Saturday, 22 April 2017

Professor Paul Preston: 'Holocaust Denier'?

Is Paul Preston a soft core 'holocaust denier'?

THE academic, Professor Paul Preston , described in his book ‘THE SPANISH HOLOCAUST’ as ‘the world’s foremost historian of twentieth-century Spain’; in 2012 published an account of what he called ‘inquisition and extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain’.  By the standards of today, as spelled out by the holocaust expert Deborah Lipstadt this week, this comparison of the holocaust now amounts to what she calls 'soft core holocaust denial'. 

In view of recent developments with regard to the Trump administration’s skirmishes with the Jewish community’s claim to ownership of the term ‘Holocaust’, ought we now to be revisiting Pro. Preston’s employment of the word in the context of the Spanish Civil War? 

Deborah Lipstadt is Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, who wrote 'Denying the Holocaust’ (1993), this week in responding to the recent blunders of the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, she stated in The Alantic journal:
The Holocaust was something entirely different. It was an organized program with the goal of wiping out a specific people. Jews did not have to do anything to be perceived as worthy of being murdered. Old people who had to be wheeled to the deportation trains and babies who had to be carried were all to be killed. The point was not, as in occupied countries, to get rid of people because they might mount a resistance to Nazism, but to get rid of Jews because they were Jews...’
What we have here from Deborah Lipstadt is a claim to Jewish exceptionalism, which specifically excludes claims like that of Prof. Preston about the Spanish tragedy in the 1930s. 

In the last century the linguistic philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, critising dictionary definitions, argued that the meaning of a word is in its use.  

Having seen the recent film 'Denial' portraying Deborah Lipstadt's defence in the defamation case brought against her by the historian David Irving, it would seem that Ms. Lipstad wants to control the meaning of certain words in a totalitarian manner, which would put the words like holocaust in a kind of sacred category which demands an iron law defence of the meaning 'holocaust' that would have offended Wittgenstein. 

Thus, Deborah Lipstadt told the New York Times this week:
The de-Judaization of the Holocaust, as exemplified by the White House statement, is what I term softcore Holocaust denial. Hardcore denial is the kind of thing I encountered in the courtroom. In an outright and forceful fashion, (David) Irving [another historian] denied the facts of the Holocaust.’

As a conversational analyst I would view this as an attempt by Ms. Lipstadt and others to seize control of certain words like 'holocaust' and to deny use of the use of words to other groups like the gypsies etc. and even to poor Professor Preston's depiction of 'The Spanish Holocaust', as a form of intellectual totalitarianism or bullying..

What we are getting here from Professor Lipstadt and others in the 'holocaust industry', is a kind of tyranny of words, dictated and developed by an ideological group with political vested interests.

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