Thursday, December 2, 2010

Letter to the Irish Independent re the Dublin Holocaust Denial Conference

NOTE: This letter was copied to the Irish print and Online press.

The Irish Independent
Independent House
27 - 32 Talbot Street
Dublin 1. Ireland

Telephone: +353 (0)1 705 5333

Subject: Conference on Holocaust Denial

For Publication

01 December 2010

Hello from California-

I am writing in response to Ms. Hilary White's article Specter of Nazi death Camps Casts a Long Shadow published Sunday November 28 2010 in The Independent, treating with the Conference on Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial held at Trinity College. I am a Revisionist and asked to attend the conference. Unfortunately I, along with several other Revisionists, was denied permission to even attend to listen to the speakers at this Conference. Expressing Revisionist views is a felony in many countries and I wanted to learn more about why my views are treated as a new blasphemy punishable by up to 5 years in jail.

I would like to comment on Ms. White's statement that, "The conference 'Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial: New Perspectives' aimed to get minds moving through reasoned discourse."

Is Ms. White aware that Deniers were banned from this Conference on Denial and that several Conference speakers have themselves supported and even advocated criminalization of Denial as a thought crime? Would Ms. White argue that these are reasonable or even sane methods to get minds moving through a reasoned discourse?

Ms. White, conflating anti-Semitism with Holocaust denial, as does the Conference itself, writes that Holocaust denial is a "contaminant." Contaminant?

I beg Ms. White's pardon, but that doesn't sound like a desire for reasoned discourse to me. Holocaust revisionism is not about Israel or anti-Semitism. Revisionism is a process; one of reviewing the received history of the Holocaust in the routine way that all other historical issues are reviewed. George Santayana wrote -- History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.

This is particularly true in times of war. Revisionists point out that Truth is oftentimes the first causality of war. For anyone who follows the history of the Holocaust it is plain that this history is being revised even as deniers are being imprisoned. Further scholarship and research on the Holocaust should be encouraged, not discouraged and repressed by taboo and the threat of imprisonment.

There were important questions to be discussed at this Conference relating to history, free speech, minority access to public forums, and peaceful relations with Iranian and other Islamic peoples. Unfortunately, it looks like the Conference deliberately missed an opportunity to get minds moving with new ideas or an honest discussion either one.

Sincerely yours,

David Merlin

Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust

For a Denier Blog on this subject-


Fooled Once said...

Unfortunately, this otherwise excellent letter leaves unopposed a (further) conflation: that of "Holocaust denial" with revisionism (or open debate, to rip on CODOH's meaning).

I feel we must always oppose and avoid that conflation vigorously. "Holocaust denial" is an intellectual smear to accompany the racist smear of "anti-Semitism."

Balder said...

I must agree with Fooled Once on this one.

I don't agree with the use of the word 'denier', and find it regrettable that Bradley used this term in his letter.

But thanks for writing it anyway.