Why is Holocaust denier, anti-Semite and disgraced historian David Irving so afraid of scrutiny? If you caught my recent blog on Irving's appearance at Jerry's Restaurant in Phoenix, an appearance protested by a group of local anarchists, you'll know that Irving refused me entrance to the neo-Nazi coffee klatch, even after I offered to pay the $20 admission.
Irving had promised yours truly an interview via e-mail prior to the event, but later reneged. So I ended up sitting at the counter at Jerry's, drinking java and observing the comings and goings of those there for Irving's pseudo-historical lecture. The lecture itself -- despite Irving's contention that it was only about "decoded documents" -- was in fact, according the attendees I spoke with afterwards, about how these docs magically reveal that less than two million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. That is,instead of the historically accurate number of six million.
As a consolation prize, I got to converse with Irving's blonde, Valkyrie-like assistant Jaenelle, who told me of life in London with the not-so great man, while she ate a sandwich and avoided listening to Irving prattle on for the umpteenth time. Since then, I've learned from the blog J to the Power of 7 that Jaenelle's full name is Jaenelle Antas, a former Assistant to the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also states on LinkedIn that she obtained her BA in Political Science from Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. And she has an interest in singing, according to her MySpace profile Jaenellesings. I'll leave it to you to determine how talented she is in that regard.
J to the Power of 7 observes that "Antas is rumored to post on Stormfront's bulletin-board under the identity `Tristania.'" Indeed, the photos posted on Stormfront by Tristania are of the same woman pictured in Irving's online diary -- the same woman I sat next to at Jerry's. Under Tristania's chocolate-chip cookie avatar, Stormfront records that since joining in 2005 Tristania's made thousands of posts to the social networking site for racists. Looks like Tristania's taken down some of her photos since J to the Power of 7 commented on them, but thankfully, not all. Jaenelle defended Irving when we spoke, and if she is in fact "Tristania," as seems to be the case, her sympathies for the far right run deeper than simple loyalty to her boss.
For his part, Irving continues to dodge anyone from the Fourth Estate who attempts to cover his 2009 Shoah-Shirking Tour of the U.S. On July 15, Irving and Antas booked a room at Boise, Idaho's Red Feather Lounge for Irving's usual spiel to the faithful. Nathaniel Hoffman and Rachael Daigle of the Boise Weekly attempted covering the event, and even briefly gave Irving a grilling, staging a sit-in when they were asked to leave. When the management threatened to call the cops, they relented, reluctantly.
David Irving's latest book Banged Up deals with how he was jailed in Austria for Holocaust-denial, and he milks his time in an Austrian hoosegow for all the sympathy he can garner. After his arrest, he tried to save himself a stay in the slammer by stating that he'd changed since making Holocaust-denying remarks in 1989.
"I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz," he told a Vienna court before being sentenced to three years imprisonment. (Irving ultimately ended up serving about a year.) Since then, he's portrayed himself as a victim of censorship. Yet, during his current American tour, Irving and his followers have kept the press at bay with secrecy, disinformation, and the threat of police action -- all so Irving can spread Holocaust denial like some nasty strain of the swine flu.
I should also mention that about 50 members of Portland's ARA (Anti-Racist Action) protested Irving's July 19 appearance at an Embassy Suites in the Rose City. They write that, "Irving had slightly over two dozen attendees for his talk--half the number of his anti-fascist opponents. One of the largest blocs of attendees on Irving's side came from the Portland 9/11 Truth Alliance."
Holocaust deniers and Truthers? They go together like burnt beans and franks, folks. Where are the Obama birth certificate crazies, the Birthers, when you need a tin-foil hat trifecta?
Finally, it seems I snagged a mention in Irving's blog about his Phoenix appearance. The yellow-bellied Hitler-worshipper describes meeting me thusly:
"The fat, sweaty, and annoying Lefty journalist Stephen Lemons -- where do `they' get these names! -- has turned up with the mob outside, and members of the audience who know him warn against having any dealings with him, saying that he has been the death of several people he badmouthed. I deny him entry to the room before my talk, even though he offers to pay. I find myself wiping my hand dry after he shakes it. He snatches photos of me as I walk past the open door."
Heh-heh. I may be fat, and occasionally sweaty, but at least I'm not some craven old coot peddling Holocaust-denial fantasies to addled swastika-lickers in greasy diners. I'd rather be an obese anti-racist than a washed up apologist for the Third Reich any day, senor.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.