David Irving praises Manchester University for refusal to restrict his books, attacks 'Jewess' campaigner

The convicted Holocaust denier David Irving has praised Manchester University for its refusal to move his books away from 'open access'.Wikipedia

The convicted Holocaust denier David Irving has praised Manchester University for its refusal to move his books away from 'open access' and attacked 'the Jewess' campaigning for them to be restricted.

Last month, Christian Today revealed that the university had come under fire over its controversial position from the eminent Jewish academic Irene Lancaster, who is leading a campaign to have the books moved in its main John Rylands library.

The campaign follows a successful attempt by Dr Lancaster, who was the first Teaching Fellow in Jewish history at Manchester University, to persuade Churchill College, Cambridge to move Irving's books to available only on request.

Now, Irving has attacked Dr Lancaster, repeatedly calling her 'the Jewess' and praising the 'suitably frosty reply' from Manchester University.

After referring to the Cambridge story, also revealed by Christian Today, Irving has written on his website: 'The Jewess went on to bitch at Manchester University, who have awarded her a suitably frosty reply...Applause for Jewess Irene Lancaster's crazed attempts to get Cambridge, Manchester, and other UK universities to block David Irving's books.' Irving has also attempted to get any supporters to contact Dr Lancaster by publishing an email address for her.

Dr Lancaster, who has engaged in extensive research on the Holocaust and has worked with the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre in Jerusalem, told Chrisian Today: 'The fact that David Irving has attacked me in gross and defamatory language on his website, using the most offensive and insulting of misogynistic and anti-semitic tropes, worthy of the Nazi propaganda he so admires, is proof, if proof is needed, that the man has a problem with women, a specific problem with Jew women, and the greatest problem of all with Jewish women experts in the field of Jewish history and contemporary antisemitism.

'His continuous and increasing vicious personal attacks, in which he yet again falsifies the truth, is proof that Irving is a vicious anti-Semite, liar, distorter of historical evidence, manipulator and Adolf Hitler apologist.'

Meanwhile, Dr Lancaster has written a hard-hitting letter to the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, appealing for support from Jewish leaders.

In the letter written last weekend and seen by Christian Today, Dr Lancaster says that it is 'outrageous' that her campaign has been met with 'deafening absence' from the Chief Rabbi and other Jewish community leaders.

The developments come amid a growing row over antisemitism in British universities and after the Minister for Higher Education, Jo Johnson, urged institutions to tackle 'intimidation and violence' against Jewish students.

In February, Johnson wrote to the chief executives of the representative bodies for higher education institutions, reminding them of their responsibility to ensure students do not suffer 'discrimination, harassment or victimisation'.

That same month, Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge wrote to Johnson expressing concern about the presence of Holocaust-denying material on open display at university libraries.

(R to L) Guy Wilkinson, Irene Lancaster and Rowan Williams at the launch of 'Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen: Between War and Peace' by Yechiel Frish and Yedidya Hacohen.

In his letter, Dr Williams suggested that the government should hold a position on the subject, and points to the 'Prevent' legislation as being a possible tool for tackling the issue.

Dr Williams said that Holocaust-denying material should be labelled and available on request and not indiscriminately, and compares it to jihadi material.

Dr Lancaster described Manchester University as a 'disgrace'.

In a statement to Christian Today, a spokesperson for Manchester University said last month: 'It is true that David Irving's books are available from the University Library...The University's position is that it is important that students should be able to read Irving when they write their essays about Holocaust denial. Their availability is not antisemitic: it shows that our students are discerning persons, and that we trust them.'

The response followed appeals from the Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, Graham Stringer, who has written to the President and Vice Chancellor of Manchester University, Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Dr Lancaster said: 'I am absolutely appalled at the stance taken by Manchester University towards the request by a number of people, including their own Anglican Chaplain and the local MP as well as myself.

'We have asked that the Irving collection be removed from open access on the shelves of the University to closed storage, where they should be labelled as Holocaust-denying material and be available by prior request only to accredited scholars in the field.

'This is a matter of actual and deliberate distortion of fact, not simply expressing unpleasant or unacceptable opinions. With Holocaust denial, there is solid legal judgment to back up the exclusion of these works from history shelves and unrestricted access.

'Greater Manchester is home to the fastest-growing observant Jewish community in Europe and yet time and time again the University simply acts as if we do not exist.

'I regard Manchester University as a disgrace in every way. We Jews are simply not welcome at Manchester University.'

In her letter to the Chief Rabbi, Dr Lancaster wrote: 'It is outrageous that those of us who care about the welfare of the Jewish community and also about the factual nature of history, have, in your deafening absence, had to depend for assistance on well-meaning people who are not Jewish, such as journalists from the national and church press, Anglican chaplains and former Archbishops to do your work for us,' she wrote.

'It is time for the Chief Rabbi of the day to turn his attention to the emergency problem of the well-being of Jewish staff and students on campus, as well as to the increasing menace of anti-Semitic fantasies being taught as factual history by people who obviously despise the Jewish community of this country.

'I and others therefore look forward to hearing from you that you agree to carry out the role for which you were appointed and that you will let me know by return that I am able to inform other interested parties and well-wishers that the future of the Jewish student body and academic staff in this country is finally in the right hands.'

Dr Lancaster has not received a reply from the Chief Rabbi.