Nor­way de­nies Irv­ing a plat­form

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - By cRAig Sil­veR

A WAve of protest has re­sulted in an in­vi­ta­tion to the con­victed holo­caust de­nier David irv­ing to a lit­er­ary fes­ti­val in Nor­way be­ing with­drawn.

irv­ing was jailed in Aus­tria and banned from en­ter­ing sev­eral coun­tries be­cause of his claims that the gas cham­bers in Auschwitz were fake.

Or­gan­is­ers of the Nor­we­gian fes­ti­val of Lit­er­a­ture with­drew its in­vi­ta­tion to irv­ing to be the in­au­gu­ral speaker at the event, due to take place in Lille­ham­mer next May. he had been sched­uled to speak on the 2009 fes­ti­val theme: Truth.

As a re­sult, Stig Sæter­bakken, who was in charge of the artis­tic con­tent of the fes­ti­val, re­signed. he was re­ported to have said that it would be good for the fes­ti­val if irv­ing took part.

how­ever, Odd Bjorn fure, di­rec­tor of the Nor­we­gian holo­caust Cen­tre in Oslo, said: “i con­sider it a ma­jor fail­ure and demon­stra­tion of bad judg­ment by the fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers to have in­vited irv­ing.

“it has been demon­strated in Lon­don that he had no cred­i­bil­ity as a se­ri­ous his­tor­i­cal writer, and it’s a to­tal catas­tro­phe to in­vite some­one who has com­mit­ted fal­si­fi­ca­tions to sus­tain al­le­ga­tions and opin­ions about his­tory.

“i have crit­i­cised the or­gan­is­ers for in­volv­ing him, for the ex­treme con­se­quences it might cause. i have no ob­jec­tion to him be­ing there, but he will be met by the crit­i­cal views of civilised so­ci­ety.”

There were strong re­ac­tions when it be­came known that irv­ing had been in­vited to the fes­ti­val. Many au­thors warned that they would pull out if he re­mained on the pro­gramme.

The free speech or­gan­i­sa­tion, fritt Ord, was also among the crit­ics, and wanted its logo re­moved from the fes­ti­val’s ad­ver­tis­ing ma­te­rial.

But the fes­ti­val di­rec­tor, Randi Skeie, said that irv­ing had been in­vited pre­cisely be­cause he de­nies the truth and fal­si­fies his­tory.

“ini­tially, we wanted to ex­pose irv­ing but then the is­sue be­came a ques­tion of free speech. ev­ery­thing is fine as long as every­one agrees, but things get more dif­fi­cult when one doesn’t l i ke t h e v i e w s b e i n g p u t for­ward.”

Irv­ing : in­vi­ta­tion with­drawn

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