David Irving in new Holocaust libel claim

Historian David Irving has threatened to sue the Jewish Chronicle after it called him a Holocaust denier.

Irving was released from prison in Austria in December last year after serving almost a year of a three-year sentence imposed in February of that year for having denied the Holocaust.

In 2000, Irving lost a libel case against Dr Deborah Lipstad and her publisher, Penguin Books, after she accused him of Holocaust denial.

Now Irving has written to the Jewish Chronicle saying: “This letter puts your publication on notice that if you should print or otherwise publish anywhere including on your internet website any statement carrying the defamatory and now demonstrably untrue meaning, whether implicit or explicit, that I am ‘an active Holocaust denier’, or any variations on that phrase carrying the same purport, then I shall without further notice issue a Claim in Defamation against yourselves and the author or authors of the libel, and I shall produce this letter at the hearing of the action as evidence that you published the said libel in the face of such a written warning in support of a possible claim for aggravated damages.”

The newspaper responded on Friday last week with a front page lead story about the historian’s threat – and a panel headlined: “Oh, Mr Irving, here are our lawyers’ details” which gives the name and address of solicitors Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.

Irving’s threat of legal action followed the newspaper’s coverage of his plans for a nationwide speaking tour.

Jewish Chronicle editor David Rowan said: “Irving is a discredited propagandist and manipulator of history who clearly sees publicity stunts such as this as his best means of rehabilitating his reputation among his supporters.

“Even though we are aware that he will delight in gaining further coverage from these threats, we believe it is vital to expose his agenda at every turn.

“As the last generation of Holocaust survivors passes on, it becomes ever more important that newspapers such as this challenge and demolish his assertions.”

In a 331-page judgment at the end of Irving’s 2000 libel trial, Mr Justice Gray said: “The charges which I have found to be substantially true include the charges that Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist and that he associates with right wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.”

Irving tried to appeal against the decision, but the Court of Appeal rejected his application for permission to appeal.

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