Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
writes Sunday, July 9, 2000
Why be rude about Lipstadt?
I have, for some time, been somewhat of an admirer of your books. I've enjoyed the liveliness of your prose, and I think that you do a great deal to make history accessible to those of us who are non-specialists -- a function which I consider quite important, especially for us Americans, who are on the whole so sadly ignorant of the history of the world and view events almost exclusively from our own insular viewpoint. In this respect, I think I liked best your book on the Dresden bombings, which one might hope revealed to some part of our population that the Allied war effort was not so lily white as it is generally portrayed.
However, that is not the main thrust of this e-mail. I recognize that you are, in light of your recent participation in a libel trial, particularly in danger of accusations of anti-Semitism. Considering this circumstance, I think that you might, uh, consider little actions like labeling your directory for Prof. Lipstadt's comments "stinkingliars" somewhat beneath you, not to mention potentially unpleasant, should the media notice such things. And adding in little jabs like "her masters at Yad Vashem" really is a little too spiteful. While I should not like to think myself excessively politically correct or even merely excessively partial to the case of Prof. Lipstadt, I think you must see that when you, as a person, have become so closely associated with certain ideas, it would be best to tread cautiously. It's the little things they seize on.
My apologies if this sounds presumptuous.
And though it is rather too familiar of me, might I ask whether you have posted reviews to a Bach page concerning some recordings of various CDs? I noticed quite a few by a "David Irving," and while it is entirely possible that some other David Irving exists, I was curious to know whether along with history, you are also interested in Bach?
Again, my apologies for being so impolite in saying all this so bluntly, and I hope that you will consider what I have said.
David Irving responds:
I AM aware that Judge Gray accused me of anti-Semitism (his perverse and erroneous Judgment is of course going to be attacked later this year in the Court of Appeal, and people who publish it now do so at their peril).
I am also happily aware that Gray stated explicitly it cannot be called anti-Semitism to express justified criticism of the Jewish community, including Prof. Lipstadt, for the methods and persistence with which they have for thirty years tried to destroy my career ("smash David Irving in court" are their own words). Not even they have yet had the chutzpah to criticise our website's URLs.
Since Judge Gray found quite unequivocally that Lipstadt had lied in her allegations:
I am entitled to call her a liar, quite apart from the other lies she printed about me and many others both in her book and since then. For example, she has stated in public the claim that I demanded that they pay £500,000 to me to drop the action; the truth is that under the English rules of court, I had to state the terms on which I would settle, and these were the payment of £500 to a charity for the disabled.
Since she confessed that her intention was to destroy me (the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Toronto spoke in one secret document sent to Lipstadt of the need to "eradicate Mr. Irving's legitimacy as a historian"), I think the adjective stinking is not inappropriate.
As for the phrase "her masters at Yad Vashem": The documents which I produced and quoted in my closing speech on March 15, reveal quite clearly that she was paid $25,000 to write the book by Yad Vashem, an Israeli state institution; and that I was given only the barest mention in the original manuscript, and even then not as a "holocaust denier", until Yad Vashem's director Prof. Yehuda Bauer instructed her to insert my name in the book as a particularly dangerous opponent.
As for Bach, I am a Brahms man: The grandeur of his music, its sweep and dive, does not leave much for the whimsical ponderings of Bach.
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