- Deborah Lipstadt
Deborah Esther Lipstadt, Ph.D. (born March 18, 1947, New York City) is an American historian and author of the book Denying the Holocaust and The Eichmann Trial. She is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. She received her BA from City College of New York and her MA and PhD from Brandeis University.
Irving sues for libel
David Irving sued her and her publisher, Penguin Books, for libel in an English court, after she characterized some of his writings and public statements as Holocaust denial in her book Denying the Holocaust. Lipstadt's legal defence team was led by Anthony Julius of Mishcon de Reya while Penguin's was led by Kevin Bays and Mark Bateman of Davenport Lyons. Both defendants instructed Richard Rampton QC while Penguin also instructed Heather Rogers as junior counsel. The expert witness for the defence was Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans, assisted by Christopher Browning, Robert Jan van Pelt and Peter Longerich.
Although English libel law puts the burden of proof on the defendant rather than the plaintiff, Lipstadt and Penguin won the case using the justification defence, viz. by demonstrating in court that Lipstadt's accusations against Irving were substantially true and therefore not libelous. The case was argued as a bench trial before Mr Justice Gray, who produced a written judgment 334 pages long detailing Irving's systematic distortion of the historical record of World War II. The Times (April 14, 2000, p. 23) said of Lipstadt's victory, "History has had its day in court and scored a crushing victory."
Reaction to Irving trial and criticism
Norman G. Finkelstein openly criticized Lipstadt for her role in the Irving trial, stating "Her [Lipstadt] lawyers imposed a gag rule on Deborah Lipstadt during her trial with David Irving - she was banned not only from testifying in court but also speaking to the press - because they knew full well that a single word from this know-nothing's mouth would sink the ship. In her account of the trial Lipstadt can barely conceal the lawyer's contempt for her, yet she is too thick-headed to notice the absurdity of her smug two thumbs-up after the jury announced its verdict. She had as much to do with the victory as I [Finkelstein] did with last night's performance of the Bolshoi."
Despite her acrimonious history with Holocaust denier David Irving, she has stated that she is personally opposed to the three-year prison sentence of Irving in Austria for two speeches he made in 1989, during which he allegedly claimed there had been no gas chambers at Auschwitz, as minimizing the atrocities of the Third Reich is a crime punishable with up to 10 years imprisonment in Austria. "I am uncomfortable with imprisoning people for speech. Let him go and let him fade from everyone's radar screens...Generally, I don't think Holocaust denial should be a crime. I am a free speech person, I am against censorship."
"Soft-core denial" of the Holocaust
In February 2007, Lipstadt used the neologism "soft-core denial" at the Zionist Federation's annual fundraising dinner in London. Referring to groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain, reportedly she stated: "When groups of people refuse to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day unless equal time is given to anti-Muslim prejudice, this is soft-core denial." According to Paul, "She received huge applause when she asked how former United States President Jimmy Carter could omit the years 1939-1947 from a chronology in his book"; referring to his recently-published and controversial book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, she said: "When a former president of the United States writes a book on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and writes a chronology at the beginning of the book in order to help them understand the emergence of the situation and in that chronology lists nothing of importance between 1939 and 1947, that is soft-core denial."
Along the same lines, Lipstadt has criticized the German philosopher and historian Ernst Nolte for engaging in what she calls "soft-core denial" of the Holocaust, arguing that Nolte practises an even more dangerous form of negationism than the Holocaust-deniers. Speaking of Nolte in a 2003 interview, Lipstadt stated:
"Historians such as the German Ernst Nolte are, in some ways, even more dangerous than the deniers. Nolte is an anti-Semite of the first order, who attempts to rehabilitate Hitler by saying that he was no worse than Stalin; but he is careful not to deny the Holocaust. Holocaust-deniers make Nolte's life more comfortable. They have, with their radical argumentation, pulled the center a little more to their side. Consequently, a less radical extremist, such as Nolte, finds himself closer to the middle ground, which makes him more dangerous".
Criticism of the Catholic Church
In 2009, she strongly criticized the lifting of the excommunications on the bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X, especially that of Richard Williamson, saying that the Vatican "has made itself look like it is living in the darkest of ages."
In 1997 Lipstadt received the Emory Williams teaching award for excellence in teaching.
- Lipstadt, Deborah E. (1986). Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933-1945. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-02-919161-0.
- Lipstadt, Deborah E. (1993). Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. New York: Plume. ISBN 0-452-27274-2.
- Lipstadt, Deborah E. (2005). History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving. New York: ECCO. ISBN 0-06-059376-8.
- Lipstadt, Deborah E. (2011). The Eichmann Trial. New York: Nextbook Press/ Schocken. ISBN 0-80-524260-0.
- ^ Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion News & Publications. "Third Annual Bamberger Memorial Lecture with Deborah E. Lipstadt (11/22/05)". http://www.huc.edu/newspubs/pressroom/2005/11/bamberger1.shtml. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
- ^ Holocaust Denial On Trial: Holocaust Denial and the 2000 Libel Trial in the U.K., a project of The Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University.
- ^ http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/remembering-raul-hilberg-2/
- ^ Paterson, Tony (November 18, 2005). "Irving held in Austria over Holocaust comments". The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10355866. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- ^ O'Neill, Brendan. "Irving? Let the guy go home" BBC News, January 4, 2006
- ^ a b Quoted by Jonny Paul, "Holocaust Scholar Warns of New 'soft-core' Denial," The Jerusalem Post (February 6, 2007).
- ^ "Denial of the Holocaust and Immoral Equivalence" The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (August 1, 2003).
- ^ Back In The Dark Ages
- ^ Emory Williams Teaching Award, Emory University, accessed April 8, 2011.
- Deborah Lipstadt Faculty biography at Emory University.
- Deborah Lipstadt's blog.
- Voices on Antisemitism Interview with Deborah Lipstadt from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Holocaust Denial on Trial, a project of the Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University.
- David Irving case, report by The Guardian.
- Deborah Lipstadt in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.
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