MANNING THE BARRICADES AT FORT ZINDERNEUF
When the 13th IHR Conference was called to order in late May 2000 - the first such conference that the IHR had organized since 1994 - the torrent of adverse publicity about David Irving had not abated. The magnitude of Irving's recent defeat, however, was neither manifest nor understood. Weber and Raven's response was to attempt to minimize the impact of Mr. Justice Gray's devastating findings. The advance publicity for the conference proclaimed: "HR's May Conference to Spearhead Revisionism's Post-Lipstadt Counterattack." (IHR Update; May 2000). Desperately searching for some good news in the verdict of the court they told the faithful that: "Irving's valiant, lonely courtroom battle against impossible odds is now the stuff of legend. . . . . an examination of the trial record and of Judge Charles Gray's decision shows that Irving, ably assisted in his research by undercover academics, made new inroads against the alleged gas chambers of Auschwitz." (IHR Update; May 2000) The IHR produced a parade of speakers representing the old guard of Holocaust denial; of the fourteen speakers presented who were not connected with the IHR, 10 represented this position. Sounding like a aging chorus line for "Springtime for Hitler," speaker after speaker confidently claimed that David Irving had struck another fatal blow to the historical acceptance of the Holocaust. The frantic scramble to place Irving's fiasco in a favorable light was futile. Declarations like "Irving's courtroom breakthrough comes as no surprise." and "IHR's renascence from years of draining litigation coincides with an explosion of public interest in Holocaust revisionism." were boasts as hollow as a publicists for George Armstrong Custer bragging about how many Indians had been dispatched at the Little Big Horn.
In the interval between the 13th IHR conference and the 14th, both the world and the IHR changed. The podium at the 13th conference had been dominated by Holocaust deniers and the sole new title announced by Noontide Press - the publishing arm of the IHR - was an English translation of Germar Rudolf's "Dissecting the Holocaust." This narrow focus would not be repeated at the IHR's next conference two years later.
Only about 100 people paid to attend the 14th IHR conference in June 2002; this was significantly less than the paid attendance at the 13th conference (about 150). The number of speakers shrank as well. At the 14th conference only nine speakers from outside the IHR took the podium; only four were holdovers from the 13th conference and these were the only representatives of traditional Holocaust denial. The stalwarts that had been in the spotlight at the 13th conference - David Irving, Ernst Zundel, Arthur Butz, Germar Rudolf, and other defenders of the Third Reich - were not even present for moral support. Instead the IHR presented a program based on a broad sampling of traditional anti-Semitic activism with a decided emphasis on anti-Israeli propaganda.
The contrast between the scheduled speakers at their last two conferences provides a clear indication of the new direction that the IHR was taking. The shift on emphasis is demonstrated by. The 13th conference had featured only one speaker ("Pete" McCloskey) who deviated from the emphasis on Holocaust denial to present the position of political anti Semitism. The 14th conference combined open attacks on Israel (Phillip F. Tourney and Said Arikat) to traditional attacks on "Jewish power" from Mark Weber in a "keynote address" which was later published on the Internet by the Arab News, an official organ of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Another speaker (Joseph Sobran) is infamous for his obsessive hatred of Israel; and Tony Martin delivered his usual address blaming Jews and the Talmud for the African slave trade. This traditional anti-Semitism was represented by more speakers than the Nazi sympathizers of Holocaust denial who had dominated previous conventions. A further indication of this new direction for the IHR was the announced by Noontide Press of their first new book in two years - and the only one announced at the conference: Roger Garaudy's "The Founding Myths of Israel."
The basic philosophy and message of the IHR was not lost on those attending the conference. The comments of those who attended the 14th IHR conference leave no doubt that not only is the IHR an anti-Semitic organization but that it openly encourages anti Semitism. In the words of one glowing review of the conference published by the IHR " you also go home with the feeling that you're not alone in your struggle against the Jews." (Walter F. Mueller; e-mail to the IHR June 23, 2002) In another - also published by the IHR - an attendee thanks the IHR for its anti-Semitic stands: "I was especially heartened to learn that the IHR intends to continue to study and reveal the all-important Jewish role in history and human events, and that the Journal will be expanding into new and fascinating areas of history in which this strange people's activities will be brought into the light of day . . ." (e mail from "JB" to the IHR; June 30, 2002)
The impetus for this major change in direction was clearly the IHR's need for new sources of revenue. As Germar Rudolf and Theodore J. O'Keefe have recently documented, the fiscal fortunes of the IHR had declined so steeply that by 2001 the survival of the organization was in question. Their income, according to Theodore O'Keefe ("Exit the Whistleblower") declined because of the failure to add to the list of books the IHR published or replace the subscribers to the Journal of Historical Review that had vanished during the feud with Carto. According to O'Keefe (who was fired as editor and treasurer of the corporation shortly after the 14th conference), the IHR began to delay paychecks for the first time in early 2002. The financial condition was at times so desperate that Raven and Weber offered to sell the mailing list of "The Spotlight" to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (O'Keefe) and were forced to borrow about $200,000.00 from Holocaust denier Andrew Allen (Form 990). It was quite obviously time for them to look for new sources of revenue.
Last modified: September 5, 2002