The 14th IHR Conference:
Confident Spirit Marks Successful Meeting
Outstanding speakers and an upbeat spirit marked the 14th Conference of the Institute for Historical Review, June 21-23, 2002, in Irvine, California. Among the high points of the successful three-day meeting was the witty, thought-provoking banquet talk by columnist Joseph Sobran, and the rousing keynote address by IHR Director Mark Weber.
More than a hundred men and women -- some coming from as far away as Australia, Argentina, Switzerland and Britain -- came together in a shared passion for intellectual freedom and truthful history, scorn for the enemies of free expression, and a healthy skepticism of "official" history.
Greg Raven opened the Conference on Friday evening with a welcome to attendees and speakers, and then, serving as MC during the next two days, capably kept the proceedings on track and provided succinct, informative introductions of the speakers. In a brief welcome of his own, Mark Weber praised Greg's dedicated performance during his ten years with the IHR. For the past seven years, said Weber, Greg has quietly shouldered the primary responsibility for handling the Institute's complex financial, business and legal affairs. Greg also played a major role in organizing this conference.
Thirty-five years ago, Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats carried out a surprise attack against the USS Liberty, an American intelligence ship operating in the eastern Mediterranean. Among the 172 American seamen wounded in the murderous attack on June 8, 1967, was Phil Tourney, who spoke on Friday evening. He impressed attendees with his calm earnestness and obvious sincerity and good will. Tourney, who was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroism under fire, is now President of the USS Liberty Veterans Association. He is also co-producer of a stunning new video about the 1967 attack, "The Loss of Liberty," which was presented at the Conference.
The 1967 Zionist attack, said Tourney in a recent Open Letter to President Bush, is "probably the most shameful day in American history." Copies of this Open Letter, published as a full-page advertisement in The Washington Times (June 6, 2002), were distributed to all Conference attendees. "Israel's premeditated, sneak attack, on the USS Liberty was a direct attack on America," Tourney continued. "The disgraceful refusal of unpatriotic American governmental officials of dubious allegiance to defend America and come to the aid of brave Americans under attack can only be characterized as treasonous."
Syndicated columnist and author Joe Sobran was in top form on Saturday evening. In his stimulating banquet address, entitled "For Fear of the Jews," he presented a witty and effective critique of the US-Israel "special relationship." He deftly dissected the Zionist state's familiar pretensions, and detailed how the Holocaust story is used to justify support for Israel. Sobran praised the IHR's Journal of Historical Review for its "calm virtue of critical rationality." And after referring to Mark Weber, whom he has known for years, as a "polite, good-humored, scholarly man," he remarked: "If they can't tell the truth about 'Holocaust deniers,' how can they tell the truth about 'the Holocaust' itself?"
Acknowledging that he is not a specialist of "the Holocaust," Sobran said that he does not consider himself either a "Holocaust denier" or a "Holocaust affirmer." Instead, he said, he is a "Holocaust stipulator." During the question and answer period he spoke of his years-long relationship with National Review and its publisher William Buckley, and about how the influential magazine has changed drastically over the decades.
Since he addressed the first IHR Conference in 1979 -- 23 years ago -- Dr. Faurisson has been a steadfast friend of the Institute. On this occasion, the French scholar presented numerous specific examples of punishments during the Second World War of Germans, by German authorities, for mistreatment of Jews. Such cases cannot, of course, be reconciled with the familiar "Holocaust" extermination story.
He cited, for example, a case in 1944 in German-occupied France involving two German soldiers who, together with French criminals, intimidated French Jews in Nice and forced them to hand over money and jewels. A German military court sentenced one of the soldiers to death and the other to twelve years imprisonment. In its judgment of April 11, 1944, the German court declared: "the fact that the violence in question was directed against Jews in no way excuses the perpetrators… the German reputation has thereby suffered."
Faurisson said that his presentation should not be considered conclusive, but is rather meant to encourage further research on a subject that has been ignored for too many years. "The silence with which this topic has been met up to now, by official Holocaust historians and revisionists alike, is astonishing." This silence is all the more remarkable given that the evidence he cited is not difficult to find. Indeed, some is published in the official 42-volume "blue series" record of the postwar Allied "International Military tribunal" of Nuremberg, 1945-1946.
In his keynote address the IHR Director began by reviewing some highlights of the Institute's work and impact since the 13th Conference, in May 2000. These include the tremendous worldwide media attention garnered last year for the Institute and revisionism through the IHR's role in organizing the "Revisionism and Zionism" conference in Beirut, Lebanon, which was banned shortly before it was to begin by authorities bowing to pressure from the US government and Jewish organizations.
Most of Weber's Saturday afternoon address was devoted to a penetrating look at the origins, nature and impact of Jewish-Zionist power. Citing almost exclusively Jewish sources, Weber stressed the immense power and influence wielded by Jews in today's America. "Throughout history," he said, "Jews have time and again wielded great power to further group interests that are separate from, and often contrary to, those of the non-Jewish populations among whom they live. This creates an inherently unjust and unstable situation that, as history shows, never endures."
"Exposing this insidious power -- in its many manifestations -- will continue to be a important task of the IHR," Weber concluded. "In this new century as well, we pledge to carry on our educational work of truth in history, for the sake not only of our own nation and heritage, but for all humanity." The address was enthusiastically received, with the audience giving it a standing ovation.
In a second address delivered on Sunday afternoon, Weber dealt at length with the future of the IHR and revisionism. The Holocaust story, he said, has become less socially and politically important in recent years, and especially since the September 11 terrorist attacks. At the same time, he added, people everywhere are showing greater interest in, even a craving for, truthful information about the origins of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Zionism, Israel, the US-Israel relationship, and the "Jewish question."
While stressing that the IHR will not abandon its long-standing commitment to revisionist scholarship on "the Holocaust," he said that broadening the IHR's focus is essential if the Institute is to survive and prosper. "The changing world situation offers new opportunities for the IHR, which is almost uniquely positioned to deal candidly and forthrightly, and in a serious way, with topics that are of intense worldwide interest."
Dr. Martin, a professor of African studies at Wellesley College (Massachusetts), presented a closely reasoned look at the techniques used by Jewish groups to marginalize, discredit and silence those whom they regard as harmful to their interests. He cited numerous specific examples, including outright lying and misrepresentation, use of ad hominem and "straw man" arguments, and arranging for pliant stooges to front for Jewish groups. Martin, who has authored or compiled/edited eleven books, came under tremendous attack from organized Jewry in 1993 because he had included a book on the Jewish role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade in a course he was teaching. He recounted the astonishing ordeal in his book, The Jewish Onslaught.
Dr. Tom Sunic, a one-time professor of political science in the United States, and, until recently, a diplomat in the foreign service of his native Croatia, provided a detailed look at the little known mistreatment and mass killings of German prisoners of war and ethnic German civilians in the former Yugoslavia, 1945-1953. He displayed maps showing the network of prison camps in Communist-ruled postwar Yugoslavia, in which many thousands perished.
A seasoned writer and commentator who has often appeared in American television gave a moving and insightful Palestinian perspective on the seemingly intractable Israel-Palestine conflict. Taking aim at the hypocrisy of US policy in the Middle East, Said Arikat said that US support for Israel's brutal oppression of Palestinians is a betrayal of that ideals that Americans claim to uphold. The US routinely holds Arab and other countries to one standard of conduct, while holding the Zionist state to another. For example, he pointed out, US political leaders demand that Palestinians adopt a new constitution, one that is more acceptable to Israel, even though Israel has never had a constitution of any kind.
In a spirited and sometimes humorous address, Robert Countess took a look at the new anti-revisionist study by Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz: Evidence from the Irving Trial. Countess called van Pelt a "superficial Holocaustian," and said that his life and career "is inextricably bound to his religious philosophy of good and evil, with Auschwitz and Nazis as absolute evil and Jews as representing ultimate goodness." As an example of the mystical outlook that, Countess said, is manifest in this book, he cited van Pelt's statement that "the gas chambers changed the whole meaning of architecture."
In his wide-ranging address spiced with humor and philosophical insights, the director of the Adelaide Institute, a leading Holocaust revisionist center in Australia, provided a detailed update on his drawn out legal ordeal. Six years ago, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the country's main Jewish community organization, filed a complaint with the federal "Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission," demanding that Dr. Töben remove allegedly "offensive" material from the Adelaide Institute web site. In 2000 the Commission found the material to be "insulting" and "offensive" to Jews, and a violation of the "Racial Discrimination Act." Töben has sought to comply with the ruling, but refuses to issue an apology, as the Jewish group demands. Unable to hire an attorney, Töben has been obliged to represent himself in this costly legal battle.
One of the most dedicated of revisionist activists, Bradley Smith, traced his intellectual odyssey over the years in a personal, anecdote-filled talk. Referring to his passionate, life-long commitment to free speech, he mentioned, for example, his arrest during the 1950s for selling a book by Henry Miller at his Los Angeles bookstore. Smith spoke about his new, autobiographical work, Break His Bones: The Private Life of a Holocaust Revisionist. Canceled Press Coverage
This Conference was not marred by disruption or incident, even though a major local radio station broadcast an excited report about it on June 21. (In 1989 Jewish activist Irv Rubin and his thuggish Jewish Defense League used threats, intimidation and harassment to disrupt the Ninth IHR Conference, forcing it to move from two hotels. This year, Rubin is in jail, pending his trial on charges of preparing a bomb attack against a mosque in Los Angeles and the office in southern California of a US Congressman of Lebanese ancestry.)
Slightly fewer people than usual attended this 14th IHR Conference because it was held on a weekend that unexpectedly caused scheduling conflicts for quite a few regular attendees, and because this year's conference was organized more hastily than usual, which meant that there was less time to publicize and promote it.
A large-circulation local daily paper, the Orange County Register, assigned staff writer Barbara Kingsley to cover the Conference. In preparation for her report, she interviewed the IHR Director for two hours, and the paper sent a staff photographer to the IHR office. Kingsley also attended sessions on the opening night and on Saturday. Her report, which was expected to be lengthy and rather fair, was set to run on the Sunday morning edition.
On Saturday evening editor Tonnie Katz read Kingsley's article, and then decided to kill it. Katz' decision not to publish the story, in spite of the time and effort the paper had invested in it, was apparently motivated, at least in part, by concern that it would give positive publicity to the IHR's work and views.
The decision by the Register to make no mention whatsoever of the 14th IHR conference is all the more remarkable considering that the last IHR conference -- the 13th, in May 2000 -- was covered by the rival Los Angeles Times in 40-column-inch story, and that even this year's conference was mentioned in the June 14 issue of the Forward, a prominent, nationally-circulated Jewish community weekly, in a front-page story about the IHR and its work.
From The Journal of Historical Review, May/August 2002 (Vol. 21, No. 3/4), page 4.