The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts//day026.16

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day026.16
Last-Modified: 2000/07/25

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I understand the submission you are making,
        but I should tell you this, that as I understand, anyway,
        the law, the Defendants are entitled to put forward by way
        of justification material which would support any
        defamatory meaning which the words can bear.  If they are
        able to persuade me that somebody reading Professor
        Lipstadt's book could take the view that what she is
        saying is that you associate with right-wing extremists,
        even if they are not violent extremists, then it appears
        to me that, arguably at any rate, the Defendants probably
        are entitled to rely on this body of evidence.
   MR IRVING:  Except that is not an issue that I have pleaded in
        my Statement of Claim.
   MR RAMPTON:  Oh, yes it is.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think you have.
   MR IRVING:  My Statement of Claim.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We went through it.  That is why it was
        relevant to go through what Professor Lipstadt wrote as

.          P-141

        well what you complain of as a meaning, because the
        Defendants are not confined, you must take it from me, to
        the meaning you put on the words.  They are entitled to
        justify what she wrote in any meaning that the words can
        bear.  This is all a bit technical.  I am trying not to be unhelpful.
   MR IRVING:  I appreciate it is technical.  I have read the
        authorities as far as I have been able to.  It is just my
        understanding of the law was that the allegation of
        extremism alone is not defamatory; holding extreme views
        is not defamatory, and to be in the same room as people
        who told extreme views is also not necessarily
        reprehensible, unless they are advocating the overthrow of
        governments by violence or something like that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It may be a question of degree.  Shall I hear
        what Mr Rampton says and then you can reply?
   MR RAMPTON:  I am going to be both technical and I hope
        common-sensical all at the same time.  First of all, if
        your Lordship turns to page 2 of the Statement of Claim,
        probably so-called, as it happens, page 14, one notices
        that there is nothing, and this is a technical point,
        about violence at all.  The actual drift or thrust of this
        is:  The confluence between anti-Israel, anti-semitic and
        Holocaust denial forces, including of course Mr Irving.
        There is no mention of violence there.  It may be, I know
        not, that in the public mind some of the persons mentioned

.          P-142

        there, perhaps Mr Faurisson or perhaps Mr Leuchter,
        perhaps even Mr Irving, is associated with an intention to
        commit violence.  I doubt it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  And the groups particularly.
   MR RAMPTON:  Sure, but it would have to be pleaded as an
        innuendo and it is not.  That is the technical point.
        Even if it had been, it would make no difference at all to
        the Defendants' right to justify the words which actually
        appear on the page, which are that Mr Irving has
        contributed to a confluence between anti-Israel,
        anti-semitic Holocaust denial forces.  It is that
        contribution which he, along with his associates, has been
        making these last 10 or 20 years that we wish to set out
        to prove, showing him not just sitting in a room with
        whoever might happen to be in a waiting room in a railway
        station with whoever might happen to be there, but leading
        a banner-waving bunch of neo-Nazi thugs.  Your Lordship
        will see the video tomorrow.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This would confine you to anti-Israel,
        anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, but anybody who advocates the return of
        Nazism as a credo or ideology is automatically going to
        fit all those three categories.  The fact that they may
        also wish to see a return of the Reichsmark or whatever it
        might be, has nothing to do with the case at all.
                  The fact is that the material which is punted,

.          P-143

        if I may use that word, around these meetings is all
        anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial stuff.  Your Lordship
        has seen quite a lot of it already.  I am afraid to say,
        whether in German or in English, it is all of the same
        water.  That is the first thing.
                  The second thing is this, that if one goes to
        the pleaded meaning (i).
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sorry to interrupt you, Mr Rampton, is
        there anything else that is relevant in the book?
   MR RAMPTON:  In the book, yes, under 161, line 123.  These
        lines are so squashed together I cannot separate them.
        "An ardent admirer of the Nazi leader, Irving placed a
        self-portrait", etc., etc. "Irving, a self-described
        moderate fascist, established his own right-wing political
        party founded on his belief that he was meant to be a
        future leader of Britain, he is an ultra-nationalist",
        whatever that may mean, "who believes that Britain has
        been on a study path of decline accelerated by its
        misguided decision to launch a war against Nazi Germany".
                  Hitler apology is one of the leading features of
        neo-Nazism, certainly in Germany and, in my belief, in
        other parts of the world as well.  It will be seen, and
        that is one of the features of this material, that its
        common theme, they celebrate the Fuhrer's birthday
        every year; they celebrate the birthdays of his close
        associates like Rudolf Hess and Martin Bormann.  That

.          P-144

        very much a feature of anti-semitic, anti-Israel Holocaust
        denial scene, of which I am afraid Mr Irving is very much
        a figure of in front of the stage, at least was until the
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I was just going to ask you if it is right to
        say that really there is no justification put forward for
        what one might call the violence sting which might be
        conveyed even without an innuendo being pleaded.
   MR RAMPTON:  Miss Rogers has corrected me.  She says there is
        strictly an innuendo, but I mind not about that.  She is
        quite right.  It is on page 7 of the pleading somewhere or
        other.  Yes, paragraphs 11 and 12.  So I was wrong about
        that, but it does not make any difference because I am
        still entitled to justify the natural and ordinary meaning.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But you are not seeking, which is the
        question, to justify any meaning that Mr Irving associates
        with the sort of violent types who one rather infers for
        most of the membership of Hamas?
   MR RAMPTON:  Maybe.  I am certainly not seeking to justify ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Maybe is yes, is it not?  You are not?
   MR RAMPTON:  I do not know whether one does or whether one does
        not associate those people with violence.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, you are not justifying that invitation.
   MR RAMPTON:  No, I am not justifying association with
        terrorists.  I am justifying association with the most

.          P-145

        ugly kind of neo-Nazi types, in particular in Germany and
        in America.  One sees how he pleads the case on page 5 at
        the bottom of the page in (i), that the Plaintiff is a
        dangerous spokesman for Holocaust denial forces who
        deliberately and knowingly consorts and consorted with
        anti-Israel, anti-semitic and Holocaust denial forces.
        One can stop there because the "and who" is then disjunctive.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  There is a bit over the page.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, but it is disjunctive.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I see why you say that.
   MR RAMPTON:  Because it would to have say "Holocaust denial
        forces who advocate and resort to violence", etc., but it
        does not.  It falls into two distinct parts.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  The next question I suppose that
        arises, I have not looked at RWE 1 and 2 beyond glancing
        at them, you are saying, are you, that they all come
        within the umbrella of the confluence of anti-Israel,
        anti-semitic and Holocaust denial forces?
   MR RAMPTON:  Your Lordship has seen some of the material which
        has come from Mr Irving's own pen or his own lips on these
        occasions, and unless I am completely up a gum tree, it
        does seem to us that that is some of the most virulently
        racist and anti-Semitic material that one has ever seen.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not worry about that.
   MR RAMPTON:  No question.  That is our case and it is not one

.          P-146

        that I am going to back off very easily, I have to say.
        Those are the sorts of occasions when like-minded people,
        and we shall identify them one by way, what the
        organizations are, what they stand for, who their
        personnel are, how the personnel all link up together,
        that you have, in effect, for example in Germany a network
        of what may properly be called "neo-Nazis" and there is no
        other word for them, of which Mr Irving is a member.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  There is another aspect which I should have
        put to Mr Irving and I will in a minute, but I just want
        to ask you about it.  One of the main thrusts I suppose of
        the libel, and certainly of the way you put your plea of
        justification, is really the historiographical thrust,
        namely that ----
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- there is misinterpretation, as you say,
        after misinterpretation, and that races the question of
        reason ----
   MR RAMPTON:  Motive.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- or motive, yes.  Would you say that one
        may see, I will not say a truer side, but another side of
        Mr Irving's approach to these issues, if one looks to see
        not only what he says himself but what he is prepared to
        have said by those with whom he has consorting?
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  I do not mean this in any literal sense, but
        he has prostituted his skills and his talents, and they

.          P-147

        are considerable, in the service of I can only say a
        restoration of a kind of Nazi anti-semitic ideology.  That
        is I have always said the obvious motive for the lies
        which he tells when he writes history about Adolf Hitler,
        and that is the motive for his Holocaust denial.  The
        whole thing hangs together.  If we are allowed to pursue
        this line of defence, your Lordship will see it, what this
        is what happens when he goes to these gatherings, whether
        they are the United States or in Germany or in this
        country or whether ever it may be.
   MR RAMPTON:  Then one sees the picture of the whole man;
        perhaps not the whole man, but three important parts of
        the man:  What he thinks, who he speaks to and how he
        speaks, and then when he comes to his so-called history
        how he writes.  The three strands together form a powerful
        picture of a man who is writing, falsifying history
        because he worships Adolf Hitler, Nazi doctrines and hates
        Jews and other people of different backgrounds.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I am still of the view that what
        is written about those with whom you consort is defamatory
        or potentially defamatory.  I am also of the view that
        what the Defendants are seeking to set up by way of
        justification of that defamatory meaning is something that
        is open to them.  One of the reasons, which I have not
        asked you about and therefore I ought to put it to you

.          P-148

        now, is that it may well be that all this material, quite
        apart from being relevant to justify the words, is also
        relevant or may be relevant to explain how it comes about
        that these errors to which the Defendants point in your
        writings, how they can be explained.  Do you follow me?
        It is the point I raised with Mr Rampton.
   MR IRVING:  This is very similar to the idea that I omitted to
        present your Lordship in the original presentation of the
        submission, which is that another form of extremism which
        is illegal is of course extremism in the way of a foreign
        government, and this would be something similar, holding
        extreme views in being beholden to ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, in some ways that is another motive.
   MR IRVING:  I appreciate that could be defamatory.  I have no
        objection at all to them leading evidence on that or
        cross-examining on that kind of matter, but I think that
        the court should very properly rein in any kind of
        cross-examination that goes to guilt by association, and
        I am sure your Lordship would quite clearly be able to
        identify what any attempt of that is.  If they can
        establish that I have had any kind of associations with
        any kind of neo-Nazis or Nazi subversists or
        revolutionaries or people of the kind that Mr Rampton was
        fantasizing about, then by all means let them try.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What I think they are entitled to do is to
        call evidence to the effect that you have either

.          P-149

        associated with groups that are in themselves right-wing
        or in some way anti-Semitic or anti-Israel or involved
        with Holocaust denial, and that they are also entitled to
        put to you statements made by those who are intimately
        involved with organizations of that kind or indeed
        statements made at meetings when you were on the platform
        or even present.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, we are faced then with the problem of
        definition.  They say Mr Irving addressed the Women's
        Institute of Los Angeles or something which we claim is an
        extremist neo-Nazi organization, how does your Lordship
        know?  They are not going to put in the expert reports.

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