stops when denial starts
The New Zealand Herald
Last month the 'Herald' printed an article by historian Thomas Fudge criticising the treatment of Joel Hayward, whose MA thesis brought accusations of Holocaust denial. The New Zealand Jewish Council offers this response, written by political scientist DOV BING.
In a democracy, academic freedom is a precious commodity. Protected by the
1989 Education Act, it cannot exist in
Dr Thomas Fudge, in his article on Dr Hayward's Holocaust denial thesis, has
fallen well short of academic responsibility, not only by incorrectly
Revisionism is an honest endeavour undertaken by many academic historians. Each year there are thousands of new publications on Holocaust history. Many of these can be termed academic Holocaust revisionism.
Holocaust denial is not history at all. Although Holocaust deniers may often deceptively refer to themselves as revisionists, they cannot be regarded as professional academic historians.
Finding against David Irving in his unsuccessful suit for libel against historian Deborah Lipstadt (April 2000), Mr Justice Gray provides a clear and compelling definition of Holocaust denial (see box).
In his report on the
Many are anti-Semites with links to racist and extremist politics, observes the Barker report.
According to Winston Smith, leader of the National Socialist White Peoples Party - formerly known as the American Nazi Party - the real purpose of Holocaust revisionism (or denial) is to make National Socialism an acceptable alternative again.
If they can make people believe that the main features of the Holocaust are based on Allied war propaganda, the Nazis can rise again.
Deniers operate on the fringes of society and have been trying for many years
to gain a foothold in universities to make themselves respectable.
In defending Joel Hayward, Dr Fudge prefers to ignore the extent to which
careful, recent definitions of Holocaust denial apply to
If Holocaust denial has demonstrated anything, it is the fragility of memory, reason and history. Deniers try to project the appearance of being committed to the values they, in truth, adamantly oppose - reason, critical rules of evidence and historical distinction.
Fudge further muddies the waters of academic credibility by rewriting what he
He supposes that
Second, he suggests that
Fudge also rewrites the so-called second conclusion. He claims that
In the Sunday Star-Times,
Fudge adds his own reference to S. Krakowski of Yad Vashem in
For his claim, Fudge cites as his source Barbara Amouyal, writing in the Jerusalem Post (August 17, 1986). He omits Krakowski's reply a few days later, when he wrote that he was deeply astonished to read Amouyal's version of her interview with him.
Krakowski had indicated that many of the 20,000 testimonies were used in criminal trials. He noted that he had told Amouyal that fortunately very few testimonies proved to be inaccurate (Jerusalem Post, August 21-22, 1986).
Fudge claims that
That is not correct.
He was criticised because of his academically unsound reiteration of this archetypal Holocaust deniers argument, without producing research on the topic.
According to Fudge,
In his conclusion,
"That policy, our careful and unbiased reading of the evidence suggested, was not one of total extermination, but was a brutal policy of deportation and forced labour".
Sir Ian Barker, Professor Macintyre and Professor Trotter noted in their report: "This is a perverse and unjustified conclusion."
The refusal of the majority of the history department to grant Fudge's article the stamp of academic credibility was, in my opinion, a step in the right direction.
The terms of the Education Act alone should prevent a university department endorsing and disseminating misinformation.
The publication of the article in History Now would also have undercut the
Fudge was determined to publish his article, and made much of his academic freedom and the right of the public to be informed.
While these rights are unquestionable, in exercising them, Dr Fudge should
explain his acceptance of
Did not the
The New Zealand Herald is right to campaign for freedom of expression - it is guaranteed under the NZ Bill of Rights, but entails constant vigilance.
The Herald observes that "conclusions [by academics] cannot be mere flights of imagination; they must be based on all available evidence and rigorous reasoning".
I could not agree more, and argue that Dr Fudge, like Dr Hayward, has indeed
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