My expulsion from both my local branch of PSC in Brighton, and from national PSC, and the upholding of the latter expulsion on appeal last Saturday, raises interesting questions about the right to free thought and speech.
I fully accept the right of PSC to expel me on the basis of my views, if these were found incompatible with the constitution. The issue at stake, however, was my questioning of what we are told about the suffering of Jews under the Nazis.
I shouldn’t need to, but I will make it absolutely clear that I accept that Jews suffered terribly under the Nazis. My questioning is simply about the nature of that suffering. PSC’s constitution, at the time I adopted this position on Brighton & Hove PSC’s closed email group, did not proscribe ‘Holocaust denial’.
Accordingly, I assumed that the Executive’s case against me at the appeal would be the accusation of anti-Semitism. My speech was prepared on this basis, but I discovered that Hugh Lanning’s speech was exclusively related to what I had said about the ‘Holocaust’.
Since the procedure laid down for my appeal had declared that I should make a five minute speech, to be followed by a five-minute speech on behalf of the PSC executive, with no right of reply on my side, I was not able to point out the inconsistency of expelling me for adopting a position which was not against the constitution (even if it now is).
But let’s look a little more carefully as this issue. Some time ago I read Joel Hayward’s MA thesis about revisionism and I met Germar Rudolf, a chemist who carefully evaluated the evidence at Auschwitz and found the conventional story seriously wanting. I then expressed my doubts, and because this earned me the label of ‘Holocaust denier’, I decide the best tactic was not to go on protesting that I was really a revisionist. OK, I thought; what if I am a ‘Holocaust denier?’
Can it really be right to forbid any discussion on this subject which contradicts what has become almost holy writ? The view I hear so often is that if I say the story isn’t entirely credible, then I’m saying that the Jews whose testimony forms the basis of the orthodox story are liars, and that’s anti-Semitism.
But wait a minute. Jews, like anyone else, can make mistakes, may even, dare I say it, sometimes massage the truth. On the other hand, some Jews who witnessed what happened under the Nazis may have reported exactly what they saw, but this was interpreted by others to confirm the standard view. Another possibility is that they themselves interpreted what was happening around them in terms of allied propaganda or pre-war rumours. I don’t claim to know the truth. On the basis of what I’ve read, I simply question the standard view.
In a society which proclaims the right to free thought and speech, can this really be wrong? Should I suppress my thoughts, or if I’m unable to do this, should I simply keep my mouth shut for fear of upsetting those whose identity is so tied up with the ‘Holocaust’?
Perhaps I would do this, if I didn’t believe that the group whose identity is so tied up with ‘the Holocaust’ is collectively oppressing the Palestinians. Politicians with the power to rectify the crimes committed in Palestine back off because of the fear they will be accused of enabling ‘another Holocaust,’ or to put it more simply, of anti-Semitism.
You will notice that I put inverted commas round the word ‘Holocaust’. This is because I believe we need to draw attention to the almost religious nature of the ‘Holocaust’ story. Maybe my doubts about the standard version of what happened under the Nazis are unjustified. Future historians will be the judge of that.
But I have no doubts about the use of ‘the Holocaust’ for political purposes, and this use is greatly enhanced by the special word and the capital H of ‘Holocaust,’ and still more by the prohibition on any questioning of the standard narrative. Fortunately in this country that prohibition is only moral and social; in many other countries it is legal. What a strange way to value the right to free thought and speech enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!