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Libel Action between DJC Irving v Penguin Books Ltd and Deborah Lipstadt
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Closing Speech by David Irving

  Part VI


The allegations of racism and anti-Semitism


The Defendants have resorted to the allegations that I am anti-Semitic and racist. Mr Rampton's highly paid experts have found one 1963 diary entry four lines written thirty-seven years ago, about a visit to my lawyer Mr. Michael Rubenstein, to discuss a satirical magazine article, after which I commented. "Thick skinned these Jews are!"171 This is all that they could Þnd from the millions of words available to them? When I remarked, on March 2, upon the obvious paradox that an alleged anti-Semite would have retained Michael Rubenstein as his solicitor and respected adviser for over twenty years, Mr Rampton's comment, which Your Lordship may remember, was: "Many of my best friends are Jews too, Mr Irving."172 This stock line does not disguise the paucity of his evidence against me.

In further support of this contention they have taken isolated remarks made in lectures and speeches - of which they have transcribed around half a million words. I trust that your Lordship will in each case consider both the context in which the remarks are made, and also the broader surrounding countryside, if I may put it like that. For thirty years, as I set out earlier, I have found myself subjected to vicious attack by bodies, acting as they freely admit as Jews. For thirty years I endeavoured to turn the other cheek, and I hope I succeeded.

Mr Rampton drew attention to the fun I poked at Simon Wiesenthal, a joke made explicitly about his other-than-good looks.173 He called that remark "anti-Semitic". It was not, it was a joke about his looks, of the same genre that Mr Rampton made on Day 28 when he inquired rhetorically of Professor Funke whether a certain outer-fringe Swedish revisionist seen, in one video shown to the Court, with long blonde hair was a man or a woman.174

In view of the manner in which the two Simon Wiesenthal Centres have been abusing my name in their fund raising leaflets, and endeavouring to destroy my own livelihood, the Court might think that my fun-making, while tasteless, was not undeserved, possibly even rather reserved. It was not anti-Semitic, and Mr Wiesenthal is no more immune from criticism either as a person, or as a public figure, than I am. Searching hopefully for evidence of "anti-Semitism" in me, the investigators of the Board of Deputies in 1992 came up empty-handed in their secret report to be planted on the Canadian government: they confirmed that I had dealings with Jews in my professional life, and added that I "use this as an excuse" to say that I am not an anti-Semite. These people are hard to please: "He is far too clever an opponent," the Board writes, "to openly admit to being an anti-Semite." "We endorse all condemnation of anti-Semitism," they quote me as writing in my newsletter issued on January 31, 1982. All of these things, including this secret 1992 Intelligence report filed by the Board of Deputies, were disclosed to these Defendants in my Discovery.

The Defence quoted a passage from a speech delivered, they said, in May 1992. In fact, as my diary conÞrms, it was delivered in May 1993, by which time my family and I had been subjected to a catalogue of insults by the leaders of these various bodies. If a writer's books are banned and burnt, his bookshops smashed, his hands manacled, his person assaulted, his printers burned down, his access to the world's archives denied, his family's livelihood destroyed, his phone lines jammed with obscene and threatening phone calls and death threats, his house beset by violent and angry mobs, the walls and posts around his address plastered with stickers inciting the public to violence against him, and a wreath sent to him with a foul and taunting message upon the death of his oldest daughter, - then it ill behoves people to offer cheap criticism if the writer finally stops turning the other cheek and rounds upon his tormentors.

I single out in this respect, the Executive Director of the Board of Deputies, Mr Michael Whine, whose organisation staged the demonstrations outside my home of such a violent and ugly nature that police reinforcements had to be called. Whine had caused defamatory documents about me to be placed in the Þles of foreign governments with the intention that my free access to those countries should be impeded. He had caused the surroundings of my home to be stickered with labels bearing inþammatory slogans inciting violence against me. Some of these offensive items have been before the Court. Whine had issued a Press release in January 1993, no doubt one of many, in which he accused me of attending "Nazi Training Camps". My only response, as Your Lordship has seen, apart from a failed and very costly attempt to sue his Board of Deputies in libel, during which they did not plead justiÞcation, but merely that I was out of time, was to make fun of Whine's name. That may have been tasteless, but it was not anti-Semitism, and it was certainly justiÞed under the circumstances.


The references that I have made to what is now formally called the instrumentalisation of the Holocaust have also been adduced as evidence of anti-Semitism. Are non-Jews disbarred from making a criticism that is being made increasingly vocally by others like Professor Peter Novick?175 Or by Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic? He wrote there on May 3, 1993, at page 20:


"'It's a sad fact,' said the principal philanthropist of the grotesque Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, 'that Israel and Jewish education and all the other familiar buzzwords no longer seem to rally Jews behind the community. The Holocaust, though, works every time.' His candour was refreshing, even if it was obscene. On the subject of the extermination of the Jews of Europe, the Jews of America are altogether too noisy."


I would also draw your Lordship's attention to the article by Norman Finkelstein in the London Review of Books, published as recently as January 6, whose title gives the whole tenor of the piece: "How the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 gave birth to a memorial industry." Finkelstein makes in this piece the sarcastic comment: "Every questioning of the uniqueness of the Holocaust is taken by American Jews to be an example of Holocaust denial."176 I could produce a sheaf of such quotations; they are all equally near the knuckle, equally true, and no more anti-Semitic than my own remarks on the matter.



As for the allegation that I am racist, I have produced to the Court enough evidence that I am less reluctant to hire Coloured personal staff than, for example, certain legal teams evidently are. I hire personal staff on a form that has always stated my policy that we are an equal opportunity employer, - "We do not and will not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap, marital status."

I shall not comment at length on these evil allegations and slurs, which lend fire and fury to the original libel complained of. I submit that the word "racism", in the ears of that man on the Clapham omnibus, is about Stephen Lawrence and cone-heads and burning KKK crosses. It conjures up images of murder, thuggery, violence, and foul-mouthed graffiti. In deliberating on the conduct of the case and on the appropriate scale of damages Your Lordship will however bear them in mind.

I voluntarily provided all my private diaries to the defendants after securing the proper assurances. Those diaries total some twenty million words. Mr Rampton produced from them one nineteen-word ditty, attached to another quite harmless one about the "messica dressica" of my infant daughter Jessica. To find in all those diaries and telephone conversations written since 1959, just one nineteen-word ditty that Mr Rampton could trot out for the media does not suggest that I am as obsessed with race and racism as he, and for that matter the newspapers that report these things, are.

Your Lordship will recall that, on what I would call a pretext, Mr Rampton formally handed to you his own opening statement, containing this allegation, at midday on the first day of this trial, well before I had concluded my opening statement, in order, as he admitted, that his words should therefore come into the public domain. His intent was to ensure that from the very first moment his remarks, both fair and foul, were given the maximum worldwide media coverage; his speech was released prematurely to the media for that precise and prejudicial purpose. I repeat: this multi-million dollar defence team found one nineteen-word nonsense poem, recorded in my diary with other Lear- or Belloc-type rhythmic verses as having been recited to my own nine-month infant who has, I am glad to say grown into a delightful and open minded six year old, bearing none of the traces of the "poison" that Mr Rampton recklessly suggested that I had fed to her. It is fortunate I did not sing to her "Three Blind Mice," where the farmer's wife cuts off their tails with a carving knife.

Similarly, from my hundreds of lectures and talks, these very proper spaniels have sniffed out a few lines of music-hall wit of the type that a Dave Allen might indulge in, with Mr Trevor Macdonald as the butt. That, in Mr Rampton's words, is racism. One wonders which well-shielded part of the modern world is inhabited by learned Counsel. Can anybody go and live there?



The speeches and lectures


My Lord, the Defendants have also fished into my lectures and writings and books, all of which have been provided to them - literally millions of words - and they have put into evidence a minute fraction of those words, comparable to the one-millionth part of the diaries which the ditty represented.

I am not going to defend or justify those utterances seriatim.

In general I would invite your Lordship to pick out one such utterance as a sample; to reach then for the transcript of the entire speech - to take note of the rest of its content, its clear references to the very real sufferings of the Jews, the liquidations, the Bruns Report and the rest; and then ask, Was the remark true, was it explicable, was it rhetorically justified as part of the skilled lecturer's armoury.

Your Lordship has been told of my remark that more women had died on Kennedy's back seat than in that gas chamber at Auschwitz - the one shown to the tourists. It is tasteless but, quite literally, true. It is, as I have now shown in this court, even true if the main "gas chamber" at Birkenau is brought into the equation, the notorious Krema II "factory of death", because the eye-witnesses lied about that one too. The Poles have admitted that the Auschwitz building and its chimney are a post-1948 fake. My colourful language was a rhetorical way of bringing that extraordinary revelation home to audiences.



Extremist organisations and people


My files confirm that I occasionally addressed audiences of the Association for Free Journalism (GfP), the National Democratic Party (NPD), and the German People's Union (DVU). As documents Nos. 1716, 1717, 1721, and 1723 I disclosed to the Defendants English translations of the policy leaflets and manifestos of these bodies, which in my submission do not show them to be extreme in any way.177 These were furthermore bodies which were accepted at that time under Germany's very strict laws as being legal and constitutional.

The Court is more concerned, I believe, with individual personages. I have not the slightest doubt that the Court will find that I did not have any meaningful contact with the ugly ragbag of neo-Nazi extremists mentioned by Professor Hajo Funke people with whom, to make the point quite clearly, the Defendants, their experts, and their legal team seem more familiar than I. Most of the names were completely unknown to me, and the defence have sought in vain for them in my diaries and papers, to which, I emphasise yet again, I gave them unlimited and privileged access. This has not stopped them from bringing them forward, and mentioning these alleged links in open Court, in an attempt to smear me still further - with an eye particularly to the German media178 and I urge that this, their conduct of the case, be held against them. Characteristically of the weakness of their case Funke listed one entry in a diary where I noted a road journey with a "Thomas", whose second name I never learned; Funke entered the name "Dienel" with a question mark behind it. So far as I know, I have never met a Dienel, but it illustrates the kind of evidence that the defence were hoping to rely upon. As for Michael Kühnen - the documentary evidence before both Funke when he wrote his report, and before this Court, is that I explicitly said that I would not attend any function at which he was even present; I never did and I never met him.

By way of evidence, the Court has been shown a number of videos.

Shorn of their commercial packaging, they do not amount to very much. In view of the weight attached to it by learned Counsel and his witness Professor Funke, I have re-examined the raw video of the Halle function of November 9, 1991 at which I briefly spoke, and I have timed and listed the scenes it shows. Your Lordship may wish at some time to have the video to check that these timings are correct, or the Defendants' solicitors may wish to submit any corrections they feel are needed.179

The raw details are: when the camera's meter shows 17:00:21 I am first seen, arriving at an unnamed hotel restaurant (in Halle) accompanied by Mrs Worch and David Leigh of The Observer; at 17:14:40 I am again glimpsed, still at the hotel, speaking to a reporter. The cameraman and David Leigh then go off to film the rival processions, during which I am no time seen on film (in fact I remained, lunching, at the hotel). At 18:11:00 a truck is seen being rigged as an open-air platform and at 18:14:26 I am seen with two reporters watching from the edge of the square. At 18:16:00 I walk over to the platform, hands in pockets, and mount it. The man whom Professor Funke tells us is "Dienel" is seen to get off to the left, and there is no contact whatever between him and me. Mr Worch briefly introduces me, I begin speaking at 18:16:39 and the filmed portion of my speech ends three and a half minutes later. When the offscreen chanting of slogans begins at 18:18:59 I am clearly seen to interrupt my speech, shake my head at them, and gesticulate with my left hand to them to stop, and I am clearly heard to say:


"You must not always be thinking of the Past. You must not keep coming out with the slogans of the Past. We are thinking of the future [voice emphasised] of Germany, we are thinking of the future of the German people. As an Englishman, I have to say ...[etc]".


Six seconds after ending my brief speech I am seen to leave the platform without further contact with anybody. My diary notes that I at once left by car and drove back to the Ruhr, in western Germany.

Heavily edited, for example to remove my rebuke to the slogan-shouting people, whom I took and take to have been paid agents provocateurs, this sequence was shown on November 28 and 29, 1991 to British TV audiences in a "This Week" programme entitled Hitler's Children, the new Nazis directed by the German, Michael Schmidt - Professor Funke's star witness - and with none other than Gerald Gable, of Searchlight, listed as a "consultant," and in "Despatches," on the other channel. This indicates whose hands were behind the editing. Again heavily, the film has been shown around the world against me. This was the thrice-edited film to which I drew your Lord's attention, in suggesting that it was evidence of dubious admissibility.