Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day032.05 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 MR RAMPTON: I propose that they probably are connected. I do not have to do that, but I propose that they are connected, and that the link between them, I have no doubt at all he is genuinely anti-Semitic and all the more defamatory it is of him to say so, and it is true. I propose that certainly, that he is genuinely profoundly anti-Semitic. But the bridge between the Holocaust denial and the Hitler apology from anti-Semitism is a very easy one to build, because what more would an historian who is . P-47 an anti-Semite want to do in exculpation of Hitler which he has been trying to do by telling lies about history for years, what more would he want to do than to deny the Holocaust? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but he might believe what he is saying. That is the point. That is why it is important. MR RAMPTON: Believe what he is saying about what? MR JUSTICE GRAY: About the Holocaust. MR RAMPTON: There is no way he could believe what he is saying about the Holocaust if it ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I understand that, but that has nothing to do with his anti-Semitism. I am not sure I am making my point clear to you that ---- MR RAMPTON: No, I take a profound anti-Semite, I see that he has denied the Holocaust without any historical justification whatsoever. MR JUSTICE GRAY: But I understand all of that. MR RAMPTON: Then I ask myself, what is his reason for denying the Holocaust because he has not got a good historical one, there must be another one? And the most obvious thing for a profound and genuine anti-Semite to do because it suits his book is to leap into Holocaust denial without any proper evidence at all, any evidence at all, and cart it around the world in front of him and to audiences at other anti-Semites and neofascists. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is another agenda, you would say? . P-48 MR RAMPTON: Yes, that is the other agenda; the promotion of anti-Semitism. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. MR RAMPTON: And given that there is, as I say, absolutely no historical foundation, no proper historical foundation, for Holocaust denial, and given that there is evidence that Mr Irving is an anti-Semite, as I say, the bridge between the one and the other is very easy to build indeed. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, thank you. MR RAMPTON: And the same goes for Hitler exculpation. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much. Now, Mr Irving, it is your turn. MR IRVING: My Lord, it might be proper, perhaps, to have a five-minute adjournment as the Defendants have provided to me a list of objections they make to my closing statement and, indeed, I think it would be fair to them if I were just to review those objections and see if I ought to take them on board. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not have any difficulty with that. Will five minutes be enough? MR IRVING: Five minutes will be enough. (Short Adjournment) MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, Mr Irving? MR IRVING: My Lord, rather like going over the top in Gallipoli, but my father was in that battle so I know what . P-49 it is like. I will be making omissions from the text that I gave your Lordship and I will indicate by saying that I am omitting a sentence or a paragraph so that your Lordship can follow. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is very kind. MR IRVING: May it please the court. The Defendants in this action, the publisher Penguin Books Limited and the American scholar Deborah Lipstadt, have sought to cast this trial as being about the reputation of the Holocaust. It is not. The world's press have also reported it in this way. Again, it is not. This trial is about my reputation as a human being, as an historian of integrity, and - thanks to the remarks made by Mr Rampton - as a father. The Defendants are saying, and have so convinced many people, that I am not entitled to continue to earn a living in the way that I have earned it for nearly 40 years. A judgment in my favour is no more than that judgment that disputed points which I have made about some aspect of the narrative are not so absurd, given the evidence, as to disqualify me from the ranks of historians. Under the laws of defamation as they exist in this country, it could not be anything else, and nor must the defence team, no matter how powerful, how moneyed, or eloquent, or numerous, be allowed by their tactics to skew it in any other way. . P-50 I may add that the points I have made do not necessarily lessen the horror or the burden of guilt. I have always accepted that Adolf Hitler, as Head of State and government in Germany, was responsible for the Holocaust. I said, in the Introduction to my flagship biography, Hitler's War (this is a reference to the 1991 edition): If this biography were simply a history of the rise and fall of Hitler's Reich, it would be legitimate to conclude: "Hitler killed the Jews". But my years of investigations suggested that many others were responsible, that the chain of responsibility was not as clear cut as that. Nothing that I have heard in this Court since January 11th has persuaded me that I was wrong on this account. These latter points lead to another consideration. Your Lordship will have heard of the - largely successful - effort to drive me out of business as an historian. This Court has seen the timidity, in my submission, with which historians have already been fraught once Holocaust is questioned, not denied, questioned. One notable historian, whose name has been mentioned this morning, ordered by summons by myself to attend, showed himself reluctant even to confirm what he had written in my favour, repeatedly, over the last 20 years. . P-51 A judgment rendered against me will make this paralysis in the writing of history definitive; from then on, no one will dare to discuss who exactly was involved in each stage of the Holocaust -- rather like in Germany now, you cannot do it any more -- or how extensive it was. From then on, discussion will revolve around "safe" subjects, like sacred texts in the Middle Ages, or Marx in the old Soviet Union, or the Koran in some fundamentalist state today. Every historian will know that his critique needs to stop sharply at the boundaries defined by certain authorities. He will have a choice; accept the official version, holus-bolus; or stop being an historian. A judgment in my favour does not mean that the Holocaust never happened; it means only that in England today discussion is still permitted. My opponents would still be able to say, just as now, would still be able, just as now, to produce other documents if they can; to expound alternative interpretations. They would be as free as ever to declare that they think that I am wrong and all the other things that have been said about me today. They would be impeded in one way only: they would not be able to say in a loud and authoritative voice that I am not an historian, and that my books must be banned. As a result of my work (and of this case) the Holocaust, in fact, has been researched more, not less. Those who (rightly) believe that these crimes should never be . P-52 forgotten (and I stress the word "rightly"), these crimes should never be forgotten, should ask whether their case is better served by a compulsory - and dead - text imposed by law and intimidation, or by a live and on-going discussion. Our Common Law has at its kernel an "adversarial" procedure whereby, it is believed, truth is best elicited by each side putting their case as strongly as possible. We have heard some pretty strong things said today. I agree with English Common Law. I read in The Independent, a newspaper in this country, in a lengthy and deeply libellous article published only last week about me, these words: "But if he wins, it will open the door for revisionists to rewrite any event in history without the requirement to consider evidence that does not suit them and without fear that they will be publicly denounced for their distortion". My Lord, in bygone days, I venture to submit, such an article, published while an action was literally sub judice, would have been a clear contempt. Your Lordship will have noticed that I wearied, after a few days, of drawing attention to the coverage of this trial in the media. Allow me, however, to introduce one cautionary statistic: not including the fuss about the Eichmann manuscript, the British press have published no fewer than 167 reports during the seven days that I was on . P-53 the witness stand, that is 24 per day; but just 58 reports during the 20 days when the boot was on the other foot and I was cross-examining Mr Rampton's fine witnesses, that is roughly three per day. That is a disparity of about eight to one. I make no complaint about that. If your Lordship has noticed any of these items, you will perhaps have observed that the reporting in both cases is almost exclusively devoted to the defence statements, or their questions to me, and not to the product of the examination. That is the way things are in a free society. The Court, however, operates by different standards, and it will not allow public sentiment, I hope, to guide its verdict. I believe it was Churchill who once said, "There is such thing as public opinion, there is only published opinion". Given such a baleful glare from the press gallery, my Lord, I am glad that her Majesty has such a resolute officer presiding over this case. The outcome is in your Lordship's hands and yours alone, and I am glad, I am confident that nothing that the press has written, or may yet write, will deflect your Lordship from arriving at a just conclusion. The Defendants have sold around the world a book, "Denying the Holocaust". May I say here that I see Penguin Books among the Defendants to my sorrow, as they have published my own works in the past. They continuing . P-54 even today, however, and I stress this fact, to sell this book for profit, in the knowledge that it contains very defamatory allegations and that those allegations are held to be untrue. It is a reckless, even foolhardy, gesture which I submit, my Lord, goes to the question of aggravated damages when the time comes. Neither of these Defendants evidently bothered even to have the manuscript professionally read for libel. I say "evidently" because we do not know: they have not deigned to enter the witness box themselves, no executive of Penguin Books, not the author who has, I must say, sat in this room for the two months that the trial has continued, neither of them has deigned to enter the witness box to answer even that most straightforward and elementary of questions, was there a libel reading of this book? Nor have they answered this question when it was put to them in writing. Such a report, a libel report, is, in my submission, not privileged, and I would have been well prepared to argue the point; had they claimed that privilege, I would have asked, "On what grounds?" If a report was written, it should and no doubt would have been disclosed, and it was not disclosed. So we are entitled to assume that they did not bother to have the book read. It does not exist, the report. Whatever other limited excuses - whether of sheer ignorance, or of innocent dissemination - that the . P-55 publisher might have (quite wrongfully) deployed for publishing this malicious and deeply flawed work were destroyed from the moment when they received my writ in September 1996, and were thus informed, if they did not know in fact already, of the nature and scope of the libels it contains. And, as said, they have continued to sell it, hoping no doubt to cash in on, to profit from, the notoriety gained by these libel proceedings, which is a textbook case of Rookes v. Barnard if there ever was one, since the book they are selling still contains even the several libels which they have made no attempt here to justify. They have to justify their allegations - - I am referring, of course, my Lord, to the ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. MR IRVING: --- matters they have pleaded section 5 on originally. They have made no attempt to justify their allegations or their defence fails -- I am sorry. They have to justify their allegations, or their defence fails; and as your Lordship is aware, where the defamations are particularly grave, a higher burden of proof falls upon them than the mere balance of probabilities that is normally acceptable. In both Defendants, moreover, there is clear evidence of malice, both in those few documents which the author of this work has disclosed -- I stress the word "few"; pitifully few documents have been placed in my hands -- and in the fact that the same firm of . P-56 publishers had previously distributed a work, a book, in which I was variously caricatured as Adolf Hitler and wearing swastika eyeglasses. The very worst of the libels are so blatant that neither Defendant has insulted the intelligence of this Court by offering any justification to them. They hope instead to divert the court's attention by reference to distant and notorious matters of history and by calling me a racist. In consequence, for 30 days or more of this Court's time, we have had to rake over the embers of what may be one of the greatest crimes known to Mankind: a harrowing, time-wasting, needless effort, which has yielded even now few answers to great questions and mysteries which even the world's finest academics have so far not managed to unravel. I come now to one of the first of these unanswered and unjustified libels which will come as a surprise to many people in this courtroom because there is no reference to it in Mr Rampton's summary. On page 14 of the book, the Defendants published one of the gravest libels that can be imagined for a respectable English citizen who lives a very public life, namely that I consort with the extremist anti-Semitic Russian group Pamyat, with violent anti-Israeli murderers, with extremist terrorists, and with Louis Farrakhan, a Black Power agitator who is known to be acting in the pay of a . P-57 foreign power, namely the Libyan dictator. This is not just the simple allegation of associating with "extremists", the kind of people who use fountain pens to deliver their extremism, about which they have made so much. The words on page 14 are as follows - and I make no apology, my Lord, for reminding the Court of them, the Second Defendant wrote: "The confluence between anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and Holocaust denial forces was exemplified by a world anti-Zionist conference scheduled for Sweden in November 1992. Though cancelled at the last minute by the Swedish government, scheduled speakers included black Muslim leader, Louis Farrakhan, Faurrison, Irving", that is me, "and Leuchter. Also scheduled to participate were representatives of a variety of anti-Semetic and anti-Israel organisations, including the Russian group Pamyat, the Iranian-backed Hizbollah and the fundamentalist Islamic organization Hamas". Now, that whole statement was a reckless lie. It appears from their discovery to have been based on a press release issued by the jewish Telegraph Agency in New York which neither that agency or the Defendants made any attempt to verify. The Court will have noticed in one of my bundles the letter which I sent to every Scandinavian Embassy at the time, anxiously denying this allegation. I have pleaded, as your Lordship is aware, that the innuendo . P-58 was that I was "thereby agreeing to appear in public in support of and alongside violent and extremist speakers, including representatives of the violent and extremist anti-Semitic Russian group Pamyat ... the Hizbollah ... the Hamas ... Farrakhan ... who is known as a Jew-baiting black agitator ... and he is known as an admirer of Hitler and who is in the pay of Colonel Gaddafi".
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