I'm going to preface these remarks by saying, once again, that I don't believe in laws criminalizing Holocaust denial. That being said, I am becoming increasingly convinced that prominent Holocaust deniers are getting themselves arrested to gain attention from the public and the media.
In the case of David Irving, we have a man who not only willfully entered a country that had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, but he bragged about it. He was asking to get arrested, probably both for the publicity and to be relieved of having to pay several million dollars to Deborah Lipstadt for losing his libel suit against her six years ago.
Another example: Yesterday, German neo-Nazi and denier Ernst Zundel yesterday made a request to call Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as an "expert witness" in his Holocaust denial trial. (Entschuldigen Sie: Website auf Deutsch.) This is not a request that's likely to be granted; thus it makes it fairly clear that Zundel is just trying, as he already has by hiring neo-Nazis and fellow travelers as his lawyers, to make a show of his trial and keep his name in the papers.
Apologists for deniers claim, by the way, that Zundel and fellow German denier Germar Rudolf, now in prison serving a five-year term, had their rights violated in being deported from the U.S. back to their country of origin. In fact, both men were deported for having broken U.S. immigration law. In other words, they wanted to get caught, and they were.
By coincidence, the French "Dean of Revisionism," Robert Faurisson was convicted yesterday for the fifth time for Holocaust denial. He was given three months suspended sentence and fined 7,500 Euros (about US$9,500). Did Faurisson not fully know that he would be convicted of breaking France's notorious Gayssot Law when he said to an Iranian television interviewer, "[A]ll those millions of tourists who visit Auschwitz are seeing a lie, a falsification"? After four previous convictions, how could he not?
Again, he did it on purpose, fully knowing the consequences -- a fine that some rich fascist somewhere will pay for him, and, of course, publicity.
This is why laws against Holocaust denial are ultimately self-defeating. Zundel and Faurisson grabbed headlines yesterday that would otherwise have been taken up with real news.
But also make no mistake: These men are not Rosa Parks. They're not fit to have stood in her shadow.