In today's Ithaca Journal, probably in response to Lipstadt's talk, Daniel McGowan, emeritus professor of economics at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, New York, had a letter published putting forth the classic arguments of Holocaust deniers - that the "Final Solution" was not extermination, that there were no gas chambers used by the Nazis, and that fewer than 6 million Jews were killed. He argues these points as part of his attack on the state of Israel: "The Holocaust narrative makes Jews the ultimate victim no matter how they dehumanize or ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people." He also claims that the "Holocaust narrative of industrialized extermination has been an important tool to drive the United States into Iraq and now into Iran." I'm not going to argue against his pseudo-historical claims, because I agree with Lipstadt that there is no point in arguing about the Holocaust with deniers.
Instead, I'd like to point out some of McGowan's other writings, available on the internet, which make clear how he has become enmeshed in the Holocaust denial movement.
1. "What does Holocaust denial really mean?" - Denial. This letter is posted on the "Zundelsite" - dedicated to the defense of Ernst Zündel, who is currently in prison in Germany for Holocaust denial. This letter is more explicit than the one published in the Ithaca Journal. Among other things, he says, "Is it really 'beyond international discourse' to question the efficacy and the forensic evidence of homicidal gas chambers? If other myths, like making soap from human fat, have been dismissed as Allied war propaganda, why is it 'unacceptable behavior' to ask if the gas chamber at Dachau was not reconstructed by the Americans because no other homicidal gas chamber could be found and used as evidence at the Nuremburg trials?"
2. Similar letter published on the website of CODOH ("Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust") - Denial. CODOH says that the Holocaust must be "debated," meaning that the usual canons of historical research must be abandoned for the pseudo-scientific arguments put forth by deniers. In this letter McGowan writes: "Are these revisionist contentions so odious as to cause those who believe them to be reviled, beaten, and imprisoned? More importantly, is it possible that revisionist contentions are true, or even partially true, and that they are despised because they contradict the story of the Holocaust, a story which has been elevated to the level of a religion in hundreds of films, memorials, museums, and docudramas?"
3. The same letter appears under the title European Union to Penalize Holocaust Deniers.
4. A Visit in Prison with Ernst Zuendel. In December of 2006, McGowan visited Zundel in prison in Germany. This is his account of the visit.
More on Zundel - Zundel deported to Germany and Zundel sentenced to five years in prison in Germany.