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(Late) Monday Smackdown: No, Ron Unz Does Not Tell It Straight. Why do You Ask?


Why would anybody claim that Holocaust denier David Irving was the defendant rather than the plaintiff in Irving v. Penguin Books and Lipstadt? I mean, that's what the case is called. And the plaintiff's name does come first. And why would anybody claim that David Irving lost his "fine central London home" because "Jewish movie producers and corporate executives" funded a lawsuit and he had been "forced to defend himself without benefit of legal counsel"?

Ron Unz has long been my poster child for the point that being mentally quick does not mean that you are smart, or intelligent, or wise. Turning your smartness to find reasons not to mark your beliefs to market but rather to justify prejudices you got from God-knows-where is no way to go through life, son.

Here is where Unz picks up and propagates the false neo-Nazi line that Holocaust denier David Irving was not the plaintiff but the defendant in Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt: Ron Unz: The Remarkable Historiography of David Irving: "Irving is an individual of uncommonly strong scholarly unwillingness to dissemble or pay lip-service to various widely-worshiped cultural totems eventually provoked an outpouring of vilification by a swarm of ideological fanatics drawn from a particular ethnic persuasion...

...In 1993, Deborah Lipstadt, a rather ignorant and fanatic professor of Theology and Holocaust Studies (or perhaps “Holocaust Theology”) ferociously attacked him.... This development eventually sparked a rancorous lawsuit in 1998, which resulted in a celebrated 2000 libel trial held in British Court. That legal battle was certainly a David-and-Goliath affair, with wealthy Jewish movie producers and corporate executives providing a huge war-chest of $13 million to Lipstadt’s side, allowing her to fund a veritable army of 40 researchers and legal experts, captained by one of Britain’s most successful Jewish divorce lawyers.

By contrast, Irving, being an impecunious historian, was forced to defend himself without benefit of legal counsel.

In real life unlike in fable, the Goliaths of this world are almost invariably triumphant, and this case was no exception, with Irving being driven into personal bankruptcy, resulting in the loss of his fine central London home. But seen from the longer perspective of history, I think the victory of his tormenters was a remarkably Pyrrhic one....

Their spittle-flecked outrage... despite such massive financial and human resource... came up almost entirely empty.... They only managed to find a couple of dozen rather minor alleged errors of fact or interpretation, most of these ambiguous or disputed. And the worst they discovered after reading every page of the many linear meters of Irving’s personal diaries was that he had once composed a short “racially insensitive” ditty for his infant daughter.... Thus, they seemingly admitted that Irving’s enormous corpus of historical texts was perhaps 99.9% accurate. I think this silence of “the dog that didn’t bark” echoes with thunderclap volume...

Does Unz think anybody except other neo-fascists will credit him when he pretends that Irving was the defendent rather than the plaintiff in Irving v. Penguin and Lipstadt? That the Lipstadt-Penuin defense was funded not by Penguin Books but by "wealthy Jewish movie producers and corporate executives"? That the lawsuit was not mysteriously "sparked" by some complicated process but rather filed by Irving in an attempt to get Lipstadt's book censored (and pulped) and get some money out of Penguin?

Justice Gray refused to censor (and pulp) Lipstadt's book and refused to order Penguin to pay damages to Irving because he concluded that Liptadt and Penguin had shown that her claims that Irving had deliberate misrepresented the evidence to conform to his ideological viewpoints were substantially true, hence Irving was not libeled:

The evidence supports the following propositions:

  • that the shooting of the Jews in the East was systematic and directed from Berlin
  • with the knowledge and approval of Hitler;
  • that there were gas chambers at several of the Operation Reinhard camps and
  • that (as Irving during the trial admitted) hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed in them and
  • that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz,
  • where hundreds of thousands more Jews were gassed to death.

It follows that it is my conclusion that Irving's denials of these propositions were contrary to the evidence....

Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence....

Therefore the defence of justification succeeds...

But, then, I remember Ron from his days as an undergraduate as a big booster of Ho Chi Minh and the cruel, racist, inefficient, and rather Stalinist pre-Doi Moi Communist Party of Vietnam.

And from the trial transcript:

Day 14 Transcript: Holocaust Denial on Trial | Holocaust Denial on Trial:

[Mr Rampton]: Nine months old in September 1994. “Jessica is turning into a fine little lady. She sits very upright on an ordinary chair. Her strong back muscles, a product of our regular walks in my arms to the bank, etc., I am sure. On those walks we sing the binkety-bankety-bong song. There are two other poems in which she stars:

My name is baby Jessica.
I have got a pretty dressica,
but now it is in a messica

and, more scurrilously, when half breed children are wheeled past” and then you go into italics:

I am a baby Aryan,
not Jewish or sectarian.
I have no plans to
marry an ape or a Rastafarian”?

[Mr Irving]: Yes.

[Mr Rampton]: Racist, Mr Irving? Anti-Semitic Mr Irving, yes?

[Mr Irving]: I do not think so.

[Mr Rampton]: Teaching your little child this kind of poison?

[Mr Irving]: Do you think that a nine month old can understand words spoken in English or any other language?

[Mr Rampton]: I will tell you something, Mr Irving, when I was six-months old, I said, “Pussy sits in the apple tree until she thinks it is time for tea”?

MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You were very precocious!

MR RAMPTON:  I was, but then I burned out at two!

[Mr Irving]: Yes. Perhaps I should set this in its context. The scurrilous magazine “Searchlight” (about which we will, no doubt, hear more) had just published a photograph of myself and Jessica and her mother, who is very blond and very beautiful, and it had sneered at us as being the “perfect Aryan family”.

[Mr Rampton]: They did not write this, you did?

A. [Mr Irving]: Yes, but this is my little private response to this rather nasty sneer —-

[Mr Rampton]: You wrote this on 17th September.

[Mr Irving]: Please do not interrupt me. This is my private response to this rather nasty smear by this magazine which has been giving me trouble ever since I had the man arrested for breaking into my house 30 years earlier when he called my family a “perfect Aryan family” in a public magazine. So I sit with my infant child on my lap, humming a little song to her about us being a perfect Aryan. Do any other words upset you?

[Mr Rampton]: What?

[Mr Irving]: Do any other words in the poem upset you apart from the “Aryan”.

[Mr Rampton]: No, no. It is the contrast. The poor little child has been taught a racist —-

[Mr Irving]: Poor little child! She is a very happy child.

[Mr Rampton]: — ditty by her perverted racist father.

[Mr Irving]: Have you ever read Edward Lear or Hilliard Belloch?

[Mr Rampton]: They have not brought a libel action complaining of being called a racist, Mr Irving. You have —-

[Mr Irving]: I do not know if they have brought libel actions or not.

[Mr Rampton]: Mr Irving, you sued because you said we called you a racist and an extremist?

[Mr Irving]: Yes, but I am not a racist.

[Mr Rampton]: Mr Irving, look at the words on the page...