Famed Holocaust denier David Irving is in Manhattan today, ready to fan the flames of anti-Semitism once again — that is, if he can find a place that will let him in the door.
Irving is on a three-month, 50-city speaking tour, but the venue he had booked for today’s 7 p.m., $20-per-ticket event abruptly canceled after activists from the group Anti-Racist Action called to protest Irving’s appearance there. Apparently, the Upper West Side church hall run by the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association had no idea it would be hosting a man widely considered to be the world’s most effective and dangerous Holocaust denier.
The Baptist Association declined to comment, but activists familiar with Irving said it was likely that he had booked the venue without using his name or giving any details about the nature of the event. As of press time, Irving had not returned a call from the Voice.
Irving, a British author and historian, was imprisoned for a little over a year in Austria for the crime of glorifying the Nazi Party, and is considered an intellectual hero by many white supremacists. This is his first visit to the U.S. since his release from prison in 2006.
In an earlier email message to his American fans, Irving wrote: “I’ll be speaking in private about my latest researches in secret files and what I have found in them about Hitler, Himmler, and the real truth about the Holocaust, and throwing the discussion open after that. And of course I’ll be telling my friends, among whom I include you, a bit about that imprisonment too: why ‘Old Europe’ still finds it needs to lock up – together with rapists, drug dealers, white slavers, murderers – those historians, even best-sellers like myself, who find and publish WW2 history that veers away from what governments like people to believe.”
Among the groups that had promoted Irving’s New York event was the League of American Patriots, a new white supremacist group based in New Jersey. According to their website, the League comprises people of “European ancestry” interested in halting “the rapid demographic decline of the European peoples in our homeland.” They are, essentially, a pro-segregation, anti-immigration group because “persons of European ancestry are incompatible with those of Third World origin, [so] we oppose all ‘social experiments’ aimed at mixing the two.”
Apparently, however, Italian folks are just fine. On his website, Irving noted that tonight’s venue had been changed to Primavera Ristorante, an Upper East Side eatery. However, a man who answered the phone there emphatically denied that the restaurant was hosting the controversial author. “There is no speaking event. This is all a misunderstanding, he never booked something. He just posted something on his website,” the man said.
Never the less, anti-racist activists who have been tracking Irving will be outside waiting, just in case the old Brit shows up.
Irving is scheduled to speak at an unidentified Philadelphia bookstore on Friday, and then on to Baltimore, D.C. and many Southern cities. For a complete listing of his speaking events, go to focal.org.
“We are definitely following the tour,” activist Daryle Lamont Jenkins tells the Voice. Jenkins runs One People’s Project, a website founded to oppose the white supremacist National Alliance. He points out that Irving, an out-of-towner, is easy to get rid of. It’s the locals that can be truly worrisome. “Some of the nastier folks we’ve been dealing with these last 8 years were planning on going to the New York event and when Irving is gone, they are still here.”