Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2000

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Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Call for Australia to bar 'Holocaust denier'

The state of Israel and prominent British Jewish interests have called on Australia to keep its doors barred to historian David Irving in the wake of the collapse of his libel trial in Britain's High Court.

Mr Justice Gray found that Irving was an "active Holocaust denier, that he is anti-Semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism".

Irving had brought the libel suit against American author Deborah Lipstadt and publisher Penguin Books to defend his academic reputation but now faces financial ruin.

He said Ms Lipstadt's book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, branded him a "Holocaust denier" and accused him of distorting the truth of what happened in Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

But Justice Gray found that Irving has "for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence".

"He has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews," he said.

Irving has been banned from Australia since 1993. He is also banned from Canada and from using state archives in Germany.

Earlier this year, he said he was still hoping to go to Australia to visit his daughter who has recently acquired Australian citizenship.

Although he has been denied entry on four previous occasions he said he had strong legal advice the government could not bar him from visiting a family member who was an Australian citizen.

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