Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2000

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Reuters May 30, 2000

Holocaust Denier Irving Said Vowing to Appeal

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Historian David Irving is delighted with the publicity he received during his recent losing libel battle in London but will appeal the verdict branding him a racist, anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, organizers of his first major post-trial speech said on Tuesday.

Irving, who claims that Adolf Hitler did not mastermind the mass slaughter of Jews, was a surprise guest at a weekend conference of revisionist historians meeting at a secret location in southern California. Other speakers included former Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey.

Organizers said it was Irving's first major speaking appearance since he lost a London libel action in April against U.S. professor Deborah Lipstadt who wrote a book calling Irving a "Holocaust denier."

"He is very much in fighting spirits. He is putting a very combative and optimistic spin on the judgement. He was very defiantly saying he was going to appeal and made it sound as if he has a real shot at winning an appeal," said Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review which organized the conference.

Irving, 62, was branded an anti-Semite and a racist by the London judge and ordered to pay two million pounds ($3 million) in costs. Academics said his career as a serious historian was over.

"Whether he is able to pay it or not is the big question, and what will happen after that is a big issue. I think there are several big question marks in his life right now," Weber told Reuters.

Weber said Irving had himself requested no publicity for his appearance at the conference, which is held annually at an undisclosed location to prevent what Weber called harassment and disruption by Jewish activists.

But Weber said Irving had told the conference how pleased he was about all the publicity, although much of it has been unfavorable. "He seems to think that any publicity is good publicity. He revels in publicity and he always has," said Weber.

Jewish leaders were critical but unsurprised at Irving's appearance with some of Europe's leading proponents of claims that there was no mass extermination of Jews during World War Two.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre said Irving would likely become the "darling of the Arab and Muslim world" on the conference circuit.

"His days of mainstream publishing are over. He no longer comes under the rubric of a historian. He is a propagandist, an anti-Semite and a racist. We can expect him to be trotted out to many other addresses like these and I guess that's where he belongs," Cooper told Reuters.

But Cooper was taken aback at the address by McCloskey -- a Korean War veteran and former Republican Congressman for California who was also briefly an unsuccessful candidate for the presidential nomination in 1972.

McCloskey is seeking to sue the Anti-Defamation League for alleged spying on American citizens critical of Israel. In his opening remarks, made available on the Institute for Historical Review's Web site, McCloskey said, "I came because I respect the thesis of this organization, that thesis being that there should be reexamination of whatever governments say, or politicians say, or political entities say."

Cooper said McCloskey's presence was "a stain on a public personality and it is beyond comprehension that he would stand either with that organization or next to that debunked bigot and racist."

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