Holocaust-denying pseudo-historian Irving, new film


This video says about itself:

DENIAL Official Trailer (2016) Rachel Weisz, Andrew Scott Movie

Based on the acclaimed book “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier,” DENIAL recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt‘s (Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz) legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (Cannes Award winner Timothy Spall), who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier.

In the English legal system, the burden of proof is on the accused, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred. Also starring two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson, the film is directed by Emmy Award winner Mick Jackson (“Temple Grandin”) and adapted for the screen by BAFTA and Academy Award nominated writer David Hare (THE READER). Producers are Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff.

Release Date: Coming Soon
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Director: Mick Jackson
Writers: David Hare (screenplay), Deborah Lipstadt (book)
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Andrew Scott, Timothy Spall, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Gatiss

From daily The Guardian in Britain, 3 February 2000:

Mr Rampton, questioning Mr Irving on his various “utterances both in public and private on the subject of Jews, blacks etc”, accused him of teaching his daughter aged nine months a “racist ditty” when he took her out for a walk.

The QC read out a September 1994 extract from Mr Irving’s personal diaries in which the historian referred to a poem he had sung to his daughter when “half-breed children” were wheeled past:

“I am a Baby Aryan,

“Not Jewish or Sectarian.

“I have no plans to marry-an

Ape or Rastafarian.”

By Joanne Laurier in the USA:

Denial and the assault on historical truth

22 October 2016

Directed by Mick Jackson; screenplay by David Hare, based on Deborah Lipstadt’s History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving

British-born filmmaker Mick Jackson’s new movie, Denial, is based on the book by US academic and author Deborah Lipstadt, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving. The 2005 work chronicles the struggle pursued by Lipstadt and her legal team with Irving, the right-wing British pseudo-historian and Holocaust denier, in a London courtroom in 2000.

It was Lipstadt’s 1993 book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, that prompted Irving to target the professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. In her work, Lipstadt called Irving “one of the most dangerous spokesmen for Holocaust denial.” In 1996, Irving sued Lipstadt and her British publisher, Penguin Books, alleging they were part of an “organised international endeavor” to destroy his reputation and livelihood as a historian.

According to Denial ’s production notes, veteran British playwright and screenwriter David Hare proceeded with considerable care in defending “objective historical truth.” Hare crafted the scenes in court by using verbatim portions of the trial’s official transcript. The screenwriter explains that “I had to be historically accurate myself, so that enemies of the film, the people who agree with David Irving, couldn’t accuse me of distorting the record.”

Hare was further motivated by the insidious character of Irving’s attempt to give anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial a respectable veneer. “Irving dressed like an English gentleman,” notes the scriptwriter. “He lived in Mayfair. John Keegan, an extremely distinguished military historian, said that David Irving was a first-rate historian who happened to take Hitler’s point of view and that there was a significant historical value in looking at history from the side of the loser.” Irving contended that no Jews were gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp and that Hitler and the Nazis were innocent of genocide.

When the film opens, Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), has just published her earlier book. As she is delivering a talk promoting the work to a room full of students in Atlanta, Irving (Timothy Spall) appears with two associates, who videotape the proceedings. He attempts to disrupt the event by waving $1,000 in the air and yelling, “I’ll give it to anyone who can prove Hitler ordered the killing of the Jews!” Deborah refuses to engage with Irving, insisting that one can have different opinions about the Holocaust, but it is not possible to dispute whether or not it happened: “That isn’t an opinion. That’s a fact.”

In Denying the Holocaust, Lipstadt argues that following World War II, “Nazism in general and the Holocaust in particular had given fascism a bad name. … Consequently Holocaust denial became an important element in the fabric of their [neo-fascist] ideology.”

Deborah is then shocked to learn from her British publisher, Penguin Books, that Irving is suing her and Penguin for libel. She quickly discovers that libel laws in Britain differ from those in the US: in the UK, there is no presumption of innocence in such a case. Consequently, Deborah, as the defendant, must prove that her assertions were true and, furthermore, that Irving’s falsifications were deliberate.

While Irving chooses to represent himself in court, a top legal team headed by solicitor Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott) and barrister Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) acts on behalf of Lipstadt and Penguin. Julius and Rampton insist that Deborah place complete confidence in her legal representatives. This leads to various conflicts (and a share of the film’s drama). Rampton refuses her request to put British Holocaust survivors on the stand so as to avoid subjecting them to Irving’s abusive and humiliating tactics––and he will also not allow his client to testify.

When Deborah demands “my right to stand up against someone who wants to pervert the truth,” her attorney counters that “these things are happening to you, but the case is not about you … What feels best is not necessarily what works best.” Rampton and Julius are convinced their “atom bomb defense” involves keeping the focus on Irving’s falsehoods rather than putting the Holocaust on trial. Towards this end, eminent British historian Richard Evans (John Sessions)––renowned for his research on the history of Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly the Third Reich––is brought on board.

In History on Trial, Lipstadt observes: “After detailing numerous examples of Irving’s historical malfeasance regarding the Holocaust and the bombing of Dresden, Evans wrote: ‘If we mean by historian someone who is concerned to discover the truth about the past and to give us as accurate a representation as possible, then Irving is not a historian … Irving is essentially an ideologue who uses history … in order to further his own political purposes.’”

In one telling scene, Deborah, seeking financial backing for legal fees, meets with leading figures in Britain’s Jewish community. To her surprise and dismay, they advise her to settle with Irving out of court and, generally, not rock the boat.

In preparing for the trial, Deborah accompanies her lawyers to what remains of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The no-nonsense Scotsman Rampton is doing forensic work in what the equally no-nonsense New Yorker Lipstadt considers a disrespectful manner. Only in the course of the trial does she learn to appreciate the efficacy of Rampton’s seemingly callous methods.

The dust jacket of History on Trial explains that Lipstadt’s lawyers “gained access to Irving’s personal papers, which exposed his association with neo-Nazi extremists in Germany, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and the National Alliance, which wanted to transform America into an ‘Aryan society.’ In the course of the trial, Lipstadt’s legal team stripped away Irving’s mask of respectability through exposing the prejudice, extremism, and distortion of history that defined his work.”

One of the trial’s pivotal moments, which gives the defense considerable momentum, occurs when Rampton proves that Irving manipulated the call logs of leading Nazi Heinrich Himmler to whitewash Hitler’s role in the annihilation of the Jews.

Rampton also produces a 1991 video clip in which Irving spews out his reactionary poison for the benefit of an audience in Calgary, Alberta: “I say quite tastelessly in fact that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz.”

The trial lasts from January 11 to March 15, 2000. Ultimately, Judge Charles Gray (Alex Jennings) rules that “Irving’s treatment of the historical evidence is so perverse and egregious that it is difficult to accept that it is inadvertence on his part.” Lipstadt and Penguin win the day, and Irving is liable to pay all the substantial costs of the trial.

Irving was a notorious reactionary, with an extensive history of sympathy for fascism. In the 1980s he spoke to meetings of the anti-immigrant German Peoples Union (DVU). At least one audience included skinheads chanting “Sieg Heil!” In his final argument, Rampton observed (not included in the film) that “Mr. Irving is a Hitler partisan, who has falsified history on a staggering scale in order to ‘prove’ Hitler’s innocence, which like Holocaust denial is obviously very appealing to his fellow travellers. After all, if the Holocaust were a ‘myth’, then, obviously, Hitler could have no responsibility for it.”

Jackson’s Denial is a conscientious reconstruction of the libel trial. However, it was a commentary on the British legal system in general and its anti-democratic libel laws in particular, as the WSWS noted in 2000, that despite Irving’s history, “the High Court did not summarily dismiss Irving’s claim and instead provided him with a platform from which to propound his extreme right-wing views.”

The historical issues, along with Hare’s intelligent script, no doubt helped inspire the remarkable performances of Wilkinson, Weisz and Spall. Scott as Julius also deserves special mention.

In an interview, director Jackson (The Bodyguard, Temple Grandin) suggested that his film was “about historical truth … All the interactions between the characters, the tension between Deborah Lipstadt and the legal team, everything that happened is what actually happened.”

Denial has its weaknesses. The acting and the courtroom sequences, which are tightly and tautly done, are relatively subtle; other elements and scenes are not. The complacent and idyllic picture of Lipstadt’s suburban life in the US seems out of place. There is no hint of a connection between the historical issues, the emergence of neo-fascist forces and the state of contemporary society (including American society). The Irving trial itself demonstrated, for those who cared to see, that as long as the system responsible for the fascist barbarism continued to exist even such an apparently “settled” question as Nazi guilt for mass murder of the European Jews remained unresolved.

The filmmakers do not help their artistic cause by including a corny and unconvincing moment when, following her legal victory, a jogging Deborah (the recurring jogging scenes themselves are tedious and a distraction) stops––apparently to make common cause––with the statue of Queen Boadicea located on London’s Embankment, near the Houses of Parliament. The sequence seems to imply that like Boadicea, an early Briton who led an uprising against the Roman occupiers in 60-61 AD, Lipstadt is a female warrior leading her people.

More significantly, like virtually every film on the Holocaust that has come out over the past several decades, Denial is entirely silent as to the origins and sources of fascism. Unfortunately, one does not expect anything different.

Nonetheless, within its limited scope, Denial is valuable, particularly as an antidote to the efforts in Germany to relativize the crimes of Hitler and fascism, spearheaded by Professor Jörg Baberowski of Humboldt University in Berlin.

United States fascism, from William Pelley to Donald Trump


This 2015 video from the USA shows some propaganda material by William Pelley; with the main emphasis on his religious fantasies, not on his anti-Semitic fascist politics.

By Pauline Murphy:

William Pelley: Rousing the US‘s fascist rabble

Wednesday 19th October 2016

Donald Trump is not the first US presidential candidate to inspire fascistic militia-like supporters, writes PAULINE MURPHY

EARLIER this year Donald Trump sent out a tweet to his legion of followers in which he used a quote from Benito Mussolini: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”

A month later a new account was created on Twitter called @lionsoftrump and its first tweet simply stated: “The Lion Guard is born.”

The Lion Guard describes itself as a “civilian group dedicated to the safety and security of Trump supporters.” These unofficial guardians of Trump supporters got their name from the Mussolini quote the Republican candidate had tweeted that cold morning in February.

As the race for the White House now gathers pace, the rallies of Donald Trump have become more intense. These gatherings have taken on a violent streak as clashes erupt between Trump supporters and those who do not support him.

The Lion Guard depend heavily on social media to smoke out potential troublemakers at Trump rallies. Many have dubbed this unofficial militia the “red caps” due to the $25 “Make America Great Again” baseball hats both they and their straw haired idol wear.

Trump isn’t the first presidential candidate to bear witness to violence at his rallies and neither is he the first to see some supporters turn into a menacing militia group.

During the 1936 US presidential election, the son of a Methodist minister from Massachusetts entered the race as a candidate for the Christian Party.

William Dudley Pelley was a foreign correspondent across Europe and Russia in the years after World War I and a Hollywood screen writer in the 1920s before becoming leader of the Silver Legion of America and the Christian Party in the 1930s.

Pelley embraced the wave of fascism that washed over society in the ’30s and openly declared: “The time has come for an American Hitler.” He printed his own mouth organ newspaper called Pelley’s Weekly which focused its written attacks on Roosevelt, left-wing politics, blacks, Jews and immigrant minorities.

On January 30 1933 Pelley founded the Silver Legion of America in Asheville, North Carolina. Membership was open only to white Christian males while the uniform consisted of a silver shirt, blue trousers and a red letter “L” emblazoned on the breast of the shirt.

The silver shirts, as they became known, turned out across many towns and cities across the United States putting on mass rallies where Pelley spoke about restoring America through extreme patriotism. The right-wing rabble rousing Pelley targeted African Americans, Jews and Irish immigrants through his speeches. To the delight of his followers, Pelley promised to disenfranchise such minorities if he ever rose to power in the land of the free.

Membership of the silver shirts numbered somewhere around 15,000 but this small group and its charismatic leader spewed a terrifying influence over ordinary Americans. Both working-class and middle-class whites saw Pelley and his silver shirts as the answer to America’s problems; this was a time in the country’s history when the great depression was sweeping the land.

At silver shirt rallies, Pelley’s speeches hung heavy with words of great threat. Pelley favoured building a mental wall of isolation around America. He favoured a ban on immigrants, most notably Jewish and Irish, from entering the United States. He favoured a more militaristic approach to creating a moral America.

Pelley received funds through connections in nazi Germany and set about building a world headquarters for the Silver Legion in a remote part of the Hollywood hills.

At Murphy Ranch outside Los Angeles the flag of the silver shirts — silver with a red L on the upper left — flew over an urban sprawl. From Murphy Ranch, Pelley established the Galahad College where Christian economics were the main staple of education for the future makers and breakers of America.

A year after forming the Christian Party of America (CPA), Pelley then used it as an engine to propel him to the White House, or so he thought.

The 1936 presidential election campaign in the United States was a particularly dirty one, with Roosevelt receiving most of the personal slander. During the campaign Pelley was largely ignored by the mainstream media who viewed him as a deluded outsider.

It was a chaotic election for Pelley who carried out an extensive country-wide campaign called The Silver Cavalcade, which saw mass rallies often marked by violence.

His running mate was the firebrand silver shirt leader from San Diego Willard Kemp, and even though Pelley had achieved in whipping up enough hysteria through his mass rallies, he did not achieve in winning over the political system.

Washington state was the only place where his name appeared on the ballot paper.

On election day, Pelley won just under 2,000 votes. He finished far behind both the socialist and communist candidates.

The violent tendencies of Pelley’s supporters continued after the 1936 presidential campaign. In 1938 three Chicago silver shirt meetings ended in riots. One of them saw Pelley’s right-hand man Roy Zachery fined 15 dollars for disorderly behaviour and a stint in hospital when he received severe head injuries.

In 1939, five silver shirt members from Chicago smashed the windows of the Goldblatt brothers’ department store. The streets became mini war zones for those attending silver shirt rallys but Pelley’s supporters were all too often met by counter demonstrators which usually resulted in the silver shirts turning on their heels.

After the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 Pelley dissolved his silver shirts and Galahad College disintegrated. That same year, state police in California took over Murphy Ranch and Pelley’s dream of a morally upright, fascist and isolated America faded away.

Pelley would spend the rest of his years battling the federal government through court cases. Pelley was later sentenced to 15 years for sedition and after serving just under eight years, he was released. Pelley died at the age of 75 in 1965.

The … politics of the ’30s which propelled Pelley and his like were summed up by the writer Mary McCarthy. In 1936 she wrote about the atmosphere around Pelley’s presidential campaign in The Nation magazine as being “wild, comic, theatrical, dishonest, disorganised, hopeful and not revolutionary.” Eighty years later those words might hold some meaning again as we enter the end stages of what has been a wildly comical non-revolutionary presidential campaign.

Pelley propagated the paranormal, and was an influence on the I Am religious organisation, an influence on later ‘New Age’ movements like the ‘Church Universal and Triumphant‘.

Dutch seventeenth-century art about Brazilian animals


Giant anteater by Frans Post

This drawing, by Dutch painter Frans Post (1612-1680), depicts a giant anteater.

In 1637-1644, Post was in northeast Brazil, then part of the Dutch colonial empire. He painted local landscapes. And he also made 34 drawings of Brazilian animals; these drawings were only recently found again.

From 7 October 2016 till 8 January 2017, there will be in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in the Netherlands an exhibition showing these drawings, paintings and stuffed animals of the depicted species from the collection of Naturalis museum in Leiden.

Some of the animal species depicted by Post can also be seen alive in Artis zoo in Amsterdam. On 7 October, a drawing contest will start of depictions of these animals by zoo visitors.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Friday, March 4, 2016, 1:30 pm

The Dutch painter Frans Post was the first European-trained artist to paint landscapes in the New World. His depictions of the Dutch colony in northeast Brazil provided Europeans some of the earliest glimpses of South America. After a seven-year stay in Brazil, Post returned to the Netherlands to create for the Dutch art market numerous landscape paintings of this remote and exotic place. James Welu, Director Emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum, in Massachusetts, explores the wealth of information these paintings offer, both about the land that inspired them and the people who acquired them.

Ancient Jewish scroll now legible


This video says about itself:

How to open an ancient scroll without touching it | Science News

21 September 2016

Researchers describe the digital steps it took to unwrap a charred, roughly 1,700-year-old scroll and read its ancient Biblical text.

Credit: Seth Parker, Univ. of Kentucky.

From Science News:

Digital rehab exposes Biblical roots of ancient Israeli scroll

Virtual unwrapping reveals Hebrew text inside fragile artifact

by Bruce Bower

2:00pm, September 21, 2016

Researchers have digitally unwrapped and read an ancient Hebrew scroll that’s so charred it can’t be touched without falling apart. It turns out the document contains the oldest known Biblical text outside of the roughly 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, the investigators say.

Archaeologists discovered the scroll’s remnants in a synagogue’s holy ark during a 1970 excavation in Israel of En-Gedi, a Jewish community destroyed by fire around 600.

In a series of digital steps, slices from a 3-D scan of the En-Gedi scroll were analyzed to bring letters and words into relief on a pieced-together, virtual page. Those images revealed passages from the book of Leviticus written in ink on the scroll’s disintegrating sheets. Radiocarbon results date the scroll to approximately 300, making it the earliest copy of an Old Testament book ever found in a holy ark, scientists report September 21 in Science Advances.

This computerized recovery and conservation process can now be used to retrieve other ancient documents “from the brink of oblivion,” the researchers say.

How to read a book without opening it. Radiation technique can aid studies of ancient texts. By Emily Conover, 6:00am, October 19, 2016: here.