Issue No. 4, June 2000
Fighting the Holocaust deniers
Marianne Blamire interviews Gerry Gable, the man who has devoted an illustrious career to battling racism and fascism
"HE HAS GOT a problem with the truth," says Gerry Gable (left) of the "histortionist" David Irving. "Why bring to Oxford, a place of decent learning, a man who can't tell the truth?"
Gable, publisher of international monthly anti-Fascist magazine Searchlight, the first port of call for documentary makers and writers when researching stories on the extreme right. His news-style magazine has covered stories on Irving "on hundreds of occasions." He states: "In the past 38 years one thing has remained constant and that has been my determination to fight against the influence and political activities of David Irving." In both his opening and closing speeches at court, Irving singled out Searchlight and Gable as having "spent the last thirty six years of his life trying to destroy me."
Gable does not deny it. In fact, he says, his abhorrence of Irving preceded the first appearance of Searchlight in 1965. Irving claims that Gable's relentless pursuit of him was the result of anger at being arrested after Gable and a colleague conned their way into Irving's flat and attempting to expose him.
Gable's father served as a crash tender crew member during World War Two and Gable's childhood was spent living on the edge of an RAF camp, where each day he would see young airmen "going out and not coming back." To pick up Irving's book The Destruction of Dresden after this upbringing, he observes, was what put him on the notorious historian's case "if for no other reason than to show respect to those 55,000 British air crew who died."
Searchlight magazine was set up in 1964 as a reaction to the reappearance of neo-Nazi and fascist organisations on the streets of Britain. Its original supporters included members of MPs from the three major parties, journalists, trade unionists and anti-fascist activists. It now has an international network of journalists and researchers reaching as far as North America and Australia. Gable also has an important role as an adviser to Scotland Yard on racially motivated crime and violence.
Gable was prompted into action by his disgust at Irving's activities at Imperial College where Irving was editing a rag magazine that had to be scrapped because it detailed the notions of the far-right and detailed the ideas of the original British National Party. The second reason was Irving's subsequent interview with a mainstream paper, in which he described himself as a "mild fascist."
As editor of Searchlight in 1968, he closed down the newspaper and ran it as a press agency until 1974. It was Gable that exposed the connection between Irving and the notorious Clarendon Club, set up by Irving and whose guests were drawn from the ranks of Britain's most notorious fascists. Searchlight magazine and its investigative journalism, was, as Gable states: "a real deterrent to Irving. He was frightened away by the investigations we were publishing." In a recent article in Searchlight, Gable declares: "Our work is getting inside nearly all his secret planning meetings and their exposure was instrumental in him giving up trying to build a political movement in Britain and going walkabout world-wide."
The article, published in the May edition of the magazine, which Gable refers to as "slightly tongue-in-cheek, charters in intense detail, the "long fight against him and his nazi allies: "He's been like he is since 1959. The media are ignoring the huge amount of evidence against him. That is what has led me to feel so strongly about him and led to my writing the recent article." Gable's article, published in Searchlight, is entitled Mein Kampf (my struggle) 38 years of fighting Irving.
Gerry is proud of his role in getting Irving banned from both Canada and Australia, saying that these countries "did not want him around either." He openly celebrates the Union's decision to 'uninvite' Irving, seeing it as a lucky escape:
"Good luck to Oxford. You've joined the 21st Century. Why bring to a place of decent learning a man that can't tell the truth? Bring somebody who wants to debate World War Two, by all means but does Oxford really need someone like Irving? Would you invite a paedophile, for example, to speak at the Union? It goes against common sense and common decency."
Gable, as a television producer himself, has turned down television appearances because of his stance on no-platform policy. When asked to speak on the BBC Radio 4 programme Moral Maze on the murder of Stephen Lawrence, he flatly "refused to sit in the studio" with one BNP leading light that was also talking on the programme. When asked on his position as to the principle of no-platform policy, he said, " These people have no place in civilised society. Ask the Lawrences."
He firmly believes that a no-platform policy should be extended to the written media, condemning the Oxford Student's decision to interview David Irving: "I think it was a mistake." He reinforced his firm stance, stating: "we shouldn't give a platform to this guy." The warped celebrity figure that shrouds Irving has beent o make Irving into a warped celebrity figure: "He was on Newsnight lying through his teeth. Anyone would think he had won the trial. What is he doing there, I thought? What right has he got?" Gable added: "There are journalists around who think it is sexy to mix with criminals and people like Irving."
Searchlight's new 100-page booklet - Holocaust Denial, the Irving Trial and International Revisionism - is to hit the shelves at the end of this month. Published by the Educational Trust, it is edited by Kate Taylor, a member of the Searchlight staff who set through the weeks of the Irving trial. As to the future of what he refers to as the "commercially-minded" Irving and his ilk, to which Gable has dedicated his life to bringing down, he predicts: "These people have really started to give up on the question of the Holocaust. The followers of the Third Right are focusing now on Racial Biology and Eugenics. It is crazy stuff."
Related item on this website:
Website fact: The stamina of the defence team in the Lipstadt libel action was aided by a six million dollar slushfund provided by Steven Spielberg, Edgar J Bronfman, and the American Jewish Committee, which enabled them to pay 21 lawyers and "experts". A million pound lollipop was figuratively brandished from the defence lawyers' table throughout the trial, and all those who behaved got a lick at it; their experts like the "scholars" Prof. Evans, Prof. Longerich and others were paid up to £125,000 each (on top of the academic salaries they continued to draw) to testify as they did. Nobody was paying for Mr Irving. His witnesses testified without payment, from conviction. [Help!]