An Analysis of the Board of Deputies' 1991 and 1992 secret "Intelligence Reports" smearing David Irving
Retrieved only in 1994 by determined legal action from the secret files of the Canadian Federal Department of Citizenship and Immigration, David Irving was provided by his Canadian associates with copies of two mysterious reports on him. They appeared to have been generated in 1991 and 1992 by the Board of Deputies of British Jews*. Only in 1996 was it established beyond doubt that the secret author was indeed the Board of Deputies. During a High Court action initiated by Mr Irving because of their defamatory content, the Board admitted authorship. The documents were designed for one purpose: to get governments worldwide to ban his entry, by smearing him as a Nazi with international connections.
[In November 1996 Michael Whine, executive director of the Board, confirmed in a High Court affidavit that the Board had been monitoring Mr Irving's activities for many years and had sent this file to the Canadian League of Human Rights of the B'nai Brith to provide ammunition in their fight to suppress his forthcoming visit to Canada.]
[Based on Action Report]
Discussion of "Confidential: David Irving Biographical Information" ... several lengthy smear Reports, compiled in 1991 and 1992, and supplied anonymously by Michael Whine of the London Board of Deputies of British Jews to Canadian Jews to plant in Ottawa files, June 1992. [See Whine's affidavit confessing to this, 1996]
THE REPORTS were compiled by a non-governmental British agency and cover most of Mr David Irving's life; one, of thirty-two pages, carries the story to January 1991, a second of six pages continues to April 1992. An unnumbered confidential one-page report of Jun.17, 1992, titled 'David Irving -- Bans' and headed DOR (Director of Research?) has the first two paragraphs blanked out; the original document was attached to clippings about the first ban imposed on Mr Irving entering South Africa in June 1992. Internal evidence indicates that this page and the two reports were furnished clandestinely by the Board of Deputies of British Jews; the 1992 report quotes data supplied by Gerald Fleming, a known informant of Mike Whine, director of the Board.
The Board used considerable resources in compiling the two reports including inquiries at Mr Irving's school and university to establish his scholastic and academic record. In addition to running press clipping checks on him, from about 1985 onward the Board also commissioned verbatim transcripts of his appearances on radio and television in Britain including Northern Ireland and around the world. They even obtained raw, unedited television newsreel footage of ITN and Thames Television news broadcasts covering his public appearances.
The Board was aware whenever Mr Irving submitted items to newspaper diaries or letters pages, even when they published nothing. They also evidently determined by extensive inquiries that no copies of the Leuchter Report were sent to "every senior school in Britain".
Where the Board is not stating its main case against Mr Irving, the reports are broadly accurate, though marred by errors of which a few taken at random are:
The Board's statement (p.189) that Waterstones bookstore chain throughout the British Isles "refused to sell" Hitler's War is grossly wrong; the Focal Point edition alone was sold by ninety-seven different branches of the Waterstones store and is continually being re-ordered.
Some of the mis-statements about others are also grotesquely wrong: e.g., the suggestion that following the 1967 publication of Mr Irving's book Accident: The Death of General Sikorski, "the publishers, William Kimble [sic. William Kimber Ltd] were put on trial and forbidden to continue printing the book."
1 - 19 New Oxford Street London WC1A 1NF,
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THE PRESENT capo di tutti capi is Michael Whine, director of the Board's Research Unit. Coincidentally he also heads the Board's mysterious paramilitary vigilante body, the Community Security Trust. His chief henchmen are Neville Anthony Nagler, born 2.1.1945, the Board's chief executive, and Eldred Tabachnik, a well-known barrister, born 5.11.1943 [address: 11 King's Bench Walk, EC4Y 7EQ, phone 0171 583 0610. The Board was established in 1760 as a voluntary association of synagogue representatives; its constitution dates from 1835. Its full name for statutory purposes is "The London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews". Its 350 members are elected from 200 synagogues and forty Jewish organisations in the U.K.
The Board of
Deputies of British Jews lists its terms of reference and
objects as: The Board
support and defend the interests, religious rights,
and culture of Jews and the Jewish
and ensure the security, safety, well being and
standing of British Jews in cooperation with the
statutory authorities and relevant
such appropriate action as lies within its power to
advance Israel's security, welfare and
and seek to protect Jews and Jewish communities
outside the U.K." "Initiate,
undertake and coordinate research into matters
affecting the Jewish community."
The Board shall
"Protect, support and defend the interests, religious rights, and culture of Jews and the Jewish community."
"Defend and ensure the security, safety, well being and standing of British Jews in cooperation with the statutory authorities and relevant parties."
"Take such appropriate action as lies within its power to advance Israel's security, welfare and standing."
"Support and seek to protect Jews and Jewish communities outside the U.K."
"Initiate, undertake and coordinate research into matters affecting the Jewish community."
The Board publishes an Annual Report. Other books include Jewish Identity in an Anglo-Jewish Community by B Kosmin and C Levy (£2); The Board of Deputies of British Jews 1760-1985 by Aubrey Newman (1987), £5.
Reviewing his biography Churchill's War the Board states that Irving alleged that the British statesman was "a gentleman of much mixed blood," who had ended up as "the hired help of these Elders of Zion." These invented quotations appear nowhere in the book's 650 pages.
Other errors are downright libels. There are sentences like: "Uncorroborated evidence implies that Irving has been the recipient of substantial funding from unknown sources. It has been repeatedly rumoured that these sources are Nazis." The only evidence adduced is the fact that while "supposedly" working as a Ruhr steelworker in Germany "he found the time to do extensive research for his first three books."
The Board comments that "Irving enjoys an opulent lifestyle, and has done for many years." They did not believe this possible on an author's income alone. Mr Irving's accountant could tell them different, had they asked: the writer worked hard and lived an ascetic and anything but opulent life.
Sometimes the Board's secret reports put a libellous slant on a true fact. It is true that the Berlin Document Center "wished to interview Mr Irving" in March 1988 about the disappearance of 30,000 sensitive World War Two Nazi personnel files; the reason was that Mr Irving had tipped off the German authorities (the German federal archives) in writing that irreplaceable original files which he had himself seen in the Berlin archives' vaults were mysteriously surfacing on the British auction market. Thanks to his tip, the deputy director of the archives was arrested soon after and imprisoned, and Mr Irving was publicly thanked in the German press.
Searching hopefully for evidence of "anti-Semitism" in Mr Irving the Board's investigators come up empty-handed: he has dealings with Jews in his professional life, and "uses this as an excuse to say that he is not an anti-Semite." He criticises Zionism and Israel (for example, "the Israeli annexation of the Golan heights.") "He is far too clever an opponent," the Board writes, "to openly admit to being an anti-Semite." However: "Irving's extensive links with neo-Nazis throughout Europe and North American can leave no doubt about his anti-Jewish sentiment." Then there is this: "We endorse all condemnation of anti-Semitism," Mr Irving is quoted as writing in Focal Point of January 31, 1982, "We try hard to like the Israelis, but they make it powerful difficult for us all."
Interviewed by The Guardian newspaper on June 8, 1977, comments the Board, Mr Irving mentioned that Lord Weidenfeld had withdrawn his original contract to publish Hitler's War following pressure from certain groups and embassies (as Weidenfeld had himself admitted to him). "He ... pointed to his face to insinuate that Weidenfeld had 'paid through the nose'" to buy the next book, on Rommel. He hinted to the interviewer Janet Watts that he would give her some "good stories, but wouldn't give a journalist that quote about Jews. 'I have a lot of good friends who are Arabs,'" he said.
The report details how student bodies at many universities had invited him to speak from 1980 onward, often more than once, including Leeds, Birmingham, Durham, Cambridge, Reading, Canterbury, Dublin; but a far greater number succumbed to pressure to withdraw their invitations after bodies organised violent demonstrations ("widespread disturbances") to prevent him speaking.
The hidden hand behind the violence is not identified, but the Board of Deputies appears well informed about the workings of the campaign. "Irving's invitation to address the Oxford Union Society was withdrawn following protests," it writes: this was one of many cases where the university itself came under pressure from the London Board to forbid the students from proceeding with the invitation. At Cambridge's Corpus Christi college Mr Irving "lashed out at Sam Jacobs of the Union of Jewish Students, accusing him of 'leading a conspiracy' to bar Irving from addressing students."
On February 4, 1984, states the Board, Mr Irving wrote to the Jewish Chronicle to suggest that the violent behaviour of Jewish students at the universities led to anti-Semitism among other students who upheld the right to free speech.
After a flawed account of his journalistic career at university, the Jewish report claims that he was active in the British Union of Fascists whilst at college, and that he shared a speaking platform with Sir Oswald Mosley ("There appears to be no evidence of this.") In fact the BUF did not exist after the war; nor was Mr Irving a member of its successor, the Union Movement.
He did once second a motion at University College's debating society in 1962, "This House believes that there should be some restriction on Commonwealth Immigration." Sir Oswald Mosley was the principal guest speaker invited by the students.
The report alleges that in all his books Mr Irving is following a strategy for rehabilitating Adolf Hitler, resting upon five pillars:
1. clearing Hitler of blame for the Holocaust;
"It should be noted," remarks the report, "that the above strategy rehabilitates Hitler without in any way diminishing the horrors of the Holocaust. At best, it allows for Irving's opponents to call him a Hitler apologist." (So that is where that label comes from!) "It does not allow," admonishes the Board, "for Irving to be called an anti-Semite or a Nazi."
[Subsequently Mr Irving commenced Libel action against the Board [see Index to Libel Actions] for having published these reports, the authorship of which it only very reluctantly admitted.
In confidential correspondence, they invited Mr Irving to satisfy them -- before they would withdraw the Reports -- that the allegations contained in them were untrue. For his response see Letter to Mishcon de Reya, Solicitors, August 1996.]
Later the report adds that while Mr Irving frequently repeated his $1,000 offer for evidence that Hitler knew about the Holocaust, "It should be noted that during this period, Irving was criticised by his neo-Nazi associates for accepting the facts of the Holocaust." And the report cites a scathing analysis of Mr Irving by National Front organiser Martin Webster, published in the twelfth edition of Nationalism Today, the NF journal. The report concluded that the article was "Webster's way of telling Irving that as far as the NF were concerned he was an object of derision."
Not all of the Board's findings about David Irving are unflattering.
All of this was true.
The report further quotes approvingly from Mr Irving's letter to The Times of July 7, 1966, in which he amended his death roll estimates for the 1945 air raids on Dresden on the basis of documents recently released to him by the communist East German archives. "I have no interest in promoting or perpetuating false legends," the letter ends. "And I feel it is important that in this respect the record should be set straight."