Libel trial an affront to humanity

It is a disgrace to humankind that the British are allowing a libel trial to proceed on the question of whether Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust.

We can't even imagine how survivors must feel as the British court ponders whether accounts of 6 million deaths are a lie.

The case revolves around a book written in 1993 by Deborah Lipstadt, Emory University Holocaust scholar. In the book, titled "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory" and published by Penguin Books, Lipstadt charges that author David Irving is a Holocaust denier.

Irving sued Lipstadt for libel, but he did it in Britain, where the burden of the proof in libel cases is on the person who is being sued. That means Lipstadt is forced to prove that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, and Irving is allowed to dispute each piece of evidence she produces.

This monkey trial supposedly will go on for three months, and even if Irving loses, which he surely will, he will nevertheless win the attention he craves and the status of martyr among other Holocaust deniers.

Acting as his own attorney, Irving announced that he wants to put the Jewish world on trial. He is raising the old canard about the Anti-Defamation League keeping dossiers on people.

No doubt the ADL has a huge file on him. Irving has written 30 books on World War II and has been interviewed by thousands of publications. ADL didn't spy on him; it just collected everything that was ever said about him and everything he ever said publicly.

For instance, in a speech he gave in Calgary, Alberta, in 1991, he said, "I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz."

This is what Lipstadt has to defend herself against.

In the meantime, we all suffer the embarrassment and indignity that Irving is perpetuating with the help of the British court system.

Fifty-some years may have passed since the Holocaust, but those who want to destroy us are still among us.