Notorious British Holocaust revisionist David Irving will be speaking in New York City on Saturday, but don’t ask him where. Because he tends to draw protesters, Irving has implemented an elaborate procedure on his current United States tour in which would-be attendees must register on his website, at which point, Irving said in an interview with Tablet Magazine, he uses screening software to weed out likely protesters. Those who pass the screening are then notified by email a few hours before the event about where it will take place. “We have to do that because various Jewish groups will go out of their way to smash me up,” Irving said.
Elan Steinberg, vice-president of a national organization called the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, told Tablet Magazine that Irving is scheduling his engagements this way for another reason. It’s “a way of disguising who he is to hotel managers and others who rent out public venues,” Steinberg said. “Time and time again, hotel managers, bookshops, etc, have allowed him to speak there not realizing who he is.” The American Gathering is therefore alerting the press that Irving will be in town, in the hope that venue managers will inquire into the identity of any mysterious guests who might be renting space on Saturday, Steinberg said. That strategy worked in Jackson, Mississippi, he said, when his group notified the city’s mayor that Irving planned to speak at City Hall, prompting Irving to move his talk to a different location.
In the case of his upcoming New York engagement, a spy-versus-spy situation has emerged: a group called New Yorkers Against David Irving is attempting to infiltrate the lecture; Irving, in turn, said that two of his followers were present at the protest organization’s planning meeting last night. Steinberg said that the American Gathering is not attempting to get on Irving’s email list, but that if he gets a tip on Irving’s whereabouts ahead of time, he’ll send his own email inviting members to go protest.
A talk Irving gave in Palm Beach, Fla., late last month, ended in violence, not between followers and protesters, but between two followers, one of whom police identified as a white supremacist, according to the Jackson Free Press. They got into a knife fight outside the meeting room.
Knife Fight at Holocaust Denier Book-Signing [Jackson Free Press]
Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.