Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 14: Electronic Edition

Pages 91 - 95 of 175

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    That sentence (I do not know whether
 1Mr Rampton has read it yet or not), you say: "If I was
 2going to be crude, I would say not only are they better at
 3making money but they are greedy", that is you, Mr Irving,
 4saying the Jews are greedy, is that right, or have I
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     No, this is the two or three levels down in the argument,
 7my Lord; this is putting myself into the skin of a person
 8who is asking questions about those clever people. There
 9should be triple quotation marks around this.
10 MR RAMPTON:     Oh, no, Mr Irving, that will not do; that is
11another rash and hasty ----
12 A. [Mr Irving]     If you read on, you will see exactly why we are talking
13about the Swiss gold business.
14 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I am going to read on, Mr Irving. That is exactly why
15I said it was a rather rash answer.
16 A. [Mr Irving]     This is precisely the moment when Abraham Foxman and the
17Jewish newspaper 'Forward' have said: "Sure, we
18bludgeoned them until they had parted with the money".
19That was his headline: "Yes, we bludgeoned them". This
20is the kind of thing that generates anti-Semitism as
21witnessed what happened in Switzerland.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]     So every time there is a pogrom or a machine gunning into
23a pit, or a mass gassing, it is entirely the Jews' fault
24because some of them make money and some of them are good
25at the piano, is that right, and some of them are clever?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     I regard that a very childish oversimplification of what

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 1I have tried to set out in two paragraphs there.
 2 Q. [Mr Rampton]     It is just exactly what you have been telling ----
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     It is a childish oversimplification. I am confronting
 4Daniel Goldhagen who is a very clever writer and who has
 5written a whole book on Hitler's willing executioners
 6asking the question: "Who pulled the trigger?", and I am
 7attending a meeting, in fact, in a synagogue in New
 8Orleans, November two years ago. I am the first person
 9who is allowed to ask him a question and I say to him --
10these are the questions I asked him and I am repeating the
11questions I have actually said to him and you will also
12find that in my Radical's diary; the whole of this episode
13is also there --- Professor Goldhagen, a very interesting
14book you have written. Of course, it caused a great
15sensation around the world in May 1996, but the question
16you have asked is the wrong question. If I were a Jew,
17the question that would interest me is not who pulled the
18trigger but why, and why does it keep on happening again
19and again and again and why does nobody investigate that
20phenomenon, the phenomenon of where does anti-Semitism
21come from?
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Your thesis, Mr Irving, is perfectly clear and will become
23clearer and clearer as we go through these extracts.
24 A. [Mr Irving]     So what is my thesis?
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Your thesis is that the Jews have deserved everything that
26has been coming to them?

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 1 A. [Mr Irving]     That is totally different; the difference between
 2justification and explanation, already made once earlier
 3this afternoon, to say that something is explicable is
 4totally different from what I am saying, that it is
 5justifiable. Nowhere have I ever (and I would find it
 6repugnant if anyone suggested this) heard suggested that
 7what happened to the Jewish people, that that tragedy is
 8justifiable; it is not justifiable. But anti-Semitism, as
 9a different phenomenon, you can begin to explain it; you
10can say that if somebody acts like Abraham Foxman and
11bludgeons the country like the Swiss in departing with
12billions of pounds of money, then it must not be
13surprising if it turns out that Switzerland is one of the
14few countries in the world where anti-Semitism increases.
15There is, surely, a cause-and-effect connection between
16those two facts.
17     If I were Daniel Goldhagen, or his father, the
18famous Professor Goldhagen, I would want to investigate
19that phenomenon rather than the rather more mundane
20phenomenon of which gangsters actually pulled the
21trigger on those sub-machine guns.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Does one swallow, or to use something more akin to your
23terminology, one vulture, does one swallow or vulture make
24a summer, Mr Irving?
25 A. [Mr Irving]     I do not understand that question.
26 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Mr Irving, you have used one case to characterize the

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 1whole of the Jewish people, wherever in the world, as
 2greedy and, therefore, as having brought anti-Semitism on
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     Did I say this was the only instance?
 5 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I have your words in black and white in front of me.
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     I do not think so; I think this is a pattern,
 7unfortunately, which is repeated again and again. These
 8whole page advertisements around the world which you
 9yourself have undoubtedly seen, and which I can certainly
10introduce if you have not seen them, where it states:
11"You can get money, too; you do not have to have been in
12a concentration camp, you did not even have to have been a
13slave labourer. It suffices if you are a member of a
14minority persecuted by the Nazis living within the Third
15Reich, you can get money out of it". This generates
16anti-Semitism, in my view. I may be totally wrong; maybe
17anti-Semitism comes from somewhere else.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, may I just ask you a question
19about the interview you gave in November 1998?
20 A. [Mr Irving]     November 1998?
21 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     The one you have just been asked about?
22 A. [Mr Irving]     This actually was August 1998, I think.
23 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Right. It may be wrongly dated. But I just want to get
24the sort of structure of what you are conveying to your
25interviewer. You are saying of the Jews, well, they have
26been disliked for 3,000 years, they are disliked wherever

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 1they go?
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Then you say: "Well, I do not know the answer".
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, I do not -- I am not ----
 5 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Pause. Am I right so far?
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     You are absolutely right, yes.
 7 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     But then do you not go on to say ----
 8 A. [Mr Irving]     I venture a suggestion.
 9 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Well, look at it at as if I came from Mars"?
10 A. [Mr Irving]     I tried to stand right back from the planet Earth and look
11down on these people.
12 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     "And it appears to me that the reason why they are
13disliked is because they are greedy"; is that not what you
14are saying?
15 A. [Mr Irving]     I go on to a whole series of different reasons.
16 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     All right, but that is the first one you come up with?
17 A. [Mr Irving]     I say globally I do not know what the reason is.
18Effectively, I am not a sociologist, I am not an expert on
19this, but possible reasons are -- what is the connection
20between the rise in Swiss anti-Semitism and the gold bank
22 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     But you are putting that forward as the reason why there
23is this dislike of Jews?
24 A. [Mr Irving]     My Lord, with respect, not the reason.
25 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     All right.
26 A. [Mr Irving]     

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