Bennett John

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“The Myth of Nazi Genocide”

Holocaust Denial” continued to be at the cutting edge of
antisemitism, and continued to be treated relatively benevolently
by much of the media.

1993 was the first year in which teachers of the history of the
Nazi genocide and related subjects reported questioning by
students as to the actual occurrence of a Nazi Holocaust and
comments intimating a belief that Holocaust deniers had elements
of validity. Given the enormous efforts by Holocaust deniers
during the year in review, aimed in the short-term at having
questions raised by members of the younger generations, this is
perhaps unsurprising and a cause for very serious concern. The
Holocaust deniers have sought to promote themselves as one
side of a debate on a matter of alleged historic dispute, appealing
to a sentiment opposing “politically correct” ideas and also
appealing to small “l” liberals who often seem willing to justify a
platform for what is presented as merely an alternative viewpoint.

David Irving exposed the ignorance and inability of many
Australian journalists to counter his arguments during many
interviews he gave from South Africa and England during the past
year. Although his views did not gain a foothold with senior or
respected journalists, he was able to convince many others that
the only issue concerning his visa was one of free speech to
promote a view which would “embarrass” establishment
historians. While he was the most significant advocate of
Holocaust denial to receive media coverage but had his views
advocated by a number of writers to letters columns of national,
state and regional newspapers. In the most extraordinary article
published by a journalist, as distinct from a member of an
extremist organisation or mis-guided member of the public,
Paul Haynes, a journalist with the Albany Advertiser in Western
Australia, repeated Holocaust denial claims he had received from
“revisionists” in an article which posed the bizarre question: “Has
there perhaps been undue Zionist as opposed to Jewish influence
in Hollywood and the large international media organisations ?”.

Radio broadcasters, public affairs TV programs and print media
journalists reported receiving a steady stream of Holocaust denial
material during the past year. This came either direct from the
USA by fax or posted by individuals associated with groups
allegedly advocating “freedom of speech” or “civil liberties”.

A key Australian source of Holocaust denial material continued to
be John Bennett, leader of the numerically insignificant Australian
Civil Liberties’ Union, who published the 20th annual edition of a
handbook, Your Rights, which again promoted antisemitism
towards a number of minority groups and publicised a range of
Holocaust denial literature. In an unfortunately unique show of
decency, major national booksellers Angus and Robertson made
a policy decision not to stock this publication. The Australian
League of Rights, the British-Israel World Federation, the
Immigration Control Association (Queensland) and previously
unknown “revisionist” organisations were also active in promoting
and distributing Holocaust denial. The lecture routine of veteran
far-right demagogue Jeremy Lee, who has generally tended to
exclude more blatant antisemitism from his rhetoric, reportedly
now includes open denial of the Holocaust.

The political agenda of Holocaust deniers was unambiguous in
the actions of the deniers. In May, the main synagogue in Perth
was extensively daubed with Holocaust denial slogans and hate
mail often included the claim.

Letters published in various newspapers which were
unambiguously antisemitic often included Holocaust denials and
regularly extended the denial to include the rationalisation that,
e.g. the Holocaust as currently understood is a “chestnut, the sole
purpose of which is the political and financial bolstering” of Israel.
David Irving also makes clear that he believes his campaign will
damage the standing of Jews and legitimacy of Israel.

The deniers’ arguments were given support , perhaps
unknowingly, by items such as the editorial in Melbourne’s
Herald-Sun which described the Holocaust as merely “that article
of faith for post-war Jews”. They were also given kind treatment
by newspapers such as The Truth which published literature
under the heading “Holocaust or Holohoax” and The Australian
which published advertisements for a video lecture by David Irving
which consists largely of Holocaust denial. Indications of the lack
of seriousness given by our society to Holocaust denial came in
the decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification to
pass, for general viewing, two videos which consisted in part or
entirely of Holocaust denial and the argument put forward by a
number of “free speech” advocates that Holocaust denial is no
more serious a problem than “flat earth” advocacy.

In a particularly offensive gesture, unknown persons placed
leaflets claiming that the Holocaust, and in particular the use by
Nazis of Gas Chambers, is a myth, on the windscreens of cars of
patrons attending a Sydney performance of a play based on the
experience of the family of Holocaust survivors who live in New
Zealand. Many of the recipients of the leaflets were Jewish,
including a number of Holocaust survivors. Media outlets around
Australia also reported receiving copies of this material.

Archive/File: fascism/australia australia.001
Last-Modified: 1994/06/20