Do we now have a Holocaust Denial law? Confusion reigns after Chabloz ruling

Jewish boxer confronts free speech defender outside Chabloz trial

Reaction to Friday’s conviction of Alison Chabloz for posting “grossly offensive” videos to YouTube has left great confusion as to whether England now has a de facto law against ‘Holocaust denial’, and if not whether such a law is likely to be enacted. The confusion has been heightened by contradictory messages from two prosecution witnesses, Gideon Falter and Stephen Silverman of the hardline Zionist pressure group Campaign Against Antisemitism.  It was CAA that first brought a private prosecution against Ms Chabloz, after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided not to bring charges.  The CPS later obediently came into line, taking over this private prosecution at public expense.

District Judge John Zani convicted Ms Chabloz of three offences against the Communications Act 2003, but his ill-argued judgment has done nothing to clarify matters.

For H&D the main interest of this case involved one of the three songs for which Ms Chabloz was prosecuted – namely (((Survivors))), which mocked the lies and fantasies propagated by three supposed ‘Holocaust survivors’, Elie Wiesel, Irene Zisblatt and Otto Frank.  H&D‘s assistant editor Peter Rushton gave defence evidence, based on research at the British Library, which established that these three ‘survivors’, especially Wiesel and Zisblatt, had been subjected to pungent abuse from mainstream academics and commentators.  As defence barrister Adrian Davies asked the court: can it be “grossly offensive” to call someone a liar if that person demonstrably is a liar?

Yet in his 24-page judgment, a copy of which has been made available to H&D, Judge Zani completely ignores this challenge, leaving it still an open question – even after Ms Chabloz’s conviction – whether one can be guilty of “grossly offensive” communications regardless of truth or falsehood.  Is the communication liable to be judged “grossly offensive”, and therefore criminal, whether or not it is truthful?

Elie Wiesel (left) pro-Israel propagandist and High Priest of Holocaustianity, with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

In para 56 of his judgment, Zani states: “This court is not required to decide whether, for example, the Holocaust actually occurred, or whether records maintained in respect thereof are accurate.” At issue was whether the material was “grossly offensive”, and “the relevant test is the standards to be applied of an open and just multicultural society”. Zani relied on an earlier ruling by the House of Lords that “if a member of a relevant ethnic minority who heard the messages would have found them grossly offensive, it is not easy to escape the conclusion that the messages would be regarded as grossly offensive by reasonable persons in general, judged by the standards of an open and multi-racial society.”

In other words, if a Jew is grossly offended by something, the rest of “reasonable” society is required also to regard it as “grossly offensive”.

In para 111 of his judgment, Zani appears to contradict his earlier claim that he would not be taking a view on the truth or falsehood of ‘Holocaust history’. He writes: “It is this court’s opinion that certain historical events affecting members of the Jewish community as well as comments made of certain selected Jewish individuals (the defendant has here focused on Elie Wiesel, Otto Frank and Irene Zisblatt) have been deliberately portrayed in a way that members of an open and multi-cultural society would find particularly insulting, upsetting and disrespectful.”

Does Judge Zani believe that the Communications Act forces Britons to hold a ‘respectful’ view of liars and fantasists?

Columnist Christopher Hitchens dismissed Elie Wiesel in grossly offensive terms: Judge Zani refused to explain when and how such attacks become criminalised

The learned Judge simply fails to answer the points made in Mr Rushton’s defence evidence concerning (for example) Elie Wiesel and Irene Zisblatt.  Fifteen years before he attracted Alison Chabloz’s attention, Elie Wiesel was subjected to deliberately offensive criticism in a widely read column by one of the world’s leading journalists, the late Christopher Hitchens. In a column printed under the headline ‘Wiesel Words’ in the American left-liberal magazine The Nation on 19th February 2001, Mr Hitchens wrote: “Is there a more contemptible poseur and windbag than Elie Wiesel?” The saintly Wiesel is subjected to further pungent abuse at the hands of his fellow Jew, Prof. Norman Finkelstein, in the latter’s book, The Holocaust Industry, where he is accused of acting as “official interpreter of The Holocaust… By conferring total blamelessness on Jews, the Holocaust dogma immunizes Israel and American Jewry from legitimate censure.”

Finkelstein goes to the heart of the matter in the following paragraph: “Apart from the frailties of memory, some Holocaust survivor testimony may be suspect for additional reasons. Because survivors are now revered as secular saints, one doesn’t dare question them. Preposterous statements pass without comment. Elie Wiesel reminisces in his acclaimed memoir that, recently liberated and only 18 years old, ‘I read The Critique of Pure Reason – don’t laugh! – in Yiddish.’ Leaving aside Wiesel’s acknowledgment that at the time ‘I was wholly ignorant of Yiddish grammar,’ The Critique of Pure Reason was never translated into Yiddish. …And to a New York Times reporter, he recalls that he was once hit by a taxi in Times Square. ‘I flew an entire block. I was hit at 45th Street and Broadway, and the ambulance picked me up at 44th.’ ‘The truth I present is unvarnished,’ Wiesel sighs, ‘I cannot do otherwise.’”

Holocaust fantasist Irene Zisblatt: the latest court judgment implies we must treat her lies with respect.

An even more ludicrous fantasist than Wiesel is another Chabloz target, Irene Zisblatt, who has best been exposed by a Polish Jewish scholar, Dr Joachim Neander. (Again Dr Neander’s work was submitted in Mr Rushton’s defence evidence.) He writes: “Mrs Zisblatt has gone public with a dubious story, and in a free society, she and her followers must stand scholarly criticism of it, even if it hurts. …What if the kids, who were deeply impressed by Mrs Zisblatt’s story, some day reach for a scholarly book about the Holocaust or a memoir vetted by experts and find out that things could not have happened as told by her? …Teaching falsehood, even with the best intentions, is always dangerous and counterproductive.”

Dr Neander details many obvious falsehoods and inconsistencies in Mrs Zisblatt’s story. For example, she claimed that when she was in the Birkenau camp, the crematorium chimneys were “spewing ashes” and that these hot ashes fell like rain around her. Most infamously, Mrs Zisblatt claimed that throughout her captivity she concealed four diamonds given her by her mother, repeatedly swallowing the diamonds and recovering them from among her faeces in the camp latrine.

Other absurd tales peddled by Zisblatt include her miraculous escape from a gas chamber, and her return visit to Birkenau in the 1990s when she claimed to have visited a “gas chamber” – “When I got to the entrance I grabbed onto the door, and dug my fingernails into the blue wall that was still blue from the cyclone B gas [sic]; I could smell the gas that was still very strong.”  As Dr Neander points out, there are no such blue stains and no such gas smell – moreover the only remaining “gas chamber” is admitted to be a postwar reconstruction, in fact better described as a falsification (as discovered by Prof Robert Faurisson as long ago as 1976.)

Dr Neander concludes:”It was shown that Mrs Zisblatt’s Holocaust memoir does not stand scholarly scrutiny.  As a whole, the story she tells about her camp experience leaves the impression that it was spiced up with ubiquitous Holocaust legends and enriched with fragments from other survivors’ memoirs.  It is so full of implausibilities that one can understand some of those who – in a ‘worst case scenario’ – begin to doubt everything she tells.”

Yet according to Judge Zani it is “grossly offensive” and therefore illegal to mock the absurd fantasist / liar Irene Zisblatt, at any rate if such mockery is posted online, thus falling within the provisions of the Communications Act.

Gideon Falter (third from right) with colleagues from CAA and other Jewish organisations including Shomrim, meeting the Police & Crime Commissioner of Derbyshire, Hardyal Dhindsa

Does this mean that ‘Holocaust denial’ has been criminalised by the Chabloz case?  In his first reaction after the verdict, Gideon Falter (chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism who had brought the original prosecution) delightedly asserted: “This verdict sends a strong message that in Britain Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories will not be tolerated.”

Yet Falter’s CAA colleague Steve Silverman quickly contradicted his chairman, writing: “There is a misconception that the trial of Alison Chabloz was about the criminalisation of Holocaust denial.  This is a failure to understand the depth of her offending and the danger it presents to British Jews.”  Silverman insisted: “This woman has been responsible for the vilest outpouring of antisemitic hatred I have ever encountered.” He gave various examples of her anti-Jewish rhetoric (strictly unrelated to ‘Holocaust’ revisionism) then concluded: “This is not Holocaust denial; it is the use of Holocaust denial to give people reasons to fear and hate Jews.  Alison Chabloz did this for years, obsessively and with increasing malevolence.”

One interpretation of Judge Zani’s ruling is that – entirely regardless of historical truth or falsehood – Ms Chabloz’s crime was to have been deliberately and callously offensive, as a form of online revenge for having lost a job on a cruise ship a few years ago.  Having failed to respond in any way to Mr Rushton’s defence evidence, Judge Zani writes in para 106: “In the court’s view none of the songs complained of can reasonably be considered to be an acceptable or legitimate attempt by Ms Chabloz to provoke reasoned debate on important topics, rather each of these songs appears to have been designed to spitefully offend others in as grotesque and unpleasant a manner as she felt able to achieve.”

In paras 113-114 Judge Zani concludes: “The defendant has failed, by some considerable margin, to persuade this court that her right to Freedom of Speech, as provided by Article 10, under the guise of her work as an artist, can properly provide her with immunity from prosecution in relation to each of the songs complained of.  Having had the opportunity to assess the Defendant’s live evidence during the course of these proceedings, I am entirely satisfied that she will have intended to insult those to whom the material relates or, at least, that she must have recognised that there was a risk of so doing.”

CAA Patron Sir Eric Pickles, seen here with Prime Minister Theresa May, called within hours of the Chabloz judgment for a new law criminalising ‘Holocaust denial’

A few hours after the judgment, the government’s chief pro-Zionist toady Sir Eric Pickles (newly ennobled as Lord Pickles), former Conservative Party chairman, still chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel and official government “envoy for post-Holocaust issues”, called for a new law specifically criminalising ‘Holocaust denial’.

Pickles, honorary patron of the CAA, told the BBC’s Martin Bashir that although he had previously opposed such a law, the Chabloz case had convinced him that there should be longer sentences for ‘Holocaust denial’.

This exposes the cynical ploy behind the entire Chabloz case charade.  A far longer sentence (up to seven years) would have been available had Ms Chabloz (like Jez Turner) been prosecuted under the Public Order Act, but this would require proving that her songs were likely in all the circumstances to stir up racial hatred.

The Communications Act allowed a far lower standard of proof.  Once the court had found that songs posted to YouTube fell within the legal definitions of this particular Act, all the prosecution had to prove was “gross offensiveness”.  The weasel words of the prosecution and their witnesses, endorsed by Judge Zani, allowed the court to evade the question of whether particular ‘Holocaust’ fables are true or false. We are thus in a very dangerous situation.

The only clearing of this judicial fog will have to come from a new, British based, thoroughly researched challenge to aspects of ‘Holocaust’ history: a challenge that is indubitably grounded in reasoned argument rather than anything that can be easily dismissed as spiteful abuse.

Watch this space…

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