History on Trial by Deborah E. Lipstadt

23 May

I just returned from a work trip to Raleigh, North Carolina.  I like to bring a book on my trips to read on the airplane and clear my mind at night.  With my parents coming to visit us next weekend, I thought a book for discussing with them would be a good idea.  We had chatted recently, and my mom mentioned she heard the book ‘History on Trial’ by Deborah Lipstadt was going to be produced as a movie, and that Hillary Swank was to play the author.  Mom had dropped off a copy of the book sometime ago, but I had yet to start reading it.  So, I decided to read it on this trip.

Even though I knew the ending of the story (i.e. Dr. Lipstadt wins the case), I did not have a grasp on its details nor the extent of the judgment.  As an American who lived in the United Kingdom, I understand there are segments of our law that differ.  However, I was unaware that suing for libel was significantly different between our nations. Specifically it is much harder to sue for libel in the US, as the plaintiff must prove defamation.  The UK legal system is the opposite, it puts the burden onto the defendant to prove the allegedly defamatory statements are true.  One could infer that either people are more careful about what they write in the UK (which would be surprising if you saw the tabloids) or there is high rate of people settling out of court to avoid time, court costs and other risks.

Nevertheless, I am happy that I read this book.  I appreciated how Dr. Lipstadt’s presented her thoughts and feelings as she went through this emotionally draining experience.  I was also quite impressed with the people who rallied around her and supported her through the many challenges during her legal battles.  I also empathized with her predicament, as she was an American who had to put her trust and faith in others to steer her through very foreign waters.

It is clear why many think this court case has taken the wind out of western holocaust deniers.  Unfortunately, I think that these sick antisemites have successfully marketed their wares in the Middle East, as can be seen by the speeches from Iran, Hamas/ Muslim Brotherhood and many others.  I hope at some point in my lifetime, these sychophants are realized for what they are and the Middle Eastern countries are able to shake free from the fog of deceit.