal nobility in Italy…the nobility who sided with the Pope back in the 1800s over the Piedmontese. They were at one point rich, influential and powerful.

  25. #25 Jeff R.
    July 29, 2008

    Irving pretty much treats his US supporters as a cash machine. I always found this take on him (“Even the Nazis can’t stand him”) pretty amusing:
    http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/i/irving-david/reviews/jim-floyd.html

  26. #26 Chris Krolczyk
    July 29, 2008

    Isn’t this the same David Irving who claimed he no longer believed any of the crap he used to spout after his conviction and sentencing in an Austrian court for propagandizing the same sort of revisionist horseshit he spouted more recently in NYC?

    Funny how quickly he changed his mind back after the threat of prosecution ended, isn’t it?

  27. #27 Phoenix Woman
    July 29, 2008

    Wonder if Nicholson Baker’s tagging along? You know, the “pacifist” guy who says that WWII was unnecessary because Hitler really didn’t want to kill the Jews?

    You know why these clowns are stepping up their activities, of course. It’s because the last of the Holocaust survivors are in their 80s and 90s. It’s like how the bogus “loyal Confederate soldier slaves” myth the Neo-Confederates are flinging around had to wait until no actual witnesses to the Civil War were left before it could gain serious purchase; so long as there were still living and honest Confederate veterans, the myth got smacked down whenever it appeared.

  28. #28 DLC
    July 30, 2008

    The Hitler-fans like to have their cake and eat it too.
    They deny the holocaust ever happened while simultaneously saying that the Nazis did not go far enough fast enough.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m tired of nazi apologetics.

  29. #29 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    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.

    Perhaps so, but I would not be surprised to find that the converse is true of those in Shoah business. Has anyone looked into that?

    Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    Just sayin’.

  30. #30 Orac
    July 30, 2008

    Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    Fallacy of the middle ground or “golden mean,” also known as the argument to moderation.

    No, the truth does not lie “somewhere in the middle” in this case, but thanks for playing.

  31. #31 Khoth
    July 30, 2008

    Maybe Hitler just didn’t realise he was speaking to Nazis, and it was just a coincidence that he had an anti-Jew speech prepared.

  32. #32 Interrobang
    July 30, 2008

    They don’t ask themselves what they could do to change the way that they are disliked.

    I’ve heard this “logic” before. Let me see if it gets more familiar when I rewrite it:

    Kids who get bullied don’t ask themselves what they could do to change the way that they are disliked.

    Victims of crime don’t ask themselves what they could do to avoid bad neighbourhoods.

    Rape victims don’t ask themselves what they could do to change the way that they are dressed.

    Funny how the presence of bullies, criminals, rapists, and Christians who believed that Jews killed Jesus go completely unremarked in Irving’s world, isn’t it? (Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Irving really is a rape apologist; scratch a male bigot, find a misogynist.)

  33. #33 S. Rivlin
    July 30, 2008

    When I first read Blumenthal’s piece and watched the video on the Huffington Post, the bit about Hitchens angered me more than the crap Irving and his neoNazis followers were spewing. I have respected Hitchens and read and listen to many of his writings and presentations on several topics such as religion and the war in Iraq and am agreeing with him on some and disagreeing on others. However, I must admit that almost instanteously upon learning of Hitchens’s defense of Irving as a great historian the fiasco of boycotting Israeli academicians by the British Teachers Union popped into my mind. It may sound as if I am generalizing, which is not my intent, but there is a continuing history, especially among British scholars, of expressed anti-Jewish sentiments. Of course, the target today of such sentiments is frequently the Jewish state of Israel. Whether Hitchens’s defense of Irving originates in his dislike of religion (incliding, of course, Judaism) or antisemitism, is unclear.

  34. #34 Marcus Ranum
    July 30, 2008

    it makes me regret having purchased Hitchens’ last book.

    Radovan Karadzic is a murderer, ethnic cleanser, and instigator and overseer of genocide.
    Karadzic practiced alternative medicine.
    Therefore, alternative medicine is bad.

    Christopher Hitchens has some opinions you do not fully understand (try asking him to clarify; Hitch is not one to prevaricate) about Irving and you don’t like his views about Iraq.
    Hitchens has written a book about religion.
    Therefore, Hitchens’ book is bad.

    I don’t recall Hitchens writing anything about Iraq or Irving in “God is Not Great” but thanks for an excuse to re-read it. It’s a typical example of Hitchens at his best: well-written, pugnacious, and with a twist of backhanded humor.

    (PS – I do not give a shit about Iraq, Irving, or events in Europe before my lifetime, so please consider me disinterested regarding those topics)

  35. #35 Marcus Ranum
    July 30, 2008

    Whether Hitchens’s defense of Irving originates in his dislike of religion (incliding, of course, Judaism) or antisemitism, is unclear.

    I seem to recall him saying something about his being married in a jewish ceremony. His mother was jewish, which, according to jew-woo makes him jewish, himself.

    He generally doesn’t talk much about his family affairs but accusing Hitch of being antisemitic is doing the cha-cha on a rhetorical landmine of pure FAIL. I’m just sayin’

  36. #36 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    No, the truth does not lie “somewhere in the middle” in this case, but thanks for playing.

    Nobody in Shoah business ever plunked for the interpretation that cast Hitler in the most unfavorable light possible. I see. Thanks for setting me straight.

  37. #37 S. Rivlin
    July 30, 2008

    His mother was jewish is just like my best friend is black. Some of the more vocal antiSemites are of Jewish background. The leader in the call to boycot Israeli academicians by the British academia is a self-hating Jewish Scientist named Rose.

  38. #38 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    Within a death toll often viewed as ranging between as low as five and as high as seven million, Hilberg’s own detailed breakdown in The Destruction reveals a total estimated death toll of 5.1 million Jews. Only for the death toll at Belzec does Hilberg provide a precise figure, all the others are rounded. When these rounding factors are taken into account a range of 4.9 million to 5.4 million deaths emerges. It is instructive to note that the discrepancy in total figures among Holocaust researchers is often overshadowed by that between centres of destruction. One striking example can be seen in the Auschwitz State Museum’s significant reduction of the estimated death toll in Auschwitz.
    < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Destruction_of_the_European_Jews#A_destruction_of_5.1_million_Jews>
    Hilberg, just another anti-semitic Jew. Six million, dammit, or your an anti-semite. There is no middle ground.

  39. #39 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    Of course I meant “you’re an anti-semite” in the above.

    And the link for the italicized text got eaten:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Destruction_of_the_European_Jews#A_destruction_of_5.1_million_Jews

  40. #40 Orac
    July 30, 2008

    Geez, you’re dumb. That’s a pretty lame straw man, even for a Holocaust denier.

    Hilberg’s estimate is on the low end of estimates of the death toll commonly accepted by historians, but it’s well within the range of uncertainty of various estimates. See

    http://www.holocaust-history.org/questions/numbers.shtml

    Quotes:

    The estimate of the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust was established by Historians and demographers in the very late 1940s. While 6 million is a shorthand for the estimate (I have seen academic estimates from 4.8 million to 7.5 million), the estimation methodologies used back then have held valid all this time. There have been several subsequent studies all of which have produced findings within the same order of magnitude.

    And:

    Historians are able to agree on the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust within about a ten percent margin of error because of the convergence of a large amount of evidence. This evidence includes records on the number of people sent to the larger death camps, which were built and used primarily for Jews; reliable demographic studies of the number of Jews in Europe before and after the war; and progress reports from death camps and from organized killing squads in the conquered territories. There is more variance among estimates of the non-Jewish death toll because there is less data to go on. There is no census data on homosexuals, for example.

  41. #41 Laser Potato
    July 30, 2008

    Holy crap, is this the same JoJo who showed up in your “Death By Supplements” post to proclaim:

    [It has been documented ozzy, that improperly prescribed, improperly administered and sometimes inadequately tested pharmaceticals take thousands of lives every year. But don't take my word for it, read up about it from the AMA or any notable medical journal. Its common knowledge.

    Supplements also have similar issues when improperly manufactured, over used or taken by children. However the numbers of incidents are much smaller. This because, supplements are much less used than pharmaceticals.

    So the safety numbers cannot really be compared. My belief is that users of supplements are generally more healthy and using less pharmaceticals than the overall population.

    Orac, as you may know, supplments are forbidden from making any medical claims without using the word 'may'. I can't even sell a pill containng water without legally saying water "may" be necessary for sustaining life.

    This article has the scent of propaganda.

    As we have seen in the past, big pharma interests have made war with the supplment business. Large money attempting to take away consumer rights to line their pocketbooks with over prescribed medicines that have enormous social and economic costs on our nation.

    Posted by: jo jo | March 26, 2008 4:39 PM ]

  42. #42 Marcus Ranum
    July 30, 2008

    S. Rivlin writes:
    Some of the more vocal antiSemites are of Jewish background.

    I see. So they self-describe as jews (like Hitchens does) and then self-hate? That sounds mighty stupid, but what do I know?

    The leader in the call to boycot Israeli academicians by the British academia is a self-hating Jewish Scientist named Rose.

    Is his name Christopher Hitchens, or is that just something completely irrelevant you decided somehow means Christopher Hitchens is an antisemite?

    You do not appear to be rational on this topic. People are anti-semitic if they self-describe as jewish. And they’re probably doubly so if they self-desribe as not jewish. Are they quadruply so if they actually self-describe as antisemitic? Or, by your convoluted thought processes, would that make them jewish?

    I have followed Hitchens’ writings for a very long time, heard the man speak a number of times, and – though I don’t know him personally (other than to say ‘enjoyed your talk’ at a conference) my strong impression of him is that he is not a coward or a waffler. He is unafraid to hold views that are unfashionable, and – whether you agree with him or not – will attempt to defend them with knowledge and constructed arguments based on reality as he understands it. In other words, if Hitchens thinks something, he’s not afraid to say it, explain why, and stand by it. If he were an antisemite, he’d be unapologetic and outspoken about it, and would probably be willing to explain at length how he formed that belief. That is how I have seen him grapple with every other subject he has taken on.

    All I can suggest is that you find a chance to ask him – go to an event where he is speaking and wait your turn. Just, please, see if you can record the experience someplace. I love the way Hitchens occasionally lets slip the dogs of sarcasm and publicly demolishes some deserving fool.

  43. #43 S. Rivlin
    July 30, 2008

    Marcus,

    I brought up the name of Rose to illustrate that being of Jewish origin is by no means an immunization against antiSemitism. The great majority of antiSemites are non-Jews, of course. I bet you that JoJo is not Jewish. He already proved his point that the whole legend of the Holocaust is promoted by those who push the Shoah business. If 5.4 million Jews were parished in the Holocaust, it is, according to JoJo, not a Holocaust and thus, those in the business are pushing for the greater number of 6 million in order to make it a holocaust.

    I am not saying that Hitchens is an antiSemite. However, his defense of Irving as a great historian makes me question his motives. The truth is, that most Holocaust deniers will also deny their antiSemitism. Hence, JoJo here who, I am sure, will deny his.

  44. #44 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    Apparently, you’re censoring my comments now. Not very admirable.

    My impression is that Hilberg is regarded as authoritative on the matter. That you quote those in Shoah business disappoints me.

    That you call me stupid for quoting Hilberg, makes me lose the respect I previously had for you.

  45. #45 Orac
    July 30, 2008

    I censored nothing. I generally censor very close to nothing. There were no posts by you caught in my spam traps.

    And I didn’t call you stupid for quoting Hilberg. I called you stupid for misusing Hilberg’s estimates of the Jewish dead in the Holocaust.

  46. #46 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    I had posted a comment denying that I was the JoJo referred to in an earlier comment by Laser Potato. We’ll chalk that up to the vagaries of the internet.

    In what way did I misuse anything?

  47. #47 Dangerous Bacon
    July 30, 2008

    JoJo: “Nobody in Shoah business (pause here for awe at this previously unacknowledged masterpiece of wit) ever plunked for the interpretation that cast Hitler in the most unfavorable light possible. I see. Thanks for setting me straight.”

    It’s true – Hitler is never given credit for his fine qualities.

    For instance, der Fuehrer was a _wonderful_ dancer.*

    *sorry, I’ve watched “The Producers” too many times.

  48. #48 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    Dangerous Bacon: I can’t take credit.
    From “Salon.com Books | Shoah business”:
    Elie Wiesel is such a ridiculous character. In private Elie Wiesel is the subject of much ridicule. The expression “There’s no business like Shoah-business” is literally coined for him. So it’s not as if I’m the first one to call the emperor naked, but in public — yes.
    < http://archive.salon.com/books/int/2000/08/30/finkelstein/index.html>

    My question about misuse remains unanswered.

    BTW, Hilberg seems supportive of Finkelstein on this point: the Holocaust is oversold. I.e. the truth lies somewhere in the middle, as I first stupidly proposed. (I know. Proves I’m an anti-semitic holocaust denier.)

  49. #49 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    Sorry, link eaten again. I’ll learn eventually.

    http://archive.salon.com/books/int/2000/08/30/finkelstein/index.html

  50. #50 Phoenix Woman
    July 31, 2008

    Laser Potato: Yup, same dude.

    Again, the whole reason these clowns are coming out of the woodwork now is for the same reason that the “loyal slaves” myth beloved of the Neo-Confederates didn’t take off until well after the persons who were around at the time of the Civil War were dead. Back when there were still living Confederate veterans, it was slapped down handily.

    The Jo Jos among us know that there are fewer Holocaust survivors with each passing day, so they figure that if they spout their anti-Semitic bogosities with the same mind-numbing and disturbingly well-funded persistence that they spout their anti-scientific bogosities, they’ll eventually get a chance to rewrite the historical record just as the antivaxers are rewriting the popular record.

  51. #51 Phoenix Woman
    July 31, 2008

    Jo Jo, ‘fess up: You’re the same dude. Among other things, your syntax gives you away.

  52. #52 Nathan Baum
    July 31, 2008

    it makes me regret having purchased Hitchens’ last book.

    Radovan Karadzic is a murderer, ethnic cleanser, and instigator and overseer of genocide.
    Karadzic practiced alternative medicine.
    Therefore, alternative medicine is bad.

    Christopher Hitchens has some opinions you do not fully understand (try asking him to clarify; Hitch is not one to prevaricate) about Irving and you don’t like his views about Iraq.
    Hitchens has written a book about religion.
    Therefore, Hitchens’ book is bad.

    Orac didn’t say his book was bad, he said that he regretted buying it. It being bad is only one possible reason for regretting buying a book.

    For example, if I knew that the best doctor in town spent his wages on arranging dog fights, I might choose not pay for his services; not because I think he is a bad doctor, but because it is not practically possible to separate supporting his hobby from supporting his job.

    Similarly, if one buys God Is Not Great, Hitchens is not obliged to spend his royalties on projects which further atheism: he could spend them on supporting holocaust deniers (whether knowingly or not) or the Iraq war.

    It is perfectly rational for Orac to decide that he’d rather not financially support somebody whose goals are not compatible with his own.

  53. #53 JoJo
    July 31, 2008

    Phoenix Woman: ‘fess up. You’re the same dude. Among other things, your syntax gives you away.

    No. Sorry. I don’t even agree with quoted blurb.

    Pay careful attention and notice the difference between “jo jo” and “JoJo”. Do you think I can’t spell my own nym? Leave the syntax forensics to the pros.

    BTW. I’ve seen you commenting on various sites and generally agree with you.

    I note that we still haven’t heard anything from our gracious host how I misused anything.

  54. #54 JoJo
    August 1, 2008

    So, I guess that the “truth lies in the middle” argument has been conclusively disproved by our host’s silence. I bow my head.

    No Shoat business functionary has ever oversold the Holocaust, but those who doubt any of their claims shoud be subject to criminal prosecution and jail.

    Fair enough.

  55. #55 JoJo
    August 1, 2008

    So, I guess that the “truth lies in the middle” argument has been conclusively disproved by our host’s silence. I bow my head.

    No Shoah business functionary has ever oversold the Holocaust, but those who doubt any of their claims shoud be subject to criminal prosecution and jail.

    Fair enough.

  56. #56 JoJo
    August 1, 2008

    This comment system suck pretty bad. No fault of our host.

  57. #57 JoJo
    August 1, 2008

    Here’s the beef:

    If, over thousands of years, every civilization you’ve lived within has eventually thrown you out or tried to exterminate you, shouldn’t you perhaps at least consider that it’s not a problem with “the other”? Could it just be a problem with your culture?

    I mean, sure, everyone else in the whole wide world could be fucked up, but wouldn’t Ockam’s razor suggest something else?

  58. #58 JoJo
    August 1, 2008

    Others may continue to find your opinions worthwhile, but you’ve discredited yourself in my eyes. You’ve revealed yourself as a doctrinaire hack, who can’t support his positions with anything more than ad hominem attacks.

    How admirable.

    I know you’ll try to dismiss this (if you address it al all) as just too stupid and tiresome to waste your time on. Just another anti-semitic holocaust denier, yada, yada.

    That’s wearing pretty thin. People aren’t buying it as much. Not because they’re becoming more anti-semitic, but because they’re tired of over-hyped product.

    If you’ve really got some reasonable arguments lets hear them. Otherwise, ignore this, call it stupid, anti-semitic, carry on as you have. The message will be clear.

  59. #59 Orac
    August 2, 2008

    If, over thousands of years, every civilization you’ve lived within has eventually thrown you out or tried to exterminate you, shouldn’t you perhaps at least consider that it’s not a problem with “the other”? Could it just be a problem with your culture?

    I mean, sure, everyone else in the whole wide world could be fucked up, but wouldn’t Ockam’s razor suggest something else?

    Spoken like a true Holocaust denier! Congratulations, you’ve just descended closer to the level of white power ranger, knuckle-dragger rhetoric!

  60. #60 JoJo
    August 2, 2008

    Spoken like a true Holocaust denier! Congratulations, you’ve just descended closer to the level of white power ranger, knuckle-dragger rhetoric!
    As expected, you’ve pegged me as a holocaust denier.

    No such thing. My point is that if a culture is repeatedly “holocausted” for thousands of years, perhaps it’s a problem with the culture, not the “holocausters”.

    Too complicated for you?

  61. #61 S. Rivlin
    August 2, 2008

    Jojo,

    Could you try to explain what’s the problem with the culture that has been “holocausted”? This way it would be easier to understand your argument that there is a problem.

  62. #62 JoJo
    August 2, 2008

    Control of money? Just a guess.

    We certainly don’t want to deny that Jews have been repeatedly thrown out of civilization over thousands of years, or, worse still, subjected to exterminationist policies. But to place the blame entirely on the host civilizations seems dubious.

    That Jews have always been right and all those who have persecuted them have been wrong seems dubious.

    Maybe the problem is not with the host civilizations.

  63. #63 S. Rivlin
    August 2, 2008

    A guess? Just like that; out of the blue; “control of money”! Is that a guess from a list of possiblities or you just had a eureka moment and “control of money” popped into your head? Guess my foot. This is the crap that you and your ilk are being fed for years. You don’t know even one Jew who control the money. I wouldn’t be surprise if you don’t know even one Jew, unless you think that your neighbor is one because he has certain name or specific facial traits. Your ignorance is the basis for all bigotry, but you feel at ease with that ignorance. There is not a fact in the world that could persuade you that you’re a bigot, since you always surround yourself with the kind of people who think like you, talk like you and ignorant like you.

    BTW, just out of curiosity, what do you expect from people who have money (Gates, Turner, Bush, Cheany, etc)? Not to control it? Give it to you?

  64. #64 JoJo
    August 2, 2008

    S. Rivlin: You are sorely mistaken on all counts.

    Jewish control of finance is well documented and is the usual reason societies “holocaust” Jews.

    Your speculations about my relationships with Jews are totally wrong.

    Your “just out of curiosity” question is stupid,

  65. #65 JoJo
    August 2, 2008

    It’s perhaps worth noting that our gracious host has yet to say how I have in any way “misused” anything.

  66. #66 J. Simon
    August 3, 2008

    Re: Jojo

    “We certainly don’t want to deny that Jews have been repeatedly thrown out of civilization over thousands of years, or, worse still, subjected to exterminationist policies. But to place the blame entirely on the host civilizations seems dubious.”

    Not at all. That is where the responsibility for said persecution lies.

    “That Jews have always been right and all those who have persecuted them have been wrong seems dubious.”

    Right about what? Wanting to live?

    “Jewish control of finance is well documented and is the usual reason societies “holocaust” Jews.”

    The allegation of such control was often a reason. No one can adequately demonstrate that the Jews “controlled” a civilization’s finances because they didn’t.

  67. #67 JoJo
    August 3, 2008

    J. Simon: “Right about what? Wanting to live?”

    Oh, come now. Let’s not be silly.

    “The allegation of such control was often a reason. No one can adequately demonstrate that the Jews “controlled” a civilization’s finances because they didn’t.”

    That would be exculpatory, if true. No one has “adequately demonomstrated” that they didn’t. However the historical record indicates otherwise. We could name names if you’d like to get into that.

  68. #68 J.Simon
    August 4, 2008

    “Oh, come now. Let’s not be silly.”

    Indeed. Like for instance, implying that a certain minority group deserved persecution for not being “right” in some nebulous sense.
    I mean, being tasteless and egregiously bigoted is one thing, but god forbid we should be silly.

    “That would be exculpatory, if true. No one has “adequately demonomstrated” that they didn’t. However the historical record indicates otherwise. We could name names if you’d like to get into that.”

    Three things:

    1. It’s “demonstrated”.
    2. The burden of proof generally doesn’t fall on someone rejecting a proposition. You don’t have to prove that my tiger-repellent rock doesn’t work, because it’s a fucking outlandish proposition. Likewise the proposition that a tiny minority subject to considerable discrimination controlled “finances” wherever they went.
    3. You can “name names” till you’re blue in the proverbial face, as could I, if I wanted to make the (erroneous) argument that Catholics were taking over Europe’s economy in the name of Jebus.

    So no, I don’t what to “get into that”, because it’s a fallacious argument, no matter who it’s targeted at.

  69. #69 teej
    August 5, 2008

    Wow, JoJo, you’ve got a real point there. Things are becoming very clear now! It always chapped my ass when people talk about women being subjugated and oppressed. But when you think about it, women have been harassed in hundreds of societies over thousands of years – clearly they’re doing something wrong!

    It’s probably their control of boobies that makes everybody so mad.

  70. #70 JoJo
    August 5, 2008

    Let’s start here, with Gore Vidal’s introduction to Israel Shahak’s _Jewish History, Jewish Religion_:

    Needless to say, Israel’s authorities deplore Shahak. But there is not much to be done with a retired professor of chemistry who was born in Warsaw in 1933 and spent his childhood in the concetration camp at Belsen. In 1945, he came to Israel; served in the Israeli military; did not become a Marxist in the years when it was fashionable. He was – and still is -a humanist who detests imperialism whether in the names of the God of Abraham or of George Bush. Equally, he opposes with great wit and learning the totalitarian strain in Judaism. Like a highly learned Thomas Paine, Shahank illustrates the prospect before us, as well as the long history behind us, and thus he continues to reason, year after year. Those who heed him will certainly be wiser and – dare I say? – better. He is the latest, if not the last, of the great prophets.

    Shahak explains a caste based society where the upper castes have historically profited at the expense of the lower castes of both their own and the host societies they’ve lived in. Not pretty.

  71. #71 JoJo
    August 5, 2008

    Screwed up again. Here’s the link.

  72. #72 JoJo
    August 6, 2008

    I might add that it was this exploitation of the lower castes that allowed Hitler to engage Germany in the exterminationist policies which, unsurprisingly, targeted the lower castes of Jewish society, thus reproducing the historical pattern. It is well documented that that the “worthy” Jews were allowed to emigrate under arrangements negotiated with the Zionists.

    I might also note that our host has yet to detail the ways in which I have “misused” anything in any of my remarks. I’m sure patience will be rewarded.

  73. #73 JoJo
    August 6, 2008

    JoJo:I might also note that our host has yet to detail the ways in which I have “misused” anything in any of my remarks. I’m sure patience will be rewarded.

    I’m not so sure anymore. Unless we hear otherwise, I’ll take that as an admission that I “misused” nothing.

  74. #74 Orac
    August 6, 2008

    Anti-Semites such as you spouting drivel about the Jews’ having somehow brought it all upon themselves are not worth my continued engagement. The only “admission” you’ll get from me is that I tired of your obstinate idiocy and anti-Semitism. Consequently, I saw no further use in treating you as anything other than a troll.

  75. #75 Azkyroth
    August 7, 2008

    If, over thousands of years, every civilization you’ve lived within has eventually thrown you out or tried to exterminate you, shouldn’t you perhaps at least consider that it’s not a problem with “the other”? Could it just be a problem with your culture?

    So far as I can tell, the greatest contributing factor to the mistreatment of Jews has been, by far, their tendency to be noticeably different and yet living next door when Western societies found themselves in need of a scapegoat .

  76. #76 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    So one will not find in Hannah Arendt’s voluminous writings, whether on totalitarianism or on Jews, or on both,4 the smallest hint as to what Jewish society in Germany was really like in the 18th century: burning of books, persecution of writers, disputes about the magic powers of amulets, bans on the most elementary ‘non-Jewish’ education such as the teaching of correct German or indeed German written in the Latin alphabet. Nor can one find in the numerous English-language ‘Jewish histories’ the elementary facts about the attitude of Jewish mysticism (so fashionable at present in certain quarters) to non-Jews: that they are considered to be, literally, limbs of Satan, and that the few non-satanic individuals among them (that is, those who convert to Judaism) are in reality ‘Jewish souls’ who got lost when Satan violated the Holy Lady (Shekhinah or Matronit, one of the female components of the Godhead, sister and wife of the younger male God according to the cabbala) in her heavenly abode. The great authorities, such as Gershom Scholem, have lent their authority to a system of deceptions in all the ‘sensitive’ areas, the more popular ones being the most dishonest and misleading.

    Thought I’d give you a while. Just sayin’.

  77. #78 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    The Link

    Sorry about that.

  78. #79 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    BTW, I’ll just keep quoting Shakak, who’s backed by Chomsky (another “self-hating Jew” whose opinions I don’t generally agree with) until you stop making stupid ad hominem attacks and deal with the issues.

    I’m tired of this shit.

  79. #80 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    BTW, I’ll just keep quoting Shahak, who’s backed by Chomsky (another “self-hating Jew” whose opinions I don’t generally agree with) until you stop making stupid ad hominem attacks and deal with the issues.

    I’m tired of this shit.

  80. #81 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    Shahak is a self-hating Jew. Chomsky is a self-hating Jew. Finkelstien is a self-hating Jew…

    You, however, know the truth.

    OK. Got any proof? Any evidence at all? I suspect not. Care to show otherwise? Or just shut up ?

    Probably won’t shut up, You’ll just spew crap. Ho hum.

  81. #82 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    I expected as much. So here we go.

    “However, a great many present-day Jews are nostalgic for that world, their lost paradise, the comfortable closed society from which they were not so much liberated as expelled. A large part of the Zionist movement always wanted to restore it – and this part has gained the upper hand. Many of the motives behind Israeli politics, which so bewilder the poor confused western ‘friends of Israel’, are perfectly explicable once they are seen simply as reaction, reaction in the political sense which this word has had for the last two hundred years: a forced and in many respects innovative, and therefore illusory, return to the closed society of the Jewish past.”

    Are you ready to respond? There’s lot’s more.

  82. #83 Laser Potato
    August 17, 2008

    Obvious flooder is obvious.

  83. #84 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    Ooh. I’m schorched

  84. #85 JoJo
    August 17, 2008

    It would be far more productive if anyone had anything responsive to what I’ve posted.

    But all I really expect is more accusations that I’m a holocaust denier, etc.

    More to follow.

  85. #86 Orac
    August 17, 2008

    It would be far more productive if anyone had anything responsive to what I’ve posted.

    No, it would be far more productive if you stopped flooding my comment thread. Did it ever occur to you that the reason I haven’t responded is that I actually do have a life. Believe it or not, it’s true. I was out all day and didn’t get back until late. In my absence, you annoyed my readers with your flooding.

    In general, I do not long tolerate anti-Semites like you. Your flooding the comments cinched it.